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June 16, 2006

Another Arsenal Artifact. The RPD.

Not everything in the Arsenal is a relic, or antique.

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Meet the Castle RPD, this one a Bulgarian example. Note to the aghast: Legal Where I Live, may not be where you live. Which is *your* problem. Not mine. And I'm not your problem, either. So put the phone down.

Basic stats:
Caliber 7,62x39 mm
Weigth 16 pounds empty, on integral bipod
Length 41"
Length of barrel 20.47"
Feed: 100 round belt loose or in drum
Rate of fire 650 rounds per minute
Muzzle velocity 735 m/s

The RPD (Ruchnoy Pulemet Degtyarova - Degtyarev Light MG) was one of the first weapons designed to fire the then-new intermediate 7.62x39mm cartridge, the same one fired by the SKS and AK-47. Development started in 1944 and the RPD became the standard squad automatic weapon (a BAR equivalent with a lot more firepower, being belt-fed) of Warsaw Pact armies in the early 50's through the 60's when it was supplanted by the RPK. The RPK, being based on the AK action, is, in my humble opinion, not as effective in the role as the RPD was due to controllability and accuracy (I've fired both weapons) and magazine changes. You can still see them around - the Jihadis and Somalian Warlords like them, for example - and the Chinese have their own version, the Type 56.
The RPD is an extension of Degtyarev machine guns, tracing its ancestry to DP-1927 LMG. The RPD is a gas operated, full auto only weapon. It uses a long stroke piston and a gas regulator, located under the barrel, the regulator is the round thing under the barrel, and it can be "tuned" as the weapon fouls or wears, using a combo tool contained in the gunner's tool kit, which is stored in the butt, along with an oil bottle.

It uses a simple and robust bolt locking system common to other Degtyarev designs (much like this DP-28 bolt), which uses two locking flaps that are pushed out of the bolt body into recesses in the receiver walls to lock the bolt. The flaps are pushed out by the bolt carrier to lock and are withdrawn from recesses to unlock the bolt by specially shaped cams on the carrier. The RPD uses a belt feed, generally feeding from a detachable drum magazine that clips to the receiver. The drum can hold a 100-round non-disintegrating metal belt. In a sustained fire role, such as in the defense or from a support by fire position belt feed is used and the belt in the magazine is left there, available for use immediately when the situation requires picking up and moving. Each drum has its own carrying handle, but usually drums were carried in special canvas pouches. Unlike earlier Degtyarev guns, the return spring is located inside the butt, vice under the barrel, where in the DP series of guns they were adversely affected by heat. The heavy barrel cannot be replaced quickly, which reduces the sustained fire rate, but the RPD provides a significant firepower to the fight at ranges up to 800 meters. The rear sights are ajustable for range and drift, and a folding integral bipod is located under the barrel. All RPDs were issued with carrying slings and could be fired from the hip, using the sling to hang the gun on the shoulder.

Bill didn't like these.

Just because I knew you wanted to know.

John | Permalink | Comments (0) | Machine Guns
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