Tag Archives: AK47

Zveroboy #196

Whenever October-November starts creeping in, I find myself thinking in of the men and women of The Corvin (Kisfaludy) Passage. Those freedom fighters in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 held out against the Soviets and the country’s puppet regime in bitter street fighting that pitted a handful of insurgents with largely small arms against a modern Eastern European military force that had cut its teeth in nasty house-to-house combined arms operations a generation before.

Among the hottest parts of Budapest during the conflict was the Corvin Cinema, which was used as the headquarters of revolution leader László Iván Kovács. The narrow streets around the cinema allowed Kovacs’ 1,000~ irregulars to hold off a full Soviet mechanized infantry division, and, using Molotov cocktails and improvised anti-tank weapons, the Covin group knocked out 12 tanks including a few massive ISU-152s– itself a heavy assault gun fielded by the Soviets in the last days of WWII. Termed the zveroboy (Russian: “beast killer”) it was designed to smash through concrete bunkers and Panther/Tiger tanks with ease.

The Covin group held their position for 15 days. But one of the most iconic fixtures from Corvin captured by Western journalists covering the fighting was ISU-152 #196 and its partner, abandoned by its crew along József Boulevard.

Street fighters with PPS sub guns and swagger

It can be seen in a number of images from those days.

An M44 Mosin-armed Hungarian soldier, wearing an armband marking his defection to the anti-Communist insurgents.

A young Hungarian girl emerges from a building housing resistance fighters carrying a Mauser. 196 is a street cart

Note the knocked out T-34/85 in the right

I can’t find out what happened to #196. The Soviets likely scrapped it as to not be a lesson to those that the iron giant could be stopped by determination. That the beast-killer itself was a monster when viewed through the lens of those in Budapest.

As for the fighters, it is estimated that the three-week Revolution resulted in the combat deaths of 722 Soviet troops and some 2,500-3,000 Hungarians. To this figure can be added some 253 Hungarians executed or died in prison for their part in the Revolution.

AKs of Vermont, eh?

VSKA= Vermont Stamped Kalashnikov. They say it is a “heavy duty AK” which I am not sure what a true AK is if not heavy duty. Apparently, in this case, it means no bayonet lug or cleaning rod :/

Vermont-based Century Arms has a new Kalash they say is based on lessons learned from a call by SOCOM in 2016-17 to see if domestic AK makers could crank out legit U.S. AKs.

Up close: As noted by Atlantic Firearms in their desktop below, it appears to have a 1.5mm dimpled receiver.

Atlantic does 300 rounds in the above, then strips it down to take a look and does 500 more in the below.

The 7.62x39mm VSKA uses a new bolt carrier, front trunnion, and feed ramp machined from S7 tool steel and features both a nitro-carburized 4140 steel bolt and a chrome-moly 4150 barrel. Surfaces have a magnesium-phosphate finish while the furniture is of tiger striped American Maple in a nod to Century’s New England roots. The rifle uses the company’s RAK-1 enhanced trigger group.

More in my column at Guns.com.

An interesting smattering of AKs, from somewhere in the Arizona desert

So this popped up on my newswire from CBP’s media people. While the story of the bust isn’t that interesting, the guns recovered are.

In the above image from Border Patrol, there appears to be a Bulgarian-made Arsenal SLR-106 pistol at the top with the side rail, a Hungarian AMD-65 style gun with a very un-Hungarian side-folding stock, what looks like an Arsenal SAM-7 rifle with the stock detached, some really beat AK that probably still runs like a champ, and a Century-imported Serbian-made Zastava M85 pistol with the mag well to accept AR mags.

More in my column at Guns.com.

I bet Hugo Schmeisser is rolling and spinning

There, under the Krinkov, is a German StG44 in exploded view, which would probably be OK on any monument except that of Mikhail Kalashnikov

As I covered over at Guns.com, the Russians spent 35 million rubles (about $580K US) on a sprawling monument to the late firearms engineer Mikhail Kalashnikov that was unveiled in Moscow last week. Besides a nearly 30-foot high statue of Kalashnikov, the base of a monument to St. Mikhail, the Orthodox patron of gunsmiths and warriors, contains a representation of several of the engineer’s designs including an AK42 sub gun, AK47, AKM and AK74 rifles, as well as RPK and PK machine guns.

However, as noted by some sharp-eyed firearms enthusiasts and reported by Russian-based Kalashnikov magazine, just under a Krinkov AKS-74U is what appears to be the parts diagram for a German StG-44 Sturmgewehr.

Which some (notably outside of the Motherland) have contended that the AK was based on for decades.

This has caused understandable heartburn in Russia, and, as Russian firearms wonks pile on to disagree with the lineage of the AK– noting it is as Russian as a Florida pirated movie salesman, the offending diagram has been torched out.

Roll that beautiful RPK-16 footage

Designed to be the Russian military’s new light machine gun, the 5.45x39mm RPK (Ruchnoy Pulemyot Kalashnikova)-16 sprouted from the Rostec state-owned Kalashnikov Group last year and is expected to be placed in service with the Rosgvardiya (think National Guard), internal affairs troops and Army to replace older RPKs.

It draws from the AK-12 program and comes in a few different barrel lengths while including a folding stock that, when swung shut, drops the overall length to just 25-inches. Weight without the detachable bipod and mag is 8.8-pounds.

Three pipehitters from the Corvin Passage, 60 years ago this month

The below image by Peter Dennis via MHE shows off a motley group of three freedom fighters in the Hungarian Revolution of October-November 1956 against the Soviets and the country’s puppet regime who would all lose their lives in the bitter fighting and subsequent repression.

From left to right, they are the real life Belane Havrilla, Mesz Janos, and Jozef Tibor Fejes. In the background, note the flag with the central motif cut out, and the captured 76.2mm anti-tank gun with the traditional coat-of-arms being painted on the gun shield.

They are depicted in front of the Corvin Cinema in Budapest, which was used as the headquarters of revolution leader László Iván Kovács. The narrow streets around the cinema allowed Kovacs’ 1,000~ irregulars to hold off a full Soviet mechanized infantry division, and, using Molotov cocktails and improvised anti-tank weapons, the Covin group knocked out 12 tanks including a few massive ISU-152s.

The Covin group held their position for 15 days.

Each of the three Covin group rebels shown below had their own story. Many were captured in a series of photos by LIFE’s Michael Rougier, which were sadly in some cases used by security officials after the uprising to track down rebels.

MTI Photo: Laszlo Toth

MTI Photo: Laszlo Toth

Béláné Havrilla was born in 1932, one of five children, growing up partly in an orphanage. She worked in a textile factory; married in 1952, but soon divorced; worked as a cleaner, then in a lamp factory. On 24 October she took part in the protests, joining the Corvin group first as a nurse, and later taking up arms herself, usually fighting together with Maria Wittner (shown with PPSh to the right).

Dennis: Photos show that she equipped herself with a khaki padded jacket (differing slightly from the regulation military model in having no side pockets); large stocks of these jackets were kept at Army depots and they were often worn by insurgents in the increasingly cold weather. Here the jacket is not fastened but closed in ‘female’ (right over left) style, and held fast by the Sam Browne-type belt; she has added a national armband to the left sleeve. She has a standard Mosin-Nagant M91/30 infantry rifle in addition to a holstered pistol.


János Mesz was born in 1931, one of 12 children in a worker’s family in Pecs. He spent part of his youth in a home for destitute children, and worked at various times as a gardener, a miner and in a factory. He lost his leg in an accident when run over by a suburban train. In 1956 he joined the ‘Corvinites’ – according to recollections he introduced himself as an officer (which was not true), but actually proved to be a fine gunner, commanding his group’s artillery. He was wounded in the head when his anti-tank gun (or 122mm howitzer – accounts vary) was hit and both his two helpers were killed; several photos show him as here, with a bandaged jaw. On 27 October he saved the lives of two injured Soviet soldiers who were taken prisoner.

Dennis: Here he wears a khaki Army M-51 uniform jacket without insignia apart from a narrow sleeve band in national colors, trousers of apparently the same shade, and a civilian fedora hat. He armed himself with a Mosin-Nagant M44 carbine and a PPSh-41 submachine gun; he also carried stick grenades in a canvas pouch for a PPSh drum magazine, and slung an extra 7.62mm machine gun cartridge belt around his body.


This newswire photo is stamped by the Hungarian Security Police in the corner

jozsef-tibor-fejes-rs jozsef-tibor-fejes-the-bowler-hatted-hungarian-revolutionary-who-in-1956-is-considered-to-be-the-first-person-ever-to-have-wielded-a-captured-ak-47-in-battle
Born in 1934 into a workers’ family, Fejes, known as “Keménykalapos,” the man in the bowler hat, spent his childhood in an orphanage after his parents divorced. While still a child he was transferred to Transylvania to work, spent some time in a correctional home, and only returned to Hungary in January 1956. In October he was with the crowd tearing down the Stalin statue, and was among the first members of the Corvin group.

Dennis: He is shown here wearing typical workers’ dress – a mid-blue loose shirt and trousers, with heavy laced boots. Over this he wears a lady’s dark grey jacket (note the buttons on the left), and a knitted scarf apparently of sand-colored wool. When photographed he was well armed with a captured AK-47 assault rifle; on his belt are two leather rifle cartridge pouches – probably he had had a Mosin-Nagant before laying his hands on the Kalashnikov. Slung from his shoulder is a thermos bottle.

Cj Chivers in his book on the AK47, The Gun, calls Fejes the first known insurgent to use a captured AK in warfare (the AKM was only issued to front-line Soviet troops at the time).

“He did so before Fidel Castro, before Yasser Arafat, before Idi Amin. He was years ahead of the flag of Zimbabwe, which would expropriate the AK-47 as a symbol. He was ahead of Shamil Basayev and Osama bin Laden, who would convert the product of an atheist state into a sign of unsparing jihad. József Tibor Fejes was the first of the world’s Kalashnikov-toting characters, a member of a pantheon’s inaugural class.”-– Chivers

All three perished soon after their resistance.

On 7 November Havrilla managed to escape to Austria, but on the urging of her boyfriend returned in December. She was arrested on 25 July 1957, and executed on 26 February 1959. Mária Wittner, shown above with Havrilla, was also sentenced to death. Her sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and she was released in 1970. She was subsequently awarded the Grand Cross star, as well as Ministers of silver and gold medals in 1991 by the new government.

On 4 November Mesz was mortally wounded.

As for the bowler hat man, Fejes quickly went home on November 5th after the pocket fell but was identified from press photographs, and was arrested in April 1957, and executed on 9 April 1959 for allegedly shooting State Police Lt. János Balassa— with his captured AK.

In all some 253 Hungarians were executed or died in prison for their part in the Revolution by the government. The Hungarian State Security Police (Államvédelmi Hatóság, ÁVH) was very efficient.

It is estimated that the three-week Revolution resulted in the combat deaths of 722 Soviet troops and some 2,500-3,000 Hungarians.

An innovative (and probably effective) way to ban ‘assault weapons’

"Kanarejka” (Canary) system, mounted below the AKS-74U assault rifle.

“Kanarejka” (Canary) system, mounted below the AKS-74U assault rifle. Now this is a real assault rifle. An “assault weapon” is a political term.

“Assault weapons bans” go back a quarter century with California implementing the first such restrictions in 1989. The the California Department of Justice’s assault weapon list has some registered 145,253 firearms  as of last year when I did an in-depth report on them. However, the AWB, although tweaked continually, focuses on named models and arbitrary cosmetic features such as hand grips, barrel shrouds, and threaded muzzles, deeming such guns “assaulty” while they accidentally wind up making such innocent models as the Marlin Model 60, a tubular magazine .22LR popgun, illegal in some states.

Such bans aren’t very efficient, nor do they reduce crime, as witnesses a decade after in a postmortem on the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, which sunsetted in 2004.

Even the sometimes left-leaning New York Times noted that, “The continuing focus on assault weapons stems from the media’s obsessive focus on mass shootings, which disproportionately involve weapons like the AR-15, a civilian version of the military M16 rifle.”

Further, manufacturers can just rename their guns and delete cosmetic features, selling state-compliant models. As such, you can still very much buy modified AR-15-ish rifles in California legally over the counter. Sure, they have bullet buttons and look funny, but at their heart they are still ARs.

A state-compliant AR

A state-compliant AR. Even these abominations are banned in Massachusetts, at least for now.

However, Massachusetts Atty. Gen. Maura Healey last week flipped the script and decided to re-interpret the state’s 1998 ban to include an interchangeability test on the gun’s action, as ruling whether it is banned under state law. For instance, if Mass-compliant 5.56mm semi-auto rifle accepts the same bolt carrier group and magazine of the banned AR-15, it is banned as well.

So now components, such as the bolt carrier group and charging handle, define what make up an "assault rifle" under Healy's interpretation of Mass law....not the gun itself.

So now components, such as the bolt carrier group and charging handle, define what make up an “assault rifle” under Healy’s interpretation of Mass law….not the gun itself.

Gun grabbing genius this is. Because of the extremely broad strokes used to issue her office’s new guidance, most semi-auto centerfire rifles with the exception of a few (Ruger Mini-14, Remington 7400, Winchester 1910, etc), can be outlawed.

The thing is, Healy may have overstepped her authority and there has been a run on stores by gun owners fearing it will stick and some are promising legislation and litigation to short circuit her effort.

Either way, you can bet it is a blueprint for future moves by lawmakers to place a much more restrictive gun prohibition in the works.

AK vs AR vs Mosin

…if you have an AK47:

Who doesn't dig Dugan H. Ashley

Who doesn’t dig Dugan H. Ashley

-It works though you have never cleaned it. Ever.
-You are able to hit the broad side of a barn
-Cheap mags are fun to buy.
-Your safety can be heard from 300 meters away.
-Your rifle comes with a cheap nylon sling
-Your bayonet makes a good wire cutter.
-You can put a .30” hole through 12” of oak, if you can hit it.
-When out of ammo your rifle will nominally pass as a club.
-Recoil is manageable, even fun.
-Your sight adjustment goes to “10”, and you’ve never bothered moving it.
-Your rifle can be used by any two bit nation’s most illiterate conscripts to fight elite forces worldwide.
-You paid $350.
-You buy cheap ammo by the case.
-You can intimidate your foe with the bayonet mounted.
-Service life, 50 years.
-It’s easier to buy a new rifle when you want to change cartridge sizes.
-You can repair your rifle with a big hammer and a swift kick.
-You consider it a badge of honor when you get your handguards to burst into flames.
-After a long day the range you relax by watching “Red Dawn”.
-After cleaning your rifle you have a strong urge for a stiff shot of Vodka.
-You can accessorize you rifle with a new muzzle brake or a nice stock set.
-Your rifle’s finish is varnish and paint.
-Your wife tolerates your autographed framed picture of Mikhail Kalashnikov.
-Late at night you sometimes have to fight the urge to hold your rifle over your head and shout “Wolverines!”

…if you have an M16:

m16a2 kenny powers

-You have $9 per ounce special non-detergent synthetic Teflon infused oil for cleaning.
-You are able to hit the broad side of a barn from 600 meters
-Cheap mags melt.
-You can silently flip off the safety with your finger on the trigger
-Your rifle has a 9 point stealth tactical suspension system.
-Your bayonet is actually a pretty good steak knife.
-You can put one hole in a paper target at 100 meters with 30 rounds.
-When out of ammo, your rifle makes a great wiffle bat.
-What’s recoil?
-Your sight adjustment is incremented in fractions of minute of angle.
-Your rifle is used by elite forces worldwide to fight two bit nations’ most illiterate conscripts.
-You paid $900.
-You lovingly reload precision crafted rounds one by one.
-Your foes laugh when you mount your bayonet.
-Service life, 40 years.
-You can change cartridge sizes with the push of a couple of pins and a new upper.
-You can repair your rifle by taking it to a certified gunsmith, it’s under warranty!
-You consider it a badge of honor when you shoot a sub-MOA 5 shot group.
– After a long day at the range you relax by watching “Blackhawk Down”.
-After cleaning your rifle you have a strong urge for hotdogs and apple pie.
-Your rifle’s accessories cost eight times as much as your rifle.
-Your rifle’s finish is Teflon and high tech polymers.
-Your wife tolerates your autographed framed picture of Eugene Stoner.
-Late at night you sometimes have to fight the urge to clear your house, slicing the pie from room to room.

…if you have a Mosin Nagant:


mosin rifles in the hands of soviet partisans in wwii
-It was last cleaned in Berlin in 1945.
-You are able to hit the broad side of a barn…from two counties away.
-What’s a mag?
-What’s a safety?
-Your rifle has dog collars.
-Your bayonet is longer than your leg.
-You can knock down everyone else’s target with the shock wave of your bullet going downrange.
-When out of ammo, your rifle makes a supreme war club, pike, boat oar, or tent pole
-Recoil is often used to relocate shoulders thrown out by the previous shot.
-Your sight adjustment goes to 12 miles and you’ve actually tried it.
-Your rifle has fought against itself and won every time.
-You paid $59.95.
-You dig your ammo out of a farmer’s field in Ukraine and it works just fine.
-You can bayonet your foe on the other side of the river without leaving the comfort of your fighting hole.
-Service life, 100 years, and counting.
-You believe no real man would dare risk the ridicule of his friends by suggesting there is anything but 7.62x54r.
-If your rifle breaks, you buy a new one.
-You consider it a badge of honor when you cycle 5 rounds without the aid of a 2×4.
-After a long day at the range you relax by watching “Enemy At The Gates”.
-After cleaning your rifle you have a strong urge for shishkabob.
-Your rifle’s accessory is a small tin can with a funny lid, but it’s buried under an apartment building somewhere in Budapest.
-Your rifle’s finish is low grade shellac, cosmoline and Olga’s toe nail polish.
-You’re not sure there WERE cameras to photograph Sergei Mosin.
-Late at night, you sometimes have to fight the urge to dig a fighting trench in the the yard to sleep in.
By AK47 vs M16 vs Mosin Nagant (via muppetz540)

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