Hopak Sniper Rifle
First of all, it is necessary to make an explanation on the name of the weapon, in fact, it is an abbreviation derived from “Gvintivka is operative portable on the AK base”, so that the reasoning about the fact that with this weapon you can make someone dance the Gopak dance, no more than not the smartest joke. As is clear from the name of the rifle, the Kalashnikov assault rifle, namely the AKM, served as the basis for it. That is, we are talking back about weapons, which is obtained by reworking the AK.
In this case, it would be entirely appropriate to leave my personal opinion on what the workers of the Mayak plant did, but with great effort of will, I will refrain from this.
In the process of turning the machine into a sniper rifle, the workers of the Mayak plant removed the venting unit, depriving the automatic weapons and making the reloading process manual. It is not entirely clear what they did to the barrel, however, this is not so important. The standard butt has been changed to a new one, apparently from a PC; a new landing site has appeared for an optical sight and a bipod installation. Speaking of the telescopic sight, on most photos of this weapon you can see the Schmidt-Bender telescopic sight, it is not possible to see exactly which model it is, but you can safely say that this sight costs at least 2500 dollars.
Also, most of the photographs have a fairly voluminous device for silent shooting, in connection with which the weapon is often perceived as silent, but in this case it is one of the weapon options, that is, the GOPAK rifle can also be found without a silent shooting device. Very often they draw an analogy with a weapon chambered for 9x39 and even with a sniper rifle Exhaust. It is possible that with the use of a silent shooting device, the niches of use for this weapon are the same, however, according to the characteristics, such a comparison is absolutely incorrect. GOPAK differs in the 7,62x39 cartridge, which, in a subsonic version, loses in many respects to the 9x39 cartridge variants and 12,7x55 by itself, and performed with a bullet speed exceeding the sonic makes the weapon not so quiet as we would like.
If you try to be objective, then the GOPAK sniper rifle is a very cheap attempt to equip an army with low-noise weapons, at the expense of old Soviet stocks. True, during such a remake, in the literal sense, quite efficient automata are destroyed. In addition, the question arises about a sufficient number of ammunition with a subsonic bullet, but this is on the conscience of those who invented such an upgrade.
GOPAK sniper rifle design
As mentioned above, the weapon is obtained by removing the vapor node from AKM. The machine becomes a rifle with a manual reload, and the bolt group itself is not affected. The shutter handle has also been changed to a more comfortable one, according to Mayak plant workers.
The first question, which suggests itself, is to ensure the silent reloading of weapons when using PBS. Since the bolt group remains the same, and the weapon is essentially AK, it turns out that for silent recharging you will have to hold the bolt group in the process of moving forward, with all the consequences, or risk unmasking yourself before the shot.
The second question concerns the removal of a node for removal of powder gases from the barrel. Was it really necessary to solve the problem so drastically? Much more logical would be to install a gas regulator that allows you to completely block the removal of powder gases, but at the same time leaving the opportunity to use weapons with the original modes of operation. By the way, such a "feint with ears" was done by many and even with a positive result.
GOPAK sniper rifle features
The weight of the GOPAK sniper rifle is 4,7 kilograms, along with the device for silent shooting, without it - 3 kilograms. The total length of 720 millimeters without CBE, with CBE - 870 millimeters. Weapons can be fed from stores with a capacity of 5,10 or 30 7,62x39 cartridges.
At the moment, the weapon is being tested in the troops, it is likely that the GOPAK rifle will be put into service, since when it is created, nothing is added to the design of an already-made weapon, but only taken away. That is, the speed of conversion from AKM is very high and with a minimum of costs. Perhaps, if there is a shortage of such weapons in the army, such a move is really justified, but still this is somehow wrong.
About Ascoria's sniper rifle and similar weapons in general
Unlike the previous rifle, this weapon is more interesting, but there is very little information about it. But there was a lot of tales and legends around, because this part of the article is not so much about a particular rifle, but about weapons with similar ammunition in general.
First of all, you need to start with the ammunition that is used in this weapon, and this is a cartridge with a swept bullet based on the 13,2x99 cartridge from Hotchkiss machine gun, according to one of the versions. It seems to me that the domestic 12,7x108 cartridge served as the basis for the ammunition, which is more logical, since there were a lot of Soviet ammunition, and it would be unprofitable to use “scarce” cartridges for developing experimental weapons.
Separately, it is worth mentioning that very often in the materials on this weapon you can see the images of the cartridges that were used when working on the AO-27 project, which is obviously not entirely correct. The only true image of ammunition for a rifle is in the photo of this weapon and it is obvious that this is a slightly different cartridge than those used in the creation of the Soviet machine gun, under ammunition with arrow-shaped bullets. Based on this, we can safely question the veracity of virtually all sources in which this rifle is mentioned.
It does not add confidence in the veracity of information and constant references to a friend who saw these weapons in the Caucasus, or to a cousin of a half-brother, who was lucky enough to hold these weapons in his hands. Based on this, instead of reprinting inaccurate information, we will try to give a similar assessment to the weapon as a whole, and not specifically to Ascorius’s sniper rifle.
The main advantage of the weapon chambered with arrow-shaped bullets is the armor-piercing and flat trajectory of the bullet-arrow. Both the first and second are quite good, but arrow-shaped bullets have their drawbacks.
Since the bullet is an arrow, it means you need to use either pallets or leading parts that will cover the body of the arrow, increasing its diameter to at least the size of the tail. Accordingly, the problem arises of separating these parts after the bullet leaves the barrel. With a pallet in the back of the boom, everything is clear; in one way or another, it will influence the position of the boom in space and change its trajectory of movement. The two leading parts, between which a bullet-arrow is clamped, look more attractive in this respect, but not everything is so simple with them, since it is necessary to ensure simultaneous separation from the body of the arrow during the flight of the bullet. This is easily realized with new ammunition that was collected a couple of hours ago, the separation takes place almost simultaneously, but what if such a cartridge has been in stock for several years? If one of the leading parts “sticks” to the arrow and separates for a split second later, then the arrow will fly away in any desired direction, but not where the shooter aimed. But to solve this problem, of course, you can, of course, the question of the cost of the solution.
Another problem is that the arrows of different cartridges must be not just the same, but in fact clones of each other, otherwise it will be very difficult to hit even two shots. Suppose this, too, can be implemented in varying degrees, back, depending on the money spent.
The third problem of such ammunition is a small stopping effect. Because of its high speed and great length, the arrow will not tumble in the body when hit, as many people argue, but will pass through leaving a straight wound canal, with a temporary cavity, of course, but this is clearly not enough. It is for this reason that Dvorianinov made a cut on the body of an arrow of his cartridge, so that it would break when it fell into soft tissue. That is, there is no longer my reasoning, but a conclusion based on the experience of the gunsmith.
But for this, we get a higher armor-piercing and flat flight path, right?
In order to evaluate the effectiveness of weapons, first of all, you need to determine its niche. In our case, this is clearly not shooting at tanks, and firing on lightly armored vehicles and opponents in heavy bulletproof vests. At the moment, large-caliber rifles and machine guns with a caliber of 12,7 millimeters are more than successfully coping with these goals, while the effectiveness of the hit is such that I would not recommend viewing the results of such hits. In this regard, the question is whether increased armor-piercing is needed with a significant increase in the cost of ammunition, if, say, the armor-piercing potential is not fully utilized, and the hit efficiency is lower?
Well, a significant advantage to allocate a more flat flight path in the modern world is somehow wrong. With an abundance of fairly advanced ballistic calculators, range finders, and so on, this is not so important.
In addition, the cartridge with a swept bullet will be very difficult to make incendiary, tracer, in fact it is only one type of ammunition - armor-piercing. In the case of both domestic and foreign ammunition caliber 12,7 millimeters nomenclature is very extensive.
You can consider this weapon in the perspective of the further development of personal protective equipment. But here there are some nuances. First of all, I hardly see a person who can transfer the bullets of the 12,7x108 cartridge to the armored plate without consequences, at a distance of aiming fire. Of course, progress does not stand still, and periodically skips news about the development of body armor, which redistribute the impact when hit, but so far the development has not been going for a couple of decades, which indicates either low efficiency or the cost of the final product.
Based on this, we can conclude that the weapon is chambered with arrow-shaped bullets, at the moment is certainly interesting. It is interesting to study and develop certain experiences that can be used in the future, with the spread of more advanced means of individual armor. The use of such ammunition in combat handguns does not make sense yet. However, the type of ammunition itself has a considerable prospect in the civilian market when used in smooth-bore guns, significantly expanding the effective range of use of the latter, even with a low quality of manufacturing bullets, to several hundred meters.
As for the Ascoria rifle, then, as I see it, after calculating the cost of ammunition, the project was simply closed, and it cannot be said that this decision was wrong.