The Vault

RP46 LMG

The RP46 was the final major update of the Degtyarev light machine gun, and it would be used until supplanted by the excellent PK series of guns. The RP46 was intended to improve the mobile firepower of Soviet infantry by giving them a light machine gun more capable of sustained fire. The pan magazines were replaced by a clever belt feed mechanism that attached to an existing DP’s magazine catches. It was driven by the action of the charging handle, which on a DP reciprocates with every shot.

Because the top cover hooked into the existing front and rear magazine catches, a slot was added to the rear end of the barrel shroud which was engaged by the RP46 carry handle. This way, the weight of the gun when being carried was not supported by the mag catch. The conversion was backwards-compatible with existing pan magazines – the top cover could be removed just like a magazine.

Manuals (Russian)

RP46 Manual, printed 1949

RP46 Manual, printed 1949

(1949) Russian RP-46 manual (Russian)

Photos

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21 comments to RP46 LMG

  • garrat

    Do you think it is at all possible to fire this weapon from the hip?

    • The biggest hindrance to doing so would be the ammo. Unlike more modern LMGs, the RP46 had no way to attach an ammo container to the gun. So you’d need someone with you holding the belt. I’m not sure if the feed mechanism was strong enough to function with a long hanging belt.

  • Brother in Arms

    How impossible to find are the RP-46 belt conversions parts? I have always wanted to convert a semi auto DPM to RP-46 form.

    I think it was an excellent machine gun that continually evolved from strange beginings to the obvious ending as a belt fed LMG/GPMG. The PKM has always overshadowed this excellent design. But the old DP-28 helped to win the great patriotic war and continues to soldiered on as the DPM and RP-46 even to this day.

  • nick

    There was one on the sturn boards about 6-8 months ago. The gent wouldn’t seperate it from the dp he had for sale though.

  • Brother in Arms

    The reason they are so rare is because they are still being used as a GPMG all over Africa and who knows where else….I still want a semi-auto RP-46 some day….I think that if it had been updated it would have been everybit as the PKM is today.

  • John McClain

    I happen to have a 1960 copy of I believe a Russian RP-46 manual, I would be willing to lend if you need or want to make a copy. I don’t read Russian, but the pictures tell the story, although it would be nice to have an English translation. From the perspective of a two decade professional Marine, it remains as viable today as ever, I’d gladly trade any weapon I was issued during my service for one of these, or a DP, it remains the best long range medium machine gun, right up with the PKM, and is in my own opinion, superior to the 240G both in ammunition capability, and durability, as well as being just as sturdy if not more, while being lighter. It retains control out to 2000 meters, something the .308 simply can’t do. I have no doubt it remains in full service all over the world. I find it to be among the best designs ever, if not the best, and definitely superior to American weapons. It does everything a 1919 can do, plus a whole lot it can’t do, since the loss of the 30-06 capabilities.

  • chris

    Hi, I would be interested in one of your kits when they are done. Any idea of a price?Really like your site, I ama sucker for odd parts kits.

    Thank You, Chris

  • David

    I am also very interested in the belt feed module. Any estimation on how long until their in production and a ballpark price for the belt feed module?

    • Historynut

      They posted about it already, check the site updates. I highly recommend getting on their email list.

      On the weapon itself: Indeed, the DPM/Rp46 is an impressive piece of equipment. Only handling a handful of LMG’s and MMG’s in my own life I’ve come to appreciate how robust and simple it is, even with my limited experience.

  • If any of the above posters are interested in purchasing an RP46 belt feed conversion, contact me. The conversion is not quite a drop in onto a DP, as there is minor fitting of the cover latch that must be done as well as modification of the gas regulator to provide more power. The RP gas regulator is much more robust and ports larger than the DP.
    As an owner/shooter of a FA registered RP46, I do not find it very user friendly. Loading a belt quickly requires some skill and a lot of practice. The loaded belts tend to require a lot of focus and constant attention to prevent kinking and dragging in the dirt. Use of the belts out of a standard SG/PK can is quite clumsy unless the gun is elevated above the can. The bipod has limited traverse pivot which interferes with traverese, but the shroud is underslung on the bipod mount which helps control. The belt feed action is pretty harsh, a drawback compared to the very smooth operation of the DP drum feed.
    Fascinating gun and fun to shoot.
    The PK leaves the RP in the dust!

    Bob Naess

  • [...] not as trivial as many people think -  CNC has some definite limitations. The part is from an RP46 top cover, a conversion to made the DP28/DPM light machine gun into a belt-fed weapon instead of [...]

  • Greg Moon

    Any update on availability of the RPP46 conversion? Thanks

  • Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community
    in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on.
    You have done a wonderful job!

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