AK Bolton Gas Block Installation

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Replacing the front sight, brake and gas block with a Bolton gas block and Wolverine flash hider gives this rifle a unique look and faster handling.

 

Venom Tactical’s Bolton Gas Block provides the AK shooter with a quicker handling rifle by moving the front sight back to the gas block area and allows the user to remove the separate front sight assembly.  In use by the Rifle Dynamics, the country’s premiere AK builder, the Bolton Block has been thoroughly vetted.  UPDATE: You can read our review of the Bolton Gas Block here.

We decided to install a Bolton Gas Block on our Arsenal converted Saiga SGL-41 rifle.  Since we were removing our front sight block that secured our AK74 style compensator, we decided to thread the barrel and install a flash hider as well.

In addition to the Bolton Gas Block and Wolverine flash hider provided by Venom Tactical, Brownells provided us with the tools we needed to install the new block on our rifle.

The following documents our build and is provided for information purposes only.  Have a professional gunsmith familiar with this platform check your work.

The Bolton gas block and Wolverine flash hider.

The Bolton gas block and Wolverine flash hider.  The gas block (left) combines the gas block and front assmebly into one unit. The block will work with either 45 or 90 degree gas ports.  The Wolverine flash hider is available with either 1/2-28 or 14x1mm LH threads.

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Here is our rifle before we begin working on it.  This is a 7.62×39 equipped with an AK74 style brake.

The barrel press kit.  This includes the tools you need to remove and install the barrel.  The two bars (bottom) are used to support the barrel or receiver when pressing, the aluminum block (left) is used to support the side of the receiver when working with the barrel pin, the barrel pin pusher (top center) is used to remove and replace the barrel pin, and the bolt with brass washer (left) is used to drive the barrel out of the trunnion.

The barrel press kit. This includes the tools you need to remove and install the barrel. The two bars (bottom) are used to support the barrel or receiver when pressing, the aluminum block (left) is used to support the side of the receiver when working with the barrel pin, the barrel pin pusher (top center) is used to remove and replace the barrel pin, and the bolt with brass washer (left) is used to drive the barrel out of the trunnion.

This is an adapter we turned to mount the barrel pin tool to our press.  Its aluminum construction all provides a softer, no marring face to the ram if we remove the barrel pin tool.

This is an adapter we turned to mount the barrel pin tool to our press. Its aluminum construction provides a soft, non- marring face to the ram if we remove the barrel pin tool.

This is our 20 ton shop press, an essential tool for working on AKs.

This is our 20 ton shop press, an essential tool for working on AKs.

We began by clearing our rifle and completely disassembling it.  First, we need to remove the barrel.

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Included in our barrel press kit is this block which supports the rifle so the barrel pin can be removed and reinstalled.

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Mounting this tool to the ram on the press, we can drive the barrel pin out.  The kit includes three different length pins.  Starting with the short pin, we drive the barrel pin out of the receiver.

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Since the receiver is in place, we use steel blocks as a fulcrum and lever to push down on the bolt provided in the kit to remove the barrel from the receiver.

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Here is our barrel removed from the receiver   We need to remove the gas block and the front sight assembly.

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We use a starter punch and bench block to remove the pins.

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Using the bars provided in our kit, we support the front sight and drive the barrel with the ram on our shop press.

 

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We support the gas block with the bars included in the barrel press kit and drive the barrel down with our press, removing the gas block.

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Decision time: how to address the muzzle on this rifle?  Notice the cut and dimples on the barrel that will be exposed.  We discussed the possibility of attaching a long muzzle device and welding or silver soldering in place and eventually decided to keep the barrel at its full length for now and thread the muzzle 1/2″-28 to attach the Wolverine flash hider. 

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Since we weren’t cutting and then crowning the barrel, we decided against removing the rear sight base from the barrel. Since the rear sight base was still installed, we turned the barrel down in-between centers on our 4003G lathe.

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We install our threading cutter in the lathe and square it up with our center gauge.  We could have also threaded the muzzle with a die once it was turned down.

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We always take the time to make sure our lathe is cutting the correct pitch.

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Notice the brass, Crown Saver center cover in-between the barrel and the live center.  This prevents the crown from being damaged.

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This is how we held the receiver to reinsert the barrel into the receiver. The block included in the barrel press kit contacts the inside of the trunnion in 3 places.

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We made this aluminum adapter to secure the barrel pin tool to our press.  Here it is serving double duty, seating our barrel.  The aluminum will prevent barrel damage.  Some use pennies or brass nuts.

With our barrel pin tool and plate in place, we press our barrel pin back in.

With our barrel pin tool and plate in place, we press our barrel pin back in.

We use a Magna-Tip adjustable torque handle to torque the cross screws 18 inch pounds.

We use a Magna-Tip adjustable torque handle to torque the cross screws 18 inch pounds.

The front sight is attached to the captured screw along one edge.  Rotating the sight adjusts for windage.

The front sight is attached to the captured screw along one edge. Rotating the sight adjusts for windage.

Bolton gas block, side view.  The two screws shown pinch the barrel to secure the assembly.  The roll pin at the top secures the front sight assembly.

Bolton gas block, side view. The two screws shown pinch the barrel to secure the assembly. The roll pin at the top secures the front sight assembly.

These are the parts we stripped off the barrel and replaced with the Bolton gas block.  The original gas block (top left), front sight (top right) and the 74 style brake (bottom)

These are the parts we stripped off of the barrel and replaced with the Bolton gas block. The original gas block (top left), front sight (top right) and the 74 style brake (bottom)

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Bolton gas block and Wolverine flash hider installed, this is one slick rifle.

 

We found our rifle handled much faster with the Bolton Gas Block in place.  Removing weight from the front of the rifle noticeably changed the handling characteristics. The sight picture, with the AKARS BUIS, was fast and uncluttered. The sights were basically the same width, with the factory front sight .073″ and the Bolton .074″. We will be posting a full review of the Bolton Gas Block and Wolverine flash hider once we get it out to the range.

We plan on refinishing the rifle at a later date once we decide how to address the dimples in the barrel.  We are considering filling them with welds or cutting, crowning and welding a flash hider into place to make legal length.

To purchase a Bolton Gas Block or Wolverine flash hider, check out Venom Tactical.  For the rest of your gunsmithing needs, check out Brownells.