Building a .308 Galil on an ORF receiver
Building my .308 Galil on an Ohio Rapid Fire receiver.
The following is for educational purposes only. I am not liable for the use or misuse of this information.
I began this here undertaking by acquiring the necessary parts. To build this rifle I collected the following items:
-One IMI .223/5.56 Galil parts kit (used minus barrel and bolt; as I would not be needing it) $219.95
-One IMI Galil .308 bolt assembly, $109.95
-One IMI Mfg’d Galil AR Forearm, $39.95 ($45.95 now)
-One ACE Galil pistol grip, $14.95
-One ORF Galil replacement charging handle, $5.99
-One ORF Galil .308 receiver, $349.95
-One set of AK Builder rivets $10.00?
-One Midway internet special Adams and Bennett barrel blank (straight cylinder), $99.00?
-One JARD fully adjustable trigger, $104.00
-One IMI .308 Galil 12 round magazine, $35.00
…for a grand total of near $988.74 (plus multiple shipping charges).
I think that about covers the components. To do it up a .308 Galil yourself it’s going to cost at least a grand no matter how you cut it. I saved some money by spending HOURS on the lathe turning my own barrel. (More on that later)
First of all, I would like to commend Todd at ORF for making any of this possible. Without him making the receivers, us builders would be spinning our gears making AR-15s, FALs and AK-47s because that is what is otherwise available. I have always wanted a Galil, and as of today, my time has come.
That being said, there are a few things with the ORF receivers that prevent a completely brainless throw-together build. None of the hurdles were very high, but to the average Joe they might present an issue.
Before any parts assembly begins, and before I pull out any tools at all, I test fit all the parts I am able to by hand to find any interference or anything that MAY cause a future pain in the ass. Test fitting parts before you begin any build is a great way to save time and money by preventing problems before they become expensive.
My first correction to the receiver came as I realized my bolt carrier was not coming home properly, It was making full contact with the right hand side of the receiver, while missing the left by .053”. This was causing some slight peening of the receiver onto the end of the gas cylinder. By making a small cut of the receiver, using a ¼” ball end mill, I removed the same .053” from the right side of the receiver, so the bolt carrier would seat properly and evenly on both sides of the receiver in the “home” position.
As a result of my milling maneuver, two more things had to be altered to accommodate the forward travel of my bolt carrier. The “mouth” of the gas cylinder needed to be relieved to allow the bolt carrier to travel further forward, just slightly. And the gas piston had to be shortened the same distance to allow for the extra travel. I removed the same .053” from the face of the piston and can say it does not affect function. At the conclusion of these processes, my first problem was solved. The bolt carrier now made its home on the receiver in an even and proper fashion.
The next parts fitting issue came from the bolt itself. Even though the bolt assembly and receiver were both sold by ORF, they did not mesh well without alteration. The relief in the bolt body that allows for the ejector to flow untouched through its slot in the bolt was not made long enough for the .308 receiver. It was shorter, much like that seen on the bolt of a standard AK-47. It needed to be elongated to allow proper function in the ORF .308 receiver. The bolt is an awkward item to try to clamp in the milling machine. I had to alter a V-block and V-block clamp to get it to hold securely. THE BOLT IS HARD!!! Anything less than a carbide end mill is a waste of time and will just result in dulling your tool. Once the cuts were made and the relief elongated, the bolt moved uninterrupted in the receiver, and all was well with the world.
There was one more alteration to the bolt assembly, with regards to the extractor, but that will be covered after barreling the action (as it was the order in which these challenges were encountered).
Before riveting the trigger guard, bullet guide and magazine catch/selector stop into place, I test fit them also. Two things stood out more to me that needed to be corrected. The first of which was the selector stop. As my parts kit was originally a .223/5.56, the selector stop was made to sit about a half or three quarters of an inch forward of where It actually now sits. This is a result of the larger magazine of the .308. The magazine well being larger moves the magazine catch and slide stop rearward, and as a result the selector stop no longer reaches the selector when it is in the “fire” position. I tig welded an additional quarter of an inch onto the selector stop and removed metal until the selector came to rest against it when it was also in the “fire” position groove.
The second thing that I needed to do as a result of this dimensional difference between the .223 and .308 receivers was alter the trigger guard. The original trigger guard was much too long to fit without alteration, and it just so happened that the one from my kit wasn’t in the best of shape, so I opted to fabricate my own from spring steel. For the purists out there, you can contour yours how you please, but I went with a little more angular look and enlarged the guard a bit. It kind of reminds me of the “winter” type trigger guards that are made to be used with gloves. But I did it not for gloved use, only for cosmetic effect, I think it looks cooler.
The third incompatibility issue with the magazine well being larger was with the hammer. I am not sure about all triggers, but I believe it is a safe assumption that most AK type triggers will need to be altered in some way to clear the direct interference with the magazine itself. I used the JARD fully adjustable two-pound trigger. I voided my warranty by making it work in my Galil. To make it fit and function properly in my rifle I had to remove approximately a quarter of an inch from the face of the hammer, below the bolt contact point. I milled a ramp between the different levels to minimize the possibility of binding with the bolt carrier (pictured)
This is how it arrived:
And this is the hammer after being milled:
The JARD all in all it is a great trigger group. I only have two real complaints about this trigger group. One is in the setscrews; the setscrews were too short to properly adjust the trigger in this application. Also the trigger group was shipped without the proper Allen head wrench needed for adjustment. If these groups were shipped with the proper wrench, it would greatly prevent stripping by using an undersized but functional Allen wrench. My other complaint is that the hammer has enough lateral play in it to prevent proper interaction with the trigger and disconnector, It is easily fixed by adding a spacer like a washer to the right hand side of the hammer to take up the slack and center the hammer in the receiver. (The shepherds crook type pin retainers, and the pin retaining plate to my findings would not hold the FCG pins in place so I used cotter pins, like the type you see on a RC car body.)
The process of riveting the bullet guide, magazine catch and trigger guard into place is much like that of riveting the same parts on an AK, So I won’t go into too much depth on it, there are YouTube videos easily found that can explain it better than I ever could. The one difference I saw was the bullet guide riveting, I made a backing piece out of 1018 CD steel that filled the space in the front of the bottom of the receiver, and drilled a rivet head recess to hold the rivet while I smashed it from the top. I cleaned up the inside of the rivet with a dremel tool coming in from the front of the receiver with a sanding drum attachment. After sanding the rivet flush with the bullet guide, I polished it to remove any burrs.
After the receiver was riveted, and the above-mentioned parts were altered and meshing well, I mapped out the barrel’s thread extension. If you are using a pre-manufactured, IMI or Green Mountain barrel, you can likely disregard this section. This here is how I turned my barrel down from a cylinder blank, Dimensions here may vary depending on receiver and bolt types and dimensions, so I am not going to give my dimensions to attempt to stay away from having any liability in other people’s builds. I will say however that I threaded the barrel at 25 x 1.5mm RH, Which is the standard extension thread size for the IMI .308s. I am specifying because of ORF offers three receiver types in the 308s. I used the receiver’s inside dimensions to determine the amount of the extension I would thread, and I turned down the slimmer rearward most part of the barrel extension so that it would just slide past the bullet guide, and stop at just .010” short of contacting the bolt. Chambering and headspacing was done in the standard fashion.
While this picture was taken after the thread extension was cut, You can see it well.
This is the barrel on the receiver, chambered and headspaced and waiting.
Once the barrel was on the receiver, I was caught in a state of limbo. I wasn’t sure which direction I was going to be headed with my build. I was contemplating a heavy barrel for quite some time, and was waiting on parts to do so. As time went on, and I wasn’t able to acquire the parts to build it as a heavy barrel, I began to drool over the half finished build. I had enough parts to finish the build as an AR, and this is where the build begins to take its current shape.
I spent an entire day at school on the lathe turning the barrel down. I do not recommend doing this if you have enough extra cash to buy one ready to build. I used the inside dimensions of the handguard, handguard retainer, and gas block to determine the dimensions of the heaviest barrel I could make.
This is the result of hours of lathe time, approximately 6lbs of wasted steel.
I turned my torque shoulder down to 1.200” and opened up the rear handguard retainer to fit the larger torque shoulder. I opened up the retainer from 1” even to 1.2” by bead blasting off the original finish, covering the retainer in dicam blue, and scribing a line with the calipers 0.1” from the previous inside dimension. Then I used a dremel to grind it out to the scribed line.
As I turned the barrel down to the inside dimensions of the front handguard retainer, and gas block (within .002” of spec) I stopped using the cutting tools and switched to using emery cloth to polish the machining marks out of the barrel and allow the tightest possible fit and seal to the gas block.
At this point I tightened the barrel to the receiver to torque spec to install the barrel components. I polished the barrel under the gas block so that the barrel to block was a 1 to 1 fit, and I tapped the block into place with a plastic hammer until the gas cylinder was tight to the dust cover. Using a machinist’s level, I leveled the top of the gas block to the receiver and used a hand drill (and the largest bit that fit easily through the gas hole in the block) to start the outer gas port expansion chamber. I made very sure to do little more than mark the location of the port. Use caution when using a hand drill to start drilling the gas port. Drilling too far with the larger size drill bit can and may well render the barrel useless. Use a piece of masking tape on the bit if needed to monitor depth of hole. After the larger hole was started, I removed the gas block. On the milling machine with an adjustable head, set the angle to somewhere close near thirty degrees, (I am not 100% on the angle. Some people say twenty-seven degrees.) Using a drill chuck in the mill and a center drill of just smaller than the diameter of the previous bit I continued drilling the hole until the hole was into the barrel enough to stabilize the 1.8mm (.070”) bit for the actual gas port. Use light pressure, sharp bit and cutting oil to minimize burring in the bore. I do not recommend doing this by hand. Although it is possible, it is likely that over penetration will occur. After drilling I deburred the barrel where it was drilled, installed the front handguard retainer (In other builds, I have forgotten this step, It makes things more difficult that necessary), and reinstalled the gas block. I reinstalled and leveled the gas block in the same fashion as previously described. Once installed and leveled again, it is time drill for the gas block retaining pins. I used a bit that fit tightly into the holed previously drilled in the gas block. The bit tracked well into the previous holes and it was about as simple as possible. I then installed the roll pins provided in the kit.
While on the mill, It’s a good time to mark the location of the handguard retainer latch relief in the barrel. I used an end mill and came in sideways because I couldn’t find a proper sized ball end mill. The end result of that operation was more than acceptable. I would recommend milling a little bit at a time, as the depth of this groove has a direct result on the tightness of the handguard. If the cut is too deep, the handguard will have rotational play on the axis of the bore. I have a very small amount to try to correct as a result of my cut being just the slightest bit deep.
It was at this point that I assembled the rifle in its entirety. Upon installing the rest of the parts and attempting to cycle dummy rounds, I came to the following realization. The extractor was not working properly, and I had not made my extractor cut. (It was my previous opinion that the extractor appeared to be flush fit with the bolt and that with the .010” breech clearance it was not going to interfere with the operation. I was incorrect in that assumption.) While the bolt face itself is proper for the .308 cartridge, I found that other than the bolt body alteration mentioned above, the extractor too needed a little attention. In its “factory” configuration, the extractor of the ORF distributed IMI bolt assembly did not allow the bolt to close fully. The extractor being just a bit over-size would not allow it to travel around the rim of the case upon the closing of the bolt. The result was a bolt that would sit approximately 1/8 of an inch out of battery. A little dremel tool action was all that was needed to remove a slight amount of metal from the claw. When altered, the extractor functioned well and the bolt closed properly. I re-hardened the extractor after the alteration by heating to red with a torch and quenching in oil. I noticed a few marks on the barrel from contact with the extractor. And came to the conclusion that the extractor cut was in fact necessary. On the upside, using a quarter inch ball end mill, the extractor cut can be made with the barrel on the receiver. If you do choose to make the extractor cut while the barrel is mounted on the receiver, do so carefully. With an extractor relief depth of .025” the extractor has complete clearance of my barrel, and upon reassembly Dummy rounds were extracted and ejected with authority.
I almost forgot the muzzle brake, I made the muzzle brake from a solid bar of 1018 steel, I really liked the look of an IMI eight port brake, but couldn’t find one. The birdcage type that came with my kit was beat, and I had some free time. So I did it up. The one not so true to spec thing about it is that its threaded at ½ x 28 tpi, but since I was turning my own barrel, it was a non-issue. (It’s even got the grenade retainer ring.)
The rest of the build is the installing the sights, some roll pins, and basic AK style assembly. And refinishing is also pretty standard. If I missed anything important, I’ll try to post it in a response to this, and If anybody has any questions let me know. Happy building!
And I know I posted this one on another thread, but it makes me look good.
Last edited by Fritz; 02-01-2008 at 12:13 AM.
UZI Talk Supporter
Nice job! Thanks for the writeup!
UZI Talk Life Member
Looks good! Excellent write up. Any pics or description on the gas port?
There is a description in there, (just below the picture of the finished barrel by itself), but I did not take a picture when I drilled it. In all honesty I had only seen this pic here from ARS before I built my Galil, and I did my best to imitate what I had seen. Mine came out almost identical.
This picture is from Arizona Response Systems. (You have to give credit where its due)
Last edited by Fritz; 02-01-2008 at 02:24 AM.
So is this even possible anymore?
To get a receiver and build it up?
I would enjoy the project if so.
Any insight or help would be appreciated.
It is still possible, but the biggest challenge would be finding a receiver since ORF has closed their doors.
I know some people on sitting on these receivers, just got to find them.
Buy a kit, get the other different parts for the .308, then do the build.
You could buy a HAddar, then convert it into a Galil; thus giving you a good solid IMI receiver.
If you want to do this in 5.56, then you have a chance.
Have you guys with the 308 receivers seen the same issues as the 223 receivers?
Fritz pointed out an issue with my first receiver. He took care of it for me. I'm not sure what transpired. I think it was an issue with heat treating and not a dimensional issue. I might be wrong.
Sorry for the double post but I couldn't edit that last post from my iPad for some reason.
I wanted to point out that the bayou lug was a custom one off type of thing that Fritz made for me out of an AR15 FSB.
Also the Hebrew engraving was done by mistake but I didn't send it back and it looks great.
That really caught my eye when i saw the pics. I haven't seen barrels with lugs on them in parts kits, and a bayonet lug isn't a necessary part either, so virtually none are out there as individual parts.
Originally Posted by eyegun
Now i'm curious how he did it.
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