Fixing my saiga 12
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:10 AM   #1
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Default Fixing my saiga 12

after shooting my new saiga12 this weekend it was having difficulty cycling. i had to open the gas plug far beyound where it should have been. did some reading about saiga conversions and there are several different barrel styles 4, 3, 2, 1 port barrels. after looking at the ports i saw 1 and a half holes as the second one was partially blocked.

so this evening i decided to get in there and do some monkeying with it.

after removing the gas block i found this...



4 ports!! 2 were completly blocked off by the small hole in the gas block. 1 was partially blocked the only ones i could see were the two side ones!!

once you take the handguards off and remove the gas block you can see how the rooskies drilled the gas hole for the ports. they drilled a large hole in the block hidden by the hand guards then through that a much smaller hole to access the gas ports in the barrel. the block in the pics below are of the bottom view of the gasblock





i drilled out both holes with a 3/8 inch bit. i used my drill press . using a hand drill woulda been a pain since there is no way i coulda keep it straight enoughjust holding a wobbly drill.

anyway, after getting it all back together 3/8 inch was the perfect size. now all four gasports are open.



if its still not cycling reasonably i will open the ports to 5/64 inch. but i think this will fix the issue. hopefully next weekend i can try it out.

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Old 07-09-2012, 04:17 AM   #2
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Wow idk what to say. I'm glad you took this job upon yourself and who makes this saiga that you have so I know to stay away. Like which manufacturer.

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Old 07-09-2012, 04:28 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by accessgranted View Post
Wow idk what to say. I'm glad you took this job upon yourself and who makes this saiga that you have so I know to stay away. Like which manufacturer.
mine is a cai but it doesnt really matter. all saigas can have this issue. your better off not having any gasblock work done since a lot of the custom shops just drill 90degree new holes instead of the correct slanted ones. it does take some effort to modify the block and just drilling the barrel is faster.

just take the gas plug out before you buy and look for the holes. if you cant see all of them, move on to the next. if the holes are big and two in number, that can be correct. some saigas have 1 very big hole just depends on which line any given saiga came off of according to my research. how true that is... i dunno for sure.

it wasnt really that hard, knock out two pins be sure not to let the plug detent fly free. then i used a chunk of wood and a hammer to smack the block off. i used kroil oil and let soak in a bit first. one pin was REALLY difficult broke three punches rying to get it out finally cut one punch short and that did the trick. a few good strong smacks got it out.

getting it back on was really easy a rubber mallet and some strategic taps got it in place and all lined up. its a ak47 its got sloppy tolerence to begin with. in fact i think its more square with me just eyeballing it than the rooskies had itfrom the saiga factory...

after doing this i think i could have done a full conversion myself. i may get another unconverted one and do the conversion. my wife is interested in a 20ga version.
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:35 AM   #4
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Wow idk what to say. I'm glad you took this job upon yourself and who makes this saiga that you have so I know to stay away. Like which manufacturer.
All Saiga's are made at the same place, the are imported by different companies. Most Saiga 12s won't cycle low brass as they are designed for heavy loads, that doesnt mean the is something wrong, just needs a modification for lighter loads

In this case it looks like somebody goofed though.
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:43 AM   #5
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All Saiga's are made at the same place, the are imported by different companies. Most Saiga 12s won't cycle low brass as they are designed for heavy loads, that doesnt mean the is something wrong, just needs a modification for lighter loads
mine wasnt cycling 00buck and only barely cycling with the gasplug barely attached definately not a safe condition. i could have sent it back to cai for warranty but something like a saiga where just about everything is user servicable with simple tools short of replacing the barrel, i wanted to do it myself
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:47 AM   #6
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mine wasnt cycling 00buck and only barely cycling with the gasplug barely attached definately not a safe condition. i could have sent it back to cai for warranty but something like a saiga where just about everything is user servicable with simple tools short of replacing the barrel, i wanted to do it myself
Yup, sounds like someone definitely goofed.

I don't blame you for doing it yourself, save a heck of a lot of hassle.
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Old 07-09-2012, 06:32 AM   #7
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I got lucky with my S12. It works perfectly, even with low brass. Bummer you had to go through all of that, but I appreciate the tutorial. Thanks.

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Old 07-09-2012, 12:29 PM   #8
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Interesting. Thanks Jon.

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Old 07-10-2012, 12:11 AM   #9
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soon as i got done at work i took the saiga out for a test fire at the indoor range in racine. im always forgetting i can use a shotgun there. i had some remington 1oz light target loads and some federal walmart bulk pack.

well im super happy. my fix was spot on and it needs nothing else for tuning. it cycled the low weight remington 1oz perfectly and the federal bulk perfectly. i had to adjust the tac47 autoplug in about 2 revolutions.

drilling out the gas block to 3/8inch and allowing access to all four ports did the trick. im probably going to polish the bolt and bolt carrier later to smooth out the cycling.

i did have some feed issues with the one 12 round stick mag but i was running the saiga bone dry. next session i wont forget to oil her up. but i think the 12 round mag was a bit clunky the promag drum was flawless.

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Old 07-10-2012, 04:55 AM   #10
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I do alot of Saiga conversions.

A bit of advice...

If some gunsmiths are drilling the ports out 90 degrees to the barrel, that is NOT the right way to do it.

The ports are angled so that they do not clog up with unburned powder residue and plastic fouling. The reverse angle makes it cleaner due to the very small leading edge. This allows unburned powder and fouling from the plastic wads to pass on by the gas ports as they would have to go against the gas flow to jam up the ports.

Using the correct angle prevents this.

Drilling out the ports to 90 degrees eliminates this, allows the gas to blow straight up in there while carrying all the residue with it. It also shears some of the plastic wad and allows it to build up rather quickly. This does noting the help patterns, in fact it can make them erratic.

The easiest way to line up the original angle on the barrel is the stick the proper sized drill bit in it and angle the barrel until the bit is in line with the chuck. I do this on a milling machine and chuck the barrel in the mill vise. Once the holes are lined up, its easy to pick up each one and enlarge the holes.

Polishing every part that bears against each other is good, as the parts are parkerized and parts feel gritty to the touch. Also, removing some metal on the top of the hammer will allow smoother cycling with less effort.

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