12.7 mm (0.5") Degtjarev DShK M38 Heavy Machine Gun
Updated 25 May 2007
The DShK machine gun was originally designed in 1930 and went into limited production for the army in 1933.  This model was too bulky for naval use and had to be redesigned.  The new model was accepted into service in 1938 and still remains the primary heavy MG of the Russian Army to this day, although it is being steadily replaced by the NSV-12,7 which uses the same ammunition.  The DShK is as famous in Russia as the 0.50" (12.7 mm) caliber M2 BMG is in the USA.

First installed on ships just prior to World War II and it gradually replaced the ineffective 7.62 mm Maxim machine gun during the war.  The DShK, despite its small caliber, became the primary Soviet AA gun of World War II.  As of June 1941 there were 787 DShK machine guns in service in the Soviet Navy.  During the war a total of 4,018 guns were delivered to the Navy and 1,146 more were delivered for defense of the naval bases.

This gun is air-cooled and uses 50-round belts in box type magazines.  The ammunition was based on that used for the Vickers 0.5" (12.7 mm) machine gun which was supplied via Lend-Lease during World War II.  These guns were used in single and twin open mounts as well as in an enclosed twin turret mounting.  There was also an experimental quad mount and a disappearing twin mount for submarines. 


12.7 mm DShK on G-5 class torpedo boat


Soviet 12.7 mm DShK on a Naval Mounting
Central Museum of Armed Forces, Moscow, Russia
Photograph copyrighted by Vladimir Yakubov

Gun Characteristics
Designation 12.7 mm/79 (0.5") DShK machine gun
Ship Class Used On Most Soviet ships starting 1941 and beyond
Date Of Design 1930
Date In Service 1939
Gun Weight 73.85 lbs. (33.5 kg)
Gun Length oa N/A
Barrel Length 63.86 in (1.622 m)
Rifling Length 42.13 in (1.070 m)
Grooves 8
Lands N/A
Twist N/A
Chamber Volume N/A
Rate Of Fire Cyclic:  600 rounds per minute
Effective:  125 rounds per minute
Type Fixed
Weight of Complete Round 0.273 - 0.295 lbs. (124-134 g)
Projectile Types and Weights AP incendiary model 1932 (B-32) - 1.84 oz (52 gm)
AP model 1930 (B-30) - 1.84 oz (52 gm)
Bursting Charge None - Solid Bullet
Projectile Length N/A
Propellant Charge 0.036 lbs. (16.5 g)
Muzzle Velocity 2,723 - 2,788 fps (830 - 850 mps)
Working Pressure 20.3 tons/in2 (3,200 kg/cm2)
Approximate Barrel Life N/A
Ammunition stowage per gun N/A
Elevation With 1.84 oz (52 g) AP model 1930 (B-30) round
Maximum Effective Range 3,830 yards (3,500 m)
Maximum Range 5,900 yards (5,400 m)
Maximum AA Ceiling 8,200 feet (2,500m)
Mount / Turret Data
Designation Single Mount

Twin Open Mount

Quad Mount

Single Open Turret

Twin Open Turret

Twin Armored Turret

Weight  DShK:  429.9 lbs. (195 kg)
DShKM-2:  595.3 lbs. (270 kg)
DShKM-2B:  2,764.6 lbs. (1,254 kg)
MTU-2:  352.7 lbs. (160 kg)
MSTU:  661.4 lbs (300 kg)
Elevation DShK:  -34 / +85 degrees
DShKM-2:  -10 / +85 degrees
DShKM-2B:  -5 / +85 degrees
MTU-2:  -10 / +85 degrees
MSTU:  -10 / +85 degrees
Elevation Rate DShK:  Manual Operation Only
DShKM-2:  60 degrees per second
DShKM-2B:  25 degrees per second
MTU-2:  N/A
MSTU:  54.5 degrees per second
Train 360 degrees
Train Rate DShK:  Manual Operation Only
DShKM-2:  16 degrees per second
DShKM-2B:  15 degrees per second
MTU-2:  16 degrees per second
MSTU:  16.5 degrees per second
Gun recoil N/A
Data from
"Sovetskie Boevye Korabli 1941-45: IV Vooruzhnie" (Soviet Warships 1941-45: Volume IV Armaments) by A.V. Platonov
Special help from Vladimir Yakubov