In the ’40s, the Soviet Union has developed its intermediate cartridge (7.62x39mm) and adopted a number of firearms chambered in this caliber – the Simonov self-loading rifle (SKS), Kalashnikov’s “avtomat” (AK-47) and Degtyaryov light machine gun (RPD). However, there was another firearm developed in this caliber which was not adopted and ultimately became forgotten.
Thanks to the Kalashnikov Media we have a picture and some information concerning this rifle.
The rifle was designated as MK-74. It was based on the Mosin-Nagant M44 action rechambered in 7.62x39mm and redesigned to fit the shorter cartridge. As seen in the above image, the action, bolt and the magazine are shortened. The new magazine was a two-stack one with a 10-round capacity. The magazine was non-detachable and could be loaded via stripper clips. The new carbine also featured a non-detachable folding spike bayonet. The MK-74 had an overall length of 103 centimeters (about 40.5″) with a barrel length of 56 cm (22″). The unloaded weight of this carbine was 3.6 kg (about 8 lbs).
The MK-74 carbine was designed in IzhMash by a group of designers lead by E. Levashov. Interesting to note that Yevgeny Dragunov, the designer of SVD rifle, was also in the MK-74 design team. This rifle was in the works from 1944 up until 1948. Its primary role was to arm the supplementary units for whom a bolt action rifle would provide enough firepower. Later, they decided to halt this project in favor of SKS which was perfect for the mentioned secondary applications.