Ok, I know I said we would get into the fun part next and talk about kits, but first I think we should very briefly discuss a few legality issues. First thing, is this legal to do? Well, my first question to you is, are you legally allowed to own a firearm? And my next question is, is it legal for you to own an assault rifle in your area? I don’t know what the specific laws are in your state and locality and I don’t know if you’re crazy, a sex offender, or a convicted felon. So you have to sort those two out for yourself. As far as the federal government is concerned, it goes like this. You can build your own firearm for personal use. If you build the rifle with the intent to sell it, it is illegal, unless you obtain a license to manufacture firearms. That means that you do not need to stamp a serial number on the receiver if the weapon is being produced for personal use. Here is a link to an ATF publication with information in regards to manufacturing. Lastly, is something they call “922 r compliance”. Basically it goes like this, your rifle can contain no more then ten imported parts out of a list of twenty parts. It comes out of Title 18 Chapter 44 Section 922 (r) of the United States Code. I’m not going to discuss it. American made parts are available on line. I have no idea how they could possibly effectively enforce it, but keep your self on the right side of the law and follow the rules. Look up the code and you will find the list of parts and can read the law yourself. Also the federal agency that is tasked with enforcement is the ATF, so you can check out their site if need be.
PICKING A KIT
This may be the most fun part of the build. Here is where I get to offer you advice on how, where, and what to consider when picking out your kit. Here is where it starts to get interesting. Keep in mind the discussion we just had on tools because the kit you buy, just like the receiver choices you make, dictate the tools necessary to complete the build. There are primarily two divisions that these parts kits fall under, just two. Ones with barrels installed and ones without barrels installed. It’s pretty much that simple. Well, not really. Remember how we discussed variations? Lets not get too deep into this, but remember this, try not to mismatch parts. Not for the first build anyway. A lot of parts are interchangeable but the AKM was produced to suit the
needs of many different users, so some of them changed things. I think the best way to start is to just surf the net and see what you like. A couple of great sites are apexguns, whatacountry, alanticfirearms, armsofamerica, and of course AK-builder. Also, gunbroker is another favorite of mine. Just jump on line and do a search for AK parts kits. There are a lot of different vendors to choose from. Spend some time looking so you know what you like, and compare prices. A kit should be complete for your first build, don’t buy anything missing parts. When I say complete, understand that of course it will be missing the receiver and quite possibly the barrel. Missing the barrel will complicate your first build somewhat. If you would like to keep it simple in the beginning then get yourself a kit with the barrel already installed and head spaced. As mentioned before this will cause the kit to be more expensive, but it may be a cost that is worth while to reduce the stress of your first build. Head spacing and populating the barrel with its components is not hard. It really boils down to what you feel comfortable with.
Something else I would like to say here is to be careful. What I mean is that there are kits being sold for milled receivers and they will likely be cheaper, but they will say that they are for milled receivers. They will not work for us and don’t buy one now. I know that with some machine work the receiver stubs can be turned into trunnions and used for an AKM build, but that’s too complex and unnecessary for us at this stage. Also these kits are referred to as AK kits, not AKM kits. The easiest thing to do right now is to buy a kit with the barrel installed and populated. Just know that the companies that do this don’t do it for free. Yes, buying your kit with the barrel
installed already will save you time and hassle, but it will cost you more. If you do opt to buy a kit that does not have a barrel installed, just make sure that you get the right barrel to fit your kit, remember there is variation. If you are unsure you can call the vendor and ask, also a lot of the vendors selling the kits also sell the barrels for the kits.
OTHER RIFLE PARTS WE WILL NEED TO COMPLETE THE KIT
Picking out a kit can be fun. Visualizing the completed rifle is exciting, however you will need a few other components to complete your build. You are also going to need your receiver, center support rivet, and rivets. Remember your options discussed earlier and choose appropriately. Just make sure your receiver will fit the kit you picked out, call the vendor if you have questions. The last parts you will need are rivets and a center support rivet. I’m going to make this easy for you; visit AK-builder, they have everything you need for rivets and more. If you have gone with a Yugo kit or an RPK, your receiver is going to be 1.5 mm thick and you will need the matching center support rivet for a 1.5mm receiver. There is some variation in the rivets also. The rivets tend to be the same in general shape and size, but some kits will require more long rivets or short rivets etc. so just make sure you get what you need. If you bought a kit for an AK 74, a Yugoslavian, or a Romanian kit, the rivets may be different. Check out AK-builder, they tend to have exactly what you need. That pretty much covers the kits, we are ready to start the build. So that you can inventory your kit when it arrives and ensure it is complete, and also to familiarize yourself with the parts the next section will identify the parts of the rifle.