Russia considering dropping the use of the 5.45x39mm cartridge by the military


Ah, but you missed the best bit: the Swedes adopted the 7.62 mm NATO to replace the 6.5 x 55, an impressive high-performance round…sound familiar?


Personally, I thought they were on the right lines with the .270 which was developed to meet the requirements of the Small Arms Calibre Panel. The .280’s performance was somewhat distorted by the choice of a heavy bullet to meet the US long-range requirement, giving it a rather low velocity and steep trajectory.


Sure - considering that we replaced our 6,5x55 Krag rifles and carbines, and 7,92x57 and 7,92x61 MGs, with .30-06 ;-)

I would do a !!LOT!! to own an original Swedish Ksp-58 (FN MAG) in 6,5x55…

And, isn’t it funny how after 40-ish years of the Minimi/M249 being hot sh*t, the Brits are loading very hot loads with heavy Lapua bullets for their FN MAGs, basically replicating German WW2 heavy bullet MG loads…?

Somethingsomething about circles



Max, thanks for the clarification. Just goes to show “fake news” is a universal problem.



Brian, this is rather a case of the above mentioned “fake experts”.

1 Like

your reply to Brian about fake “experts”, this is what we see as fake news, but instead of “experts” we have “journalists with agenda’s” otherwise known as “instant experts” on all subjects.

1 Like

I’ve always been in favor of schv rounds. I just don’t think Russia, given their economical situation will be replacing anything soon. I think it would be a mistake to replace 5.45 or 5.56 especially with modern variants of these two cartridges.


Pete, right!
As recently one said here in Germany:
Most journalists are no journalists but activists.
And most media consumers do not realize it (due to the intended lack of education).

In my eyes most journalists have a serious problem with adhering to the basic rules of their jobs.


Just in time…‘overmatch,’


Do you have details of that, Ole?

Since I retired from Jane’s I’ve been out of the loop as far as the British Army’s ammunition developments are concerned, but the last I heard they were introducing the L59A1 ball (initially for the Marines) which is a kind of scaled-up SS109 with a steel core in the nose and lead behind (thereby a much longer bullet than the standard lead-cored L44A1 ball). Weight 10 g and MV 840 m/s.

The high-density propellant to make the L59A1 work is costly, so coming up behind this was a cheaper version, the IB (improved ball) with a shorter version of the bullet to allow standard propellant to be used, and behind that they were planning an EP (Enhanced Performance) an FMJ with a hardened steel core.


Tony -
What I’ve been told from a long-time serving Norwegian with most of his experience in the field of MGs, the British have been experimenting with Lapua 170 gr Lockbase in very hot loads for their MAGs. No clue as to if they’re actually fielding this today or not, but he’s brought this up several times.
I tried looking for any online articles about it, but I know this fellow good enough to trust his say on it, as I know he’s on first name terms with many soldiers from many countries after his long time in boots. For what it’s worth he was on the teams experimenting with the Norwegian convertions of MG34s and MG42s to 7,62x51, and probably one of the Norwegians with the most experience on our MGs.

He’s not very fond of the Turkish made MG-3s that the Norwegian army bought some time ago, that’s for sure.



Ole, you mean he is less fond of the Turkish ones than Germany with their Pakistani ones?


POF, MKE, so on… seems like the same cr*p in my eyes.
The MKE MG3s that Norway received were so badly put together that rechambering the barrels, straightening the receivers, modifying the springs and even reusing old flash hider/recoil booster cones had to be done.

As you might have heard there were also compability issues with the new “Greenpeace ammo” that we were so environmentally engaged to procure. Burst barrels and so on…

From the get-go they were spitting brass shavings everywhere due to the very rough condition of the internal parts and the extractors-ejectors being crooked.

But hey - saved some money (that then had to be used to fix them again).
Reminds me a little of our very Norwegian habit of saving 10 mil. NOK on building oil rigs in Thailand and Korea, and then having to haul them back to Norway and spend another 30 mil. NOK over budget on fixing bad workmanship and getting rid of safety hazards - in the same Norwegian yards that were denied the contracts to build them in the first place…

Some light reading on the Turkish MG-3s for those whose Norwegian (or Google Translate) is good enough:

When the weapon contract of 200 million NOK with the Turkish mfg. was signed, the Norwegian dept. of Defence claimed they saved several tens of millions compared to buying German (HK/Rheinmetall) over Turkish (MKE).

The modification of the MG barrels will cost from 18-29 million NOK depending on the solution chosen, according to press secretary – -- at the Norwegian dept. of Def.

Funny part of the story:
When the MKE (MKEK?) MG3s were found to be, frankly, useless, we bought new parts from the German companies we initially found too expensive…


1 Like

Ole, you would have liked the POF “products” then.
Germany has no capability to manufacture MG3s anymore.
The manufacturer of the receivers (not Rheinmetall!!!) scrapped the machinery after Rheinmetall / the German so-called government had not placed orders in years.
When the last order came in RH had nothing to come up with and getting new tooling made (even with improvements then as offered by a specialized company) time was too short and noone wanted to pay the tools.
So the cheapest bidder for new receivers won the tender: POF
The delivered receivers had metal scrap quality. After they had arrived at RH they were completely reworked (several times as they never passed QA). Holes were welded shut and drilled new and even the front section of the receiver was cut off and welded back into pos to make up for correct measurements.
So in the end RH delivered an MG3 which was “new” but refurbished about a half dozen of times and made by people starving from hunger in a facility where the term “quality assurance” is more a threat than a rule.
What we have today is a MG3 of which our soldiers do not even know came from a 3rd world country, bears the markings of RH (once associated with “quality”) and is worse in quality (like a car with a total crash that got “fixed”) than a German MG42 of WW2 production (and having been in use since).
And this is what our soldiers are sent to fight with!
But the good thing might be that these were the guns we sent to Syrian terrorists (of course only “moderate” ones) to fight with against the elected govt. there.
And I am sure these POF MG3 receivers costed us about 5x more than those we would have made in country (with about 5x the quality).

1 Like

Hmm - curious, as Radway Green was developing this specifically military progression of bullet and cartridge design. Possibly the Lapua bullet loadings were for a ballistic test programme to see how much performance could be squeezed from the round in comparison with the L59A1, which I am pretty certain is in service (or was, a year or so ago).


Some of you lads here have considerable knowledge about the Next Big Thing in military cartridges. I do not. Nonetheless, that I snickered when I read a couple passages in this thread belies an important fact. Finding a replacement for the 5.56 NATO has been like finding leprechauns. We haven’t quite done it.

It seems that the cartridge-platform-body armor treadmill is still running us around in circles. The next breakthrough was supposed to be caseless ammo, then a reliable body armor penetrant. So far we have neither. Then add light and cheap to the mix.

I am a skeptic about developing a round with the primary goal of penetrating the body armor of a sophisticated adversary. As I understand it, body armor technology is evolving so rapidly, an objective-specific round may well be obsolete before it reaches the field.

To the original point, the Russians and their clients may have the greater incentive to make the next big leap.


Dear forum members,

I will try to clarify issues related to the publication about the possible rejection in Russia of 5,45 mm caliber and a return to 7,62 mm caliber for AK.

The discussion about the feasibility of the transition from 7,62 mm caliber to 5,45 mm caliber began in the early 70s of the last century and continues to this day.

In the former USSR, the transition from 7,62 mm caliber to 5,45 mm caliber was connected with the transition of the NATO army to 5,56 mm caliber. Arguments of supporters of the transition from 7,62 mm caliber to 5,45 mm caliber are well known:

  • increasing the linearity of the trajectory of the bullet;
  • reducing the recoil of weapons;
  • reducing the weight of weapons by reducing the diameter of the barrel and reducing the weight of ammunition.

These goals were not achieved. If it is still possible to argue about increasing the linearity of the trajectory of the bullet and reducing the recoil of weapons, the weight of AK, on the contrary, has increased. The reasons for the increase in the weight of AK should be indicated separately, but this is a fact.

Even in the days of the former USSR, the possibility of transition to 6,5 mm caliber for AK was considered. It must be borne in mind that regardless of the diameter of the bullet, the length of the cartridge case must always be 39 mm, and the length of the cartridge must always be about 57 mm. These are necessary conditions for the functioning of the AK reloading mechanism, which will be used by the Russian army for many decades.



I have to wonder where all the extra weight on the AK-74M over the AKM comes from - surely the folding latch mechanism weighs some, as well as the beefy muzzle brake/compensator device, but it seems like quite the feat to increase the weight with several hundred grams when you go from laminated wood to fiberglass reinforced plastic.

AKM metal magazines are also laughably heavier than the AK-74 thermoplastic/fiberglass reinforced plastic magazines…?



The increase in the weight of AK 5,45 mm caliber in comparison with AK 7,62 mm caliber was due to an increase in the thickness of the wall of the barrel.
Initially, the thickness of the wall of the barrel AK 5,45 mm caliber was manufactured as in AK 7,62 mm caliber. With a corresponding reducing the outer diameter of the barrel, the weight of weapons decreased. But at the same time, the dispersion of the trajectories of bullets at firing increased dramatically. Studies have shown that the reason is the vibration of the barrel. Kalashnikov was forced to increase the wall thickness of the barrel. In order to achieve an acceptable dispersion of trajectories of bullets, the outer diameter of the barrel for AK 5,45 mm caliber had to be increased to the diameter of the barrel of AK 7,62 mm caliber. At that, the weight of the barrel increased so much that the total weight of AK 5,45 mm caliber is insignificantly, but exceeded the weight of AK 7,62 mm caliber.



Thank you Mikhail. That makes sense.
I assume that it also made it easier to manufacture trunnions, gas blocks and sight blocks when the same barrel outer diameter was kept the same(?).
Despite the weight difference, my personal opinion is that the AK74(M) feels like a much more balanced and “handy” gun, with the improved handguard, more beefy muzzle device, and the lighter (and not as awkwardly angled) magazines. The AKM feels a little “clunky”, while the AK74 somehow feels a little more easily pointed.

Though, I have to say I like the Valmet/Sako pattern AKs the most…