Category Archives: Russia and also USSR

November 10, 2019 – Russia Celebrates Kalashnikov’s 100th Birthday

On November 10th, 1919, Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov (Михаи́л Тимофе́евич Кала́шников) was born in Kurya, Altai Governorate, Russian SFSR (now Altai Krai, Russia). He grew up from humble beginnings to be known as the father of a very famous rifle, the Avtomat Kalashnikova model 1947, or AK-47 as we know it in the West.

Avtomat Kalashnikova model 1947 Type II
Photo from Wikipedia

While he died on December 23rd, 2013, at the age of 94, he is still revered as one of the leading small arms designers in history. In memory if him, Russia is celebrating his 100th birthday today. Being a student and fan of his designs, I would like to also say, Happy birthday Mr. Klashnikov.

You definitely need to visit the memorial website that the Kalashnikov Concern is hosting – it is in Russian and your browser can translate some of it but not the videos. Click here to visit the site– knock on the door and click on various items in the study to learn more.

Click here to go to the Klashnikov Media site for the 100th birthday
Image copyright is Kalashnikov Media

Want to learn more about Mikhail Kalashnkov? Then I would suggest the following:

There are a lot of books on the rifle that also discuss Mikhail as you need to understand the designer (really the most publicized of the designers involved) to understand the evolution of the rifle. There is one book that I really like gets into more detail about the man and he even authored the introduction. That books is “Kalashnikov: The Arms and the Man” by Edward Clinton Ezell.

If you want to learn more about the rifle, the best reference source is “AK-47: The Grim Reaper” by Frank Iannamico, now in its second edition.

Videos

There are a few brief videos on YouTube that touch on Mikhail’s life and let you hear different perspectives and see a number of different photos and videos of him at various events:




Without a doubt, Kalashnikov was a superb designer and it does seem very fitting to take a moment and remember him on his birthday. As always, best wishes to all and hope you find this interesting.


Please note that all photos used are the copyright of their respective owners or public domain. The stamp and rifle photos are from Wikimedia and the website screenshot is from Kalashnikov Media’s website.


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Really Cool Russian Page With A Detailed Breakdown of the 5.45mm AK-12 Rifle

Folks, there is a really cool page in the Russian language that has an excellent breakdown of the Kalashnikov Concern’s AK-12. You can visit it and get a ton of info . A trick I would recommend is to use your browser’s ability to translate a webpage – it will not be perfect but you sure will get a much better idea of what they are talking about.

Click here to go to that page.

We also have a great video in English that gives an overview of the AK-12K, AK-15K AND RPK-16K if you are interested. Click here for that.


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Please note, the image shown above is from the article and remains the property of its respective owner.


Video: Max Popenker Discusses the History of the Russian SVD Designated Marksman’s Rifle

Folks, the number one firearm at the top of my bucket list is a Dragunov. I’ve wanted one for years and years and maybe if I get lucky and a firm either decides to make or import them, I’ll finally get to own one. In the mean time, I enjoy reading articles and videos about them.

Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons recently interviewed Max Popenker, a noted Russian small arms researcher, about the history of the Dragunov. The video goes into great detail about the historical context that led up to the design contest that resulted in the original Snáyperskaya Vintóvka sistém’y Dragunóva obraz’tsá 1963 goda (SVD-63). It’s really the best I’ve seen in terms of history and includes the modern SVD-M.

The three prototype designs competing for the Soviet sniper rifle from Simonov, Konstantinov and Dragunov. The SVD’s principle designer was Yevgeny Dragunov and he was a notable target shooter and this undoubtedly gave him significant insight into what was needed.
The SSV-58 model from 1959 compared to the accepted 1963 SVD. Note the removal of the diopter sights, addition of a muzzle device and bayonet lug.
Max explained there were bout 5=7,000 SVDs made each year and sometimes over 10,000.
And this is the current model – the SVD-M. Note the heavy shorter barrel, modern optics rail, adjustable scope and adjustable side folding stock.

And Here’s The Video

I hope you enjoyed the video as much as I did!


Please note that all photos were extracted from the video and remain the property of their resective owner(s),


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Video: Kalashnikov Concern Releases the Civilian Version of the AK-12: The AK TR3 Rifle

Because of the import restrictions of the Russian firm Kalashnikov Concern, Americans will not get a chance to see a cool new rifle just released by them. Their AK TR3 rifle is a civilian version of the modern AK-12 and will be available in both 5.45×39 and 7.62×39 cartridges. [Click here for a previous post that goes into the AK-12 in more detail.]

The AK TR3 is identical to the military AK-12. Note that it has three fire control group pins.
The AK TR3 is chambered for both traditional Russian cartridges, the 5.45×39 and 7.62×39

Here is the Video

In this short video, Kalashnikov gives you a brief overview of the TR3:

Yeah, I sure wish I could buy an AK TR3 but given the political issues between our countries, that is not going to happen. Regardless, it looks like a very slick rifle and I’ll just have to ogle it from afar.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


All images were extrated from the video and remain the property of their respective owner.


Yes, There Is A Published Specification for the AKM Fire Control Group Pins

I had a fellow who was new to AK-47s/AKMs ask me the other day how the two pins work and if there was a published specification for them because his were floating in their holes. I learned a long time ago to try and help guys learn so I took a few photos and sent them to him.

Two Pins for Semi-Auto AKs

In a fully automatic AK, there are three pins and they are referred to collectively as the fire control group (FCG) pins – this includes the hammer pin, trigger pin, and sear pin – once in a while you’ll see the word “axis” thrown in there somewhere. For most civilians, we’ll just see semi-auto AKs so there are just two pins – one for the hammer and one for the trigger assembly which is made up of the trigger and disconnector. They are still called the FCG pins.

For anyone that is interested, a 1968 Soviet era armorer’s manual does have the pin specification:

This is from a Soviet era Armorer’s Guide that specs out the AKM fire control group pin. The shaft is 5mm and is where the trigger and hammer rotate. The same type of pin is used for both the trigger and the hammer – they are not unique.
Here is a pile of pins from a mix of countries. I had them in one of my parts boxes. The diameters of the shafts vary from 4.921 to 4.988mm according to my micrometer. Based on the armorer diagram above, a diameter under 4.97 or over 5.03mm is out of spec. Three of those pins were under 4.97 interestingly enough.

Odds are that the heat treat is messed up on his receiver or someone drilled the holes out of spec. He has enough info now to decide his next steps and since I wrote most of this already, I decided to post it in case it helps someone else.

Accessing the 1968 AKM Armorer’s Manual

I am going to try hosting his huge armorer’s manual PDF file and see how it goes. If people have problems downloading it, I’ll just remove the link – click here for the 64MB PDF file. Note, I am not the owner or creator of that file. Someone did us a huge favor by taking the time to scan in all the pages and share it. It is in Russian and has a ton of diagrams.


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Ian McCollum Interviews Max Popenker Who Shares His Deep Knowledge On The History Surrounding the Design of the AK-47

I’m definitely a fan of the AK-47 rifle and am always looking for more insights about the history and design. Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons recently hosted Max Popenker, who is a Russian small arms researcher and publisher of Modern Firearms – one of the original firearm research websites. Between the two of them, there is a ton of knowledge.

The AK-47 design was the result of collaboration and competition amongst designers and didn’t happen magically overnight.

Now the video portion is ok but what is really cool is listening to Max unravel the history that led up to the AK-47 rifle’s design – the desire by the Soviets to develop a system of small arms, the influence of German small arms, and other Russian designs.

Here’s the Video


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AK-203 Reliability Testing Video From Kalashnikov Media

Here’s an interesting but short video of Vladimir Onokoy, who is a Technical Advisor with Kalashnikov Media, showing the AK-203 undergoing environmental testing – freezing cold, desert sand, rain and a combination. Vladimir is speaking in Russian but there are subtitles and it’s not surprising that the AK-203 performs well.

Going from the freezer to the test range
Covered in very fine sand that is blown on and into the weapon

Here’s the Video


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My Favorite AK / Kalashnikov T-Shirts – May 2019

As my wife will tell you, I like T-shirts and, of course, I like AK rifles so the two go together! There are so many cool designs out there these days, I thought you might like to see them. Plus, since they are on Amazon, you know you will have their excellent customer service backing you up.


I hope you have some fun looking at the photos at least plus it is time to get ready for summer and having fun outdoors!


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India Will Make 75,000 AK-203 Rifles, But Is It Better Than the Traditional AK?

In March, the Prime Minister of India inaugurated the Indo-Russian Rifles Pvt Ltd factory that will manufacture 75,000 of the AK-203 assault rifles. The AK-203 is the current model of the AK service rifle chambered for the 7.62×39 cartridge.

A common criticism is that AK rifles aren’t very accurate. Vladimir Onokoy, a technical advisor to the Kalashnikov Concern assembled this video to demonstrate how the 203 can accept modern optics, has a repeatable zero and can deliver acceptable accuracy at 100 meteres.


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My Cool New Kalashnikov Coffee Cup

Guys, I must confess that I have a coffee addiction 🙂 As most of you know, I am into AK rifles as well. As part of that interest, I have read every biography I could find of Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov to try and better understand what led to the creation of the AK-47 and the eventual family of Kalashnikov designs.

Recently I was searching on Amazon and surprisingly found a coffee cup with a great photo of a young Kalashnikov that was tastefully done and, of courcase, had to order it. I had to wait a few weeks as it shipped from Germany.

When it arrived, I was surprised that the graphic was a different color than what the Amazon ad depicted. I thought about returning it but I do like the cup. The following shows you the cup that arrived – it is pretty cool and the color has grown on me.

My wife’s reaction was “Why did you buy another coffee cup?” To which I answered “But honey, this is Kalashnikov” at which she just turned around while shaking her head 🙂

In case you are looking for a conversation piece, check out this cup. Here’s the listing on Amazon.

7/3/2019 Update: It’s holding up just fine. It does make for a cool conversation piece when people use it. “Who is this guy?” is usually how it starts 🙂


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.