Romanian AK-47 Parts Kits
This is one in a series of pages about reconstructing an AK-47, Автомат Калашникова 47, Avtomat Kalashnikova 47 or Kalashnikov Automatic Rifle 1947 Model. We've already see the history of the design, how Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashinikov designed it in 1944-1946 and how it was originally manufactured at the Izhevskiy Mashinostroitel'ny Zavod in the western Urals. Now we need to learn about the parts kits exported from Romania and other former Warsaw Pact countries.
Kalashnikov variants were built by many of the Soviet client states. This included the Pistol Mitralieră model 1963/1965, abbreviated PM md. 63 or just simply md. 63. It was manufactured by the Romanian State Arsenal or Regia Autonomă pentru producţia de Tehnică Militară (RATMIL), located in Cugir, in west-central Romania. RATMIL produced these from 1963 into the 1980s.
A civilian export variant of the PM md. 63 was the Garda version, originally manufactured for the Romanian Patriotic Guards.
The Garda sear was removed and the disconnector modified to render them semi-automatic only. The letter G is stamped on the left side of the rear sight block, sometimes outlined with orange paint as seen here. This is why some enthusiasts will refer to one of these as a "Romy G". The receivers were then destroyed with cutting torches and the Solomon-like result imported into the U.S. as a "parts kit".
As for the legality and staying compliant with Title 18 of the US Code (18 USC), Chapter 44 Section 922 and its paragraph R, see our dedicated 922R page here. To summarize the details:922R
For a weapon subject to Section 922R to be legally compliant, it must satisfy the BATFE regulations defined in Title 27 Chapter 1 Section 178.39. Basically, there is a list of possibly imported parts, a few of which (barrel extensions, operating rods separate from the AK's bolt-carrier-gas-cylinder assembly, trigger housing, and sears) aren't generally found on a standard AK. The regulation states, "(a) No person shall assemble a semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun using more than 10 of the imported parts listed in paragraph (c) of this section if the assembled firearm is prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes."
So, there are two ways to approach this: count the included number of original parts from that list, or subtract off the replacement parts that you added. The standard AK has sixteen of the parts on the list. You definitely have to replace the first one, "(1) Frames, receivers, receiver castings, forgings or stampings" as the receiver was cut into pieces with a torch and only the end scraps included with the kit. After that, a commonly used set of replacement parts is the gas cylinder, trigger group (with two parts from the list, trigger and hammer), muzzle brake, pistol grip, and magazine.
You will see through the following that this project uses the original barrel. The BATFE has more recently ruled that the barrels must also be destroyed by cutting them in half with a torch before import. Why does BATFE make yet another change to its arbitrary rules? It isn't part of any sinister plan to take your guns away. The rule change provides more business for U.S. manufacturers of replacement barrels.
Here is the complete parts kit. The three wooden stock parts have already been restored, as described on another page in this series. The plastic pistol grip or пистолетная рукоятка is next to them.
The receiver cover (крышка ствольная коробка) and gas cylinder (газовая трубка) are at upper left, and beyond them is the safety lever and the internal parts of the action — trigger, hammer, and so on (collectively the ударно-спусковой механизм).
Just to the right of that is the trigger guard, and below it are the wood screws and a few other parts used on the wooden stock parts.
Above and to the right of the buttstock are parts of the destroyed receiver. Through some arcane reasoning process, it has been decreed that the rectangular box-like receiver is the piece that makes this a gun. Destroy that (by cutting it in pieces with a torch) and it is no longer a gun, so the collection of parts can be legally imported into the U.S.
Just below the butt plate are the front and rear trunions, or the вкладыши or "inserts", literally. They mount the chamber and barrel and the rear stock, respectively, to the receiver.
To the right are the barrel (ствол), the piston and bolt (поршень и затвор), and the main return spring (возвратная пружина).
That is, of course, the Russian nomenclature. I have no idea what the proper Romanian terminology might be. But I would be happy to include it if anyone would let me know.
The front trunnion was removed from the barrel by pushing out the pin in a hydraulic press, as seen here.
We removed the rivets holding the trunnions in the receiver fragments by cutting off the rivet heads with an end mill. We removed the receiver fragments, and then further cut the slightly mushroomed rivet shafts back as seen here. They then easily popped out when struck with a punch.
At top here is the receiver cover.
Below that, to the left, and right, are the rear and front trunion.
Below that are the remaining parts of the receiver.
We have already cut the rivet heads off with an end mill, hence the freshly machined tracks on the receiver parts. That allowed us to remove the trunions.
These are the old receiver fragments.
This view shows two things.
First, how rails are mounted inside the receiver, as seen in the fragment at right.
Second, how the receivers were destroyed with a mix of cutting with saws, as on the piece at right, and torches, as on the pieces at center and left.
Here are the fragments of the original receiver, in front of a new receiver under construction.
A top-down view of the new and old receiver.
The gas port will probably have a great deal of copper fouling. I did some initial swabbing, and then stuffed two cleaning patches into the port. Then I soaked them with Hoppe's solvent, and let it set for a half-hour. The saturated patches kept the solvent in place.
Here is the result. Look at all the oxidized copper!
Then it was more cleaning with solvent and cotton swabs.
At least the barrel itself was in much better shape. This is after a soak with Hoppe's, a few passes of a bronze brush, and about twenty passes with solvent-soaked patches.
The gas cylinder threads into the bolt carrier, and then is held in place with a rivet. The rivet head was then ground off, it can be very difficult to see!
Here we have first made a small conical indentation with a sharp punch, and then drilled into the rivet head with a drill close to the rivet shaft diameter. The rivet can then be driven out and the gas cylinder unscrewed.
Next step: Bending the receiver