Russian AK-49 – The Type 2 Milled Receiver AK

 

With recognition of the production problems of the original Type 1 AK-47, an alternative was needed. Russian engineer Valeriy Kharkov led a team of engineers who designed a replacement drop-forged and machined receiver for the AK. This was formally designated the AK-49 (a name which has not seen use in the US). This new receiver was not a technical challenge for Izhevsk to produce, and it added durability and potentially accuracy to the weapon, at the cost of an addition pound (half kilo) of weight and more manufacturing time/expense.

The Type 2 AK is distinctive for its rear socket used to attach the buttstock, which was done to simplify the receiver profile and to allow the same receiver to be used for both fixed and underfolding stocks. The Type 2 receiver also has a weight reduction scalloped cut on the right side which is parallel to the top surface of the receiver (on the later Type 3, this cut would be made parallel to the bottom of the receiver instead) as well as a few other smaller features.

While the Type 2 receiver solved the immediate problem for Kalashnikov’s team, it would only be in production for a short time. Introduced in 1949, production ceased in 1953 or 1954, being replaced by an improved iteration of milled receiver, the Type 3. The Type 3 would remain in production until the stamped receiver was finally perfected as the AKM in 1959, and the Type 3 would be produced by a significant number of nations outside the Soviet Union.

Today, the second pattern milled AK is an very rare weapon, and I am grateful to the private collector who allowed me to video this one for you!

40 Comments

  1. Work with something you can craft well. Stamping isn’t easy for facilities without the space or resources for the presses. Milling machines and lathes are easier to get, right? The process is not “spend millions of rubles and get perfect guns just because the design looks great on paper” but “spend rubles and lots of effort in initial crafting, undergo tests, trials, and lots of setbacks, do more crafting and tests, and eventually get a good set of guns for your money’s worth.” But one has to wonder how many ordnance departments operate like this… and yes, I probably messed up.

    • Solution might be find someone which has already experience with given technology.
      Take for example FP-45 Liberator single-shot pistol which was produced by General Motors Guide Lamp Division with extensive using of stamping, so it was not only matter of secrecy (FP was supposed to stand for Flare Pistol to confuse enemy intelligence)

  2. Following comment is mostly a repeat from the comments to the “Type 1 AK-47” video, but I think it’s worthy to do so.

    (Note: I’m perfectly aware that Ian’s videos were made long before being published, so he’s not able to immediately correct any potential issues. This comment is not in any way a “jab” against Mr McCollum, rather it’s for benefit of other viewers.)

    Russian sources identify several early variants of AK rifle. These are AK-46 (several prototypes, notable for it’s two-piece receiver), AK-47 first model (AK-47-1), AK-47 second model (AK-47-2, prototypes in 1947, short pre-production series in 1948 for field tests) and finally the AK rifle (which inlcudes original type 1 stamped receiver, and milled type 2 and type 3 receivers). AK was also given a GRAU index number 56-A-212, and 56-A-212M for folding stock variants. Additionally, several authors had retroactively introduced AK-48 and AK-49 designations, with AK-48 being used for 1948 field tests guns, and AK-49 for the adopted type 1 AK production model.

    Production of AK rifle began after it’s adoption in 1949. Stamped type 1 receiver guns were made between 1949 and 1951, milled type 2 receivers were introduced in 1951 and made up to 1955 even, and type 3 receiver (in Russian sources known as “reduced weight AK”) was introduced as early as 1953, with production ending in 1959 (introduction of AKM). With that in mind it is obvious that 1952 type 2 AK from the video is not an example of “AK-49”. This designation (even though it’s a modern made up term) would be fitting to the 1951 type 1 AK from previous video. And that 1951 gun was not “AK-47” because in Russian publications this term is reserved to the prototypes and pre-production guns from 1947 and 1948.

    The generic term for AK rifle family in Russia (and Warsaw Pact countries before the fall of Iron Curtain) was simply either “Kalashnikov” or “AK”. Nowadays “AK-47” is indeed being used (mainly in non-firearm-focused media) as a generic term for “all things AK”, however it was clearly an influence of Western publications and media (movies and video games). It’s exactly the opposite with AR-15, were the name of prototype weapon is used as a generic term for all it’s descendants, and name of the mass produced military variant (M16) is used mostly for that exact weapon (with gun owners all over US correcting people on their guns being AR-15s not M16s). It seems to me that Ian’s confusion over what is “AK-47” and “AK-49” comes from using the book “The AK47 Story” by Edward Ezell as a main source. Mr Ezell mistakenly states that AK production started in 1947, with type 2 being introduced in 1949, two years earlier when compared to Russian sources.

    On a side note it’s worth saying that before the proliferation of “AK-47” term in the West, the gun was known under other monikers, some of them completely made up. Examples are “Avtomat 54” and “PPK-54” designations used by William B. Edwards in his article “Russia’s Secret All-Purpose Cartridge”. Published in September 1956 issue of “Guns Magazine” it is probably the first description of new Soviet firearm in Western press.

    • You can read and/or download the issue here;

      http://gunsmagazine.com/1956issues/G0956.pdf

      Throughout Edwards refers to the new Russian cartridge as a 7.65mm, and uses the same designation for the new NATO standard round (7.62 x 51mm/.308 Winchester). This is odd in that his correspondence with the British government (reproduced in the article) clearly calls it a 7.62mm cartridge.

      He does however draw attention to the Swiss experimental 7.65 x 38mm cartridge, which is very much like the later Russian round;

      http://www.cartridgecollector.net/765-x-38-swiss

      This may have been the reason for the confusion.

      cheers

      eon

      • “This is odd in that his correspondence with the British government (reproduced in the article) clearly calls it a 7.62mm cartridge. ”
        Nonetheless he specify bullet diameter properly. Notice he also mentions about new 7.65 NATO round. Odd M1940 Russ name is used to denote SVT-40 (to my knowledge no man with name Russ was involved in development of that rifle) and its capacity is given as 15 while in reality it was 10. Interestingly no name of designer of “SKS-46” or “avtomat 1954” is mentioned, despite they apparently have manual for second one and despite giving name for designer of hand-held machine gun (squad automatic weapon in U.S. parlance).
        As side note I was bit confused after opening your link, I think it is actually collections of adverts, until I found article of said cartridge.

      • “This may have been the reason for the confusion.”
        As for PPK-1954 designation: number might be denoting first appearance, similarly to case of 152 mm gun-howitzer D-20, known to NATO as M1955 (year of 1st public unveiling), though Soviet Army in that time do not used year-coding for artillery pieces, only factory index (D-20 in that case).
        PPK might be effect of guessing based on DDR (East German) designation: MPi-K which stands for Kalashnikov sub-machine gun (Maschinenpistole) thus they might think that Soviet Union also treat it in that way and thus PP (like in PPSh or PPS) designation.

      • Edwards confusion on the 7.62×39 designation is indeed a little odd, however in later article “Red Guns in the Desert” he fixes that mistake (“Guns Magazine”, May 1958), even though the case length is still given as 38mm.

        Similiarity between Swiss 7.65×38 and 7.62×39 was a popular topic, however Anthony G. Williams debunks any “conspiracy theories” of Swiss influence on Sovier cartridge. His analisys of Soviets possible inspiration can be found in an article called “Assault Rifles and their Ammunition: History and Prospects”.

        • Article linked by eon mention about .220 Swift cartridge, cases of which were reworked to emulate 7,62 x 39. Indeed both have very similar base diameter, however even if .220 Swift was known in Soviet Union. Interestingly 7,62 x 39 has also close base diameter to .256 inch Arisaka cartridge:
          https://sites.google.com/site/britmilammo/-256-inch-arisaka/-256-inch-arisaka-ball
          which was used and produced in Russia during First World War. This is no way evidence that 7,62 x 39 is child of .256 inch Arisaka – it might have not parent at all, however if it has one it is most probably that cartridge.

          • is: “(…)was known in Soviet Union(…)”
            should be: “(…)was known in Soviet Union it is unlikely to be parent(…)”

    • Type II was in fact designated an AK-49. Production of the Type II started in 1949 and ended in 1953. Kalashnikov and his team weren’t directly involved in the making of the Type II. Another team of Russian engineers, led by Valeriy Kharkov, were tasked with finding solutions to production issues involved with the manufacturing of the Type I.

      There was a second AK-47 after the Type I in 1947 but it was merely a prototype for field testing which took place in 1948. The prototypes were known as Type I Model I (AK-47-1) and Type I Model II (AK-47-2).

      There was also an AK-46 prototype before that which had a two piece receiver.
      That prototype was inspired by the AS-44, which completed field testing in 1946. Kalashnikov had been part of the AS-44 development team, led by Alexei Sudaev. That same year Kalashnikov entered his own design into a contest based on the AS-44 called the “Michtim.” That design earned him the job of creating a new prototype, which was officially known as the AK-46-1.

      There were two AK-46 prototypes, one milled (AK-1) and one stamped (AK-2). The AK-1, used for field testing, was rejected for use in the Red Army. That led Kalashnikov and his partner Alexander Zaycev, to design the AK-47-1. There were 3 prototypes of the AK-47-1 (AK-47-1-2, AK-47-1-3, AK-47-1-4)).

      They later produced an AK-48. The AK-48-1 was a fixed stock, AK-48-2 was a folding stock.

      In early 1949, the AK-47-1-2 and AK-47-4, which later became known as the AK (fixed stock) and AKS (folding stock), were excepted into the Red Army. Both had deep stamped receivers. The army’s order was too large for the Izhmash factory in Izhevsk to handle because they weren’t equipped to mass produce such a large quantity of that design.

      That’s when Kharkov’s team stepped in and developed the AK Type II, officially designated the AK-49. They fixed the problem for Kalashnikov’s team by deep forging a milled receiver. A rear sprocket was used for the fixed stock which caused problems, leading to the development of the Type III in 1953.

      The Type III was a duplicate of the Type II (minus the rear sprocket) made in 2 variants, fixed stock and folding stock. It was this model that went in to production and became known as the first AK. But technically, its design is based on the AK-47 prototype. There are only four AK’s that meet the official designation of an AK-47. All four prototype variants of the Type I, which eventually became the AK and AKS.

      So to claim the Type II is an AK-47 is just plain ignorant.

  3. This 2-nd AK type gives me appreciation what was likely involved in vz.58 development. That one as we all know has machined out-of-billet receiver, but its weight is more than 1kg less than AK. Where did they managed to achieve that saving? I do not know. But my first in nature seeing AK in hands of Soviet soldiers in 1968 made impression on me as bigger, more rugged gun.

    • And you need a rugged gun if you’re far from base a lot! I don’t see how anyone could advocate a “one gun fits all” concept. Different guns for different purposes, right? There is always a compromise in every design. There is no “universal super gun.” Take that, US Army Ordnance of 1945!

      • In the end, simple, rugged, and powerful is the likely winner.

        I’m reminded of the scene in The Guns of Navarone in which Col. Stavros (Anthony Quinn) is hiding up above a talus slope, and a unit of Wehrmacht armed mainly with MP40s is down in the valley searching for him. His response is to begin calmly, coldly, and systematically killing them with a scoped Kar98 Mauser bolt-action.

        They had theoretical firepower superiority, but it didn’t help them much.

        It’s not the gun so much as it is who’s behind it.

        cheers

        eon

    • At the end of this article is photo with Vz.58 and AK side by side http://armedbutnotdangerous.blogspot.ca/2014/04/better-than-ak-czechoslovakian-vz58.html
      … yup, size difference is discernable. And size matters!

      Also, on top is bunch of uniformed men (not even sure they are soldiers as they may be part of university military training corps) and they all hold their samopals wrong way. Note that one is leftie, which was not even considered in directives. That folding butt was pitiful, but it was handy when folded.

      Oh yeah, Mikey looks pissed, no wonder.

  4. “article”
    It also possibly partially has answer to your question “Where did they managed to achieve that saving?” which is Early rifles had beech wood furniture, but soon that was switched over to the cheaper (and in my opinion, better looking) wood-impregnated plastic stocks.
    That article also imply that difference of mass between AKM and vz. 58 fully loaded to be pound, which according to my data is equivalent 0,454 kg, modern firearms gives 3,10 kg and 3,14 kg for that guns, both are mass with empty magazines.

    • Most published weight for sa. vz.58 is 2.9 kg empty in both versions. I recall as info given at time of my service 2.7 kg. The difference may be due to mass of empty magazine; in one case included, in other not. The most common AKM is at around 3.4 kg empty; this is for sheet metal receiver construction.

      I’m mot an advocate of “lighter is better”. Someone in previous discussion mentioned that 3.5 kg is a ‘healthy’ weight for assault rifle and I believe he is right. I consider ‘strength involved mass’ of vz.58 to be close to marginal. As matter of fact I read from man who was a long term technician with either military or factory (he did not specify) who admitted the he saw couple of “fire-disassembled” vz.58s. I never heard the same about AK/AKM.
      But at the end, what is good for Ivan may not be good for Pepik and vice-versa. Such thing as culture of particular area projects even to small arms conception. Look at pistols; I have never seen as elegant pistol from Russia as CZ75.

      • “what is good for Ivan may not be good for Pepik and vice-versa”
        Citing entry for AK and AKM in modern firearms
        The effectiveness, however, depends on the criteria used to measure it, and the key criteria for any and every Soviet and Russian military arm are: Reliability, Simplicity of operation and maintenance, Suitability for mass production. There never was any significant demand for good ergonomics or superb accuracy, though.

        • Well that’s all very well, but you must know you’ll lose twice as many troops in any engagement. But your “rulers” simply don’t care, right.

          Question more.

          • I think you’ll run off, like in WW1. You were very nationalist then, and failed spectacularly. You got much better with the idea of fighting for something else… An international Soviet; because most of you didn’t really like your own country, because it treat everyone like shit.

            How do you like those apples? We aren’t scared of you, you know, you’ll go down like a sack of spuds in your thousands faced even with British troops. You’ve thousands more… You won’t have when your population centres get vaporized this time round, in no time at all.

            The Americans will replace us.

          • Jews was it? Fuck off. Odd that enough of you managed to find enough in commom with the “much persecuted punch bag” to find anything in common with them at all: Yet the Tsars got toppled regardless, magic Jew power was it: Why didn’t they use it in Sobibor and fly off.

          • “You were very nationalist then, and failed spectacularly.”
            Ok, nationalism was present there, but this is also true for say France. Russia was out of Great War due to ongoing Russian Civil War. Traditionally V.I.Lenin is considered to be responsible for starting that second, however there were several causes. Also it should be noted that there were no something like “united white forces” (common HQ for all anti-Bolshevik forces) with many independent entities.

          • Well… White terror, Red terror aside. It was along time ago, and I don’t think we “the west” have treat Russia with the respect she deserves, for awhile. But, I think you may be succumbing to this, and making a mistake in your reaction. Which isn’t unjustified, but- I personally think Putin is the least of our potential problems in the West, but he can’t go on forever and we continue to not put you into the West. And (pseudo western gay’ness is out- Russia just was never that “happy”) actually I think most of it is our fault so I can, certainly, see a dilemma.

            Actually this is proving more difficult to surmise in a paragraph than originally anticipated.

            Most of it you know is to do with gays “not them, themselves but advocates” essentially we’ve fell out over… Someone keep wanting to be the only Gay in Siberia to the point of potential warfare: I doubt that was anticipated in 1981.

          • Can’t view it, I have to agree to some sort of E.U Data bollocks, happens with everything these days: Ironic since the U.K is supposed to be leaving, doubtless to say I won’t renew my oxygen meter or anything out of principle, cough. As it would be if we continued being members. Fist shake.

          • Inkerman, Alma, Sebastopol… I was saying “great sacrifice before the revolution admittedly” yet you had, the revolution. We didn’t, you did.

            And you “Russia” Tsarist Russia hurt, our war effort here- So you weren’t popular while the Kasier was less popular. After the revolution, you became more popular … Lets do it like that wee book. 1. Was the Capitalist war machine popular, in defeated Germany in 1918? 2. What does the defeated Capitalist have for breakfast… And what does the worker have? 3. Have you heard about Hitler, isn’t he great in three words?

          • I have to admit to not understanding a word of that, honest. He’d been stabbed by three Mosin Bayonets from the pictures?

          • Pummeled you didn’t he Adolf, Slavic Untermensch all that. But that was just because of the Jews, clearly… Like your Swastika wearers say. Which is why they burned you all out long after the Jews had literally been burned, but lets forget that and turn to matters of national pride.

            Not one of you would get out of Moscow, the roads would jam, the trains would crash into each other or they wouldn’t go because the operators couldn’t be found: Like everywhere else, should you ever even think of firing any of your new crap in our direction- Because you’d be vaporized in half an hour by all our “old” stuff, just like before.

          • “what I am getting from this song is that Russian nation “failed” its generals in crucial moment in history. But, is it so and was broad specter of society aware?”
            I would not say so, rather that Red propaganda and agitation proved to be more effective and people just chosen better offer, Bolshevik’s Peace, Land & Bread looked for them better (they did not know it was false promise) that restoring Czarism, especially taking in account actions of last Czar (see Bloody Sunday of 1905)
            For White songs from that era see: http://a-pesni.org/grvojna/bel/Bel.php

        • @daweo2
          Thanks for material about Russian civil war!

          There was information, other than Red propaganda (which was prevalent after communist takeover in 1948), available between wars. One such source was novel sequel Radola inspired by its namesake https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radola_Gajda
          … you may have heard about him.

      • And the whole Western world, he he.

        What the fuck, is that internet abbreviation, WTF: Oh right.

        You can suck my balls.

        YCSMB

        Cartman, Eric ©

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