Accurizing the standard AK rifle
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Old 10-11-2009, 11:40 PM   #1
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Default Accurizing the standard AK rifle

Everyone knows that the AK series is notorious for inaccuracy. Some of this reputation is deserved, some of it is not.

What I'm interested in is advice or research on improving the accuracy of a standard 16" barrelled AK rifle. One immediate way is going to a different caliber than the original 7.62x39 round.

But the 7.62x39 is widely held to be ballistically a twin to the .30-30, and that is a good, flat trajectoried, medium range round, when fired from a lever action saddle carbine of the same basic size as the standard AK.

One of the things often mentioned also, is the stamped receiver construction of the AKM series. Yet that doesn't seem to hold back the HK-91, Cetme, FN-FAL class of rifles from reasonable accuracy in spite of a more powerful standard round. Obviously a milled receiver should be an improvement over the stamped version, when it comes to the stiffness of the part and the torque loads generated upon firing.

The challenge here is to come up with practical ways of improving accuracy to the stamped receiver AK rifles of standard configuration and barrel length, that being the most common version of this rifle currently being used by enthusiasts in the United States. I'm including the underfolder and side folding versions in the "standard" designation. By that I mean stamped receiver, 16" barrel, 7.62x39mm bore.

I believe most of the issue is the technique of the shooter involved. But being a deadeye SOB is not going to solve everything. The other primary thing that I feel is holding this rifle back is the short sight radius, around 12 inches or so because of the rear sight's mounting position at the front of the receiver.

So, what are the ways that you guys have come up with, or seen researched, that will improve the native accuracy of the AK series? Is a scope the answer? What is the best way to mount one? Is there a reasonable way to move the rear sight further back with good results?

Let's hear some good, constructive analysis of this problem...

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Old 10-12-2009, 12:06 AM   #2
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These two guys suck at shooting but this kinda explains why the AK is less accurate than the rifles you mentioned. The AK was not designed to be an accurate weapon system to begin with like the M-16 Cetme.FAL and HK but it's probably one of the most reliable.



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Old 10-12-2009, 12:07 AM   #3
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From a gunsmith ( apprentice - and not even a good one ) standpoint??

Here are the "problems" with the AK Platform. And some of the "problems" that affect your accuracy, make it so reliable...

1) - You have very loose tolerances in your receiver. This aides in the whole "but it will run when it's been buried in mud" arguement, but it's still something you are fighting up hill on.

  • If the tolerances from shot one, to shot two, to shot 5, all change - you are going to get a different result with each shot.
2) The gas operated, short throw piston driven action. Most automatic everything is somehow fed off the gas expelled by the round going down the tube. The AR uses a similiar platform. The difference is that the AK bleeds that gas off, into a chamber that is brazed, or welded, onto the barrel. That gas pressure then drives a piston, which is another harmonic induced to the barrel, to cycle the action.
  • Now, if you remove the piston, you eliminate some of the harmonics, but you also loose the reliability of the weapon. That is a no go.
  • If you could change the piston tube to being more free floated, and leave the barrel less obstructed, that would be a good start. Currently the AR platform has adapted several piston driven versions that do this, but it's still not perfect. This would be the first thing I would examine in my pursuit of more accuracy.
3) Front End Furniture - You can't have a good accurate weapon that has a barrel that is influenced by outside forces. Bolt gun barrels are not "protected" by extra wood. AR's have a free floated front end that "protects" the barrel and the gas tube, but doesn't directly influence the barrel with outside pressure.
  • In my opinion, you need to develop ( and perhaps it does exist ) a form of foreend that does not allow your sling, where your resting your weapon, or the barrel itself under sustained fire, to influenece the harmonics of the barrel itself.
That is where I would start with this challenge....

JD
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:21 AM   #4
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Good description of the problems affecting things. As a machinist, I can definitely appreciate the issue of loose tolerances and moving clearances. So one minor way to help things is to choose a rifle that has a tighter fit than most, but that would of course screw around with the rifle's ability to tolerate crap in the works. As a former US soldier, for me that's not an issue. It's going to stay squeaky clean, period. it's just a habit that gets pounded in.

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Old 10-12-2009, 12:32 AM   #5
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I would agree with you. However, you have to realize that this weapon was designed by a tank mechanic to run, in any environment, in any condition, so the loose tolerances were built in.

The AK is an amazing weapon - but it was built for purpose one. And that wasn't accurate fire.

For 150 meters, knock you in the dirt, run no matter what? It's great.

At 500 meters - not so much....

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Old 10-12-2009, 02:53 AM   #6
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I do agree with you on those points. It's true it's not designed as a battle rifle. I'm just wondering what can be done to improve what IS available. Not looking for the rifleman's quarter mile here, just an easier to hit with weapon. And it's a theoretical question anyway, I wouldn't spend the money, when buying an HK type, an M14 or a good bolt action would fix the issue. An AK will never make a good bench rifle.

So, what we've got so far is-

Choosing parts carefully to minimize tolerances, i.e. as a gunsmith, possibly choosing parts that are too tight and carefully cutting to fit. Tiny percentage gained, traded against probable drop in reliability. Not really viable.

I also agree with you on the furniture issue. So an SKS-type or other full stock may improve things a little. How much, I wonder? I'm already planning on making new furniture for the rifle from mesquite wood. Maybe designing a full stock is an idea while I'm at it. I was already planning on going with a Monte Carlo style buttstock with a raised cheekpiece for more consistent weld.

How about a lighter piston and op rod? Would that help to reduce some of these harmonic forces and further stabilize the process? What about a vent system at the muzzle?

Or maybe some type of brace structure between gas tube and barrel... Sort of like a machined yoke to bolt over the tube and barrel and through the new full stock.

And, is there a good way to move the rear sight back, lengthen the sight radius, and make better use of a marksman's natural ability?

Like I said, I realize nobody's going to turn an AK into a match rifle. I can already hit much better with mine than I have heard you can. Most of that is pure chance, obviously I just happened to luck into the right combination of parts, assembled the right way. Part of it is also that I have always been a very good shot anyway.

I'm happy to take that and go home with it. This is just an exercise in curiosity.

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Old 10-12-2009, 05:33 AM   #7
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One major issue is the ammunition.

The vast majority of the ammunition that we consume is a Russian surplus, or ammo that is loaded from Russian factories. The Soviet standard was a 4 MOA in 10 shots. If one were to reload the ammunition, that standard would be reduced significantly.

The other major issue is the crude sights and the long sight radius. This can be cured by either practice or putting a red-dot optic on the gun.

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Old 10-12-2009, 11:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
One major issue is the ammunition.
I will agree,rolling you own will make a difference I know in both my SKS rifle it made a world of difference. Most of the commie ammos are just not consistent from rd. to rd. some are better than others,if you don't reload test different brands to find the one your rifle shoots the most consistent with. I've always found Golden tiger or Brown Bear the most accurate in my SKS rifles if I shoot the commie ammo.

Quote:
The other major issue is the crude sights and the long sight radius.
The sights are about the worst thing on most of the AK's I've been around,on some of the low end rifles the front sight block is often canted to one side or another even the slightest bit will throw you off to the right or left.

The front sight post dia. is about twice the size it should be,I know on both my SKS rifles they were. As far as long sight radius,on combloc rifle it's actually the opposite the sight radius is to short,just think about all the major main battle rifles used by the US over the years. They all had a long sight radius and used a rear peep sight system.

I see that Tech-sight has come out with a new rear peep sight system for the AK it's a little pricey they also have a target sight post for around $7 shipped I have one of those on each of my SKS rifles it sure made a difference just adding that even if you don't go with the rear peep sight.
Tech-SIGHTS Precision Shooting Accessories
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Old 10-12-2009, 04:26 PM   #9
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Ammunition choice is an excellent point. I've found the hollow points with a slightly hot load and a brass case really tighten the shot groups. I don't know the first thing about reloading, but a good friend of mine loaded up some for me that were just scary. It's a 163 soft copper jacket hollow point, but I don't know enough about reloading to bring up everything else he said. The words "slightly hot load" above came from him. Over the steel cased, steel-core FMJ, the brass-cased JHP was a whole 'nother world, and it fed much better, also.

That sight is just what I am looking for. I have some reservations, for instance it is dependent on the fit at the t-shaped notch at the rear of the spring guide, and I also wonder how much it will be affected by movement of the receiver cover, but the concept is definitely right there. And they have incorporated the adjustment screw to help take up any slack in the fit and maintain your zero.

Between this sight, my buddy's recipe and a full stock, you can probably improve groups significantly at medium ranges out to 250 or so. And these are practical improvements that can be made by an average end user.

Now, what about a lighter op rod/piston assembly and the idea for a machined brace for the gas tube and barrel for a more rigid fit to the full stock?

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Old 10-12-2009, 06:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by res45 View Post
Thanks! I think i would be more comfortable with that than the stocker on my SKS.
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