... A Romanian side-folder AKM with a sand colored furniture. I had originally used the furniture for another build, but switched it out on that build with a set of Magpul furniture. Since I already had it, I decided to use it for this build. It was a standard rivet build, and a friend of mine had the necessary crimpers for the front set of rivets, and the jigs needed for the other rivets, so the riveting went smoothly. He'd also purchased jigs for holding the barrel when installing the gas block and front sight, which helps a lot when pushing in the pins using my shop press.
Since I was using a Melonited barrel, I decided against a full refinishing of the rifle, and only finished the receiver. That left a nice "worn" look to the other parts. Previously I've used automobile engine paint. On this occasion, I finished the receiver with Brownell's Aluma-Hyde. It did an okay job, but I'm not sure that I will use it again. Not only did it spray on a little uneven, but it tended to run a bit, and I had to sand and redo a couple areas.
The real challenge on this build was drilling the gas port as that had not been done by the manufacturer. If you are not familiar with the AK-47 and AKM, the holes for the gas port are drilled at an angle into the barrel instead of vertical as with the later AK-74 and subsequent designs. I had read of some people that had nevertheless drilled a vertical gas port. My concern is that because the gas block is also at a matching angle that if the gas was shooting vertically into the gas block, it might cause excessive erosion. Accordingly, I decided to drill the hole at the angle.
In my research I found that most people achieved the proper angle by the simple expedient of installing the gas block and then inserting a drill bit through the openings in the gas block. I don't know about other people, but trying to drill at such an angle is challenging because the drill bit has a hard time biting into the metal being at an angle, I had to use an extended bit to have the necessary length, and I had to use a hand-drill rather than a drill press. If I had it to do over again, I would first mark where the gas port would be and use a drill press to drill in a little dimple before permanently installing the gas block. This would make the subsequent drilling easier.
The bit I used was a 1/8" bit that was 6-inches long. However, I wasn't making too much headway with it alone, so I subsequently picked up a 5/64" bit to drill a "pilot" hole. I actually would use the 5/64" bit for a short time, then move to the larger bit, back to the smaller bit, and so on. This seem to speed up the process considerably. Of course I had put a wooden dowel rod into the barrel so that when I finally broke through I wouldn't scratch up the opposite side of the barrel.
I had actually started on the drilling late last fall, put it on hold because the weather had gotten too cold to work comfortably in my garage, left off this summer because it was too hot to work comfortably in my garage, and returned to the project this weekend and finished.
My youngest son and I went out to do a function check on the rifle. I don't have an exact round count because a couple of the boxes of ammo I grabbed were only partially full, but I would estimate that we shot between 70 and 80 rounds through it in rapid succession at a large steel gong target. Everything worked well even using a variety of ammo from different manufacturers, and, to be honest, I regret not having brought more ammo with me as my son was having such a good time.
Knowing that the rifle works without issue, I will next bore-sight it and then take it out again for zeroing.
This is the first time I have shot a rifle sporting the Romanian side-folding stock. I have to say that I much prefer it to many of the other folding stocks on some of the older parts kits, especially the underfolders. The stock locks up tight. While I prefer the cheek weld that one gets with the triangle side folders, those fold to the left. This one folds to the right. The rod is shaped so you can still manipulate the controls if necessary; but by folding to the right, the stock is on the same side as the cocking handle making a much thinner package when folded than as is the case with the left folding stocks.