New Kalashnikov Rifle Is Chambered for 7.62 NATO: Meet the AK-308

The AK-308, developed by the Kalashnikov Concern, draws features from the AK-12 and is chambered for 7.62x51mm NATO. (Photo: Kalashnikov)

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.

SEE ALSO: Kalashnikov Concern Tells Us the Difference Between Russian AKs and Chinese ‘Type 56’ AKs

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.

***Shop for an AK on GunsAmerica***

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • DrThunder88 August 26, 2018, 11:55 pm

    I own a 22″ Saiga 308 that has been 922r converted to a very similar rifle. I am not impressed with it for accuracy. Even with primo ammo, the thing can’t shoot better than 2-3″ at 100 yards and that’s with several improvements, including a tuned trigger and optics-compatible stock. So, if long range accuracy isn’t going to be this gun’s forte, what will be? Close-in punch? I don’t think there’s a better round for that than the 7.62x39mm. The .308 is just a pile of underutilized potential at that point. What about suppressive fire at distance? I would hope that they could do better than 20 round magazines for that.

    I seem to recall some news from a few years back about the AK12 being chambered in 6.5 Grendel. Was I just dreaming that? That or 6.8 SPC would be far more interesting than .308 Winchester. Actually, I’m sure we could come up with a list of AKM chamberings more interesting than .308 Winchester. I’ll start: .450 Bushmaster, .300 WSM, .35 Remington…

  • Rico 1942 August 26, 2018, 1:04 am

    A Range Queen That is as Sexy as a Bull Dog
    So we are talking a 9lb (unloaded) behemoth. Then let’s throw in a modest 300rd combat load 30rd banana magazine and you have a beast only a mother would love. Tactically this is the weapon that I hope my adversary carries because he will die very tired. Let’s go through a generic dismounted scenario. You leave your vehicle full kit, combat load, hydration and 2 weapons (side arm and long gun) your patrol is approx. 3 to 4 hours on foot. Let’s say for the sake of discussion that an hour and a half into your hump through moderate terrain in 90° heat, you roll up on a village that you are there to clear, stopping and starting, squatting and standing all along the way. Your squad rolls up covering the 1st bldg. (out of about 20 that have to be checked that day.) The first guy in rolls through the hatch adrenaline and eyes wide open. After the 5th or 6th door, swapping teams and first man duties, you start to lose the edge that you had going in the first door. To complicate things your head starts to wander because of the calories your body is burning and the heat with all that gear humping that huge hunk of metal. Those fractions of a second to respond is all that is needed for someone to turn out your lights.

    So let’s change that scenario to your air conditioned ride drops you at the front door. Swinging a telephone pole in a house or anywhere that could be CQB takes a second even if you are fresh and 25 years old. My point here is 1) if you have a choice of weapon to hump around wouldn’t it be something that was lighter and had better accuracy? 2) If you are in a hide and you can reach out and touch someone with a 308 round, wouldn’t you do it with a better weapon system? 3) If given the choice of which weapon I could choose between the new AK-308 or the SIG MPX (I know you can’t compare apples to a baseball bat) I would rather have the 9mm SBR or pistol any day of the week. In this scenario I could carry twice as much ammo, be 1/3rd more maneuverable, and dump a magazine into handsome Rob before he is able to raise his weapon.

    In my humble opinion, this AK-308 is and will be a range queen for 98% of the populous. The other 2% will spend $3000 making this thing high speed and low drag at which point it stops being the AK-308. Bottom line: these AK’s are on the check points here in Helmand and are cost effective deterrents, but there are so many different weapons that can do anything this thing can do cheaper, lighter and with better accuracy. Spray and pray is not an effective ammo management tool but it will help lighten the load for your long walk back.
    DISCLAIMER: These are just my personal opinions there are many like it but this one is mine. Everyone has “Their weapon of choice” This one just isn’t mine.

  • Brian Slane August 25, 2018, 2:00 am

    why are they calling it a submachine gun? The last time I checked, .308/7.62×51 were not pistol rounds.

  • Northman August 25, 2018, 1:12 am

    Why would any patriot buy a Russian gun, Putin is not our friend

  • glennsixtyone August 24, 2018, 8:04 pm

    As an 0331/ machine gunner in the Marine Corps, I never cared for the .308. too much pressure and too heavy. I was so happy when we got the first version of the M249 Squad Assault weapon.

    Even now, here in Florida, the .223 and 7.62X39R are my go to bullets for everything from nutri-rats to wild pigs.

    The .308 is and has always been either a heavy machine gun round or a sniper’s choice in match grade ammo. That’s about it.
    An AK rifle in .308 id about as useful as the stupid AR10. (thumbs down)

    • Al August 28, 2018, 4:00 pm

      “Too much pressure” ?!?
      Strange, since the 5.56 is listed as 62,000 and the 7.62 at 60,000.
      I’m not sure what you’re getting at, but I’ll wager it isn’t what you think.
      Both cartridges generate similar pressures, rendering any real point about ‘pressure’ rather moot.

  • Dwight Evans August 24, 2018, 4:32 pm

    I own a Molot “heavy AK.” Vepr in 7.62x54r.
    Powerful with long stroke piston, beefed up receiver (from RPK). Love it. No FTEs
    Congrats to Kalashnakov Concern. Looks like Molot has competition. But I dont need one.

  • Yoda Shaman August 24, 2018, 3:17 pm

    Look at that huge muzzle flash. No NATO countries will adopt that. Too bad they can’t sell it to the American civilian population.

  • RSConsulting August 24, 2018, 8:09 am

    Three words: IWI Galil Ace.

    Comes in 3 flavors: 5.56, 7.62×39 & x51. 5.56 & x51 run Magpul AR15/10 mags, x39 runs regular AK mags.

    Really tight dust cover with full rail. Ambi switch-style safety.

    I was waiting for Kalash US to start shipping their AK-47’s (they’re right up the street from me), and couldn’t wait any longer (plus I love IWI guns) so I got one in x39.

    I already own five M-14’s (I build them) – SCAR-17 and an AR/308 – so I’m pretty well covered in x51.

    Interesting to see a Russian company adopt NATO calibers. Pretty sure there’s no shortage in x39 or x54. And then there’s the PROPRIETARY MAGAZINES (versus something that runs Magpul M110 – which may be ITAR Restricted for Russia).

    I’m sure it’s a nice rifle, and incorporates some of the advances in the platform. Far as I hear, we still have sanctions on Russia – so we’re not likely to see an SA version here – unless made under license. Plus they’re still in “prototype”, and not “production” – so again, gonna be awhile before they start showing up anywhere (and will likely be comparable in price to an IWI.US Galil – which is by no means inexpensive).

    Thanks for the heads up. Cool rifle. They’re entering a market (at least here) that is chock full of x51 variant firearms. It looks like a solution for a problem that’s already been solved. Or a common platform for AK lovers in a heavier (and more expensive to shoot caliber than the x39 variant) – and IWI already has that one down (with Magpul mags).


    • Area 52 August 24, 2018, 5:09 pm

      IWI Ace Galil are great rifles. However they are high priced. Anywhere from $1600-2K.

  • Mark August 24, 2018, 8:06 am

    Ak 308’s have been around for years. Obama nanned the Saiga guns manufactured by Kalishnikov concern, but they made a variety of weapons based on the AK. I own most of them. I have an AK 308 it is a Saiga, 20 or 25 rd mag, and it is actually one of the most accurate guns I have ever owned. Saiga also made the famous 12 gauge, 20 gauge, 410 a 545×39, a 308, even a .223.
    Then Obama banned them from importation.

  • Jesse Scott August 24, 2018, 6:59 am

    Very nice. looking forward to civilian version one day.

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