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300px-PKP Pecheneg Recon Company 4th Separate Tank Brigade

A PKP Pecheneg on display with a bipod.

PKP Pecheneg is a Russian machine gun chambered for the 7.62x54mm round. It is a modernized PK machine gun. The Pecheneg is said to be more accurate than all its predecessors due to a heavier, non removeable forced air cooling barrel with radial cooling ribs and a handle which eliminates the haze effect from hot gases and keeps the barrel cooler, making the weapon more reliable. Furthermore, the weapon is capable of mounting a telescopic sight or other sights, which additionally increases accuracy. The military designation of the Pecheneg is 6P41 or 6P41N when fitted with a night vision sight. The Pecheneg is currently in use by Russian Army, Spetsnaz, and other troops in small numbers.

The Pecheneg is a standard 7.62x54R PKM machinegun without the rapid barrel-change option, and intended for use from an integral bipod as a squad support weapon. It can provide more sustained firepower than the standard issue RPK-74, and the 7.62x54R cartridge offers a longer effective range and better penetration of light structures and improvised covers in urban and forest environments.


DesignEdit

The Pecheneg LMG can be considered as a modification of the PKM machine gun, but it is built for only one tactical role; that is, as a true squad-level light machine gun for mobile infantry and Spetsnaz troops. Its key difference from the parent design is the barrel, which is not intended to be replaced in the field (although it can be removed for inspection and maintenance). The barrel is somewhat heavier than that of the PKM, and has radial cooling ribs. This is enclosed in a steel jacket, which runs up to the muzzle to provide forced air cooling. Cooling enters the jacket via oval windows at the rear of the jacket, and exits at the muzzle. Whereas early versions of the Pecheneg had a standard PKM-type flash suppressor, resulting in significant muzzle blast once the gun had warmed up, current production version guns have a special flash suppressor that eliminates the issue. The rear of the barrel-encasing steel jacket features a permanently-attached carrying handle with a characteristic elongated profile, as it is also intended to protect the line of sight from mirages generated by convection of air heated up by the barrel. The manufacturer reports a firing rate of 600 RPM in continuous fire without any danger to the barrel.

Another change from the PKM parent design is the location of the integral, non-removeable folding bipod which is placed near the muzzle. This feature improves stability and long-range accuracy when firing from the bipod, but it also limits the arc of fire available without moving the position of bipod or shooter. Another consequence of said placement is that the Pecheneg is less comfortable to fire from the shoulder or the hip, as it does not have a handguard and the bipod is located too far forward to be used to hold the gun. However, the Pecheneg has sling swivels and can be fired from the hip using a sling and carrying handle to hold the gun, or by supporting it under the ammunition box with the off hand.

In all other technical respects, such as action, feed, sights, and stock, the Pecheng is similar to modern PKM machine guns. It also retains the standard PKM mounting interface and therefore can be used from the same tripod, but it is always issued as a light machine gun (without tripod mount).