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Saiga .223 AK Conversion
 

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With a good portion of the forearm material removed from the slots, I put the rotary cutter aside and started work with two files.  One of them a round file and the other a medium sized rasp.  Both of these are relatively coarse files and so removed the forearm material in quick order.  Again, I took my time and worked on keeping the work within the lines I had scribed on the tape.  Straight and even sides with rounded ends was my prime goal for the emerging slots.
 

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With the tape peeled away, I took another file, this one smaller and with a finer cut, and cleaned up the edges of the slots.  The forearm material leaves something of a gray color where it is worked by the file.  I found that my black marker worked quite well to make the cut edges blend in well with the surrounding area. 
 

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A view of the Saiga with the now modified forearm reinstalled.  It will certainly allow better cooling of the barrel with the ability for increased circulation.  Yeah, it isn't factory looking AK but it isn't quite stock Saiga any more either.  For now, it will do.  Perhaps when I save up a few more $$ I'll take another look at that bolt on lower handguard retainer.

So.....with the forearm out of the way, I waited another week before the next batch of parts arrived.  These were inbound from Tapco and Dinzag Arms.  What was not available from Tapco (ie., sold out or not carried), I ordered from Dinzag.  Here is a list of parts that I used in my conversion:
 

 

 

I didn't run out and buy any tools (except for a couple of new drill bits) as what I had in the garage was adequate for my needs.  Tools I used included the following:  drill press, electric hand drill, 1/8" and 3/16" drill bits, screw driver, rotary cutter, center punch, drift punch, round and flat metal files, and a 10mm metric socket.  Would a milling machine have been nice....yes.  Is a drill press necessary....I wouldn't want to do the conversion without one, although I've no doubt that folks do.  With that list out of the way, time to get started on the rest of my conversion.

First, remove the magazine and verify the gun is unload.  Next, check it again and ensure the gun is unloaded.  Is the gun unloaded?  It better be! 

At this point, I field stripped the rifle.  The owner's manual does a nice job of describing how to do it....I'll hit a few of the highlights to help the owner's manual.
 

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Remove the dust cover by pushing the carrier spring guide rod lug in (it is spring loaded). 
 

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With the lug depressed, slip the dust cover over the guide, lifting up and off of the receiver.  Set the dust cover aside as it will be reused.
 

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Push the carrier spring assembly forward to disengage it from the guide slot at the rear of the receiver.  Note that this is under tension so be careful and maintain control of it as you released the spring tension.  With the spring tension released, remove the carrier spring assembly from the bolt support channel.  Set this aside as you will reuse it.

Slide the bolt carrier to the rear of the receiver and remove the bolt and bolt carrier (which will also have the gas piston attached to it) by lift them up and out of the receiver.  Set these aside as you will reuse them.


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