Within the framework of the Army-2018 international forum, the Kalashnikov concern presented to the general public a new prototype of the 7.62-mm assault rifle under the designation AK-308. The weapon is based on the AK-103 assault rifle with elements and assemblies of the AK-12 assault rifle for the common cartridge 7, 62x51 mm NATO (.308 Win). According to the Kalashnikov concern, the weapon is being prepared for preliminary tests.
The novelty from Izhevsk uses standard NATO ammunition 7, 62x51 mm, this cartridge is widespread throughout the world, which already hints that the AK-308 model was initially developed as an export one and is intended primarily for foreign markets. Magazine capacity - 20 rounds. The weight of the new assault rifle together with the magazine (without cartridges) is 4, 3 kg. The total length of the weapon is 880-940 mm, with the attached bayonet-knife it increases to 1045-1105 mm. The barrel length is 415 mm. The machine is equipped with a diopter sight, as well as a stock adjustable in length, which has 4 positions, allowing the shooter to choose the most convenient length himself.
The Soviet analogue of the 7, 62x51 mm NATO cartridge was and remains the 7, 62x54R rifle cartridge (not to be confused with the intermediate cartridge 7, 62x39 mm), which is used together with domestic samples of small arms: SVD and SVDS sniper rifles, as well as PK machine guns, PKM or PKP. NATO ammunition, in addition to its dimensions, differs from ours by a sleeve - it is flangeless, that is, its rim does not protrude at the bottom of the sleeve, it is "recessed" into the dimensions and is separated by a channel. This solution increases the reliability of feeding cartridges from the box magazine. Also, this cartridge is widely known under the designation of its commercial version 308 Winchester or simply.308 Win. Hence, by the way, the name of the new product from the Kalashnikov concern - AK-308.
When creating new small arms, developers very often consider the prospects for their promotion on the international market. The potential most attractive buyers for the Izhevsk AK-308 could be huge Brazil or India, these countries can be called a gunsmith's dream. Especially when you consider that India is currently re-equipping the army with new small arms. In the Indian ground forces, which serve more than a million people, back in 2016, the command decided to replace the INSAS assault rifle of its own design with a new 7, 62-mm automatic rifle. Military requirements for new weapons were agreed in 2017. Earlier, India has already replaced the INSAS assault rifles in service with the police with the Russian AK-103 assault rifles, as they are more reliable. The main complaint about the Indian development is a very large number of delays in firing - up to three percent, for the Russian AK-103 when firing, this figure is 0.02 percent. It cannot be ruled out that the weapon will also appeal to the eternal adversary of India - Pakistan. Within the framework of the Army-2018 forum, it was the representatives of Pakistan that were most active in relation to the novelty chambered for 7, 62x51 mm, which also allows us to speak of them as potential customers of the new machine.
In addition to high reliability and reliability, which are traditionally attributed to the advantages of weapons under the AK brand, Russian small arms compete perfectly with foreign models in price. When it is necessary to re-equip an army like the Indian, the price of weapons becomes very important. The head of the AK-308 project, a specialist of the Kalashnikov concern, Alexei Shumilov, as part of the Army-2018 forum, told the Zvezda journalists that, in terms of combat qualities, the prototype presented, after fine-tuning and testing, would become a universal weapon for combat, as well as other machines under the Kalashnikov brand. According to Shumilov, the ergonomics of the machine gun designed for the.308 Win cartridge was taken from the new Izhevsk AK-12 and AK-15. Also, the gas unit of the AK-308 was modernized, the barrel was suspended.
Free-floating barrel (English designation free-floating barrel) is a special method of installing the barrel in small arms, the main purpose of which is to increase the accuracy of shooting. Over time, under the influence of various environmental factors or the conditions of use of the weapon, the geometry of the bed (bed) can change, which, in turn, affects the barrel, and only then the trajectory of the bullet. And the barrel itself fluctuates during firing from a machine gun: the contact between the barrel and the bed interferes with such natural fluctuations, which also affects the accuracy of shooting. In order to exclude contact of the barrel with other parts of the weapon, a special design was invented in which the barrel has contact only with the receiver. It is to the receiver that all other parts and assemblies of the weapon are attached, and the barrel retains the ability to perform free natural vibrations during firing. Nowadays, all over the world, precision weapons are designed and produced precisely with the technology of a free-hanging barrel.
The new product of the Kalashnikov concern also has a "cut-off" fire mode, which allows three bullets to be fired at the target at once with one pull of the trigger. Also, unlike the AK-12, the AK-308 assault rifle presented at Army-2018 is equipped with a folding telescopic butt. In literally seconds, the shooter can change its length: shorten or, on the contrary, lengthen, depending on the need, or even fold the butt sideways, making the weapon as compact as possible. With the stock folded, the AK-308 can be comfortably accommodated in the troop compartment of a combat vehicle. Alexey Shumilov also noted that the novelty received Picatinny rail, designed for the installation of various tactical body kit: laser designators, tactical flashlights, any type of modern sights.
Mikhail Degtyarev, editor-in-chief of the Kalashnikov magazine, also expressed his opinion about the novelty. He does not understand why the specialists of the Kalashnikov concern see the AK-103 assault rifle at the heart of the AK-308. Considering the use in the new product (as in the RPK-16) of a machine-gun receiver from the Vyatka-Polyansky RPK-74M machine gun, it would be more logical to say that the AK-308 is the development of this particular model of small arms. Not being the bearer of any "know-how" in the modern world of small arms, the novelty in the future will be able to occupy its own niche and expand the line of classic machine guns of the Izhevsk enterprise.
Degtyarev notes that the new 7.62x51 mm assault rifle is built around the RPK-74M receiver, which has a significantly greater margin of safety (compared to a conventional assault rifle) and is able to withstand cyclic shock loads when firing the selected ammunition. Moreover, the shock load can be easily adjusted by the speed of the moving parts in the recoil and by a properly selected gas outlet in the barrel of the weapon.
AK-308, photo: kalashnikov.media
The performance characteristics of the AK-308:
Caliber - 7.62 mm.
Cartridge - 7, 62x51 NATO.
Weight - 4, 3 kg (with magazine, without cartridges).
Total length / with bayonet-knife - 880-940 / 1045-1105 mm.
Length with folded stock - 690 mm.
Barrel length - 415 mm.
Height - 242 mm.
Width - 72 mm.
Magazine capacity - 20 rounds.
The buttstock is foldable, adjustable in length (4 positions).
The sight is diopter.