Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Scrumbag, Dec 23, 2013.
A-stan would be a lot different without the AK. Or the SMLE.
Exercise last year--I got handed a 1962 Tula AK. 90% condition, maintained by the US Army. Jammed badly on the 2nd round. Double feed, would not clear by touch in the dark. So I got pasted by soldiers with M4s and simunitions.
I offered to take it home and fix it...
Many years ago I worked in Russia and at the end of my hitch my Russian Translator (KGB guy?) Colonel Alex asked if I wanted to do anything on my way out of the country. He suggested I could get a ride in a Russian Fighter or a Russian Tank and I said no but he persisted. Finally I said, I would like to meet Kalashnikov. Colonel Alex said no problem and went off to make arrangements. I was kind of intrigued and was trying to figure out what to talk about when Colonel Alex came back and said he was at a government ceremony on the day I had to fly out and we could not meet up.
Since my visa was running out and the Russian's frown on overstaying, Colonel Alex suggested next time I come back we would do it on the front side of the hitch.
Unfortunately I have not been back since 2000 so now it will not happen.
Russia is a neat country. Very friendly folks once you get out of the big cities. I particularly liked Arkhangelsk. Very scenic city in the winter.
RIP to my generations John Browning.
If any of you get the chance, do sit down and read C.J. Chivers' The Gun.
It is really an eye-opener and a fun romp through the Soviet experiment as played out in the world of arms development.
It also explains why all the theories about how the gun was developed are really just theories, as even the Russians don't really know anymore, for true, what role M.K. had in the development, or how much credit he really deserved. As the Soviet official policy was to erase histories and re-write them as cultural education morality plays, they picked certain people to be "heros of the Revolution" complete with hand-crafted life stories as models for young Soviet citizens to emulate.
All that to say, at this point no one will ever know what really happened at the birth of the Avtomat Kalashnikova.
It was birthed in Cosmoline.
He was no John Browning. Browning single-handedly designed dozens of weapons, including most of the US's WWI small arms, and some that are approaching a century and a half.
Mikhail headed a team that designed one very effective rifle, based on the designs of two others.
But I'll still toast him.
PS. Since the old yarn was raised . . . The Taliban had not yet arrived in Afghanistan during the war with the Russians. They were religious students in Pakistan. The ethnic groups who fought the Russians were later our allies and the enemies of the US were almost exclusively the allies of the Russians (mainly Pashtun).
Jerry Pournelle (or one of the guest writers in his CoDominium 'Future History') has exactly that, about 1500 years into the future.... made by hand by tribal master craftsmen....
It wasn't an AK in War World, but it was hand made to match an existing gun, much as some of the Pashtun can do.
There are still MNs and 98Ks in service. I expect the AK will last another century.
No he most certainly was no John Browning. John Browning was a true genius. A prolific innovator. He invented several of the most iconic guns on the planet (various Winchester levers, the 1903, the 1911, the Auto 5...the Ma-Duece!!!). Kalishnikov was a talented machinist and engineer that, as noted above, had his real passion around farm equipment (which in and of itself is a very good thing). The success of Kalishnikov came from the fact that the thing he built (he really didn't invent it technically) worked real well and more importantly, the East Bloc manufactured hundreds of millions of them.
Interesting man, interesting gun. NOT John Moses Browning!!!
He produced a weapon that turned the tide of and army. Not too shabby for a gun maker.
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