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Light Machine Gun

RPK

Caliber 7.62 x 39 mm
Dimensions and weight 
Total weight (with loaded magazine)  6800 g
Total weight (with empty magazine) 5600 g
Overall length   1040 mm 
Barrels length 590  mm 
Fire characteristics
Bullets initial speed 745 m/s
Rate of fire 600 rpm
Practical rate of fire 150 rpm
Magazine capacity 40, 75 rounds
Sighting range 1000 m
Range of effective fire 800 m
Kalashnikov's light machine gun RPK entered service in Soviet army as a main infantry light machine gun in 1961. RPK changed Degtyarev's machine gun developed in 1944 and using the same cartridge type. From 60-ties it was used in almost every military conflict and recommended itself as one of the best light machine guns of the world.

Constructionally RPK is almost analogical to Kalashnikov's assault rifle AKM. A great number of parts can be interchanged. The main difference is in longered heavy barrel and folding bipod. New barrel made possible to increase range of effective fire to 800 m range. Barrels walls were thickened to ensure longer barrels life. Barrels channel is chromed what allows to use weapon in extremely low temperatures.

From it's predecessor AKM assault rifle RPK machine gun got all the best qualities such as well known reliability and ability to fire in the most unpleasant conditions. It doesn't need precocious care as it is usual for NATO countries weapons. It stays ready to fire after immersing in mud or water and is totally shock-proof.  

Machine gun's automatic works on gas returning principle threw barrel's wall. There is ability to execute single or automatic fire. Reloading handle is placed from the right sight and connected with locks frame. To increase practical rate of fire machine gun was supplied by 40 round curved sector and 75 round drum magazines. Machine gun is fully suitable to take combat actions in the city. 7.62 x 39 mm round use to stick into the walls but not ricochet as later built RPK 74's 5.45 x 39 mm bulet.  

Butt-stock was made identical as RPD to ensure more comfortable use and better fire accuracy. Field toolkit is placed in the butt-stock. Machine gun can be dismantled in a minute in the battlefield for cleaning purposes.

Machine gun has opened sight intended for 1000 m sighting range with sliding sight calibred to every 100 m range. The same sight is placed on the AKM. 

For airborne troops there was created RPKS modification which differs in folbing butt-stock possession. RPKS became main airborne light machine gun. It's characteristics are identical to RPK. RPK and RPKS also have modifications with ability to place night sights RPKN and RPKNS accordingly. 

Nowadays in Russian army RPK is mostly changed to it's small caliber version RPK 74 nevertheless it stays very popular in middle east, Balkan, Afghanistan and other hot spots of our planet.   


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