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SKS conversion to 6.5 Grendel
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  blurrededge

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Posted: February 05 2008 at 9:40am | IP Logged Quote blurrededge

Before I begin, I don't want any posts about the fact that I'll be using an SKS because they are " junk, innacurate, sloppy, flawed design , not a good platform for accuracy , etc. etc. ". It's my 'build' and I'll do what I want.
Not that I expect any of this from most of you guys on here, the weaponeer forums seem like the exception to the rule on the web; where people are out for one-upmanship and bashing each other instead of offering advice or ideas to help each other. -End rant'ish intro-

Ok. This was kind of already started in this thread, and after about 2 weeks of thinking about it without losing much interrest, I'm sure it's something I will actually attempt. Let me just state that I'm not trying to build a super accurate 600 yard single hole puncher, but we'll see how well it does (or doesn't) afterwards.

In order to do it, I'll need to do the following:

Get a 6.5mm barrel blank.

Turn it to the propper contour from the gas block back (i'll probably leave it heavier than the standard ones forward of the gas block.

Thread it for the receiver Or Turn the threaded end of the old barrel into a bushing to pin to the new barrel (probably easier with the tools I have available).

Cut the barrel chamber.

Drill the gas system hole and slots for the pins.

Install and headspace the barrel.

At this point, it should work. If everything functions properly, and I have time, I can move on to phase two: Adapting the receiver to accept detatchable magazines (AR style).

Trim the Mag well.

Trim the bolt bottom.

Weld on a mag housing extension with the new mag catch.

If this works out, then I can move on to phase three: Bullpup the sucker.

FYI Warning: This will be a slow process due to my time constraints and the availability of tools.

Any suggestions, comments, questions, thoughts welcome.

 

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Posted: February 05 2008 at 6:55pm | IP Logged Quote Guests

Actually I really "LIKE" the SKS and have found it to be a lot more accurate than the standard AK and more comfortable to shoot.

I am very interested in seeing your progress on this.

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  weaponeer

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Posted: February 05 2008 at 7:16pm | IP Logged Quote weaponeer

The standard SKS feed system should be very easy to adapt to 6.5 Grendel.

The overall conversion "should" be fairly simple (basically a barrel swap, and a change to a new follower).

The end result should be a much more accurate SKS with a lot more punch (pretty much in the order of a 308 SKS design).

The 6.5 Grendel is a really flat shooting round (which is why I'm building an AR15 Grendel).

This should be a very interesting build

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  blurrededge

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Posted: February 05 2008 at 10:38pm | IP Logged Quote blurrededge

Well, the barrel threads are soaking in Kroil as we speak, hopefully it won't be too much of a hassle to get it unthreaded from the receiver.

One part that I've been thinking over is the gas system block on the barrel. I don't need the cut-off as I won't be launching grenades or using it bolt action style. I'm not sure if I could machine a new block, and a new insert to adjust the gas by different sized holes in the drum (like an SVT-40)  [I don't have a mill or lathe, but a friend of mine 1.5 hours away does, so I do have limited access, but he's also a busy guy]. I could just get a regular style sks gas tube and block I suppose. I has also thought about covering up the gaps in the top of the yugo block where the detent button goes, so that there wouldn't be a gas leak from the hole onthe bottom out the hole in the top and through those gaps. I could cut and weld a stip over it, or I could cut, shape, and mount the front sight onto this part, but I don't know, I like really long sight radius' for iron sights. I suppose a flip up backup sight that folded forward would work, but that would make it even more complicated.

~sigh~

On the plus side, it looks like an AR magazine will actuate the bolt stop once the mag well in the receiver is milled out. It may need some height adjustment, but sofar that is a convenient bonus; ie. one less thing to worry about. Making the mag well and welding it to the receiver will be another matter. Right now I'm thinking some bent sheet metal with an AR mag catch installed will be it, but I don't have an AR anymore so I haven't been able to get a good mental picture yet. I don't even know if the mag release button will en up on a convenient location, or if something else would work better.

Anyone got any suggestions or ideas?

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Posted: February 06 2008 at 11:17pm | IP Logged Quote blurrededge

Finally got the Sum'bitch barrel off. The wrench and cheater pipe nearly flew across the shop with me when it broke free. I believe the thread size is 25 x 1.5mm. The pitch I know for sure, but the barrel itself has wiggle room right up until it's torqued into the receiver, so I'm assuming the size is correct based off me measurements and this chart.





So, I've never cut a chamber before...
Should I cut the chamber, and then install the barrel and check the headspace, and repeat until it's good?



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Posted: February 07 2008 at 8:35am | IP Logged Quote blurrededge

Found two places carrying a metric 25x1.5 die online. One is over $100. The other is about $30 with shipping... quite a disparity there, but I think I'll go with the second one .

So, that solves that problem. But I have yet more questions.

I'd like to float the barrel, which means eliminating the front stock ferrule from the barrel. Until I add the new magazine well to the trigger group with receiver screws holding the whole assembly together (like on a mauser) that means it would really only be held in a conventional stock by the trigger group (and cross bolt I suppose). The problem lies with standard aftermarket stocks; they are all made to use that stock ferrule.

I'm wondering if it would be worth it to do this just to float the barrel, or if that will really affect accuracy enough to make all the pain in the ass of solving the problem worth it... thoughts?
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Posted: February 07 2008 at 1:49pm | IP Logged Quote funmeister

It's been a while since I shot an SKS and I'm not an accuracy expert.  My 2 cents is that your getting into fuzzy territory.  The SKS is a great gun for what it was meant to do, lay lead in a reaasonable pattern at 100-300 meters, all day long without complaint.  It's tough and sturdy.

Now your getting into a more interesting round and want to reach out farther.  Except, your getting into mission creep.  Your trying to get more accuracy. 

The receiver looks pretty heavy and stable and that's good.  But you mention the barrel threads are kind of loose on the original set-up until the end.  That might result in a fairly flexible receiver to barrel fit and that's not good for accuracy.  You might want to keep an eye out for that. 

You might get an improvement with the free floating barrel, but keep in mind it's not a predictable art.  Since your dealing with vibration patterns and consistency, it's possible you could get less accuracy by removing that support point. What is the weight profile of the new barrel?  If it's thicker, it could help out a lot in the accuracy department.  

The next wild card in the mix with the SKS is that gas system.  It's supported off the barrel and has a bunch of parts in it vibrating this way and that.  It's held on by just a socket on the front, I think, so that has to be pretty loose.  And looseness is badness for vibration patterns. 

Bottom line to me appears to be that your opening up a can of worms trying to get too much additional accuracy out of that design.  It can e done, but you might have to address it on 3 or 4 fronts.

Since all of this was just my casual thoughts, I don't mind if someone better inoformed tells me I'm all wrong.  I don't mind getting educated on this stuff.

                   Regards,

                              funmeister

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Posted: February 07 2008 at 2:19pm | IP Logged Quote blurrededge

Some of these were things I'd thought about, and tried to find ways to alleviate the problems.

As for the barrel threads, I'm planning on cutting them so there is much less clearance between the receiver and barrel. I might have to make a barrel vise just to put the new one in, we'll see.

I was going to leave the barrel as thick as possible, hoping it would help accuracy alittle. The blank comes starting at 1.2" thick, and tapers down to .8" at the end of the 26" length. So, there's deffinetly enough room for that. I might not make it more than 24" long.

I had considered using a different type of gas system or heavily modifying the existing one. I'll leave that for future improvements outside of maybe the adjustment drum.

At this point, it's purely a barrel swap, and see what happens. I have an irrational love for the SKS, and was thinking about making one chambered for a different caliber (maybe 5.45 or 5.56) for a while. Since this round looks good on paper, and already has the same basic case dimensions, I figured, why the hell not. Maybe it'll be a much better shooter, maybe it'll just shoot flatter.

I keep getting ahead of myself thinking about what else I can do with it, but right now I just want to see what happens, and then I can decide if further imrpovements will be worth the work.

I appreciate your thoughts though, sometimes we need someone to knock the stars out of our eyes with a big reality check to the head (usually my g/f does that for me, so I know she'll make a good wife).

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Posted: February 07 2008 at 2:40pm | IP Logged Quote weaponeer

Personally I would retain the stock bolt and just bed it like they do on bolt actions.

I also don't see the gas system being a big problem as it's heavier in design then the ROMAK 3 and the ROMAK 3 gets good accuracy in it's stock configuration.

people who have been adding piston gas systems on AR's have not had any problems with accuracy either.

Something you can play with later is the barrel harmonics (adding and/or moving weight on the end of the barrel) to improve accuracy with the SKS.

I think the stock SKS is about a 2 MOA rifle, and with the conversion to 6.5 you should have a 1 MOA rifle with a much flatter trajectory, and far harder hitting.

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Posted: February 07 2008 at 4:43pm | IP Logged Quote blurrededge

After I replied I was also thinking about the predecessor, the SVT-40 (Used to have one, first rifle I ever owned actually). It had a similar gas system, in some ways it's an inside-out version toward the front, and the russians used it as a sniper rifle during the war. Mine had a pretty pitted bore, but I still got average groups of 2 to 2.5" at 100 yards with Wolf Gold* ammo.

Then there's the M-14 / M-1A... we know how accurate those can be.

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Posted: February 07 2008 at 5:06pm | IP Logged Quote weaponeer

On the topic of SKS parts, you might find other parts your looking for here:

http://www.brownells.com

http://www.tickbitesupply.com/sks.html

http://www.tapco.com/catalog.aspx?id=75

http://www.cncwarrior.com/comersus/store/comersus_listItems. asp?idCategory=55

Also check this blog on the SKS

http://www.yugosks.blogspot.com/

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Posted: February 07 2008 at 5:25pm | IP Logged Quote weaponeer

On the subject of barrels..

The Yugo came with a 20.36 inch barrel.

With the Grendel you have several choices...  Most Grendel AR's are built as 16 inch Carbines. (you lose around 15 FPS per inch of barrel) and those M4 style rifles are very accurate (just not a good choice for 500+ yards). Some of the guys are going with 18 inch barrels in AR's to retain a little more velocity for longer ranges (600+).

Depending on the range you are looking at shooting the most, you may be able to go with a shorter barrel length for the SKS (16 to 18 inches). The result would be a shorter overall length SKS (a very good thing as it's a pretty long rifle to start with at over 40 inches long) so you could very well end up with a Tanker Style SKS with a LOT more bite.

The barrel itself:

You can build your own barrel and cut the chamber..  etc...

I do recommend calling http://www.saternmachining.com/   1-712-362-4991 or e-mail satern@qwestoffice.net and talk to steve. He will make you a one off custom SKS barrel using a CUT RIFLED barrel (the best around) that will fit your application perfectly (he would need you to send him your old barrel as a pattern) It's by far not the cheapest route, but when you consider  buying the barrel blank, buying the chamber reamers, contouring the barrel, getting the threading right (as well as any additional tools you may need), you might find that his prices are not all that bad at all, plus you have the choice of Stainless, or standard steels.

Just something to consider...

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Posted: February 07 2008 at 11:12pm | IP Logged Quote blurrededge

Most of those sites, I already have in my favorites. The funny part about that last blog is, I know exactly where that range he shoots at is. It's not far from my house. Small world.

Read about Satern's barrels earlier this week. I'm gonna have to be skimpy on this one, mostly due to a lack of sufficient funds, and just in case I screw it up, I won't be out that much $$.

I was actually planning on looking at what barrel lengths would be good for what I'm doing. I have an SKS-M with a 16.5" barrel and it's pretty handy; only about an inch or two longer than an AK-47, the same distance between the front of the trigger guard and the back of the magazine.

Here's a question: what do you surmise the consequences would be of moving the gas port forward on the barrel, and extending the gas pistol and tube to match it?

Edited by blurrededge
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Posted: February 07 2008 at 11:26pm | IP Logged Quote weaponeer

blurrededge wrote:
Most of those sites, I already have in my favorites. The funny part about that last blog is, I know exactly where that range he shoots at is. It's not far from my house. Small world.

Read about Satern's barrels earlier this week. I'm gonna have to be skimpy on this one, mostly due to a lack of sufficient funds, and just in case I screw it up, I won't be out that much $$.

I was actually planning on looking at what barrel lengths would be good for what I'm doing. I have an SKS-M with a 16.5" barrel and it's pretty handy; only about an inch or two longer than an AK-47, the same distance between the front of the trigger guard and the back of the magazine.

Here's a question: what do you surmise the consequences would be of moving the gas port forward on the barrel, and extending the gas pistol and tube to match it?

I don't see any benefit in moving or changing the gas system on the SKS, but it would change the barrel harmonics (maybe in a bad way)

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Posted: February 07 2008 at 11:55pm | IP Logged Quote blurrededge

I always think about it more after I post. It'd be more of a pain and unnecessary extra work, and if I did end up going 16.5", it'd be pretty close to the muzzle as it is.

THIS is what happens when I get bored:

Phase 1, 2, and 3 respectively (so much easier in paint than real life) with what will most likely NOT be the final barrel length. It even looks too long on the bullpup. And for whatever reason I made them all have albanian style stocks (I think it's just more aesthetic). No idea what I'll do for sights. I have a side mount scope mount I'd use for optics, but I always like to have iron sights. I'll tackle that when I get to it.

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Posted: February 21 2008 at 9:43pm | IP Logged Quote blurrededge

Barrel and 1 box of Wolf ammo are in the mail. Threading die came earlier this week. Once I've got everything together, I'll call Reamer Rentals and get the rougher, finisher, and go / no-go guages sent out. Hopefully next weekend will work out for this.
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Posted: February 21 2008 at 10:15pm | IP Logged Quote weaponeer

great news
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Posted: February 22 2008 at 12:38am | IP Logged Quote janikphoto

I love the sks, so I'm excited to see your finished product!!!
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Posted: February 26 2008 at 2:09am | IP Logged Quote blurrededge

got the barrel and ammo from midway today. Just opened them up (it's 2am here), had to remove the oil pan from my vehicle and weld up a crack so it wasn't pissing oil all over the road and driveway. Fun.

Anywayz, for those who don't know much about the 6.5G, here's a comparison next to 7.62x39.

A standard ak-47 or SKS magazine is just too short for the round to fit.



I'll keep any loyal readers posted on the progress, when there is any.

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Posted: February 26 2008 at 2:30am | IP Logged Quote weaponeer

Your making more progress than I am and I'm just building 2 AR's...  I'm still waiting for 2 barrels, an upper receiver, magazines and a few other things...

I have not even considered getting ammo yet... 

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