Rocket Surgery: Inside the Russian Nikonov AN94
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Rocket Surgery: Inside the Russian Nikonov AN94

February 26, 2020

Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on I’m Ian McCollum, and I am here today at the National
Firearms Centre, part of the Royal Armouries in Leeds, England. And I am here courtesy of ARES, Armament Research
Services, and we are taking a look at a very cool mechanically extremely complex and
weird Russian rifle. This is an Nikonov AN-94. These were developed as part of Russia’s
attempt to develop something to replace the AK-74, and these were actually formally
adopted by the Russian military, you know, they were given their equivalent of an
NSN number, a GRUA, GRUA, something like that. So they are formally used by the Russian
military, but they were never used very much. They have seen very little actual active service, I suspect largely because they are probably ridiculously
expensive, and they are ridiculously complex. Now what you get for all that complexity
is a two shot burst that feels like one shot. The idea with this actually in many ways
kind of goes back to the US SPIW program, where the attempt was, “How do we
increase hit probability with the infantry rifle?” And one of the ideal things is, “What
if we could have a two-round burst where both rounds are fired before the recoil impulse
hits the shooter and disrupts their point of aim?” You could do this, for example, by having two bullets in one
cartridge case, which is something the US experimented with. Or you could do it by firing two cartridges so fast that the recoil
hasn’t hit the shooter by the time the second round is fired. That’s what this rifle does, and it does it through this really
complex mechanism whereby it’s both gas and recoil operated. The gist of this is you kind of have two things
moving here simultaneously. You have a bolt cycling, and you have … the barrel and this internal
receiver unit all cycling at the same time. And in two round burst mode, what
happens is the bolt actually cycles twice before the recoil-operated bits
hit the back of the receiver. Because it’s when the barrel assembly and
the internal receiver unit hit the back of travel that’s when the recoil impulse
is transferred to the shooter. So if you can have the bolt cycle
twice during that timeframe, you get two rounds out of the barrel on
one point of aim, before the aim is disrupted. The way this works is actually largely due to this wacky looking
muzzle device which delays the recoil of the barrel assembly. So there’s a gas operating system inside here as
well, which looks vaguely like an AK gas system. … When you first fire the bullet goes out,
the gas system starts to move the bolt, and it also starts to cycle
inside this muzzle device. The bolt moves backward, extracts a round, ejects it, and starts to go forward again, right about as the barrel
assembly actually gets moving. Then the bolt is all the way forward,
hammer strikes a second round, and the bolt cycles backwards again as the
whole internal mechanism is moving backwards. By the time that second round is ejected the barrel assembly
is at its rearward of travel, the bolt is at the rear of travel, then the sight picture lifts from recoil.
But you’ve already had both rounds fire. Now what makes this very difficult
… if you think about it, you’ll realise that in order to do that you have to feed
two rounds out of the magazine. The problem is this thing isn’t
going far enough to do that. The way Nikonov of addressed this problem
is to actually have a two-stage feed system, where you have a round in the magazine, it gets fed
up onto a lifter, and from the lifter into the chamber. That is also why the magazine is angled off to the side.
You may not be able to see it well from that angle, but if I point the rifle at you, you can see that the magazine is very clearly canted off to the right. What happens in the two round burst mode is
when the bolt is making that first stroke backwards, there’s a cable and a wheel and a counter recoil thing,
so as the bolt goes back it pulls sort of a faux bolt forward, which cycles a round out of
the magazine onto the lifter. That way when the bolt is at
the rear and then goes forward, it has a second round already halfway
into the chamber that it can load. This is clear as mud? I think it probably is, so let’s go ahead and take this one apart and take a
closer look at how these components actually work. So first off, before we get started I do want to point
out that this is actually a factory deactivated AN-94. So it’s not fully functional, they’ve taken the head of
the bolt and the head of the cartridge lifter sort of thing, I’ll show you when we get there, they’ve taken those and
cut them off at an angle and they have plugged the barrel. So I unfortunately cannot demonstrate this with dummy cartridges
because the barrel is plugged and the bolt face is cut off. But we can still take it apart
exactly like it should be taken apart. First however, let’s take a
quick look at the markings. We have right here that MMG indicates
that it is a factory deactivated rifle, and then AN-94, serial number, and
an Izhevsk manufacturing mark. The magazine release is one of the few
parts that is basically the same as an AK-74, as is the magazine. These are of course
chambered for the 5.45×39 cartridge. The magazine just rocks out of the receiver there, although
as we pointed out the magazine is slightly canted off to the side. We have a safety located here to the side of the trigger
group. Zero is fire and that other character is safe. Alright, we then have a selector lever just above
the trigger guard, and there are three positions. The farthest one back here, AB,
or Avtomat [автомат], is full-auto. And on standard full-auto this fires at
about 600 rounds a minute, so pretty typical. Then the next selector position forward is 2,
that is, of course, the special two round burst mode, which is an extremely high rate of fire. That’s about 1,800 rounds a minute for those two. And then all the way forward is semi-auto mode. The rear sight is also a particularly
interesting and unusual style. It’s mounted at about a 45 degree
angle, and it has five separate apertures. Kind of … like an HK system, 7, 6, 5, 4 and 2 So … whatever your range is, set the dial
to that and then you have an aperture sight. The front sight is kind of goofy and weird. It’s a normal
small front post, but it’s in this sort of oblong, protective thing with a notch up at the top. I suspect this has
some purpose, but I don’t know exactly what it is. Now disassembly is going to begin with this lever. I have to
lift that up off its pin, and rotate it just past 90 degrees down. (… get that with a dummy cartridge, lift it up, there we go),
and we can rotate that all the way down. The trick to getting the top cover off is to use force from the
charging handle, so you want to hold the charging handle forward. Also hold the barrel assembly forward
so that it doesn’t move, and then … There we go. I have popped it just
slightly forward here. Now I can … pull the top cover the rest of the way off. With that out, now I can actually pull the entire
rest of the action out of the gun by pulling this slightly up, and then this internal
receiver unit all comes out. Alright, next up we are going to take off the pistol
grip assembly, which is also the fire control assembly. In order to do that, I need to rotate this lever down
90 degrees. And in order to do that, of course, it’s kind of locked in place by the stock button.
So I have to push the stock button all the way in. This is a little tricky, and you won’t
be able to see it behind my gloves. There we go. With the button
down I can get that lever started, then I can pop it the rest
of the way around to there. And now the trigger assembly comes out.
We’ll take a closer look at this in just a moment. And then this is a very important component, this is the lifter. This is what picks up the second round from the
magazine, and holds it halfway between the magazine and the chamber for that two
round burst feed mechanism. So just a quick pause here
to give you some perspective. The magazine’s here, and I’ve got the lug
lined up here where the rifle would be at rest. Notice that the bolt handle is here, so the
chamber is here. The magazine is back here. We have space for an entire second cartridge
sitting right here in the middle of the receiver. That’s critical, that’s an essential
element of how the two round burst works. Now looking inside, you can see that right
at that point we have this lifter mechanism. And that comes out of the receiver by pushing
in this button, and then sliding the lifter forward. Slide that out of its rails, lift it up. There’s not a whole
lot to this, but it’s critically important to the gun working. So now this is the internal receiver unit, it’s
got the muzzle device, it’s got the barrel. Here’s our gas port, right there,
gas cylinder, gas piston, bolt is right here. And you’ll notice that there’s a little wire
cap, and this wire runs around the wheel, all the way down to this thing right here. Now this thing (which I believe has been cut off
at a 45 degree angle as part of the demil process), when I pull the bolt handle back, it goes forward
because … through this wire it’s connected to the bolt. … Its function is to pull a round out of the magazine and up
onto that secondary lifter as the bolt is coming backwards. … In a normal gun, the bolt has to come all the way back
and eject a case, and then it has to push a cartridge forward. We have to be able to do that twice
within a single recoil stroke of the action. So it’s essential to have some second device to
feed the number two cartridge into the system. Note that we also have AN-94 here, deac AN-94, on
the internal receiver unit, as well as its serial number. Now, I can take some more of this
apart by taking tension off of the wheel. So if I take the secondary lifter here and just push it forward, I
can take tension off the wire which allows me to remove the wheel. Then I can thread this back through
its guide and can take that off. Now we have the bolt
disconnected from the lifter. This is our actual bolt mechanism,
notice that it has its own recoil spring. So we’ve got actually three recoil springs
in this gun. We have a spring for the bolt. We have a spring here to put tension
on the wheel and the secondary lifter. And then we also have a return spring for the barrel,
which is located right there, you can see that oval wire hook. That connects to a lug on the barrel,
that connects to that hook right there, to pull the whole … internal receiver unit
forward after the recoil action has taken place. Now we can take this recoil assembly
out by pushing in and lifting up. A really heavy-duty buffer assembly
there, and recoil spring for the bolt. You can then take the bolt and lift it up and out, somehow. There we go. Actually, I’ll take this out first.
This is the hammer. This is vaguely similar to a Reising in that you have this traveling hammer, which is an important element to how the gun can fire both 2 shot bursts and regular semi and full-auto. We’ll touch on that in a moment.
So I can take the hammer out. And then I can pull the bolt carrier back. Here is our bolt carrier and the bolt.
That’s also vaguely AK like. Note that, unfortunately, they have cut the bolt
face off at 45 degrees as part of the demil process. There also should be an extractor in
here, but it has been removed as well. If it’s a deactivated gun it really
doesn’t need an extractor. Now I’m going to leave the
secondary loader in the gun here, because it’s kind of a mess to take out. But it also
has a recoil spring there (and grabs my gloves), and it simply travels forward and
backward opposite of the bolt. Now a lot of people look at this and
they think this is a counter-recoil system (which is what the Russians call it), because
you do have this wheel, and you do have … counter-rotating reciprocating motion as the
gun fires. However this is not there to absorb recoil. I think that’s the main misconception with this gun. People think that it fires without disrupting the shooter’s point of aim by having some sort of
mechanical system that balances out the recoil. In actual fact what this is doing is
making use of the bolt’s rearward energy to simultaneously push a cartridge halfway
forward into the secondary feed system. What … allows the gun to fire twice without
changing the shooters point of impact, or point of aim, is that this whole unit is recoiling backwards.
The shooter isn’t going to feel it until this stops. And this doesn’t stop until after it’s fired two rounds,
thanks to the fancy double-feed mechanism. Now the slide hammer here has also been demilled.
This round cutout at the bottom shouldn’t be there. That prevents it from actually striking a
firing pin, although there isn’t a firing pin. What happens is the bottom of this has a sear
[surface] right there, that interacts with this catch. That catch interacts with this button,
so when I pull that down the sear drops. This, the main hole on the back, is its
recoil spring, or its main guide spring. (And I can put that in right there.) So this moves to this point forward and
gets held by the sear until this goes down, which allows this slide hammer to go
forward, hit the … firing pin and fire. The trigger mechanism does that
by simply pulling down on this lever. So this lever is going to hold on to this pin like this, and pull it down like that. So the fire control selector on
the trigger unit … cycles this falling catch forward and backward. And
what that does is it means that this ledge interacts with the sear here at different positions
during the internal receiver units rearward travel. And that’s what allows it to fire differently in 2
round bursts, semi-auto and traditional full-auto. Thank you for watching guys,
I hope you enjoyed the video. I certainly really appreciated finally getting a chance to take
apart one of these things, and see how this Commie Space Magic actually works. I guess they’re not actually
commies, but Russian Space Magic actually works. If you did enjoy this, a couple things you should do. You
should check out Armament Research Services blog post, where there will be high resolution
pictures of this and its internals. You can see the link to that down
in the description text below. And also make sure to get in contact with the …
National Firearms Centre, part of the Royal Armouries. Their collection, which includes this
AN-94, is not open to the general public, but it is available by appointment to small arms
researchers and other interested parties. And as long as I don’t let that fall over,
they’ll let me come back too. Thanks for watching.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. imagine going to threat or rob someone-something and aim him with this gun 😀 he wont gonna take you serious 😀 for exam i who didnt know a'badcopy-past kalashnikov''existed and you aim me this shit seriously i will die laughing,this shit look so funny from front,its like broken ak,lol

  2. XBox Ahoy wasn’t lying, this is a real gun! Fun times playing BO2, lol. Still had more fun with the SCAR H, but this one was fun too

  3. In the time it takes to disassemble a C7A2, clean it and than put it back together. I would be lucky to even have the bolt assembly out of the AN-94

  4. 6:50 – this notch is for inserting glowstick and getting a nightsight. Here's the page from original AN-94 manual –

  5. Militaries: How can we increase hit probability among our small arms soldiers?

    USA: IDK man just put like 2 bullets in a cartridge or some shit, leave me alone I'm playing minecraft.


  6. So basically, the Russians have invited Mr. Physics over for dinner, fed him alcohol, and voila! Recoil has been delayed.

  7. Wow that’s a lot to wear out and go wrong that wouldn’t be easy to make repair parts for. Lol. Wish we could see it fire.

  8. A black gun on a black background with white gloves really plays havoc with the video brightness and contrast. With the gloves in the shot it's hard to see detail on the gun. The same thing happens when you wear a black shirt.

  9. Im very suprised this type of recoil reduction system in some simpler form hasnt been adopted!. Militaries have been looking for higher hit probability ever since the spear was invented!

  10. “2 shots that feel like one.” Oh that’s why it’s a Lazer beam in Battlefield 3!

  11. Hi.
    In my understanding of this firearm, the first recoil spring that you take off is actualy the hammer spring. In a first time (after that the round is fired) it's work like a bolt recoil spring, but for the forward mouvment, it's actualy the "cable spring" things that do it.

  12. 5:37 That's not a Zero. It's an O for Ogin – "fire". The other cyrillic letter is P, for Predohranitel – "safety switch".

  13. I thought it was a cool, unique gun until you pointed out the magazine sticks out to the side. That is a freaking eyesore.
    Not sure how i feel about the wheels, cables and the whole roller coaster inside. I definitely wouldn't want to field strip it under pressure.

  14. Vasilli: Hey Igor These Americans make fun of us for being simple

    Igor: Da, we make ak with pullies and ropes and special fire mode

    Vasilli: Perfect

  15. 3:52
    Internet range officers collectively cower and crap their pants in fear of internet ND because phalus was not inserted into chamber to check clear

  16. I don't know how you successfully described the inner workings of the an, but you did.. effortlessly.Ian your a legend

  17. Those who deactivate pieces of art like this by cutting of the important bits should in turn have their penises deactivated by cutting off the the important bits

  18. Its not deactivated gun, guys. The sign "ММГ" actually means "Mass-Size mockup". it's made this way specially for disassembly training purposes. For deactivated guns we have a sign "СХП". Checkout carefully, if you off to buy one, as ММГ is usually not so high quality made.

  19. yeah.. I cant imagine owning one of those and having to field strip it. No wonder it never kicked off. Not to mention spare part availability. Who would buy such a thing?

  20. I would so try to reactivate it can’t be sitting there collecting dust anybody else look up and see if they can try to get one

  21. I've never heard of this Rifle, but it definitely sounds interesting enough for me to want one in full shootable condition.
    ~However, I sure my Bank Account will tell me no way.
    ~This Rifle must have been a Russian Rube Goldberg Project for an Armorer's Class.

  22. So hay, years late comment: the auto exposure is really falling flat with white gloves and black everything else. Once the gloves dominate the frame, you can't see any parts of the rifle. Fixed exposure would fix this, as would dark gloves.

  23. The disassembly of this weapon looked simple and easy. Who says Russians can’t build shit except pretty woman. If the Russians sent there women to fight the Cold War we would all be speaking Russian.

  24. These things would melt and warp barrels like nobody's business. So not only are they incredibly complex, but they weren't suitable for long periods of use either. Great piece of innovation, but militarily not very applicable.

  25. If you want to make a better more expensive AK47 you should just do things like implementing PTFE gilding surfaces or replacing some rivets with screws or so. Maybe a lightweight frame.
    Otherwise you just throw out the qualities that make the AK47 so great: simplicity, serviceability, durability and so on.

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