The Kalashnikov rifle is assembled with tight dimensional control of many items. The barrel and its associated parts are assembled with interference fits and exacting alignment. The headspacing of this rifle is a very exacting operation.

“When a man’s only tool is a hammer – everything looks like a nail!”

Well, ain’t that the unfortunate truth? It breaks my heart to see costly rifle parts abused due to poor fits and poor tools and techniques for disassembly and assembly.

There is much speculation and blabber from internet know-it-all’s regarding the proper interference fits for these parts. What I will show below is information lifted from original Izhevsk blueprints, so, let’s look at the block and journal tolerance classes of a Soviet era AKM rifle:

Front Sight Block Bore                                       Front Sight Block Journal
0. 14,465mm-14,480mm                                   0. 14,485mm-14,505mm
I. 14,500mm-14,515mm                                    I. 14,520mm-14,540mm
II. 14,515mm-14,525mm                                   II. 14,540mm-14,555mm
III. 14,580mm-14,600mm                                III. 14,605mm-14,620mm

Gas Block Bore                                                     Gas Block Journal
0. 14,965mm-14,980mm                                    0. 14,985mm-15,005mm
I. 15,000mm-15,015mm                                     I. 15,020mm-15,040mm
II. 15,015mm-15,025mm                                   II. 15,040mm-15,055mm
III. 15,080mm-15,100mm                                 III. 15,105mm-15,120mm

Rear Sight Block Bore                                           Rear Sight Journal
I. 17,500mm-17,525mm                                      I. 17,530mm-17,555mm
II. 17,525mm-17,545mm                                     II. 17,555mm-17,575mm
III. 17,585mm-17,605mm                                   III. 17,615mm-17,635mm

Breech Block Bore                                                 Breech Block Journal
I. 22,980mm-23,000mm                                     I. 23,025mm-23,045mm
II. 23,000mm-23,020mm                                   II. 23,045mm-23,070mm
III. 23,065mm-23,085mm                                  III. 23,110mm-23,130mm

Note! Some Countries have as many as four (04) tolerance classes and not all agree on the values of each class. Suffice it to say that Tolerance Group II is the most prevalent class.

So; from the data presented above we can deduce that the proper values for the interference fits are:
Front Sight Block: 0,005mm (0.0002”) – 0,040mm (0.0016”) interference.
Gas Block: 0,005mm (0.0002”) – 0,040mm (0.0016”) interference.
Rear Sight Block: 0.030mm (0.0012”) – 0.055mm (0.0022”) interference.
Breech Block: 0.025mm (0.0010”) – 0.065mm (0.0026”) interference.

You cannot make measurements at this level of precision with a cheap Chinese digital caliper or even an expensive Swiss digital caliper. This level of precision requires the careful use of a micrometer and at the very least a telescoping gauge or a dial bore gauge. Blocks are often stressed from demil operations and can be a bit out-of-round so many internal readings at different points must be taken sometimes.

When fitting these parts my suggestion is to aim for the middle of the interference fit value if possible.

Working on a RPK, AK74 or Krinkov? Just apply the same fits to the particular areas of those rifle assemblies.