I've been getting a collection of fine soviet era firearms for a while and today picked up a Mosin Nagant M44 carbine and it made me think of posting here *grins*
I also have some other nifty things such as a fairly nice AK-74 (Bulgarian), a Bulgarian 9x18 Makarov pistol and a Czech CZ-52 pistol (shoots 7.62x25). Next things I want to get my paws on are a Saiga combat shotgun (working on a deal for one now) and a PPSH 41 sub machine gun. The former is a rather kick ass fully semi auto 12 gauge shotgun that can take 10 round magazines. The latter is a rather amazing sub machien gun which despite it's simplicity, was able to kick out 900 rounds a minute and 71 round drum mags. This is what helped turn the tide against Nazi Germany during the darkest days of the Great Patriotic War.
Since I'm here, wnated to show off the soviet era weapons I have so far :)
This is the AK-74, which is an updated version of the famous AK-47. While the AK-47 fired large 30 caliber ronuds (7.62x39), the AK-74 fires smaller 5.45x39 mm cartridges. Back in the cold war, NATO and the US were working on a way to make a smaller round (around 22 caliber) which would have the same killing power as a WWII era 30 caliber round. The advantage here is that the bullets would be cheaper to make, the soldier could carry more rounds (less weight) and finaly, less recoil and more control when firing bursts or full auto. NATO came up with the .223 (5.56 mm) round, which proved to be a somewhat successful replacement for the heavier rounds of days gone by. The Soviets took notice of this and worked to develop the 5.45x39 round. While the NATO rounds tended to fragment, causing massive bleeding and major organ damage, the Russians decided to use hydrostatics instead. They put a steel clacker in the round so that when it hit the target, it would tumble up to 14 times from where it entered the body until it reached the resting point, thus creating a large gaping wound channel similar to a hit by a 30 caliber bullet.
There has been considerably debate over which is the better round. A friend of mine knows a former Soviet soldier who was also a mercinary after his service to the Red Army. He explained that while the 5.56 round can be terrible at closer ranges due to fragmentation, farther out the round loses this ability and is not a reliable man stopper. The Soviet round keeps it's ability to spin out to a much larger distance and thus is more reliable as a killer at longer distances. The bullet is sometimes called the WASP, meaning you feel a sting, and then you die. The Afghans called it the "poison bullet" because people hit by it tended to die even with medical care. As it turns out, I recently had the opportunity to slay an old military laptop. Here is a picture of the "wound" left by the AK-74 (largest hole in the screen, down on the bottom edge of the laptop screen.) You can see how the bullet was spinning, even after it had struck the back side of the then closed laptop. This was after going through magnesium casing, the mother board and it's components, and then into the screen. The Russians sure know how to deal in pain :)
Next up are the Makarov and the CZ-52. The top is the 9x18 which shoots the Russian version of the 9MM round. It's design fixes the barrel to the frame, making it a very accurate weapon for it's look and size. It would make a descent concealed carry piece.
The bottom gun, the CZ-52 shoots bottlenecked 7.62x25 mm rounds. This thing makes a bang every bit as loud as some rifles and in low light, you can see that flames come out to 4-6 inches from the muzzle when you fire. The major problem with this firearm is it's firing pin was made of crappy steel, but that can be replaced. The other is massive over penetration. You don't want this as a concealed carry due to it's size and the fact you could easily shoot through 2-3 people at once with this thing. The bullets come out at around 1650 feet a second, which is pretty amazing for a handgun. The upside is that this can shoot through weaker kevlar vests and through almost any kevlar helmet. It's a real cannon :)
The last remarkable thing about this firearm is that instead of simply having metal sliding over metal, the slide uses rollers as seen on some high end HK weaponry and some German machine guns from WWII. This makes it deadly accurate (up to 100 yards if you are good!) and extremely tough and reliable and comfortable to shoot. You can fire this all day and your hand will not hurt one bit. I've put over 300 rounds through it in a session at the range at once with no arm strain. Very very fun for plinking :) These can be had for around $140, which is very cheap for a quality handgun.
Last but not least if the Mosin Nagant M44 Carbine. I just got this today for $75 at AIM Surplus. I'm lucky enough to live within easy driving distance so I could buy it and carry it right home without having to deal with locating an FFL guy. For the price, this is one hell of a nice carbine. The carbine is the shorter version of the rifle, but it's no slouch. The design and wood on this is beautiful and the thing was nicely cleaned and oiled. I braved the 10 degree weather to take it out to the range when I got home and fired some heavy ball 7.62x54R through it. This is the Russian answer to the 30.06 and it is quite a powerful round. I'm not all the great a shot as of yet, but despite shivering in the cold, frozen hands and unfamiliarity with this rifle, I was able to hit a quite small target very accurately, even firing without taking a lot of time to aim. The bolt on these is always a little stiff, but unlike the German K98's, these don't freeze up in the winter. The Germans would often have to piss on their mauser rifles to unstiffen the bolts while fighting in frigid places such as Stalingrad and Leningrad. The Soviets had no such trouble with the Nagant. This basic design was used from 1891 until 1998, over 100 years of service as both battle and sniper rifle. The Russians, who never throw anything useful away, stored unused rifles after WWII and are now selling them new and unissued. Mine came with matching parts and other than some marks where they got the cosmoline off, it is in fantastic shape. AIM has a few other of the Mosin variants as well, and they clean them up really nicely before selling them. So you can get them there or visit your favorite gun show and you will likely find plenty around to buy, thanks to the Soviets having the sense to stockpile in case they needed to pull them out to defend the motherland again.
Anyway, that's the tour of the stuff I have. I do have a Saiga shotgun on order that I am waiting to arrive from Izmash, Russia. These are based on the AK-47 and I am told it is every bit as durable as the rifles are. I'll have to post pictures and my experience with that when I get it.
Anyone else have any neat Soviet era firearms to show off?