AK Assembly Process

Overtime the sequence of steps required to build an AK becomes ever more obvious.


  1. inspect parts kit, missing pieces. This is the time to complain to the supplier if pieces are missing.
  2. photograph parts. A photographic record of what was there in the beginning can sometimes prove helpful as you assemble the weapon.
  3. populate the barrel. Populating the barrel now, before you even touch the receiver, is easiest. Having the barrel attached to the receiver is not going to make the job of pressing on the barrel components any easier.
    • headspace barrel. This is the place to start. Get that barrel pressed into the front trunnion, drill it for the barrel pin, and pin the barrel into the right spot. Headspace gauges are not optional unless you like to pull out your own hair, and possibly wreck an otherwise perfectly good build and possibly a couple body parts.
    • barrel pin. As soon as the headspacing is correct, drill the slot for the barrel pin and pin it in place. This allows you to stack everything else on the barrel in its correct spot.
    • rear sight. Push the rear site onto the barrel. If you install anything else before it, you’ll be pulling it back off in order to get the rear sight on.
    • Use the handgrips to locate the space for the gas tube.
    • install hand grips
    • Use a bore sighting laser to locate the proper spot for the front site. Make sure that the front site is reasonably centered, and adjustment has not already been taken up in one direction or the other.

  4. Fold the receiver.
  5. Drill the receiver.
  6. Rivet on the trigger guard. Riveting the trigger guard is much easier before the guide rails are installed.
  7. Weld on the guide rails. These need to go one before heat treating, so that they are properly heat treated.
  8. Heat treat. Simple to say, sometimes a bit more complex to accomplish.
  9. Add center support rivet. Trying to do this later in the process becomes problematic, as the center support rivet is in the center of the receiver, hence the name. This makes installing the rivet a bit harder than some of the rivets closer to the edges. It also helps define the spacing of the receiver walls for when you install the reunnions.
  10. Remove front trunnion from barrel, as the barrel interferes with riveting the front trunnion.
  11. Rivet front trunnion.
  12. Rivet rear trunnion.
  13. Press barrel back into front trunnion. Headspacing is already done, so just press it in until the barrel pin slot is lined up properly.
  14. Press barrel pin back in.
  15. Install fire control group.
  16. Complete any necessary file work to assure proper function. Some builds will be fussy about magazines, so before you grinding and sawing too much, check a couple different styles / makes of magazines.
  17. Parkerize the rifle or finish it in your preferred style. It seems almost sacrilegious to blue an AK, but if you opt for a nice deep slow rust bluing, you will definitely have a one of a kind rifle. Black enamel paint is the most traditional finish, at least for a AK-74. Parkerizing is also quite common, as are dura-coat and other spray on finishes.