His Majesty Bullpup
When I had agreed to write this article, I did not think that there would be any difficulties to find the name of the original designer of bullpup configuration. But due to injustice of history his name was buried in oblivion, and, most likely, the reason for that is a permanent military secrecy, and that’s a pity thing. The only true fact – the invention originated in England that is why its name sounds strange for the Russian ear. Quite literally, “bullpup” is a bulldog puppy (of a British bulldog, of course). Only blear-eyed sceptics could label a novelty of gun market like this, due to its apparent dock-tailed and snubby appearance.
The Thorneycroft Carbine designed for Cavalry (Great Britain, 1901) , one of the first widely known attempts to make army gun shorter, using bullpup configuration.
The idea had proved to be so revolutionary, that more than half a century it didn’t go beyond the semi-experimental unique samples. Engineering efforts were stimulated and concentrated at bullpups in early 50’s of the previous century due to echo of the Second World War, when military men faced the lack of compact and high-accuracy tactical weapons. So, there was the first time when His Majesty Bullpup was introduced at the Military Parade of a serial weapon production…
Modern military tasks implicate long staying inside the military vehicles, with the fast and concealed transition to the firing line in order to make one or several high-accuracy shoots. Then the shooter should leave the position - seven times quicker than he moved before, keeping the concealment at the same time , otherwise mortar gunners and all those, who shoot powerfully and loudly, will make mincemeat out of this shooter. The soldier with a Mosin-Nagant or classic Dragunov sniper rifle would look really funny in this situation, whereas 70 cm bullpup seems to be an indispensable assistant.
New models sprang up like mushrooms overnight, guns producers, inspired with a new concept, created a lot of new versions of short assault rifles.
EM-1 British Assault Rifle (Experimental Model) designed at Enfield Arms Factory, .280 caliber (7х43 mm), 1951
EM-2 British Assault Rifle (Experimental Model) designed at Enfield Arms Factory, .280 caliber (7х43 mm), 1951 . ЕМ-2 was officially adopted by British forces, but serial production was not started.
Two assault riffles (5.56 mm) produced by Vector company (RSA) –
at the top – R5 Standard Configuration
(overall length – 870/615 mm, barrel length – 332 mm),
at the bottom – CR21 Bullpup
(overall length – 760 mm, barrel length – 460 mm).
Russian arms manufacturers also kept pace with this tendency. German Korobov introduced some brilliant models of bullpup assault rifles.
Korobov Assault Riffle TKB-408
Caliber: 7.62 х 39 mm, model of 1943
Action: Gas operated, tilting bolt
Length: 790 mm
Weight: 4.3 kg
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds
Korobov Assault Riffle TKB -022P
Weight of TKB -022P without magazine – 2.5 kg
for gun’s length of 635 mm
Caliber: 7.62 х 39 mm
Let’s stop talking about war. I’m a peaceful man, and I will shoot people only if there will be any misfortune in my country. But still, I like the shooting as it is and I hardly ever trade the pleasure of good shooting for anything else… So, from now I will tell you only about civilian guns, which are available for not-military men.
Unfortunately, bullpup hunting guns were not popular in Russia. The reason for that is a gun legislation that prohibits self-modification of weapons, as well as sluggishness of the hunters, choosing classic guns. The most fertile ground for bullpup has become a sector of pneumatic guns, i.e. PCP-guns that were ideal guns for the compact configuration. Reviewing off-the-shelf items you can't fail to notice ergonomics and functionality. “Nothing extra” concept – plain minimalism – simple, easy and convenient …
Matador R3M (Multicharged Model)
Caliber 4.5 mm; 5.5 mm; 6.3 mm
Let’s discuss bullpup’s advantages and disadvantages. I will start with advantages:
- From the technical point of view a bullpup’s shooting is always more accurate than shooting with “classic” gun. The main reason is an absence of parasitic parts and elements, resulting in eliminating of biomechanical obstacles. The bullet starts its motion from the butt of the stock, positioned against the shooter’s shoulder, so the distance between the supporting hand and muzzle is minimal. Therefore, the shooting accuracy is independent of heart beating or blood pulsing. That is why a bullpup is an ideal choice for shooting without support.
RAR VL-12 Bullpup Airgun Rifle, caliber 6, 35mm (670mm), LW burrel
- Compact gun. It’s not a secret, that our police doesn’t like people with guns. If you are driving to firing field by car – may be you will not feel like this. And what is to be done by those brave shooters who dare to enter the underground with a gun cover on their shoulders in order to go to the railway station, catch a train and, finally, getting out the train into the forest, line up the targets and launch into fun?! The number of biased security procedures you undergo depends only on the number of police officers, you will meet at your way to coveted joy… The owner of bullpup can put it at the bottom of his sport bag or saxophone cover, therefore avoiding these unpleasant moments.
ATAMAN M2R Bullpup (Орех), cal. 6.35 mm (816/RB)
- Suitable for people of any anthropometric measures. All adjustments are made by the mounting of cheek piece and long Weaver rail, enabling moving of the barrel sight along the barrel. No matter if you are skinny or fat, tall or short – bullpup will always suits you.
- Possibility of left-handed shooting. Disadvantage of bullpup firearm turns into advantage of PCP guns. There is no explosive gases blowing into your face or bullet casing falling inside shooter’s collar, so, as you know, where nothing is, nothing can be had… Recharging is not that convenient, however, a left-handed person has the same problem with a classic gun…
- Possibility of one-hand shooting. I’m really doubt if it could be an advantage, actually… One-hand shooting with a long-barreled gun – is a style of crazy shooters. As I think, the essence of such shooting is nothing more than a desire to show yourself, except that a shooter has only one hand. I have no comments to this advantage.
Bull-pup version of Saiga carbine. Production of Neva-Target, Saint - Petersburg
What should I say about the disadvantages… Though I’ve tried my best, only two of them came into my mind:
1.Unbeatiful. As it is said by the classic gun followers. Yes, you are right, it is snubby and dock-tailed puppy of bulldog, again. Here I should say – tastes differ. Whether something beautiful or not is a merely subjective opinion. I can hardly imagine someone asking: “What is more beautiful? Plane or steam engine?” There are two different machines designed for the single aim – to move someone or something from A to B. The same is fair for classic gun and bullpup – two different items with the single aim – to strike the target. And every gun is beautiful in its own way…
2. Small number of factory models, that are produced in series. Unfortunately, there is nothing for it… Producers don’t jump to modify their models into bullpups. However, this market sector is largely occupied by plenty of specialized companies offering a wide choice of solutions for any taste, color and budget, turning this disadvantage into the significant value.
Hatsan BT-65 rifle - before and after the installation of bull-pup kit. Production of Neva-Target, Saint Petersburg. Bull-pup kit for this model can be asquired on our website
Handcrafted air rifle has always been and remains a pride for its owner. When a man owns a unique thing created for him only, his enormous ego generates the thoughts on supremacy. I must admit, these are pleasant thoughts…
The same Hatsan BT-65 rifle - after the installation of the telescopic sight and soundmoderator. Production of Neva-Target, Saint Petersburg. Bull-pup kit for this model can be asquired on our website
Sapele rifle stock, installed on the Walther Dominator 1250. Bull-pup, Production of Neva-Target, Saint Petersburg. Bull-pup kit for this model can be asquired on our website