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RECOILtv Full Auto Friday: PKM


This week on Full Auto Friday, we take a peek behind the Iron Curtain, at a formidable platform, the PKM (Pulemyot Kalashnikova). This machine gun is a belt fed beast, capable of super controllable burst fire, or a hail of fully automatic glory. Introduced in the 1960s and still in production today in over seven countries, this general purpose machine gun mirrors the simple yet extremely effective internal traits apparent on Kalashnikov designs.

The PKM is chambered in 7.62×54, a cartridge that dates back to the 19th century and really shouldn’t feed in a machine gun at all due to being a rimmed cartridge. This means that in order to feed the round, the gun must first pull it out of the belt in a backwards motion, and then stuff it forward and into the receiver. Of typical Soviet construction, the PKM has a stamped sheet metal receiver, a laminated birch stock, and is gas operated. Iain demonstrates just how simple it is to disassemble the PKM- lock the bolt to the rear, pop the top cover, lift the feed tray, slide off the barrel, run the bolt forward, remove the recoil spring, and then remove the bolt carrier by pulling the trigger and sliding it to the rear. Once disassembled, the bolt carrier group also boasts a typical Kalashnikov design-a long stroke gas piston, rotating three-lug bolt, and a floating firing pin. The PKM also comes with two barrels in the kit, so that they can be swapped out when one barrel gets too hot.

Easy to disassemble and reassemble, this highly capable, man-portable platform is a tried and true legend…even if it feeds from the wrong side of the gun.

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