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Old July 14, 2017, 16:31   #1
chase45
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Rhodie inspired RPD build

I don't post here much, but I have a build coming up I believe you guys would appreciate the most. This will end up being months long project as I'm going to put my own twist into it. I found this subforum to be most relevant to post this here. Ill update it from time to time as parts of the project comes together. The parts kit was ordered today.

Down to business, Ive considered building one of these for a long while now. I built a 16" version earlier this year.



I really enjoy the 16" but I want something a bit smaller and more handy. That's where this picture comes into play



The above is reportedly a Rhodesian soldier with a modified RPD. Barrels been chopped back, how much is any ones guess. I'm guessing its around 11" which is the length I plan to build mine as. Handguard has been removed and a AK grip has been welded on. Probably the most interesting part of the Rhodesian RPD is the fact it lacks a stock. The recoil spring for a standard RPD is in the buttstock much like a fullsize FAL or a AR15. How exactly they reconfigured the spring is again anyones guess as I never could find any info. Theres also a weird C shaped front end to the receiver. Anyways from my research they used these modified RPDs to counter ambushes to their convoys by having overwhelming full auto fire.

For my build I am going to get a 16" chrome lined barrel. I'm going to have to have it cut back to 11" and then also recontoured to move the barrel accessories back a few inches. The piston will have to then be chopped and welded back on to account for the shorter gas system. Of course to keep things legal it will also have to be modified from a open bolt full auto to a closed bolt semi auto. To keep it legal in regards to barrel length I am going to assemble this as a "firearm". Its similar to how a "pistol" is with short ARs that have braces and such. The difference being is a "firearm" has a OAL above 26" which allows for a vertical front grip to be used, where as a pistol cannot have a VFG. Neither can have a normal stock legally, so the running plan is to weld a buffer tube extension onto the rear of the gun to contain the recoil spring. After it is built and it functions correctly Ill submit the paperwork to turn it into a SBR so I can attach the real stock later on. Lastly I have sourced a spare top cover. So Ill use the spare top cover to weld a rail onto so I can install a red dot.

I have found only 2 modern examples of a Rhodie inspired RPD. They were built by a smith down in LA and he made a SBR and also a post sample auto. I will be building mine very similarly to how he did those 2. I want to retain enough barrel at the muzzle end for a suppressor. I'm also looking into options such as fluting or dimpling on the barrel to reduce weight.

Few more pics





Anyways that's enough of my rambling on. I will update this as I move forward with this project. Hope you guys enjoy

Last edited by chase45; July 14, 2017 at 16:37.
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Old July 14, 2017, 20:39   #2
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Now THAT, is a bitch gun.
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Old July 14, 2017, 20:55   #3
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That thing is absolutely sick! Well-done sir
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Old July 14, 2017, 21:30   #4
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I have seen that picture and dreamed of building one for years. It's on my bucket list
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Old July 14, 2017, 22:13   #5
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Thumbs up

the gentleman you speak of is a member here. Here is the thread he originally posted:

http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showt...ght=rhodie+rpd

the missing pics, are the ones you are now showing

maybe you can reach him here through the site, get some tips on the build?
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Old July 14, 2017, 22:17   #6
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more pics here

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2...-rpd-sbr-form/
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Old July 16, 2017, 06:06   #7
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Any of you who has an SOT with a tame CLEO should have him get a request letter for a post-sample.
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Last edited by Blackmore; July 16, 2017 at 09:08.
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Old July 16, 2017, 12:45   #8
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recoil system for this

SA friend that is Rhodesian by birth and was in their army as an armorer showed me how they got rid of the stock.
thick flat washer cut in two and two screen door coil springs- that's it.
drill a hole on either side of the two halves for the spring end to fit through.
1/2 of the washer welded to the bottom of the bolt carrier- other half welded to the bottom of the barrel/gas block and fit springs.
sorry, no pics. but I did one after he walked me through and it ran great.
it was a postie and the flame out the front would scare the crap out of anyone that had a clear line of sight.
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Old July 16, 2017, 13:16   #9
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Originally Posted by Tenngalil View Post
SA friend that is Rhodesian by birth and was in their army as an armorer showed me how they got rid of the stock.
thick flat washer cut in two and two screen door coil springs- that's it.
drill a hole on either side of the two halves for the spring end to fit through.
1/2 of the washer welded to the bottom of the bolt carrier- other half welded to the bottom of the barrel/gas block and fit springs.
sorry, no pics. but I did one after he walked me through and it ran great.
it was a postie and the flame out the front would scare the crap out of anyone that had a clear line of sight.

That makes a ton of sense! I always wondered what was up front on the barrel that the rhodie guy was holding on to. Thats the best explanation I've seen of it. Thanks a ton as I've always wondered and that explains what I'm seeing him.hold onto up front

Unfortunately however I can't seem to figure out how I can make that work with a semi build. A auto build would be no problem doing that. The semi build uses a striker and the spring for that runs along the guide rod of the recoil spring.

I'll kick the idea around though. I almost want to do it just like that now
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Old July 16, 2017, 13:41   #10
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I thought about that one for a long time back when I was building both postie and semi rpds.
the semi. conversion for lack of a better word sucks.
the striker block/ spring alone is enough to make me never want to do another semi!
I have the start of a plan somewhere that would use a billet alum. lower cut for an AR trigger pack to do away with the block and overly complicated/PITA trigger set.
I think the hammer had to be slightly longer.

but, as I said I got out of RPDs when the kits started drying up.
it's been a while and my memory is fuzzy on details but I hope all this helps and let me know if you get it working.
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Old July 16, 2017, 13:56   #11
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Originally Posted by Tenngalil View Post
I thought about that one for a long time back when I was building both postie and semi rpds.
the semi. conversion for lack of a better word sucks.
the striker block/ spring alone is enough to make me never want to do another semi!
I have the start of a plan somewhere that would use a billet alum. lower cut for an AR trigger pack to do away with the block and overly complicated/PITA trigger set.
I think the hammer had to be slightly longer.

but, as I said I got out of RPDs when the kits started drying up.
it's been a while and my memory is fuzzy on details but I hope all this helps and let me know if you get it working.
I'll likely do it conventionally with a tube or stock. But knowing how they did it solves a mystery I've wondered about for years. Had a ton of people stumped too on other forums.

If I can dream up a way to make this work with the current striker system I may take a stab at it. But we'll see.

I just figure I may as well get on top of these projects while the kits and receivers are still available. I've been on a huge building kick lately. There's not alot of other cool kits you can buy to build something that different and stands out like you can with the RPD. But yeah the semi auto mod lacks alot. But I will add that it's still a hoot to shoot. If I had a the ability to make one auto legally I'd be very thrilled. Stupid gun laws getting in the way of my fun
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Old July 16, 2017, 15:03   #12
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Looking fwd to seeing this RPD perform.

I won't "Bitch" but you can.
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Old August 02, 2017, 10:55   #13
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Finally got the RPD kit.

UPS decided to ship them to near my location and then side track it all around the country

The barrel accessories seem to be reblued. My first kit for sure had a serial number marking on the gas plug and the charging handle. These do not. The bolt also lacks a serial number. But the carrier, FCG, feed tray, and top cover share the same serial. Looks like they banged up the drum holder during the demil so Ill have to file down the rough edges there. Feed tray shows some wear so this girl was definitely used in its previous life.


Other than that it looks pretty good.

Ill finally start modifying modifying the components I can to get this build going. Still have to get a receiver and a barrel

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Old August 02, 2017, 16:08   #14
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Originally Posted by chase45 View Post

I really enjoy the 16" but I want something a bit smaller and more handy. That's where this picture comes into play



The above is reportedly a Rhodesian soldier with a modified RPD. Barrels been chopped back, how much is any ones guess. I'm guessing its around 11" which is the length I plan to build mine as. Handguard has been removed and a AK grip has been welded on. Probably the most interesting part of the Rhodesian RPD is the fact it lacks a stock. The recoil spring for a standard RPD is in the buttstock much like a fullsize FAL or a AR15. How exactly they reconfigured the spring is again anyones guess as I never could find any info. Theres also a weird C shaped front end to the receiver...
It almost looks like a brass chute but I have no idea why it would be up there. Maybe it pivoted towards the feed tray cover and guided the belt? It's got a pretty good flange on it. I wonder if you could cinch a bag on it to catch the belt and keep it from getting hung up? Maybe it didnt pivot at all and you just run the starter tab through it?
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Old August 02, 2017, 16:37   #15
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Sign me up

I'll take one!

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Old August 02, 2017, 20:05   #16
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You can end the stock where the club foot starts. If you want a shortie pistol.
A tube will be all you have so no shouldering is possible. I'll pm you some details.
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Old August 02, 2017, 20:38   #17
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Old August 02, 2017, 20:43   #18
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You can end the stock where the club foot starts. If you want a shortie pistol.
A tube will be all you have so no shouldering is possible. I'll pm you some details.
Tell him about the eclipse shoot too bro. He is here in the hood
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Old August 02, 2017, 21:27   #19
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Tell him about the eclipse shoot too bro. He is here in the hood
He's a Hoosier, not as bad as an Illini, but he'd be allowed. The only Illini I would let attend is Denny.
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Old August 04, 2017, 01:48   #20
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I was gonna say ask SAFN.

Having pics and Info would be real important for this project. Do you know what they did for the spring normally in the stock? SAFN
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Old August 04, 2017, 06:45   #21
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FYI - the 'smith referenced in this thread who has the other RPD, Flemgunner, is Glenn Fleming. He worked for Acadiana Gunworks in Lafayette, Louisiana until early 2017 when he left to go work that tank driving outfit in Uvalde, Texas. I'm not sure he's still taking gun work.
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Old August 04, 2017, 17:38   #22
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For the simple way of doing it you need to use a spring tube like on a DTM. The DTM does not need the stock.
I can't access the DTM kits right now. I would need help moving very heavy crates filled with parts kits to get to them.

On the UK's the spring tube is shortened a couple of inches, a slightly over sized sleeve is installed to make room for the striker spring. On the para trooper version the tube and stock are shortened 5".

Stole these pics from the internet



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Old August 04, 2017, 22:10   #23
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Cool, Fabbing a tube is easy.

Sounds like you have enough kits in your warehouse SAFN. might need some help moving them?
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Old August 07, 2017, 09:50   #24
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I had some time this weekend to get started on this project

I have modified the front sight and welded it to the gas block. Turned out ok. I'm no expert welder and it turns out I used the one that's not working right at work of course. But it doesn't look too bad and some more polishing and a refinish and it should look pretty clean

To clear up a bit of confusion I am not relocating the spring. I looked into it. The major hangup is without the normal spring setup, I would have to look into something else for the semi auto mod. The striker rides on the spring plunger. The next issue would be the OAL would be too short to be able to make it into a "firearm", which would mean I would have to forgo the VFG unless its papered. With the tube from the stock it puts it over 26" OAL so Ill be utilizing that.

I would love to be able to squeeze a AR15 trigger into this thing somehow. But without completely fabricating a new lower I don't see how it can happen. But a binary AR trigger would be sweet in it.

My stock ended up being cracked, so I removed the tube from inside the stock and rigged up a simple clamp to hold it in place where the stock use to be. It will need a bit more work to make it secure, but it seems this will work without issue and I will not have to modify anything. It will end up with a stock on it one day. After the function test goes well I will apply for the stamp tax.
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Old August 07, 2017, 10:04   #25
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Heres a few pics of the front sight.

Go easy on me[BD]. Apparently I used the welder that's fucked up at work. I was wondering why I couldn't get it to lay down a good bead.

But with a little more polishing and a refinish it should come out pretty clean looking



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Old August 08, 2017, 11:53   #26
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Not RPD but you'll get the idea.

Original on right. Mod on left. Larger dia tube welded on to accommodate striker spring original recoil tube shortened.

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Old August 09, 2017, 11:56   #27
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SAFN: To what firearm do those assemblies belong?
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Old August 11, 2017, 08:52   #28
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Well just hit another snag with this one

The guy who did the semi auto mod for me is now not currently taking on any work.

That said Ill figure something out. Ive got my first build to compare it to. Ive got a drill press and I can go buy a cutter head

What could possibly go wrong
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Old August 11, 2017, 10:47   #29
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Originally Posted by chase45 View Post
Well just hit another snag with this one

The guy who did the semi auto mod for me is now not currently taking on any work.

That said Ill figure something out. Ive got my first build to compare it to. Ive got a drill press and I can go buy a cutter head

What could possibly go wrong
Was it a local guy or one of the conversion companies. I think Project Guns does the SA mods for reasonable.
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Old August 12, 2017, 09:34   #30
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Chase45

If you're going to run a suppressor why not permanently attach it to the barrel, that way you'd have a 16" + barrel, and wouldn't have to SBR it, and could keep the butt stock? Just pay the suppressor tax.
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Old August 14, 2017, 09:46   #31
chase45
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Was it a local guy or one of the conversion companies. I think Project Guns does the SA mods for reasonable.
Project guns is who did it for me last time

Hes currently not taking work he says. I don't want to throw out speculation or anything but I'm not sure if hes retiring or just not doing RPD stuff anymore. End of the day I have to figure out another way to do this

I wonder if I could get this done with a HF mini mill. Its not exactly the most complicated modification. Just mill the trip and striker off the carrier. Cut down the rails. Mill out the interior of the lower for the semi parts.
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Old August 14, 2017, 09:48   #32
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Chase45

If you're going to run a suppressor why not permanently attach it to the barrel, that way you'd have a 16" + barrel, and wouldn't have to SBR it, and could keep the butt stock? Just pay the suppressor tax.
Ive never liked the idea of permanently attaching a suppressor. Plus a 30 cal can could be used on other weapons

Building it like described above will make it non nfa anyways. It can then be SBRd after ensuring function. Nothing would suck more than having a crappy running class 3 weapon.
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Old August 15, 2017, 07:45   #33
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Playing around with a different idea

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