|Rifling||4 grooves, RH|
|Magazine Capacity||47 rounds|
|Caliber||7.62mm x 54R|
|Muzzle Velocity||840 meters/second|
|Cyclic Rate||550 rounds/minute|
|Country of Origin||Russia|
Made from 1928-1941, the Degtyareva Pakhotnyi (DP) is a gas operated light machine gun employing a simple a sturdy locking mechanism. It fires in full-automatic mode only & is fed from a flat 47-round drum.
Vasily Alexeyevitch Degtyarev (1897-1949) came from a family of gunsmiths. He left school at the age of 11 to serve his apprenticeship at the Imperial Arsenal at Tula. In 1926. He developed a light machine gun that became the standard of its class in the Soviet Army. Degtyarev won four state prizes, became a major general in the Artillery Engineering Service & was late a deputy of the Supreme Soviet.
The Soviets adopted the Degtyarev DP (left**) Light Machine Gun after two years of extensive trials. Simple & highly reliable, it was the standard of the Soviet Union and Communist bloc countries for decades. The DP locking system is a modification of the earlier Swedish Friberg-Kjellman system, in which the movement of the firing pin forces out two locking flaps on the bolt. This method has always been known to be extremely resistant to dirt & fouling.
The unusual flat drum magazine configuration was dictated by the old M189 7.62mm x 54R cartridge that was the army standard from the time of the Czar. This rimmed bottleneck cartridge was never designed with fully-automatic or even semi-automatic weapons in mind, so Degtyarev had to build his magazine around the round. To his credit, it worked very well indeed.
The Degtyarev design was continued into the later RPD light machine gun, which was chambered for the shorter 7.62 x 39mm rimless cartridge, the same round used by the SKS & the AK47, the RPD was made from 1946 into the 1960s & was fed from a side mounted drum, which was actually just a more convenient container for conventional cartridge belts.
The Soviet Army was also armed with the Degtyarev DT, which is a shorter version of the infantry squad weapon, intended for mounting on armored vehicles. It is also a full-auto only weapon, but unlike the DP, it has a pistol grip, a telescoping butt, & a thicker 60-round magazine.