Author Topic: The First Fedorov 1916 7.62mm Automatic Rifle  (Read 5143 times)

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The First Fedorov 1916 7.62mm Automatic Rifle
« on: March 06, 2017, 01:33:09 AM »
Mr. Ruslan Chumak is a well known Russian author, historian and subject matter expert of Soviet weapons, who has published several books and numerous articles on various Soviet weapons. He has worked hand-in-hand with other great Russian authors, historians and weapon experts, such as Fedoseyev, Monetchikov and Ponomarev to name a few.
Ruslan is a personal friend of mine and given me written permission to post this article in its entirety on this forum. A lot of the information contained in his article is new information he has discovered and only now, published for the first time in Russia. He published this article in Russia in Jan 2017. Hopefully, no rules are being broken here regarding copyrights (since I have his written permission), which I try my best to adhere to.
I found the article very interesting and obviously learned things I did not know. I’m sure some of you deep into Soviet weapons will enjoy the article! 


On the 100th anniversary of Fedorov Rifle

From the Editor: In domestic weapons history is a significant date: in December 1916 to the front of World War I went to a special company from the 189 Izmail regiment, armed with automatic weapons designs known gunsmith VG Fedorov. The set of arms of the company consisted of several pieces of 6.5 mm Fedorov rifles - machine prototypes, which in 1919 produced commercially in the RSFSR and played a major role in establishing the automatic weapon for the Red Army, becoming a "school desk" for a generation Soviet gunsmiths and manufacturers. This event remains virtually unnoticed by the public Russian weapons. R. Chumak will try to remedy this situation in this Article. In it readers will finally be able to see, looked like "the same", the first automatic Fedorova 1916 7.62mm automatic rifle Fyodorov of arms set composition "auto companies" and repeatedly mentioned "bayonet-knife" to her. These data are published for the first time in Russia.

In the history of Russian small arms are many examples of successful creation of samples that received worldwide fame and recognition, but few of them can claim the honorary title of "world's first". One of these samples is automatic Fedorov. This pattern of individual automatic weapons, established in Russia in the early twentieth century, was far ahead of his time and laid the foundation for the development of modern firearms of this type in Russia and in the world.

Fedorov Avtomat 1916. Photo Technocentre ZiD
In 1913, VG Fedorov finished work on the 6.5-mm automatic rifle chambered for improved ballistics own design. On its basis, and taking into account the experience gained Fedorov during their stay at the front in 1915, they began work on a new type of individual automatic weapons, which became known later as the machine. In the summer of 1915 with the Sestroretsk arms factory to the landfill Officers Infantry School (SNR) delivered about 100 sets of parts 7.62 mm and 6.5 mm previously developed systems automatic rifles Fedorova for assembling and training to the test in the armed forces. Several 6.5-mm rifle has undergone profound modernization: its trunk and bed shortened to length of the rifle, adapted the new store weaned at 25 rounds (according to other sources - 15 rounds) and finalized the trigger mechanism (USM) to conduct continuous shooting. Get weapons the author VG Fedorov called "gun-gun." The term "automatic" in relation to this pattern came later, with the light hand of the chief of the landfill SNR Colonel NM Filatov.

Stamp the year of manufacture and serial number on the barrel of the machine Fedorov in 1916. Photo Technocentre ZiD
Since the full-scale production was not possible to establish an improved ballistics ammunition and caliber rifles Fedorova arr. 1913 coincided with the caliber of 6.5 mm Japanese rifle ammunition, machine guns, rifles 6.5 mm caliber adapted for this cartridge. This decision was made in part because that in Russia at that time formed a significant stocks of Japanese rifle cartridges. During the years 1914-16. It received about 600 000 units in Russia from Japan and England. rifles and carbines system Arisaka various modifications, as well as ammunition for them - with the weapon and for individual orders. In 1916, the Japanese production of ammunition was carried out on the Petrograd munitions plant.

When shooting from a short, 520-mm barrel, which had a machine Fedorova, Japanese 6.5-mm rifle cartridge provided he muzzle energy is close to the one that has modern weapons under the intermediate power cartridges. For automatic weapon Japanese rifle cartridge was almost perfect model. A small capacity allows to create lightweight and compact rifles designs without compromising on strength of arms. In addition, the Japanese cartridge was "poluflantsevym» (6,5 × 50 the SR  - the Semi rimed), ie I had a sleeve with a groove and a flange protruding slightly beyond the outer sleeve. Such flange does not affect the placement of cartridges in the store, do not let the automatic operation and, at the same time, retain all the advantages of the flange sleeve in terms of manufacturability of herself and weapons in general.And, very importantly, the caliber and size of the Japanese cartridge was allowed to make a mess of 6.5-mm automatic rifles Fedorova 1913 under this cartridge with minimal costs (by setting the chamber Shortening special insert). It has transformed the Japanese cartridge "rifle-machine gun" in a new type of automatic weapons, which according to a set of attributes can be attributed to arms, now called Russia "automatic", and abroad - "assault rifle."


Colonel VG Fedorov. 1916. Photo VIMAIViVS
Of particular note is that the appearance of the original 6.5-mm machine Fedorov in 1916 was very different from his "canonical" image, which exists in Russia and in the world so far. Identified the author of the only surviving copy of the machine indicates that he had a metal tip boxes, front handle and literally was a truncated 6.5-mm automatic rifle Fyodorov 1913. However, the stigma of the serial number and year of issue - "1916" on the trunk leave no doubt about the technical aspect of this product Fedorov.

Summer of 1916, a company from the 189 Izmail regiment composed of 158 soldiers and four officers armed with automatic weapons, constructed VG Fedorov. According to the Journal of the 5th Division Artkoma GAU number 381 of September 6, 1916 in the arms of said company set includes:

•   6.5-mm machine guns, rifles (automatic) with shops on the 15 rounds of 8 pcs .;
•   3-ling. self-loading (in the terminology of those years - automatic) rifles in the amount of 45 pieces.

Several 3-ling. automatic rifles Fedorova adapted for installation shops from machine gun Madsen, USM received their translator to conduct firing bursts. Rifle 3-ling. caliber completed with bayonet daggers.

For several months, a company held special training in SNR, while that in July and August held about a hundred firings, had the character of military trials. In addition to weapons, a company supplied a set of the most advanced at that time, devices: optical sights, devices for shooting from behind cover, infantry shields, steel helmets, as well as automatic "Mauser" guns for shooters-doubles (men who have undergone the same course, that "core" arrow-gunners and could of replace if necessary). Fighters with a 6.5-mm machine guns brought in special small-machine-gun team. December 1 "automatic rota" Fedorov went to the Romanian front.

In combat, automatic rifles Fedorova first used in the early 1917 Multiple instances of the 6.5-mm rifles entered into trial operation in aviation in the 10th Aviation Division. The test machines were successful in the air, and the head of division Gorshkov asked for its armed units Fedorov Avtomat. According to the results of tests of automatic rifles and machine guns Fedorova at the front GAC decided to order them of 15 000 pieces for the Sestroretsk arms factory. In late 1916, the plant started to fulfill the order, but failed to execute it due to the collapse of the state. Fate submachine company also has developed, in general, is unenviable. Special combat successes it was not possible to achieve, with the beginning of the Revolution Soldiers went home.

6.5-mm automatic (self-loading) rifles Fedorova 1913. Photo VIMAIViVS
The new part of the history of the automaton Fyodorov began after the October Revolution. February 1, 1918 at the meeting of the Extraordinary Commission to supply the Red Army, it was decided to resume the production of machine-gun at the Kovrov plant rifles, machine guns Madsen and expand the production of rifles, machine guns Fedorova system. The Commission also appointed VG Fedorov Managing Director of the plant. The decision of the Soviet government to organize the production of an entirely new and complex sample automatic weapons in the course of severe internal conflict is a very risky move. In March 1918, VG Fedorov arrived at Kovrov plant with the task in the shortest time (as little as 9 months, from May 1, 1918 to February 1, 1919) to organize a production machine. Installation of production work was very hard: the plant was being built in parallel and is preparing to release Madsen machine guns, but it was not possible to establish, and the outbreak of civil war, the general disorganization of industry and supply virtually buried this process. Only June 22, 1919 order syndicate Danish Dansk Rekylrifle, specialists who work at the Kovrov plant over the organization of production of machine guns Madsen, was removed and the factory was ordered to concentrate all their efforts on the production machine Fedorov, an order which is set in the amount of 9000 pieces. For the automatic organization of production at the factory it has set up a commission, which came in and one of the designers of Russian machine gun "Maxim" - P. Tretyakov, who for this came from Tula and worked in Kovrov until 1920

7.62-mm automatic (self-loading) rifles Fedorova 1913. Photo VIMAIViVS
During pre-production machine Fedorov design has undergone significant improvements: it is adapted to store 25 rounds of ammunition, mounted metal tip lodges and handguard, front handle to hold the weapon to change the outline of the receiver and its cover, as well as some other parts. As a result, automatic Fedorov bought appearance, known for numerous image and save samples. In fact, this redesigned and significantly improved automatic Fedorov is a new model, worthy to have their own designation. The author proposes to call it, taking into account the years of work on the redesign, 6.5-mm machine Fedorova arr. 1919


Muzzle of the 7.62mm automatic rifles Fedorova 1913 with bayonet-mounted dagger. Photo VIMAIViVS

By July 1919 training Kovrov plant for the production of Fedorov rifles was essentially completed in the series went to their first batch of 200 units, which carried out the production of semi-artisan way. However, erupted at 7 pm July 10, 1919 a fire almost completely destroyed the small industrial building in which the manufactured tools and instruments, which seriously hindered the development of the production process. Ready machines in case of fire does not hurt, and soon they began to experience shooting using the shooting range instead of a deep hole.

By 15 September the plant produced the first 15 machines, and until the end of the year they released 100 pieces. Mass production machines was established in April 1921, when the issue could bring up to 50 pcs. per month. The low rate of growth in production was due to objective reasons - the factory had great difficulties with the semi-: barrel blank boxes have dealt with the Izhevsk arms factory, blank boxes - with Tula, but their delivery is constantly delayed due to the unstable operation of the factories and railways. The availability and quality of existing equipment and materials were, for the most part, low, which negatively affects the quality of the machines and their packaging (sent from the factory to the troops machines are not staffed with bayonets, the provisions of a set of spare parts and leather carrying case). However, for the year from 1 October 1922 to 1 October 1923, with the plan 600 822 automatic machine factory produced.

7.62-mm automatic (self-loading) rifles Fedorova 1913 with installed on it from the shop machine gun Madsen. Photo Technocentre ZiD

The troops appreciated the opportunity machines, and the need for them was very high, but the plant, due to its limited capacity, would not ensure the satisfaction of even a small part of the orders. During the Civil War Fedorov machines and sent to the North Caucasus Front. At the beginning of January 1922 the International Ski detachment of cadets of military schools numbering 215 men under the command of the chief of the school AA Inno made ski raid in the rear of the White Finns, the two companies were armed squad, in addition to rifles, machine guns Fedorova. In the spring of 1921 in order to organize proper operation of machines at the suggestion of N. Filatov at the school "The Shot" two courses for training of trainers were organized by tommy. The first course trained craftsmen debugging and repair of machines, second - instructors shooting them. The courses taught by VG Fedorov, and VA Degtyarev.

6.5-mm machine Fedorov model 1919

6.5-mm machine Fedorov model 1919 with a 10-round magazine and a bayonet. Photo Technocentre ZiD
After the Civil War, based on the accumulated combat experience VG Fedorov made changes in the design of the machine, the main ones being the introduction of non-automatic slide stop for easy loading weapons out of the cage, dissociating in the trigger mechanism (USM), the sector of the sight instead of rack Japanese sample and reinforced ejector allows to fire not greased cartridges. Since 1923 we produced machines have improved, and the previously released for modernization to be sent to the plant (as of December 20, 1924 1118 machines were returned to the plant). In 1922-1925 gg. Fedorov experimented with other improvements: changed bayonet mounting template to the new modeled on the German Mauser rifle (adopted initially the scheme, which has a ring bayonet fits over the barrel, with side effects on bayonets led to the trunk inhibition and abandonment of weapons, if the shot is followed after the bayonet attack) , I have developed an easy bipod, simplified and enhanced the design of some parts. Some of these improvements increase the manufacturability and reliability of weapons, able to put into production.

To understand the role of Fedorov automatic in the development of domestic small arms is necessary to determine the place that he held in the Red Army. In the early 1920s, the Red Army has changed the organization of the infantry. In the new state in the platoon of three departments were supposed to have four machine per company - 12. On the march gun and the ammunition carried submachine-gunner, carrying the other part, as well as replenishment in battle, stood at the disposal of submachine special fighter "pomoschnik- Vice "and one podnoschik ammunition. Thus, the automatic calculation consisted of two or three people, and he actually played the role of machine gun. But the technical possibilities of the machine, especially in terms of long-term continuous fire and shooting accuracy required from machine gun, absolutely do not correspond to the role assigned to it.

Using the machine in an inappropriate role his machine gun due to the high demand of the Red Army in the form of weapons and the lack of another sample of the domestic light weapons capable of maintaining continuous shooting. In one of his works he quoted Fyodorov review M. Envalda machine, which appeared in 1920: " This type (automatic), deprived of power and have very inaccurate for continuous shooting, only a misunderstanding and our poverty we have got into the category of collective weapons. For this role, he is not even intended by the inventor . " But even the use of Fedorov machine in accordance with its capabilities and for its intended purpose, ie, the role of the individual weapons are not remove the question on the future of this type of weapon. The fact that its characteristics do not fit into the machine existed at the time of the classification of infantry weapons, occupying an intermediate position between the machine gun and automatic rifle. Fedorov also understand the duality of purpose machine he developed, calling it "pretty confusing type of weapon." Claim the role of the main infantry weapon machine could replace the magazine rifle.

6.5-mm machine Fedorov model 1919 type upgraded. Photo VIMAIViVS
In the 1920s the majority of world's leading experts, including Fedorov believed that weapons infantryman next generation, able to combine the positive qualities of magazine rifle, confirmed in the course of World War II, with the rate of fire of automatic weapons could only be automatic (self-loading) rifle under a full-size rifle cartridge, which by weight, size, the breakdown of the bullet, accuracy and firing range corresponds to the repeating rifle. Fedorov Avtomat, technically being an automatic rifle under nominally rifle cartridge, do not meet these requirements in the first place in power (muzzle energy) and the accuracy of fire. Analysis of the works by VG Fedorov of the period shows that it is objectively evaluated the possibilities of the machine and did not consider him fit for the role of the main infantry weapon. The main advantage of the machine before the semi-automatic rifle, the author saw the opportunity to develop a sufficiently dense automatic fire in the difficult moments of battle (during the attack, firing multiple targets), with the main type of fire in these cases should be shooting short bursts of 3-5 shots to stop using and shooting bursts of single targets is not recommended. This designer approach to the capabilities of the machine and was justified based on the accuracy of fire parameters (Table 4) (continuous shooting accuracy by 2-3 times worse than the parameters given in the table). Evaluating machine Fedorov on the criterion of ability to perform common tasks corresponding weapon, it can be concluded that it is still much closer to the automatic rifle, rather than a machine gun, which largely determines its failure and the role of the latter. Tactical rifle, given to him by the author corresponds to the currently accepted for assault rifles, but the time had not yet come - it will come in the years of the Second World War, together with the withdrawal of the excess capacity of full-size rifle cartridges.

View on the fly. Photo VIMAIViVS

sector sight to view. Photo VIMAIViVS
Experience in operating the machine Fedorova revealed the shortcomings of his designs, which, no doubt, was not perfect. Selecting automatic recoil engine, in which there are strong blows on the barrel of a massive box in extreme positions, led to significant vertical oscillations of the system and degrade the accuracy of firing bursts.Constructive design of the responsible mechanism is not optimal, reducing the reliability of the functioning of the weapon. The machine Fedorov does not provide protection against incorrect assembly of some important nodes. The main body parts machine (receiver-box, the breech of the barrel) have a complex configuration, and, for example, are equipped with trigger axis difficult to explain the elements (knobs unscrewing). Store did not allow him to stop with the shooting. There were deficiencies in the machine and making use of them dangerous: USM admitted the possibility of unintentional injury and shot an arrow at the gate dosylka forward manually if it nedohoda to the front position. Due to the stop of the return spring in the lid of the box in case of destruction of its checks with the shooting there were cases of throwing caps in the face of the shooter. Automatic mechanism was sensitive to pollution and is prone to a variety of delays in connection with which the shooter was required to "... subtly understand the hard work of its mechanism ... to be able to guess the cause of her fault ... " and "... to be able to quickly and without help eliminate often the case of delay ". The machine had a production and character flaws, most of which persists in the production process, but not at once. In general, the design of the machine Fedorov could not be considered complete, as it existed in the form, fit to recognize the role of the mass infantry weapon.

Automatic Fedorova model 1919 with aluminum tip lodges and handguard, bipod and lungs. Photo VIMAIViVS
A significant negative role in the life of the machine Fedorov played and the situation with ammunition.Currently prevalent view is that the machine Fedorov was taken out of production because of standardization in April 1924, the Red Army in the Russian 7.62mm rifle cartridge. But it is doubtful whether this is the only and main reason. A weighty argument is the value of stocks of Japanese patrons, available at that time in the Red Army. VG Fedorov rightly believed that if there is a pattern of weapons under a non-standard cartridge (a reference to his machine), it may not be critical, provided that it is designed for small arms and special units (armored vehicles crews, workers walking artillery , horse-hunting teams), because the consumption of cartridges in them is small (now, incidentally, such an approach is common when choosing weapons for the security services). In this case, supply the troops located in a small number of machines necessary amount of rounds is not difficult. But the introduction of machines into service line infantry units led to a significant consumption of the existing stock of cartridges for them, because of what had to be solved: a 6.5-mm cartridges whether to develop output in the USSR, or to create a new machine at regular 7.62-mm rifle cartridge.

Soldiers shore support squad inspect the Baltic Fleet DOT Ink6.Soldiers armed avtomatmi Fedorov. Photo from the book Irinicheva B. "The Finnish War. Forgotten frames "

In mid-1924 the situation with guns seen in the higher circles of the Red Army. PBC meeting, chaired by the Inspector of Artillery YM Scheidemann, held on July 7, 1924, on this matter resolved as follows: " 1. Strongly abandon rifle t Fedorova, if not carried out in parallel cartridges.. 2. In the shortest possible time is now to limit the production of machines designed for 2.5-linear bullets, sending cash and power to create machines 3-line ... [...] At the same time develop a question about the future of Podolsky ammunition plant in connection with these directives ... ". July 12, 1924 Minutes of the meeting of the inspector of artillery of the Red Army was prepared, stating the following: " Heard: 1. Report on the production of the first instance trial submachine guns Fedorova system under 3-line cartridge. [...]. 2. Report on the need to continue the manufacture of Japanese patrons at Podolsk plant. Resolved:.. GUVP believes that for the above 3 thousand machines, based on each machine for 70 thousand rounds of ammunition, and taking into account the cash we have Japan cartridges with acute bullet 41 million, to stop activities Podolsky plant for the production of Japanese patrons continue to ensure this kind of machine laid the amount of cartridges, you should not ... ". As can be seen from the above excerpts, in 1924 the question of the refusal by the Red Army machine Fedorova order is not compromised, despite the non-standard size and lack of ammo. Their release has stopped more than a year - October 1, 1925 (according to other sources - 1 December), while since the beginning of the production of 3200 pieces of machines were produced. The reason for the termination of production of the machine should be sought not only in the non-standard cartridges used in it, but in the plane of the weapons-technical policy of the Red Army. The certificate of the Military-Industrial Control on the results of a survey of factories of military industry on 3 July 1926 at Kovrov plant indicates that the plant ceased production machine Fedorov and is awaiting the installation of a new production of automatic rifle. Indeed, since 1921 in the USSR were actively working on the creation of automatic rifles. In January 1926, the first competition for the automatic rifle, six months later it was planned to hold the second stage of the competition to select suitable calculation for the army weapons and urgent sample to run it in a series instead of "non-standard" machine Fedorov. But neither in time, nor later receive a rifle failed, while the production machine has stopped.

The pilot version of the protrusion on the tip of the box for mounting on the type of bayonet rifle Mauser mod. 1898

For several years after the end of production of machines Fedorov consisted on arms of the Red Army, they were armed with Moscow Regiment Proletarian Division. In 1928, the machines were seized from the shelf and handed over to the warehouses. But this did not end their life. In the 1930s in storage machines were overhauled - it costs 245.11 rubles in 1938. Given that the cost of the rifle obr.1891 / 30's. in the same year amounted to 126 rubles., you can once again make sure that the preservation of the USSR automatic weapons, even decommissioned, has received considerable attention. This frugal approach has proved, in the end, right - during the war with Finland in the winter of 1939-40. due to the acute shortage of lightweight automatic weapons machines Fedorov was removed from the arsenals and weapons given to reconnaissance and assault units operating on the Mannerheim Line. This was the last documented case of the use Fedorov rifles in battle.

Fedorov Avtomat the northern hunters. Still from a newsreel
Contribution Fedorov machine in the development of individual automatic weapons and large scale it's not really appreciated until now. This pattern anticipated the course of development of individual weapons to two generations ahead. In 1938, the "Lord of the matter on the verge of two epochs" VG Fedorov outlined his vision of the future infantry weapons, " Automatic Rifle, or rather automatic, stretches his hands to the sub-machine gun. These two samples of weapons - provided a significant increase in the quality of pistol cartridge - will merge into a single sample of small-caliber weapons - automatic carbine weapons for the army. [...] Only a small-caliber automatic carbine with magazine for 20 rounds [...] will have excellent qualities with respect to lightness, compactness and ease of handling . " Really brilliant foresight. From the combination of features automatic Fedorov became the world's first series assault rifle. It is because of Fedorov automatic conceptually occurred German assault rifle StG-43 and Kalashnikov assault rifle, although between these samples is no direct connection, of course not. A number of structural elements, first implemented in the machine Fedorova, embodied in the later samples of domestic and foreign small arms. For example, the additional handle on the shank, which was conceived Fedorov provides reliable retention of the machine when firing bursts at the expense of better pressed against the fence. The authors found a copy of the automaton Fyodorov with a sliding-pillar monososhkoy inside the front handle. Similar support was used in the experimental Kalashnikov submachine gun in 1950 and some other samples. Disc store, designed for aircraft gun Fedorov (modified machine), in the modified form found several applications in machine gun Degtyarev - DP. Since its emergence in the early twentieth century. Fedorov Avtomat had nodes guiding the movement of the moving system (in this case the barrel), made by stamping steel, and in the 1920s - even from a light aluminum alloy, that is contained in the features of high-tech small arms next generations.

Roth 189 Izmail regiment, armed with automatic weapons Fedorov before being sent to the Romanian front. 1916. Photo Wim and sun
The main reason for the relatively short service machine Fedorov is his appearance at a time when Russia was not yet gained experience in the design of automatic weapons. This, of course, did the honor of Russian weapons school (such as samples of the early twentieth century had literally unit of countries), but determined the presence of a large number of machine technically imperfect solutions and inadequate design reliability. However, the fate of Fedorov machine can not be unambiguously assessed as failed. He became a "ground" on which troops were fighting experience of the individual operation of modern automatic weapons, which allowed to develop requirements for advanced models and ways to improve them. On Fedorov Avtomat hone the knowledge of the functioning of the automatic first generation of Soviet weapons designer who worked in KB Fedorov, including VA Degtyarev and SG Simonov and GS Shpagin. Almost all of them in their early systems somehow emulated machine Fedorova, and gain experience, we created a world-class small arms samples successfully stood the test of the Great Patriotic War. On the basis of Fedorov machine in the middle of the 1920s, the world's first unified system of small arms and machine gun armament was created. Due to imperfections in the base sample, these works may not be successful, but the unification of the concept was right and before the war was realized in the complex machine-gun Degtyarev arms, and then, in the early 1960s, in a complex of small arms on the basis of the Kalashnikov assault rifle.

The author of this article to thank the Chief of the Technical Center of "Degtyarev plant" Nikulin for providing photos Fyodorova machine in 1916, as well as deputy chief of the "Arms and equipment" magazine editor SL Fedoseyev for providing the refined information on the composition of armament "auto company" Fedorov.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 02:02:25 PM by running-man »

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Re: The First Fedorov 1916 7.62mm Automatic Rifle
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2017, 08:20:38 AM »
Very nice Bunker, I've gone ahead and stickied it.  Please convey our sincerest thanks to Ruslan.  This is excellent work!   thumb1

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Re: The First Fedorov 1916 7.62mm Automatic Rifle
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2017, 09:37:26 AM »
SUPER interesting stuff Bunker....  Thanks for posting.    thumb1
1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms... It doesn't matter how many Lenins you get out on the street begging for them to be taken.