As predicted by many Russian experts, the .366 TKM and 9.6x53mm Lancaster cartridges quickly became highly popular in Russian civilian market. This success led Russian companies to develop new guns chambered in these calibers. In this article, we will take a look at three new Russian rifles chambered in .366 TKM or 9.6x53mm Lancaster.
We have earlier published articles dedicated to these cartridges. I’ll briefly describe them here, but if you want to learn more, you can read the mentioned TFB articles by clicking here, here and here.
The whole idea of developing these two cartridges was to comply with the Russian legislation requirements. In Russia, one has to own a shotgun for five years until he can become eligible to purchase a rifle. To address this inconvenience, Molot and Techcrim developed the .366 TKM cartridge (7.62×39 case necked up to .366 caliber) and certified it as a smoothbore one. The guns chambered in .366 TKM have partially rifled barrels with the bore starting smooth and having roughly five inches of a rifled portion from the muzzle end. The length of the rifled portion makes these guns to be legally considered smoothbore firearms with a built-in rifled choke. The advantage for the customers is that without having to wait five years, they can buy one of these guns which are considered shotguns but provide a rifle-like performance. For the manufacturers of AK rifles, making guns chambered in .366 TKM is also quite an easy task in most cases requiring only rebarreling the 7.62x39mm AK rifles.
Shortly after the success of .366 TKM cartridge, Techcrim introduced the 9.6x53mm Lancaster cartridge. This cartridge is based on the 7.62x54mmR case and has a bullet diameter of 10.3mm. The new cartridge was much more powerful and the arms makers opted for a different solution than making partially rifled barrels because in this case engaging the riflings at the end portion of the bore could apply unnecessarily high stresses to the barrel.
The solution was to use oval bore rifling (a.k.a. Lancaster rifling) in making the barrels of guns chambered in this caliber. In this case, the absence of traditional lands and grooves allows them to certify oval bore firearms as a smoothbore, too.
Molot Oruzhie was the company that co-designed these cartridges with Techcrim. That’s why if you visit their website, you will see a large variety of firearms offered in these calibers. Another Russian company called Molot Arms has also been rebarreling AK, SKS and Mosin-Nagant rifles into these two calibers. Later, Kalashnikov Concern introduced a rifle (TG-2) chambered in .366 TKM. Techcrim, the designer and only manufacturer of these cartridges, was also making .366 TKM rifled barrel inserts for 12 gauge break action shotguns. As mentioned above, today we will take a look at the three newest rifles chambered in these calibers.
Molot Gornostay Bolt Action Rifle
Molot Oruzhie has earlier announced that they were working on designing a compact bolt action rifle dedicated to being chambered in intermediate calibers. All we knew up until recently is that the rifle was called Gornostay. A couple of months ago a YouTube channel called Top Hunter TV visited the Molot factory and to my knowledge, the Gornostay rifle was first shown to the public in their video.
Interestingly, they have opted to have rear locking lugs. According to one of the designers, such layout was chosen to ensure a more reliable feeding. The absence of locking recesses in the front receiver ring allows designing a very smooth transition from the magazine to the chamber. This rifle will be made in the following five caliber options: .366 TKM, 7.62x39mm, 6.5mm Grendel, 5.45x39mm and .223 Remington.
ADAR Ladoga Straight Pull Bolt Action Rifle
Ladoga is a prototype straight pull bolt action rifle which is being designed by a Russian company called ADAR. I have heard rumors about this rifle but there was no evidence of its existence until the Kalashnikov Gun Magazine published some images of Ladoga rifle. According to KGM, the rifle will first be released in .366 TKM, however, the company also plans to later add versions chambered in 7.62x39mm and 6.5mm Grendel. All the three cartridges share the same rim diameter and if the action is designed to withstand the highest pressure cartridge of the three (6.5mm Grendel) then changing the calibers should be just a matter of a barrel change. I am pretty sure the low capacity (probably five rounds or so) of the magazine won’t cause magazine interchangeability issues associated with different case tapers and calibers and they should be able to make one magazine that fits all the three cartridges.
I think they could also relatively easily make a .50 Beowulf version of the Ladoga rifle because this cartridge also has rim dimensions identical to 7.62x39mm. I am not sure if .50 Beowulf is any popular in Russia, nevertheless, a straight pull bolt action rifle in .50 Beowulf sounds like a ton of fun and quite a potent hunting rig.
TK598 Bolt Action Rifle
A company called Izhevskiy Arsenal and Techcrim have collaborated to release a bolt action rifle called TK598. This rifle is chambered in 9.6x53mm Lancaster. It is based on Serbian Zastava M70. Basically, TK598 is a Mauser action rifle chambered in the mentioned caliber and with a Lancaster oval bore rifling.
The barrels of these rifles are cold hammer forged and have chrome lined bores. The iron sights are borrowed from Zastava M70 rifles and the top of the receiver is drilled and tapped for mounting Picatinny rails or scope rings. The muzzle is threaded with M16x1 metric thread pitch and comes with a thread protector.
The TK598 rifles have three round capacity. The integral magazines have been redesigned to minimize the possibility of rim lock and ensure reliable feeding of the rimmed cartridges.
These three and probably other new firearms chambered in .366 TKM or 9.6x53mm Lancaster should be officially announced at Arms & Hunting 2018 exhibition held in October in Moscow, Russia.