Rifles on the Danube: Hungarian Kalashnikovs – Headstamp’s New Book!


Rifles on the Danube: 
Hungarian AK-Pattern Firearms, 1959–2002
At the end of the Second World War, Hungary was occupied by Soviet troops and soon fell into the Soviet sphere of influence, joining the Warsaw Pact in 1955. Like most other socialist countries behind the Iron Curtain, Hungary would soon be producing domestic copies of the Mikhail Kalashnikov’s Avtomat Kalashnikova. Hungarian engineers at FÉG developed several unique AK models and variants—such as the AMP and the AMD-65—putting Hungary’s distinctive mark on the ubiquitous Avtomat. Many of these are still used today conflict zones around the world.

In Rifles on the Danube: Hungarian AK-Pattern Firearms, 1959–2002, László Becz charts the course of the AK’s Hungarian history, from the first imports of Soviet rifles to the rifles of the new millennium. The book presents a general history of Hungarian arms production, with a particular focus on the complexities and nuances of manufacture under the Soviet system—something rarely found in English-language works. This story is told through the lens of the FÉG factory, and includes a number of short biographies of key design personnel.

Renowned Hungarian firearms researcher Zoltán Szőrös has called Rifles on the Danube “undeniably the most complete chronicle of the golden age of firearms production in twentieth-century Hungary”, and the book certainly delivers on this endorsement. In addition to the unique historical stories and geopolitical context presented herein, this book provides deep details about each Hungarian AK in terms of its production, manufacturing, and technical characteristics. Rifles on the Danube covers the following firearms in detail:

– AK-55
– AKM-63
– AMD-65
– AK-63
– SA-85M, SA-85S & SA-2000M

Each chapter describes the conception, development, trial and testing, and intended role or one or more weapons. Essential technical aspects of design and operation are framed in their historical context and the whole is laid out in a clear, logical, and chronological manner. Additional sections of the book address magazines, accessories, rifle grenades, and markings.

More than just a presentation of dry facts, the narratives relayed in the book are lavishly illustrated with photography of key firearms from Hungarian and international collections. The manuscript is illustrated with hundreds of full-colour photographs and additional archival imagery, and the book will be printed on beautiful photo-quality paper stock, tastefully laid out in a contemporary style. Like other Headstamp Publishing books, Rifles on the Danube is a handily sized hardcover edition, measuring some 10.25 × 7.75 inches (26 × 20 cm) and an anticipated 370 pages in length. It will be section-sewn and bound for increased durability and easier, flatter opening. The cover is wrapped in a premium material, with beautiful debossed details in white and gold foils.

Written as the culmination of nearly two decades of research, Rifles on the Danube: Hungarian AK-Pattern Firearms, 1959–2002 is built upon Mr Becz’ exceptional access to factory and military sources, combined with painstaking archival research, and will appeal to the collector, historian, and enthusiast alike.

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