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Legendary AK-47 Inventor Kalashnikov Dies at 94

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Mikhail Kalashnikov dies at age 94.

The inventor of the Kalashnikov AK-47 rifle, Mikhail Kalashnikov, has died at age 94, Russian officials say.

Mikhail Kalashnikov: “I created a weapon to defend the fatherland's borders”

Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1949.

The automatic rifle he designed became one of the world's most familiar and widely used weapons.

Its comparative simplicity made it cheap to manufacture, as well as reliable and easy to maintain.

Although honoured by the state, Kalashnikov made little money from his gun. He once said he would have been better off designing a lawn mower.

Kalashnikov was admitted to hospital with internal bleeding in November.

Matching the Germans

Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov was born on 10 November 1919 in western Siberia, one of 18 children.

In 1938, he was called up by the Red Army and his design skills were used to improve the effectiveness of weapons and equipment used by Soviet tank regiments.

PHOTO GALLERY: 25 Tough AK-47s!

He designed the machine gun after being asked by a fellow soldier why the Russians could not come up with a gun that would match the ones used by the Germans.

Work on the AK47 was completed in 1947, and two years later the gun was adopted by the Soviet army. (Source: BBC News)

About the Avtomat Kalashnikov AK-47

Designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov and first produced in 1947, the Russian AK-47 is chambered for the 7.62x39mm cartridge and operates on a closed bolt principal. Select fire.

The standard model is fitted with a 16-inch barrel and a fixed beech or birch stock. Early rifles have no bayonet fittings. Magazine capacity is 30 rounds. Rate of fire is 700 rounds per minute. Rear sight is graduated to 800 meters.

The bolt and carrier are bright steel. Weight is 9.5 lbs. Markings are located on top rear of receiver. This model was the first line rifle for Warsaw Pact. The most widely used assault rifle in the world and still in extensive use throughout the world. (Source: Standard Catalog of Military Firearms, 7th Edition.)

Learn More About the AK-47:

The Gun Digest Book of the AK & SKS

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AK47: The Complete Kalashnikov Family of Rifles

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AK-47 Assembly/Disassembly DVD

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