Kalashnikov assault rifle, Dragunov sniper rifle, Serdyukov's “Vintorez” ... These and many other samples of rifle weapons long ago became the real symbols of the national defense industry. At the same time, for some reason, there is no understanding in the mass consciousness that any, even superbly designed, small arms will be absolutely useless without ammunition that is just as excellent in its characteristics.
To some extent restore the status quo, correspondent of the Federal Agency News met with a truly unique person - Vladislav Dvoryaninov.
"Magnetron" and its consequences
Vladislav Nikolaevich - Candidate of Technical Sciences, laureate of the Lenin Komsomol Prize, the S.Isin Prize and the 2004 Prize of the Government of the Russian Federation in the field of science and technology. He gave more than five decades of work within the walls of the Order of the October Revolution of the Central Research Institute of Precision Engineering - TSNIITOCHMASH.
With the direct participation of Dvoryaninov, many modern Russian combat cartridges were created, including the 7,62-mm rifle sniper cartridge 7H1. By the way, 7Н1 with a CH bullet turned out to be the first special army cartridge for sniper weapons.
Vladislav Nikolaevich is the author of about 40 patents of the Russian Federation and copyright certificates for the invention. Not so long ago his unique four-volume monograph was published. "Small arms ammunition". In other words, Vladislav Nikolayevich is a true Russian guru of the world of cartridges!
- Vladislav Nikolayevich, you worked at 52 for the year at TsNIITOCHMASH. In fact, you have been developing cartridges all your life. How did it happen that you became a designer-patron?
- To be honest, to some extent, this happened by chance. During the war, our family was evacuated from Moscow to Kazakhstan, so I finished school in Almaty. And there, in the tenth grade, I read the scientific and technical novel “Magnetron” by Georgy Babat and Anna Garf. This is a thick informative work on the development of the first domestic radars. The work of the designers was very well described there, the importance of their labor for the defense of the country was emphasized. I had previously thought about the profession of a design engineer, and after “Magnetron” this profession turned into my dream. I really wanted to become a developer of military equipment. I got a reference book for university applicants, looked through it and seemed to find what I needed - the Leningrad Military Mechanical Institute, the instrument-making faculty. “That's it!” I thought. Parents tried to dissuade, but where there ... I went to Leningrad.
- Entered. Already during his studies at the institute, somewhere in his third year, it finally became clear that our faculty was training general mechanical engineers, but ...
- ... But mainly for the enterprises of the cartridge industry, and not radio electronics. In the 1960 year, at distribution, I refused to stay in graduate school with the prospect of becoming a teacher at LVMI and expressed a desire to work in Klimovsk near Moscow, at SRI-61 (the future TsNIITOCHMASH) - the only research institute in the country that developed rifle ammunition. There I worked for 23 of the year as a design engineer and another 29 years - as the head of the lead, leading in the USSR, the CIS and Russia department of ammunition for small arms and firearms.
“Why didn't you want to stay in graduate school?”
- Let's just say, this “motion vector” seemed to me quite boring. I wanted to invent, invent something, do a real job and feel the joy of achieving the goal that was finally achieved.
- And how, joy experienced?
- What about? I remember when we first got decent results on the accuracy of shooting, my colleague Viktor Alekseevich Petrov could not stand it and shouted: “Hurray, accuracy is in our hands!” However, we have been refining 15 for years ... However, the joy from the first successes was and short, but believe me, unforgettable.
Vladislav Dvoryaninov. Photos from the board of honor TSNIITOCHMASH. 1973 year.
"Lucky - they didn't take me!"
- Has your work always brought you only joy?
- Of course not. After starting work at SRI-61, I quickly became a responsible executor for independent research work. The following year, I again became responsible for independent research. And in the third year I was included in the group of one of our most famous patron saints, Pyotr Fedorovich Sazonov, who developed, in particular, the design of a bullet, which was later used to create an 5,45-mm cartridge. The Sazonov bullet is called the best bullet of the 20th century! .. So, I turned out to be just a technologist in the Sazonov group. Moreover, our topic on the development of a single automatic rifle cartridge was closed. And I was out of work. Everyone is working, but I am not. Nearby opened the design office of agricultural machinery. I was so upset about what happened that I somehow tried to get a job there.
- Lucky - they didn't take me! This was the first and last time when I was thinking about changing jobs. And what do you think? As soon as I received a refusal of the design bureau, I immediately got a new interesting topic - feathered sub-caliber bullets, the work on which I gave later to 17 for years and was incredibly happy!
- What, in your opinion, is the most difficult thing in the work of the designer-cartridgemaker?
- Perhaps, luck to become a member of not only the beginning of the development of ammunition, but also bringing this ammunition to adoption. It should be understood that in any system of small arms the cartridge is decisive, but the most conservative part of it. After the development and development of the production of the cartridge in size, design, ballistics is no longer subject to fundamental changes. New types of cartridges are developed only at the birth of new types of weapons or when rearming, which happens quite rarely.
- How rare?
- On average, in 25 years. In the meantime, either the ammunition already in service or the scientific research is being upgraded. Of course, such studies are needed. For example, the same research on the causes that affect the penetration of bullets. But these studies for the designer are not as significant as the development and adoption of the gained new model for service. Therefore, the most difficult thing in the life of a patron is to be a contemporary and a participant in real work, and not just scientific research, research and theoretical calculations. And, in all cases, the challenge is not handicraft, but the creative component of the designer’s work - to offer something new, original. Understand the reasons, find a solution and achieve the desired result, previously unavailable.
- Mosin, Simonov, Shpagin, Degtyarev, Dragunov, Tokarev, Makarov, Stechkin, Kalashnikov, Yarygin, Serdyukov ... Many of us know the names of domestic gunsmiths. Almost no one knows the names of the developers of small arms ammunition in Russia. Why did this happen?
- I think this result was due to several factors. Before the appearance of a unitary cartridge in the 19th century, small arms ammunition was often extremely simple in design and simply did not have any specific author. To this we add the fact that firearms traditionally attracted more attention than ammunition. Weapons are loved, collected, studied. Weapons are often given the name of the one who designed it. Under the same cartridge created a large number of different samples. And when shooting, for example, from a pistol, you first of all draw attention to the fact that you are holding exactly this weapon in your hands, and the cartridge ... He is "the same, ordinary."
Therefore, the interest in the used cartridges and their creators is much weaker and is caused by an erroneous misconception about the simplicity of everything connected with the cartridges. Like, what is the cartridge? This is just an encapsulated sleeve, a powder sample and a bullet ... Meanwhile, the power of any rifle complex is determined by the patron. A professional will always ask first what kind of rifle you have, but what kind of cartridge it is for.
Melodrama around 5,45-mm cartridge
- A significant part of the Russian public is very critical of domestic ammunition, considering that the characteristics and quality of manufacture of foreign ammunition is much higher. Do you share this opinion?
- I believe that the domestic system of small arms, including ammunition, is still the best in the world. It is clear that, on the one hand, every sandpiper praises its swamp. On the other hand, I personally know well what I'm talking about. Even if we turn to modern foreign assessments, we will see that in almost every objective analysis concerning the real state of affairs, the fact of our superiority is stated directly. This justifies the need for new, as always very ambitious programs for the development of rifle ammunition, weapons and auxiliary systems.
- What are these conclusions based on?
“They draw such conclusions on the basis of a comparative analysis of the real technical and combat characteristics of our modern cartridges, which have been significantly upgraded in recent years. For example, not so long ago two new 5,45-mm automaton cartridges were used at once: 7H39 - with enhanced armor penetration and 7H40 - improved accuracy. The latter ensures accuracy of shooting with single shots according to the standard for a sniper rifle cartridge, that is, 5 times better in the area of dispersion than the standard 7НХNUMX standard cartridge. At the same time, according to correct and objective comparative tests, it is well known that the domestic AK6 submachine gun surpasses the best foreign counterparts in efficiencies — for example, the same M74 rifle — approximately 16 times, but at the same time yielded to them with the 1,3HX7 cartridge also 6 times.
- It was caused by the best technical accuracy of foreign 5,56-mm cartridges when firing single shots?
- Yes. And there have long been heated debates around this - which factor is more important? With the development of the same cartridge 7H40 all such disputes can be stopped, as they say, "for the clear advantage" of our new cartridge. Without going into details, I also note that in all other rifle calibers, domestic cartridges are in no way inferior to the best foreign analogues.
- And still, you often hear complaints about the quality of Russian cartridges.
- With regard to the quality of the manufacture of our cartridges, here it is necessary to separate the live ammunition and commercial, intended for the civilian market - hunters, practical shooting, target sports. Since they, after all, have different requirements. We have no questions or problems with live ammunition. With commercial, the situation is somewhat different, although I do not consider myself an expert in this field. But I am sure that when (and if) in our country shooting sports get developed and really widely available, the situation will change radically like the western countries, where civil circulation of cartridges and weapons has centuries-old traditions, and the size of this market is very large and not comparable with our. But such changes cannot and should not happen overnight, of course.
- Thus, we can conclude that the ballistics, the striking effect and other characteristics of domestic combat cartridges are at altitude?
- Moreover, in relation to the damaging effect of domestic ammunition, our patrons even had to prove to foreigners that it is not as high as it is believed in the West.
- Excuse me, what is it like?
- In 1980, Western specialists became aware of the use of a new assault rifle for the original 5,45 caliber by Soviet troops in Afghanistan. At the same time, there were rumors that the bullet of the 5,45 cartridge was not only “poisonous”, but also due to its hollow core in the head part of the casing, which was supposedly easily destroyed, has a huge destructive effect. What is not compatible with the requirements of the Hague Declaration 1899 of the Year. Up to this point, the focus of attention of international organizations was the problem of excessively heavy gunshot wounds with 5,56-mm bullets from the American MXNUM cartridge. And then there was the equally terrible Soviet 193-mm cartridge!
“I think the Americans immediately began to“ ring the bells ”in every way and blame the Soviet designers for their inhumanity.
- And not only Americans. The Swedes and the West Germans, too. One of the Bundestag deputies even made a request to his government: “What is it going to undertake to prohibit the new Soviet 5,45-mm weapon, which is contrary to international law?”
- What is it all over?
- It was proved that all the accusations made against the Soviet 5,45-mm cartridge are untenable. But the design of the bullets 5,56-mm and 7,62-mm NATO ammunition, although not formally contrary to the Hague Convention, in fact, should be banned for use as causing unnecessary suffering for injuries. Detail this melodramatic history I described in my monograph "Small arms ammunition».
About "Accuracy" and not only
- Your monograph, consisting of four books, was released in 2015 year. For the first time in a single Russian-language publication, a detailed history of cartridges has been consolidated and presented almost from prehistoric times to the present day. As far as I know, the monograph has been written by you for 17 years. How and when did you come up with the idea of creating such a monumental work?
- I started working on these books in April 1995 of the year, and practically finished in 2012. How did the idea of writing them? In response, I will quote from my own diary of the time: “Why did this desire come about? The main reason - anxiety for the future of my profession, which gave his whole life. Knowing how difficult for decades the national school of small arms developers was created, and seeing how it dies, my heart aches with anxiety for Russia ... I write these lines at the beginning of 1995 of the year. Scanty financing, chronic defaults and the absence of any reliable plans for the future led to the bleeding of the overwhelming majority of defense enterprises, scientific research institutes and design bureaus ... Almost all young people and middle-aged specialists, as well as a part of mature specialists, went off in an effort to survive! From our department, 55 [at the beginning of 28] left 1995 ... And what will happen in a few years when leading experts start to retire? To pass on the experience? ”It was written exactly in 1995, sincerely. It seems to me that no additional comments are required.
- Indeed, an exhaustive answer. Let me have one more question on the subject matter. The adoption of the Russian sniper complex "Tochnost" using the domestic analogue of the .2017 Lapua Magnum (338 mm) ammunition 8,670, caused a lot of noise abroad. The manual of the US Army Russian New Generation Warfare Handbook indicated that the appearance of a sniper rifle with the .338 LM cartridge by the Russian security forces would force the American snipers to seriously reconsider their tactics. In the article Russian Army Snipers Have Rifles and Ammo That Can Pierce US Body Armor, published by the analytical publication The National Interest, the author claimed that the Russian rifles under the .338 LM make any American personal protective equipment useless. Does the emergence of a counterpart ammunition in Russia. 338 LM really expands the capabilities of Russian snipers?
- Yes, the new sniper complex “Tochnost” has been developed and put into service by special units of our security forces. But I don’t see any sensation in this - as soon as they decided that they needed their own complex, it was developed. That once again confirmed the high professionalism of our designers. The result was two good sniper cartridges completely domestic production - with ordinary and armor-piercing bullets. The cartridges are similar and interchangeable with foreign ones, but the design of the bullets is different. As a result, the final characteristics of our cartridges, both in accuracy and armor penetration, surpassed the best foreign counterparts, really giving our fighters greater opportunities ... But such a complex for our country is not the first. For example, in 2005, new sniper cartridges and weapons for them were adopted by the Russian army at once in three calibers, including 9,3х64-mm cartridge 7H33, which is only slightly inferior to the cartridge of the “Precision” complex.
From left to right: 7,62х54 sniper 7Н14; 9х63 sniper 7Н33; 8,6х70 sniper "Accuracy"
- There is an opinion that small arms and, accordingly, ammunition to it, at the moment have reached the limit of their capabilities. Like, something more without changing the physical principles of the weapon and the transition to any electromagnetic guns, railguns or liquid propellant substances cannot be achieved. Is it so?
“Considering today about the prospects for further development, it is necessary to understand well that, firstly, the combat qualities of any complex are determined by its practical effectiveness and that even such“ beautiful ”features like accuracy or armor penetration are important, but only one of the common factors affecting the final result. Therefore, for example, no one will benefit from a super-armor-piercing bullet if the probability of hitting the target (due to an increased recoil impulse in the pursuit of this penetrability) will be just 1 – 2%.
Secondly, any cartridge or promising system of throwing damaging elements, according to the laws of physics, was and will be a combination of different parameters and requirements that directly contradict each other. And the choice of priorities, options for combining these parameters should proceed only from sound technical requirements for solving a specific task. And not the way it often happens these days, when a “new optimal miracle cartridge” is born first, and then marketers gain “advantages” for it.
Thirdly, small arms cannot be considered on their own, without taking into account their interaction with all other types of modern weapons, an adequate analysis of the tasks facing each type. Since it is well known that erroneous criteria or requirements for efficiency lead to wrong tendencies in the direction of development, loss of huge funds, efforts and time.
- That is, it's too early to talk about railguns ...
- Specifically, I will not fantasize about the railguns and other wonders, but on the whole the topic is really very serious, since we have to largely agree that the possibilities for the further development of cartridges of the classical scheme are practically exhausted today. As a result, it is impossible to obtain a fundamentally new level of efficiency on this path. That does not exclude the demand in the future, under certain circumstances, such non-classical schemes of cartridges, such as swept ammunition in single-pulley or multi-pulley versions. I do not exclude the emergence of automatic weapons based on ammunition with minimal recoil pulses in combination with grenade launcher elements of weapons designed to defeat highly protected targets.
- What are we talking about?
“For example, about the increasingly ground-based combat robots on the tracked platform ... In any case, a noticeable progress in developing new rifle complexes requires intensive searches, in-depth scientific research and inventions. But this is the task of the current and next generation of cartridge and gunsmiths. Of course, using the rich experience of predecessors, for knowledge is the most invincible weapon!
PS Our conversation with Vladislav Nikolayevich lasted a couple of hours, and, of course, not all of them got into the published text. Nevertheless, I want to draw a certain line. If you want - to put a kind of postscript dedicated to the pleiad of veterans of the Soviet military-industrial complex.
These are amazing people. Those of them who are still alive are often still active and energetic. This is a real fount of knowledge, experience and information. They retired when their resource was far from exhausted. They DIDN'T WORK, however paradoxical it may sound in our time. And how do they miss their work! .. To the Power. To something global and unexplored! .. Not the first time I notice how these people light up their eyes, when (most often - quite by accident) throw them some puzzle. Almost instant analysis, accounting of all pro et contra, after which they explain on your fingers the most acceptable solution ...
Absolutely awesome people. Great thanks to them for what they were and are.