In my younger days…I had a few AK variants I wanted threaded. These import rifles had been neutered in all the usual ways including non-threaded muzzles to remove their “evil” nature. In an effort to restore some manhood to these rifles, I began my search for ways to thread the muzzles. I had limited experience or tools at the time and the DIY thread guide/ alignment tool caught my eye.
After obtaining aforementioned thread guide, die, and die handle, I checked the rifle to be sure it was unloaded, removed the bolt & carrier and inserted the thread guide in the bore and started the die rotating down to the muzzle. Oh, this was going to be great! I cut the threads as carefully as I could with the setup. All appeared good. I then screwed on a fancy muzzle break. Oh this was cool. My AK was a man again! Off to the range I went. I could hardly wait to try it. I got setup at the range and pulled the trigger. I heard a loud “PING”! That was a new noise…and something kicked up dirt out in front of me.
My muzzle break came to a rest about 75 yds downrange. When I walked downrange, the break was lying in the dirt looking up at me as if to say what the he#@ was that all about? I was lucky. Could have been much worse.
Since that time I always cringe when I see these kits for sale.
Now, before you say “you didn’t start it straight” let me say I have been doing mechanical things all my life and had a fair amount of experience at that point - I was definitely trying to start it straight. Problem is, no matter how careful you are, its nearly impossible to get the threads straight using these DIY kits to the level you need to. I “hear” some guys getting ok results, but that has not been my experience (obviously).
Perhaps one reason for this is the relatively wide variance in bore diameters. I thread a lot of .22’s and 30 cal’s and I can tell you the bore diameters range more than you would think. For a DIY thread guide to “work” it would need to fit snugly in the bore (at least) and that’s just a matter of chance from one bore to the other. any wobble and you’re going to be off.
The other potential problem is when the die passes from the thread guide to the end of the muzzle, there is a “jump” that occurs. Ever put a wood screw through two pieces of wood? Ever notice how the screw can “push” the second piece of wood as it passes from the first before it grabs the second? Same thing can happen with DIY kits as the die leaves the guide and engages the muzzle.
And what about the barrel outside diameter? if its too big, it will have to be reduced to match the desired thread diameter. That has to be done right or the bore and OD will not agree.
Now, let’s say you believe you are smarter (or luckier) than the average bear and you can get one of these kits to work for you. That’s your call. I don’t recommend it, but it’s a free country. Please do something I failed to do when I learned my potentially very dangerous lesson - check whatever you screwed on the to see if it’s straight before you fire it. If you don’t know how, get some help from a gunsmith.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, “of course barrelthreading.com is going to discourage any DIY stuff” Partially true, but not for the reasons you may think. We are already competitively priced, but if $10 off the normal price will persuade you to let a pro do it, just mention this blog post. With the average cost of a DIY kit (with die/handle) around $30 bucks, a little over twice that will get it done right.
*you are responsible to seek professional advice before making any modifications to your firearm, or before making any decisions regarding your firearm. Be smart. Get expert advice. This article is therefore for informational purposes only. Always consult a qualified gunsmith in your area regarding any firearm modifications.