Vintage Saturday: PTRD-41 in Russia

PTRD-41 in Russia
PTRD-41 in Russia (photo provided by Leszek Erenfeicht)

“Fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is ‘Never get involved in a land war in Asia.'”

I think the other was “Don’t count on an anti-tank rifle to stop a Panther.”


  1. But it JUST might knock off a track. And it will annoy a Mk IV, Damage a Mk III and screw up anything royally that’s smaller. The Russians got VERY good at using PTRD’s and PTRS’s as sniper rifles, AMR’s, Bunker busters, Etc. Kept using them all the way through the war. Old RKKA/Frontovik saying, “Perfect is the enemy of good enough”…

  2. Really the Russians seemed to be about 50 years ahead of the Barrett and it’s kin with using a 50cal rifle in combat. I have drooled over the PTRS in our local museum for years now. 1000 grain projectile at 3300 fps and a semi auto as well. What’s not to like ( well it could do with some rail mounts).

    • Well, the Barrett M82 is a little under 5 feet long and weighs about 30 pounds, while the PTRS is a little under 7 feet long and weighs about 45 pounds. It’s not exactly practical.

    • Well, before you proceed to drool any more, make sure you got the clip for it – looks like Garand clip on steroids, takes 5 rounds 14.5×114, and the gun WOULD NOT operate semiautomatically without one.
      Also word of caution on ammunition: modern 14.5×114 HMG ammunition has a revised neck shape and diameter, WOULD NOT fit the WW2 AT Rifles without reaming the chamber. But in America wouldn’t it be a Destructive Device anyway, if it’s over .50?

  3. a russian copy of a panzerfaust would have been a lot more useful. wasn’t their rpg 7 a direct copy of the last panzerfaust type (panzerfaust 150 or something in that order)?

    • It doesn’t seem to be. RPG-7 was preceded by RPG-1 (not issued) and RPG-2 (widely issued). And Panzerfaust 150 had reusable tube, but only up to ten times…

      Maybe it gave them an idea, I don’t know. But there was considerable R&D behind RPG-7, and it is still successfully used with new advanced ammunition.

      Above all – weren’t Panzerfaust variants all recoilless rifles? That would make RPG-7 fundamentally different. (Not RPG-2 though).

  4. It was the “7”s predecessor, the RPG-2…poor sights, no protection from backblast, lousy accuracy, but if it hit, your day is ruined…the VC and the NVA used a bunch of ’em during the Vietnam War.

    • No, the RPG-2 was not a copy of the Panzerfaust 250 (a 150 was a one-way discardable tube launcher with new shape warhead, it was the 250 that was a multiple use launcher with a pistol grip) – if only for the ignition method: the Pzf250 was electrically fired, just like a Bazooka or Panzerschreck, while RPG-2 (or -7 for that matter) were percussion fired. Also, the tube diameter was smaller, the warhead caliber was smaller, the launcher was lighter, differently shaped – need I list any further? Just like an AK was NOT a copy of Sturmgewehr in anything else as functional layout. BTW, the M1903 Springfield action on the contrary WAS a copy of Mauser 98 with some dubious extras (like magazine block).

  5. Fortunately, the Panther’s weak final drive and poor engine reliability means that you don’t have to wait too long before it stops all on its own.

  6. I fired a Barrett and a double 600 nitro express, but this monster would ruin my hair style for good !

  7. I’ve always thought that this rifle was really ingenious. Fairly simple to manufacture with a simplistic action that automatically opens and ejects the round after each shot which a lot of people don’t realize. How did they do this? By having the action recoil on the stock and the bolt handle ramming into an angled steel plate. Of course this was probably necessary to overcome the fact that the bolt was probably an absolute pain to get open in the cold with a stuck case with such a large caliber. Being from somewhere much like Russia I know from experience that a smoothly operating weapon can become a nightmare if something sticks in below-zero weather and you need to clear it quickly. Soviet engineering at its finest.

  8. “Don’t shoot, comrade.”


    “Panther tank will break down on its own. Waste of ammunition.”

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