Time to buy a Hydraulic Press!
I have bounced between buying a 12-ton or 20-ton press and I finally decided funds were tight enough to go with the 12-ton as more portable unit and I may add a bigger press in the future if I find a need.
I did an extensive search and I found a number of people that indicate that they have used presses in the 6-ton range to do AK rivets but the 6-ton will not work for pressing barrels unless it has more operating length then the ones sold by HF. In general, however the consensus is that a 12-ton H-press is adequate for most AK Builds. In this context, I purchased a 12-ton press as follows.
Following are some specs of this press:
Working distance: min: 3-1/4" - max: 28-1/4"
Width between channels: 16-3/8''
Overall dimensions: 53-3/16" H x 19-1/2" D x 19-1/2'' W
Shipping weight: 122 lbs.
Following are some other reviews and oppinions on the subject:
What is the minimum size
Responses: 6, 10, 12-ton (with a vote for wishing they had a 20-ton)
Problems with a cheap press - SLOP
I have used my 12-ton press quite a bit and I do love it! I have used it to help me with lots of tasks including various AK projects plus building or swapping out parts on the FnFal and AR-15 as well. It has also come in handy anytime I need a piece of steel or metal bent and it was put to use this summer when I built a deck on the back of our hose and I needed to form a couple hangers....
Still, there is one limitation with the 12-ton press! Ther just is not a lot of working room under the press and there is time while working with a flat bendking jig or even plinker's rivet press where a little extra room would be nice to have. In that context, I just purchased a 20-ton press forr future projects. Funny however, I have the press in the shop but I spent a few quality hours this weekend working on my current build and I still used the 12-ton press instead of taking the time to get the 20-ton set up.
The 12-ton is nice as it is lite enough to be portable by myself. The 20-ton press is much heavier and I do not see me transporting that monster to build parties but I have noticed a good amount of flex in the 12-ton under pressure (Romanian Barrel pin anybody) so I will be curious if I cee that with the 20 as well... again, not that the 12-ton didn't do any job I have asked of it!