Go Back   The AK Files Forums > Vendor Discussion Forums > Arsenal Inc.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 07-27-2004, 08:26 AM   #1
SA M-7
Member
 
AKaholic #: 2143
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 37
Default The Forged & Milled Receiver Advantage

Arsenal Inc is the home of the only standard production milled AK variant ever made in the US under license and specifications of a true former Com Bloc AK manufacturer (Arsenal Co. of Bulgaria). What I speak of are the Arsenal Inc of Nevada SAM series rifles. That being the case, even though I had posted this information on another well known AK website, I also felt it would be appropriate to post it here. In addition, I've also included the advantages of using forged and milled AK fire control groups over other methods of manufacturing the sets:

There has been much discussion on the issue of AK receiver manufacturing methods. When it comes right down to it, as long as a stamped, forged and milled, or milled from barstock receiver is made using the correct quality standards, then any of these methods of manufacture will produce a very good AK receiver.

With that being said, there are advantages attached to a quality forged and milled AK receiver (which is the method Arsenal Inc uses to produce their SAM, SAS, and RPK series milled receivers). The Arsenal Inc milled receiver is made using the same material and specifications as used by the world famous Bulgarian firm, and is even licensed to do so by them.
The forged and milled advantages were expressed to me by a Representative of a "VERY" well respected AK firm. A firm that has made, does make, and will continue to make money by offering "quality" AK's using both the milled and stamped receiver methods. He did not want to have his name exposed (and it won't be). The most probable reason for him not making his statement public, is that it would shed a more favorable light on one method of AK receiver manufacture over another, which would be a bad idea for a company that has, does, or will make both method receiver AK's for the buying public. Making one method sound better than the other may not be good business (since they want to be able to sell both types). Even so, he was honest enough to give me the most important reasons why a milled receiver has some advantages over a stamped one. In blue, here is "EXACTLY" how he put it:

MILLED

General statement: A properly manufactured MILLED receiver is superior in all aspects to a stamped receiver, for the following reasons:

1. Rigidity. It doesn’t get any more rigid than this.
2. Strength. Considerably more tensile, shear, cross stress strength. Milled, forged steel is just plain stronger and more durable than any stamped assembly (regardless of how “thick” the stamping is).
3. Part/action alignment. The part and action alignment is consistent throughout the life cycle of the rifle. Being milled from one piece, there is nothing in the frame to loosen or shift out of alignment.
4. Much more stable platform. Fixed mating surfaces ensure alignment and function.
5. Longer service life. Stronger, more rigid, consistently aligned frame retards part wear and extends service life of action parts.

Disadvantage: Milled receiver AK is heavier than stamped receiver type. This is offset by slightly more controllability and less recoil from heavier weapon.

STAMPED

General statement: STAMPED receiver rifles are less costly to manufacture and thus can be offered for a lower price. Other advantages over MILLED receiver rifles are:

1. Lower weight.
2. Higher production due to reduced manufacturing time.



As one reads the above list, one can pretty much gather that they probably equally apply when comparing the stamped steel receiver to the milled from barstock type. My guess would be that with everything else being equal, the milled from barstock and milled from forgings receivers are more closely comparable to each other. Any differences are probably very miniscule between these two types of receivers.
I would say that a milled from barstock receiver (like those made by the Firing Line) would have the same advantages over the stamped method receiver that the milled from forgings has over them.


We know that most stamped steel AK receivers are manufactured using a 1mm thick stamped steel shell. When foreign countries use the stamped steel method for their machine gun designated AK's (the RPK), they use a heavier guage stamped steel receiver. This is done to add receiver strength to a firearm that will most likely see harder use from more constant firing. For the same reason that the RPK uses a heavier guage receiver (for it's added strength), the Arsenal USA company of Houston Texas (which is not affiliated with the Arsenal Inc of Nevada or Arsenal Co of Bulgaria firms) also decided to go with a heavier guage (1.6mm thick) stamped steel receiver for their new AK series offerings. This decision not only gave them the number one position in the US as having the strongest American made stamped steel receiver, but also puts them in the position to use this heavier and stronger receiver shell in AK's chambered in more powerful calibers without too much worry of whether or not the receiver shell will be able to handle it. Of course if they use these heavier receiver shells for more powerful chamberings than are usually associated with AK's, they will most likely require stronger front and rear trunnions to meet their new caliber needs.

***From the Arsenal USA of Texas website, (their reason on why they decided to go with the thicker 1.6mm stamped steel receiver shell):

"These receivers we feel are superior to any US stamped receiver and have no comparison with any of its type ever offered before in this country.
Our receiver shells are 1.6mm thick. Standard shells offered in the US are only 1.0mm thick. The reason for this is as follows: They are the strongest shells (meaning strongest stamped steel receiver shell), rivaling the strength of the milled type."

In that statement, Arsenal USA is clearly pointing to their 1.6mm thick receiver as being stronger than any of the other thinner stamped steel receivers being offered in the US. While they are very clear and confident about the strength advantages that their new receiver has over other stamped steel competitors, their wording is very careful when they make any comparisons with Milled receivers. Again, they confidently state how they feel that their new receivers are superior to any of the other American made stamped steel receivers, but only go as far as stating that their new receivers rival the milled type.

*Definition of the word(s) rival/rivaling: One who "attempts" to equal or surpass another, or who pursues the same object as another.


***From the Small Arms Review website, (the following is quoted from one of Jeff W. Zimba's articles):

"once you are set up to build stamped receivers it is not unreasonable to have the ability to manufacture hundreds
of units per day. On the opposite end of this spectrum it may take several hours to CNC mill only one receiver"

Of course it's not a new revelation that lower cost and shorter production time are some of the most common reasons known for manufacturers prefering the stamped over milled method. While Mr. Zimba's comparison of stamped vs. milled production time "may" be somewhat exagerated, there is no doubt that the basis of his statement is completely true. The forged and milled receiver method takes longer to produce finished product than using the stamped receiver method.



The information below is more appropriate when comparing the forged and milled receiver to a milled from barstock receiver.


***From the "forgefair dot com" website:
Forging refines the grain structure and develops the optimum grain flow, which imparts desirable directional properties such as tensile strength, ductility, impact toughness, fracture toughness and fatigue strength.


***From the "How Stuff Works" website:
The advantage of forging is that it improves the strength of the metal by aligning and stretching the grain structure. A forged part will normally be stronger than a casting or a machined piece.


***Also from the "How Stuff Works" website:
Q.Why choose a forged instead of a machined component?
A.Forging improves the grain flow of metal and therefore a forged component will always be stronger than a machined one. Machining is inherently destructive to the integrity of the metal.


***From the "Queen City Forging" website:
Machined bar and plate may be more susceptible to fatigue and stress corrosion because machining cuts material grain pattern. In most cases, forging yields a grain structure oriented to the part shape, resulting in optimum strength, ductility and resistance to impact and fatigue.


***From the "SniperCountry dot com" website:
Concerning forged vs. billet machined vs. cast;
if all else is equal (steel alloy choice, alloy purity,
reciever dimensions, heat treatment, etc) then forging,
if done right, has a strength and possibly a stiffness
advantage.


"Most" folks that end up building their own semi auto AK (or that have one built up by a custom gunsmith), will end up having a stamped receiver gun. "Most" folks that go out and buy an off the rack standard production post ban AK, will also likely end up with a more commonly found stamped receiver AK specimen.
The more common ownership of stamped steel AK's is probably one of the main reasons for us seeing so many folks coming in to express what they feel to be the ultimate merits of a stamped steel receiver, while literally trying to make the forged and milled variant's look totally obsolete and inferior. For similar reasons one can probably understand why some AK manufacturing countries promote their stamped method versions as being the best available in all regards, since most countries no longer produce the heavier and more expensive milled AK's. It sounds like the reasonable thing to do, to promote the only method AK one currently produces, which happens to be the lighter less expensive to manufacture stamped steel variants.

When the full truth is exposed, one can see that the biggest advantage of a stamped steel AK receiver still remains it's lower weight and time/cost savings during manufacture.

Photo showing a raw AK receiver forging (bottom), and a completely milled out AK receiver forging (top):



Here is a photo of an Arsenal Co of Bulgaria forged and milled AK receiver. The material & specifications used in Bulgaria to manufacture these receivers, are the same material & specifications used by Arsenal Inc of Nevada to manufacture their's:

Notice the receiver's light gray color?..... That is a phosphate finish that is not only found under the black paint of an Arsenal Co of Bulgaria rifle, but also found under the black painted finish of the Arsenal Inc of Nevada guns.


This photo shows a Bulgarian forged and milled receiver with it's lower buttstock tang & two rivets before installation:






So if someone tries to ridicule you for choosing a milled receiver AK variant, hold your head up high, you have nothing to be ashamed of


On a related note, forged and milled semi auto fire control groups are usually found in such guns as the Bulgarian milled receiver SLR-95, SLR-95MB, SA-93, some SLR-101's, etc, and in the American made Arsenal Inc milled receiver SAM, SAS, and RPK series.
Just as forged and milled method AK receivers are considered to be the best, so too are forged and milled AK fire control components (when compared to other popular methods of making FCG's). Here in blue lettering is the way an Arsenal Inc Representative (Arsenal-DPC) put it:

"There are several methods to fabricating steel parts for high impact applications. They are (in descending order of quality):

1-Milled Forgings (the method used by Arsenal Inc): A heated billet is forced under pressure into the general shape of the end product, resulting in maximum density with multidirectional “grain” or elongation of the crystalline structure, conforming to the contours of the part. The part is then precision CNC machined into the finished product. Finally, the part is heat treated to exact specification, which further strengthens the part. The end result, although expensive to manufacture, results in the strongest and most precise part available with today’s technology.

2-Milled from a solid billet: Although considerably less costly, this process is inferior to milled forgings as the grain, is directional (flowing in one direction or plane); therefore the part has a weaker structural integrity.

3-Casting: Although, for reasons of economy, this method is widely used, it does not offer the strength of parts milled from forgings or the precision of CNC machining

4-MIM (metal injection molding): For reasons of economy this method is also widely used. Again, it does not offer the strength of parts milled from forgings or the precision of CNC machining"



A photo showing semi auto AK fire control components in their raw forged form, right next to forged components that have been milled to final specifications (A-Trigger B-Disconnector C-Hammer):




So there you have it, the forged and milled advantage. Just another reason why the Arsenal Inc SAM series is the best value AK on the market
SA M-7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2004, 08:23 PM   #2
patm41
Member
 
AKaholic #: 1909
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: texas
Posts: 281
Default

Besides The Firing Line ,, who offers a Milled reciever
for a kit i want to build ???
patm41 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2004, 09:05 PM   #3
mbakercad
Senior Member
 
mbakercad's Avatar
 
AKaholic #: 1819
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: WV
Posts: 590
Default

SA M7,
Wow, that is one heckuva post! Lots of info there.

patm41,
Perhaps Ohio Rapid Fire? I know they are working on an AK74 milled receiver, I can only assume they will be, or already are, making a 47 receiver also.
mbakercad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2004, 08:16 AM   #4
SA M-7
Member
 
AKaholic #: 2143
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 37
Default

Thanks mbakercad

Ohio Rapid Fire started offering a milled from barstock Galil based receiver, and now they seem to be ready to dive into other milled receiver projects. They build all sorts of different parts kit guns, including semi auto AK's & semi auto versions of the .30 caliber BMG. The brand of AKM receiver they have been using thus far has been the Ohio Ordnance ITM stamped steel receivers. They now seem to be expanding into the milled AK receiver area, but they have said that because the Firing Line already produces 7.62x39 milled receivers, that for now they will concentrate on offering a milled receiver for the AK-74's, and not for the AK-47. That status could change, but Ohio Rapid Fire's current plan is to offer the AK-74 receiver first (which the Firing Line has already been making a variant of as well).

I'm sure that the Ohio Rapid Fire firm milled from barstock AK receivers will be of good quality, but my leanings would be towards the already proven milled from barstock AK receivers that are offered by the Firing Line. Again, the Firing Line has already had 5 years experience in offering milled AK receivers, and their reputation has been very solid indeed. An ad for the Firing Line receivers has been a regular staple in the Shotgun News publication for years now.

Both Ohio Rapid Fire and the Firing Line firms are using the milled from barstock method to produce their products. They are both using reverse engineering and in house design to come up with their product specifications.

The only US made AK receiver that is manufactured using the forged & milled method, and that follows the actual specifications of a true former Com Bloc AK builder (using no reverse engineering at all), are the SAM series receivers made by Arsenal Inc of Nevada under license of the Arsenal Co of Bulgaria. These SAM series receivers are not sold as stand alone items, and are only found on Arsenal Inc of Nevada's line of complete rifles (complete rifles that are fully licensed by the Arsenal Co of Bulgaria).

Hope this helps some more

Last edited by SA M-7; 07-28-2004 at 10:23 AM.
SA M-7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2004, 01:04 AM   #5
Packrat
Veteran Member
 
AKaholic #: 8
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Mt Vernon IL
Posts: 1,059
Default

It's funny, when Norinco used 1.5mm steel in their receivers, it was "to offset poorer quality steel" (pure BS as anyone who has worked with the Norinco receivers), but when Arsenal did it, it was "to offer greater rigidity and longer life".

I have 3 AKs built on the true Bulgarian-made milled receivers. They are beautiful pieces (not that I doubt that the US-made receivers are any poorer quality). They are also so easily assembled that I feel out of my league when talking to builders using stamped receivers. There is so little work required to build a milled-receiver rifle. I wish I could afford 3 of their receivers--I have 3 Bulgarian parts kits that came from milled-receiver commercial rifles.

However, there are people that say that a properly heat-treated stamped receiver will outlast a milled receiver, simply because it CAN flex, and therefore has fewer stresses. I don't know; the only AK I have ever seen fail was a Maadi that failed after (according to the owner) about 11K rounds (though from what I saw of his use, a lot of it was bump-firing). The upper rails, the ones formed by bending over the receiver walls, had worn/broken at the rear of the receiver so that the space where the bolt carrier fits down into the receiver had become greater, and whenever the bolt carrier came back (every shot, of course), the hammer pressing against the bottom of the bolt forced it up so that it jammed against the broken ends of the rails. On examining them closely, the parts that were broken loose but not off yet were broken on the bend, and all of the breaks were the crystallized pattern of stressed metal. I firmly believe that the receiver had not been stress-relieved after bending, and the bends had broken because of this. It certainly is not typical of Maadis, let alone stamped receivers, to fail this early.

On the other hand, I have talked to people who have used stamped AKs that were FA and had fired 25-60K rounds that the owners (rental range owners) knew of, and an unknown amount before. I've never heard anyone that had any real knowledge talk about the life expectancy of a milled receiver.

Anyway, anyone with much of a collection of AKs should have at least one milled receiver, but I'm not sure if I would grab a milled one if I were heading into trouble. And I'm not at all sure that they're worth the additional price. Others have their opinions, and I wouldn't argue what I consider to be an opinion. And I agree, they have a feel that is great.
__________________
Packrat
The Avtomat Kalashnikov--the choice of freedom-fighters everywhere
Packrat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2004, 11:14 AM   #6
SA M-7
Member
 
AKaholic #: 2143
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 37
Default

The K-VAR catalog states that the Arsenal Co of Bulgaria has a standard production milled receiver AK in their museum that has fired over 300,000 rounds through the same barrel and with no parts replacement. Although the rifle was still fully functional, it was retired as a matter of company policy!

Packrat, you wrote the following:

"I've never heard anyone that had any real knowledge talk about the life expectancy of a milled receiver"


I'm not saying that someone can tell you the exact amount of rounds that any given receiver will last, but there are folks that know what advantages one may have over the other, and which one may carry the longer life expectancy average.
Just to clarify, some of the information I posted in my post above did indeed come from a source that is truly in a position to know what advantages there are between a milled & stamped AK receiver. The most important information given was obtained from a representative of a company that is involved in both milled and stamped steel receiver AK's, and therefore has an actual stake in both variants. This company he represents does not just gain its information from in house experience and knowledge, but also from the experiences and knowledge of a true former Com Bloc AK builder. Not only is this source reliable and very well versed on the AK topic, but the source is also unbiased, and that is because their marketing interests involve both receiver types. Here again is the statement that this "very reputable source" made concerning this subject:

MILLED

General statement: A properly manufactured MILLED receiver is superior in all aspects to a stamped receiver, for the following reasons:

1. Rigidity. It doesn’t get any more rigid than this.
2. Strength. Considerably more tensile, shear, cross stress strength. Milled, forged steel is just plain stronger and more durable than any stamped assembly (regardless of how “thick” the stamping is).
3. Part/action alignment. The part and action alignment is consistent throughout the life cycle of the rifle. Being milled from one piece, there is nothing in the frame to loosen or shift out of alignment.
4. Much more stable platform. Fixed mating surfaces ensure alignment and function.
5. Longer service life. Stronger, more rigid, consistently aligned frame retards part wear and extends service life of action parts.

Disadvantage: Milled receiver AK is heavier than stamped receiver type. This is offset by slightly more controllability and less recoil from heavier weapon.

STAMPED

General statement: STAMPED receiver rifles are less costly to manufacture and thus can be offered for a lower price. Other advantages over MILLED receiver rifles are:

1. Lower weight.
2. Higher production due to reduced manufacturing time.



I can understand why this person did not want his name and the company he represents to be responsible for the release of this comparison. Remember, his firm has a stake in both methods of manufacture, and I'm sure that he does not want it to seem like their company has released information that would make one of their products look superior to another.

Out of respect for the source that gave me this information, I will not mention his name or the company he represents, though I must admit that I have already crossed the line by posting this info that he shared with me. I will again add that this person represents an "extremely" reputable company, and that this company is probably the only real source in the USA that could answer this type of question without having its validity being questioned.


Packrat, you also wrote:

"I have 3 AKs built on the true Bulgarian-made milled receivers. They are beautiful pieces (not that I doubt that the US-made receivers are any poorer quality)"

Here is a statement made by Arsenal-DPC (Alexander) that will explain a lot about the Arsenal Inc SA M-7 and its forged and milled receiver:

"Arsenal Inc. is exclusively licensed by Arsenal of Bulgaria and enjoys complete transfer of technology and 100% support of Arsenal of Bulgaria engineering department. We follow all long established technical procedures to exact specification and have a history and proven track record of surpassing the already legendary standard.
In addition, as we have mentioned in previous communiqués, Arsenal of Nevada employs several top end, fully factory trained and authorized technicians and engineers. In addition we have 100% technical, assurance and engineering support by the mother factory.
The material specification and procedures used in manufacturing the SA-M receivers is 100% identical to Arsenal of Bulgaria"



I hope this information is of help or of interest for those that read it

Last edited by SA M-7; 08-06-2004 at 04:29 PM.
SA M-7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2005, 11:12 PM   #7
Skilter
Member
 
AKaholic #: 1021
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 174
Default

funny... people ridiculed me for getting Sledghammer to build up 3 Bulgarian kits on milled Bulgarian receivers a few years ago. They are VERY nice rifles with one being one of my top 3 rifles in my "aresenal". I agree with the assesment here that the milled is a better way to go. I just wish we could get them to their full potential here in the states and have them converted to full auto. Oh to have dreams!!!
__________________
Skilter

American by birth, Texan by the Grace of God.
Skilter is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 2 (0 members and 2 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:38 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.