Military Review

RPK light machine gun

The idea of ​​unifying automatic rifle armament of a platoon and branch on the basis of a single system in the USSR was worked out in 20-s under the guidance of Fedorov, and after adopting an intermediate cartridge of the 1943 sample of the 7,62 mm caliber, they took a clear direction to choose and refine the base sample for further unification. As a result, the Kalashnikov assault rifle became one after its modernization. In 56, several light machine guns and “light” machine guns were tested - the Kalashnikov (Izhevsk), Konstantinov (Kovrov), Korobov (Tula) systems were presented at the competition, and the power supply of the Korobov machine gun was band. In 59, the AKM assault rifle was adopted by the USSR Army, and in 61, the RPK light machine gun (product index 6P2, “Kalashnikov light machine gun”) created on its base was adopted.

RPK light machine gun

PKK on the device is almost the same as an automaton, their components and parts are mostly interchangeable. The main differences are the elongated heavy barrel, folding bipod and a regular store of larger capacity. The barrel, whose length is 590 millimeters, allowed to increase the effective firing range to 800 meters. Increasing the capacity of the store and increasing the wall thickness of the barrel allows more intense fire. When shooting from the stop bipod improved accuracy.

In automation, a scheme for the removal of powder gases through a side hole made in the barrel wall is implemented. By turning the shutter, the barrel is locked, while a pair of combat protrusions of the shutter go into the grooves of the receiver. The gas piston and the stem with the slide frame are rigidly connected. The bolt frame is the leading link in automation: the frame sets the direction of movement of the moving parts, most shock loads are perceived, the return spring is placed in its longitudinal channel. The reloading handle and the slide frame are made at the same time and located on the right. During the shot, the powder gases move into the gas chamber, the bolt frame and the gas piston begin to move backward. After the frame moves to the required distance, the exhaust gases are released into the atmosphere through the openings in the gas tube. The bolt frame passes a certain distance until the pressure drops, after which the bevel made on its inner surface presses on the protrusion of the bolt with its face and rotates it. When the shutter is unlocked, a preliminary rotation and “stragging” (displacement) of the sleeve located in the chamber occurs. This allows you to reduce the adhesion of the sleeve and the walls of the chamber, and also prevents its rupture during subsequent extraction. After the shutter and receiver are disengaged, the spent sleeve is removed by a spring-loaded ejector. The shutter with the shutter frame begins to move backward, cocking the trigger and compressing the return spring. Shooting sleeve after hitting a hard reflector receiver, flies through the window of the receiver to the right. Having reached the rear extreme point, the bolt and bolt carrier under the action of the return spring move forward, the next cartridge is captured by the bolt and sent to the chamber. The bolt frame stops moving, and the bolt continues to move forward under the action of inertia, turning along the bevel of the frame, locking the bore. The relatively large weight of the bolt frame with a relatively light shutter, as well as the “hung” position in the receiver of moving parts with relatively large gaps made it possible to ensure the operation of the system even in dusty conditions. In addition, the shutter is covered with a shutter frame, thus providing protection against clogging and shock. The back emphasis of a directing core of a return spring is a latch of the stamped easy receiver cover.

Iraqi soldiers train in PKK shooting

Trigger drum mechanism with a trigger, rotating on an axis and a U-shaped combat spring, which is made of double twisted wire. The device trigger allows you to conduct a single and continuous fire. The single turning part is a translator (switch) of fire modes and double-acting safety lever: when in protection position the trigger is locked, it whispered continuous and single fire and prevents the slide frame from moving backwards, partially blocking the groove between the receiver cover and receiver. In this case, the bolt may be retracted for inspection of the chamber, but its stroke is not enough to coax the trigger and send the next cartridge to the chamber. All parts of the firing mechanism and automation are compactly mounted in the receiver, which thus plays the role of the trigger box. The receiver was made by punching, some parts were made by investment casting and powder metallurgy.

Experienced light machine guns had a slightly modified butt of the machine gun, however, for a serial sample, the form of the stock of its predecessor was taken - the RPD machine gun. During firing from the stop, the refined neck of the butt gives you the opportunity to cover it with your left hand. The sight has a mechanism of lateral corrections to the movement of the target or to the wind. Firing from the stop made it possible to do without a compensator. The store supply system inherited from the machine forced the development of larger-capacity stores - sector box-shaped 40 with cartridges and drum (disk) 75 with cartridges. RPK and automaton shops (30 ammo capacity) are interchangeable.

Mongolian soldier with PKK

For firing, several types of cartridges can be used: with an ordinary PS bullet having a steel heat-strengthened core (7,9 bullet weight, 57Н231 cartridge index), T-45 tracer bullet (7,45-7,67 bullet weight, the head part is painted green color), an armor-piercing incendiary “BZ” (7,47-7,87 bullet weight is grams, the head part is painted black and has a red belt), incendiary (6,47-6,8 bullet weight is grams, the head part is colored red). The mass of the cartridge having an ordinary bullet is 16,2 grams, and the charge of the powder 1,8 grams. The fire can be carried out from the bipod or hands with the emphasis of the butt in the shoulder. Shooting from the hip belt is allowed in motion - it does not give aim, but at a certain point in the battle it can have a psychological effect on the enemy, which explains the preservation of this method from the First World War to the present. A shot from a closed bolt does not increase the risk of spontaneous shot as a result of heating of the chamber if the fire is fired in short bursts.

For the Airborne Forces, they developed a model of RSCS with a butt of the same shape that is collapsing to the left. Folding butt in the combat position is fixed with a special latch. As a result, the RPCS was heavier than the PKK on 0,3 kg. Modifications for the PKKN and SSBN, respectively, were made for the RPK and SSBK machine guns, respectively, which were adapted to set up a night sight. Machine guns PKK and RKSKS steel weapons support airborne (motorized rifle) department. In some conflicts, the PKKN equipped with an optical sight was used as the “ersatz” of a sniper rifle - this was possible due to the fact that the light machine gun inherited the single-fire mode from the base machine gun.

The wide unification of parts and assemblies with AKM already mastered in production has greatly simplified the production of the RPK light machine gun, as well as its study in the troops (especially since the Kalashnikov assault rifle system is one of the easiest to learn and study). Important is the ease of repair, disassembly and care. Reasonableness, technological and constructive finish, a kind of elegance and comparative simplicity of the scheme with a wide application of the principle of multi-functionality of parts led to high reliability of work in any conditions. Vyatskopoljansky Machine-Building Plant "Molot" became the main producer of the PKK.

Designers K.T. Kurenkov and N.F. Makarov on the basis of the RPK has developed a "curvilinear" tank a machine gun having a deviation of the bullet trajectory by 90 °, but it was not accepted, although subsequently they tried to use these machine guns in caponier installations. During the landslide conversion, the Molot factory produced the Vepr hunting carbine based on the RPK light machine gun. After several years of development, this unique example of transferring machine guns to the hunting region gave an excellent result.

The PKK light machine gun was adopted in the armies of more than 20 countries. In some countries, its variants or copies are made. For example, in Yugoslavia, the Kalashnikov system 72В1 machine guns were produced under the cartridge 7,62X39, which was distinguished by the introduction of the ribbing and 72АВ1 with a metallic butt on the part. The export version of the 77B1 machine gun under the NATO cartridge 7,62x51 was equipped with a box magazine of a different shape and a carrying handle. Together with the 80 and 80A assault rifles, the 5,56X45 (M193) family of weapons produced a 82 model machine gun with a fixed butt and a 82A folding, both models had a carrying handle. In turn, the Yugoslav machine guns were delivered to some countries - for example, the M72B1 got into Iraq. Chinese copies of Type 73 and 81, retained the general scheme of the PKK light machine gun, however, they have a number of differences. In Finland, the machine gun made M78 "Valmet".

Technical characteristics of the RPK light machine gun:
Patron - 7,62x39;
Weight of machine gun without magazine 4,8 kg;
The mass of a machine gun with an equipped magazine for 40 (45) rounds - 5,6 kg;
The mass of a machine gun with an equipped magazine for 75 rounds is 6,8 kg;
Machine gun length - 1040 mm;
Barrel length - 590 mm;
The number of grooves - 4;
Pitch grooves - 240 mm;
Initial bullet speed - 745 m / s;
Muzzle energy - 2192 J;
The rate of fire - 600 shots per minute;
Combat rate - 150 shots per minute;
Sighting range - 1000 m;
The direct shot range on the chest figure is 365 m;
Range of direct shot at the growth figure - 540 m;
The range of slaughter bullet - 1500 m;
The maximum range of the bullet - 3000 m;
Magazine capacity - 40,75 cartridges.

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  1. Brother Sarych
    Brother Sarych 25 July 2012 08: 36
    In my opinion, more than a successful weapon!
    1. leon-iv
      leon-iv 25 July 2012 15: 11
      Do not tell me what's good about him in this under-machine gun?
      1. Captain Vrungel
        Captain Vrungel 25 July 2012 16: 53
        Everything is successful in this machine gun. And the machine will replace, and with a telescopic sight, the dragunovka will be replaced, and no worse than the PC will show in battle. And the Afghan has shown that it is more convenient for walking groups (you did not drag PKS along the mountains on you). For a quick, fleeting battle in the mountains, a reliable, lightweight, comfortable car. I still remember the number of my own PKK and every scratch on the butt. This is a machine gun with a capital letter. In our conditions, we only used vending machines. It is more convenient to unload. Equipped with 25 rounds to fit the feeder spring. The service was such that the store was constantly stocked. What kills when they show "cool" and two shops are tied with duct tape or scotch tape. And this "warrior" falls to the ground with a magazine in the clay and ... the magazine is full, the cartridge is warped ... the shooting is over ...
        1. leon-iv
          leon-iv 25 July 2012 18: 28
          Everything is successful in this machine gun, but now it is comparable to FNminimi
          the machine will replace
          It will easily make ANY machine gun
          with a telescopic sight the dragoon will replace
          Gross cartridge 7H10?
          Ali do you think 7,62 * 39 is more accurate 7,62 * 54?
          you didn’t carry PCS in the mountains
          Thank you PC was enough
          For a quick, fleeting battle in the mountains, a reliable, lightweight, comfortable car.
          And what kind of density of fire could you create? If you compare BC RPK with minimi
          Equipped with 25 rounds
          Also, Minimi has a box of up to 200 rounds and a belt feed
          What kills when they show "cool" and two shops are tied with duct tape or scotch tape. And this "warrior" falls to the ground with a magazine in the clay and ... the magazine is full, the cartridge is warped ... the shooting is over ...
          Well, we have a lot of eccentrics in the letter M
          1. bazilio
            bazilio 26 July 2012 11: 55
            Well, following your example, let's compare the T-90 with the T-34, the Mstu with the ZIS-3, the AK with the PPSh. First, compare the creation year of both samples. I do not argue, Minimi is a great light support machine gun, but it is from a different class of weapons. All existing RP (not in the sense of Kalashnikov, but a weapon class) is a very specific weapon class. This is not a full-fledged machine gun (without taphole power, without a replaceable barrel). This is an intermediate link between a machine gun and a machine gun. In fact, it is a "high-precision machine". And among its counterparts, the PKK looks very dignified. I do not argue that the PKK is already old and has enough time to change. But still the PKK is a very good example for its time.
        2. moroz2200
          moroz2200 25 July 2012 21: 29
          He was also a machine gunner in the department (RPK-74). RPK-74 is a machine with a long barrel and bipod and nothing more !!! For the qualities of a machine gun he is far !!! And you need a removable barrel and fly-food, but the caliber is different! And the rest is EXCELLENT machine gun !! )))) It is necessary to be objective, and not with foam at the mouth to prove nonsense !!! The spirits in Chechnya had PCs (handsome) for 2-3 per group, but they didn’t take the PKK with them without fail!
  2. collapse
    collapse 25 July 2012 09: 34
    Quote: Brother Sarich
    In my opinion, more than a successful weapon!

    I fully agree with my colleague, I was lucky to serve with him, a funky thing. Easy separation support in battle.
    1. leon-iv
      leon-iv 25 July 2012 15: 13
      And if for example compare with FN Minimi which IMHO is a more successful weapon.
      1. cth; fyn
        cth; fyn 25 July 2012 17: 14
        this is a full-fledged machine gun weighing 7 kg.
        1. leon-iv
          leon-iv 25 July 2012 18: 31
          Yeah, and BK, and where is the replacement barrel?

          this is a full-fledged machine gun weighing 7 kg.
          the same FN Minimi SPW weighs 5,7 current, so it can close with fire and there is no PKK, the wrong one and the trunks are wrong.
          1. 77bor1973
            77bor1973 25 July 2012 20: 58
            5.7 kg is for military vehicles, and with a telescopic butt all 8 kg.
            1. marshes
              marshes 25 July 2012 21: 36
              This one is more interesting.

              standard model Minimi Para Mk. 46 mod. 0 / Minimi SPW
              Caliber 5.56x45mm NATO
              Weight 7.1kg 7.1kg 5.75kg
              Length 1040 mm 914 / 776 mm 908 / 762 mm
              Barrel length 465 mm 349 mm 406 mm
              Food Tape or Shopping Tape
              Rate of fire 750 - 1000 rounds per minute 750 - 1000 rounds per minute 750 rounds per minute
              1. marshes
                marshes 25 July 2012 21: 52
                The Minimi machine gun was developed by the Belgian company FN Herstal in the mid - late 1970s and early 1980s and has been in serial production since about 1981. It is in service with many countries, including Belgium itself, the United States (designated M249 SAW), Canada (designated C9), Australia (designated F-89) and many others. The machine gun enjoys a well-deserved popularity for its high mobility combined with firepower, significantly superior to the firepower of light machine guns such as the RPK-74, L86A1 and others, built on the basis of machine guns, and not created "from scratch" like machine guns. A distinctive feature of Minimi is the ability to use both a metal tape (standard method) and NATO standard rifle magazines (M16 screwdrivers, reserve version) for firing without any design changes (the Czech Vz.52 light machine gun, created 30 years old, had a similar capability earlier). Minimi machine guns are used to increase the firepower of infantry squads, providing effective fire at ranges of up to 600-800 meters, combined with high mobility.
                Technical description.
                Minimi - light (light) machine gun, built on the basis of gas-operated automatics, barrel locking is provided by turning the bolt. Food - metal loose tape or box magazines (magazine receptacle is located on the left side of the weapon under the belt receptacle, the magazine is inserted at an angle of approximately 45 degrees down from the horizontal). When using tape, the window of the magazine receptacle is covered with a dust cover, when inserting the magazine (used tape), an open curtain blocks the tape feed path. When using tape, part of the energy of the gas engine is spent on pulling the tape, therefore, with tape, the rate of fire is lower than in the store supply. The tape is usually fed from plastic boxes or canvas "bags" on a metal frame, adjacent to the bottom of the machine gun, with a capacity of 100 or 200 rounds.
                The barrel of the machine gun is quick-change, equipped with a flash suppressor and a folding handle for carrying. The barrels are produced in three main sizes - standard length 465 mm, "landing" length 349 mm and "special purpose" length 406 mm. The bipod is foldable, located under the barrel on the gas pipe.
                Depending on the country of manufacture and modification, Minimi may have stocks and handguards of various designs, mounts for optical and night sights, etc. Fire control - using a pistol grip with a trigger, the fire mode is only automatic.
  3. Poppy
    Poppy 25 July 2012 09: 54
    so Kalashnikov is generally very successful
  4. fartfraer
    fartfraer 25 July 2012 11: 05
    I had to see how they "cleaned" the barrel, clogged with dirt from the muzzle to the bullet itself. We did it just-shot. After this (well, I think everyone heard about the platoon with a foot, and maybe someone saw) all the remarks about the advantages of imported developments (m 16, etc.) ) I think "a little" stupid, because. in the conditions of "no shooting gallery" the Kalash and his "relatives" (rpk, pc) will give 100 points ahead.
    1. Andrey77
      Andrey77 25 July 2012 13: 59
      For such handling of weapons, you were supposed to two blows in the face from the dresser. Best case scenario. You can consider all replicas stupid until you begin to understand the layout of weapons. The M16 is structurally designed in a different way once, it’s silly to compare an automatic rifle with a light machine gun - two.
  5. USNik
    USNik 25 July 2012 14: 34
    People who know that mobility is important say that the PKK is a haemorrhage, with a tambourine heavy, and with a magazine for 40 rounds it is slightly better than AKMS. And therefore, it is Akms with a long store that they prefer.
    1. cth; fyn
      cth; fyn 25 July 2012 17: 17
      Knowledgeable people 14 years old huh?
      He only saw him in the Army, it feels like a toy, small and not serious.
    2. Captain Vrungel
      Captain Vrungel 25 July 2012 17: 30
      "Knowledgeable people" can tell PKK from AKMS, and you AKMS from AKM. For reference. Serious people in serious work prefer the more comfortable and lighter AKM than the AKMS.
      1. IGR
        IGR 25 July 2012 23: 36
        In the late 60s, after the events in China, there was an intensive shop-chants from the PKK for badges, vodka, etc. Changed the frontier guards at the "screws" - army men in the border zone (Uch-Aral frontier detachment). The RPK shop did not fit into the pouch, but the chiefs of the outposts looked at it with understanding. They scolded the outfits in one word. And then there were only AKMs (AKMSs were among the dog owners and drove).
  6. zombies
    zombies 25 July 2012 14: 43
    generally NOT a machine gun, replacing the RPD with this was a step back ...
  7. redcod
    redcod 25 July 2012 16: 11
    I read about the advantages of Western automatic weapons and the shortcomings of AK, its old age and low accuracy, and I catch myself thinking that if I got in, God forbid, in the trouble, I would not wish for another weapon.
    1. Klibanophoros
      Klibanophoros 26 July 2012 02: 21
      One Western expert, when firing from export Kalashnikovs chambered for NATO 5,56x45 mm, noted that the accuracy of fire is not worse than that of Western samples, from which he concluded that the notorious low accuracy of the AK series is due to the low, by modern standards, quality of Soviet / Russian ammunition.
  8. Klibanophoros
    Klibanophoros 25 July 2012 16: 58
    And what kind of model is the helmet of a soldier in the foreground (right)? Looks like ours.

    And by the way, do not drive to the PKK - for its time it is the best light machine gun, it can not be compared with the unified ones, for decades of service it has proved to be an excellent machine.
    1. cth; fyn
      cth; fyn 25 July 2012 17: 18
      see the extreme fighter? it is the same helmet, only in the case.
      1. Klibanophoros
        Klibanophoros 26 July 2012 02: 14
        Model! I asked the helmet model index.
    2. Captain Vrungel
      Captain Vrungel 25 July 2012 17: 20
      These three clowns at the machine guns and the standing instructor do not even have a clue about the position of the shooter when lying down.
  9. Denzel13
    Denzel13 25 July 2012 17: 20
    This weapon is intended for its own purposes and it corresponds to them.
  10. Black Colonel
    Black Colonel 25 July 2012 18: 02
    Interesting article. Still interesting is on What is characteristic - without tantrums, dusting his head with ashes and rya-patriotism.
  11. FIMUK
    FIMUK 25 July 2012 18: 04
    and what is successful in it? thin barrel heats up ... suppression and support of "0", there is no ribbon supply due to the above.
    like a single machine gun, it does not roll
    Yes, he was good at suppressing single targets outside the ak47, no more likely this was what was required of him .... and in general it is not correct to call this device a light machine gun as it is rather an assault rifle with an elongated barrel, according to modern qualifications such as "Marksman"
    Threat for an example of the RPD, which replaced the PKK, are still using different PMCs in a slightly modified appearance. And the PKK, due to poverty, is only "Mongols" and their associates.
  12. Andrei
    Andrei 25 July 2012 20: 38
    this weapon corresponded to the task set by the leadership, namely "maximum unification with AKM and, as a result, reduction in production costs" although the RPD was better, but it was more complicated and more expensive to manufacture ... and then they were preparing for war with America ... and according to the experience of the Second World War considered that they needed a massive, simple, cheap weapon, albeit worse in performance characteristics than a good but less technologically advanced and expensive weapon ... and RPD "died the death of the brave in this unequal battle" .... in my opinion it would not be bad to start work now on the modernization of the RPD, now we have a smaller army than under the UNION
    we seem to be not going to fight with America .... why not give the army a machine gun that is more needed and not the one that is? ... in my opinion, the RPD can still be "rehabilitated" ...
    1. REZMovec
      REZMovec 25 July 2012 22: 14
      Totally agree!
      RPD is a great machine. Oh, youth! The memories are only positive. Reliable, fairly accurate, unpretentious, maintenance difficulties (disassembly / clean) I don’t see ... Maybe a little heavy for long hikes (I didn’t have to carry it more than 8 km) ... The PKK was not standing next to it, like a machine gun.
    2. vylvyn
      vylvyn 26 July 2012 07: 36
      I agree. Everything is correct. Unification decided everything. It is interesting, if one were to push off from the existing RPD and develop a machine that was unified with it, what would be the version of the machine (purely compare it later with Kalash)?
      1. FIMUK
        FIMUK 26 July 2012 11: 27
        that's what happens or happened-
    3. insomnia
      insomnia 26 July 2012 22: 18
      RPD is a good machine) Not yet out of date, so you can probably upgrade and return.
      We saw how private traders in the United States managed it ... (2 posts below)
  13. Mi
    Mi 25 July 2012 23: 49
    Why break the spears. For information, in the motorized rifle department now the state no longer has a RPK machine gunner, but a PKM machine gun calculation.
    1. vylvyn
      vylvyn 26 July 2012 07: 30
      Truth? Interesting. When 2 people were introduced to the machine gun? If the machine gunner was really replaced with a machine gun calculation, then you can take the maximum back into service. Ah tachanka Rostovites our pride and beauty ........ laughing
  14. bazilio
    bazilio 26 July 2012 13: 00
    RPK is a reliable and excellent weapon. Of the shortcomings can be called a high location shooter due to the long store. But how significant this is depends on specific situations.
  15. plump
    plump 26 July 2012 19: 02
    I only heard spitting at him. But not at the address of his store at 45. My same opinion: on the lack of fish ....
  16. insomnia
    insomnia 26 July 2012 22: 11
    In fact, this is of course an AKM with an elongated heavy barrel, bipod and butt under a speed bump. The most unified.
    By the way, about the drum store - somehow I happened to see our soldier with AKM and with this very drum store on the chronicle of the First Chechen War. What did they come up with))
    1. Andrey77
      Andrey77 29 July 2012 01: 11
      I'm already tired of looking for a "drum". They are not in the troops, NO! "Drum" can be sent from America - no problem. Rarity!
  17. Iskander64
    Iskander64 6 June 2016 14: 04
    1) year of manufacture 60s, 2) caliber 7,62 with a good cartridge, this is not 5,45 or NATO 5,6. 3) drum at 75, it was still, because 40 and clearly not enough (by the way, by the 5th, except for the horn for 45, OUR did not do anything else, ... and why?) 4) the charter of the 60s and the tactics of conducting the battle of the detachment rota were immediately commemorated. then they adopted the PC, etc. as modernity progressed. about firing from a pkmA with a full box with hands in bursts, who is Rambo? ... by the way, when I got a new AK74, there were proposals to change it to RPKA74, but no one agreed to give a used AKM instead, even when I added seiko, and 1 45 .. There are many "experts" here, but we must remember the history. yes, and the good old RPD is the same good machine, it's a pity .. but before the pc, unification was needed in the divisions .. about the tape of the rolled up magazines, it is true, it did not justify the big risk of ditching and ditching yourself, when they unloaded the magazines from the pouches and then rubbed the cartridges .. ...