Tips & Tricks
Side Rail Installation Tutorial
Side Rail Install – Step 1
After removing the dust cover and the axis pin’s shephards crook retaining wire, remove tension from the hammer spring to facilitate axis pin removal (and to avoid hammer spring “bite” to your hand). This is best done by pulling up the two wings of the braided wire hammer spring and securing the wings behind the hammer head with a bread wrapper twist tie.
Side Rail Install – Step 2
My recommendation of how to place the AK Master Mount™ side rail: Use a small punch or long nail to follow your factory axis pins out of the receiver from right to left. This keeps your trigger and hammer assemblies in place so you don’t have to fight the springs.
Then place the female end of my long bolts over the tip of the punch / nail and follow it back thru the receiver from left to right. Once again this keeps the hammer and trigger assemblies in place. Align the octagon head of my proprietary bolt in the corresponding cut-out in my rail and secure the bolt loosely with my short screw. Do one pin at a time.
The “Sweet Spot”
The AK Master Mount ™ side rail is held to the AK receiver wall by side compression. The underside of the two Allen head screws must compress firmly against the right outside receiver wall in order to have the adequate compression needed to keep the side rail tight against the left receiver wall.
So if you are experiencing slight movement of the side rail after installation, remove the Allen head screw from each hex pin to ensure the end of that pin is not flush with the outside receiver wall. Because the receiver walls actually flex inward during tightening of the Allen head screws, you want the shaft end of the hex head pins inset into the right receiver wall. Remember we are working with an AK, so there can be variations in receiver width.
The quickest way to check if pin length is the issue for your side rail’s movement is to add a couple of washers underneath the Allen head screw before installation. Just make sure the center hole in the washer is bigger than the hex pin shaft’s diameter.
This in effect simulates a wider receiver and ensures the underside of the Allen head screw is actually compressing against the outside receiver wall and not just “bottoming out” on the shaft end of the hex pin. Once this diagnosis is confirmed, remove the washers and use a metal file to remove some metal material from the shaft end of the hex pin. Do not worry about removing too much.
Optic Mount Choice
Our side rail dimensionally is the “standard AK pattern side rail. Thus it must be paired with an optic mount designed for the standard AK side rail, like our AKM version optic mounts. Optic mounts designed for the Yugo pattern side rail will NOT fit our side rail.
AK with an underfolder stock
Any side rail can be problematic for an underfolder AK as the underfolding stock may hit the side rail when the stock is folded. The inside of the folder arm is usually notched (like is done to clear the safety lever) to allow it to fully clear the side rail.
Regardless of that, the optic mount will definitely have to be removed from the side rail in order for the stock to fold up. This is true for any brand of side rail.
Optic Mount Installation Tutorial
Accessory Side Rail Installation Tutorial
Troubleshooting Fitting Issues – Possibility 1
Unfortunately many AK builders get a little sloppy in their manufacturing tolerances. If optic mount handle closing resistance is felt, or there is still slight optic mount left to right wiggle despite a hard to close handle, there may be interference on the rounded back portion of our handle. Background: Our optic mount is the only one on the market where the back of the handle physically rotates into the side rail’s central cut-out in order to “lock” our optic mount into the side rail. Possible points of interference: (1) the side rail’s central rivet head not flush with the floor of the side rail’s central cut-out. (2) the side rail’s central cut-out slightly off center. Both of these scenarios will interfere with the back of our handle properly rotating into the side rail’s central cut-out. Clues: look for finish wear on the lower, rounded back protrusion of our handle. See attached picture for an example of this. Treatment: use a dremmel / metal file to remove a small amount of material on the back of our handle exactly where the finish wear is seen OR from the top of the central rivet head if this is too tall. This will provide the needed clearance for the back of our handle to full close properly.
If the side rail’s central cut-out is slightly off center, the rounded back of our handle can hit the vertical edge of the side rail’s central cut-out and cause handle closing difficulty and / or push our optic mount up and away from the side rail. Clues: look for finish wear on the lower rounded back protrusion of our handle, or finish wear on the side rail’s front surface. See the attached picture for an example of this. Treatment: use a dremmel / metal file to remove a small amount of material on the back of our handle exactly where the finish wear is seen. This will provide the needed clearance for the back of our handle to fully close properly.
The side rail’s rear rivet head protrudes above the base plate of the side rail and hits the back end of our optic mount when sliding onto the side rail. This scenario results in resistance being felt when the optic mount is slid 1/3 of the way onto the side rail. The end user misinterprets the resistance to the clamp bar being raised too high. Clues: look for finish wear on the top of the rear rivet head OR a small “ding” at the end of the dovetail cut-out channel on the back of our optic mount. See attached picture for an example of this. Treatment: use a dremmel / metal file to remove a small amount of material from the rear rivet head OR to make a shallow scalloped shaped recess at the end of our optic mount’s dovetail cut-out channel. Just make sure to leave enough metal present to make contact with the end of the side rail when the optic mount is installed.