Alexey Sudayev, a designer mostly known for creating the PPS-43 submachine gun, was also participating in the assault rifle trials which ultimately resulted in the adoption of the AK rifle. Recently, Kalashnikov Gun Magazine published a video showing and telling about Sudayev’s entry into the trials – the AS-44 rifle. Let’s take a look.
AS-44 is a gas operated select fire rifle chambered in 7.62x39mm. It utilizes a long stroke gas piston. The lockup of the action is accomplished via a tilting bolt. The rifle fires from an open bolt and the bolt carrier is the part that hits the firing pin after closing the action. Such a solution is normally seen in machine guns.
The receiver of the rifle is covered by a wooden stock. The trigger mechanism along with the trigger guard and the pistol grip are a separate removable assembly. The disassembly of the latter and the wood stock is not a part of the field stripping procedure and requires using a screwdriver and a pin punch. The top cover of this rifle is hinged at the rear sight block and in order to pivot it open the user must push the button located behind the top cover.
Apparently, the gas tube of the rifle is a captive part, however, it can be moved back when the BCG is disassembled to allow access to the gas block for cleaning it. The gun also has an RPK-style folding bipod mounted at the muzzle of the rifle.
The fire mode selector is located on the left side of the gun, above the trigger guard. The separate cross bolt safety is located above the pistol grip. The gun also has a dust cover which covers the charging handle slot. In order to close that slot, the user needs to manually close the dust cover and it will automatically open once the BCG is cycled.
During the trials, this rifle proved to be quite a promising design. Reportedly, Sudayev later introduced the improved (lightened) version of the rifle called OAS. However, in 1946 Alexey Sudayev passed away and the further development of these weapon systems was stopped.
This particular AS-44 rifle was made in Tula Arms Plant. It is currently kept in the vault of Military Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineers and Signal Corps in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Degtyaryov M. (2018, July 10). “Автомат Судаева АС-44. Видеообзор”. Kalashnikov Gun Magazine. Retrieved from: https://www.kalashnikov.ru/avtomat-sudaeva-as-44-videoobzor/