The new Kalashnikov 300-series is a big bore beaut. Chambered for 7.62x51mm NATO and .308 Winchester, the Kalashnikov Concern calls it the AK-308.
While it’s not the first rifle of its kind, it is a fresh and modern take on the tried-and-true design. The Kalashnikov Concern is showcasing the prototype at the International Military-Technical Forum “Army-2018” this week with hopes for military adoption.
“The weapon is based on the AK103 submachine gun for the cartridge 7.62×51 mm with elements and components of the AK-12 automatic machine,” said the Kalashnikov Concern in a statement. “At the moment, preparations are under way for preliminary testing of weapons.”
One major change to the design is an improved locking dust cover, a feature taken from the AK-12. The updated dust cover features a locking lever that anchors the cover in place. This is critical for keeping dust-cover-mounted optics stable and accurate.
Because .308 and 7.62 NATO provide more energy at longer ranges, guns chambered for them are often used by marksmen in the military. They are also popular hunting cartridges on the commercial side. For these reasons the scope mounting system must be very stable.
Apart from that the design is a collection of features we’ve seen on AK-pattern rifles before. It has a polymer quad-rail handguard, folding stock and AR-style furniture. It has an enhanced selector and ejection port cover and feeds from 20-round standard capacity magazines.
With its top-mounted rail and railed handguards, the rifle accepts just about any standard rifle accessory as well as military accessories like a bayonet, grenade launcher, and infrared equipment.
It’s no featherweight at a hair under 9.5 pounds unloaded, but it’s not far off from similar automatic rifles chambered for similar cartridges. Recoil looks manageable, too.
It has a 16.3-inch barrel and extended birdcage flash hider. The rifle measures 34 inches long with the stock collapsed, 37 inches fully extended and 27 inches with the stock folded.
It may be some time before a commercial variant hits U.S. shores but it’s nice to see the development of the AK continue.
Russia has been working on an AK improvement plan for some years now. The Kalashnikov Concern and other firms produced more advanced designs, such as the prototype AK-12, but none of these guns saw adoption.
Currently Russia is looking to adopt the final version of the AK-12 and its counterpart, the AK-15, to replace older rifles in service.