Part AK-103, part AK-12 and all 7.62x51mm, the Russian-based Kalashnikov Group has been showing off a new rifle this week.
Classified as the AK308, the new gun in the traditional NATO-standard caliber was displayed at the Russian Army Expo this week in Moscow (where else?) where Kalashnikov was one of 1,200 exhibitors looking to hawk their wares to an international clientele. According to the company, the weapon is in the prototype stage and is preparing for trials.
With an empty weight of 9.4-pounds and overall length of 34.7-inches at its shortest with a collapsed 4-position stock and 16.4-inch barrel, the AK308 is roughly comparable to a stubby AR-10 variant, sans the Stoner lineage. Use of an optional side-folding stock enables the gun to compact down to a handy 27-inch package.
Russian firearm historian Maxim Popenker, who runs the popular Modern Firearms website, was able to examine the AK308 up close. He notes the battle rifle-sized weapon is fundamentally a stretched version of the company’s 5.45x45mm AK-12 with traditional “Kalashnikov gas operated, long stroke piston, rotary bolt system. Receiver layout also follows [the] famous Kalashnikov pattern, with rigid stamped steel construction and removable top cover.” Popenker says the gun was developed at the request of “several foreign customers” rather than in an exploratory move by the Kalashnikov group and would ideally be marketed to areas where the NATO-standard round is in widespread use or to special operations units shopping for an AK-pattern rifle in a larger caliber.
With the current state of affairs between Moscow and Washington on small arms imports (not to mention the whole Hughes Amendment thing), it is unlikely that the select-fire AK308 will make an appearance on this side of the Atlantic any time soon, but hey, it is still interesting to know it is out there.