MOLOT to Introduce a Multi-Caliber VEPR Rifle with a Quick Change Barrel System

Mikhail Degtyaryov of Russian “Kalashnikov” gun magazine has visited Molot’s premises and published on his social media pages several images of a new Vepr rifle. The rifle will feature a quick change barrel system. It will be possible to switch between the 7.62x39mm, .366 TKM, and 6.5x39mm calibers.

It is not clearly specified whether it is the Russian 6.5x39mm cartridge or they mean the 6.5mm Grendel. In general, there is a very little information about this gun. The official release is planned to be in October 2017 during the “Arms & Hunting” expo which will be held in Moscow, Russia. Until that, we can only guess what other features the new rifle has by looking at the images.

All images by Mikhail Degtyaryov and “Kalashnikov” magazine

In the above image, you can see the threaded portion of the front trunnion. The barrel probably slides into the front trunnion and gets fixed in place by a barrel nut. In the image below the sleeve around the barrel should be that nut. Judging by the U-shaped cuts on the nut, I think there can be some sort of a plunger detent system similar to the muzzle device retention of AK-style rifles. But that is just my assumption, the notches can just be there to fit a wrench.

Another difference from traditional AKs is the extended and upward angled charging handle. Note also that the iron sights are attached to the barrels and come out with them.

Reportedly, Molot also develops a barrel chambered in 5.45x39mm. Whether it will be a different rifle or will just require changing the bolt along with the barrel to switch to 5.45×39 is not clear yet.

Among other features that are shown in the images are the top Picatinny rails on the dust cover, the RPK-style rear sight with windage adjustment possibility, AR-15 compatible folding stock, adjustable gas system etc.

We’ll let our readers know more about this new Vepr rifle once it is officially introduced.

Hrachya H

Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying design, technology and history of guns and ammunition. His knowledge of Russian allows him to translate and make Russian/Soviet/Combloc small arms related information available for the English speaking audience.
Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at


  • BattleshipGrey

    Looks like a well thought out design.

    In a way, I’ve come to distrust quick change barrels/caliber swaps. Not from any experience with them, but it just seems like sometimes the companies don’t produce enough of the barrels to make the feature worth it.

    I also don’t have a current need to swap calibers in the same rifle, but I’m not opposed to letting others have such desires fulfilled.

    • Taylor Hardin

      I hear you. There was so much hope when the ACR was released and after all these years they are just now getting around to selling 300 barrels for them, if they are even for sale yet.

    • Malthrak

      It’s frustrating. Beretta’s ARX has workableand functional 7.62×39 kits that take AK mags, all you do is swap the lower and barrel, takes 30 seconds with no tools, but they have only sold them to Mil customers. They supposedly have .300 Blackout kit but it’s unreleased, and even the 5.56 SBR kits are unobtainium.

      The ACR had similar issues.

      Not sure what is going on 🙁

    • JSmath

      Eh, there’s plenty of examples that aren’t the ACR that companies came through with alternate barrels. Robinson XCR, Faxon ARAK… If you want to go way, way back, the Steyr AUG. By the time people got around to owning and using those weapons, though, they usually realized that switching the barrel outside of LMG-type-use is just, well, pretty dumb.

      I dislike the idea of quick-charge barrels in situations like the AR15 where having an alternate upper fills the same role without nearly as many issues (and taking significantly less time total); might cost a tiny bit more in weight in the grand scheme of things, but not that particular much if the BCG and CH are swapped over too (like the case of 556 to 300 and back).

      • BattleshipGrey

        Like you said, outside of needing a QC barrel for a LMG, I can’t really invision a situation that would require a barrel (or cailber) swap. Even a sniper will already be carrying the right caliber for the mission at hand. Weather or not they have a secondary rifle to get to the right spot I don’t know.

        • Wow!

          Yeah. Even then, personally I have seen few people outside the US who use an LMG actually carry a spare barrel. Generally you don’t spray with grazing fire like the old school tactics, but instead short bursts with aimed suppressible fire. The barrel gets hot, but not hot enough to need a replacement.

  • Gus Butts

    This is very, very cool. A good-looking AK with the provision to mount a modern optic and stock out of the box with an adjustable gas block that you can swap the barrels out of? Perfect.

    • RazorHawk

      Yep, for the first time in history, the AK platform has surpassed the AR platform.

      • JSmath

        That’s a good one? lol

      • Wow!

        I wouldn’t say surpassed, more like got closer to catching up. The AK still suffers from slow fire controls, heavier weight, lower modularity, less precision (marginal, but it is present), and lower durability.

        • Mark Brockway

          lower durability?

          • Wow!

            Like precision between the two rifles, the difference is marginal, but the AKM (is that the designation for the sheet metal receiver?) have a tendency to kind of beat themselves apart a little. Not sure about the original milled receivers or the newer production of AKs. ARs tend to be really long lasting, although I am not entirely sure why. You would think the aluminum receiver would be weaker than steel sheet metal.

          • Idiot Idiot

            It was a thin and relatively light stamped metal what do you expect ?. Milled receivers is tougher ,thicker and heavier.This is why i do not get reasons behind fawning over Walmet’s AK-derived rifles .They are tougher than AK’s and uses really effective if simple design solution and that is that. There is no brain melting derpiness of “Abakan ” AK-74 replacements or complicated engineering solutions of various Korobov designs. Though i sometimes wish that we drop such strict requirements for weapon systems and simply say “okay guys you can increase mass all you want but expect results”.

      • CavScout

        Sometimes I start to think that AK people are even more delusional than the 1911 people…

        But I try to remember these comment sections usually go retarded really fast.

  • Wil Price

    You have now render my Vepr Collection incomplete…
    Please take my money…
    That looks great even without the quick change barrel

  • iksnilol

    This is hella cool… I hope they make a hunting version so that I can get one in Norway.

    • UCSPanther

      It reminds me of the old pattern Galil rifles.

      • JSmath

        The new pattern is just called the ACE outside NA AFAIK, so you wouldn’t be wrong to say it just reminds you of the Galil.

  • Joe

    Very cool.
    Vepr > Bushmaster.

  • Matt

    Might have to check head space after every barrel change, but it looks nice.

  • Ivan

    So the guy from Russian gun industry is here. Most likely it’s 6.5 Grendel cause Molot been playing with this caliber for quite some time.

  • kpkp

    what do you think is the best barrel change system? not necessarily quick swap

    • Hard to bear the AUG – swaps the barrel and the gas system in a matter of seconds with a simple button push.

      • Giolli Joker

        It is also relatively light, not that hard to bear.

    • Wow!

      AR-15. Upper with optics are married to the barrel meaning you can swap calibers without having to worry about swapping zero of all your irons, optics, and lasers. Just pull pins and the upper flys off. Upper retains the bolt carrier which is also good for keeping caliber conversion parts together. Most repeatable system on earth.

  • Samuel Millwright

    Yay just in time for us Americans to NOT be able to buy them!

    • Ryfyle

      We have enough data to copy it though.

      • Samuel Millwright

        Oh for sure!

        For my money though, especially since it will be WAY LESS MONEY, I’ll copy the qcb ak setup out of bosnia which should be a modification of standard trunnions and ak barrels.

        Plus i really like the aluminum upper they designed

      • Mark Brockway

        Really? If that’s true, why is it that all USA made AKs are a joke compared to a true Russian AK? We do NOT have the original blueprints. US made AKs are reverse engineered which is flawed.

        • Ryfyle

          Or they make them out of garbage pot-metal.

  • The real question is, has Molot developed a 30rd magazine for the 6.5?

    • randomswede

      If it’s the “Grendelski” it’s essentially identical in case dimension to 7.62×39 except for the bottle neck.
      If it’s Grendel that would be awesome.

  • AZgunner

    That looks cool. Gee, sure would be nice to get that imported to the US. Too bad those scary scary Russians are to blame for election tampering and the sky falling… /sarcasm

  • Andrew Marcell

    Oh my. All this cool stuff. And we in the US can’t buy it

    • UCSPanther

      We can’t buy this in Canada either because it is a “scary AK variant”…

    • Wow!

      It doesn’t seem too difficult to gunsmith. However, I think the real challenge would be finding a good parts kit worth making into a donor. Plus machining factory parts will be a pain.

  • RazorHawk

    Wow, this is a game changer, assuming it is priced right. And as long as the new sanctions against Russia don’t ban guns like these from being sold in the USA.

    those stupid RINOS and democRats should all sent to muslim gehttoes in France.

    • Mark Brockway

      Since it is from Molot, you can’t get it. Sorry.

  • Gregory Peter Dupont

    Yet another reason to be annoyed over the sanctions.

  • OK. The process of buying it if you’re a Russian will be crazy. See…

    – smoothbore and rifled firearms need different licences;
    – each gun bought needs a separate licence (although you can apply for them in bulk);
    – controlled serialized parts are: barrel, bolt, receiver/frame, (cylinder) — so new interchangeable barrels _are registered as separate firearms_.

    So if you buy this gun and only have a smoothbore license (gotta wait 5 years to be eligible for rifled ones), they, I don’t know… I guess they’d have to separately register and sell the gun + barrel specifically as a smoothbore (.366TKM).

    Then, presumably, if you buy a rifled barrel and install it… it will be a rifle screwed to a shotgun? …Now, if you buy the “rifle” first, or if you buy a full set — then the “base gun” will legally be a rifle, definitely. ‘Cause combination rifles with shotgun barrels are registered on a rifled license. But… what will the shotgun barrel itself be? Will it be a legal shotgun that you screw onto a rifle?

    _Note: .366TKM is a round specifically invented to circumvent Russian gun laws and sell something close to a rifle (heavy jacketed bullet in a 7.62×39 case, compatible with AK and SKS bolts, and fired from a smooth barrel with a paradox rifled section). So basically that’s where the confusion stems from – of course any other shotgun/rifle combinations would not be that complicated._

    • Vasily

      Last time I checked there was a purchase license category named “barrel”. So you just make it a rifle license, go and order that barrel and attach it to the receiver. For what I understand, you just have to carry both carry permits (base gun and the new barrel) on you once you’re carrying. Just think of all these MP-18 shotguns/rifles in such a popular use around.

  • Mark Brockway

    Pointless article given we can’t import this into the USA.

  • Rogertc1

    I’d buy that for a dollar!

  • jack daugherty

    I just pray that they are not waiting until October to announce the Doomsday Device…

  • Al Shartpants

    So when is Trump going to do away with the DingleBarry Russian gun ban and the DingleBarry American rifle re-import ban?

  • Martin Grønsdal

    galil made a copy of the ak, now ak made a copy of the galil.