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A contradiction in terms: "semiautomatic-only machine gun": this pan-fed classic is rare and very expensive in full-auto form, but you can get most of the fun with this semi-auto conversion.

I have described before in detail how the rather strange phenomenon of the so-called "semiautomatic-only machine gun," an apparent contradiction in terms, came to be (3/20 issue). This odd subset of the firearms field just keeps getting bigger.


One of the more interesting of these firearms is the semiautomatic-only version of the Soviet DP-28, which was the standard light machine gun (LMG) of the Red Army throughout World War II. Manufactured for, and marketed by, Century International Arms, Inc. (Dept. SGN, 430 South Congress Avenue, Suite 1, Del Ray Beach, FL 33445, phone: 1-800-527-1252; fax: 561-265-4520, website:), it reeks of history from the battlefields of the Eastern Front. Let's take a detailed look at the developmental history of this truly famous World-War-II-era firearm in its original form as a machine gun before exploring the new semiautomatic iteration.

The Red Army's Great Pan Drum Machine Gun--An Historical Perspective

He was destined to become one of the Soviet Union's greatest small arms designers. Vasiliy Alexeevich Degtyarev (1880-1949) was born in Tula into a long-established family of gunsmiths and weapon designers. He started working at Tula Arsenal at the age of 11. He was to be eventually responsible for the development of a wide and largely successful range of Russian small arms.

These included the PPD submachine gun of 1V4U, the 12.7x108mm DK heavy machine gun of 1930, the improved Model 1938 DShK heavy machine gun, the 14.5mm PTRD anti-tank rifle, the RPD caliber 7.62x39mm squad automatic and the subject of this article, the stodgy-looking, but incredibly reliable DP (Degtyarev Pekhotniy--Degtyarev Infantry).

The Red Army inherited a heterogeneous mix of LMGs from the Tsarist army of Nicholas II. The most popular were the.303 British Lewis Gun, the French 8mm Lebel Mle. 09 Benet-Mercier (a modified Hotchkiss) and the infamous Mle 15 CSRG Chauchat. Both of the French guns would be shaky entries on anyone's LMG hit parade, and by the end of World War I, the Lewis Gun had more than seen its day in the sun.

As it would take no less than three years to commence production of an entirely new design, the Artillery Committee (in charge of these matters for the Red Army) decided instead to lighten the water-cooled Maxim. Two lightened Maxim prototypes were developed at Tula Arsenal (Tulskiy Oruzheiny Zavod--Tula Weapons Factory) under the supervision of Ivan Kolesnikov and Fedor Tokarev, respectively.

After testing, the Tokarev prototype was selected. It was air-cooled with a ventilated barrel jacket; equipped with a light tubular bipod that replaced the unwieldy So-kolov wheeled mount; and a wooden buttstock, trigger guard and safety catch were added.

While troop trials verified the advantages of the Maxim-Tokarev, they also revealed that it was still far too heavy, awkward to transport and prone to numerous malfunctions. In any event, by November 1926 series production commenced and at the end of 1927, 2,450 Maxim-Tokarev machine guns had been manufactured. Tokarev continued to suggest improvements, but the new components required were no longer in common with the Maxim itself and the modifications were rejected. None of this reduced the importance of developing a new LMG.

At first working while apprenticed to Vladimir Fedorov in 1906, Degtyarev participated in the development of Fedorov's semiautomatic rifle, which initially was little more than an adaptation of the Ml891 Mosin-Nagant rifle. Vasiliy Degtyarev began independent design efforts in 1916, working first on an automatic carbine that would incorporate most of the basic design elements found in his later weapon systems.

Moving away from the short recoil systems prevalent during that time frame, he provided his carbine with a gas piston and breech locking with lugs on the sides of the bolt that engaged recesses into the receiver's sidewalk. There was provision for both semiautomatic and full-auto fire. The recoil spring was wrapped around a guide rod in the receiver's top cover. Chambered for a 6.5mm cartridge, the Degtyarev carbine weighed only 8.5 pounds, incredibly light for that time.


Degtyarev commenced development of his light machine gun in 1923. It was adopted by the Red Army in 1927. At first, the Soviet military treated the concept of the light machine gun (LMG) with contempt, as they thought it could never replace the sustained-fire potential of the Maxim. However, Mikhail Frunze, who was deputy People's Commissar on Military and Naval matters, understood the importance a weapon of this type would be in the newly emerging tactical concept of fire and movement, and quite literally forced it upon the Red Army.

During trials held in November 1926, 20,000 rounds each were fired through two pre-production prototypes. There were 60 stoppages in the 40,000 rounds, most caused by faulty extraction, misfires and failures to feed. Several components failed.

Degtyarev introduced some changes in the design: the bolt was strengthened, the bolt handle and ejection-port ribs thickened and the shape of the firing pin modified. Other components were strengthened by manufacture from nickel-chrome steel.

During the rigorous test phase of the DP's development, numerous changes were made to enhance its reliability. One example was the bolt carrier (slide/operating rod), which had broken twice during the tests. Degtyarev recommended that it be strengthened by narrowing the slot in the carrier for the trigger and machining radial ribs in the rear portion of the groove in which the locking lugs traveled. The Kovrov machine gun plant, responsible for modifying designs of this type, agreed.

Final tests were conducted 17-21 January 1927. Twenty thousand rounds each were again fired through two guns, with stoppage rates of 0.5% and 0.3% respectively. Further changes were demanded and the DP was officially adopted on 21 December 1927. By 1930, the DP's durability had been increased to 75,000 up to 100,000 rounds and the parts most prone to breakage (firing pins and extractors) to 25,000 up to 30,000 rounds.

However, usually large-scale field trials are required before series production, as issuing a weapon to troops in the field will always reveal deficiencies not disclosed during range testing. Initiating series production of the DP prior to completion of field-testing was a remarkable testimony to the Artillery Committee's faith in the basic design.

On 21 December 1927, two DP machine guns were tested in temperatures of -30[degrees] Celsius (-22[degrees] E). Neither were lubricated or cooled. One specimen fired 1,500 rounds, the other 500; each with an insignificant number of malfunctions.


During series production a great deal of attention was directed to the interchangeability of parts. The heat treatment applied to the most important parts was changed and the components themselves were made of the best possible steel. Although clumsy by today's standards, the DP--the first indigenous Soviet LMG--is a battle-proven design with the usual Soviet emphasis on simplicity and reliability.

It has only 65 components, with a design stressing manufacture by unskilled labor. For comparison, it took a production time of 870 hours to manufacture one Model 1910 Russian Maxim medium machine gun with its wheeled Sokolov mount. The DP LMG, complete with its bipod, took only 144 hours to produce. For further comparison, production time for the Ml891 Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifle was 42 hours and that for the Ml895 7.62mm Nagant revolver was 30 hours.

Chambered for the Russian 7.62x54R service cartridge, overall length of the DP is 50.5 inches (1283mm), complete with the threaded-on, long, conical flash hider (note that later flash hiders sometimes had slanted gas slots). With a barrel length of 23.875 inches (606.425mm), the weight of the quick-change barrel alone is 4.75 pounds (2.16kg).

It is rifled with four grooves in a 1:10 right-hand twist. The DP weighs 26 pounds (11.8 kg) with its bipod and a magazine loaded with 47 rounds. Most DPs were blued and/or painted with black baked enamel. The bolts and operating rods were left in the white.

Method of Operation

The DP is air-cooled, gas-operated and fires from the open-bolt position. It has a three-position gas regulator. There are 19 longitudinal cooling slots at the front of the two-piece receiver body. The method employed for breech locking is simple and effective. During the counter-recoil strike, as the bolt closes, a lug, located at the rear of the gas piston's slide and impinging against the rear of the massive firing pin, drives the firing pin forward and thus causes cams on the sides of the firing pin to move the locking flaps on each side of the bolt body outward into locking recesses on each of the receiver walls.

The firing pin is free to move forward and strike the primer only if the locking flaps are completely engaged in their recesses, thus firing out of battery is not possible.

As the projectile travels down the bore, some of the propellant gases following it pass through the barrel's gas port and strike against the front face of the piston. The piston moves rearward together with the slide, which in turn carries the firing pin back.

The slide has cams machined in its upper surface and after a period of free travel, while the gas pressure drops to a safe level, these cams force the locking flaps out of their recesses in the receiver sidewalls and back into the sides of the bolt body.

The slide/operating rod/piston then carries the bolt group rearward while compressing the recoil spring. Ejection is downward, through an aperture in the slide and out the ejection port by means of a fixed ejector in the receiver. When the rear end of the slide/operating rod/piston strikes against the rear wall of the trigger housing, it stops, and is driven forward once more by the compressed recoil spring.






Paul Mauser first used this system of locking on an early experimental semiautomatic rifle. It was also used on the now obscure Swedish Kjellman-Friberg water-cooled machine gun, of which fewer than half a dozen were manufactured. Both Mauser and Friberg used recoil to unlock the breech, whereas the DP is gas-operated.

Furthermore, Degtyarev reversed the principle itself. Instead of the firing pin thrusting the locking flaps out at the front of the bolt body, the DP system cams the rear of the locking flaps out into the locking recesses on the receiver walls.

There is a grip safety immediately in back of the trigger guard. There is no other safety mechanism on this model. The recoil spring is wrapped around the operating rod and both ride in the gas cylinder, where a considerable amount of heat is generated.

Seventy years ago, spring technology was not highly advanced. During sustained-fire bursts the DP mainspring sometimes overheated and lost its compression strength. To overcome this problem, a major redesign effort resulted in the DPM (Degtyareva Pekhotniy Modernizirovanniy) that was introduced in 1944. The recoil spring was re-located to a tube at the rear of the receiver. A pistol grip was added to the buttstock and the grip safety was replaced by a manual safety on the right side of the receiver directly above the trigger guard. The bipod was changed to a non-detachable type.

There is no provision for semiautomatic fire. The cyclic rate is usually given as between 500 to 600 rpm. On all those I have tested, it has actually been no more than 475 rpm. There is no need for a semiautomatic selector position with a cyclic rate this low, as experienced operators can easily fire single shots when required.

The DP buttstock is made of wood. There is no butt-plate. Most often there is an integral oil container on top of the buttstock with a bristle brush attached to the screw cap. The bottom rear of the buttstock is uniquely bulbous. This was presumably cradled in the support hand when firing from the prone position. A sling loop on the left side of the buttstock mates to a front sling loop riveted to the receiver just to the rear of the bipod.

In the Soviet manner the DP sling is fabricated from webbing and leather. There is a sliding leather pad on the sling to protect the gunner's shoulder during transport.

DP gunners' kits, spare parts, and drums can be obtained from Allegheny Arsenal, Inc. (Dept. SGN, Box 161-V, Custer City, PA 16725; phone: 814-362-2642; fax: 814-362-7356; E-mail: HYPERLINK ""; website:

The open square-notch rear sight is of the sliding tangent-type, adjustable for elevation only from 100 to 1500 meters, in 100-meter increments. However, the DP was most effective at ranges out to 800 meters.


The sight's protective ears are part of the spring-loaded rear latch system for the drum magazine. The post front sight, attached to the front of the receiver body, has substantial protective ears and is adjustable for both elevation and windage zero.

The DP's "pancake-type" drum magazine has received more than its share of criticism. It's fairly bulky, with an overall diameter of almost IOV2 inches. Its large size is a consequence of the cartridges remaining in-line, rather than the helical stacking found in the Lewis gun drum.

It was originally designed to hold. 49 rounds, but field use indicated that loading only 47 rounds significantly improved reliability. User manuals were amended accordingly and some drums were so marked.

The drum is actually similar in design and operation to that of the Vickers K aircraft machine gun used in ground combat by early British SAS units in the desert campaign during World War II. It differs from the Lewis gun as its inner assembly rotates while the outer housing remains stationary, exactly the reverse of the Lewis gun drum.

I have a number of Finnish-made DP drums marked "VKT" (Valtion Kivaaritehdas--State Rifle Factory, aka "Valmet") and "SA" (Finnish Army) that exhibit considerably better finish and overall quality than their Russian equivalents. The Finnish drums have a hinged ring to pull on when loading--always a tedious procedure with DP magazines. Russian DP drums usually had a small leather thong for this purpose. Russian DP manuals show a loading device, called the Barkov tool, but I have never seen one.

To load the DP drum, first turn it upside down. Insert the rim of the first round under the drum's feed lips and then back down into the pan. Turn the interior of the drum in a clockwise direction the width of one round, and insert another cartridge. Repeat until the drum is loaded with 47 cartridges. It's a tedious process.

However, Allegheny Arsenal, Inc. has. developed a unique DP-28 pan drum loader that greatly simplifies loading the DP-28's 47-round drum. You simply slide the pan drum's loading gate under the loader and move the loader's lever back and forth, dropping ma round each time you pull the loader's lever.





With this loading tool you can completely load the drum in less than 2 minutes. Manufactured from high quality tool steel and completely machined and welded, this patented loading machine is sold exclusively by Allegheny Arsenal for only $279. It's well worth the price and works flawlessly.

To install the pan drum onto the DP-28, push the dust cover on top of the receiver all the way forward. Pull the cocking handle to the rear and retract the bolt group. Place the forked lugs on the front of the magazine under the catch on the barrel jacket. Pull the pan drum lock-grip-ears (on the sides of the rear sight) to the rear, and press the pan drum into place. The DP is now ready to fire. Press the hand on the buttstock's grip safety so that the second finger depresses the safety lever and squeeze the trigger.

The DP bipod provides a fixed command height (the distance from the bore's axis to the ground) of 13 inches. It's held in place by a clamp and wing nut. The gun can be rotated almost 70[degrees] in either direction on its bipod. The bipod is located just to the rear of the gas regulator, an excellent compromise position, as it provides adequate group dispersion with the ability to lift the weapon while in the prone position to engage rapidly moving targets on the gunner's flanks. To deploy the DP off the bipod, the weapon should be thrust forward and then pulled back into the operator's shoulder.

The DP-28 was first fielded in limited quantities, but with considerable success, during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) by Republican (Loyalist) forces. The DP was used by Red Army troops during the Soviet-Japanese Border Incident of 1939 arid also in the Winter War (1939-1940) and subsequent Continuation War (1941- 1944) with Finland

However, the DP really came into its own during the Great Patriotic War (World War II), where it was fielded as the principal automatic weapon of the Red Army. By that time it had been the basic infantry support weapon for almost 15 years. During the Korean War, both North Korean and Chinese troops fielded substantial quantities of the DP, DPM, and DT/DTM (the tank models).

The DPM was manufactured in China as the Type 53 Light Machine Gun. The DP was also manufactured by a number of Eastern Bloc countries, such as Bulgaria and Romania.

In July 1944, soldiers of the 415th infantry regiment of the 1st (Brestskoy) infantry division, commanded by machine gunner Nikolay Mikhailpvich Dyakonov, were among the first to cross the Bug River and occupy a hill on the western bank during the Red Army's thrust into Germany. For two days the DP held off repeated German counterattacks until reinforcements arrived and accounted for more than 200 enemy dead. Dyakonov was awarded the Hero of Soviet Union medal and his DP was placed on perpetual exhibition in the Central Museum of the Armed Forces of the USSR, where I have personally examined it.

The Finnish army performed great execution on its despised Russian enemies with Degtyarev's LMG. The Finns captured their first DP at the beginning of the Winter War in 1939. They eventually captured more than 3,400. Finding them to be both simple and reliable, even in Finland's harsh climate, they were immediately taken into inventory.

By the end of the Continuation War, the Finnish army had more than 9,000 DP LMGs. During the Winter War, mare than 150 of the DT model were captured and an-other 200 during the Continuation War. It became the main tank machine gun of the Finnish military for many years. Transfer to storage depots did not commence until the 1960s.

The Finns deployed the DP LMG extensively and certain spare parts, as well as accessories such as magazines, were made at the State Rifle Factory (VKT--Valtion Kivaaritehdas at Jyvaskyla in central Finland). The DP saw service with the Finnish army long after the wars with Russia. In 1988, it was still listed in the inventory of the Finnish Defense Forces.

Finnish army depots are responsible for maintenance and repair programs on this and all other small arms in service. Eventually new simplified buttstocks wefe designed and produced that were of a more conventional configuration.

A vehicular version, called the DT (Degtyareva Tankoviy), was designed and fielded shortly after the DP. The pan-type magazine's diameter was reduced, but its depth was increased as a consequence of a double stack of cartridges and thus the capacity went up to 60 rounds. It was equipped with a retractable, removable buttstock and a pistol grip.


A front sight assembly was mounted to, the clamp holding its bipod to the barrel. A safety lever replaced the DP's grip safety. The aperture rear sight is adjustable in elevation from 50 to 1000 meters. The heavy barrel is not of the quick-change type. A special, clamp-on antiaircraft ring sight was also available.

Overall length of the DT is 47 inches (1194mm). With the buttstock retracted, the overall length is 39.8 inches (1011mm). The weight, loaded with a 60-round drum is 27.9 pounds (12.6kg). This version was popular with the infantry and saw considerable service as a ground gun, especially in the Finnish army.

The DTM carried over the DPM's modification of relocating the recoil spring to a tube at the rear of the receiver. Century International Arms also sells a semiautomatic-only version of the DT.

An aircraft version (DA) was pressed into service during World War II but it was never popular as the caliber was deemed insufficient and the cyclic rate too low for use in aircraft.

Development and adoption of the belt-fed, caliber 7.62x39mm RPD during the late 1940s sparked the search for a company-level, support machine gun that was belt-fed. Under the design team of Petr Polyakov, Aleksey Dubynin, Aleksandr Shilin and Vitaly Lobanov, a satisfactory means of converting the DPM-to belt feeding was devised and adopted in 1946. The RP46 (7.62mm rotniy Pulemet obraztsa 1946g--Model 1946 company machine gun) differed from the DPM mainly by virtue of the addition of a special feed block, driven by the slide/operating rod/piston by means of the retracting handle.

The feed slide carries a pair of jaws that grip the case's rim and extract it from the belt as the feed slide travels rearward. The round is pulled back under a spring-loaded depressor arm mounted directly under the top feed cover plate. This arm drives the round down into the feed-way where the bolt feed-piece can push it forward into the chamber.

The two-level process of withdrawing a cartridge and lowering it to another dimensional plane to be lined up with the chamber is a relic from the Maxim/Vickers and Browning machine guns. The belt used is the Goryunov Ml943 (SG43) non-disintegrating type with pull-out-type links.

The belt-feed assembly can be removed and the 47-round pan drum inserted. A heavier barrel was employed with an improved quick-change system (There is a barrel release lever on the left side of the receiver to depress the barrel lock).

The gas regulator has a positive catch that engages one of the three grooves at the bottom of the gas block and can be moved easily, as required. A carrying handle was mounted near the gun's center of balance. The overall weight of the RP46, empty, is 28.75 pounds (13.0kg). This was the last of- the Degtyarev infantry machine guns. It was manufactured by both the Chinese (Type 58) and the North Koreans (Type 64). The Red Army fielded it until it was replaced in 1961 by the superb PK GPMG of Mikhail Kalashnikov's design.

Some self-styled authorities have stated that the DP-de-sign's many large flat bearing surfaces increase the coefficient of friction and collect debris that results in frequent stoppages. This is just not so and the DP ranks with the other great machine guns of its era, including the Bren, MG42, and Browning series.

Transformation of the DP-28 LMG to Semi-auto

Century International Arms is using Keeter Creek Machine (Dept. SGN,2349 County Road 4680, Boyd, Texas 76023-4439; phone: 940-433-3339) to assemble the semiautomatic-only DP-28. They handle all inquiries and repairs. The receiver is machined from a solid billet of 4140 steel.

The barrels are manufactured by Green Mountain Rifle Barrel Co., Inc. (Dept. SGN, 153 West Main Street, Conway, NH 03818; phone: 603-447-1095; fax: 603-447-1099; website:, well known for their traditional muzzleloader barrels.

The lower receiver, trigger mechanism and bolt group are machined extensively to meet BATFE requirements for semiautomatic-only versions of machine guns. When the DP-28 trigger is pulled rearward, the sear rotates downward and out of engagement with the slide. The sear remains down as long as the trigger is held to the rear.

The semiautomatic-only DP-28 trigger mechanism is' quite different and when the trigger is pulled, the sear will rotate downward only momentarily, allowing the slide to travel forward driven by the compressed recoil spring assembly. Subsequently, during the slide's rearward travel in recoil, the sear flies upward once again to engage the slide and hold it rearward, thus permitting only semiautomatic fire. Another BATFE requirement for firearms of this type is that they must fire from the closed-bolt position.

Test and Evaluation

Our test and evaluation of the Century International Arms DP-28 consisted of hundreds of rounds of assorted military ball ammunition from Yugoslavia, Finland and the People's Republic of China. We made no attempt to fire it from the bench to obtain precise accuracy results, as no one buying this is likely to use it as a precision match rifle. However, the trigger pull weight was a somewhat startling and quite crisp 3,0 pounds.

Firing from the closed-bolt position arid from the prone position-off the fairly wobbly bipod, the accuracy potential appears to be no better or worse that the average rack-grade AK, about 3 to 4 moa, which is more than "good enough for government work." There were no malfunctions of any kind.

This is a very well made semiautomatic-only version of one of the truly famous machine guns of World War II. It should appeal to reenactors and all those, fascinated by the small arms of the World War II era, but without the deep pockets now required to buy a NFA-registered DP- 28 machine gun, which because of its great rarity might set you back well over $55,000.

While prices for the Century International Arms semiautomatic-only DP-28 vary, J&G Sales (Dept. SGN, 440 Miller Valley Road, Prescott, AZ 86301; phone: 928-445-9650; fax: 928-445-9658; e-mail:; website: is offering this firearm, complete with two 47-round pan drum magazines, for $1,999.95.

The 7.62x54R Cartridge

The 120-year-old Russian 7.62x54R cartridge has outlived some glorious military contemporaries, such as the French 8mm Lebel,.303 British and U.S..30-'06. Adopted in 1891 for the Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifle, and also known as the "3 line Mosin Nagant", this supposedly outdated rimmed cartridge is still going strong as a machine gun (PK GPMG series) and sniping (Russian Dragunov [Samozaryadnaya snaiperskaya vintovka Dragunova] and Romanian PSL [Puska Semiautomata Luneta] rifles) round. It appears that it will continue to be fielded well into the foreseeable future, as these latter two weapon systems remain in production in several countries and are popular throughout the world.


First bullets for this cartridge were flat-based, round nosed projectiles weighing approximately 211 grains. In 1908, a 149-grain spitzer projectile with a conical hollow base (which expands to form a gas seal to enhance accuracy in worn barrels) was issued as the Type "L". In 1930, & boat tail 182:gnain projectile with lead-alloy core, designed as a long-range machine gun round, was introduced as the Type. "D" (heavy ball--yellow-tipped projectile color code).

The current boat-tailed bullet, called the Type "LPS" (light ball--white- or silver-tipped projectile color code), has a-mild steel core and weighs about 150 grains. This latter bullet leaves the muzzle at about 2750 fps. Performance of this cartridge, and the various full metal jacket bullets developed for it, is equivalent to US military.30-'06 ball.

By the late 1970s Type LPS ammunition had completely replaced both the Type L light ball and the Type D heavy ball. As a consequence, it was no longer necessary to color-code, the bullet tips arid 7.62x5411 ball ammunition manufactured subsequent to this time usually, but not always, omits this feature.

Early 7.62x54R case lengths pleasured 53.5mm. Current types measure 53.65mm in length. The rim diameter is 14.3mm and the head diameter is 12.2mm to 12.3mm. Except for commercial ammunition manufactured by Norma and, in Yugoslavia for export to the United States, the brass, copper- or brass-washed steel or lacquered-steel rimmed cases are Berdan-primed.


Cases in this caliber can be instantly recognized by their peculiar partially convex base contour. Headstamps are found either impressed or raised around the edge of the base. Bullets measure.311" in diameter. In addition to either heavy or light ball rounds, this caliber will be encountered with tracer (since 1972 this projectile exhibits a step just forward of the case mouth), AP, API, APIT, ranging high explosive incendiary (HEI) projectiles, crimped blanks for grenade launching, short-range practice ball and drill rounds.

The existence or not of match-grade ammunition for the M91/30 and Dragunov sniper rifles puzzled cartridge collectors and small arms authorities alike for many years. In fact, the factory making match-grade 7.62x54R ammunition is located in Novosibirsk and its headstamp code during the Cold War was "188".

The new headstamp is "LVE", which stands for the name of the factory, "Low Voltage Equipment Plant." Unfortunately, match-grade 7.62x54R ammunition cannot always be identified by the headstamp alone, as this factory makes standard ammunition also. Only the cardboard box states whether or the ammunition was designed for the Dragunov.

During the war in El Salvador, I-used to cull out from captured lots all 7.62x54R ball with a "188" headstamp for the National Police's Special Reaction Team's captured SVD. It never shot well and in the end I assumed it was standard ball ammunition that the FMLN was probably using in the PKM GPMG. The guerrillas always destroyed the boxes, as they thought that was the only way the country of origin could be determined. Match-grade bullets have apparently been issued in two weights: 200 and 182 grains.

In addition to the current Russian 7N14 sniper ball ammunition, not generally available in this country, the Low Voltage Equipment Plant also manufactures match-grade 7.62x54R ammunition with 200-grain boattail projectiles, distributed in the United States by Wolf Performance Ammunition (Dept. SGN, P.O. Box 757, Placentia, CA 92871; phone: 714-632-9653 or toll free at 888-757-9653; fax: 714-632-9232; e-mail:; web-site: as 7.62x54R "Extra" Match.

Loaded into a Berdan-primed brass case, the 200-grain FMJ projectile leaves the muzzle at 2551 fps. The case is head-stamped "LVE 01 7,62X54R", indicating this is Russian military match-grade ammunition manufactured at the Low Voltage Equipment Plant in 2001.

This ammunition was used to win the International Military 'Games in 1995 and the World Championship in 1996. Caliber 7.62x54R ammunition just doesn't get any better than this.

Since 1945, 7.62x54R ammunition has been manufactured in Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, East Germany, Finland, France, Hungary, Iraq, North Korea, Poland, the Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, Syria and Yugoslavia. Before World War II, it was also produced in Germany, Great Britain, Mexico and the United States.

Semiautomatic-only DP-28

Caliber: 7.62X54R.
Operation: Gas-operated with three-position regulator;
 fires from the closed-bolt position;
 air-cooled; locked-breech with locking flaps
 cammed into recesses in the receiver walls.
 Semiautomatic fire only.
Feed: 47-round pan-type drum with in-line stacking.
Overall 50.5 inches (1283mm), complete with conical
length: flash hider
Barrel: Quick-change-type using interrupted threads;
 four-groove bore with a 1:10 right hand twist
 (254mm); weight of barrel:.4.75 pounds
Barrel length: 23.875 inches (606.425mm).
Weight: 26 pounds (11.8kg) with bipod and a magazine
 loaded with 47 rounds.
Sights: Open square-notch rear sight of the sliding
 tangent-type, adjustable for elevation only
 from 100 to 1500 meters, in 100-meter
 increments. Round, post-type front sight,
 attached to the front of the receiver body,
 with protective ears and adjustable for both
 elevation and windage zero.
Furniture: Wooden buttstock.
Finish: Blued and/or painted with black baked
 enamel; bolts and operating rods-were left in
 the white.
Original Tulskiy Oruzheiny Zavod --Tula
manufacturer: Weapons Factory. Also manufactured in China,
 North Korea and in several Eastern Bloc
Manufacturer Keeter Creek Machine,
semiautomatic- Dept. SON, 2349 County
only version: Road 4680, Boyd, Texas 76023-4439; phone:
Barrels: Green Mountain Rifle Barrel Co., Inc., Dept.
 SGN, 153 West Main Street, Conway, NH 03818;
 phone: 603-447-1095; fax: 603-447-1099;
Distributor: Century International Arms, Inc., V Dept. SGN,
 430 South Congress Avenue, Suite 1, Del Ray
 Beach, FL 33445, phone: 1-800-527-1252;
 fax:561-265-4520,: website:
Retail source: J&G Sales, Dept. SGN, 440 Miller Valley Road,
 Prescott, AZ 86301; phone: 928-445-9650; fax:
 928-445-9658; e-mail:;
Spare parts Allegheny Arsenal, Inc., Dept.
accessories: SGN, Box 161 -V, Custer City, PA 16725; phone:
 814-362-2642; fax: 814-362'7356; E-mail: Mg34@; website:
Ammunition: Wolf Performance Ammunition, Dept: SGN, RO. Box
 757, Placentia, CA 92871; phone: 714-632-9653
 or toll free at 888-757-9653; fax:
 714-632-9232; e-mail:;

T&E summary: A simple; reliable, battle-proven design that ranks
with the other great machine gun designs of its era. An affordable;
semiautomatic-only version with great appeal to reenactors and all
those fascinated by the small arms of the World War II era.

Text and photos by Peter G. Kokalis
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Title Annotation:CENTURYDP-28
Author:Kokalis, Peter G.
Publication:Shotgun News
Date:Aug 20, 2011
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