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Original Soviet WWII 20mm ShVAK Cannon Cartridge - Inert

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Item Description

Original Item: Very Few Available. These are inert cartridges for the Soviet WWII 20×99mmR ShVAK Cannon offered in very good condition.

The 20 mm ShVAK was designed sometime between 1935 and 1936 and series production began in 1936. A few months later, production of the 12.7 mm version ceased. Similarly to its predecessors, the 20 mm ShVAK was a gas-operated gun, belt-fed by disintegrating link ammunition.

Depending on the intended mount, the ShVAKs were marked with "MP" for the tank version (total gun length 2122 mm; weight 44.5 kg), "KP" for the wing-mounted version (1679 mm total length; 40 kg), "TP" for flexible mounts (1726  mm length; 42 kg), and "SP" for synchronized installations.

The "bird-cage" feed system in the 20 mm ShVAK was an improved version of the ShKAS. It could hold 11 rounds and had an even smoother operation. As with the ShKAS, the purpose of the feed cage was to gradually delink the rounds, avoiding any belt lurch. The Berthier-type gas regulator had four holes (of 3.5, 4, 4.5, and 6 mm) allowing for different rates of fire to be selected.The most significant design difference from the ShKAS was that the gas cylinder was moved under the barrel in the ShVAK, giving it a more compact assembly.

The end of the barrel was threaded, and this thread was used to screw on a blast-reduction tube of a length that depended on the installation requirements:

One of the outstanding features of this weapon is the method of solving blast tube difficulties, a troublesome problem in all installations of aircraft cannon in fighter aircraft. The Soviets' simple solution was to thread the end of their standard barrel and then screw on for whatever length was needed a heavy piece of tubing, the bore diameter of which was slightly greater than that of the rotating band of the projectile. This arrangement allowed the blast and gas to leak around the projectile before it cleared the tube, not only reducing the blast effect of the weapon but also by its added length safely leading the blast and projectile past portions of the plane that would otherwise have been injured.

The 1952 Western intelligence report said of the 20 mm ShVAK: "in relation to its power, the gun is very light and extremely compact" and that it "has a range comparable to our M3 cannon, although their short barrel version is 16 pounds lighter". It was however considered "relatively difficult to produce" in American factories, because it was constructed from relatively soft parts (not heat-treated) that were then filed down. This choice of materials was assumed to be motivated by the desire to allow parts to "deform and bend well in advance of fracture" enabling a safer operation at a high rate of fire, but having the tradeoff of shorter overall lifespan of the gun.

Soviet archives indicate the 20-mm ShVAK was produced in large numbers during World War II:

1942 — 34,601 produced
1943 — 26,499 produced
1944 — 25,633 produced
1945 — 13,433 produced
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