GarryB wrote:I think the Czech Vz 58 or something has a bolt hold open cutout on the magazine but when you pull out the mag the bolt slams forward so I really don't understand how it is useful except to tell you to change mags.
The SKS had a bolt hold open device but that was mainly to facilitate loading via a stripper clip.
If you look through the Kalashnikov archives and books there were dozens of different variations they tested before finalising on the rifles they did.
That includes rifles with the cocking handle on the left side and different sight arrangements.
Note the FN FAL had a bolt hold open option but it was manual, and the magazines were locked into place by rocking them back too.
In fact the FN FAL is an excellent example of a rifle that is better implimented than the AR.
The FN FAL has a front and a rear bit... the rear is the pistol grip and butt stock with recoil spring inside, while the upper is the upper receiver and magazine well and barrel, chamber and front grip.
This means that if you wanted to develop an new upper for the FN FAL you could make it any calibre and any mechanism you like... you could make it pump action using the recoil spring in the butt, or keep the gas system, but make it any calibre from a .22lr blowback, to any rifle calibre or shotgun calibre because the magazine well is part of the upper a 12 gauge model can use a 12 gauge mag well.
With the AR-15 the mag well is part of the lower so you can buy an upper for any calibre you want but that calibre has to fit through the well designed for the 5.56mm NATO round. You can't have calibres like .243 winchester or even a 7.62x51mm calibre because they wont fit in the mag well.
Button releases on the SA80 constantly led to soldiers getting to where they were going and shouldering their rifles and firing their first round only to find their magazine was gone... the chance of an AK mag accidentally dropping were zero.
Also the lever means you are holding the mag in your hand and operating the mag release with your thumb so if you are going to put the mag away in your belt order because you are on a mission and wont get resupplied for a week so you want to refill your mags later with the boxes of ammo in your backpack then putting the spent mags back in your belt order is important.
AK mags are much more solid and reliable than M16 mags which were a source of problems for all the rifles that used them.
Actually I like the look of the ADS... bullpup that can be fired left handed or right handed without adjustment... sounds pretty accurate and able to fire under water...
There has been a mention regarding Ratnik 3 due about 2025 will include new small arms of new design... presumably a new family of weapons...
Would like to see a PKP in 6x49mm calibre too.
The AK was designed very well and it took me a little while to come to this realisation. I regarded all the tacti-cool features in other guns as essential without considering that the Russians looked at it and chose to exclude those very tacti-cool features in favour of reliability and ease of use. I saw how the AR beat the AK in 'speed reloads' and so I thought why don't the Russians just adopt an AR-15 magwell, a mag release button, a bolt catch and a bolt release. The one second speed advantage of the AR-15 is not critical; soldiers reload under cover so I would rather use a gun with a more durable magazine, guaranteed magazine retention and an easier way to fix problems.
I now prefer the ergonomics of the AK system over the AR due to its ease of use, simplicity and the reliability of the platform.
I've never really been a fan of bullpups but I do see their value; the length of the barrel can be increased while being smaller overall, so it's much better for CQB operations. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I just think that guns like the AM-17/AMB-17 can do CQB operations just as well, especially when range is not an issue.
The French and the Chinese seem to be moving away from bullpups. The Israelis are the only ones that are doing the opposite.
The 6x49mm would be incredible and I hope Russia puts it into service for the Chukavin and the PK machine gun. The ballistics of that round are off the charts amd it really should replace the 7.62x54mm.