I have a SAI loaded. Changed nothing works great. Have a few spare parts like extractor and springs. Other than that let SAI fix it. Buy parts and save up to build an LRB or Fulton. That's what I am doing.
Use the SAI op rod. If it goes South, have them fix it under warranty. On my SAI standard I just changed trigger group parts, bolt parts, went with a GI flash hider and stock and feel that it is good to go! An op rod is expensive just to change if you do not really need it. Most likely it will morp into a build. That is what happened to a spare SA GI trigger group that I had laying around.
7.62MM Firearms. TRW spec'd and one-piece forged. Get it melonited or better yet black nickel boron treated to not ruin the heat-treatment, and cryogenically treat it to realign the grain structure so the wear is concentric and predictable.
Once Rock-Ola/JRA comes out with their op-rod, I'm doing all of said processes.
For a stock off the shelf SAI rifle, I'd just stick with the factory op rod. Generally, it's not a problem part like the extractors.
If you were building a ground up rifle, I'd get a TRW, even a retabbed one and finish it off with other USGI parts.
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