Mayn Experimental Carbine

Mayn carbine memoTo the left there is a Soviet memo on the subject of the experimental carbine designed by a Colonel P.I. Mayn. The memo reads:

To the chief of the Red Army GAU, General-Lieutenant-Colonel comrade Yakovlev

The faculty of aviational armament in the Zhukovskiy Military Air Academy, under the supervision of a lecturer from the department of gun and machinegun armament Colonel comrade P.I. Mayn, designed an experimental self-loading carbine. The prototype was built by Junior Military Technician comrade A.V. Ivantsov and Senior Technical Lieutenant comrade V.S. Usantsev.

The self-loading carbine uses a 7.62 model 1930 pistol cartridge [ed: 7.62x25mm Tokarev], and demonstrated satisfactory reliability, accuracy, and precision.

The carbine is simple, easy to operate, does not require a special tool to assemble, disassemble, or manufacture, and can easily be manufactured on ordinary equipment with up to a medium degree of wear.

The carbine has definite advantages in its tactical-technical capabilities compared to the self-loading model 1940 rifle or model 1891/30 rifle for use by artillery, engineering, communications, airborne, other specialized units, and infantry commanders.

I give you the sample of the carbine and ask you to ask the State Committee of Defense about its adoption into service by the Red Army.

The author of the design, Colonel Mayn, and Chair of the department, Brigade Engineer M.V. Gurevich, are sent for a report.

Attachment: description of the self-loading carbine on 5 pages.

Military Commissar of the Academy, Vakin.

Unfortunately, we only have a single additional page on the weapon, although it does include photos of three different examples of the carbine:

Prototype Mayn 7.62x25mm carbines
Prototype Mayn 7.62x25mm carbines

The Russian blogger who initially posted the image suggested that it was inspired by the US .30 Carbine, and hence the inclusion of a page comparing US service ammunition cartridges in the memo. The design appears to be straight blowback in nature, and there is no reason a 7.62x25mm carbine would need a mechanism any more complex. The carbine weighed 6 pounds 3 ounces (2.8kg), and had a rated effective range of 300m. It was fed by 20- and 30-round box magazines. It appears to have been semiauto only and not capable of selective fire, but this seems a bit unclear. In any case, it never did progress into a standard service weapon. It would make a neat project for a modern-day homebuilder, though…

Images – Yuri Pasholok
Translation – Soviet Gun Archive


    • Well two have, or the middle one specifically. The top one has a sort of turn bolt in the position of the G41’s safety, which might be not be the cocking handle but I can’t see another.

  1. Looks like a derivation of the Beretta MAB35 (semi-Auto) or MAB38 (Selective Fire)…The Lowest of the three has a definite Beretta Look …the Angled Mag especially.

    A simplified design ( slam-fire Bolt) and the “Swiss” looking cocking handle ( aluminium T bar) and the ability to use an existing Bayonet (SVT 40?) would simplify Manufacture.

    The earlier Prototypes look much like the “Siringone” of the Italian M18/30 design ( maybe picked up in Spain during the SCW…the Soviets had Ordnance experts there for a couple of years to gauge the performance of Foreign Weaponry, especially the Equipment used by the German and Italian “Volunteers” under Franco )

    The Soviets seem to have always adopted and adapted Foreign designs to their own use, from before Communist Times. The Tsars introduced the “Russian Rules” of firearms
    ( Easy to Make, Easy to Use, Easy to Teach, Easy to Repair, and Tough as H***— introduced by Alexander I or II during Napoleonic times).

    Doc AV

  2. Structurally it seems to follow Beretta design principles, although there’s a distinct resemblance to the Hungarian Kiraly Model 39, which is itself partly based on the Swiss MKMO.

    Tactically, it is closer to the SMGs than the M1 Carbine, although with the later, more emphatic loadings of 7.62 x 25 such as the Czech Vz52 loads used in the Vz24 and vz26 SMGS, it would probably come close to .30 carbine ballistics.

    I can’t quite see how it could replace earlier SLRs chambered for 7.62 x 54R, as it simply does not have the ballistic performance. Issuing it to second-line and support troops would, however, make some sense, as with the Carbine. It would definitely have been a better weapon than a bolt-action Mosin-Nagant for paratroops, but the Red Army had very few, didn’t use what they did have much at all, and frankly, PPsH 41 SMGS would have been more practical, PPS-42/43s with the MP-40-type folding stocks even more so.

    Considering that the document is dated 1942,I can see why this weapon was developed, as the Red Army was looking for solutions under duress, you might say. I can also see why it was not proceeded with; basically, the PPsH was a bit lighter, had the same effective range and killing power, held more rounds, and fired full-automatic. And by that time, the “Pay-Pay-Shay” was already in full production.

    As nice as this one is, I’d honestly rather have the PPsH in a real firefight. If 7.62 x 25 is what you have to work with, 71 rounds beats 30 to 35, any day of the week.



    • Yeah, the 7.62×25 ballistics compared with .30cal carbine are little lacking but not much. The greatest benefit here is no need for locking.

      • .30 Carbine don’t need locking mechanism if it semi-auto. The .30 Carbine is a necked-down .32 Winchester Self-Loading round – the blow-back Winchester Model 1905 was chambered for this round. The M1 Carbine is gas-operated because the original requirements states selective-fire weapon, so the blow-back would be cause excessive high rate-of-fire.

        • That is new knowledge to me. I thought the M1 carbine’s weight (action in particular) required to be locked for safety reasons. Same with Pal Kiralyi’s carbine.

        • M1 Carbine round needs some 1 Kg. of breechbolt weight in blowback operation. Thinking that carbine whole weight is like 2.6 Kgs Loaded, it seems selecting gas operation was based some other causes than high rate of fire.

          • That sounds more like it. I guess simple momentum conservation formula vs brass safety limit should do. I get lazy doing it and just trust to what others have done.

  3. Unusual and unknown to me but it makes sense. The only field where it looses to PPSh is firepower, although it may have been selective.

    Homebuilder project? For sure; I had been long thinking of something like this with some uncertainty about barrel-stock material availability.

    • I’m wondering about magazines of Mayn carbines. There are apparently a new design due to their capacity (20 or 30) – Soviets have no 7.62×25 weapons with magazines for 20/30 rounds. For some reason the magazines for PPD-34 (25 rounds) or box for PPSh-41 (35 rounds) were not used.

      • Did it have reason in logistics, e.i. keeping “avtomatchik” as simply equipped for action as possible? The drum magazine permitted that. Next thing of course changing magazines during action may be problematic and many may be lost.

  4. For Eon as an historical aside.
    The Soviets did have and deploy considerable numbers of paratroops. Large numbers were dropped behind German lines during the winter counter offensive west of Moscow – but in just company and battalion groups. Bolt action rifles and a few SMG were no match for Wehrmacht units hunkered down in their captured log cabins and warm stoves. German documents scarcely register Soviet paras so most of them probably perished in futile little attacks or hunger or the bone-numbing cold.
    They had another major go during the crossing of the Dniepr and capture of Kiev employing division size units. Just like the later British disaster at Arnhem, they landed on top of Panzer divisions who made short work of them in very large numbers.
    All through the war, paras simply lacked the weapons to take on real army units. The only likely exception was the FG42 which was never used in a drop fall but sure proved effective with the Fallschirmjager on the ground.

    • The reason why paratroopers usually didn’t do so well against regular infantry in a pitched battle was lack of support weapons and especially lack indirect fire support in the form of 81mm (or bigger) mortars and artillery. Machine guns were normally dropped for the them, but sometimes they ended up far from the actual troopers or even in enemy hands.

      Still, even with weapons like the FG42 paratroopers would have been in a clear disadvantage in any prolonged combat against regular infantry, let alone armored formations. Glider troops were an attempt to address some of the issues with paradrops, but they had too many shortcomings in the end.

      By the way, the largest Soviet para operation during WW2 was actually against the Japanese Kwantung Army in Manchuria, August 1945.

  5. Note that documents states date: 24.7.1942. In this year PPS enter production as a PPS-42 but differences with well-known PPS-43 are minimal, so there was no need for semi-auto carbine in 7.62×25.

  6. Well, it is just one of great many unsolicited designs produced by various persons and organizations through the Great Patriotic war in efforts to help the country to win the war.
    There were many more, both more advanced (like suggested “Uzi-shaped” PDW that apparently never went past paper) and more “retarded” (like conversion of M1891/30 rifle to semi-auto using 7.62×25 ammo and Tokarev TT magazines)

  7. I would really like to see more pictures of this weapon. It would be a fun project to take on. Like I need another project.

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