Bacon, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives

Things I love

While I agree with the goal,

the facts aren’t there. While it is true that many types of firearms can’t be readily converted to reliable full auto, two of the more common – the AR15 platform and the AK47 platform – can be converted with this highly regulated tool:


Right, a $100 drill press. I’ll allow that finding the exact location and size of the single hole you need to drill in each to facilitate the conversion will take a few seconds of googling. I’m also obscuring that you must have a vise and the proper size drill bit. Oh, but you say, you have to have the parts to install and know how to install them; the parts for an ar15 were about $150 pre-Obama (I haven’t priced an LPK, sear, and bolt carrier recently). The parts for an AK47 were free for about a decade; every AK47 parts kit ordered from any reputable vendor came with everything, including the full auto fire control parts. The first step for the homebuilder of an AK-pattern weapon was to toss that jailbait in the trash.

Robb is leading the charge; Tam picked it up today. While it’s true that the conversion isn’t interesting (Robb covers why), in these two cases, it isn’t hard. It doesn’t require a machine shop. To do it legally requires the paying of a lot of fees (FFL, SOT, ITAR); to do it on a small scale, illegally, does not. The conversions are neither difficult nor requiring ultra-precise machine work.

This also sets aside that both platforms have a well-known, no-machining work-around. The AR15 supports the lightning link, the exact dimensions of which are easy to find; the AK47 supports that U-shaped thing without a real name, AFAIK. Neither of these options require modification of the host firearm.

Again, I agree the drumbeat of “OMG FULL AUTO” in the media is idiotic. I also agree that, by definition, any firearm a non-stamp-buying member of the general public may purchase is not readily convertible; the ATFE has decreed it to be so, therefore it is.

Written by Ry Jones

31 March 2009 at 7:51

5 Responses

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  1. It was my understanding that the lightning link generally required milling, especially with post ban receivers as well as a different BCG.

    AK-47’s are not something I’m familiar with in their semi-auto incarnations, so the U-thing (is that related to the Thing That Goes Up?) is a mystery to me.

    However, I will amend my post to include yours since I’m more concerned about the truth than being ‘right’.

    Robb Allen

    31 March 2009 at 8:19

  2. Here’s one of the pages I was reading about this – Talked a lot about the need to mill this and that and that he screwed up others trying to do it.

    But, alas, it can be done with just a bit of skill and a Craftsman tool, so I am wrong in that assessment.

    Robb Allen

    31 March 2009 at 8:29

  3. LL: Yes. For a given value of “full auto”. (I’d refrain from getting my face too close to the gun, even though Eugene designed it to not fire out of battery. At least very much…)

    Actual M16A1 or A2 fire control group: That takes more than just drilling a hole for the auto sear. There’s a small amount of milling that needs doing on most commercial AR lowers, as well.

    Can’t speak for any AK’s as I’ve never seen any converted, but we did have some post- sample AR’s that we had converted…


    31 March 2009 at 8:32

  4. You’re right, on some rifles you have to shave the shelf a little. However, modern Bushmaster & DPMS lowers, at least, don’t require it. I’ve heard some Oly lowers do and some don’t.

    As far as RLL conversions go, the ones I’ve seen either ran or didn’t. There is a kit you can get to get an RLL to do safe, semi, 3 round burst; Quarterbore sells (or sold) it.

    Ry Jones

    31 March 2009 at 8:52

  5. Funny enough, I actually have that same drill press.

    Chris Byrne

    31 March 2009 at 17:25

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