Wheelgun Wednesday: Zenk RZMK-357 Bullpup Revolver

Hrachya H
by Hrachya H
Wheelgun Wednesday Zenk RZMK-357 Revolver (1)

Welcome back to Wheelgun Wednesday, a weekly articles series on The Firearm Blog where we discuss everything revolver: from historical to modern wheelguns, from prototype and experimental revolvers to custom-made and mass-produced ones, from conventional designs to the most unusual ones including bullpups. Yes, bullpups! For the lack of a better term, I’ll call the wheelgun we are taking a look at today a bullpup revolver. Designed by a company called Zenk LLC, the RZMK-357 revolver has a cylinder located behind the trigger which I guess makes it a bullpup. Interesting, isn’t it? Let’s take a closer look.

Previously on Wheelgun Wednesday @ TFB:

Wheelgun Wednesday Zenk RZMK-357 Revolver (3)

Zenk RZMK-357 is a double action 6-shot top break revolver chambered in .357 Magnum. It’s made of stainless steel and will be available in black and silver colors. The revolver has iron sights and a top 4-slot Picatinny rail section. The barrel length of the RZMK-357 revolver is 4.37″ (111mm), the height is 5.67″ (144mm), the overall length is 6.85″ (174mm) and it weighs 33oz (950 grams).

From what we can see in the pictures, there is apparently some mechanism around the barrel and there are two control levers on the frame, in front of and behind the cylinder housing. It is unknown what each of these controls is for and we don’t know any other details on the mechanism of this revolver. Zenk LLC will be exhibiting at SHOT Show 2023 and we’ll make sure to visit their booth and report more about the design of this revolver.

Wheelgun Wednesday Zenk RZMK-357 Revolver (1)

The bullpup revolver concept is not new per se. The oldest one is probably the Jacob Shaw revolver which was patented in 1857. Then there is the Italian Luigi Cherubin revolver patented in 1881. Soviets experimented with this idea and made the TOZ-81 MARS revolver in the 1980s which was designed to be issued to astronauts. And there is a concept bullpup revolver called Cameleon designed in the 1980s by Czech designer Karel Michalek which was never produced and only a single non-firing prototype exists. That’s all this author is aware of. If you know other bullpup revolvers, please tell us about them in the comments section.

Jacob Shaw revolver. Photo credit: Historical Firearms

The main issue of revolvers with such a layout should be the cylinder gap which is too close to the shooter’s hands increasing the risk of an injury from the gasses escaping the cylinder gap. While this issue was addressed in one way or another in some of the previous designs, it is probably done the best in the RZMK-357 because its cylinder looks to be completely sealed when the action is closed. Actually, I see no reason why the RZMK-357 revolver can’t be suppressed!

Another advantage of the RZMK-357 design, which is the main advantage of all bullpup firearms, is that compared to firearms of conventional layout, the barrel is longer at a given overall length or the gun is more compact at a given barrel length. As mentioned above, the barrel and overall lengths of the Zenk RZMK-357 revolver are 4.37″ and 6.85″ respectively. However, if you add the chamber/cylinder length to the barrel length, which should be at least 1.59″ (SAAMI maximum overall length for the .357 Magnum cartridge), the combined length of the barrel and cylinder will be 5.96″, only .89″ less than the overall length of the gun.

One disadvantage that I can think of is that the exterior of the cylinder and the interior of its housing should get really dirty from the cylinder gap blasts.

Wheelgun Wednesday Zenk RZMK-357 Revolver (2)

All the pictures used in this article that were found on Zenk LLC’s website look to be 3D renderings, however, as I mentioned above, the company will be at SHOT Show 2023 which makes me think they at least have a prototype of this gat. We’ll find it out soon. Stay tuned!

Pictures by Zenk LLC, www.zenk.us

Hrachya H
Hrachya H

Managing Editor Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying the history and design of guns and ammunition. Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at Hrachya@TheFirearmBlog.com

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2 of 77 comments
  • LJR Limited LJR Limited on Jan 10, 2023

    reloading looks like it will get you killed

  • Xtron Xtron on Jan 15, 2023

    o.k. so at the range, after 50-100-150 rounds the chamber is going to be really filthy. but in real life, concealed carry, you are going to get 6 rounds max. and that ain't gonna dirty up anything, except maybe the sidewalk.
    the longer barrel greater accuracy in a similar frame is IMHO, huge.