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My Saiga MEGA Conversion Thread, Updated! (warning with even more

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INTRO: For those who didn’t catch my mega thread (tutorial) about me converting my stock Saiga last year, here's a quick recap. (Scene fades to the past)…

I had just purchased my first Saiga ever in 7.62x39 complete with the infamous yet horrendous “Velcro mark”. As soon as I got that baby home I could see the graceful beauty lying underneath its grotesque hunting style furniture. AK’s are considered the ugly sister that one hypothetically would keep in the basement when guests came over, then let out to clean after the guests had left. It seems the majority find these guns to be downright ugly. I personally have always seen the not so subtle elegance that the AK possesses. Hopefully all of you can agree that this Saiga needed an extreme makeover (no relation to the TV show, is that trademarked?).

At the time the majority of the work I had seen being done to Saiga’s were more so considered mods than an actual conversion or restoration. That’s all fine and dandy; everyone has his or her own preferences. But I wanted a close as legally possible (or at least possible to me at the time) revamp back to the assembly in Izhevsk where the rifle was taken off the assembly line for the AK-100 series and sent to the Saiga Sporting Rifle assembly (theoretical situation… seeing that Izhmash likely wouldn’t accept it). I wanted a rifle that looked and felt as identical to a genuine Izhmash AK-103 whilst also staying in the confines my state laws.

I planned out what I wanted to do and what I was actually capable of doing. I wanted to complete all the work myself and not outsource any of the work if possible. I made a list, gathered references, asked the forum, looked up parts and supply sources, and researched a shit load of information regarding the actual design and build of an AK-103. I soon found out that the Saiga’s are identical in major components with the 100 series, with mainly visual differences. This encouraged me and drove me to actually finish my project. Which I posted step by step, picture by picture for all you lovely Saiga fans.

It has now been a little over a year since I completed my project and I haven’t been posting much of anything lately (busy, busy, busy) on the forums, but for one reason I happened to re-read my original conversion thread tonight. After I finished going through the thread I realized that I helped give insight on some problems I had and ways to solve them for others that were attempting/planning on doing something similar. But I had also realized that I had left a bit of information out, and that I had learned a great deal about my gun since last year when I first converted it. To complete my conversion I had to learn and practice a couple different skills and processes (such as sandblasting, Parkerizing, etc.) that I had not known previous, and within the last year I’ve had time to practice and become better (shit at least I hope), knowledge that I couldn’t previously include in my posts. Also to include an update on the gun and the modifications I did, how their holding up, etc.
Too conclude the end of this first post of my “RE-TUTORIAL>ROUND 2 REVAMPED” I want to say my goal by doing this is to help and give insight into a Saiga’s transformation from ugly as shit to a beautiful butterfly for all you lovely AK and Saiga owners out there. Even if you’re not into a full on conversion (I’m not judgmental), if you’ve got any questions about anything I’ll be covering just ask via this post
if you can. So others can also know what’s going on.

Andddd finally a summary of what I am going to include starting with……
-Every picture I posted in the original post, no download needed.
-Revised information from original post for each picture included with new info.
-Micro-intro for
FCG removal, Sandblasting, Airbrushing, Parkerizing, Hydraulic Press removal (also press-less techniques) of old and installation of new barrel components, Options the old FCG receiver holes/Welding, Which parts between AK-47, AKM, AK-74, SAIGA’s, and AK 100 series are interchangeable, and other miscellaneous topics.
-Updated info on how the gun has handled and how well the mods/paint has held up.
-Also including updated pictures etc. etc.
-Anddd probably some other stuff that I cannot think of right now.

I will commence the start of thread main thread tomorrow.

Edited by themadhatter196
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Let’s begin; this is the list of what I actually ended up doing in my rifle conversion. The list is the order of what procedures I’ll post from start to last.

-Complete tear down of the rifle including internals.
-Removal of stock trigger group.
-Drill out rivet heads and remove stock trigger guard and rear tang.
(Note: The next logical step would be to weld or fill in the holes where the rivets were in the receiver. Then rivet on an ak-74 trigger guard and install the new trigger group. Yet I didn’t do it in this order because my original plan was to do a quick and dirty conversion with screw on trigger guard, hand guard retainer, and fill in the holes with plastic plugs.)
-Fill in sporter configuration holes (4 trigger pin holes on side of the receiver, forearm screw hole, sporter trigger hole, 2 sporter trigger guard holes, and the bolt hold open slot).
-Fill in importer marks, Saiga, and Velcro mark (It is a 09' and has a Velcro like mark where the importer RAA was laser etched out).
-Create fire selector marks in receiver and replace selector lever
-Assemble and rivet trigger guard/mag catch to receiver.
-Drill and rivet bullet guide to front trunnion.

Barrel Components:
-Remove stock front hand guard.
-Remove barrel components including front sight block, and gas block.
-Grind locking notch for new hand guard retainer.
-Install and pin ak-74 hand guard retainer, gas block, front sight block/muzzle break, and gas tube.
-Drill and weld on muzzle break to front sight block.

Prep & Paint:
-Sand blast receiver/barrel assembly and all metal components except gas piston.
-Manganese Phosphate (Parkerizing) all metal components except gas piston.
-Paint all metal components with KG Gunkote in AK Black.
(Note: I also parkerized and painted a couple of slab mags).
-Highlight stamped factory marks including F and S.

-Take her to the range and get her sighted in.

Edited by themadhatter196
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Stock Trigger Group/Magazine Catch removal:


Stuff you gotta get/buy:
-AK FCG, which consists of a retaining plate, hammer, trigger, disconnector and spring.
(I bought the Tapco G2 single hook kit)
-Trigger guard.
(I bought a used Bulgarian AK-74 guard that came with a mag catch pin and 5 rivets to installation. I saved and reused the stock mag catch with spring, and stop plate).
-Pistol grip and stock.
(My stock and grip are from Kvar)


Let's get err done. First the removal of stock trigger group which is pretty straight forward. I didn't document or take any pictures whilst doing this but there are a lot of tutorials on this forum and elsewhere that go into detail about this. Also YouTube has a couple good videos that will walk you through it.

When I did this I watched a couple YouTube videos before starting and had my laptop on the bench just in case I got stuck. Once I got all the internals out that didn't require tools I started on the rivets. There are a couple of methods you can use to pop those rivets out. The first is using a Dremel (or equivalent) to cut or grind off the rivet heads and then just knocking them out. Second is to use a drill slightly smaller than the diameter of the rivets shaft and drill straight down through the head, then just take punch and knock it out.

The way I choose was with both a Dremel and a drill. First I drilled through the rivet heads until I felt I was almost to the receiver then used a Dremel with a grinding wheel to grind off as much as I could without scratching the receiver, then took a metal punch and hammered out the rest. It makes it a little harder if you’re planning on reusing or not converting the stock mag catch. If not keeping it then grind away and don’t worry if you damage the top of it.

Don’t be too careless though; there is a metal plate under the stock mag catch which is your selector stop plate which needs to be kept. The stop plate will go under your new mag catch before you rivet it to the receiver. The axis pins, hammer spring and bolt hold open lever and spring also need to be saved (the bolt hold open lever & spring does not need to be kept if you do not want it).

I didn’t take any pictures of this process so I took one off google anyway. Once done it should look like this.


Next you should install your new trigger group and test to see if it’s functional. My hammer needed a little metal taken off where it strikes the pin. The bolt carrier was getting caught and wouldn’t return to fire after being pulled back. I took a fine file to it and afterwards polished it with a cloth wheel on the Dremel that had a little gun polish on it. I highly recommend polishing the contact points in a Saigas’ FCG. The AK fire control group is definitely not the smoothest but polishing helps a bunch, just make sure not to take off too much metal. Be slow and smooth while polishing, testing the FCG every now and then checking if it’s improved. Here’s some pictures after removal of the FCG and I had also started to fill and smooth the rivet holes.








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Sorry folks, I've been quite busy the past two days and haven't gotten a chance to finish the next post. However I've been working on it and it's almost finished, I might get around to finishing and posting it tonight, if not I'll definitely post it tomorrow. The post covers the removal of the Saiga (dimpled and pinned versions) front sight block, and gas block; with or without the use of a hydraulic press. Included is which FSB, GB, gas tube, and HGR will fit and which ones I used. Also I go over where and how to make the retaining notch for the hand guard retainer.


The next post after removal of barrel components will cover the installation of the new barrel components; including the muzzle break, FSB, GB, gas tube, and furniture. I used a 20 ton press for pressing on everything, but I have also done a couple installations without a press so I will also cover doing it that way.


Keep an eye out for new posts, there is a lot more content left!

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