Accurizing the standard AK rifle

Discussion in 'AK & SKS Discussion' started by Route 66 Rambler, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. Route 66 Rambler

    Route 66 Rambler New Member

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    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...
     
  2. res45

    res45 New Member

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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.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6BpI3xD6h0]YouTube - AK 47 vs M16[/ame]

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aG8iYWD7x7o&feature=related[/ame]

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sK2aP5WTxOg&feature=related[/ame]
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2009

  3. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    From a gunsmith ( apprentice - and not even a good one :p ) 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
     
  4. Route 66 Rambler

    Route 66 Rambler New Member

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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.
     
  5. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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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....
     
  6. Route 66 Rambler

    Route 66 Rambler New Member

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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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2009
  7. ranger_sxt

    ranger_sxt New Member

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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.
     
  8. res45

    res45 New Member

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    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.

    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
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  9. Route 66 Rambler

    Route 66 Rambler New Member

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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?
     
  10. orangello

    orangello New Member

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  11. Yunus

    Yunus New Member

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    Are the harmonics of a single shot affected or is this only relevant when talking about repeat fire or rapid fire?
     
  12. slowryde45

    slowryde45 New Member

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    One thing you can do with your AK that would help....replace the trigger.

    Check out Red Star, for an adjustable AK trigger

    Red Star Arms Inc.

    A few years back, they did a test with a .223 VEPR K model, installed a Red Star trigger group. If I remember right, the base figures were that the gun averaged 2-2.5 moa on a rest @ 100yds, using Black Hills 69gr. Not too shabby for an AK system, but then again the VEPR's were put together a lot better than most.

    After the trigger group install, they were able to achieve 1.75 moa, with a best of 1.3. I'm sure there are probably a few more mods you can do to yours to improve that. Also you might want to check out Mark Krebs

    Welcome to Krebs Custom - Custom Parts - Kalashnikov Rifle Parts

    He has done alot of research and work to customize AK's. He isn't cheap, but neither is his work.

    Slo
     
  13. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    My belief, because the gas pressure behind the round is bled off and forces a stopped piston to lurch into motion before that round leaves that pencil thin barrel, which affects harmonics, is that YES.

    It is affected on a single shot, but nowhere near as bad as it is under heavy sustained fire....

    JD
     
  14. TelstaR

    TelstaR New Member

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    The AK system rifle performs exactly as it was designed to. Dont buy a AK variant if what you want is a tack driver. It was designed to be a combat accurate but reliable rifle for close-med range targets.

    To fairly evaluate the rifle you must examine it within the scope of its design-intent.
     
  15. 1BIGGUN

    1BIGGUN New Member

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    I saw this thread when searching for something else AK related and thought I would join the fun. Im new here but have around 6000 posts on the AK on other boards. Im not bragging just want to give a little back ground. after reading the above posts I felt compeled to comment

    IMOO the AK 47 and variants are possably the most under esimated gun in regards to accuracy. Most of there bad PR is due to guys shooting ammo that is garbage when it comes to accuracy potential. that and the crap trigger and poor sights.

    I have built some pretty accurate AKs, I have several stock barreld 7.62x39 builds including a 12.5" barrel pistol that will shoot under 1" at 100 yard 4 or 5 shot groups. I also have a a couple custom barreld 7.62x39,s that will do well under 1" groups. they have .308 bores and tight chambers but the actoins are pretty stock. all are scoped and have tuned triggers.

    I have a heavily modifed AK in 223 that will shoot SUB 1/2" Groups consistantly. I have shot Praire dogs out to 700 yards with it. The gun runs a
    26" heavy varmit barrel 1-9 twist that is floated and the rest of the gun is pretty modifed. how ever it still runs a pretty much stock bolt and carrier and and it is built on a bent tapco non fully temperd reciver. that is basicaly of stock design. The pont being is the action will shoot accuratly

    IMOO all this bussiness of the pistion in the gas system causing inaacuracy and all the stuff about the loose fit of the carrier and bolt to the reciver is false. MY 223 build shot virtualy the same with no gas system installed as it did with all the gas block, gas tube, ect installed In fact the the best group to date was with the gas system installed. It has shot a .437" four shot group and 5 shot groups at just under .500"

    To many guys just dissmiss the AK as inaccurate with out really trying to do any thing with it. I deer hunt with a scoped AK pistol in a local pistol/shotgun zone and I have taken deer out to 225 yards ( thats really pushing it BTW ). I varmit shoot almost exclusivly with my AK varmit build. Im working on a 260 remington version currently.

    Good ammo is vital to shooting getting much out of them. hand loads and load development work are critical to getting much under 1" groups.
    in 7.62x39 hand loads are almost mandatory. seating the bullet out as far as the mag will allow helps and if any brass can be found that has a thicker neck it would help some AK chambers have over .012" of neck clearance and a ton of free bore. I have a custom reamer that remidys on a custom barrel build. I have made better brass from 220 russian blown out to 7.62x39.
    220 Russian is the parent round of the argueably most accurate round on the planet. the 6mm and 22 PPC. winchester brass will work pretty well for basic accuracy loads. bullet selection is not great but Graff & sons have apretty good selection. going to a 308 barrel solves the bullet problem.

    Here is a link to a site that has more info about mine and otheraccuracy builds with lots of good info. (i hope its ok to post it here) I welcome any one to check it out

    link>>>> ACCURIZING THE AK - Gunco.net

    here is some pics of a few of my more accurate AKs. the orange target was 10 shots at 200 yards with my 223 varmit AK build while adjusting the scope during a sight in. the circle is around 5 shots with no scope adjust and the others were with a click or two to the left. had I Not been trying to get it zeroed it likley would have been a quarter sized 10 shoot 200 yard group. Many $1500 AR,s cant do this.

    Most good barrel AKs with a trigger job, optics on a quality mount, and good ammo will shoot in the 1" -1 1/4" range. some will do better. MY AMD pistol amazes me from a bench. I recently out shot a guy at a range that laughed when I was getting ready to shoot at the 100 yard target. he quit lauging when I out shot his Rem 700 308 with factory ammo. :)
     

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  16. diggsbakes

    diggsbakes New Member

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    Very good info. biggun. But I do have one question. How much does something like that cost? One of the biggest appeals of the AK 47 is its affordability.

    It seems like you know your AKs, so can you tell us some basic adjustments that can be made, short of re-barreling the gun. (which probably costs about as much as an entire rifle) I love AKs for many reasons, one of which is the amount of gun you get for your money.
     
  17. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    Nice writeup, but those two ground hogs don't seem impressed. ;)

    :D
     
  18. IGETEVEN

    IGETEVEN New Member

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    Hell of a post 1BIGGUN, great information and personal experience. I have always liked the AKs and AK variants from personal use experiences. The ammunition explanation information was right on, IMO. :)

    Nice looking AK .223 build.

    Jack
     
  19. 1BIGGUN

    1BIGGUN New Member

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    I built that perticular gun almost 5 years ago. when kits were $50 I had $110 into the barrel that was of a new savage varmit rifle. I turned to to fit the AK trunion. and then built the gas block from scratch its a tight tollerance long bore deign to reduce gas port Dia. and took a GB and milled off the top and bottom welded the bottom to a square barrel sleave that fit the almost 1" OD barrel and then welded in a plate to the top to allow me to bolt on a weaver type rail that I milled from solid steel. the materials for all that was around $30. the Flat was $9 the trigger is a very modifed tapco with adjustment screws added it breaks at about 2 LBS and is very touchy. this is not a gun you pack loaded ever!. I have about $25 in the trigger. the bolt is from a bulgarian 223 as is the bullet guide ithat ran about $80 the fore grip is a Sagia take off that is gutted out and has the rear cut of and floated with a milled plate ran along the bottom bridgeing from reciver to the fore grip. the fore grip was $10. the stock is a much modifed ATI part with a crude cheek rest it was $55. the scope in the picture is a BSA 6.5x24 that ran around $75 I need a better scope but it does work and hold zero but I dont touch the knobs for any thing once sighted in. add another 50 for incidentals and finish and it comes out at just under $500 with optics, the bipod shares duty with a few differant guns its a Versi a Pod. about $65 .

    with a factory stock and no optics and it would have been under $400. there is 4 years of development into it I shot it a year with no gas system loading it by hand. it has about 3500 rouns through it and its starting to loose a little bit of accuracy but will still do around 1/2 inch. today the same thing can be done on a barreless kit for about $150 more. it should also be pointed out that I recently sold the un used , bolt, stock set, barrel, for more than I paid for the kit initaly so in reality you can subtract the $100 I sold the extra parts for so in reality I have about $300 in it with out optics but a ton of work. that gun was built in a non stop two week marathon build and the paint was wet when I but it in the RV for the first praire dog hunt. I built it on a dare. my buddy has a nice rock river AR varmit build and saw my hunting pistol and said there was no way I could make a ak come close to his AR. I have out shot him the last three times at the range. he likley needs better ammo. His rock river is a nice gun not sure its worth $1500


    LOL ya those dam babby prairie dogs sat under that barrel going off all damm day and never flinched. I was throwing 22lr cases at them they were about 3 " away. the top of that hill was 700 yards the ones part way down werent impressed either there dead. that gun is really good to 400 yards and then the 223 starts to loose its effectiveness. IM working on a 22-250 version and a 260 remington and also a 17-223 . 1000 Yards is my goal its reall hard at those ranges with out range finders that will work and scopes that you can crank the adjustment around and then back and go back to were you start. I had a unconfirmed hit at 800+ yrds with it but wasent able to find a body a half a mile away. I have some better pics and info on the build Ill post in a bit
     
  20. diggsbakes

    diggsbakes New Member

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    Well I'm most definitely impressed by your devotion and expertise in regards to the AK 47. I have to admit it is my favorite rifle. Too be quite honest that's because I understand its mechanics better than any other self loader.

    That being said... there is no way at this point in my amateur gunsmithing ventures, that I would be able (or have the time or equipment) to complete such an in depth, complicated, custom build.

    Your guns are very impressive, but are beyond the realm of the "Standard AK rifle". I think whoever started this thread was interested in certain tweaks, mods, replacement parts, etc. that could be accomplished by more typical, "standard" AK owners.

    I'd love to hear something on that level.


    D