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Uncle Builds an AK: Part 1

Reader Shoot-N-Scoot and I set out a while back to build some Kalashnikov rifles. We ordered a some of these kits from Tapco. They look like this:

Note how it’s cut in two at the receiver.

The other piece involved is a receiver flat, which is a piece of stamped metal with holes drilled in it. Once you bend it, it then becomes the receiver. Essentially, you take the rifle kits and remove all the parts from the old receiver, which has been decommissioned by being cut in two. Bend the new receiver and put the rifle kit together on the new receiver. To comply with federal law, the kits come with a semi-auto fire control group (meaning it’s missing the parts that would make it a machine gun). You can also only use ten imported parts to comply with federal law so we will add some American made parts as well. The fire control group is not imported so this helps with your part count. This post will detail bending the flats and removing the old receiver.

We initially used flats bought from Tapco as well but the first attempt at bending one didn’t work. We obtained some laser cut flats, which are easier to bend but require welding to strengthen.

Here’s a pic of the flat:

More pics and commentary below:

Notice how the cut in the flat is incomplete around the magazine well. It will be important later. Here’s the flat in the bending jig:

The second flat was ruined due to the incomplete cut. Basically, one side of the magazine well didn’t bend at all. It will be returned to the manufacturer for another. Here are the two receivers, the top one is bent correctly. The bottom one is basically ruined. No problem though as we’ll get some more:

Here’s Shoot-N-Scoot grinding off some rivets so that we can remove the old receiver (which has been cut in two) from the trunnions. Note the use of a quality $35 shirt:

Being done with the day’s metal work, I loaded up the car. Thought it was odd to have miscellaneous AK parts in my car with a car seat and baby toys. Snapped a pic:

Once we got the rivets removed, the old receiver was placed in a vise and, using pliers, I basically bent it off the rest off of the rifle being careful not to damage the trunnion. I also forgot to snap a picture of this process. I got the non receiver portions home (leaving the receiver parts for Shoot-N-Scoot to finish) intent on removing the furniture. I plan on stripping and sanding all the wood since neither me nor Shoot-N-Scoot care for the varnished Romanian look. I’m also going to saw off the forward vertical grip since I don’t really like them on AKs. Here’s the furniture ready to be stripped and sanded:

I’ll be stripping paint and varnish and then sanding for next few days.

Part 2 is here. The running series can be seen here.

13 Responses to “Uncle Builds an AK: Part 1”

  1. JustJohnny Says:


    SayUncle, a local Tennessee blogger, is a gun guru. I’ve read some of his 2nd amendment writings that he has posted on his site; I am better with pictures and I’m guessing Unc. new that. In one of his latest posts, he photo blogs a step-…

  2. Jay G Says:


    As you know, I am attempting the same build myself. I will OBVIOUSLY be following this series intently.

    I got the EXACT same kit, BTW. Think I might get another one before the end of the year, too. That way, once I’ve escaped to America, I can build one with a folding stock, bayo, etc…

    Quick question: Are you using rivets or screws?

  3. SayUncle Says:

    Make certain you buy an appropriate number of American made parts. It’d suck to go to jail for violating some arbitrary federal law that dictates only so much of a gun can be imported.

    Ours will likely be a combination of rivets and spot welding.

    If you got the TAPCO flats, good luck bending them (or get someone who has done it before). We mangled one. Laser cut is the way to go.

  4. Jay G Says:


    That’s that 922 statute, right? IIRC, there has to be a minimum of 5 US-made parts, right?

    I’ll be certain to follow that; I have no desire to be a guest in the ol’ greybar hotel…

    I’m taking the wuss way out – buying a ready-made receiver. I’m not brave enough to bend-my-own…

  5. SayUncle Says:

    Wussy. The law is only 10 parts can be imported, IIRC.

  6. countertop Says:

    Jay – Where are you buring the reciever from? Tapco?

    What is the full citation to the law? 18 USC 922?

  7. countertop Says:

    eer, never mind on the citation.

  8. The Comedian Says:

    For casual readers, you should provide the list of parts to which the maximum of 10 imported parts applies.

  9. SayUncle » Uncle Builds an AK: Part 2 Says:

    […] See part 1 here. All you folks are apparently too lazy to Google. Questions have arisen about compliance [18 USC 922(r)] parts for the AK. Here’s a list, taken from The 16 countable parts of an AK rifle. No more than 10 of these parts may be imported. […]

  10. Jay G Says:


    The buddy that’s helping me do the build is getting the receiver. His family owns a gun shop.

  11. Resistance is futile! Says:

    Carnival of Cordite #38

    Welcome to our special Veterans Day issue of the Carnival of Cordite. Back in the day, right before I put on that first uniform, I raised my right hand and swore the Oath of Enlistment. I swore to support and

  12. SayUncle » Says:

    […] […]

  13. SayUncle » Uncle Builds an AK: Part 4 Says:

    […] Update on the AK build (you can see the series here): I had mentioned before that one of the laser cut flats wasn’t cut all the way which meant it couldn’t be bent properly. We got this laser cut flat from We sent them a picture of the flat and they sent us a replacement. Pretty good customer service, I thought, and worthy of a plug here. So, if you’re pondering rolling your own AK, AR, 10/22 or 1911, check out […]

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