Beating a plowshare into an AK-47

[Boris] must have been a little bored over Thanksgiving. We’re guessing that’s the case; why else would he build an AK-47 out of a common garden shovel?

After buying an old shovel from an antique barn in Vermont, [Boris] cut off the handle an attached it to an old Bulgarian AK he had just lying around. The new stock proved to be very comfortable, and not wanting to waste the iron in the shovel head, decided to make an AK out of the remainder of his purchase.

After tossing the shovel head into the furnace and pounding it flat, [Boris] had a respectable piece of metal to construct an AK receiver from. A bit of plasma cutting, grinding, and drilling turned this former shovel into a future gun, and with the help of a blank barrel the shovel became an AK receiver that is twice as thick and twice as heavy as a ‘normal’ AK receiver. Yes, [Boris]‘s new gun is even more indestructible than a stock AK – something that really shouldn’t be possible.

In the end, [Boris] spent $2 on a shovel, $30 on a barrel, and $200 on a Romanian AK kit. The result is an actual, working gun that is legal for him to own (but not sell – see the comments for that discussion).


  1. Mildly Impressed says:

    In Soviet Russia they turn plowshares into AK-47s.

  2. fawji says:

    the best AKs are made by polish Bumar factory.

  3. GOTHMOG says:

    Erm, Bulgarian AK and $200 Romanian AK kit? Didn’t get it..

  4. geojon says:

    Wow, i am impressed. Its not very simple but definitly less intricate than the ar series weapons. i guess thats why the ak family of weapons are so persistant. I wonder if I can make one legally where I live.

  5. Tom says:

    ok but now can you turn an AK into a shovel ?

  6. Stevo says:

    This is win, just read the blog post. This guy should write for Hackaday.

  7. biozz says:

    its a very simple yet beautiful firearm … it rattles when shook, its made from stamped parts and is about as accutate as a slingshot but it just always works
    personally im a fan of the AKS-74 … more accurate and less kick XP

  8. thatdamnhippie says:

    In before the idiots whine about how illegal this is to do.

    • BadIntentions says:

      Perfectly legit in the US. I built one out of a hospital tray once. You just print the guide off on paper, double check a few key peasurements to ensure printer calibration, and get to work. he did it the hard way really, i just needed a 50 dollar northern tool drill press and tin snips.

  9. Johannes says:

    AKs can be very accurate. My personal best with a Finnish made clone (with diopter sights) is 4-inch group of 10 shots at 150 yards.
    The claim of inherent inaccuracy comes from two sources. Owners of the very very very cheap clones. And U.S. army, who defend their inherently fast-jamming first-gen one-shot-wonder.

    • Johannes says:

      And by one-shot-wonder I mean that you’re only guaranteed to get one shot off the AR between cleanings. To get more is a bonus.

      Then again, to get optimal accuracy from an AK, you need the side-mounted scope, as in the picture. The side-mount attaches directly to the receiver.

    • radion39 says:

      not properly trained peasants armed with AK-47 clones last cleaned in chinese factory 40 years ago don’t do much to improve accuracy.

    • A proper marksman says:

      4 inch group at 150 yards isn’t much of a test is it? First gun I ever shot was a Sharps replica. Old fashioned gun powder, not smokeless and hitting a one foot round target (bout the size of where you need to land when hunting buffalo) at 400 yards.

      The AK-47 is a large caliber assault rifle. In all honesty on single fire a full sized rifle round should be able to go out 600 yards and touch somebody. The AK-47 cannot. It is more inline with the smaller assault rifle caliber weapons where they are designed to work without a sight at a very short rifle range.

      Remember the AK-47 uses the same round as the infamous moist nugget (Mosin-Nagant), the firearm with the longest service record in history, and arguably the most successful sniper rifle in both world wars and beyond.

      • jimjones says:

        The AK-47 shoots 7.62×39 … a Mosin-Nagant shoots the 7.62x54R cartridge (ok..if you want to get technical some shoot 7.62x53R and some shoot 7.92×57 Mauser but most shoot 7.62x54R and none shoot 7.62×39).

        In your defense, the dragunov series of rifles shoot 7.62x54R which can sometimes be confused with AK-47 type rifles due to the similar appearance of the receiver…

        Source: I used to own a Mosin Nagant (M91).

      • dubyaohohdee says:

        Yeah, but how often are soldiers shooting at people at 600 yards. I remem reading an article a couple years back about the army considering replacing the current rifle with something smaller. Primarily b/c most gunfights were happened at short range and in enclosed areas.

      • draeath says:

        Your experience doesn’t match most.

        My first experience ended up in a 6-inch group at 100 feet. You sure you are not exaggerating a bit?

        • Johannes says:

          Like I said, a Finnish made clone (official designation RK-62) with diopter sights. So, consider it better fitted and finished than most. Also, the sight base is extended by moving the rear sight on top of the receiver cover. It would be even more accurate if the cover was screwed down or something. Then again, if you’re shooting to 600 yards, consider getting a scope.

          There is no mechanical reason why the AK could not be just as accurate or more so than an AR. The funny thing is, every so-called study that compares the mechanical accuracy of an AK to that of an AR uses the standard AK sights, which are decidedly less than optimal for long distances. I guess they’re afraid of the results if both get the same optical sights.

      • PaJ says:

        are you drunk or sadly mistaken?? the ak-47 shoots 7.62 russian short, not 7.62 Russian full power 7.62.54 rimmed is not 7.62×39

  10. Letihoa says:

    You are actually allowed to sell firearms you have built, even if you don’t have the manufacturer’s license. You aren’t allowed to manufacture them for the express purpose of resale but if a few months down the road Boris decides he wants to get a gold plated AK or is tight on cash he is allowed to sell his shovel AK.
    There area host of liability regulations that can come back to bite you if youre creation fails catastrophically but it’s not illegal.

  11. xorpunk says:

    A scope on an assault rifle with literally zero recoil management and a barrel made just good enough to not blow up or warp short-term…

    This does look like it came from Russia… Speaking as someone who lives there.

    • Johannes says:

      Would you be willing to share a bit on that recoil management part? I’m not aware that any assault rifle in existence has any meaningful recoil dampening built-in. And all have scopes mounted directly to receiver or barrell, as that is the only way to keep all pointing to the same direction.

      And if you meant flash-hiders, those don’t do much. And scopes are found on hunting rifles also, which have flash hiders next to never.

      • xorpunk says:

        Ever heard of MOA mister gun expert? The best built AK-47 has almost none even on single-fire, so thus it makes no sense to have a scope on one…

        As for recoil management, I’m talking about floating-barrell, barrell weighting, stock weighting etc…

        Your turn again, show us how intelligent you are

        • JG says:

          >Ever heard of MOA mister gun expert? The best built AK-47 has almost none

          MOA is minute of arc, which is a unit of angular measurement. By saying that the AK has none, you imply that an AK has perfect precision, similar to pointing a laser at something. Of course it doesn’t because you don’t know what you’re talking about. A well made AK is 2 MOA max, many are less (Russian VEPR’s or Arsenals can be ~1MOA). Again, less MOA is BETTER. You can definitely put a scope on an AK, and it would probaly help, especially inexperienced users who don’t know how to use AK iron sights properly.

          >As for recoil management, I’m talking about floating-barrell, barrell weighting, stock weighting etc…

          Floating barrels don’t help recoil management, the idea behind floating barrels is so when the barrel heats up and expands there are no other attachment points on the barrel to pull the barrel in a direction and instead allows the barrel to expand uniformly and keeps consistent barrel harmonics. Weight of the stock and other parts can help recoil, but the AK really doesn’t have too much recoil for the round its shooting (.30 cal spitzer) that’s because it has a robust recoil spring and rotating bolt design.

          The AK isn’t meant to be the most accurate gun because it was designed for reliability and easy to manufacture. The barrels aren’t really known for blowing up because they are made in the same way most other barrels are made, and believe it or not people have been doing that for awhile.

          Your turn again, show us how terribly misinformed you are

          • draeath says:

            Oh don’t forget – you can’t really hit what you can’t see. Scopes can be handy for those who just can’t see very well at distance.

          • xorpunk says:

            AK-47 does have no MOA.. it’s a poorly constructed assault rifle, so there is no fixed MOA with any ammo..

            By the time you got a rough match-area with any assault rifle inside 500 yards you’d be dead against even someone just out of training, unless you have good cover and cover-fire..

            Too many experts here not enough people who know what they’re talking about. Leave your suburbs and see how long you last with that wisdom. Last I checked NATO armies where losing to people with sticks, rocks, and half-working guns..

          • Will says:

            “Too many experts here not enough people who know what they’re talking about. Leave your suburbs and see how long you last with that wisdom. Last I checked NATO armies where losing to people with sticks, rocks, and half-working guns..”

            Cool Story, Bro!

            Seriously cool hack

        • Johannes says:

          I wasn’t aware that the AR had barrell weighting. And they sure hid the free-floating barrell well. Looking at photos, it almost seems as if the front grip were attached to the barrell at the front. Ah, life… live and learn…

        • daler says:

          I take it you don’t own, nor have fired an *any* AK series rifle.
          I have been shooting for 20 years and I own/shoot a fair collection of firearms. Saying the “AK has no MOA” makes absolutely no sense — I assure you that it does. Secondly, the condition, build quality, and (importantly) the quality of the ammunition play a part in consistency — and thus accuracy.

          As for “recoil management” — while all those things do make it easier to make accurate shots you’re ignoring the most important factor: the person firing the weapon. A well maintained AK 47 in the hands of a competent shooter is more than capable of engaging targets at 350 meters.

          If you actually knew what you were talking about, you’d realize that the AK 47 and the M16 aren’t that far apart on paper in terms of accuracy. The only difference is who’s holding it.

  12. itsamebob says:

    in soviet russia ak-47 doesn’t just send you to your grave it digs it to.

  13. Hirudinea says:

    Holy Christ, this is AKmazing! When I down a 40 oz. of Stoli all I do is fall down.

  14. NewCommentor1283 says:

    is it just me, or is that thing actually balancing ontop of the vodka?

    1) wow thats what they meant by “ak47 is balanced” !!!
    2) do i even have to mention the mix of alcohol and guns? lol

    last time someone spilled vodka on a gun before firing it, his hand caught fire!

  15. askmix says:

    AK 47 – 1949
    AK74M – adopted for use in 1991
    AK12 – 2013
    Some line AK series in Russan Federation:
    АКМ • АКМСУ • АК74 • АКС74У • АК101/102/103/104/105 • АК-107/108/109 • АК-9 • «Тисс» • ОЦ-14 «Гроза» • АК-12

    Some line AK series in other countryes:
    AK-55/AMD-63/65/69 • APS 95 • CR-21 • Galil • Galil ACE • INSAS • Kbk AK/Kbkg wz. 60 • К-3 • Kbk wz. 88 Tantal • Kbk wz. 96 Beryl • MPi • NGM-81 • PM md 63/65/90/PA md 86 • Type 56 • Type 81 • Type 86S • Valmet Rk. 62, 76, 95 • Vektor R4 • Zastava (M21 • M64/70/77 • M80 • M85/M90 • M92) • ČZ 2000 • «Вепр» • Хазри

  16. askmix says:

    vodka is pattern!

  17. Joe says:

    I have heard of farmers beating farm tools and shovels into guns, and aks, but never saw an actual example of this.

    This post blew my mind out the back of my skull. Maybe that was the AK. I am in awe, sir- and yeah, this guy should TOTALLY write for Hack A Day!! One of the most entertaining making something posts I’ve ever read.

    It is even more awesome that it ended up being better made in thickness than an original, he actually improved the design of an AK with a damn shovel. This is machinist /blacksmith GOD status.

  18. Christopher says:

    Don’t forget about the shovel guitar!

  19. AndroidCat says:

    Does The Shoveler of Mystery Men know about this?

  20. andar_b says:

    Yes, but can you make it into a JETPACK?

  21. dbear says:

    One of the greatest hacks I have ever seen on HAD.
    And nobody commented on it’s lack of an Arduino. (Hmm, Maybe an ammo counter like on This —

  22. FILESPACE says:


  23. ioch says:

    In zombie apocalypse scenario I would think twice before converting shovel into AK-47 since shovel does not run out of ammo.

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