Military Review

Experimental high-speed machine gun G.N. Nikonov

Designer Gennady Nikolaevich Nikonov is widely known for his AN-94 machine gun, created under the Abakan program. Nevertheless, over three and a half decades of work at the Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant, Nikonov managed to create several other equally interesting samples of small arms. weapons. So, in the late seventies, he designed an experimental light machine gun, designed to study the original automation system. As it turned out during the tests, the new machine gun on fire rate surpassed all existing and promising developments of this class.

Nikonov’s experimental high-speed machine gun appeared in 1978. The designer began to work on the project as an initiative, having no orders or technical tasks. Nikonov intended to verify the original idea, which was to equip the weapon with two barrels. An experienced machine gun had a specific automation system, somewhat resembling the Gast system. However, the Gast and Nikonov systems were united only by the presence of two trunks and their mechanical connection, with the help of which each of the trunks reloaded the second after the shot and vice versa.

All units of the experimental machine gun were placed in a receiver of a complex shape. In the back, it had a pentagonal cross section and resembled a Kalashnikov assault rifle. In front of the receiver changed the shape of a square. Cover the back of the receiver could be removed for cleaning and maintenance of weapons. A bipod was attached to the front of the box, a butt borrowed from the M.T. Kalashnikov. To control the fire machine gun had a pistol grip with a trigger and a bracket. In front of them was a receiving window for a box store.

The use of two barrels, designed to increase the rate of fire of the machine gun, required the creation of an original automation system. Two rifled barrel caliber 5,45 mm were located side by side and had the ability to move back and forth within the 58-60 mm. To the rear of the trunks were attached gear racks, interacting with a special gear in the rear of the receiver. With the help of this rack and pinion, it was supposed to synchronize the movement of the trunks. On the existing photos it is clear that a certain telescopic bar was attached to the synchronizing gear. Apparently, it was intended to adjust the speed of rotation of the gear.

Experimental high-speed machine gun G.N. Nikonov

Before the synchronization mechanism inside the receiver there was a block that performed the functions of the shutter, and before it, in turn, there was a system for feeding cartridges into two chambers. Unlike other automatic weapons, Nikonov's high-temperature machine gun had a fixed bolt without any system for locking the barrel. Probably, such a system was chosen to simplify the design and increase the rate of fire. Two barrels had gas tubes connected to the pistons. Interestingly, the pressure of the powder gases had to move the barrel forward. However, according to other sources, the gas systems of the trunks were cross-linked, which caused the second one to move backward when fired from one barrel.

The high-grade machine gun was created under the cartridge 5,45x39 mm and could use the corresponding magazines from automatic rifles or Kalashnikov light machine guns. Since the sample was conceived as purely experimental and was intended solely to test the original design, such a power supply system was considered sufficient. No attempt was made to modify the machine gun for tape or any other power supply.

To guide the experimental machine gun was supposed to use an open sight and front sight, located in front of the receiver. For obvious reasons, the sighting devices had the simplest design, sufficient for testing in a shooting range.

Before firing a new weapon, the machine gunner had to pull one of the two cocking handles. In this case, the trunk, with which the handle was connected, shifted back and put the cartridge chamber on the filed cartridge. The second barrel moved forward. Moving backward, the barrel with a special protrusion in the breech pressure on a part of complex shape associated with the ammunition suppressor. The latter moved towards the second barrel and moved the new cartridge to its loading line.

When you press the trigger, the firing mechanism was activated and the firing pin located in the bolt plate hit the cartridge cartridge in the first barrel. Powder gases from this shot fell into the vapor pipe and pressed on the piston that bore the barrel forward (as already mentioned, according to other sources, the piston shifted back the second barrel). Moving its gear rack, the first barrel moved the second to the rearmost position. At the same time, the extraction and discharge of the spent cartridge was carried out. Shells were thrown through two windows in the receiver cover. This was followed by a shot from the second barrel, made according to the same principles.

Alternately moving back and forth, the two barrels were constantly advancing on the cartridge and fired. The use of rack and pinion allowed to achieve accurate synchronization of the movement of trunks. During the tests, an experimental high-tech machine gun showed a unique rate of fire for small arms. According to the testers' estimates, the weapon could fire over 3000 per minute, i.e. about 1500 rounds per minute on each of the two trunks.

During the tests, the experimental high-temperature machine gun, Nikonov, clearly showed its positive aspects. However, this was not without flaws. The main one is the use of gears. Hit in the receiver of sand or dirt threatened to malfunction of the system of synchronization of trunks, or even its damage. In this regard, the Nikonov machine gun could not be used in real conditions without numerous additional modifications.

The second serious lack of design put an end to the use of a machine gun in the army and was associated with a high rate of fire. With a rate of fire of 3000 per minute, the standard magazine from the AK-74 on 30 cartridges was consumed in about one hundredth of a minute. The use of a little more capacious shops from the PKK light machine gun also did not allow for improving the combat qualities of the weapon. This problem could be solved either by artificially reducing the rate of fire, which contradicted the very ideology of the project, or by the introduction of tape feed, which would require a radical redesign of the structure.

It should be recalled, the experimental high-tech machine gun G.N. Nikonov was never considered as a prototype of small arms for the army. The task of the project, developed on an initiative basis, was to check an interesting and bold automation system with two trunks. The machine gun successfully coped with the demonstration of the potential of the new scheme, but more was not required of it. At present, the only prototype of Nikonov’s high-grade machine gun is kept in the museum of the Kalashnikov concern.

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  1. Corsair
    Corsair 25 February 2014 08: 47
    It must be assumed that when the trunks move, their cooling occurs, which in turn increases the firing time ...
    The "apparatus" is very interesting in its concept, and with a certain refinement (and in a different caliber) could be used, for example, for arming helicopters.
    In this development by GN Nikonov, a rather "extravagant" scheme is used, which only emphasizes the breadth of the Designer's views.

    It is a pity that he is no longer with us ...
    1. And Us Rat
      And Us Rat 25 February 2014 12: 39
      Quote: Corsair
      The "apparatus" is very interesting in its concept, and with a certain refinement (and in a different caliber) could be used, for example, for arming helicopters.

      Yes, the idea is interesting, the only one, IMHO, the system of gears in the mechanism is doubtful, they will wear out if you develop an alternative to it - you will get a lighter and less expensive alternative to machine guns with a rotating block of barrels (like M134 Minigun), which, as you know, is difficult to use without a carrier platform as an infantry support weapon.
      1. crazyrom
        crazyrom 11 March 2014 06: 30
        And it seems to me there is a fundamental flaw that is not mentioned: both barrels are located away from the center of gravity axis, which is why the weapon should jerk from side to side with each shot, that is, it seems to me that it is not really possible to shoot from it aimed, but only " to pour "barrage of fire.
    2. Mister X
      Mister X 25 February 2014 19: 24
      Quote: Corsair
      with a certain refinement (and in another caliber) it could be used, for example, for arming helicopters.

      As Cyril already wrote,
      Nikonov intended to test the original idea of ​​equipping weapons with two trunks.

      That is, G.N. was not going to arm the army with this machine gun,
      but just wanted to test my idea in practice.

      I think that it was easier to create from scratch for arming helicopters.
      Even if we assume that the task of remaking the product to a different caliber is solvable -
      it remains to make a few more changes:
      - Install a longer and heavier trunk;
      - Think of a tape system of ammunition, not a store.
      And to reduce the wear of the mechanism, find a replacement for gear racks and gears.
      Isn't it easier to create a new product?
      1. Mister X
        Mister X 25 February 2014 19: 29
        Additional information in the topic
        A little earlier (in 1962) in the Tula Design Bureau German Aleksandrovich Korobov created
        TKB-059 three-barreled multiple launch rocket launcher (Device-3Б)
        Article by Alexander Ryazantsev

        And in 2012, Israeli company Silver Shadow introduced a double-barrel AR-15 modification: Gilboa DBR

    3. luiswoo
      luiswoo 27 February 2014 08: 45
      Quote: Corsair
      The "apparatus" is very interesting in its concept, and with a certain refinement (and in a different caliber) could be used, for example, for arming helicopters.

      Why are the GS-23 \ 30 bad with which helicopters are now armed?
  2. ramsi
    ramsi 25 February 2014 09: 54
    if the shot was fired from the "rear" barrel, then the "front" one seemed to lock it. Then the traction on the gear is not an adjustment, but rather is adapted to create an artificial blind spot. The cross-gas pipeline seems too complicated to implement. It is not clear how the sleeve was thrown out when the barrel moved forward, the bolt probably only held it
    1. ramsi
      ramsi 26 February 2014 08: 19
      if the assumption about an artificial dead center is correct, then the misunderstandings with the operation of the gas outlet are most likely explained by the fact that there is not a crank, but a pendulum, and there must be some transverse impulse to bring the barrels out of the dead center. So, a "cross" gas outlet - it may very well be ...
  3. Kapitan Oleg
    Kapitan Oleg 25 February 2014 10: 08
    Very interesting. But still, not a single, even the most extravagant idea is useless, it goes into the baggage of knowledge, and someday, on its basis, someone will do something useful, and perhaps even outstanding.
  4. bazilio
    bazilio 25 February 2014 10: 13
    Thanks to the author, I have never heard of such an aggregate before.
    A very interesting design, but it will be difficult to find practical application, and is it worth it to look for ......
  5. stolbovsn
    stolbovsn 25 February 2014 10: 32
    Yeah .. - 30 rounds in 0.01 seconds! - here is a terrific prototype for aircraft machine guns!
    In this case, dirt issues and catering issues are not problems.
    1. VKabanov
      VKabanov 25 February 2014 10: 54
      7,62 is not a caliber for aviation and this was understood already in 2MB.
      1. inkass_98
        inkass_98 25 February 2014 11: 00
        Yeah, after the start of WWII, everyone quickly switched to 12,7 and guns.
        1. Corsair
          Corsair 25 February 2014 12: 02
          Quote: inkass_98
          Yeah, after the start of WWII, everyone quickly switched to 12,7 and guns.

          And the circuit cannot be adapted to a different caliber?
          Think about it ...
          1. Bersaglieri
            Bersaglieri 25 February 2014 16: 54
            According to Gast's scheme, a bunch of aviation guns are made.
            For example, GSh-30K, which is on the Mi-24P and Su-25.
      2. Samaritan
        Samaritan 25 February 2014 14: 46
        Moreover, it is under 5,45 x 39, but the general concept is interesting !!! )
    2. Samaritan
      Samaritan 25 February 2014 14: 45
      0.01 per minute, 3000 rounds per minute ... But also nothing)))
    3. luiswoo
      luiswoo 27 February 2014 08: 29
      Quote: stolbovsn
      Yeah .. - 30 rounds in 0.01 seconds! - here is a terrific prototype for aircraft machine guns!
      In this case, dirt issues and catering issues are not problems.

      Already have GSh-23 (up to 4000 in \ m on two trunks) - in comparison with it, this machine gun is a stone age.
      1. stolbovsn
        stolbovsn 27 February 2014 18: 00
        30 rounds in 0.01 seconds = 180000 rpm
  6. VKabanov
    VKabanov 25 February 2014 10: 53
    The idea can find application in automatic weapons for shooting under water, or in anti-aircraft artillery.
  7. Duke
    Duke 25 February 2014 15: 17
    Thanks to the author for the article, I also wanted to know about interesting developments.
  8. alex-cn
    alex-cn 25 February 2014 15: 48
    With such a rate of fire, ammunition is not enough for him, especially in the infantry version. But after all, it was developed as an implementation of the idea, and did not pretend to be adopted.
  9. Ch0sen1
    Ch0sen1 25 February 2014 16: 32
    Nikonov always gravitated towards exotic designs smile
  10. sesame
    sesame 25 February 2014 20: 58
    All is well, but what will be the force of bestowal if the horn leaves in a hundredth of a second?
  11. uzer 13
    uzer 13 25 February 2014 21: 00
    If you refine this design, you can make a good machine gun. It is not necessary to increase the rate of fire, the two barrels will heat less, the resource will also be higher. Only contacting with the gear crank mechanism is undesirable. The lever system will be more reliable and simpler.
  12. schizophrenic
    schizophrenic 2 March 2014 01: 29
    Just Schwarzenegger for the terminator, it will look cooler and more convenient to shoot because it is easier to Gatling. One problem is ammunition. wassat laughing
  13. Peacemaker
    Peacemaker 13 March 2014 16: 56
    They say Schwarzenegger imperceptibly violated something so that he would not fly away from the recoil, and even the gatling works from the electric generator ...
  14. oleg.oslyatin2011
    oleg.oslyatin2011 24 June 2019 20: 58
    From the very beginning, it was clear to all hedgehogs that the Gast system (3000 rds / min!) For a MANUAL machine gun is completely unsuitable (even the MG42's rate of fire of 1200 rds / min was too large, and in the later version of MG3 and in Spain it was reduced to 800 rounds / min). The Honorable Gennady Nikolaevich was simply having fun, "satisfying personal curiosity at the expense of the state," as Acad. Artsimovich. Lucky people! I would also like to test my ideas in metal, while my ideas would have a more practical application.