There are three cities on the map of Russia that can be called the capitals of small arms: Tula, Izhevsk and Kovrov. At the very beginning of 1940, another center was added to them - Vyatskiye Polyany, a small town in the Kirov region. Today, the Molot Arms LLC enterprise is located here, which specializes directly in the production of small arms. On March 18, 2019, on its social networks, the company presented its own proactive development - 7.62 mm machine gun with combined power, the new model does not yet have its own name.
The main distinguishing feature of the presented novelty is a combined power system: tapes with cartridges (box), magazines (including the declared disk one). The published news specifically states that the development of gunsmiths from Vyatskiye Polyany is "not a Kalashoid." The novelty's automation is based on the use of a short barrel stroke. The barrel of the new machine gun is replaceable. The cartridge used is 7.62x39 mm.
Photo: Hammer Weapon LLC
The automatic action of the new machine gun is based on the use of the recoil of the movable barrel, a scheme with a short barrel stroke is implemented, in which the barrel stroke is less than the bolt stroke. After firing a relatively short distance, the barrel and the bolt are overcome in the hitch, after which they are disconnected and the bolt continues to roll back, and the barrel either remains in place or moves back to its original position due to the use of a return spring. This is not the most common scheme for automating this type of weapon. The scheme with a short barrel stroke has its main advantages, which include a simple device, as well as the ability to make a weapon light and compact, which is why such a scheme is often found in various models of pistols, where it is most widespread. At the same time, a similar scheme is also found in machine guns. For example, in the famous large-caliber 14, 5-mm machine gun designed by Vladimirov (KPV) and the tank version created on its basis (KPVT), the automation is also based on the use of recoil energy with a short barrel stroke.
As noted in the Kalashnikov magazine, work on this model began three years ago, it was possible to get acquainted with the new product made in hardware already in 2017. It is planned that the new machine gun will be shown to the general public for the first time as part of the Army-2019 international military-technical forum. So far, the designers of Molot Arms LLC are working on improving the model, while the appearance of the new machine gun practically does not change.
A new machine gun with a combined power supply system developed by Molot Arms LLC
For their novelty, the designers from Vyatskiye Polyany, as noted above, chose automation using recoil energy with a short barrel stroke. The barrel bore is locked using a rotary bolt. The bolt carrier is installed in the rear of the receiver. The return mechanism includes two parallel springs that are located under the receiver cover. The trigger mechanism installed on the machine gun allows the shooter to fire only in automatic mode, the rate of fire of the machine gun is about 600 rds / min. The fuse box was installed above the trigger guard, it can be rearranged from side to side. The receiver of the new machine gun is stamped, on the right side of it is the bolt cocking handle. When firing, it remains motionless. The machine gun is equipped with a 520 mm barrel. The barrel is crowned with a compact muzzle brake-compensator, which is standard for Russian AK / RPK small arms.
The machine gun is created for the standard domestic cartridge 7, 62x39 mm. Food combination. Together with the new machine gun from "Molot", both standard AK / RPK magazines and belts can be used (using a belt from the RPD machine gun). The tapes are placed in a special box of our own design. In order to load the machine gun with a tape, the shooter needs to open the receiver cover. A standard AR-stock is installed on the shown model of a machine gun, while at Molot Arms LLC they are working on creating a stock of their own design, perhaps a model with a folding stock will appear.
A new machine gun with a combined power supply system developed by Molot Arms LLC
A Picatinny rail was integrated into the receiver cover of the new machine gun, which allows you to install various types of sights on the weapon. There is also a Picatinny rail on the front of the long forearm of the weapon, which can be used to mount a removable front sight or alternative hanging bipods. At the same time, the machine gun has a standard folding bipod, which is installed on the kingpin (it protrudes from the front cut of the forearm).
As noted in the magazine "Kalashnikov", now the novelty is passing the stage of factory tests, and also undergoing tests for survivability, while work on the "architecture" of the machine gun is still ongoing. In Vyatskiye Polyany, research is being conducted on the use of various muzzle devices, for example, a low-noise firing device, together with a moving barrel of a new machine gun. Also, work is underway to simplify the loading of the machine gun with a tape. The designers are also working on the possibility of the appearance of weapons under a different cartridge, for example, in caliber 6, 5x39 mm.
Light machine gun M249 SAW
It is worth noting that the combined machine guns did not appear today. Back in the 1960s, the Americans tried to create such weapons. The most famous example is the modular shooting complex, designated "Stoner-63". The famous American arms designer Eugene Stoner, the creator of the M16 assault rifle no less famous than the Kalashnikov assault rifle, had a hand in its development. As part of work on an experimental family of small arms Stoner 63, several machine guns of 5, 56 mm caliber with various power systems were considered. Some of them were tested in the 1960s already during the Vietnam War, while they did not go into mass production.
The most famous models of machine guns with a combined power system today include the American M249 SAW light machine gun. SAW stands for Squad Automatic Weapon, literally translated as Squad Automatic Weapon. This machine gun was created on the basis of the well-proven Belgian light machine gun FN Minimi chambered for 5, 56x45 mm. The machine gun was created by the designers of the Belgian company Fabrique Nationale and went into mass production in the 1980s. The variant for the US Army, designated M249 SAW, was officially adopted as early as 1984. This model of the machine gun is still in operation. The automatics of the M249 SAW machine gun works according to the scheme of removing powder gases from the barrel. Together with the machine gun, both STANAG standard magazines for 30 rounds and belts can be used (usually a box for 100 or 200 rounds is attached to the machine gun).
American soldiers with M249 SAW machine guns
In the American army, this machine gun for a fairly long time became the basis of the firepower of infantry units at the lowest level. So in the US Army in a standard infantry squad, consisting of 9 people, in addition to the commander, there were two fire teams with a group of automatic weapons, each of them had one M249 SAW light machine gun. In the US Marine Corps, the saturation of the squad with light machine guns was even higher, the squad of 13 people, in addition to the commander, already included three fire groups, each of which had an M249 machine gun. At the same time, today in the ILC, this weapon has been transferred to the platoon-company level, and lighter and more accurate M27 automatic rifles (IAR) have come to replace them. The Marines are confident that the more accurate and lighter M27 rifle allows them to accomplish their combat missions with less ammunition.
In general, it can be noted that machine guns with a combined power system are not widely used in the world. Experts note that such a weapon is distinguished by an increased cost, which increases due to the possibility of double power supply with mass and a decrease in overall reliability. Machine guns, which are initially optimized for high density belt-fed fire, usually do not work very reliably with magazines. Feeding the tape with cartridges requires significant power from the moving parts of the weapon's automation. If, instead of a belt, a magazine is inserted into a machine gun, the rate of fire increases, increased wear of the weapon occurs, and the spring of the magazine does not always have time to raise the next cartridge to the feed line, which leads to delays during firing. For example, American soldiers complain about the M249, noting that the weapon is not easy to handle, it is difficult to clean and maintain. At the same time, about 30 percent of the soldiers said that the weapon jammed in battle. It is no coincidence that American soldiers prefer the entire squad to carry belts to the machine gun, rather than hand over their magazines to the machine gunner. At the same time, at a critical moment of the battle, when the belts with cartridges are empty, the machine gunner can always be transferred to the standard magazines with cartridges so that he can continue to fight and this is perhaps the most obvious plus of machine guns with a combined power system.