Posted by Brian Keeney on Oct 3rd 2022

How to Clock an OCCAM DEFENSE or other AK barrel in a trunnion

We got a great question in the shop from a customer the other day: "How do you clock an OCCAM DEFENSE barrel?  There's no handguard retaining cuts?!?!  

The ordinary way of clocking an AKM barrel is to put the handguard retainer on the barrel, and use the top flat edge to compare to the top flat face on the trunnion or another square reference face.  Another method is to place a gage pin on the groove cutout that the handguard retainer cam lever sits in, and again compare to a square edge.  The OCCAM DEFENSE barrels have neither of these features.  So what to do?

I think the answer will be very satisfying to most readers, because you get to cut to the heart of what matters-- the extractor cut.  The cutout in the barrel shown below is to allow clearance for the cartridge extractor claw to sneak in and grab the groove on the rear of the cartridge.  We can use that edge, and line it up with the right locking lug, as shown below:

Here's how it looks (below) when you've done it right.  The two reference lines should disappear into each other.  We use this technique ALL OVER THE PLACE at OCCAM DEFENSE.  It turns out that a properly trained eye can detect well under 1 degree of mismatch if the length of the comparison edges is sufficient.  These edges are pretty short, but you should be able to hit 1-2 degrees without much trouble.  And guess what?  The gun doesn't care if you get it better than that!  If, in other applications with better access, you have a short edge that you'd like to make longer, you can put a machinist's parallel on the edge, and sight across to get the same effect but with a lot of "gain", making it easy to dial stuff in.  You may want to play with the background (sometimes white is better, sometimes black), as well as the two colors of the top of the parallel.  I prefer silver and black.  Your mileage may vary!

I hope the above has been useful in your Kalashsmithing!  If you have further questions or comments you can email us at and we'll do our best to help!