Recently, a Russian competition shooter released a video where he points out an issue concerning the VEPR shotguns. Well, considering the amount of rounds competition shooters put through their guns, this might not even be an issue for an average shooter. Anyway, looks like the VEPR shotgun part that is more likely to fail the first is the bolt head.
As you can see, the separate bolt head is attached to the bolt body via a cross pin. And the cutout for that pin leaves a very small amount of metal on that bolt head tail. That eventually leads to breakage of the part.
At the beginning of the video, you can see how Murphy’s law helps the bolt to break not at countless practice shooting sessions but during the actual competition. Also, this is the third time that the bolt head fails on this shooter’s gun. In all cases, it broke exactly the same way.
By reading this article, some people may think that Kalashnikov rifles are not that reliable as they are said to be. Well, first, all guns will eventually break at a certain point. Second, although being based on the Kalashnikov rifles (based on RPK in the case of VEPR shotguns), these shotguns have several parts different from the original AK design. As you might have guessed, the AK rifles don’t have that separate bolt head. It is something added during the development of these shotguns.