Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Sniper SVT Trials

"Description of the issue:

Proving grounds and battlefield tests of self-loading sniper rifles developed by factory #314 based on approved and prototype blueprints revealed unsatisfactory shot groups, and significant deviations of the first and second bullets from the dispersion ellipse.
Both drawbacks are caused by design flaws in the rifle and scope mount.
Attempts by the factory to improve groupings with small design proved fruitless, as reducing dispersion and preventing the 1st and 2nd bullet from deviating too much requires significant changes to the rifle and scope mount.
Since, currently, the 7.62 mm model 1891/30 sniper rifle with the PE scope is being manufactured, and a scope mount for the PU scope for the same rifle is under development, it is reasonable to cease production of 7.62 mm self-loading rifles with the PU scope, provided that proving grounds trials of the model 1891/30 rifle prove satisfactory.

Decisions of the Artillery Directorate of the Red Army:
1. Finish trials of the PU scope mount for the model 1891/30 sniper rifle no later than August 20th, 1942.
2. If results are positive, cease production of self-loading sniper rifles starting on September 1st.
3. If the self-loading sniper rifle is removed from production, increase production of model 1891/30 sniper rifles."

Via Andrei Ulanov.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Mosin Suppressor

"This suppressor, designed by comrades Barnas and Glinin, has a cigar-like shape (see photo #1) and consists of two parts, connected with a tread at the point of the suppressor where the diameter is the largest.

Photo #1 shows the suppressor."

Monday, 28 October 2013

Soviet Supplies

When I posted the article about museum quality rifles in stock in Moscow, people were surprised at the variety of available equipment. They shouldn't be, Soviet stock-keeping was exemplary!

"When my grandfather fell out of favour, he was thrown out of Moscow and appointed as a chief of some engineering warehouse somewhere at the end of the Earth, but, thanks to his past achievements and wartime service, still in the European USSR.

The unit was "castrated", there was nothing for entertainment except hunting and vodka, and most importantly, nothing for even a Supply Commander to steal (rock bottom, as I understand it), even though the warehouses were colossal, left over from the Tsarist army. Everything was already arranged, and my grandfather just kept order.

For example, there is some perfectly fine hemp rope. Look at the tag (issued by the Tsar's General Staff!), and it says "keep for 50 (fifty) years". It was 1966, so they got rid of it all. The officers carried it home almost in tears, a perfectly good thing, wonderful condition, but there is nothing to use it for at home. Something could be used, we had an excellent axe produced in 1917 and, naturally, written off in 1967. I suspect that it is still lying there somewhere.

However, the accursed Tsarists did not establish a tag for the cannonballs - there was no tag, and that's it! My father says that my grandfather had a pair of soldiers whose main duty was to dust, oil, and paint them. There were many of them, they were very heavy, and took up a lot of space. This went on until my grandfather managed to write them off above quota. It is a scary thing to think what would have happened if the Tsarist intendants wrote down "keep forever".

PS: I talked to the communications officers in the Russian army a few weeks ago, and asked if the TA-57 (Telephone Apparatus model 1957) was still in service. The people confirmed that it was."

Original here.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

GVG Machinegun

The Red Army started WWII with two infantry machineguns: the light magazine fed handheld DP and heavy belt fed mounted Maxim. Both were quite aged designs by the time, so a replacement was considered.

"Photo #1. Magazine fed GVG machinegun in combat position (bipod with limiters)
Photo #2. View from the right. GVG machinegun in transport position."
"Photo #3. Belt fed GVG machinegun in combat position with rollers.
Photo #4. View from the left. Belt fed GVG machinegun in transport position."


Based on the results of trials, NIPSVO KA concludes the following:

Positive qualities of the machinegun

1. Simplicity and convenience of use (loading, clearing jams, moving firing positions with rollers, etc).
2. Simplicity and low cost compared to the DP machine gun.
3. Satisfactory shot groups, equivalent to the groups of the DP with the Starovoytov mount.
4. Two feeding mechanisms, belt and magazine (stock).
5. Reliability of the magazine feed, both with brass and steel casings (out of 4594 rounds fired, the machinegun caused jams 0.13% of the time), and the belt feed with steel casings (out of 16717 rounds fired, the machinegun caused jams 0.3% of the time).
6. Satisfactory life span of machinegun parts.

Negative qualities of the machinegun

1. Low reliability when using belt feed with brass casings due to bullets falling out.
2. The rate of fire with magazine feed is high for a hand-held machinegun (660-765 RPM).
3. Unreliable operation of the machinegun with an unevenly loaded belt (when rounds are loaded too deeply).
4. Small design flaws, unsatisfactory magazine latch, backplate pin, barrel retention wedge, etc.


Based on the above, NIPSVO KA decrees that:

1. Due to the sufficient simplicity of manufacture, ease of use, and combat quality of the machinegun (groups, parts lifespan, mechanism reliability), it is reasonable to produce several experimental prototypes for the final solution to the question of mass producing this machine gun.

2. When producing experimental prototypes, resolve the aforementioned defects."CAMD RF 81-12040-29

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Armoury of the Moscow People's Militia

In September of 1941, things weren't looking so good for the Red Army. The possibility of the German army reaching, and even taking, Moscow was on the horizon. A People's Militia was formed to defend the city if necessary. At the same time, an inventory of obsolete weapons was taken, to see what they could be equipped with if the regular army consumes all of the currently produced guns. Numbers of functional guns and those in need of repairs are given, the latter in brackets.

Any modern collector would be envious of the result:

"7.7 mm English rifles and carbines: 8992 (11911)
7.92 mm rifles and carbines: 24897 (13188)
8 mm Lebel rifles and carbines, model 86/93 16380 (2890)
8 mm Lebel rifles and carbines, model 907-15-16 21630 (5100)
7.62 mm Finnish rifles and carbines 2406 (8190)
6.5 mm Japanese rifles and carbines 3260 (5554)
6.5 mm Italian rifles and carbines 1777 (1455)
8 mm Mannlicher rifles and carbines 15096 (1481)
8 mm Steyr rifles 1194 (928)
11 mm Gras rifles 3906 (1303)
10.4 mm Vetterli-Vitali rifles 1080 (296)
6.5 mm Fedorov submachineguns 882 (67)

7.62 mm Finnish Suomi hand-held machineguns 38 (261)
7.7 mm Hotchkiss hand-held machineguns 71 (0)
7.7 mm Lewis hand-held machineguns 0 (514)
7.92 mm Lewis hand-held machineguns 64 (0)
7.92 mm German Bergmann machineguns 86 (115)
7.92 mm German Maxim hand-held machineguns with no bipods, unsuitable for use 800 (0)
7.92 mm Polish Browning machineguns 40 (97)
7.92 mm German hand-held Maxim machineguns 37 (424)
8 mm Chauchat hand-held machineguns 673 (983)

7.62 mm Colt mounted machinegun 1796 (0)
7.62 mm Vickers machinegun on a tripod 172 (0)
7.62 mm Finnish Maxim machinegun (no mount) 25 (339)
7.62 mm Colt machinegun (no tripod) 0 (603)
7.7 mm Vickers machinegun (with tripod) 280 (0)
7.92 mm Vickers mounted machinegun 112 (0)
7.62 mm Browning mounted machinegun 503 (0)
7.92 mm Polish Hotchkiss mounted machinegun 209 (42)
7.92 mm Maxim mounted machinegun 62 (0)
8 mm Schwartzlose mounted machinegun 133 (14)
8 mm St. Etienne mounted machinegun 815 (0)
8 mm Hotchkiss mounted machinegun 964 (141)

7.92 mm Polish Browning aircraft machinegun 70 (0)
7.92 mm Polish aircraft machinegun 82 (0)
7.92 mm Polish Vickers synchronized aircraft machinegun 0 (132)
7.92 mm German Vickers turret aircraft machinegun 33 (0)
7.92 mm Hotchkiss aircraft machinegun 42 (0)

76 mm model 1902/30 regimental gun 279 (45)
76 mm model 1900 gun 0 (48)
76 mm French model 1897 gun 12 (208)
76 mm model 1933 gun 89 (112)
76 mm mountain gun model 1909 1 (51)"

Thankfully, the militia received proper modern firearms, and didn't have to go into battle with this museum. Andrei Ulanov provides the following excerpt:

"3. People's Militia divisions were re-armed and are equipped with domestically produced weapons:
  • With small arms, 50 mm mortars, and 76 mm divisional guns: completely
  • 82 mm mortars: 39%, 120 mm mortars: 15%, 45 mm guns: 15%, 76 mm regimental guns: 32%, 122 mm howitzers: 100%
  • Communications equipment: 20-45%
4. To fully equip the People's Militia divisions, the following must be issued:
  • 396 82 mm mortars, 122 120 mm mortars, 98 76 mm regimental guns
  • 30% of regularly issued pioneer tools
  • Main communications equipment (radios, telephones, cable).
September 3rd, 1941 (signed: Schadenko, Artemyev, Yakovlev)."

Friday, 25 October 2013

Mosin Penetration

My other blog talks a lot about how much armour a cannon can punch through, but there are many things other than steel on the battlefield. The archives of the Komsomol's youth magazine, Smena, contain a penetration table for the Mosin rifle (sadly, they do not specify which one, but I can't imagine the ballistics are too different).

Brick: 20 cm
Sand: 70 cm
Clay: 100 cm
Dirt: 140 cm
Bushes: 150 cm
Compressed snow: 350 cm
Straw: 425 cm
Loose snow: 450 cm

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Lend-Lease .45 SMGs

"ArtKom GAU #12132, Secret

On March 31st, 1942, the shooting range at military base #36 conducted a test of American 11.43 mm pistol rounds, after receiving 3 million such rounds from Murmansk. The tests were conducted by the Senior Assistant of the Chief of the 5th Department of ArtKom GAU KA military engineer 2nd grade Ohotnikov N.S. and Assistant of the Chief of the 5th Department of ArtKom GAU KA military engineer 2nd grade Karagodin G.K., following the program outlined in this document.

The purpose of the tests was to establish the condition of the received rounds. Rounds were taken from 10 crates, 100 rounds each. The results were as follows:

1. External inspection of the rounds

300 rounds were visually inspected. The inspection shows that the rounds have scum on the casings, and dirt in the casing base. Some rounds have a stamp, some do not. Most rounds have primers sticking out, but some have primers sunk in very deeply.

The bullets are red brass, the casings are yellow brass, but five rounds (1.7%) had a red metallic casing (probably red brass). Most of the cartridges are produced by Remington (with a stamp on the case "REM-UMC.45ACP), but there are others:

Western: 6 (2%)
WRA Co: 4 (1.4%)
FA-34: 2 (0.7%)
FA-40: 6 (2%)
RA-41: 2 (0.7%)

During visual inspection, the following defects were found:

Dented primer: 6 (2%)
Ragged primer edges: 40 (13.3%)
Impacted primer: 46 (15.3%)
Crooked primer: 10 (3.3%)
Weakly housed bullet, removable by hand: 1 (0.3%)
Total: 103 (34.4%)

II: Testing by firing from a submachinegun

The rounds were fired from a Reising SMG #5073 and Thompson SMG #S-152550. 970 rounds were fired. The following defects were found:

Escaping gases (casing ruptured): 6 (0.6%)
Tough extraction of the casing: 3 (0.3%)
The bullet remains in the barrel (no gunpowder): 2 (0.2%)
Misfire (Reising): 59 (6.1%)
Misfire (Thompson): 4 (0.4%)
Casing stuck on extraction (Reising): 25 (2.6%)

Rounds that failed to fire in the Reising could be fired from the Thompson.

III: Inspection of casings

After firing, 300 casings were examined. The following defects were discovered:
Ruptures around primer: 16 (6%)
Penetrated primer: 6 (2%)
Primer fell out: 2 (0.7%)


1. 11.43 mm rounds that arrived at Murmansk were produced by various companies, and in various years.
2. Many rounds have defects, mainly of the primer, which results in escaping gases, rupture of the casing, misfires, poor extraction, and other anomalies.
3. The received shipment of rounds can only be used after removing 100% of defective items, and even that will not stop escaping gases and bullets getting stuck in the barrel.



Welcome to Soviet Gun Archives! A lot of you may already know me from my blog about tanks. If so, then this will be exactly the same thing, but for firearms.

If you aren't familiar with my work, definitely click the link above (tanks are fun!). The objective of these blogs is to bring Soviet archive documents out into the light for the enjoyment and education of the general masses. As with Tank Archives, I have been posting translated archive documents on specialized forums for some time, and there is enough of a positive reception that they deserve to see a larger audience.

Read, comment, and definitely hook me up with some sources if you know any that I don't.