5.45×39: Small But Perfect, A History of Development (Part 1)

545x39-1

This article is an English-language translation of an article written for Мир увлечений: Охота & Оружие (World of Hobbies: Hunting & Weapons) magazine, by Andrey Donets and Dmytro Adyeyev. TFB reader dnepr0mike graciously aided the blog with his translation skills to bring this to our readers. The article and its images are used with permission from Hunting & Weapons magazine.

This is Part 1 on a two-part article on the 5.45x39mm cartridge. Both articles contain information virtually unknown in the West. If there is sufficient interest in this topic, we will be able to translate Part 2 of this article as a follow up, so give us a shout in the comments if you like content like this!

 

PART 1
5.45×39: The little axe cuts down a big tree.

5.45×39 is a great example of how Cold War Arms Race stimulated new arms development that otherwise would have been put-off indefinitely. The idea of a small caliber general purpose round with optimized ballistics for individual automatic weapons was first proposed in the early 20th century. Unfortunately, it didn’t take on wide-spread recognition until well into the second half of the century. We speak, of course, of the works of Vladimir Grigoryevich Fedorov. He presented his own design for a reduced caliber 6.5mm automatic rifle as early as 1913. While his theories were sound and justified, backed by loads of theoretical and practical data, due to multiple reasons, including those of technological character, his works did not find wide-spread recognition for decades to come. That is until the “Arms Race” factor had entered the game.

545x39-18

 

Intelligence reports were solid…

Near the end of the 1950s Soviet intelligence reported of experimental developments conducted by Americans with the new automatic rifle AR-15 of a new 5.56 caliber by Remington. By the end of 1959 Soviet engineers had at their disposal two experimental 5.56 cartridges (that later would become known as M193). These would lay the groundwork for a future 5.45×39 – round that took almost 10 years to develop. This unusually long time can be explained by the fact that designers were forced to seek a ‘golden middle’ between seemingly conflicting requirements for a new proposed cartridge. They were asked to reduce bullet dispersion and increased hit ratio. Achieving this would normally necessitate reduction of recoil impulse and cartridge power factor. They were also asked for the new cartridge to have increased penetration and lethality. This in turn would call for increase in bullet mass and cartridge power factor. Additionally researchers had to come up with new statistical variables such as ‘effective range’ and ‘hit probability’ to be able to perform objective comparisons.

To conduct ballistics evaluations of a new American round (due to lack of any quantities of actual experimental 5.56 ammo) a ‘hybrid’ was created. It was based on 7.62×39 case necked-down to accept the American-type 5.6 caliber bullets. Bullets themselves were painstakingly re-created using American manufacturing methods. Experimental barrels were also made to replicate twist rate that of an American AR-15.

5.6x39-1

After numerous test firings conducted by НИИ-61 using ‘hybrid’ rounds, comparison charts were compiled. High instability of 5.6mm bullets (compared to native 7.62×39 round) was noted. This was the result of the length and shape of 3.56 gram M193 bullet, as well as the twist rate that was employed. Further ballistics analysis of the American bullet, it’s construction as well as penetration capability and lethality failed to render straightforward, satisfactory conclusions. As a result, all further small-caliber research studies with the American equivalent were abandoned in favor of a bullet of own design (that was yet to be developed).

First, R&D was focused on selecting the most ballistically efficient shape and construction for the future bullet. Step two of the process was optimizing bullet trajectory and recoil impulse. At that stage necessary powder charges were also worked out. This, in turn, led to the development of a new type of powder and as a result caused change in shape and dimensions of the cartridge case itself. To better the aerodynamics of the bullet it’s length was increased substantially compared to the American bullet. To maintain optimal mass-to-length ratio it was decided to manufacture the bullet core out of steel (that is also served to improve penetrative ability). For the new bullet a bi-metal (also known as CNCS) jacket was developed. It was much more resilient than tombac alloy used in the American bullet. Tombac was deemed too soft and too prone to excessive fragmentation. As the result of all experimental work, final bullet length and weight were designed to be 25.55mm and 3.4g respectively. Bullet received nomenclature index 5.45 PS that stood for caliber 5.45 mm Steel Bullet (Пуля Стальная).

 

545x39-3

New cartridge case

Through the first stages of development and testing low-impulse 5.45 cartridge utilized Pyroxylin cylindrical/tube-shaped extruded powder VUfl 545 (ВУфл 545), but was quickly replaced with lacquer-coated newly developed type Sf033fl (Сф033фл, spherical with diameter of the sphere 0.33mm with phlegmatizing agent added). New powder had higher gravimetric density and energy coefficient. New mass of the charge was determined to be 1.44g. VUfl 545 powder was not entirely forgotten. It’s still being used in 5.45 rounds equipped with ricochet reducing projectiles ПРС (Пониженной Рикошетирующей Способностью).

First two million of experimental rounds were manufactured using necked down 7.62×39 cases. This practice was already successfully employed for 5.6×39 sporting/hunting round chambered in hunting carbines “Bars-1” (Барс – Snow Leopard).

bars1_1

Extended trials at Odessa military district were held and revealed that round with such aggressively sloping case wall have presented a number of challenges when adopted to full-auto rifles. The use of new more energetic Сф033фл powder has allowed case volume and case-head diameter to be reduced without detrimental effects to the round’s performance. Project for reduction of the case dimensions was performed by engineering team of Lidia Ivanovna Bulavskaya. At the final stages of design finalization (performed by TsNIITochMash at city of Klimovsk) new more compact round was assigned nomenclature index – 13МЖВ. Following finalization of a bullet design (performed by manufacturing and production technology specialist – Mikhail Yegorovich Fedorov) new caliber of a bullet was designated as 5.45, measured (in accordance to USSR weapon standards) across the lands of the bore.

During earlier stages of R&D the cartridge case was produced using bi-metal, but by year 1967 more economical lacquered steel case production was fully mastered and adopted. Case length per technical documentation is actually 39.82mm. However in accordance to modern international ammunition nomenclature it became customary to round case length dimension to 39mm. Cases for 5.45 cartridge are normally loaded with brass primers KV-16 (КВ-16) diameter 5.06mm. Army designation index 7KV1 (7КВ1).

Large group of Soviet specialists in ammunition experts took part in creation of this new type of round. They all worked under director of development V.M. Sabelnikov. In parallel with the development of the standard bullet, special bullet types were developed as well. These were designed for tracer and reduced velocity rounds. New standard 5.45×39 round received GRAU index – 7N6 and was officially accepted into service in 1974.

Despite being accepted into service only in 1974 mass production of the new round, however, had been going on for years, since the end of 1960s. Along side with standard 7N6 round, specialized rounds were also accepted into service. 7T3 (7Т3) – with tracer bullets, 7U1 (7У1) – reduced velocity rounds, 7Kh3 (7Х3) – blank and 7Kh4 (7Х4) – training rounds.

Production was established at six cartridge factories across Soviet Union at:
Ulyanovsk – factory №3 (Eastern-most end of European part of Russia, about 450 miles east of Moscow)
Amursk – factory №7 (Far East part of Russia bordering North-Eastern China)
Barnaul – factory №17 (Western Siberia southern most part of Central Russia bordering Kazakhstan)
Frunze – factory №60 (Presently Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – former USSR republic in Central Asia)
Lugansk – factory №270 (Eastern-most part of Southern Ukraine – former USSR republic)
Tula – factory №539 (Centrally located in European part of Russia, about 100 miles south of Moscow)

545x39-4

 

Standard bullet

Cartridge 7N6 was equipped with 3.4g 25.55mm long boat-tail bullet. The bullet consisted of a lead under-lined bimetal jacket with a flat-nosed steel core. The type of steel used for the core was Soviet Type 10 steel (US equivalent: 1010, 1012, 1110 – top end of low carbon/mild steel variety). The flat-nosed core did not extend all the way into the tip of the bullet thus creating a hollow cavity in the front portion of it. The bullet muzzle velocity was between 870 – 890 m/s (2850-2920 fps).

In later years as levels of individual protection improved, mild steel core was replaced with hardened core made of Type 65G, 70 or 75 steel alloy (US equivalents for Steel 65G are – 1066, 1566, G15660; for Steel 70 – 1070 and for Steel 75 – 1074). A new modification received a designation of 7N6M and was accepted into service in 1987; however 7N6M was not reclassified as an ‘improved penetration round’ and continued to be marked the same as the 7N6; the bullets have not received special color markings either.

As armor continued to improve and titanium plates came into use it necessitated the search of new methods of improving 5.45×39 penetrative ability. In 1991 specialists of factory №270 (LPZ, Lugansk factory) developed a new bullet design which had a pointed core; however it was still made of hardened 70 or 75 high-carbon steel alloy. The new bullet was heavier; in turn the powder charge was increased to maintain same muzzle velocity. The new cartridge was classified as 5.45PP (5.45ПП) where ‘ПП’ stands for Improved Penetration. It was accepted into service and received GRAU index 7N10.

USSR fell apart before new manufacturing process was adopted by any other Soviet factory. With technical knowledge now owned by Lugansk Factory in independent Ukraine, Russian manufacturers were forced to go back to the drawing board and in expedited fashion ‘develop’ manufacturing of 7N10 on their own. As the result this process would give way to a number of ‘modernized’ versions of 5.45×39 which will be covered in Part 2 of the article.

545x39-5

 

Tracer bullet

Another major variation of 5.45 bullet (that was under development for almost as long as standard bullet) was tracer variety. It was constructed of bi-metal jacket with a lead core in the nose and tracer compound in the base. Due to tiny internal diameter and capacity, tracer compound was loaded directly into the jacket thus forgoing use of special ‘tracer containment cup’. To improve ignitibility compound was made two-part: main tracing component topped with ignition initiating component. Production bullet length was 26.54mm and weight 3.36g. After 1976 new shorter (25.32mm) and lighter (3.2g) bullet was selected as a replacement for the original bullet. Shortened variant suffered practically no ballistics degradation but due to smaller bearing surface area reduced wear on the barrel bore. Round was loaded with 1.41g of Sf0033fl (Сф0033фл) powder and received additional ‘T’ marking on the metal can (i.e. 5,45 гс Т) and GRAU index 7T3. Bullet tips were also marked with green paint. Metal cans with tracer ammo received a green rectangle to denote bullet type as well as were equipped with a pressure release valve built-in into the lid. It would allow release of gases normally produced by tracer compound during prolonged storage. Tracer rounds were packed into paper-wrapped packets of 30, and each packet was marked with a green stripe and stamped letter ‘T’.

545x39-6

 

Reduced velocity

Another variation of 5.45 that was accepted into service was 5.45US (5,45УС – Уменьшеной Скорости or Reduced Velocity); GRAU index 7U1 (7У1). It was designed for use with PBS-type flash and sound suppressors. Successful use of PBS-1 and 7.62mm AKM warranted development of similar capability for the new 5.45mm round. Along with development of ‘silent bullets’ new versions of PBS were also developed. PBS-4 – evolutionary development based on PBS-2 and PBS-3 was accepted into service along with new Reduced Velocity round.

During it’s development engineers met and overcame a number of physical and technological difficulties associated with reliably suppressing new round while in fully automatic mode. Initial idea of creating universal Reduced Velocity round that would work identically across all variations AK74 as well as RPK-74 was quickly rejected. Designers concentrated their effort on perfecting new round only for use with specially modified AKS-74U equipped with improved variant of PBS-4. As the result new special modification of AKS-74U equipped with improved PBS-4 was produced. It received new designation AKS-74UB (АКС-74УБ) and received separate GRAU index 6P27 (6П27). This measure reduced use of this specialized variation only to special units of KGB, MVD and MO USSR (MO – Ministry of Defense). Optionally AKS-74UB could be equipped with suppressed under-barrel grenade launcher BS-1M ”Kanareyka” or “Canary” (БС-1М ”Канарейка”). This novel grenade launcher was a modification of BS-1 ”Tishina” (БС-1 ”Тишина” or “Silence”) re-designed to use special 5.45 PKhS blanks and different mounting brackets that needed to be welded to the host rifle. To fire grenades comfortably and accurately, new weapon complex was equipped with grenade sight (attached to the base of a standard rear AKS-74U sight) and rubber butt-pad. This modification received GRAU index 6S1 (6С1).

bs-1_1

bs-1_2

30-mm grenade GRAU index 7P25 (7П25) was a Shape Charge Armor Piercing Incendiary non-self propelled war-head that was designed to penetrate hulls and render inoperable ballistic missile launchers, communication and control installations, parked aircraft, fuel and ammunition storage facilities.

545x39-7

By the end of 1970s was developed first variant of the Reduced Velocity round. It consisted of standard 7N6 (7Н6) bullet and reduced powder charge. Bullet tips were painted black and area where bullet and case mouth met were strengthened with additional application of lacquer. Later another bullet was developed with all-lead core and reduced ogive radius. These received distinct purple-painted tips, however soon it was discovered that bullet weight was insufficient to insure 100% reliability of gas system. Bullet was further modified by addition of the core maid of tungsten-cobalt alloy (RC hardness 73+). Diameter of the bullet was also increased slightly to improve muzzle pressure from 5.65mm to 5.67mm. These bullets have a characteristic step-down in the area where bullet is seated into the case. New bullet had length of 24.3 mm and was propelled by 0.31g of P-125 (П-125) pistol powder. New weight of the bullet was 5.2g and muzzle velocity was 303m/s. Finalized version of 7U1 (7У1) as well as production techniques were developed at factory №270 (LPZ) in Lugansk, Ukraine near the end of 1980s.

545x39-8

 

Proofing rounds

For proofing of new 5.45 caliber weapons new ‘High Pressure’ (5,45ВД) and ‘Increased Load’ (5,45УЗ) rounds was developed. First was designed to test-proof barrels and second to test-proof strength of the locking mechanism.

‘High Pressure’ round received GRAU index 7Sch3 (7Щ3) and was equipped with a 3.5g steel core bullet and over-loaded with 1.52g of standard powder. Due to increased weight this bullet was lacking boat-tail. It was almost entirely painted yellow; from the tip to the mouth of the case. Distinction was made to clearly denote it’s special purpose and to prevent accidental or unintentional use.

‘Increased Load’ round received GRAU index 7Sch4 (7Щ4) and was equipped with a standard steel core bullet and over-loaded with 1.46g of SSNf 30.3/69 (ССНф 30.3/69) powder. As with 7Щ3 it was also almost fully painted black instead of just a tip.

A third type was also developed and was called ‘Model Round’ (Образцовый патрон). It was manufactured using mass-production components but selected with additional scrutiny given to nominal dimensional characteristics of the round. It was designed to test accuracy of the new weapon modifications, comparison purposes between prototypes and standard service rounds as well as ballistic calculations and other field research. Bullet tips of ‘Model Rounds’ were painted white.

545x39-9

 

Blank and training rounds

At the end of 1970s for training purposes at TsNIITochMash by Volkov and Iogansen was developed a specialized blank round. First experimental blank rounds had an elongated case with a star-shaped crimped mouth. However after trials it was redesigned to utilize standard case equipped with a hollow bullet made of white plastic. It received GRAU index 7Kh3 (7Х3). It was designed to be used with a special reduced caliber blank-firing adapter that provided sufficient pressure to operate gas system and ensured guaranteed disintegration of plastic bullet upon exit. Until 1980s blank rounds had plastic bullets sealed to the case mouth with purple lacquer-sealer and red lacquer-sealer thereafter.

Around the same time Volkov also developed a dummy round: GRAU index 7Kh4 (7Х4). It used a standard case, disabled primer and standard bullet. Four longitudinal impressions were added to the case to differentiate from other types. Bullets were seated into the cases ‘extra tight’ and lacquer-sealer was not applied.

During USSR times 5.45×39 did not have standard Incendiary or Armor Piercing Incendiary loading, unlike 7.62×39. This was simply due to the very small internal capacity of the bullet and an inability to place any reasonable effective amount of incendiary components.

545x39-10

 

5.6×45 ‘Biathlon’

Another bright albeit short-lived episode in the history of USSR’s small-caliber intermediate ammunition development was 5.6-mm ‘Biathlon’ sporting cartridge. In the middle of 1960s in parallel with 5.45 automatic rifle cartridge, work on the new sporting round began. Same as with the military variant 7.62×39 case that was selected as a parent case. In contrast to a military round, sporting case was designed to be made of brass by default. The new cartridge came out pretty powerful – 45mm long case allowed fairly stout powder charge topped with 25mm long bullet that weighed 4.93g. Additional ‘3-dimple’ crimping around the primer circumference was added. Izhevsk designers Anisimov and Susloparov developed first in the world pure biathlon rifle BI-5 (БИ-5). It was equipped with quick reload mechanism and small recoil impulse. New biathlon round was not mass produced at first. Numerous trial batches were made throughout the end of 1960s and the beginning of 1970s. Small-batch production of BI-5 was established between 1973 and 1975 in one of the custom/research workshops of Izhmash factory. First ‘open world’ trials were held during the all-Soviet biathlon competitions and in 1976 BI-5 had it’s first World debut during the Winter Olympic games in Innsbruck, Austria. Results surpassed everybody’s expectations. All gold medals in Biathlon were taken by the USSR team. The new Soviet cartridge became an overnight sensation, while the military version of 5.45×39 remained to the world Top Secret, securely hidden behind the Iron Curtain.
Sadly a year later the world of biathlon said goodbye to the high-power cartridges. In 1977 International Biathlon Union (IBU) voted in favor of new rules in accordance to which starting from 1978 standard round for International Biathlon Competition became .22LR and the maximum distance to target was reduced from 150 to 50 meters. Safety concerns were sighted as biathlon was gaining popularity as a spectator sport.

545x39-11

 

Soviet Minimi

In the second half of 20-th century an idea of dual feed-type light machine gun was circulating in designer circles. It was soon successfully implemented in Belgian-made FN Minimi/M249, Israeli-made Negev and Czech-made Vz.52/57. Izhevsk designers took on this idea in the fall of 1971. The project goal was to use RPK74 as a base to develop a new Unified Feed Machine Gun (PU – ПУ – Пулемет с Унифицированной подачей) with primary belt-feed mechanism as well as the ability to use standard AK-74 box-magazines. The new machine gun was called to increase rate of fire over RPK-74 by 50%. Many accomplished Soviet gun designers took part in this project including Kalashnikov, Dragunov, Nesterov and Aleksandrov. By the end of 1973 they had completed drawings for the proposed machine gun. In the spring of 1974 the first firing prototype underwent trials at Izhmash’s own testing range. After completion of preliminary in-house trials development received a code-name ‘Poplin’ and was handed over to TsNIITochMash for improvements and subsequent trials at the testing grounds of the Ministry of Defense. Several different prototypes were developed. Alongside several variation of belts (200 rounds each) and detachable aluminum belt-cans were designed as well. The new belt-fed machine gun was already able to accept standard AK-74 and RPK-74 box magazines but work didn’t end there. While project ‘Poplin’ was under development two more increased capacity magazines were designed and submitted for testing. A 100-round disk magazine was developed by designer Kozlov and another 100-round drum magazine was developed by designer Paranin.

The last working prototype of Unified Feed Machine Gun (PU) was assembled and tested in 1978, but soon after the project was canceled. The Defense Ministry review concluded that as the result of the higher rate of fire and unified feed, weight and dimensions of the gun increased substantially. Additionally, unified feed mechanism was more complex and couldn’t offer high-enough reliability due to its significant difference in energy required when operating belt-fed versus box-magazine.

Later-on research and experience gained from project ‘Poplin’ resulted in the development of a separate detachable belt-feeding device (СПУ – SPU). The device allowed use of 100-round belts on any standard AK-74 or RPK-74 and was driven by a bolt carrier via a lever attached to the charging handle. Ultimately this project was also abandoned because of excessive complexity of the mechanism and complicated individual tweaking of the components.

Convenience

It was believed that under modern combat conditions a soldier inevitably would be faced with the necessity to reload his empty magazines quickly. To assist in this task 15-round stripper clips were developed 6U20.6 (6Ю20.6). These would be manually pre-loaded before-hand and stored in an ammo bag along with loaded magazines. When need arose a soldier would attach said stripper clips to the top of the magazine via supplied Y-shaped adapter 6U20.7 (6Ю20.7) and perform fast reloading under battle-like conditions. Several other types of stripper clips were developed later, including ones that did not require a separate Y-shaped adapter, but neither of those were officially adopted.

Packaging and Markings

Initially 5.45×39 ammo was packed into cardboard boxes 30 rounds per box as per capacity of a standard AK-74 magazine. By the middle of 1970s it was decided to replace cardboard boxes with more economical and simplistic stapled paper packets. Thirty-six packets were packed into a hermetically sealed steel can totaling 1080 rounds per can. Two 1080 round cans were then packed into a standard wooden ammo crate for a total of 2160 rounds. The top of the crate was stenciled with the type of ammo inside. Ammo was also packaged into water-tight ‘battle packs’- four 30-round packets per pack, for a total 120 rounds. Packs were stored in a wooden crate omitting metal cans, 2160 rounds per crate total. Ammo destined to be packed into water-tight ‘battle packs’ had primers additionally protected by a black oxide coating. From 1988 this requirement was discontinued.

Crates, cans and packs loaded with special types of rounds were also color-marked by painting respective color stripes or rectangles in addition to stenciled markings. Tracer round packaging was color-marked in the form of green stripes or rectangles, while ‘reduced velocity’ rounds were marked with green and black stripes or rectangles.

Unusual and somewhat atypical for Soviet nomenclature was the fact that the initial markings on 5.45×39 packaging differed from the traditional marking scheme adopted by Soviet Army. According to convention ammo was to be identified by specifying one after another following characteristics of the cartridge: Caliber (5.45×39), Bullet type (ПС – Standard Bullet, Т – tracer, УС – Reduced Velocity) and Case type (ГЖ – bi-metal or ГС – lacquered steel). However, for reasons unknown and undocumented up until 1982 all types of 5.45×39 packaging listed case type after caliber instead of bullet type. Example: 5,45гсПС instead of 5,45ПСгс.

545x39-12

 

‘Center of gravity shifting bullet’ legend

It is worth mentioning that the unusually small new cartridge was met with skepticism in military and designer circles. “Grandfather of Soviet Avtomat” Mikhail Kalashnikov was categorically against a new small caliber all-steel bullet. He was arguing at many technical review meetings that ‘this so called punch of a bullet’, as he named it, (referring to a stamping punch) will insure that no barrel will survive for long. To his credit first test barrels made for this round had hard time maintaining zero past 2000 rounds. At the same time Ministry of Defense demanded no less than 10 000 rounds for a life span of the barrel. To solve this problem barrel experts from NII-13 as well as specialists from Kovrov and Izhevsk factories were called to assist. With their combined efforts technology was developed allowing to extend life-span of AK-74 barrels to 12 000 rounds.

Characteristic trademark of the 5.45×39 round is it’s strong tendency to loose stability and tumble when met with an obstacle. This very unusual behavior early on created a plethora of myths of a ‘magic bullet’, ‘dum-dum’, bullet that’s changing it’s center of gravity and thus inflicting devastating wounds. A ‘New Scientist’ periodical in it’s June 9 1983 Technology section review even called this round illegal (one that violates international arms agreements). Because in their understanding the small lead plug in the tip of the bullet was sufficient to shift upon impact and drastically change the bullet’s center of gravity thus causing the projectile to tumble while creating “all the unpleasant effects of a ‘dum-dum’ bullet”. Reality of course was far different from the imagined horrors of the ‘new Soviet illegal evil bullet’. Center of gravity was always near the longitudinal axis of the projectile, albeit closer towards the rear and in actuality never shifts or changes. Because of the length to width ratio, weigh distribution and rate of twist selected, bullet in flight is balancing on the verge of gyroscopic stability. Upon meeting it’s target the co-action of two forces – mass and resistance of the media – cause the tumbling behavior that was responsible for bullet’s devastating wounding potential and it’s fearsome reputation.

545x39-13

 

Magazines

AK-74 was originally intended to be fed only from 30-round box magazines (GRAU index 6L23). Newly designed light magazines were molded from orange colored fiberglass AG-4B (стекловолокнит АГ-4Б). Increased capacity 45-round magazines (GRAU index 6L26) were designed for use with RPK-74 light machine guns and were made in an identical fashion as standard AK-74 magazines.

From the beginning of the1980s 30 and 45-round magazines were slightly redesigned and improved. A new glass-filled polyamide PA-6 (ПА-6) dark-plum material replaced the older orange one.

Around the beginning of the 1970s work on magazines with even higher capacity was conducted. Steel 60-round quad-stack with realignment to double-stack were in the testing stages when work was canceled due to budgetary constrains. Practical realization of the quad-stack development didn’t take place until early 2000s when Russian Federation accepted into service a new increased capacity black polymer quad-stack 60-round magazine. (RF Patent № 2158890).

545x39-14

 


Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


Advertisement

  • Jonathan Ferguson

    Fantastic article, yes please to Part 2.

    Just a minor proofreading point; the possessive “its” does not have an apostrophe (you have it here as “it’s”).

    • ostiariusalpha

      Right, because “its” is a pronoun. I make that mistake constantly.

      • Phil Hsueh

        It’s simpler than that, it’s is the contraction for it is, while its is the possessive form of it.

        Also of note, I’m seeing this mistake happen in a lot of articles here as of late.

        • ostiariusalpha

          No, I mean all possessive pronouns are free of apostrophes: his, her, its, my, mine, their, our, etc. You only use the apostrophe in a possessive suffix contraction to a proper or common noun: “Phil his” becomes “Phil’s,” just like “where did” becomes “where’d” and “you are” becomes “you’re.” Then there’s the mine field of possessive determiners. Yech!

          • Phil Hsueh

            Good point and to go with that, adding an apostrophe S to a word does not make it plural, despite what a lot of people seem to think, it simply makes a word possessive.

    • Bill

      I wouldn’t be too picky, and I’m a grammar nazi. Translating Russian/Cyrillic to English is right up there with Mandarin. This doesn’t read like a digital translation either, because it’s readable.
      I can’t vouch for the accuracy, but apparently the wash-out rate for the State Department Russian courses is phenomenal, and training astronauts to handle Russian was/is a huge hurdle for NASA and joint space flights.

      Waiting for Part 2.

      • Jack R

        Part 2 for sure !

    • Alexandru Ianu

      And as usual with Russian translations, it’s also missing a ton of articles (definite and indefinite – “the” and “a”).

      • Varix

        It’s more fun without them.

        • Kivaari

          I found myself reading parts with a Russian accent. Like watching a fil in Russian or Finn. I have to turn up the volume to read the captions.

          • Sean SC Hurley

            Awesome! So I’m not only one reading in Russian accent! (read in a Russian accent as well…)

    • I’m not 100% sure where the error is, could you give me a paragraph number?

      • Jonathan Ferguson

        There are multiples, just do a Find on “it’s” & check the context.

    • Boris

      ; ) I know that many Russian articles aren’t written by linguists and may be slightly rough, but I prefer articles written by those who are actual avid firearms enthusiasts. I’m sure that the rough ages will polish out. This is the kind of info you want to read and ultimately compile into some book.

      Outstanding article brother Mike!

  • Tritro29

    How do you like the Polonium on your tea Nathaniel? Sweet or Sour? Fantastic article and kudos to the translator.

    • Kivaari

      Or will it be a ricin pellet?

      • Tritro29

        Well I read it on original version, at the .ua link and the translation is nifty. Both guys who translated did an awesome job. And Nath posting it was the icing on the cake. I hope this would make the whole AK-disposable rifle squad think about their mantra.

  • Martin törefeldt

    I look forward to part 2.
    Please translate it.

  • Kyle Wood

    Please translate part 2. Excellent read. Keep up the good work.

  • Zugunder

    “Small But Perfect”? Shouldn’t it be more like – small but… strong?… agile?… efficient?

    • ostiariusalpha

      That’s a translation from Russian of the Hunting & Weapons article title.

      • Zugunder

        Well yeah, i know, i’m talking about said title. Original title “Мал, да удал” – old Russian saying. It means something like: “small but capable” or “small but good enough”. I can’t think of correct English expression. But it’s certainly not “perfect”

        • Marco Antonio Gonzalez

          Not knowing much of American culture. May be an equivalent would be “The little bullet that could”

          • Zugunder

            That’s nice interpretation, with context, and all that… I like it. I’m sorry, guys. It’s not like this is something important. Just pointed out. Good translation of article as a whole, anyway, thank you.

          • That’s a great choice!

        • It was translated to me as “small but perfectly formed”, which sounds odd in English.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Удал is conjugate with other Russian words referring to removal.

          • Zugunder

            Ah, yes, it’s similar to modern Russian “удалить” (remove, delete) or even “даль” (far away). But in old Russian it’s little different. “Удал” is adjective with root in “удалец” — noun that basicaly mean “the brave/mighty one”

          • ostiariusalpha

            Ah, learn something new every day! My Russian is more than a little casual and rusty to boot.

          • Zugunder

            No problemo, my friend. I’m similarly struggling with English 🙂

          • 5.45X39 THE BRAVE LITTLE CARTRIDGE THAT COULD

            Oh yes that is so happening.

          • Zugunder

            Haha, nice.

          • Zugunder

            Seriously, tho, Marco Antonio Gonzalez got it good.

        • ostiariusalpha

          I suppose “distilled” would be the most precise transliteration of the meaning of удал, but translation is not transliteration. Using “perfect,” in the sense of having perfected something through removal of excess, seems to cover Nate’s intended connotation of удал.

          • “Refined”, maybe?

          • ostiariusalpha

            Nah, Zugunder has it correct.

          • “Удалой” is an old-fashioned word that means “brave, courageous, valiant, daredevil, dashing”. “Удалить” as in delete, take away is not relevant, it’s just a homophone.

          • “Удалой” means “brave, courageous, valiant, daredevil, dashing”. It is quite an old-fashioned word, and is only used here because of the proverb. There’s nothing there about perfection or taking something away.

            The verb “удалить” means “delete” in IT contexts or documentation mainly; note it also means “to make futher”, so adjective “удалённый” means “remote”, and self-directed verb “удалиться” means to leave (so to make yourself further from this spot) – which is where the IT meaning has its roots. Anyway, it has absolutely nothing to do with “удалой”: they are homophones and have different etymologies.

            There are two widely known proverbs in Russia that underline the importance of small, inconspicuous objects or people:

            “Мал, да удал”
            “Мал золотник, да дорог”

            The first one says: “This one’s small but packs a punch! / Is very brave and valiant!”
            The second one says: “A golden coin (or anything measured in Russian jeweller’s ounces – zolotniks) is small but its value is great.”

        • Rob

          I asked the (russian) wife and she agrees, “small but efficient” basically.

          • MarkVShaney

            To borrow another sports euphemism it “punches above it’s weight”.

  • Patrick

    Very interesting article. Looking forward to part 2!

  • Major Tom

    Fantastic and fascinating piece of history. Please Part 2.

  • MPWS

    Congratulation to excellent article. It appears to be (though only thru cursory reading) without errors and in compliance with original Russian designations. That by itself is quite rare.

  • Andrey Litmanovich

    On the picture “two types of commercial …” two on the left, are adapters for firing 22lr rounds. Twist of the rifle allowed this (but is not widespread because of the law)

  • claymore

    Yes more of this article would be welcome.

  • @nathaniel_f:disqus
    I have a some more russian language articles on the AL-7 and AEK-971 develpoment. Care to have them translated?

    • Shoot me an email.

    • Papa Capp

      This is a must ! Please translate them for us

      and this article is a HUGE filler for the west of missing history on the 5.45 round

      • Дмитрий Богуславский

        Couple remarks: НИИ-61 and TsNIITochMash at city of Klimovsk is same Institute.
        When two american 5.56 rounds were inspected, engineers discovered that twist rate of AR-15 rifle was not optimal for that type of bullets (and yes, later models of AR-15 had twist rate change).

        Most troubles were connected with new powder and stable quality of the bullets when produced in huge amounts in rotary manufacturing lines.
        Tracer rounds were another kind of headache for the engineers. That’s why R&D process took so long.

        • Yeah, tracer rounds are *always* a PITA to design, and the smaller the caliber, the harder it is, because you really cannot scale down bullet wall thickness with bore size much. Nor does the amount of trace compound to reach the same burnout range vary much, in small arms rounds – you still need the same amount of lumens per meter of flight to ensure visibility, and excess lumens don’t really buy you anything… For a given range and velocity, you’ll need about the same amount of trace burning, regardless of whether it is a 5.45 or a 7.62 bullet.

          Given the wall thickness Soviet manufacturing techniques and requirements (M196 has, by most militaries’ standards, absurdly thin walls) required, there just isn’t a whole lot of payload space, and a severe limit on the exposed trace compound.

          Trying to get a rough ballistic match out to a useable range must have driven engineers to drink. Luckily, for a Russian, that’s not a drill, it’s a putt…

          • Kivaari

            AND for us, the 1:7 twist was used to stabilize the tracers.

          • Дмитрий Богуславский

            =))
            “Soviet manufacturing techniques”

            As with all mass producing techniques – it takes very long time for the R&D and various adjustments.
            But then – huge quantaties of the same products are produced on the daily basis.
            For example Lapua produces about 5 000 000 rounds a year in all calibers.
            One 5.45 manufacturing line could produce 1 000 000 rounds per day. Everyday =)
            —————————–
            There is a book Combat Cartridges written by a ballistician Dvoryaninov, that covers all sovietrussian cartridges.Invention, modernisation, various bullets design etc.
            I do hope that one day some of the info will be translated in to english.

          • Kivaari

            I would like to see it. Especially the inter-war years. Russia wasn’t stagnant, even if Stalin killed off so many good men.

          • That wasn’t a slap at Soviet manufacturing techniques, by the way – different paths have different advantages and disadvantages. In this case, the jacket materials they were using and their ordnance tooling, etc., was set up for meant thicker jackets.

            Switching to US methods and materials would likely have made the project unfeasible due to cost, time, and technical risks. Working the problems in the wind of how they were already set up for and experienced in was the smart play.

            And, after all, they *did* solve the problems, probably as quickly, and certainly more cheaply, than revamping to use American methods and materials.

          • Kivaari

            It used to be brass cased ammo was easier too make than steel cased ammo. But, the cost to use steel, that is cheaper than brass, wears tooling faster. In the end, it was said they cost the same in the end. One thing about steel, is the way we can leave it to become the gravel at some ranges. Brass screams, “Pick me up!!!”.

          • Don’t forget sunk costs versus changeover, either. When you’ve spent a lot of time, money, and effort setting up to things one way, it probably isn’t worth it to convert over to a significantly different method, unless the benefits significantly the costs, and you have time.

            Developing an “M193-ski” and “M196-ski” set of rounds for the 5.45, even if you kept with the same cases, and developing high volume, low cost, production of it, would.pretty much require the Sovs to covert almost *all* of their bullet forming tools, learn new techniques for handling the new rounds, accept higher reject rates (because the new bullets would be more susceptible to manufacturing error and damage), and almost certainly require them change their bullet seating tooling and techniques. By sticking with what they already knew, they had some design obstacles, but could pretty much reuse almost everything but the dies – no major new ground to break, no massive overhaul of production lines and retraining.

            It’s the same reason why the M3 Grease Gun made sense for the US, but wouldn’t have for the UK during WWII – building the Grease Gun used less in the way of wartime priority production, because we had a *massive* amount of steel pressing capacity for smaller parts that wasn’t being used for military needs. The UK did not – that’s why our M3 was a success, and their MkIII Sten (despite being “easier” to build) was not. We already had idle widget makers used to working with those scales, alloys, and tolerances, who didn’t need to be producing consumer products.

            Sometimes, the better engineering choice is to take the path you are already 80% ready for, despite some difficulties and inefficiencies, rather than break new ground for something that requires you to convert 80% of your production.

          • Kivaari

            Yep. That’s why I said it made sense for us to keep the AR and the Russian keep the AK. It makes complete sense.

        • Kivaari

          What many people fail to remember is this wasn’t a new idea in the Soviet military. Prior to WW2, Soviet researchers were investigating intermediate rifle rounds down to 5.6mm. Like the Germans and Swiss had done, the existing bore diameter was used, as a cost effective way to craft a new cartridge. That goes to the Soviets adopting the PPSh 41 in 7.62x25mm, as the round was in use, and three PPSh barrels could be made from the same blank used in the M91/30.
          Americans tend to think the Russians were primitive and did not use good manufacturing skills. Just the opposite to what went on. They were every bit as skilled in determining the amount of equipment was needed, how much raw materials were used, how much became waste (that was recycled) and how many square meters of floor space was needed. They did a good job of doing that.
          Soviets adopted a sheet metal AK in 47, that differed from the AKM of ’57. Even in Russia the milled receiver was a stopgap on the way to the AKM. Research did not stop because they had found such a reasonable weapon. Just like here. We had the AR15-M16-M16A1-M16A2-M16A3-M16A4-XM177-XM177E1-M4-M4A1. Research continues, and foreign weapons were considered along with new ammunition in various calibers.
          Personally I think we have the best weapon and ammo considering cost to performance values.
          I am surprised at how many people hold misinformation regarding the performance of all the cartridges in common use world wide.
          The persistent belief in how bullets perform in tissue should have been settled a long time ago. Nothing is secret.
          The Russians use some common sense during the end years of the Soviet Union. Much to my surprise Soviet forces were still using SKSs. By then I expected every Soviet unit to be armed with at least early AK rifles or AKM. With the Soviets sending so many AK rifles to just about any country that saluted Lenin would make one think they had fully supplied their own forces with the newer rifle. But like the times I served, we used WW2 era weapons. Then in the NG we used M6A1s, old M60s, and our sniper rifles were M1Cs. The odd thing about the M1Cs, is I was an armorer and they were not in our vault.

          • Дмитрий Богуславский

            “The Russians use some common sense during the end years of the Soviet Union. Much to my surprise Soviet forces were still using SKSs.”
            —————-
            Not in the army, more likely in guarding service (VOHR).

            By the end of the 80s – all troops had AK-74 as their standard weapon.

            Long life of the 7.62×39 in SOF forces were more due to versatility (standard AKMS,supressed AKMS, RPK LMG).

            For last 3 years, all 7.62×39 weapons were removed from warehouses and destroyed or converted into civil use carbines.

            ——————-
            “Americans tend to think the Russians were primitive and did not use good manufacturing skills. Just the opposite to what went on. They were every bit as skilled in determining the amount of equipment was needed, how much raw materials were used, how much became waste (that was recycled) and how many square meters of floor space was needed. ”

            That is the basics in the mass producing techniques.
            Scrap metal for couple cents may become millions, as different kind of products are produced in huge quantities.
            But on the other side of the coin – you have to increase tolerances.
            5.45×39 as a good example.
            Ballistically this round is as accurate as any good .223, but tolerances were chosen for the rotary lines and accuracy has suffered.

          • Kivaari

            The units shown were labeled as being from a “transportation company”. Rear guard? It showed they were not expected to be used in direct combat. Like out WW2 soldiers often getting the M1 Carbine because they were not expected to face combat as part of their routine. Issuing .45 pistols just would not be enough if the enemy got within contact range.

          • Kivaari

            I thought the use of that very long and tough bullet in the 5.45mn was an odd choice. Using a shorter bullet with a slower twist rate seems like accuracy and bore life would improve. I still think the Russian got what they wanted. Now it looks like they will get an improved rifle. at least as far as sights and accessories. If I only had the money I’d like a 74. Even if I can’t see those sights. They are a very interesting rifle-cartridge combination.

          • Дмитрий Богуславский

            strangely
            my last comment went missing

  • Kovacs Jeno

    Excellent!

  • Some Rabbit

    The article highlights the clumsiness of Soviet arms development process and it’s reliance on stolen technology. Had America set out to copy the 5.45mm, it wouldn’t have taken us 10 years and the final outcome would have been an improvement, not an awkward compromise.

    • ostiariusalpha

      With some notable exceptions, such as the M60 adaption of the FG42. That took over 20 years to become a reasonably dependable weapon.

      • Kivaari

        I believe the M60 feed mechanism was that of the MG42. During the war, the US Army tried to upscale the MG42 to .30-06 but failed because they did not modify the action to the 6mm longer case. BUT, the MG42 feed system is superior to the M1919.

    • Esh325

      One of America’s greatest achievements space travel which was wasn’t due to pure Yankee ingenuity, but expertise from Nazi scientists. How many years would it have taken? Want to talk about clumsy? Just look at the adoption and development of the M16 and M14. Filled with bureaucracy that caused the infantrymen in Vietnam to be sent to combat with an inferior rifle.

      • Von Braun designed launch vehicles only, and his concept for actually traveling to the Moon was very crude (direct ascent). The plan that actually got us to the Moon (Lunar orbit rendezvous) was first conceived by a Ukrainian, and proposed by two Americans.

        We owe Von Braun in part for my favorite rocket of all time (the Saturn V) which took us to the Moon, but that was far from the only game in town. There were plans for a Lunar mission based on Titan hardware, which could well have succeeded. Then of course we have all the actual Apollo spacecrafts, which were overwhelmingly designed by Americans.

        • gunsandrockets

          Crude? In fact Von Braun’s preferred lunar mission architecture was Earth Orbital Rendezvous (EOR) not Lunar Direct.

          • He daydreamed about that, but it was never considered seriously. Had Von Braun had his way, we wouldn’t have gone to the Moon before 1980, and would have built space stations instead.

          • gunsandrockets

            From NASA…

            President John F. Kennedy’s decision in 1961 to land a man on the moon “before the decade is out” meant that NASA had to move quickly to find the best method of accomplishing the journey. NASA gave serious consideration to three options: Initially, direct ascent; then, Earth-orbit rendezvous (EOR), and, finally, a darkhorse candidate, lunar-orbit rendezvous (LOR).

            Direct ascent was basically the method that had been pictured in science fiction novels and Hollywood movies. A massive rocket the size of a battleship would be fired directly to the moon, land and then blast off for home directly from the lunar surface. The trip would be like that of a chartered bus, moving from point A to point B and back to A again in one brute of a vehicle.

            Strong feelings existed within NASA in favor of direct ascent, largely because it meant the development of a proposed giant booster named the Nova. After the engineers made their calculations, however, NASA realized that any single big rocket that had to carry and lift all the fuel necessary for leaving the Earth’s gravity, braking against the moon’s gravity as well as leaving it, and braking back down into the Earth’s gravity again, was clearly not a realistic option-especially if the mission was to be accomplished anywhere close to President Kennedy’s timetable. The development of a rocket that mammoth would just take too long, and the expense would be enormous.Extensive research into the aerodynamic forces affecting the Saturn-Apollo launch configuration was performed in Langley wind tunnel. Here, researchers study the effects of wind on the Saturn I and escape tower.The demise of direct ascent led to a scrupulous evaluation of the second option: Earth-orbit rendezvous. The main idea of EOR was to launch two pieces into space independently using advanced Saturn rockets that were then in development; have the two pieces rendezvous and dock in Earth orbit; assemble, fuel, and detach a lunar mission vehicle from the modules that had joined up; and then proceed with that bolstered ship, exactly as in the direct flight mode, to the moon and back to Earth orbit. The advantage of EOR was that it required a pair of less powerful rockets that were already nearing the end of their development.

            EOR enjoyed strong support inside of NASA, especially among those who recognized that selection of EOR as the mode for the Apollo mission would require the virtual construction of a space station, a platform in Earth orbit that could have many other uses, scientific and otherwise, beyond Apollo. For this reason, space station advocates like Dr. Wernher Von Braun and his associates at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, favored EOR.

            In the end NASA selected neither of the first two options: instead, it selected the third: lunar-orbit rendezvous.

          • Welp. I stand corrected. Thanks.

            I hadn’t realized EOR received that strong support until the Gemini-Titan Lunar mission plans. A casualty of my over-abridged sources, I bet.

          • Kivaari

            And until a couple weeks ago that concept never seems to have worked.

          • gunsandrockets

            “that concept never seems to have worked”?

            Did you reply to the wrong comment?

            I presume you are referring to the successful landing of the Falcon 9 1st stage after mission completion.

          • Kivaari

            Right. As a kid in the 50s it seemed every landing on planet or moon involved a rocket setting down on it tailfins. That launch and recovery a few weeks ago was spectacular.

          • gunsandrockets

            Von Braun only designed launch vehicles? Hardly. In fact the Mars Mission Plan that Von Braun envisioned back in the 1950’s employed Mars Orbital Rendezvous to reach the surface of Mars.

          • As opposed to designing spacecraft, I mean.

          • gunsandrockets

            The advantage of the LOR architecture is it achieved all the goals Kennedy wanted, it beat the Soviets by landing a man on the moon and bringing him back within a decade.

            The disadvantage of LOR is it wasn’t good for much beyond that. Which is why the Apollo missions beyond Apollo 11 ended up such snorefest to the public, and arguably set back manned space exploration for decades.

            Actually doing something interesting and longer lasting on the moon without breaking the bank requires EOR and Lunar Surface Rendezvous.

            If we only wanted to beat the Russians to the moon, we should have aimed just for a Lunar flyby. But that was Kennedy’s fault.

        • Kivaari

          And that German said he learned the basics from Goddard. The US Army ignored rockets except for powder burning missiles.

      • Tritro29

        Please don’t feed the troll brigade.

    • micmac80

      So what was stolen here ?
      In terms of firearms far more was stolen from the Russians than vice versa.
      5R(R stands for Russian) rifling now standard in many match barrels and some serial rifles is someting that Boots Obermeyer developed by copying the AK74 rifling while developing test barrels in 5.45×39 for US army. You know while US 5,56×45 at the time was a dud with light bullets and 12 twist rifling , 5.45×39 was an advanced development with low drag long VLD bullets , fast twist rates and some of the best case designs at the time ( x39 , case specifical the sporting versions was literally smugled into US to develop one of the most accurate cartridges of all time 6PPC)

      • Kivaari

        Except if you notice the XM8 actually flopped. Did the XM8 go onto becomes a service rifle without being reworked and without problems, anywhere?
        Then we watched as the G36 has struggled and is now considered to have flopped.
        Perhaps the wisest choice was to PIP the existing platform, coming up with the M4A1. Now we see the M4-type carbines well entrenched around the world.
        Why do so many people continue to make claims that the M4 and the whole M16 family of weapons is somehow so inferior to European rifles that Americans must be nuts?
        If the 5.45 is so superior to the 5.56 M855A1, why didn’t we change it. The Russians seemed to be impressed with the 5.56mm, and tried to improve it. As stated before and in this article there is no “magic bullet” phenomenon in the form of the 5.45. If anything the article dispels the myth of the air cavity in the nose causing so much more devastation. Quite the opposite.

        • micmac80

          XM8 floped politicaly same goes for G36 .No one said Ar15 its inferior nor that 5.56 vs 5.45 ,it just that .5.56 in the inital form was rather under developed.

          • Kivaari

            Except my comment was in response to another now no longer above mine that said the XM8 was superior and the 5.45 was superior to 5.56mm. I believe it was by Fascist Corgi.

          • Phil Hsueh

            To add to this, the same could be argued for the Russians, how long have they used the AK platform? For as long, or maybe longer, than we have the AR platform, the only difference being that the Russians eventually changed calibers on their AKs while we’ve always stuck with 5.56. It’s only now that the Russians are looking from something new to replace their AKs and more than likely they’ll face the same issues as we did and stick (mostly) to the old AK-74 because the cost of the new rifle versus the benefit they gain will probably not be worth it and like us, their military is also facing budget problems.

          • Kivaari

            I would expect the Russians to do a PIP. A better built AK tightening up tolerances and adding a good aperture sight will give them a fine rifle. The loose AK has advantages as we know, but we also know that Finland’s RK62 and Israel’s AR/ARM are significant improvements over the AKM/AKS74. It would make sense to keep the rifle. Some would call it a political choice, like when we turned down the XM8, but it is politics of looking at the budget and using common sense.
            There is no reason to abandon the M4 or the AKS74.
            Our package with the M4A1 and M855A1 will serve us well.
            Russia could improve the performance of the 5.45 rounds, and it would be bad for us. As this article shows they built a stronger bullet that would not break apart. Why so many think it I somehow superior to the 5.56 baffles me. It always has, since Dr. Fackler sent me some of his test results. Just think if they had duplicated the destructive qualities of the M193 or SS109. It’s a good thing the mujis used the even less performing 7.62mm.

          • Tritro29

            RK62 is an “exact” copy, it has the main flaws of the AK series. The mud test will also get it to choke and the accuracy of the rifle (it’s a 7.62) with suffer the same. The Galil is also a problem on where and how you pick your poison. The idea that one round performs “better” after impact, than the other, is clearly a testament to flawed vision of war. It’s litterally, the thought that fragmentation is more desirable than actual accuracy. What I would pick the AR-system for, if I was to pick it, would be the accuracy mark, not the “wounding potential”. The fact that this debate even keeps growing up (blah blah fragments, makes horrible wounds), is frankly speaking stupid. The first task of the rifleman is to hit something. Dis you hit the guy? Yes? Chances are that he’s badly wounded enough so you could get closer and put a second round on his face. Most of the guys who were taken alive in Georgia had only been hit once and were badly incapacitated. And ironically the ricochet wounds were fairly common. If the mujis were hitting more accurately, the whole debate about wah wah “awsum destructive power”, would be in the history bins.

          • Kivaari

            Wrong. The RK62 is NOT an “exact” copy of the AKM. That was the RK59. The RK62 has a milled receiver. The top cover is fitted to closer tolerance allowing the aperture right and a night sight, by flipping the sight 180 degrees. The 62 has a flip up front sight for night shooting. Windage adjustments use counterpoise screws instead of a clamp type adjuster. The issue RK has gone through some changes testing sheet metal. Last I heard it is back to milled and has M1913 furniture. All AK rifles share the same issues with dirt infiltration. Protect your gear as much as possible. The Galil is a refined Valmet. The first 1000 Galils used Valmet receivers, an improved dual safety, Stoner 63 magazines and like the 62 better fit and finish.
            How do you get from one round having “wound potential” effecting accuracy? The rifles like the RK62 in 7.62mm or RK76 in 5.56mm doesn’t effect accuracy. So saying the truth about the 5.45mm v. 5.56mm is without merit? Why fight the truth? A typical 5.56mm M193, M855 (SS109) and M855A1 does create a more destructive wound, than the 7.62x39mm or 5.45x39mm.
            If you want the enemy to stop shooting at you, would it not be better to have a bullet that has a higher potential of doing so?
            You write, “The first task of the rifleman is to hit something”. OK, since it is much easier to hit your target with a M4 carbine compared to an AKM gives the M4 armed warrior an edge. Russians recognized the 7.62 PS was not a good rifle for shots over 100m. Crude sights limit its usefulness, coupled with the mortar-like trajectory and recoil impulse. That is why the Soviets designed the 5.45mm cartridge and an improved muzzle device. Both changes improved the ability of the Soviet conscript to hit.
            Soviets claim it gave an improvement of 2.5 times that normal with the AKM. So, here we see the Russians accomplished a major goal – hit the target as misses do nothing.
            If you think a bullet like the 5.56 that leaves a messy wound is nothing compared to the small wounds commonly created by the
            7.62×39 and the 5.45×39 is meaningless, then it is you that has a problem. Those awesome wounds are expected when both tissue and bone are hit with any round. If a wound doesn’t take out the other guy, he remains a problem. Chances of a man hit in the chest with a 5.56 over a 5.45, will suffer a rapid death. The chances improve is shot with the Soviet rounds.
            Remember we are discussing flesh wounds as demonstrated by using gelatin. No one is saying either GSW wont be bad, just that tissue wounds caused by 5.56 are typically worse.
            Being hit with distorted bullets has been an issue forever. Remember President Reagan’s wound was a from a .22LR bullet that flattened and sliced into his chest, coming to rest near his heart. It is like being hit with a flachette from a 105. Those hitting without interruption leave little ice pick wounds. Those that hit an obstacle and distort, will create bad wounds.
            I don’t get your obvious dislike for facts.

          • Tritro29

            I never mentioned the AKM, I said AK series. The RK62 has all the same flaws of the AK, including the round and the barrel “elasticity”. You won’t be able to shoot better in any ground breaking way with it.

            The Galil on .223 again has one big advantage (the round), but also quite some flaws (among them the initial batches has issues with the dust cover retaining zero and other structural strength issue) and weight for .223 rifle.

            Also you seem to have issues with reading. I said the 5,56 number one pro is that it is a more accurate round, when fired from a series of rifles than the m43/67 round. The main issue for the Russian designers was the 5n7/7n6 to be a better round than the m43 in a series of aspects. On of those is that the 7n6 makes a better proposition both in range and trajectory. The “damage potential” on impact is a secondary problem for the “military” side of the round. And the round itself proved quite capable. Given that the number factor for the round was and still is to allow the rifleman to hit the target, the 7nX does that very well, at least as good as the NATO proposition.

            Personally I don’t think for a moment that you got my point. You keep hamering things that I didn’t said. For various reasons the deal is still to have the guy incapacitated, not dead. WIA+Medevac take more hands away from combat than a KIA’s. And then there’s the overall issue with this idea that somehow, the Soviet/Russian rounds don’t “kill well enough”. I said in another thread. I’ve seen people hit by 7.62 and 5.56 on by a German KFOR/Serbian Police patrol about the same place and the results were that the guy shot by 5.56 survived and the guy with by m84 rounds died. And both had the same first need care, which was the German Sani and were evacuated to the German base.

            I’ve qualified with the 5.45 at 125 & 250 m with the same sights that would be used on an AKM. Many guys still serving, have asked to bring back the granpa. And they have had their way, AK-103’s and 104’s were pressed “back” into service with revised rounds. Many people in Georgia, dusted the damn AKM’s off. This curious reference that sees the Soviets reject the M43, I need to know where it comes from. Is it another “Krinkov”? We kept producing both rifles and ammo from the “old paradigm” as well as the “new paradigm”.

            Also what is “worse”?

            I understand you have no idea about the way WE (as in Russia) see our guns, and how we deal with them, but please don’t try and push this view that somehow Russian ammunition is “underperforming”.

            War doesn’t excatly fit into “gelatin and cold hogs tests”.

          • Kivaari

            What does “exact” mean? The RK62 is not an “exact” variant of the AKM. Finland issued RK59, an typical 1950s AK. They improved it.
            An RK62 is a better rifle than the AKM. Why? Sights and construction. There is no getting around the 7.62mm PS is what it is. It is inferior to the 5.56mm. The issue with the 5.45 is it doesn’t cause as much damage. It is a better cartridge when compared to the 7.62 PS because it is easer to hit the enemy with. That and the effective muzzle break make the AK74 superior to the 7.62.
            Gelatin testing is used to create a baseline standard that can be recreated worldwide, putting every nation of an even playing field when doing testing that can be shared by every nation.
            By the way the hogs are not cold. They are quite alive. Going back a long ways nations have used hogs so they get a realistic idea of how the bullets perform in people. In the Swedish study the anesthetized hogs are shot in the field. Intentionally, in a not quickly fatal way. Then field medics treat the wound as a corpsman would. The hog is loaded into a truck or helicopter flown to a field hospital where surgeons treat the wound as if it were a human patient. When done the hog is anesthetized.
            What did we learn from that? Well, we know what the individual rifle and handgun bullets do in living tissue. Hogs and humans share a very similar architecture. What did the surgeons notice with the 5.45? Well, they noticed that the 5.45mm bullets fired from an AK74 do not cause significant wounds in tissues like intestines, empty stomachs or lung tissue. That is a critical thing to find. It shows that a victim can be treated with less difficulty than those hit with a 5.56mm.
            You may think wounding the enemy is a good thing as it causes more troopers to disengage in the fight and care for the wounded. Well, when you are working in small group engagements, you don’t want to wound the other guy, you want to kill him. When an Afghani goat herder shoots at a soldier or sailor that man wants to kill our guy. When out guy shoots at that goat herder, we want to kill that guy. The dead guys can’t keep shooting at you. A wounded man can still bring harm to you. You really don’t want that to happen. In large scale combat your argument held true a century ago. It does do that, but it also has a built in system designed just for that moment. Tell that to a special ops fighter. Yes, getting 20% or more of your team wounded causes real trouble. If your team mate is dead, you sure don’t want to wound the goat herder that killed him, you want to kill the goat herder before he kills or wounds more of your fellow fighters.
            Now is where your rifle bullet can turn the fight. A bullet that pokes a simple hole doesn’t take the fight out of many a man.
            Shoot the enemy in the same place with a bullet as destructive as the 5.56 (M193, M855, M855A1) or FN 7.62 NATO (more likely to fragment than the M80) and chances are it doesn’t leave a simple hole (it happens) but it breaks apart and leaves a larger permanent cavity. If you don’t understand the basic health issues behind that, then you will never get the big picture.
            When you shot at men, and its sounds like you did, I bet you were not thinking, “I hope I only wound him so it occupies his buddies to care for him”. I bet you wanted that other guy dead, so he could not hurt you or your buddies.
            Just like civilian police. We put forth the concept of “stopping the threat”. We learn to shoot until there is not threat. If that takes one bullet or 15 bullets, it needs enough force to stop the other guy. We never learned to wound a guy, since wounded guy can kill you. Same goes in the military, regardless of some old saying about wounding him so it distracts others. Unless the threat is stopped, it remains a threat.
            Compare how the bullets that hit JF Kennedy and Governor Connaly performed. The bullet that hit both men remained in very good shape. It was slowed by traversing Kennedy. so when it hit Connaly it broke a rib and wrist. The next bullet hit Kennedy in the head, and that bullet went to pieces leaving small particles all over the place. Had the bullet been made as solid as the 5.45, the head wound would have been much less damaging. The 5.45 has a very strong jacket. The 6.5 Carcano did not have a steel jacket, just thin copper. That is a demonstration illustrating what the 5.56 does in tissue, that the 5.45 wont do. But hit bone while the velocity is still high, and the wounds will be dramatic,
            Only good hits count. But good bullets can increase what happens once it hits. Do you want to stop your opponent? A properly built fragmenting bullet has a better chance of stopping the other guy. I think you missed something.

          • Tritro29

            RK59? What? The model you’re looking for is the Rk54. The issue hower is that what Finland did is basically build a shorter barrel RPK with proprietary sights and voilà, somehow, illiterate Russians were beat…

            As for combat “know how”, in a firefight where two units are facing eachother many scenarios can lead to unit cohesion and operatbility break down. Among them two are often encoutered:

            1. One unit had casualties and needed to get them to cover. The level of casualties would incite the unit to break contact sooner than later. Half the unit hit, would incite the others to make sure the rest got out of dodge alive. Half the unit dead will only make more ammo for the survivors.

            2. The unit didn’t managed the ammo count correctly and found itself at a disadvantage while most of the rifles in the unit fell silent (for reloading or worse).

            Usually, a wounded soldier becomes a liability rather than a threat, if the shot placement (center mass, upper torso) is coherent with what is taught at basic and beyond. There are also all kinds of hidden wounds (arteries that get severed, muscles that get torn) which albeit not always life threatening provoke a severe incapacity for the wounded and take him out of the fight. That creates a domino effect on the unit.

            A “battle” is centered around a unit organization, it’s that organization that creates coherence and effectiveness. To overcome the challenge posed by an opposing unit, and especially in a chaotic environement, the goal is to break its will to resist and fight. Which goes from killing them all to having them go click click. The main thing about “killing” as you said, is that you will fire at a threat until you see it neutralized. However, that doesn’t always work like that. In many cases, a wounded guy, that’s face to the ground, spilling his guts, is a clear sign, your goal was achieved.

            If his buddies, surrender because you shot half the unit and they’re agonizing or dead, that’s as good as killing them. War is an experience, that goes beyond pew pew you’re dead.

            Given the volume of rounds I’ve seen guys dump down a threat in the space of 10 seconds, I’d say that, the whole fixation on “damage” is absurd.

            That’s why most of the heavy lifting is done by things that aren’t aimed through iron sights.

            Also when an afghan tribesman takes a pot shot with a poorly maintained chinese AK, an old Enfield or worse a Pak G3, he’s as much endangering himself than his target. Because the primary cause for concern to him, aren’t the bullets of the sailor or soldier, but the training that sailor or soldier has gone through and the organization (down to the muscle memory) the soldier or sailor is part of. The US serviceman, could use a freaking bow and arrow and still cause havoc. That’s why the main pro of the AR-system and 5.56 is the man behind it that takes full advantage of those. Just like it took full advantage of the Garand, m1903 etc etc etc.

          • Kivaari

            OK it an RK54, except my Ian Hogg book has a picture of Finns armed with RK59 rifles. It was said to be a stopgap measure while the RK62 was developed. Even the RK62 has gone through a long series of alterations, from forends, pistol grips and stocks. It was a good pile of bicycle reserves.
            You keep thinking what you want, I’ll’ keep thinking that killing the guy shooting at me is a threat until he can’t shoot at me.

          • Tritro29

            There’s no Finish nomenclature, about service firearms that reads RK59. That might be a test rifle (since indeed there were test rifles) but service nomenclature is RK54/56/60/62/70 (like 50 rifles)72/76/95.

          • Kivaari

            My reference could have been wrong. Hogg and I exchanges letters regarding a couple of his books. I had found nearly 30 factual errors in one of his books. Hogg responded that I was correct, except for one on a cartridge identification, which he was correct. That was a model 48 applied to a 7.62x25mm caliber.
            I have around a 1000 books, and of course I had given that one to a friend along with the letters. I could have headupass syndrome as well. I could have either read the cutline wrong. The rifles had the “plywood” AKM stocks. It turns out much of the wood furniture for AKM rifles were made in Finland for the Soviets. When I bought an Egyptian Maadi. over 30 years ago, I was told by the representative that even Egypt bought the stocks from the Finns. Either way I will accept the blame for misidentifying the memory.

          • Tritro29

            It’s nothing really. However the wood furniture? Really?

            Which zavod would use Finish made stocks? Hint there are only few cases of foreign stocks and there’s only one Zavod who did that. That’s Tula. And then again, mostly during the late 50’s early 60’s and then when Egypt bought Rifles in “kits” for their Maadis in the 70’s. You generally notice the Tula AKM’s from their receiver dimple placement and “red” furniture (along with some other signs).

          • Kivaari

            I wouldn’t be surprised. Many manufacturers shop around for parts. Like nearly all the current M1911 builders, buy frames and slides form others. Many today are cast, and show it.
            Taurus is known to build more things, just like Colt and Ruger. Ruger is said to have been the supplier of stainless steel to S&W. 30 years ago it was reported that the Colt gun division was only 5% of Colt Industries.
            We saw one large company using over 100 corporations to build every thing from train wheels, large trucks and 20mm cannons. Pacific Car and Foundry in the Seattle region was very diverse.
            I remember visiting the Detonics plant in Bellevue (WA) and they had stacks of defective casting from their supplier out of state.
            Like AR builders here, buying forgings from a common source.
            That Egyptian AKM was the closest to a Soviet AKM that I ever saw. I foolishly removed the black baked on lacquer and found nice phosphate finish under the back paint. It was in my era where common sense about paint of guns was just wrong. Even though it was a very common and good finish for weapons.

          • Kivaari

            I wouldn’t disagree with that. Training is often the key to how things end up. That’s why I said stopping the threat is critical. That perhaps is more to my police training and practices. We shoot to stop the threat, if that means they are dead isn’t important. I have family and friends and co-workers involved in shootings. Some bad guys went down with one shot. Others absorbed 13, and finally went down. All that were a continuing threat were shot at until they died or surrendered. Most were dead from handgun fire.
            Your comments are correct regarding a fire fight, especially in a rather balanced of forces. Toe to toe with poorly trained mujahidin
            the US or Russian soldier should prevail. Even with out supporting assets. A small unit action certainly can get ambushed and overwhelmed, even by low quality forces, like local force Viet Cong.
            As I said, stop the other guy. Yes wounding them can sap the strength both mentally and physically of the opponent, or your team. I still prefer demoralizing the opponent by killing the other guy. The familiar bloody drag marks following a battle in Vietnam, is a sure sign of that context.
            It is why I have said over and over again that hitting you opponent at 600m with a 5.56mm or 5.45mm bullet makes them sick. At that range if the enemy is sick with a bullet through the body that doesn’t kill outright, is a good thing.
            What confused me is you appeared to think I believed the Russians or Soviets were ignorant about rifles and ammunition performance. When I express a totally different view, by affirming they developed and adopted what they wanted. If I did not appreciate the Russian weapons, I sure wouldn’t have bought 25 AKs, 25 SKS and at least 15 M91-type rifles. I still have not shot as much 5.56mm as I have 7.62x39mm ammo. I would still like to have a representative of the rifle my grand father carried in the Russian army between 1898 and 1900. He served his 2 year conscription with the Imperial Russian Army. His kivaari was lost to relatives decades ago.

          • Tritro29

            Once again, we have two different paradigms. You’re coming from a Law Enforcement perspective. I’m talking about a military fire fight. The two have a fundamentally different requirements. When in patrol, 10 years aback, my primary effort would go into maintaining a role in my unit that would keep it operable. That’s the 3 “musts”. I move, i fire, be alive (yeah looks like a song).

            A small unit will get overwhelmed if there’s an organizational breakdown which in return causes or is caused by an operational break down (intelligence/domino effect). This isn’t the case for the Police normally. Police can call reinforcements, they’re not under an equal counter force restraint. While shooting a threat until “it drops” is possible for Law Enforcement, that’s almost never the case immediately for most military engagements. Even in an ambush you would need BDA. That’s almost instantaneous for the police. Especially for the US.

            Yeah bloody drag marks is a sign you’ve hit, not how bad and where. And that also means that one guy hit has made the rest move out.

            Wounding them DOES sap their will to keep fighting. Would killing the opponent be better. It depends on your role. Does John doe pose a threat to the public? Yes, so you can shoot JD to death.

            Killing trained people with at least a modicum of organization in hostile environment, with zero limitations on rules and practices is a completely different task. Therefore relies on a different paradigm.

            My view was that you’d deem the AK crude and inferior, while I have not much issues with what is basically an AKM in 5.45.

            You consider the Soviet rounds less performing than the 5.56 based on “wound pattern”, while the problem isn’t that at all. The problem t consider is hitting. On that aspect, the 5.45 is as good as the 456 on a platform that gives some and takes some when compared to the AR platform.

            From a military stanpoint, the AKM is a perfectly adapted weapon to military needs. There’s nothing wrong with it as war isn’t target shooting or ballistic testing.

            Everything else is conjecture.

          • Kivaari

            The basic fault I have with the AKM is the SIGHTs. As I wrote I had 25 variants. I have sold every rifle I owned that had open sights like a M91/30, Finn M39, or any SKS or AK. Not that I think they are inferior, just that I can not use them and hit. I avoid mounting optics that required modifying a rifle. To drill and tap holes in such rifles is counter to my beliefs. I did one M91/30 spurred on by my son. He was killed before I finished it. I did finish the project and gave it to his young sister. Just because it was “Mike’s gun”.
            I tried several Russian or Belarus optical sights. It was obvious that the models on the US market, were rejects. My last AK was a Russian. None of the scopes would allow adjustment to make even close hits at 100 yards. Without optics, they became useless to me.

          • Kivaari

            hen speaking of AKs, most only know the AKM. It is he most common in military use. Even US civilian models are primarily AKM. I owned around 25 of them, using milled, sheet metal, heavy sheet metal. I can guarantee the RK62 is easier to hit with than the typical AKM. The barrel is heavier, the milled receiver doesn’t flex as much and it has good sights. Same for Galils. Heavy barrel and milled receiver with good sights. I like AKs, I just don’t own any now. I sold all of mine. Today I wont buy an AK-type rifle if it has conventional sights. I can’t see the sights. That happens to many of us as we push 70. I can shoot ARs better, but even aperture sights are becoming an issue. I keep one fit with a Leupold Mk4 1.5-5x24mm and BUIS. Another is an M4 “Commando” SBR. A “back up” had an EOTech, and I’m waiting for my refund, so I can buy a better optic. Old age is hard on vision. I also had a large collection of SKS carbines and Mosin-Nagant rifles in 15 variations.
            The rifle I want, is the one my grandfather carried while in the Russian Army. It is lost to history.
            The greatest failure in Russian rifles has been the cheap and crude sights. It seems Russia is coming around where better iron sights and optics will be used.
            An AK in the right caliber is OK. It will never be an AR.

          • Tritro29

            Barrel could be heavier, sights “optimized” etc etc etc. The increment in accuracy would be basically minimal. And surely not enough to separate the RK from the AK. Ugh, there are a lot of AK’s that had milled recievers (among those the early m70’s) and that didn’t actually showed a ground breaking accuracy when compared to the AK or AKM.

            You claim you can’t see the Mauser style sights on an AK, well then you got an issue. Many people would just tell you, that YOU HAVE A PROBLEM, not the rifle. Or should simply go consult an occulist.

            The rifle does what it is intended to do well enough.

            Also Galils? Which ones? The AR variant isn’t the ARM variant, and the core issues of the AK, are barely mitigated by the calibre swap. Using the Galil in 7.62 will show the same results as with the RK. Not much of breakthrough either. Worse if you had used the galil AR in any stance you’d know that the sights are somewhat troublesome too, as the flip up sights are set for 0/300 and 300 to oblivion. This was one of the biggest issues of the Galil as the second set up was basically useless. On the other side, the weight of it was absurd for a 5.56 rifle, especially once loaded. It was phased out because cheap m16’s came down from the US.

            It’s very complicated to translate what serving with an AK, in the Russian Army looks like, as the general consensus for civilians in the US seems to be that what we were/are taught and what we use is worthless. An AK in the “right calibre”? Oï, if you say so.

          • Kivaari

            RK are the Finnish words for “assault rifle”. Instead of Automatic Kalshnikov. Finns used Russian rifles and machineguns for over 100 years. Considering Finland was part of Russia until 1917. Finland never produced new bolt action rifle actions, and used Russian rifles as a base, and then improved upon the Russian rifles. The RK62 is a very refined AK. The RK76 is a refined AKM.
            The Finn rifles are made to a higher standard than the Soviet rifles of the era. Having a better set of sights, stiff barrel and often a better trigger than the AK makes them easier to shoot with better accuracy. Having better sights is the key to the performance. It isn’t just a simple issue, as some think. Both the 62 and AKM are capable of good accuracy from a machine rest. The AKMs sights and flexing receiver builds in a lesser ability. Is it adequate for the Russians? I’d say they have been happy with it. But,we also see the newer candidates have better sights. I was able to shoot better groups with the Finn and Yugoslav rifles. Even the SKSs are able to give better groups than they typical AK. The extra 4 inches of barrel and longer sight radius helps that happen. The Yugo M59/66A1 had another advantage, of being heavier.
            Most published data on the basic 7.62x39mm showed velocity as 2350. In AKs, I usually got 2250. While testing the M59, I found that using Chinese surplus (steel core) ammunition gave the best results of any ammo in that caliber I ever shot. The velocity was within 7 FPS of 2350 FPS. That is a sign of significant high quality control. In the same era I used Lapua military ammo, and it did not perform as well. Forty years ago it was hard to find 7.62×39 ammo that wasn’t rejects from Czechoslovakia. It was obviously inferior. Ammo was so scarce that I reloaded the Berdan primed Lapua, using Norma 5.5mm primers. It was slower, but produced good ammo.

          • Kivaari

            The Russians had a 10 year lead on us. Not counting the work done while the war was still ongoing, we can see they adopted the AK in 1947, and didn’t issue many until ’52. We had the AR around ’57 but not in issue until ’62 or so. Even though we had a similar new rife search going on since he end of WW2. Some nice looking conventional rifles came out of Winchester and Springfield Arsenal. Very Mini-14 looking.
            We see the Russians are following the west even more today. Adding aperture sights and M1913 rails for use with common western optics and accessories.
            The “assault rifle” is pretty well developed. We ca look I any direction and we see carbines, using small bore rounds, having aperture sights, scope and night vision rails. Hand just about any of them to a soldier from anywhere and they will likely figure out how to use it and clean it in 5 minutes, without a training manual.
            All the attempts to find new ammunition, case-less or light weight plastics have come and gone. Bare bones practical rifles will be around for quite a time.
            The G11 concept was interesting. The ammo was never developed after testing, since it really will take some new breakthrough to get it truly case-less. G11 ammo never survived the critical test of having a pallet load getting hit by a 20mm cannon round, without exploding.

          • Kivaari

            It did not take all that long to PIP the M16. As well as never stopping along the way, but always looking at creating a longer serving rifle. We have a very good service rifle.

          • displacer

            The XM8 flopped because the main selling point was reliability, but in large-scale live fire trials like the Aberdeen dust tests there was a whopping 1% difference in reliability over the M16 in a 60,000 round test cycle. Oh yeah, it also kinda sorta partially melted during those tests.

            ” A more serious problem arose when the hand guard began to melt when several hundred rounds were fired in a few minutes. It was expected that the barrel would get very hot in these situations, but the heat resistant hand guard material was thought capable of dealing with that. So now a new hand guard will be needed, with more heat shielding. This will add some weight to the weapon, which is now 6.4 pounds. The designers are trying to get the weight down to 5.7 pounds.”

          • Kivaari

            Odd those European rifles being tested are all knock offs of the M16.

      • It being a riot-starting pun aside, how is the AR-15 a “one trick pony”?

        • micmac80

          AR is the only mayor fiream that is being built ,new developments are far and few between and then there is a whole industry that is more or less just putting together Ar15 kits ,something you and i can do in our garages. US firarms expertise is being drowned in the medicority that is ar15 manufacture.

          • Kivaari

            So, being a highly developed rifle that is both cost effective but so easy to make that we assemble them in our garages. I put 5 of them together while watching TV, with a towel in my lap to catch small parts. That simplicity is wonderful. Industry is not being drowned in mediocre rifles, some are doing the cheap. The customer decides if they was cheap or great. If we came up with a competitor that is so popular you would see it making inroads. With hundreds of thousands of veterans building rifles they are familiar with from Iraq and Afghanistan is great. Look at how little WW2 vets had to work with. A few bring back Mausers and Carcanos and Arisakas turned into ugly sporters by most. When M1s came along there wasn’t much that could be done to them.
            Having 15 European makers fielding rifles, why should we or anyone else care? Do any of them outperform the M4? How many of those nations have adopted an M4-type rifle? Do we need a SIG built AR, an HK built AR or Czech? Considering many countries are simply building AR clones speaks well for the model.

          • Oh, that’s an odd use of the phrase, but yes what you say is true, except the AR-15 is an exceptional rifle, not a mediocre one.

          • displacer

            Meanwhile in Russia, they announce yet another minor AK-74 variant for sale! INNOVATION!!

      • displacer

        Your information is a bit… off. 6mm PPC was ultimately based not on 5.45×39 but the larger and older 7.62×39 round. 7.62×39 has a larger case head/rim, more distinct taper, and significantly more case capacity than 5.45. The only thing those two Russian cartridges share is country of origin and overall length, presumably because it made it simple to adapt the AK platform to the smaller cartridge. 6mm PPC is also hardly just .220 Russian with a bigger bullet slapped in it by us lazy American imperialist pigs or whatever it is you seem to think, the creators of the round substantially changed every case dimension of .220R from the rim forward. There’s not much of the original Russian design left in 6PPC at all, sadly.

        As for 5R rifling it appears you’re partially correct, but again you’re sacrificing the truth for the sake of Russian nationalist pride. The land/groove shape is only one part of reason for the popularity of 5R, the other being the specific rifling land count and configuration. On top of that canted rifling didn’t originate with the the AK-74, and there are many other popular rifling configurations. 5R isn’t the standard, just one of many good options.

        What bothers me so much about this is that when an American is inspired by a Russian design but improves it (5R from AK-74) you act like it’s a lazy and morally-bankrupt atrocity, but when a Russian is inspired by American engineering but improves it (5.45×39 from M193) it’s cool and good and just the way things are supposed to be. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, dude 🙁

    • Grump

      OTOH, they had less need of an immediate replacement, already having a decent assault rifle and cartridge in service.
      As well, they took the time to develop a well engineered new cartridge for the application rather than using a souped up version of a cartridge designed for a bolt action {the .222 Remington}.

  • Kevin Harron

    Great article. Very informative. Very much yes to part two please.

  • Nathanusername

    Very interesting. +1 for Part 2. I’d also be interested in seeing the articles on the AL-7 and AEK-971 development someone else mentioned in the comments.

    I wish we could still get actual 7n6 here in the US. Maybe one day…

    • Wolf 60gr FMJ 5.45 is quite comparable.

  • Devil_Doc

    Great article, waiting on part 2. Love the pic of ak74 with the kitchen sink attached. lol.. As soon as I saw the title, I thought.. “has to be Nathaniel F”.

    • I don’t hide that I’m a 5.45 fan, but I actually didn’t come up with that one!

  • Weaver

    Part 2!!!!!

  • G0rdon_Fr33man

    Fantastic! More like this!!!

  • micmac80

    One part you forgot to tell is the story of canted lands Rifling , what we now know as 5R rifling stands for 5 Russian a type of rifling used for 5.45mm bullets and was introduced in US by Boots Obermayer while making the test barrels for 5.45×39 for US military. Rusian barrels used 4 grooves boots developed 5 grove variant.

    Now the 5R is one of the most popular Rifling paterns in precision rifles.
    5.45×39 seems to be a highly efficient design considering that the .556 version .220Russian spawned the 6PPC probably one of the most accurate cartridges ever.

    • displacer

      I get that your shtick is another Russian guy who thinks Russia invented everything and anything designed by any other country are substandard clones that belong in the trash but… ” 5.56×45 that was initially literaly a stab in the dark with light bullets and 12twist barrels”?

      Really? You think they just drew some numbers out of a hat and sent that into production? 5.56×45 was the result of a long-term study called SALVO and the 1:12 twist used in the early production of XM16s and M16s stabilized M193 fine. The use of lower-BC bullets and longer twists in early M16s came about because it was an earlier step in the evolution of small-caliber rounds at a point where Russia still thought 7.62×39 was still the ideal combat round, and 5.45×39 came about because the USSR spent a decade researching the groundwork concept laid by the M16. That in turn was based on the .222 Remington which dated back to 1950, that in turn was hardly the first small-caliber high-velocity centerfire round.

      I mean come on man, when you cut through the jingoism you’re basically bragging that after being inspired by captured examples of 5.56×45 Russia deployed a similar round 11 years after the US and it had _some_ practical improvements over M193 (which were mostly just academic given the platform it was fired from and the military doctrine with which it was used.) It was well less than 11 years after the deployment of 5.45 that the heavier SS109/M855 round and tighter twist rates were standardized for the M16, small arms technology is a string of small evolutionary steps dating back centuries rather than 5.45 being this amazing revolutionary milestone.

      Cut to now and while 5.45×39 is still a fine intermediate round with generally good ballistic coefficients and short-barreled performance, it’s not the hand of God you’re making it out to be. 5.56×45 has an definite edge in bullet selection especially on the heavy side with choices up to 90gr possessing a nominal BC of .511, and ARs seem to be able to fire higher BC rounds than 5.45 guns. (I can find steel-cased 70gr 5.45×39 with a BC that seems to be somewhere in the neighborhood of .402, while my preferred long range load for my ARs are 77gr Sierra TMKs with a BC of .420.) If you’re talking military ball ammo performance I think I’d generally rather have a 5.56 gun than a 5.45 because the worst-case terminal effects scenario for 5.56 is similar to the best-case scenario 5.45, ie yawing, while the best case scenario for 5.56 involves some pretty notable fragmentation. This is due to bullet design over anything inherent to the caliber, but it is what it is until Russia begins issuing standard ball ammo that has more severe terminal effects.

      Also .220 Russian was based on not on 5.45×39 but 7.62×39 so it seems odd you’re using that as the basis for praise for 5.45×39, the only thing the latter two cartridges really share is cartridge length which as far as I can tell is primarily due to the fact that it was designed for the AK platform . Everything else is quite different since 5.45 has a smaller base, far less taper, and significantly less case capacity than 7.62×39. 6mm PPC is a very accurate cartridge but it’s use has significantly waned as of late, it’s 1970s tech that still excels at short-range benchrest using lights bullets but at anything longer range it’s currently being beaten by the likes of 6BRX or 6 Dasher (which has a long and confusing lineage but ultimately their parent case is a Barnes wildcat of .308 Winchester.)

      6mm PPC is also pretty radically different from .220 when you really look at them side by side. The taper has been significantly reduced for greater capacity and the neck greatly expanded, so let’s not pretend that 6mm PPC is a Russian cartridge. Really all that remains of .220 Russian is the case head, it was a solid and convenient starting point but the capability you praise it for was ultimately the result of American wildcatters and benchresters and they changed it so much it’s very distinctly it’s own round.

      As a side note in another post I noticed that you mentioned that the creator of 6mm PPC had to “smuggle” .220 Russian into the US, which is… a pretty bizarre claim. Pindell and Palmisano got their .220 brass from commercial Finnish manufacturers that had long been respected brands in the US, specifically Sako and Lapua, and they had been making .220R brass for around a decade before 6mm PPC was finalized.

  • Lance

    Very good article Nathaniel. Wish you had a pic of the 5.45mm drum and quad stack mags though.

  • Renato H. M. de Oliveira

    Awesome! Bring part 2 on!

  • I wanted to add the omitted paragaph about the demise of 5.6×45 Biathlon. It’s admittedly off-topic, but quite juicy:

    «…In 1977, Soviet biathlonists finally bid farewell to the prototype rifle in Vingrom, Norway. Alexander Tikhonov, a distinguished Soviet biathlonist, was the star of the race. He’d led a perfect run with zero misses, leaving all the competitors far behind; when running the last segment, Tikhonov took the rifle off his shoulders, thrusted it high up in the air with both hands, and ran the last 1000 feet of the race with this defiant posture. Crossing the finish line, he emphatically hurled his weapon down in the snow, never to pick it up again.

    Witnesses recall that the scene nearly brought tears to the eyes of King of Norway, who was present at the race. That was the 11th and final of Tikhonov’s Gold medals, and the end of 5.6×45 “Biathlon” cartridge. The next year, World Championship held in Hochfilzen, Austria transitioned to new rules and new ammunition; the Soviet team didn’t bring home a single medal.»

  • Machinegunnertim

    YES! I’ve been waiting for this for years! Thank you Nathaniel and thank you dnepr0mike.

    Part 2 and more please!!!!

  • Rick5555

    This was a really nice read. I look forward to the other parts. It’s cool to see how the other side went about doing things.

  • BrandonAKsALot

    Part 2 please. Mike is a super helpful guy and has gone way out of his way to translate and explain to me some simple trench art on some of my mags. His efforts are super generous and very much appreciated. This is my favorite cartridge and I love getting to hear all the detail behind it’s inception.

  • Able_Dart

    I want to know more about the belt feed nutsac thing.

  • philippes

    Sublime. Please translate the second article.

  • Adam Selene

    Looking forward to Part 2.

  • Jay

    Great article. Thank you. But since you brought it up, please tell us more about that 5.45x45mm biathlon cartridge. 🙂
    So basically, after the Russians won all the gold medals at Olympics, with that cartridge, everyone else, was so buthurt, that they asked for a ban of the new Russian cartridge.
    makes perfect sense. Hahaha.

    • Bill

      I didn’t watch biathlon back then, but I’m pretty sure all the targets are now steel. I’m also guessing that .22 rimfire buys a little speed on the skis, versus carrying centerfire rounds.

      • Kivaari

        Going to rim-fire lowered the cost of training. It also removed what I considered a main reason for the matches. They started in Norway’s Army using military rifles. It should still be that way.

        • Kivaari

          It would be interesting to see them returning to actual military rifles. Even the Swedes and Norwegians used special rifles with aperture sights. Both action rifles crafted from 1896 Krags and Mausers. We with 03s or 03A3. No self loaders or maybe with REAL ISSUE contemporary rifles with modern optics. Showing ARs, HK,s AKs as issued. Now that would be a serious match. I watched the last center-fire matches. It showed that the Olympic are adapting war fighting skills to a polite challenge.

    • Here’s the Municion.org page on it: http://www.municion.org/5_6Vostok/5_6x45_Biathlon.htm

      Topped with a 76gr bullet, that thing probably had a muzzle velocity of 3,100 ft/s, or more.

    • Nashvone

      I don’t even want to think about skiing that far and then trying to pick off a 150 meter target.

    • displacer

      More like they asked for standardization of the cartridges, since Biathlon should be a test of competitive skill rather than a contest to which country makes the most optimal wildcat for a sport that only extremely cold countries strongly care about 🙁

  • Ben

    I second part 2. Weeks of online research could not have yielded so much information. Nice work.

  • Articles like this are why I love TFB. Absolutely fascinating look into cartridge development.

    • Kevin Harron

      Wholeheartedly agree. Great look into an interesting topic.

  • 5.45 was perfect a few years ago when it was as cheap as .22lr

  • Vitor Roma

    This reminds me, we need more videos of the 5.45 in ballistic gel.

  • Xtorin O’hern

    are thoes stats on the 5.6x39A rounds correct? 56 grain projectile at 3900 fps? i want to know more!

    • I don’t know, but that sure is incredible performance for a cartridge of that size, if so. They must be very high pressure!

      • Xtorin O’hern

        if i had the equipment i would be trying to replicate it, thats too good to be being kept a secret over there in russia

    • Keep in mind, you’re talking about something that is analogous to an M43 case necked down to .223. Lots of volume, lots of wall thickness.

      Bolt thrust must be super high, too…

  • A Fascist Corgi

    I’d like to learn more about this round from these guys, since it’s obviously superior to the 5.56×45 round.

    • Kivaari

      Obviously superior? How so? It has a good penetrator. It doesn’t destroy tissue like some have claimed. The bullet jacket was specifically designed not to fragment. It did achieve the goal the Soviets set. It was easier to hit targets with. The bullet pokes holes in body armor. I guess you read things that I don’t see in the same article.

      • A Fascist Corgi

        I know that most experts like Fackler said that fragmentation tends to create worse wounds when using rifle rounds, but I’ve never really read a detailed explanation of how important rifle bullet fragmentation really is. Wanting rifle bullets to fragment seems a bit odd to me since most people don’t want their handgun bullets to fragment. I know that people say that the reason why that is is because handgun bullet fragments supposedly don’t create enough damage like rifle bullet fragments do, but what I want to know is what the velocity threshold is for when bullet fragmentation is desirable.

        This also gets into the interesting debate of yaw vs. fragmentation vs. mushrooming vs. penetration depth vs. the size of the wound cavity. How should each characteristic be ranked in importance when it comes to figuring out a bullet’s terminal performance?

        • Kivaari

          Look it up. The wound profile illustration are every where. It’s part of the pubic record. When a 5.56mm bullet tumbles, as it gets to about 90 degrees it is still going fast, the bullet flattens (common in rifles) then breaks apart at the cannalure. There are two large parts and smaller pieces of jacket and extruded lead, still going faster than a good pistol bullet (those are typically slow). Those pieces continue cutting leaving a ragged cavity. If a bullet is built like the 5.45mm tumbles and remains together there is no large permanent cavity. The great part one article about the 5.45 explains that. Unlike more solid bullets, the M193 and M855/A1 create a real mess. That is why treating the wound is much more difficult. The wound needs to be cleared of devitalized tissue and living tissue that would form “pockets” where infection has a higher chance of happening. Debriding the wound allows better healing. It will often require packing with sponges (gauze squares) or rolled gauze getting changed daily as the tissue granulates and fills the wound.
          That can take weeks.
          A typical wound in tissue only (lungs, intestines or muscle) caused by 5.45 or 7.62PS normally is not so messy and therefore easier to treat. It is well documented regarding the old military rounds like the .30 US. A wound in a calf or thigh and even a lung with no bone interaction can be healed within 2 weeks.
          Why people have maintained the 5.45 magic bullet idea is beyond me. We knew it wasn’t that way 30 years ago. It was published world wide, yet people persist it explodes. This article shows as I wrote elsewhere, they built a bullet that doesn’t do what people claim. They did not like the 5.56mm and designed bullet that would not replicate the nasty wounds. They went for hitting the target.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            If what you’re saying is accurate about the difficulty of treating rifle fragmentation wounds (and I’ve read similar claims before, so you’re probably right), then that seems like more proof that the 5.56×45 round was designed more for wounding than killing (a supposed “myth” that I know Nathaniel F. takes issue with). From a quick incapacitation standpoint, why would your average infantryman care about how difficult it is to treat a wounded opponent? If I shot someone that was burying IEDs all over the place, I’d want them to be dead rather than wounded (especially after reading countless stories of the U.S. military releasing captured enemy combatants and terrorists only for them to immediately return to the jihad). That isn’t to say that I believe that fragmentation doesn’t aid in incapacitation, but I don’t remember anyone arguing that a 5.45×39 FMJ round “explodes”. Instead what they mostly argued is that it yawed like crazy when hitting flesh and would therefore create surprisingly nasty wounds for its size (including in limbs). And that’s something that I’ve consistently seen from 5.45×39 ballistic gel tests. What I’ve personally noticed is that 5.45×39 FMJ rounds (like the 7N6) tend to reliably create larger damage cavities in ballistic gel than 5.56×45 FMJ rounds (like the M855), despite 5.45×39 FMJ rounds typically staying intact as they wildly tumble through the gel.

          • Kivaari

            A soldier is not shooting to wound. The increased disruption of tissue by the small 5.56 is designed to kill. A hit to center mass is intended to disrupt the functioning of the target. Poking a hole in a lung or heart doesn’t always stop the enemy right now, regardless of caliber. A 5.45 or 7.62 that pokes a nice hole gives the victim a better chance of living even if it is for 2 minutes, during which time the enemy remains a threat. Hitting extremities with a hole maker, versus a fragmenting bullet leaves the limb more likely to remain usable. Cutting blood vessels and nerves takes it out of action.
            Like the ’86 FBI Miami shootout. One suspect fired one shot, then was hit with one bullet that disabled his arm and took him out of the fight. Luck played a part. Shoot an enemy with a bullet that doesn’t upset in the wound NOT tearing important structures gives that man an edge you don’t want him to have. A hole from a 7.62mm NATO through a lung with only bone being hit on the way out, will man the GSW victim is more likely to live, fight and resist. Hit them with a bullet, like M193, in a lung that destroys the lung, and that GSW victim is much sicker.
            Big isn’t always better.
            The 5.45 DOES NOT reliably leave massive wounds. Why does that keep coming up? In 1979 second hand reports told of this new and terrible bullet. Except once we had rifles and ammo to shoot, it became obvious that the “war stories” were not factual. What was discovered by shooting anesthetized hogs and gel blocks that the 5.45 gives lesser wounding than most. This part one piece tells you that again, yet you fail to read what it says.
            Read it again. The 5.56 leaves a mess most of the time. The 5.45 DOES NOT. Tissue wounds are not all that hard to treat. Any rifle hit to bone will make a mess of things. You may not get why treating bullet wounds is important. Medics do. Treat the wound in front of you and not the rifle it was shot from.
            As this and a thousand other articles have said is the 5.45 and 7.62×39 are less likely to makes wounds like a 5.56. Ignore the 35 year old stories filtering out of Afghanistan.

          • Kivaari

            A few minutes ago my copy of American Handgunner arrived. I recommend you read Mas Ayoobs article about a Skokie IL cop getting in a shootout with a robber. In under 2 minutes the officer fired his .45 auto at the suspect thinking he was missing because the suspect remained up and active. The officer shot the suspect 17 times with his .45 ACP Glock M21 using 230 gr. Speer Gold Dot.
            The suspect had a GSW wound to his heart. What finally stopped Maddox, is the officer took steady aim and shot the suspect 3 times in the head. Two rounds hit the face, and did not stop the fight. Finally one round hit the brain case. Now let me remind you that caliber doesn’t matter. Good hits matter, using good bullets. The cop had some of the best. He made an amazing number of hits.
            Now he carries a 9mm Glock 17. His experience with the Glock .45 mirrors mine. I told my chief I could not it with a pistol that was too large for my hand. I was the first to be issued a Glock 17. I out shot all the others using .45s. I told the chief I want to hit the target with a bullet that does damage, and not shoot around the target with a bigger gun. Soon we all had 9mms. The 5.56 NATO makes huge wounds most of the time. The 5.45 does not most times.

          • It wasn’t designed for “wounding” *or* “killing”. It was designed for maximum incapacitation in the smallest format, cheapest price, and lowest weight and recoil compatible with other military requirements (like range, durability in handling, penetration, etc.)

            Like pretty much every military rifle round since the late 19th Century.

            Our understanding of the mechanisms of terminal ballistics, and rebalancing of priority requirements (we no longer think that it is as necessary to ” kill or disable a horse” at 1000 yards is a major requirement, because infantry are not trying to defeat direct fire artillery by taking out the horses.

        • Kivaari

          The key action of a bullet is to stop the target. A bullet has to do more than poking a hole. A FMJ bullet at handgun velocities does not do much going through tissue. FMJs tend to push blood vessels and nerves out of its path, without damaging them beyond a bruising type wound. Handgun bullets in particular don’t do all that much in tissue. An expanding bullet (mushrooming) having sharp pieces of jacket will cut more vessels and nerves, causing wounds that bleed out or stop nerves from getting or sending messages where needed. Cut a nerve running the heart or diaphragm and that person is really sick. Handgun bullets that fragment, often don’t get the job done as each fragment is slow moving and light weight. Unlike a faster rifle bullet.
          A small 5.56mm bullet depends on that cutting and disruption to stop the enemy. The tumbling and fragmentation create a permanent cavity. In that cavity the likelihood of damage to vital nerves and blood vessels is much greater than a bullet like the 5.45 or 7.62 Soviet bullets.
          The 5.45mm, as pointed out in this article, was designed NOT to do that. Just tumbling means very little. An “energy dump” that leaves a small permanent cavity hasn’t done much. It is why men keep on fighting after being hit. The 5.45 makes holes the size of the bullet however it is moving as it passes through tissue. That is why I said it is not as effective as the 5.56mm.
          It is not a secret that the 5.45 is considered the poorest performer compared to 5.56 NATO, 7.62mm NATO and 7.62x39mm. That is not my opinion, that is what our army says.
          The myth created in the 70s and 80s were false. Certainly there were massive wounds on GSW victims when an arm or leg bone was hit. But that happens even with some slow handgun bullets.
          It also explains how the bullets hitting a victim show dramatic differences in the wound. A few millimeters makes a difference. One 5.45 bullet through an arm leaves a hole, while on the other side a bullet hit a bone. One is treated with a bandage and the other needs amputation.
          Quite a few people have survived a perforating wound to the heart.
          In 1980 an officer from a nearby agency was shot as he was preparing to exit his car when he was rushed. The killer fired several shots one of which blew the heart to pieces. The officer exited the patrol car, moved to the trunk and emptied his revolver at the suspects then died. He was running on the oxygen in his system, since his heart was not functioning. Stuff happens.

  • Kivaari

    Thanks very much for this article. This is the kind of article that end the myths and substitutes facts. It is an excellent transliteration without the usual “curious” wording so often found. As I mentioned earlier on TFB the 5,45 bullet was intentionally made NOT to break apart like the M193. An no “magic bullet” exists.
    An excellent article.

  • tony

    Thanks, please post Part 2.
    Great read, very very informative.
    Again, thank you for posting

  • Reader

    Yes please for part 2

  • flyfishr

    ” Steel 60-round quad-stack with realignment to double-stack were in the testing stages when work was canceled due to budgetary constrains. Practical realization of the quad-stack development didn’t take place until early 2000s when Russian Federation accepted into service a new increased capacity black polymer quad-stack 60-round magazine.”

    Does this mean the surefire 60 round mags are based off a Russian design?

    • iksnilol

      If so I thought they’d be more reliable.

  • It has nothing to do with ignoring the contributions of German, or even Nazi scientists, but rather it’s about remembering that it relied far more heavily on the contributions of Americans.

    ln your rush to collect Wikipedia links, you seem to have missed that I said Von Braun designed my favorite launch vehicle. 😉

  • BHP

    Please translate the rest. I am going to print these articles out for future reference. Thank You!

  • Kelly Harbeson

    What a great article about my favorite round! Way better than the Wikipedia entry. Yes yes yes translate part 2.

  • Rnasser Rnasser

    EXCELLENT !

  • Tierlieb

    This is one of the reasons to keep reading TFB. Thanks, dnepr0mike.

  • Jay

    Awesome. Thank you!

  • Zugunder

    That’s weird. For some reason i can’t find 2nd part of original article. Perhaps dnepr0mike can kick me right direction? Or anybody, please?

    • Zugunder

      Nevermind. I’m blind apparently.

  • FelixD

    This is an impressive thesis. It is reminiscent of the technical articles that were once published in the American Rifleman when I was a kid in the late 50’s. Thanks you for your considerable research and work in creating it.

  • Blake

    excellent article, excellent translation

  • iksnilol

    No surprise they got higher velocities.

  • Phil Hsueh

    And your point is? The Russians also benefited from the very same Nazi scientists, well maybe not the exact same scientists but they did have their own bunch of Nazi scientists working on their space program.

  • Camilo Emiliano Rosas Echeverr

    Astounding. Extremely interesting.

  • Steven Meyer

    Very Cool

  • A Fascist Corgi

    I’ve watched that video before. It still doesn’t really answer my question of what the velocity threshold is for when bullet fragmentation is desirable. Most people seem to boil it down to “handgun bullet fragmentation = bad, rifle bullet fragmentation = good”. But what about really weak rifle bullets like the .22LR and really powerful handgun bullets like the .44 Magnum? And what about extremely high velocity bullets like the 5.7×28 which can be easily shot out of a handgun?

    • The necessary velocity for reliable fragmenting depends on projo construction, CG, overall configuration (length to caliber, etc.), velocity, etc.

      But, *generally* speaking, a short length to weight bullet (2:1 or even 1.5:1, like almost all pistol bullets), in FMJ, isn’t going to fragment at any plausible velocity. But as a decent expanding bullet (for non-Hague use), you are unlikely to lose enough tissue penetration with a typical “service pistol” bullet to be a problem with unarmored *human* targets. (Painting with a really broad brush here…)

      Spitzer bullets at 3:1 (which is fairly short, actually) to 4:1 or 5:1 are gong to yaw much more dramatically, and in doing so, put much more stress on the bullet, at impact velocities above 2500 or 2600 fps, increasing the odds of favorable fragmentation.

      • Kivaari

        Very well stated.

    • Kivaari

      A 5.7x28mm is not extremely fast. It fires a light weight bullet, usually under 30 grains. It starts in the low 2000s. The bullets common to US shooters are designed to expand well. The military loads are designed to penetrate body armor in an attempt to create any wound, as any wound is better than no wound. 9mm to ,45 bullets are typically easily stopped with soft body armor. In the early days of soft body armor, the early ’70s, two loads that could make it through many of the vests then were the .22 Magnum FMJ and 9mm FMJ. Throwing in soft point made them even easier to stop. Now those get stopped.
      The .45 ACP is easy to stop. Slow, blunt, large diameter bullets, even FMJ hang up in Kevlar. In the early days a .357 Magnum would come out the back of a vest, often wrapped in a tear drop shaped ball of Kevlar. I told others that the surgeon would only need to stand on you and pull the vest off, as the bullet would come with it. Newer armor is much better today.

  • Connor Christensen

    Part 2 is a must. Please, this is so informative and information we could never get otherwise

  • JR

    yeah…please do part two! thanks for this one

  • Brian Miller

    Absolutely!More please

  • Brian Miller

    i had the idea this article is about cartridges & guns, rather than grammar.thats just me though.

  • Steev U

    This was informative and I would read part two.

  • pbla4024

    I believe Finish Suomi used quad stack magazines back in thirties/forties long before Russian patent you refer to.

    • displacer

      Yep, as far as I know the Suomi was the first to use quad-stacks (aka coffin or casket mags) and they entered service in 1931. There seems to have been an Argentinian SMG that used them prior to WWII as well, the rather strange HAFDASA C-4

  • Zobeid

    I think the most amusing part of this article is the painstaking early efforts to accurately replicate the experimental 5.56mm cartridge — which itself was a flawed design, developed in a haphazard way, to arbitrary specifications, and was unwanted by most of the military establishment.

    Examples: 5.56mm case design borrowed from 222 Rem with its dainty rim and no thought toward military reliability. Early rifling twist rate (1-14″) was based on a very questionable hypothesis to try and achieve higher long-range accuracy, as if they were working on their pet varmint gun instead of a service rifle. SALVO recommended 300 yards effective range (approx. 275m), then the requirement was changed to 500 yards to mollify the traditionalists, then to 500 meters to make it metric.

  • Guido FL

    Thanks for this great informative article !!!!

  • Cymond

    ^^^^^Dude, that’s like a half dozen normal blog posts, at least! The comments are probably worth a couple more posts.
    Stuff like this beats the hell out of another mundane product announcement. (Although unusual products are still interesting.)

  • Colin

    Stunningly great article, thank you

  • Core

    Amazing translation. So are we suppossed to believe the Soviets never obtaine dan actual M16A1 and 5.56?? And interestingly enough the “Canary” seems to be geared towards disabling missile hulls, so I’m wondering how many KGB agents were sporting an AKS-74UB with the Canary, quite possibly stationed in close proximity to American missile silos?

  • Bonzaipilot

    please!!!

  • Salty Nuts

    Outstanding! This is the kind of thing I love to see on TFB! Very informative.

  • Michael_Walters

    Very cool, good read. Thanks.

  • Bob.A

    Please do Part 2 for the 5.45×39 .

  • Steve_7

    “‘Center of gravity shifting bullet’ legend”

    Yes, the number of times I’ve heard this drivel about the 5.45mm round. It’s a very pointy round, go to an ammo factory see how they insert the lead into the jacket and you will understand why there is a cavity at the tip.

  • Gregory Peter Dupont

    Interesting.

  • Zebra Dun

    I recall in the old days of the Soviet adventure in Afghanistan SOF Magazine carried articles claiming the M-16/5.56 x 45 mm was ineffective while carrying the same articles saying the 5.45 x 39 mm was an inhumane devastating round.
    The truth appears to have been compromised.

  • DPeacher

    Part 2? Heck yeah I want to read part 2!

  • Gubbins48

    Excellent article; really looking forward to part two! Thanks for posting-

  • John

    Loved it! Need part 2.