17 November 2012

An Update of a Classic

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Why Not Bullpup
It looks like the Russians are updating the AK series assault rifle: (Paid subscription required)
Russia's legendary Kalashnikov assault rifle may get a new lease on life as its designers try to improve the weapon's operational parameters and attract orders from the country's defense ministry and paramilitary agencies.

The iconic, original 7.62-mm AK-47 rifle entered service in 1949 and since then has undergone several modernizations, mainly aimed at increasing accuracy. The 5.45-mm AK-74M version from the 1990s remains the primary individual weapon for the Russian armed forces. Besides the smaller caliber it differs from the basic model only in its polymer forearm and side-folding buttstock, as well as an improved muzzle-recoil compensator.

However, despite reliability and simplicity in use and maintenance, the Russian military has never been happy with the rifle, because it demonstrated poor accuracy in unstable positions. The problems are due to the AK's design—its heavy internal mechanical parts move fast when the weapon is fired, producing heavy blowback that disrupts aim . The Avtomat Kalashnikova—or “AK,” as it is officially known—has also been criticized for poor ergonomics, including a nonadjustable buttstock. And use of optical or night sights, as well as other mounted equipment, was limited by the obsolete rail on the left side of the receive
The issue is that the source of the Rifle's legendary reliability, heavy parts traveling relatively long distances with lots of "wiggle" room, also adversely effect accuracy, because they shake the weapon as it fires.

The new rifle, the AK-12, tweaks the action, while improving ergonomics and adding a Picatinny style rail to mount accessories.

What is interesting here is how they are just tweaks, as opposed to some more ambitious developments which used counter-masses to mitigate the felt recoil.


Cthulhu said...

Hands down, the AK is a better platform than the M16.

The problem has always been the stamped metal, half assed mass production the Soviets and their allied nations engaged in. Like the T72, why go for quality when you could have quantity? Or as someone famous once said, Quantity has a quality all of it's own.
If I was fixing the AK, I'd change the caliber, making it a .223 (Better range and accuracy) and .308 (for a harder punch and range), lighten the action as much as possible, get rid of the wood furniture (Weight), and add better barrels and tweak the gas system.
It's an eminently reliable platform, just needs some updating.

Matthew Saroff said...

I would also add fixing the sights (the rear notch is too far forward), and for f%$#s sake, go bullpup.

Cthulhu said...

I concur completely. But....you'll never get the American military to go Bullpup, because they're wedded to the ridiculous close order drill nonsense and it's damned hard to "Right shoulder arms" a bullpup weapon.

I was and still am, a HUGE fan of the M14 rifle. Yes it's large, and yes, it's heavy, but the caliber is unmatched for accuaracy range and stopping power. Given the choice, I'd have gleefully carried one instead of the M16. Of course, given the state of my shoulders these days....(Too many seperated shoulders.)

Matthew Saroff said...

Well, there are bullpups that eject down.

BTW, I knew someone who hated the M-14, and thought that the M-1 was a better and more reliable weapon.

Soldiers always hate the new rifle.

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