Mikhail Kalashnikov’s Experimental Avtomat-Karabin

    Kalashnikov Media continues their series of videos telling about some of the rarest experimental and prototype firearms created by Mikhail Kalashnikov and we at TFB make sure to deliver the most interesting stories to our readers. Today we are taking a look at one of Mikhail Kalashnikov’s experimental firearms called Avtomat-Karabin.

    Mikhail kalashnikov Avtomat-Carabin Avtomat-Carbine (7)

    The Avtomat-Karabin is built on a stamped receiver. Note that the rear sling swivel is on the receiver, above the pistol grip.

    As Ruslan Chumak, the host of Kalashnikov Media’s video tells, the name Avtomat-Karabin, which loosely translates assault rifle-carbine, is a bit confusing because normally the semi-auto SKS was referred to as carbine and the select-fire AK-47 was called avtomat. That being said, its name seems to be a bit unintuitive and one may ask why didn’t they call this firearm an avtomat too because it is a select-fire gun chambered in the 7.62x39mm intermediate cartridge. It turns out, that the reason for calling it Avtomat-Karbin is to point out that it is sort of an accurized assault rifle.

    Mikhail kalashnikov Avtomat-Carabin Avtomat-Carbine (5)

    The barrel of the Avtomat-Karabin is longer, probably similar to the barrel length of SKS (about 20″). The length of this rifle is 975mm (38.4″) and it weighs 4.2 kilograms (9lbs 4oz).

    This rifle was developed in the ’50s after the AK-47 was adopted and before its modernized version, AKM was introduced. As mentioned above, the Avtomat-Karbin was an attempt to create an accurized version of the AK-47. To achieve this goal, Mikhail Kalashnikov made some design changes.

    Mikhail kalashnikov Avtomat-Karabin Avtomat-Carbine (6)

    The marking on the front trunnion shows the year of 1955.

    Mikhail kalashnikov Avtomat-Carabin Avtomat-Carbine (4)

    The safety selector has a different design. АВ stands for full auto and ПР is the safe position. I suppose the single-shot mode is inbetween these two positions.

    One of the differences from AK is the barrel length – it is longer on this rifle compared to AK-47. The rifle is still gas-operated but utilizes a short-stroke piston as opposed to the long-stroke piston of AK rifles. There are also some other design changes that probably have nothing to do with making the rifle more accurate. For example, the top cover of the receiver leaves the BCG uncovered similar to Vz. 58 rifles. The design of the safety selector is changed and the rear sight is simplified. And lastly, the gun has this long slim wooden handguard.

    Mikhail kalashnikov Avtomat-Carabin Avtomat-Carbine (9)

    The dust cover removed. Disassembly of this rifle is quite similar to AK-47 requiring to remove the receiver cover, push the captive recoil spring assembly forward and pull it back and lastly pull the BCG back and lift it up.

    Mikhail kalashnikov Avtomat-Carabin Avtomat-Carbine (10)

    The general design of the bolt carrier and bolt is similar to that of the AK-47 with the exception of lack of the piston attached to the bolt carrier. According to Ruslan Chumak, the trigger mechanism is also similar to the AK trigger.

    Although this rifle proofed to work well, its further development was halted and in 1959 the Soviets eventually adopted the AKM, improved version of AK-47, which was to replace both the AK-47s and SKS carbines.

    Mikhail kalashnikov Avtomat-Carabin Avtomat-Carbine (3)

    Mikhail kalashnikov Avtomat-Carabin Avtomat-Carbine (8)

    This is the only sample of Kalashnikov’s Avtomat-Karabin that survives to our days. It’s kept in the Military Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineers and Signal Corps in Saint Petersburg, Russia.


    Images by Kalashnikov Media, retrieved from: https://kalashnikov.media/video/weapons/kalashnikov100-avtomat-karabin-kalashnikova

    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. Hrachya also writes for SilahReport.com
    Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at [email protected]


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