“Rakov” DP-28 Magazine Loader

If you think about it for a minute, it suddenly seems odd that there aren’t any military surplus loading tools out there for DP28/DPM pan magazines. At least, that was my reaction when our friend Hrachya sent us a copy of a 1937 Soviet manual for just such a loader. There are loading tools out there for virtually every machine gun – ZBs, Maxims, Vickers, Brownings of all sorts, MG34s and 42s, Lewis guns, Brens, Nambus, and so on. But you don’t ever see a tool for the DP, which is a fairly tricky mag to load (compared to box mags, at least).

Well, it turns out there was a tool made and issued, called the “Rakov” system. It used a feed hopper like most belt loading devices, and could be used with the large DP pans as well and the narrower and taller DT and DA drums.

Rakov DP drum loading tool
Rakov DP drum loading tool

I’m not sure if they were only made in small numbers, or if there is some other reason why very few ever made it over to the US, but they are quite rare to find here. If you have a DP and are looking for a loading tool, you’re much better off getting one of Allegheny Arsenal’s DP28 Pan Loaders – they are readily available and work quite well.

Thanks to Hrachya, we have the complete Russian manual available for download in PDF format:

Rakov DP loading tool manual (Russian, 1937)
Rakov DP loading tool manual (Russian, 1937)



  1. Well done, Hrachya!
    There was also a sheep-shaving shears shaped squeeze-operated loading instrument illustrated in most of the 1940s Soviet and Eastern Bloc manuals for Dyegtyarov machine guns, mostly DPs. I’ll look around my manual collection and send Ian a scan to add to this. Funny thing is, I have never seen one in real life – only in manuals.

  2. Come to think of it, placing a disc slot down and advancing the top disc by wire loop, while dropping rounds into the opening, rim first, seems a much easier and faster method of loading these magazines, if you ask me…

  3. There is also the Barkov tool as illustrated in James F. Gebhardt’s translation of the DP-28 Operator and Field Manual. This manual can be found on-line at Century Arms website under the Manuals section. Pages 72 and 73 cover the use of the Barkov tool. The manual in print form is available from Russian Military Translations, 1509 Jackson Court, Leavenworth, Kansas 66048. Major Gebhardt did a great job on this and I highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in the DP-28 or DPM-28.

  4. Laying them flat on your thighs, mouth up and you can load them pretty fast, it takes a little practice but they go pretty easy once you get timing down. There is a belt feed system, it’s an adaptation of the SG-43 and makes the DPM an RP-46. It’s a belt feed base which fits in the slots of the heat shield, latches with the regular latch. It has a hanging loop on the right side which encircles the op handle, which provides the feed drive with diagonal slot in a plate attached at right angles, flat on the bottom of the “feed box. It also has a set of “fingers” which extract the round from the belt, as does the Gory. There is a feed channel like an upside down magazine mouth, with slots to guide the rim of the cartridge down as it goes back. The top cover hinges down, latching with the magazine latch. It has a spring loaded arm which pushes the round down, into the channel as the round goes back, with a projection in the front of the channel which guides the round into the chamber as the bolt drives it forward, also carrying the fingers forward, the belt sideways, for the fingers to grasp the next round, as the chambered round fires.
    It was available as a retro-fit from Russia at some point, I have seen examples of Polish RP’s with Russian belt feeds, re-designated, but never seen the conversion assembly or pieces for sale.

    • No way Polish RPs – they were never introduced into the inventory of the Polish Army. They might have been converted to RP-46 from Polish DPs or DPMs, though.

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