Semiauto DShKM “Dushka” in .50 Browning

Developed by the Soviet Union primarily as an antiaircraft weapon (and used to good effect in that role through World War Two), the DShK heavy machine gun was modernized almost immediately upon adoption. The first batch of new DShKM guns entered production in February of 1945. The final pattern would be formally adopted in 1946.

What we have today is a semiauto DShK built in .50 Browning, which makes ownership and feeding much simpler than with a fully automatic original Russian-caliber example.


  1. Note that feeding device can be cycled independently from gun
    which makes preparing for firing easier.

    Interestingly mentioned .5 Vickers weapon which was tested in Soviet Union was up-scaled Dreyse machine gun, see 10th image from top:

    Regarding AA fire I want only link one photo

  2. Niti could probably be used for projectile steering, I think most guns in future are going to be .50+ for this reason= Lasers, or such could steer rounds. As oppose direct them. Wee vanes etc, you project a area of “heat” across a target, the heat changes trajectory; wee vanes. Be difficult to fit into 5.56. Also heat exchangers take this barrel is Nitinol expanding not “work” out of heat so cooling; might not be I have a basic understanding.

    Smart rounds, on the cheap.

      • Bullets CANNOT be guided. Once they are fired, they are on their course. What you talk about in case of EXACTO is making opto-electronic prediction for optimum alignment at instant of time.

        • There was some research done years ago with fifty and larger rounds that could be “steered” with small fins and vents like parts on the “bullet” I don’t think anything was adopted due to limited capabilities and expense per shell.

        • “Bullets CANNOT be guided.”
          Wait. Why fins capable of adjusting the bullet’s flight path in the tail does not count as guidance system?

          • My answer: look at ATGM or MANPAD.
            Look what is inside of that missile(s).
            Have a good day!

          • “look at ATGM”
            Wait. Does that mean if it would be steered by vibrating spoilers like SS.10 then it would count as guided? Does Rayethon PIKE count as guided or not according to your standards?

          • Denny let me revise my comment to be more correct: non-spin-stabilized projectiles can be “steered”. I know that “spinning” by itself is not the issue it is the gyroscopic initial of spin stabilization that is. Indeed, The Dragon anti-tank missile incorporated a relatively slow spin into its approach to active steering!

  3. Tell you something else also; think of this gun with legs and a “brain” then you have a Boston Dynamics doggy. They are not to help blind people.

  4. Mk108’s with this. Thats the future; robot fucks.

    Neutron weapons are very interesting, how can we generate them to destroy the robots as oppose wated based chums.

    Brave new world.

  5. So, back to mundane matters: Do the expended cases eject out the bottom through that rectangular hole in the op-rod? I ask because I see no flying cases in Daewoo’s photo of the gun firing.

  6. Using a spent or un-linked cartridge as the charging handle is somewhat clever. Are there any ways to do this without taking a cartridge out of a belt?

  7. IMHO Overall, a good machine gun.
    IF it is made with the right hands and the right materials.
    In fact, the USSR was unable to produce them under wartime production conditions.
    The vast majority of 12.7 machine guns in the USSR until 1945 were supplied by Lend-Lease.

    • Technically true, because US provided a lot of planes armed with M2s. But you will not see M2s in the Soviet Union as a standalone weapon system, that was DShKs only.

      • Oh, wait, i completely overthought the idea. Ground-based DSHkS are outnumbered by M2 in the planes, but M2s in the planes are outnumbered by the UBs. So no matter how you slice it’s not the “vast majority pf 12.7 machine guns in the USSR”

        • “You shouldn’t read Soviet newspapers …” (C) LOL
          For the entire production period, until 1946, only about 9000 DShK were produced.
          Too many alloy steels and highly skilled labor were required for its production.
          A constant lack of materials and a high level of scrap were the reasons for the constant disruption of the release plan.
          If I am not mistaken, for the entire period, the plan was not fulfilled even once.
          For comparison, the UB machine guns, which were used only as aviation, were produced twenty times more.

          Machine guns M2
          Infantry – 400
          AA w / c – 3100

          Anti-aircraft motor multiple gun
          M15 – 100
          This is already almost 8000(?) machine guns.
          Add here machine guns mounted on tanks and planes.
          And this is just Lend-Lease deliveries.
          And there were also “contract deliveries”, which volumes were not much inferior to Lend-Lease.

  8. Great video. I had forgotten how brilliantly but effectively agricultural those big buggers are.

    But surely a semi-only Dushka is probably the most pointless semi-auto ever?

    • ” I had forgotten how brilliantly but effectively agricultural those big buggers are. ”
      Ok. DShK may looks crude in comparison to M2 HB as suggested, however it is actually lighter, despite using longer cartridge.

      • The soviets continously improved on this over the years with the NSV and later the Kord machine guns. Each iteration getting lighter and easier to use. Whereas the US Army is still stuck in 1921 and has only recently adopted a QCB kit for the M2 A1, which FN has been selling since the nineteensixites.

        • Nobody in the USSR improved it.
          They feasted on modernization in 1946, which concerned mainly technology. Since it is no longer possible to fundamentally improve the design.
          The technological breakthrough of the 1945 USSR in the field of sheet stamping made it possible to make NSV.
          Which is a pretty mediocre design with low stability. In practice, it can work normally only with rigid installations like on armored vehicles.
          But using it in this way is of little benefit.
          In addition, the low service life of both the barrel of the machine gun and its body does not allow the use for fire support.

          KORD is a somewhat improved design, which has no fundamental differences from NSV.

          In practice, it turned out that there was no normal heavy machine gun.

    • “But surely a semi-only Dushka is probably the most pointless semi-auto ever?”(С)

      An ordinary DShK, with a fairly stable support, when using not quite shitty ammunition, quite confidently hits a target the size of a person from 300 meters.
      I think it should be at least as good with the front sear.
      Of course, provided that the manufacturer is not quite crooked-handed.

    • “But surely a semi-only Dushka is probably the most pointless semi-auto ever?”

      That’s what I thought too. First thing: civilians ought not own machineguns, unless certified collectors. Second: what kind of “joy” it gives anyone to shoot this, be it single or auto? I don’t get it.

      • I’m curious as to why you think I ( being a civilian)can’t own any FA weapons unless I’m so called a certified collector and what does that even mean?

          • With all do respect and I mean that,I’ve always been interested in your comments but a single shot black powder pistol is a destructive device all the same if pointed at someone and the trigger is pulled.

        • Certified collector is a person with special permission to own collectible full auto weapons. Such a system is in use in many European countries. Some of course ban the ownership of FA weapons from private citizens outright.

          After the latest gun control directives in the EU, certified collector status will probably also be required for onwership of semi-auto long guns with a larger than 10 round magazine, unless you already own a large magazine, which may be “grandfathered”. National laws may and will still vary in implementation of the directives.

          Becoming a certified collector is usually quite difficult, although the practices again vary from country to country.

          This post is for information only, I do NOT wish to start any kind of gun control discussion!

  9. 1) Known as the “51 caliber” to Vietnam vets – usual legend that the “Russian round is bigger so it can use 50 Browning”

    2) Non-AA use. In 74-75 I attended Armor Officer Basic and we were taught the primary use for our Ma Deuce was motor transport, APC’s (BTR’s not BMP IFV’s), scout cars (BRDM), etc. I don’t remember any training we ever did- even when we reported to our units in the AA role

    3) Tanks vs Attack Aviation – Who else but the Chieftain

  10. 1. As others have already pointed out: the charging handle is actually in the mounting.

    2. Just as with the PPSh it is (D)(Sh)(K)(M) the Sh is one letter in cyrillic: ш = sh-sound. Hence it being transcribed the way it is with the lower case h. It really grinds my gears, when Ian (or anyone else) spells it the wrong way.

  11. Here is DshK firing sequence, in its original calibre

    It shows how spent casing is used to charge it – and it makes sense, since there is no charging handle whipping back and forth.

    It is one “helova event”. As I alluded to in previous remark – who would like to fire this as a hobbyist… I would question their judgement. And than we have this Kord Little more docile, but still a beast.

  12. I do not have any problem with a civilian owning a semi-auto gun like this. I don’t think it would be used much, the interest is more in collecting such a gun. I am sure it would not be cheap.

    I must say I do not like the look of the firing pin springs which have to work in extension rather than compression, but I suppose they are pretty well hidden, and a compromise that had to be made to turn the gun into a semi-auto firing from a closed bolt.

    In Russian, “dushka” translates as “darling”, hence the gun’s nickname. The name of the gun just derives from the names of Degtyarev and Shapagin and “krupny” which means heavy. I think Degtyarev’s name should properly be pronounced as “Degtyaryov”, but that is part of the difficulty of transliterating the Cyrillic alphabet into English.

    • ““krupny” which means heavy.”
      No. Manual are consistent that last letter is for крупнокалиберный at least according to 12,7-мм пулеметы обр. 1938/46 г. и 1938 г. Наставление по стрелковому делу which claims
      12,7-мм пулемет обр. 1938/46 г. (рис. 1) и 12,7-мм пулемет обр. 1938 г. Дегтярева — Шпагина крупнокалиберный (ДШК) (рис. 2) просты по устройству и надежны в боевых условиях. Пулемет обр. 1938/46 г. представляет собой модернизированный пулемет обр. 1938 г.
      This yield big-caliber or high-caliber (with caliber in Russian understanding, i.e. minimal internal diameter of barrel)

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