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Building a Semi-Auto AK From Parts Kit

...with John Bush

AK-47 how-to video: Building a Semi-Auto AK From Parts Kit by John Bush 4_bulb Review this video!

From internet research and experimenting with various construction techniques, to creating tooling and documenting everything with drawings, AGI took the long way around in order to find the BEST and EASIEST method for building a Semi-Auto AK from a parts kit. You'll be lost without this video! You won't believe how many different ways there are to skin this cat! It seemed as though the variations of how you could build an AK from a kit were ENDLESS. Several gunsmiths and engineers from AGI poured over this process and tried various methods for forming and assembling receivers before we realized that in order to elimate confusion and lower risk of failure, we needed to come up with ONE standardized procedure that would work for experienced perfectionist as well as the first-time, novice builder. NOTE: This video is called multiple names by the vendor: It is called variously "How to build AK-47 DVD", "Building the AKS Rifle From a Parts Kit" and "Build a Semi-Auto AK From a parts kit". The blueprints that are digitally stored on the DVD reference the "AKS". It is our belief that this video is appropriate for anyone interested in building an AK-47, an AK-74, or an AKS (another name for the AK-74), but if you want a video that is guaranteed to ONLY refer to the AK-47, we suggest that you may prefer another video.

(about 90 minutes)

This video was added to our catalog on January 01, 2000 in <a href="/store/category/73/AK47">Firearms::AK-47</a> and <a href="/store/category/75/Kits-Scratchbuilt">Firearms::Kits &amp; Scratchbuilt</a>.

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Customer Reviews

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Reviewer: Ronald K.

this video was a little slow, but it took you thru the whole process from actually bending your receiver in a vise with a Hammer! it is definatly worth the time it tskes to get thru it, the host is kind of slow, but very knowledgeable

Reviewer: Allen H.

Lots of information on some uncertain aspects of building from a kit. I found it extreamly informative in relation to different methods,or techniques on rivetting.

Reviewer: John H.

Very informative. Walks you through the steps of making an AK from a piece of metal all the way to a full rifle. The only thing it left out was how to put the fire control parts in. Bummer, other than that, excellent.

Reviewer: Luis V.

This video shows you how to build an AK from several different approaches. Most importantly it shows you how to build an Ak with simple tools, rather thatn using a machine shop. My ak turned out good after watching this movie. If you plan to build an ak your own, this is a great dvd to rent.

Reviewer: Robert F.

What can I say, these guys really know their stuff. They show you every little detail necessary. It may be a long DVD but it is well worth the time. I liked that it shows you different ways to complete a receiver. That's cool because we don't all have the same tools or experience.

Reviewer: david h.

Very well done and informative - a must see before your first build!

Reviewer: Matt K.

If you are going to build an AK or are even thinking about it, rent this video. It covers everything you need to know and will show you the entire process.

Reviewer: doug k.

This video was informative, however it skips over the installation of trigger assembly (trigger hammer and springs). It also didn't show, in detail, how to remove the old receiver rivets. This, in my opinion, is a pretty important steps.

Reviewer: Pat S.

The video is very informative! I wish the blueprints would have come with it though, but really you can probably figure it out with a little know-how. I highly recomend this if you plan on buying a parts kit and build one yourself. Lots of good info!

Reviewer: Dennis F.

Easy to follow context, simple to understand and gives a good overall picture of what needs to be done.

Reviewer: jonathan d.

A very thorough video lecture, although I had already read a lot about constructing an AK, this video was invaluable as a tool to visualize the process of assembling the kit. I'm going to have to see their video on trigger group assembly, as they didn't cover that topic in this video, and I'd recommend also researching methods of finishing metal parts as they don't go in to that, either, in this particular video. But as far as headspacing a rifle and doing a rivet build, this video covers nearly everything you could want to know and has made me a hell of a lot more confident going in to my first AK build. One thing though, if you are going to build or buy a receiver jig, spend the extra cash and build or buy a press to form the receiver with. It will cost less than the jig and save you a load of time. That is definitely one thing this video convinced me to change about my build plan.

Reviewer: Anthony O.

The AGI video "Building the AK-47 from a Kit" was very informative for a first-time builder. I would recommend it to anyone trying to build a legal AK from a parts kit. I have purchased previous videos from AGI. They are always a great reference to the home gunsmith.

Reviewer: Neil M.

Great video - lots of detail on picking kits, checking for wear, fitting parts, etc. Lots of good 'smithing tips, too!

Reviewer: Sean C G.

Being an AK builder already, I went ahead and watched this just out of curiosity. I still learned a couple things. There are a few steps on here that he makes a little more difficult than it needs to be, but I would assume its for the benefit of those without a bunch of additional tooling. Overall, I found it to be very thorough, and while I would suggest a shop press, a barrel pin press, modified bolt cutter rivet squeezer, and a newer flat bending jig all to make your life much easier, following this video just the way it is should result in a very nice AK. The one major problem someone would have is that it is missing the supplemental material that came with the DVD, which included instructions and plans for making some of the tools he uses.

Reviewer: Stephen Alan A.

The movie was very informative in most aspects. It lacked any detail in the trigger assembly which seems odd as this is a how to build video. However, I ordered two different videos to watch and get different aspects, but only receiver two copies of the same movie. I sent an email requesting the other dvd, but I never received any response!

Reviewer: Reed C.

This video made me realize that you didn't need all the fancy tools to build an AK-47 that some people use. Its worth the rental.

Reviewer: Steven S.

The machining skills the host demonstrates are shockingly bad. I also think he gives terrible layout and drilling advice.

While laying out the trigger and hammer holes he makes rudimentary attempts at locating the holes. He originates these holes on the untrimmed front edge of the receiver without the trunnion riveted into place. This pretty much makes the hole placements a stab in the dark. After that poor attempt at correct placement he scribes hole placements by eye. He doesn't use starter drills before performing the critical trigger and hammer holes, this means his actual hole placement is off by +/- .050 even after the center punching. He fails to use reamers for the trigger and hammer holes. The cutting speed is way too fast for HSS drilling a hardened steel receiver. I make a big deal about all of these oversights because the trigger and hammer holes are very important. They must have reasonably accurate (.010" @ +/- .005" from the trunnion) locations, be perfectly sized (.001" @ +/- .0005") and hardened or they will oval out and the rifle will have a short life. These holes are the only really tough part (machining skill wise) of the AK build, everything else has much looser tolerances. This is an easy build build to get right, why be so sloppy? In other sections the host is much more detail oriented.

More slightly comical hole placement appears later in the video when he drills the front trunnion holes. The host never really explains what techniques he uses to relocate the undersized holes which even he admits are misplaced.

He says several times how much better a drill press would've been for these jobs. The mill is better for many reasons (much better hole placement due to a calibrated table and the selector slot could've easily been cut with an endmill). The working premise is that the viewer uses the included plans to build a bending jig, rivet jig, and bucking bar (all of which need a mill to make). So the viewer needs to use a mill to create all of those jigs but when it's time to cut a simple slot we switch to a Dremel? It was an out of place transition between tools. The video wanders a bit in focus, it's left for the viewer to understand when the host switches between the 2 different build styles. I think the video has an identity crisis. In some scenes it caters to well equipped shops with a mill and better tools. In other scenes kitchen table shadetree techniques are used.

Who is the audience? Well at the end of the video the host says the audience is the least capable builder with the simplest tools. The material in the video doesn't reflect this. If you have no mill you cannot create the jigs needed. If you buy commercial jigs they don't function the same way so the video isn't useful for those builders. There's a 30 second snippet where the host blazes through how to adapt these instructions to a 'virgin' build (a part kit that's never been built into a rifle and therefore is lacking a few machining steps) where he says "set headspace and then drill through the trunnion and barrel. then install the barrel pin". How is a home builder (the least capable builder with the simplest tools) with a 1/2 HP drill press supposed to drill through 2" of hardened steel?

There's no coverage of welding the lower rails. There's some good info about where to place the rails. I thought the video failed to emphasize the relationship between the trunnion and rails. The rails and trunnion should be touching. So if you know how to MIG, TIG, or spot weld you're good to go. If not, this video is no help and you'll need more research. The obvious coverage would've been to demonstrate the basic spot weld and talk about burn through. I guess they believed spot welding was too much to cover, but you can't build an AK from a flat without the skills.

The rivet work is pretty well done. There are better tools for the job but what is presented are adequate. The host murders the rear sight during some of the punch and rivet work though. I don't even think he noticed doing it. When removing barrel pin he put a huge crossload on the rear sight assembly. He does it again while installing the trunnion rivets.

There's no info about heat treating. The host tells the viewer that if you know how to heat treat you should do it. It very easy to overheat the AK receiver to the point of warping. Even if heat treating is out of scope there should be a decent runthrough of caveats to avoid while specifically heat treating the AK. Stamped metal is tricky to heat treat without warping. Covering basic MAPP torch heat treating and annealing of the receiver and lower rails would take 5 minutes.

The is no coverage of installing the trigger, hammer, or safety selector switch. There's no mention of correct spring installation. These items magically appear in the rifle. That's a huge oversight. How does the least capable builder with the simplest tools supposed to figure this out?

If you've never built an AK before, this video is about 50% of the info that you need. Your first rifle will likely be safe (because the author covers headspacing fairly well) but it's likely to be an unreliable rattletrap. AKs are reliable when the trigger and hammer are correctly located and have hardened holes for those pins. AKs aren't noted for excellent accuracy. You trade accuracy for reliability if you choose an AK. Who needs an unreliable rifle that isn't accurate? If your answer is "I do" then this is the video for you. By the time you've built your 3rd rifle you'll have figured out all the tricks and the rifle will run well.

Everything I've already said is fact. Here's my opinion. The host drew the short straw and had to make this video. His lack of passion translated into lack of detail and technique.

Reviewer: robert b.

Lots of info on things i have not read on any of the forums. For example installing front trunnion rivets with the barrel installed. View it more than once, you will catch more things the second time around.

Reviewer: Luis A.

Very good video, contains lots of information and is great for someone with limited tools. Although you may want to check some other videos and read on the AK forums before building one for extra info.

Reviewer: Sean S.

The host continually refers to drawings and such which are NOT shipped with this DVD. If you are expecting to look over their jig drawings - you will be disappointed. I learned a lot of little things but the overall approach was too 'brute force' and 'sloppy' for me, seeing the trunion get mangled was dissapointing. He takes a lot of time to walk you through bending up a flat, but completely skips tacking in the rails ?!? Overall this is a decent supplement to pre-existing information out there already - imho it does not stand well on its own since the drawings are non-existant.

Reviewer: Carl M.

a lot of usable information, anyone interested in this rifle should watch. When building great reference material.

Reviewer: Thomas F.

I thought the video was very good, especially if a person is tackling their first AK. This is the first AK a person is going to put together. For me it laid out a good foundation to know what the process is. Very helpful.

Reviewer: Kevin V.

Overall a decent video. Wasn't worth the near 2 1/2 month wait though. Just a different perspective on info readily available on the net. Also, pretty useless without the "plans" that he keeps referring to.

Reviewer: nathan c.

It was good but I would say find a build group like I did, it's harder than he makes it look. It is a great project. It's much harder then any AR-15.

Reviewer: David P.

Spends a lot of time on some areas and then completely ignores others. For example, mounting in the rails for an unfinished flat and especially not including the assembly procedure for the Fire Control Group (FCG). At the end of one chapter he says they are next going to assemble the FCG and perform function checks. Then they go right into function checks and going to the range.

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