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Saiga .223 AK Conversion
 

There are several methods by which to keep the hammer and trigger pins secure in the receiver.  E clips and hitch pins are two inexpensive ways to achieve this.  Another method is the FCG retaining plate.  It costs a little more but it works very nicely (yes, did install some hitch pins that I had just to see how they worked....I decided my fingers were too big!)
 

The FCG retaining plate itself is retained by the safety.  Rotate the safety up into position to align with the notch in the receiver.  Pull the safety slighty out of the receiver (it does not have to be completely removed).  Position the FCG retaining plate so that the open end slips into the groove on the hammer pin.  This groove is against the left side of the receiver.  Rotate the FCG retaining plate down so that it engages the groove on the trigger pin as well.  This will cause the free end of the FCG retaining plate to center itself over the hole that the safety fits in to.  Push the safety back into the receiver and rotate it into the fire position. 
 

Carefully remove the zip tie and allow the legs of the hammer spring to assume their resting position on the trigger.  Don't let the hammer snap forward while putting the legs into position as it will be tension while performing this step.

Push the hammer back towards the trigger hooks until it latches into position.  While keeping some pressure on the face of the hammer, squeeze the trigger.  The hammer should release and move forward exerting a fair amount of pressure while doing so.  Fully squeeze the trigger (keep it squeezed) and push the hammer back until it stops.  While keeping pressure on the hammer, slowly release the trigger.  It should reset and the hammer should release from the disconnect and the trigger hooks then engage the hammer.  If this all occurs, the newly installed FCG appears to be working.

At this point, I applied a small bit of gun lubricant to the area where the hooks capture the hammer and proceeded to put the remaining parts back into the receiver (bolt, carrier, spring, etc.).  Once the receiver was fully reassembled, I did a quick check to ensure the safety was in fact functioning (using an empty magazine and clear chamber).

At this point in time, I'm awaiting delivery of a magazine adapter that will allow me to use unmodified AR-15 mags in the Saiga.  At the same time, the need for the bullet guide, which is usually done when going to hi-cap AK magazines, is not needed.  When I get the adapter, I'll do a write-up on it as well.
 

Each side of the receiver has two holes where the old pins were removed.  I filled the holes with the hole plugs I had ordered. (see parts list)  They look quite similar to a rivet and so blend in nicely with the overall fit and finish of the Saiga. 
 

The last part of my conversion (given the parts at hand) was the installation of the Tapco stock.  Where as the factory stock was attached with three screws, the Tapco stock has two on top.  Tapco supplies the screws and a drill bit (nice touch) of the proper size for making the pilot holes for the screws.  Be sure you have the stock completely flushed up against the rear of the receiver prior to drilling the first hole.  I drilled one hole and inserted the screw.  A second check to make sure the stock was still properly positioned was then made prior to the last hole being drilled.
 

And so here is the finished conversion as it sits right now.  Things to come.....when I find the right sling, it will be added.  I have on order right now a Russian scope mount which should be arriving any day.  After that, I'll have to figure out just what kind of scope I want.  I intend to do some 200 yard work with this rifle and my eyes won't support that distance using iron sights. 

I've not been to the range yet but will be doing so in about a week.  My shooting buddy is recovering from surgery and should be ready for some range time in about a week. 

Many thanks to those that went before me and took the time to document their actions.  It is my hope that others may find something helpful in this write-up should they decided to do theirs. 

Since I wrote this, I've obtained a Belarus BP-02 scope mount for the Saiga.  Never had a mount like this before....but then, I've never had an AK either. 
 

Update:  1/10/2009

Having had the Saiga at the range a few times now, I wanted to make a comment on one thing, the bolt hold open (BHO) plate. 

With the trigger group moved forward, the BHO tab is now positioned near the back of the trigger guard rather than in front of it.  Some folks, myself included, have found that the tab can rub/interfere a bit with the trigger finger.  It isn't all that bad and I'm sure some folks don't notice it at all while other do. 

Since I had to pull the fire control group out to check the disconnector for an improperly drilled spring hole, I decided to reduce the length of the BHO tab.  It was a no brainer to do it while the trigger group was removed.
 

To determine the proper length, I pushed the tab up into the receiver to lock the bolt and then scribed a line on it.  I cut the excess metal off just below the line and called it good. 
 

A few seconds with the rotary cutter and a few minutes with a file (to dress up the cut edges) was all it took to shorten the tab by nearly half its original length.

After the trimming and filing was done, I reassembled the BHO along with the rest of the removed parts.  A quick functional check showed the BHO working properly.  My trigger finger was happy too.  It was well worth the effort which wasn't much at all.

 

 

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