by Rob Kay
It’s not exactly news that since the sanctions on imported Russian rifles became law, Saigas and VEPRs have been selling like hotcakes. The inventory of Russian AK variants may be diminished but this has created a boom for third party parts manufacturers who cater to one thing: providing components needed to convert a “sporterized” rifle into a more traditional, tactical looking AK. While there are no numbers or stats I’m aware of that track the how many “sporterized” rifles are transformed into “black rifles”. I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of purchasers want to make the transition.
Let’s face it, VEPRs are not generally purchased to hunt deer.
If you’re been lucky enough to own a VEPR you’ll find it’s very easy to convert.
In fact, it’s much easier to convert a VEPR than a Saiga because with the latter, you’ll need to move the trigger group which usually necessitates the services of a gunsmith. There are numerous YouTube videos out there on how to move a trigger group but this is pretty much a non-starter for the average person.
With a VEPR this job has been done for you at the factory.
Thus, the trigger group is exactly where it should be.
All you need to do is remove the walnut stock. To do this, simply remove the dust cover and the recoil spring assembly so that you have access to the tang. Then take out the two screws that hold down the tang. There’s one more item, a grip screw under the keyhole grip, that needs to be removed. After that, the stock is easily detached.
Before you add your new stock, there’s one more step to take…
You’re going to need an Adapter for the new Butt (Stock)
Now that you’ve removed the sporterized wooden stock, the first thing you’re going to need is an adapter that fits onto the slanted rear of the VEPR receiver.
The adapter will allow you to add the butt stock of choice—whether it be “fixed collapsible”, a “collapsible folder” or even a traditional Warsaw-style wooden or polymer stock.
Enter Marc Krebs
Marc Krebs, founder of Krebs Custom, is synonymous with some of the best AK builds on the market.
He was one of the earliest gunsmiths to customize the VEPR and his newest creation, the Krebs Custom KV 13, is built on a VEPR platform. (If there’s interest in Krebs’ work on the VEPR check out this interview we did with him in May).
Krebs Custom VEPR adapters, which are machined from anodized 6061 aluminum, come in two flavors. One fits flush with the end of the receiver. Honestly, this looks cleaner but in order to add it you must cut off the end of the tang.
The second, or “standard” version does not require removal of the tang.
The difference between the two? Purely aesthetic. Krebs uses the flush-fit version for his super cool KV 13, pictured above. Fit and finish on both are excellent–it’s just a matter of determining your needs.
We opted for the adapter that does not entail removing the tang. Call me a wimp but I get nervous when I start sawing off parts as integral as the tang.
Adding the adapter is pretty easy.
After removing the stock assembly simply pop it in the back end of the receiver. It may take prodding from a rubber mallet to get it in place because of the narrow slot atop the adapter that the tang must slip into. Then just screw in the Phillips head screws that Mr. Krebs provides, add the pistol grip and you’re in business.
On the back end of the adapter are three sets of threaded holes which allow you to add either a folding mechanism (aka a “folder”) for a collapsible M4 type stock or, a so-called “pignose” adapter.
The three sets of holes allow you to place your folder or your “pignose” to the desired, ergonomically correct height.
If you’re interested in getting a pignose adapter for a fixed collapasible stock, check out DPH Arms, which also has flush-fitting VEPR adapters. DPH is another example of a one man company catering mostly to AK aficionados. The owner, Scott Gulledge, machines a few of the parts, such as the VEPR receiver blocks and other related gear.
The best thing about the Krebs system is that it’s flexible. If you have a fixed collapsible stock and decide you want a folder, no problem…just take off the old one and bolt on the new.
This set up is plenty strong.
Stay tuned for more stories on converting a VEPR featuring products from Krebs and other vendors.
Photos courtesy of On Target Staff.
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