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November 24, 2003

Max the Maxim, Part Kolme*

I suddenly realized I've been a bad boy! I never gave you Max's stats! Of course, none of you ever asked for them, either, so I guess ya didn't care that much or choose (wisely, I might add) to do some research on your own. Here are some relevant numbers to the following discussion of spare barrels and carriers, and future posts about ammo cans, belts, water and lubrication cans and finally, Max's "wheels," his Sokolov mount.

Sokolov Pulemyot Maxima
Operation: Recoil operated, water-cooled, full auto only
Caliber: 7.62x54mm Rimmed (7.62 Russian)
Ammunition: Heavy Ball M1930; 185 gr bullet, 50 gr charge
Muzzle velocity: 2830 fps
Capacity: 250-round fabric, steel, or aluminum belt
Weight: 52.8 lbs, unloaded (Honking Heavy!)
Weight: 99.71 lbs, approx, with shield and water (Honking Heavier!)
Overall length: 43.6 in
Barrel: length 28.4 in, 4 grooves, right hand twist
Rate of fire: 520-580 rpm
Effective range: 1000m (1100 yds)

Okay, we can shoot 1000 rounds in under two minutes. In about 4 minutes we'll have boiling water, and in about 5 minutes we're gonna need to change barrels. Plus, we're pounding the heck out of his innards. How many of you put 1000 rounds through a gun, much less 5 thousand? Plus, he's HONKING HEAVY! I know, I display him up on a shelf about 4.5 feet high. I had to take him down to take pictures. Then I put him back up. He's heavy! Anyway, now do ya see why Max has all this cool kit? So, let's move on to spare barrels and the carriers that carry them.

These are Finn carriers. The Finns were willing and able to spend some time and money on their stuff. Let's turn the page and look closer.

The russian barrel carriers are like the gunners kits - grey canvas with leather reinforcements, slung over the shoulder. The Finn gunner's kits could be slung or mounted on your belt. The carriers were slung. The big one is made of wood. It has a hole in the bottom to aid drainage in the crappy weather conditions in which most battles are fought. It's hot and wet, hot and dry, wet, dry, cold and wet, etc. It's just never 68 with a slight breeze. God really doesn't approve of war, y'know?

Photo

Here, in an admittedly crappy shot, we see the barrel nestled in it's little wooden house, waiting for it's moment to defend the honor and integrity of Finland. Though you can't see it well (hey, I'll try to get another pic, keep yer shirt on) you can see the the grooves in the breech face to ensure alignment of the lock, and the trunnions, the bumps on the sides of the barrel that fit into the recoil plates. When you look at the fitted wood, the the lathe turned body of the carrier, you get some appreciation of the amount of effort that went into these. Not knowing how many barrels were damaged by the less-robust russian carriers, I don't have a good feel for whether or not this was a good application of wartime resources.

Photo

This is a shot of the SA property mark on the carrier.

Photo

Okay - here's a shot of the barrel removed from the carrier. Yes, it's greasy. I keep it that way, since it's stored in a concrete room. You can see on the left the thicker portion of the barrel where it emerges from the water jacket into the booster cup. At the other end, you can see the bronze trunnion bearing, and the trunnions themselves, those knobs on the side of the square part. In front of the bronze bearing you can see a cannelure, or groove. That is where you wrapped the asbestos string.

Photo

Alright, let's finish out this bit with a close-up of the leather carrier - which, frankly, probably took as much effort in terms of time and resources to make as the wood carrier. Again we see the SA property mark - I don't know what the T is, it could be an inspector or a manufacturer's mark. Or even a unit mark. Anyone?

As a final thought - the reason that the Finns may have been using leather and wood is because they had it available. I don't know of much cotton that's grown in that region, and supplies might have been scarce in ways they were'nt for the Soviets.

Coming up in Part IV - Ammo cans, belts, and other things you stick in ammo cans.

*I'm led to believe that Kolme is 'three' in Finnish.


Previous posts in this series are here. And Here. And Here.