29 April 2012

I think winters over?

I'm not sure if its gone, but it looks like winter may be on it's way out the door.  Though the past few days have been in the 30's and 40's the future looks brighter.  Today was the first day I have mowed the lawn this year, but there is still a bit of snow in a shady spot out back.  Here are a few pics I have not gotten around to posting.

 Below is a picture of the Ausable river up in the Adirondacks, no fly fishing today.

 Walking on a frozen lake, setting up for a night time coyote hunt.

 This was an awesome view, frozen over Lake Placid form the Lake Placid Lodge with Whiteface mountain in the background.

 Here we were fishing for Salmon in  Plattsburg, just getting out of the water for a minute to warm up.

 Not my favorite kind of shovel.

 My front yard.

15 April 2012

A Romanian Draco Pistol Comes to Life

 1989 Romanian Revolution

So I get this phone call from a good buddy of mine one day, just the average this and that chat when the conversation turns to firearms, a usual topic between the two of us.  He begins to tell me of this Romanian AK called a Draco, which is a short barreled AK47 and in its current form in the US is considered a pistol due to the lack of a rear butt stock.  Call it what you want ATF for better or worse.  Now I like firearms and other weapons of sorts and enjoy building and customizing on my own, but when this friend of mine spends his entire day at work scouring the internet in search of great ideas instead of designing helicopters and stuff, and then calls me to share in the revelations, well it gets me in trouble as I fall prey to the "I want one" moods.  And so, I call up an gun dealer out east and have him ship me one.  Because it's classified a "pistol", it is legal to own, but once you modify the rear trunion (back of the receiver) to accept a butt stock it becomes a rifle, and a rifle with a barrel of less than 16in., the Draco's barrel being 12.25in., is considered an SBR (short barreled rifle) and controlled by the NFA (national firearms act).  To legally possess such an SBR requires the filing of a bunch of paperwork to the ATF and a 200 dollar registration payment to the Department of Justice.  With all that said I filed my paperwork, wrote my check to the DOJ, waited for about 5 months to get my "permission slip" and then started building.

A bit of history, Draco is Latin I believe for dragon and is the brand name for this pistol produced in the Cugir factory in Romania.  The barrel is 12.25 vs. the standard AK's 16.3 inches, with a different gas block/front sight post. 

First you will see the Draco pistol in its unmodified, natural form.

 Next I needed to remove the barrel thread protector that is tack welded at the bottom. 


Then with the wooden hand-guards removed the metal lower hand-guard retainer had to be cu off. 


In the next photo you will see the original upper hand-guard and the new aluminum one below, the hand-guard also serves as the gas tube where the bolt's gas piston cycles.  The new railed piece is actually too long for a Draco and is intended for a regular AK47 so to the mill I went.


 I enlisted the help of my machinist friend and neighbor Larry to help with this part, as we began to turn down the inside of the gas tube.


And the semi-finished product.

Some honing was required of the front sight post/gas block to enable the gas tube to rest appropriately.

 For the flash hider and a means to control the concussion of a rifle cartridge out such a short barrel I acquired a Noveske "Krink", on the left, witch is essentially a modern day clone of the original Bulgarian Krinkov flash hider, on the right.  Fortunately Noveske had just started making their flash hider specifically to fit AK's as the thread is a left hand 14mm.

With the upper handguard/gas tube modified and installed I also installed an Ultimak lower railed handguard, and an Aimpoint Comp M2 with super low mount.

Next was drilling out the rear trunion to accept some fastening hardware for a stock, "Larry, you got a minute?".   This process was a bitch!  That trunion was hardened, it was quite difficult to hold the AK into place under the mill, and we broke a few mill bits.

 In the picture below you will see the stock coming into play.  I decided on an AR style setup using a Magpul CTR stock on a AR buffer tube affixed to an ACE side folding adapter meant for an AK.  If you look below, the contour lines between the stock and rifle are off, witch were not ascetically pleasing (didn't look right), but also gave too high of a cheek position making it a bit difficult to see through the optic and iron sights.

 So back to the shop I went, and started fabricating an aluminum wedge.

 In the picture below I used the large wheel of my bench sander to give the wedge just the right tapper, but holding the little wedge wasn't easy so I rigged up a wooden handle with two protruding studs the grasp the wedge while it was paced against the sanding wheel.

I actually made two as the first one was a bit flawed and I found a few things in the dimensions that I could refine.  I do plan to send the wedge off to somewhere to have it type 3 hardcoat anodized eventually.

 As for the pistol grip, I put a lot of thought into it.  I didn't want to use the standard AK variant grip, and the adapters made to enable the use of AR grips I did not care for.

 So I took a Magpul MIAD grip for an AR and started hacking and burring away.  The MIAD grip allows the shooter to remove/replace the front and rear portions of the grip with various pieces that come in the kit of varying contours and ergonomics. I the photo below you can see which pieces I combined, modified, and then stimppled using my soldering device to create a custom grip texture and blend the sliding pieces together.

 Now, let the fun resume!

 And lastly, a comparison of an original Draco next to my FrankeDraco.