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Friday, December 28, 2012

Weapons Upgrade

     I must confess that in light of the Sandy Hook shootings, I had a bit of gun fever. Not because of fear of criminals with fire arms, but because rifle costs would go through the roof. For many years I have wanted an AR-15 but the $1000 price tag has always been a major deterrent. Instead, well over 10 years ago, I bought a Saiga Arms .308 (7.62x51). It was a basic AK-47 style 8 round capacity semi automatic rifle with a 4x32 scope for $300 and tax.
     While I was living in Washington and Colorado the most use it got was target practice. It's powerful and fun to watch the shockwave come off the muzzle when a friend shoots it in the prone position.

     Now I live in Texas and this year I have taken this rifle white tail deer hunting. I put down my second deer with this rifle, an 11 point buck on my father-in-law's property. (On a side note, everyone wants to hunt on his property now!) Now, part of the AR-15 fever is not only about the gun law revision that may or may not happen in the near future in this country, it's about the rifle accessories you can put on an AR-15. Illuminators, laser targeting, night vision, bipod, etc. I could not do that with this gun, and two years after I bought my Saiga rifle, Saiga Arms was bought out by Remington.

     I had heard that there are companies that still made aftermarket parts for the Saiga .308 so I checked a few websites. Initially I didn't understand what I was looking at or what some of the terms on the websites meant, so I wasn't encouraged by some of the $300 price tags I saw. I decided to go look into gun forums and found the exact names for the parts I was looking for. I went back and entered those names and what a difference! $55 for a pistol grip buttstock and $65 for a hand grip that takes rail mountings!

     The process of changing the hand grip and butt stock was interesting. All the butt stock instructions say about removing the old stock is "remove the old stock". It didn't tell you about a hidden screw under the spring latch cover! Luckily I didn't man handle the rifle but instead ran to the internet to get an answer. I removed the hidden screw and after sanding down one screw a little, I got the stock changed and tight.

     On to the hand grip. One of the screws needed to be sanded down a bit. Be forewarned, it didn't come with any allen wrenches so if you do this conversion, make sure you have a good set of hex wrenches. This is the gun with both pieces on it.

Looks great! Now to show what it will look like fully ready.
     Looks like Vera is all dressed up! What date will she go out on? Pig hunting! In areas where hogs are a nuisance, such as Texas, Alabama, Georgia, etc., you can hunt pigs all year around. With the illuminator on this rifle it will help with my night hunting and the laser helps with accuracy. Bacon and sausage coming up!

   The love of the Lord Jesus be with you this next year, and God bless!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Nothing new under the sun...

     It looks original, but it's already been done. Live a joyful life for God and His Son Jesus Christ. Because there's nothing new under the sun; what seems new has already been done.

     The extended footpegs on my wife's Kawasaki 1600 Vulcan need to be improved. My wife is tall and when we ride together, with the stock footpegs on it, my wife's knees were almost up in my ribs and in severe pain after a full day of riding. Awhile back I "engineered" footpeg extensions that go out over the large pipes on the motorcycle and extend forward about 6 inches. Anyways, it's finagle time, and I know just the finagler to do it!

    I purchased a welder early last year and haven't had any relevant projects to use it on until now. This is a task that has been on the back burner for some time, and with our schedule clearing up a bit, now is the time to work on it.

     This is the footpeg that is getting reworked:
Someone needs to wash those pipes...
     The main problem with them is that they should always have about a 30 degree forward slant. No matter how much I tighten the main bolt, the footpeg pivots at either the peg to cycle mount point or at the other end where the square tube drops down from the round tube. In order to ensure there is no pivoting at the outer point, I will weld a six inch steel square tube to the round steel tube. Additionally, to stop pivoting at the mounting point, I will weld a small plate onto the end of the round tube that is rectangular and fits into the indentation of the mounting bracket. Easy enough!

     Only not, because I will tell you about all the surprises I get hit by as I do this project.

     To start, I cut my square tube and the plates to cap it and the plate to fill in the mounting indentation:
     This is before welding. Keep this in mind: of all the machining and fabrication I have done to date, welding is the one trade I have done the least. Even though I read the manual to be sure it was as simple as it seemed, using a machine that generates enough electricity to fuse metal is nerve wracking. It also means my welds will be terrible until I learn my welder.

     Here are the first pieces together:
     Those are some UGLY welds, but the parts definitely came together well. A good grinder, sander, and painting will hide all that, though. You'll see!

     I checked this part against the motorcycle mount:
     Clears the pipes well enough! I also designed it to have that 1 inch rise on the upper square tube so that the passenger's foot is less likely to slide off the upper peg. I now have a permanent forward angle and the mounting indentation is filled out with the square plate to stop swinging from that point.

     Now to the footpeg going onto the extender:
     Well this isn't good. The bolt didn't reach through the square tube! I just hit a major snag and even though I quickly engineered an answer, my one day project is now a two day job. To solve this, I would have to cut and drill out the bolt and install a new one. I would also have to tack weld it to imitate the original bolt design. Here's what it looked like:
     I ended up sanding down the bolt head so that the pivoting action of the footpeg wouldn't be blocked. It worked great!

     Almost done! One last task to make these footpegs look amazing. Paint! Gotta cover those awful welds, after all.
     I am aware of the holes in one of them, I will probably hide them behind some grip tape. They look much better and those ugly welds are no longer noticable.

     Onto the motorcycle they go. This is how one looks:
Pipes still need cleaning...
     A major improvement!

     My joy is in this work, even if it is improving what was there. What I experienced is this...
     "It is the gift of God whenever anyone eats, drinks, and enjoys all his efforts. I know that all God does will last forever; there is no adding to it or taking from it. God works so that people will be in awe of Him. Whatever is, has already been, and whatever will be, already is. God repeats what has passed." [Eccl. 3:13-15, HCSB]

     Live a joyful life for God and His Son Jesus Christ. Because there's nothing new under the sun; what seems new has already been done.