The Goryunov SG-43 medium machine-gun was introduced into service with the Soviet army in 1943 and was still in service with Egyptian, Palestinian and Vietnamese forces in 1978. Captured SGMs, identifiable by the longitudinal cooling fins, have been used by the Israelis.
Peter Maximovitch Goryunov led an obscure life as a weapon component designer in the Soviet arsenals for nearly all of his working years and was only given one chance to produce a weapon of his own design. This occurred in 1941 when the Soviet Union h, td been invaded by Germany, and the design had to be produced as fast as possible. Before it was finished Goryunov died, probably from overwork and strain, for his photographs do not show him as a robust character.
When it was apparent, in 1941, that the Degtyarev DS had failed, Goryunov was one of the designers who was given the task of producing a light but reliable medium machine-gun in the least possible time, bearing in mind that the main requirement was for simplicity of production, linked with robustness in the field. With no time to experiment Goryunov took the wisest course and amalgamated the best features he could find in other guns. The result was astonishingly successful and has always been hailed by the Soviet Union as representing a brand new design, which it strictly is, although many of the elements were clearly borrowed.
In essence, the Goryunov is a belt-fed air- cooled medium machine-gun of ingenious and simple design. The general system of operation is a gas-operated piston with propped breech locking. To lock, the breech block is pushed over to the right side of the body and is wedged in front of a shoulder machined on the side plate. This method has always been frowned upon because it puts uneven stresses on the body, but the Goryunov seems to have no difficulty. The barrel is easily detachable and changed, and it has an automatic take-up of cartridge head space. The ammunition is the standard 1908 pattern long 7.62-mm (0.30-in) round, which is rimmed, and to extract it from the belt the bolt has two spring clips which fasten onto the rim and snatch the round backwards out of the belt before pushing it downwards by a spring as it feeds forward. This method has often mistakenly been likened to that of the Maxim, which it is not, for it is much simpler and easier to make.
Another good feature of the gun is that the number of springs has been kept to the minimum and the only sizeable one is the main operating spring which is housed in a telescoping guide to keep out dust and dirt.
Lifting the top cover gives complete access to all the working parts and the cocking handle is underneath the body. There are two spade grips at the rear of the body and the machine-gun is intended to be mounted on a tripod or similar strong mount at all times
The Goryunov was a success from the start, but the designer died within a month or two of his weapon being accepted for service, in 1943. His brother and an engineer named Voronkov who had helped with the prototype were left to complete the development. By the end of the Second World War the machine-gun was in general use, though there were never enough completely to replace the Maxims, and in 1946 it was one of the few weapons to be continued into post- war service with the Soviet army. It is still a standard medium machine-gun, though it has long been outdated in pure design terms, and it has been adopted in most of the Satellite countries. The original machine-gun was known as the Stankovyi Goryunova, or SG- 43; postwar models are known as the Stankovyi Goryunovayi modernizirovanni, or SGM-43. There are also two vehicle variants with electric solenoid firing. In addition to World War II, it saw service in the Korean War with the Communist North Korean and Chinese forces. In Soviet service, the Goryunov, together with the RP-46, was replaced in the 1960s by the PK machine gun due to the switch in Soviet tactical doctrine to the general-purpose machine gun concept, rendering the gun effectively obsolete.
Length: 113.6 cm (44.72 in)
Weight: (unloaded) 13.83 kg (30 Ib 8 oz)
Barrel: 71.88 cm (28.3 in)
Magazine. 250 round canvas belt or 50 round metal link belt
Cyclic rate: 500-700 rds/min
Muzzle velocity: 798 m/sec (2620 ft/sec)
Ammunition: 7.62 mm (0.30 in)