Posts Tagged ‘ saiga ’

Took the wife shooting

Well my wife finally decided it was time for her to learn how to shoot some of the guns I own.  She has always been very accepting of my love for guns and all things tactical but was just never interested.

Well last week I was out of town for some work stuff and she heard some noises in the backyard and realized that we had all these guns in the house and she really didn’t know how to use them.  I actually got a phone call from her letting me know she had already gotten a sitter for our daughter and we needed to go to the range when she got back.

I was really surprised because about 4 years ago she had a really bad experience shooting a shotgun.  She was trying to shot an old single shot shotgun of mine and as she was pulling the hammer back her thumb slipped off and the gun fired when she wasn’t ready and with me and my father slightly ahead of her but still behind the muzzle.  Needless to say it scared the bejezus out of all of us.  Luckily we knew to stay behind the muzzle so we really weren’t in any danger but still scary.  After that I didn’t think she would ever touch a gun again.

The night before we took some time to go over the four basic safety rules and how the gun functioned.  She seemed good to go so we loaded up my Glock 19 and a couple of boxes of ammo for her.  I also took my Saiga so I would have something to play with if she started enjoying her self.

When we got to the range I set some Pepsi cans up at around 7 yards for her to shoot at.  I loaded a single round in the magazine and then chambered that one round for her and laid the Glock on the range table with the muzzle down range so all she had to do was pick it up, align the sights, and squeeze the trigger.  She was really apprehensive at first and picked it up like it was going to bite her.  She finally got a little more comfortable and took aim at one of the cans and started to pull the trigger when a guy a few lanes down let out a few rapid fire shots out of his AK and spooked her.  She actually had to put the gun down and take a few breaths.

At this point I wasn’t very hopeful for how things would turn out but just reassured her and got her to try again.  She finally squeezed off that first round and then turned around and commented that it barely kicked at all.  She was expecting the gun to either hurt her wrists or jump out of her hands.  As soon as I saw the smile on her face I knew she was having some fun.  I loaded a full magazine for her and chambered the first round for her making sure to show her again how to do it.  She slowly fired off that magazine and asked to shoot some more.

At this point I just handed her a loaded magazine and told her if she wanted shoot some more she had to load the gun herself.  She was a little nervous but got the magazine into the gun and then racked the slide and commented that it was easier than she expected.  After she finished that magazine I handed her an empty magazine and a box of rounds and showed her how to load the magazine.

Once she was able to do everything herself I started shooting the Saiga in the lane next to her.  After a couple of minutes I heard her do a rapid fire magazine dump and I looked over at her only to have her tell me she wanted to see how fast she could shoot it.  At this point I knew she was hooked.

She continued to shoot until finally she had to go tinkle and didn’t want to do it behind a bush.  If nature had not called I’m sure she would have shot all the 9mm ammo I brought out with us.  On the ride home she actually started asking about carrying a pistol and maybe getting her own Glock.  She really liked the way the Glock 19 fit her hand but she knows I carry it daily hence her wanting her own.   She also commented on how relaxed she felt.  I told her that is one of my favorite things about going to the range.  You concentrate so much on what you are doing that you don’t think about anything else.

Overall I think the trip was a huge success.  Next trip will be her trying out one of the shotguns, either the 870 of the Saiga.  She also asked if she could shoot my 1911 next time.  I’ll be sure to let y’all know how it goes.  Any of y’all have any tips for either getting your significant other to the range or how to get them more comfortable around guns?

Keep up the good fight



Saga of the Saiga

Well I finally managed to scrounge up all the parts and all the tools I would need to convert my Saiga 12 back to its intended design. To make the gun 922R compliant for importation it was brought over in a “sporterized” form with no pistol grip and a cheap hunting style stock. To make the trigger workable with a rifle style stock and no pistol grip the trigger had to be relocated about an inch and a half back basically to where the pistol grip should be.

To start off I gathered up the tools I would need for this conversion:
-small vice
-small and large flathead screwdrivers
-small needle nose pliers
-various size punches

The parts I used were:
-KVAR Nato length stock
-Tromix DIY Trigger guard
-Tapco G2 trigger group modified by Tromix

Friday night both my wife and daughter weren’t feeling very well so they both went to bed early so I headed to the garage to play gunsmith. I started by verifying that the gun was unloaded and visually and physically checked to make sure the chamber was clear.

Next I field stripped the gun by removing the top cover, taking out the recoil spring, and then removing the bolt and bolt carrier. With the gun field stripped I could access all three of the screws holding the stock on. Using a large flathead screwdriver I removed the three screws holding the stock on and then proceeded to beat on the stock until it worked its way free of the rear of the receiver.

Now the real fun, taking out the guts. I used a small flathead screwdriver to push down on the axis pin retaining spring which allowed me to drift out the axis pins which hold in the hammer and the linkage between the trigger and the hammer. Once both pins were out the linkage and the hammer along with the hammer spring could be lifted out of the receiver. Once those were out I lifted the original bolt hold open also.

The next thing that needed to be removed was the trigger assembly that was held in by two rivets. I initially tried to drill the head off of the rivets but ended up finding it easier to just use the Dremel to grind the head of them off. Once I had the head off I used a punch and a hammer to knock the rest of the rivets out allowing the trigger assembly to be taken out as well.

Once all of the insides were on the outside it was time to turn my attention to the original trigger guard. If the trigger had to be moved forward then the trigger guard would need to follow. The trigger guard was held on by three more rivets. Since I found that the using the Dremel to grind the head of the rivets off worked better I just started with that technique this time and it served me fairly well. Once I had all three rivet heads ground off I once again grabbed the punch and hammer and started knocking out what remained of the rivets. Two came out with little trouble but one did not want to come out. I grinded on it some more to no avail, I eventually had to drill it out and I think I actually made the hole a little bigger in the process but the river finally came out.

With the old trigger guard removed I prepared to install the new trigger guard from Tromix. I purchased the Tromix Do-It-Yourself Trigger guard because it just seemed a lot simpler than trying to modify the receiver even more than I already was. The Tromix trigger guard allows you to mount a pistol grip to the actual trigger guard instead of having to cut a pistol grip hole in your receiver. It also has a nice angular look to it which adds some CDI points. The trigger guard bolted in through the existing rivet holes and the hole that was for the old trigger. This is only designed to work with the Tapco SAW grip so I had limited options for what pistol grip to use but I hear that more options might be on the way. I was slightly worried about the stability and ruggedness of mounting the pistol grip to the trigger guard like this but now that I have it installed and have had a chance to shoot it I have no doubts that it will hold up just fine.

With the pistol grip and ne trigger guard attached it was time to turn my attention back to the inside of the receiver. I was going to use a Tapco G2 trigger assembly that had been modified by Tromix for use in the Saiga 12. This involves removing some material from the side of the hammer to clear the original bolt hold open (if you keep it) and grinding part of the hammer to make it clear the bolt so the gun will cycle. I dropped the trigger assembly in and then set the original bolt hold open into place so that the axis pin that holds the trigger in place would also hold the bolt hold open spring in place. Not everyone reinstalls the bolt hold open but I am a fan of locking my bolt back when at the range and not shooting that particular gun to help show it is clear, also it is much easier to load a full magazine into the gun when the bolt is to the rear.

Once the rear axis pin had been installed and was holding the trigger assembly and the bolt hold open spring I moved on to the hammer and hammer spring. Things can get really tricky with the spring so I took some good advice and put tension on the spring and wrapped it in tape to hold it in place while I installed it into the receiver. After the hammer was in place I reinstalled the front axis pin which holds the hammer and bolt hold open in place. Once I was sure it was setup correctly I cut the tape around the hammer spring allowing the two legs of the spring to snap into place. Finally to ensure that the axis pins will remain in place I installed a shepards crook spring which is designed to hold both axis pins in.

The shepards crook spring was fairly easy to install. I started by inserting it into the receiver from the rear and then making the long part of the spring go over the first axis pin and then under the second axis pin. Using a small flathead screwdriver to move the spring around and push it over this or under that made the process much easier. Once I had it lined up correctly I just used a punch to push it the rest of the way until it snapped into position.

At this point the new fire control group was completely installed. All I did was a quick couple of function checks to make sure the trigger would release the hammer and that the hammer would reset. Once I was sure that everything was working they way it was supposed to I put the bolt, recoil spring, and top cover back on.

The last part I needed to install was the KVAR Nato length stock I had picked up. This is a much more traditional AK style stock than the sporter stock that the Saiga came with. It was a direct bolt in replacement, the only modification I had to do was drill the actual holes for the screws into the stock itself, it utilizes the old holes in the receiver. The stock fit pretty snug into the receiver and with the screws added it is rock solid.

Finally it was done, I had converted my Saiga back to the way it should be. I was slightly concerned because when you switch the old hammer to the new hammer that is in the Tapco G2 fire control group it rides slightly higher which makes it drag against the bolt a little more making the gun not cycle quit as well. It definitely wasn’t as smooth as before but I wasn’t sure if it would affect the actual cycling of the gun when being fired. To help smooth things out, or maybe just make myself feel better, I oiled up the fire control group and the bolt and then worked the bolt back and forth a few dozen times to help the parts wear in.

The next day I swung by my local ammo supply point (Sportsman’s Warehouse) and picked up some slugs, some buckshot, and some full power birdshot loads. I also took along some of the real cheap Federal bulk pack 7 1/2 shot from Wal-Mart. I started with the slugs to help break the gun back in and it ran great, no issues at all. After that I switched to the buckshot and then the full power bird loads and it still ran with no issues. Once I switched to the Federal bulk pack I had a few stovepipe malfunctions until I adjusted the gas system to the higher setting which is normally needed for bird shot. Once the gas system was properly adjusted I had no further issues with the bulk pack cycling.

Overall I am exceptionally pleased with my conversion. I am extra excited that it is cycling the bulk pack bird loads that I can get 100 of for a little over 20 bucks, makes going to the range more enjoyable when I can actually afford to shoot as much as I want. I was fairly nervous going into it but I had a blast doing the work and now have a much better understanding of how my gun works and how AK’s work in general. I got a little carried away with the work and my cigar and forgot to take step by step pictures like I meant to. If someone is considering doing a conversion likes this and would like some specific pictures or a better explanation of how I did something just reply down below and I’ll see what I can do.

Keep up the good fight


Going under the knife (err.. Make that dremel)

Well it’s time. Time for me to attack my dear Saiga with drill and dremel to convert it back to the way it was designed. Goodbye goofy hunting stock, hello KVAR NATO length AK stock. Goodbye trigger in the wrong location with weird linkage, hello normal AK trigger. Goodbye imaginary pistol grip, and hello SAW grip.

I think I have all the tools and parts I need. I have reads copious amounts of information and watched numerous YouTube videos on this process. I know how to do this but yet I still feel like my Saiga is about to get brain surgery from a palsy victim with a pipewrench.

I’ll be doing the procedure tonight if time allows. I’ll be sure to snap some pics and take some notes to let y’all know how it goes. If I get it done tonight I’ll take it to the range Saturday and have a report up layer that night

Keep up the good fight

Range Report 04-14-10

Well I had the day off because I have to go into the shop this weekend for some special missions that we are supporting. Oh yeah I should probably mention that I bought a Ruger 10/22 yesterday. Look for a initial review of that in a few days.

It’s a little colder than it has been the last week or so but most of the snow has melted and it’s actually pretty nice outside. I took the new 10/22, the Saiga-12, the 1911, and I carried my Glock 19 as I do everyday. I also took my Birchwood-Casey .22 spinner target figuring it would be a real hoot with the 10/22.

I started by setting up the spinner target about 20 yards down range and loading up some 10/22 mags. For the first 50 rounds or so I don’t think I ever hit the spinners once. The only experience I have with long gun iron sights is aperture sights. I was trying to use the sights on the 10/22 like pistol sights lining up the notch in the middle of the big gap in the middle of the rear sight. Took me those 50 rounds or so to notice the much smaller notch in the bottom of the rear sight. Once I got that little trick figured out I was ringing the steel much more regularly.

Actually I still had some trouble hitting the targets every time so I set up a cardboard box and put a sticky target on it to see where my point of impact was compared to my point of aim. I set the box up right next to the steel spinner around 20 yards out. I shot an entire 25 round magazine at the target while aiming at the bullseye so I could get a good pattern to see how the POA/POI compared. Turns out with the irons I was hitting about an inch lower and an inch to the right of where I was aiming. Once I figured this out I applied a little Texas Windage (Kentucky Windage) and was able to hit the steel targets at least 9 times out of 10.

Total I fired 200 hundred rounds of .22LR and had a blast. As you can see from the picture at the top the steel targets are pretty much gray so next time I run by the hardware store I going to pick up some blaze orange paint to re-touch the spinners.

I also shot about 50 rounds through the Saiga-12 bouncing coke cans and bottles around the range. It has about 200 rounds through it now and it seems to be smoothing out. I actually had zero malfunctions at that was shooting nothing but Federal bulk pack from Wal-Mart.

I also ran a few magazines through my Dan Wesson Pointman 7 1911 and all I really learned was that I need more practice and I need to slow down and focus more on the basics. When I did my job the bullets went right where I wanted them. If I got in a hurry and rushed the shots they might end up somewhere in the vicinity of where I was aiming.

Over all I had a great time and really enjoy weekday trips to the range when there is almost no one out there. Since the weather has started improving the range has been really crowded on the weekends. Well I hope y’all have a great time on your next trip to the range no matter what you’re shooting.

Keep up the good fight

Range Report 04-10-2010

Went out to the range after my daughter’s birthday party with some guys from work. I took out my Saiga-12, Remmington 417, Glock 19, and 1911.

I am absolutely amazed with how accurate that old Remington is. It’s just a single shot bolt action .22 but could change a gnat’s religion at 25 yards. I was just shooting it standing off-hand for fun and was able to hit 2″ steel circels with boring regularity. Nothing overly special about this old gun but is just lots of fun and cheap to shoot.

Nothing new to report with the Glock or the 1911. I only had about 50 rounds for each of them and have no problems to report, they just work.

Now for the really fun part.
I had picked up some 12 gauge magnum buckshots shells along with some rifled slugs to try out. These were the first powerful loads I have fired from the Saiga, I have only fired cheap birdshot in it up to this point. So I adjusted the gas system for the more powerful shells, loaded a mag and we were off to the races. The Saiga loved the hotter loads. There is just something fun about unloading 5 rifled slugs into an old freezer as fast as you can. The slugs left some pretty impressive entry wounds into this old freezer but what really got everyone’s attention was the exit holes. The pic was the back of the freezer with my buddy’s big ol’ meat hooks he calls hands. Definetly good times.

Keep up the good fight

Pro Mags for Saiga-12

When I picked up my Saiga-12 I also grabbed some 10 round magazines from Pro mag. They seem fairly well made and sturdy. They also can be disassembled in the same manner as the Magpul Pmags. When inserted into my shotgun they lock up tight with no rattle or wiggle.

Out of the two magazines I picked up one of them had a small issue. The follower was binding about a third of the way down into the magazine and causing failure to feed’s. Luckily all I had to do was disassemble the magazine and lightly sand down the sides of the follower and it functions 100% since then.

One thing that struck me right off the bat is just how large they are. If you look in the pic below you will see some Pmags in the chest rig for some size comparison. I almost think they might be too long to use in a home defense role. I could easily see the magazine sticking out and catching on a door frame or something similar. I’m thinking a magazine with a capacity around 8 rounds would be about the right length. I also want to try out the 20 round drum by MD Arms it is obviously wider but I think the length would work better. Plus who wouldn’t want a shotgun with a 20 round drum?

Keep up the good fight

Range Report 02-26-2010

Finally got to make it back out to the range after a bad stomach bug. Was a beautiful day buy still a little bit cold out. The sun was shining but it was still right around zero degrees fahrenheit.

I only took the Glock 19 and the new Saiga 12 out because I was a little short on time. I shot several mags through the Glock with no issues. It was mostly PMC Bronze but I also ran some Speer Gold Dot’s through it just to make sure it functioned 100%.

The Duraseal spinner target is still holding up pretty good but it didn’t seam to like the Gold Dot’s. They took some serious chunks out of the target. It is still functional and I’ll keep shooting it and reporting back until it dies.

On to the Saiga…
I only took a box of 25 shells out to the range because that was all I had. Big mistake, I ran through those and immediately packed up and ran to Walmart to grab a value pack of 100 shells. It ran amazingly though I did have some issues with one of the 10 round ProMags I picked up. The follower seems to be binding up in the mag. I’m going to mess around with it and see what I can do to fix it.

It was really fun doing double taps with 12 gauge and the short sight radius worked a lot better than I expected. Plus it is fun to have people walk up and say “Holy crap, what is that?”

Keep up the good fight