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Firearm Infobox
Name, Image, type, origin
Name Karabinek wz. 1988 Tantal
Image 300px
Type Assault rifle
Place of origin Flag of Poland Poland
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Service history
In service 1991-2005
Used by Poland, Iraq
Wars
Production history
Designer OBR
Designed 1981-1988
Manufacturer Łucznik Arms Factory
Produced 1991-1994
Number ~25,000
Variants Kbkg wz. 1974, skbk wz. 1989 Onyks
Specifications
Weight 3.69 kg (8.14 lb)
Length 943 mm (37.1 in) stock extended / 748 mm (29.4 in) stock folded
Width
Height
Barrel length 432 mm (17 in)
Diameter
Crew
Cartridge 5.45x39mm
Caliber
Action Gas-actuated, rotating bolt
Muzzle velocity 880 m/s (2,887
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 ft/s)
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Effective range 100 to 1,000 m sight adjustments
Maximum range
Other identifying characteristics
Wood parts (Y/N) {{{wood}}}
Common color {{{color}}}
Imprint {{{imprint}}}

The karabinek wz. 1988 Tantal ("5.45 mm carbine model 1988") is a 5.45 mm assault rifle designed and produced in Poland.

DevelopmentEdit

Design work on the new rifle officially began in 1984 at the government-owned Ośrodek Badawczo-Rozwojowy (OBR) in the city of Radom at the request of the Polish Ministry of Defense (the OBR institute had already been studying a possible 5.45 mm weapon platform since late 1980). In 1985 the weapon’s parameters were confirmed and factory tests were conducted by the end of that year. In 1986 a batch of prototypes was presented for evaluation and qualification testing.

The early prototype, designated initially as the wz. 1981, was modeled on the Soviet 5.45 mm AK-74 assault rifle and emphasized a high degree of parts commonality with the AKM rifle.[1] As the weapon was intended to be able to launch rifle grenades, a newly designed, multi-functional muzzle device and a sturdier folding shoulder stock were used (the wire stock is a copy of the butt used on the East German 7.62 mm MPi-KMS-72 rifle). Additionally, the wz. 81 was equipped with a mechanically-limited burst fire mode, which was borrowed from the 7.62 mm AKMS wz. 1980 prototype, developed in the late 1970s by OBR in Radom.[1]

By the end of 1987, the rifle was extensively overhauled and improved (among the changes made, a series of components were introduced that were meant to be interchangeable with the AK-74, including the bolt carrier, bolt and magazines and the burst fire mode was further improved). In January 1988 these product improved prototypes were again evaluated, and in 1989 the rifle was declared to have met its requirements, followed by an order for a pre-production batch, which was manufactured that same year. In 1990 the rifles were successfully evaluated and then transferred for final operational testing. In 1991 the rifle was introduced into service with the Polish Army as the 5,56 mm karabinek wz. 1988 (kbk wz. 88).[1]

The weapon’s design was authored by the team of engineers at OBR in Radom, under the guidance of B. Szpaderski. The rifle was produced exclusively with a folding wire stock by the "Łucznik" Arms Factory in Radom.[1]

File:Tantal-Pallad REMOV.jpg

Design detailsEdit

The Tantal is a selective fire, gas piston operated weapon that taps expanding exhaust gases off through a port in the barrel to a gas cylinder above the barrel. The barrel is locked against its longitudinal axis by a right rotating bolt. A spring extractor is contained inside the bolt head, and a fixed ejector – in the receiver housing.

The fire control selector, with its lever located on the left side of the receiver wall, enables fully automatic fire (lever in the “C”-marked position), semi-automatic fire (“P”) and 3-round burst fire mode (“S”). The selector can be operated with the safety either engaged or disabled.

The weapon is secured against misfires through a manually operated safety (whose lever, as in the AKM is located on the right side of the receiver), that disables the trigger bar and limits the movement of the bolt carrier. Sliding the safety selector to the top position (marked with a “Z” symbol) secures the weapon, lowering the lever down (“O” setting) disables the safety. The Tantal feeds from a double-column curved box magazine, made from a synthetic Bakelite material or stamped metal, with a 30-round cartridge capacity.

The cold hammer forged barrel has a chrome-plated bore with 4 right-hand grooves at a 200 mm twist rate. It is equipped with a multifunction muzzle device that can be used to launch rifle grenades.[1]

The Tantal features a metal wire side-folding stock (folds to the right side), ended with a profiled shoulder pad. The rifle can also use a fixed wooden buttstock from the AKM rifle. Both the upper and lower handguard and pistol grip are fabricated from a synthetic material.

The rifle has mechanically adjustable iron sights that are comprised of a notch on a sliding tangent and forward post. The rear sight’s drop arm has a range scale engraved with settings from 1 to 10 (corresponding to firing ranges from 100 to 1,000 m, graduated every 100 m) and a fixed setting “S” that is the equivalent to setting “4” on the range scale.[1] Additionally, the sight assembly is fitted with a tritium gas illuminated vial that enables use in low light and near dark conditions.

Equipment supplied with the Tantal includes: three spare magazines, a 6H4 type bayonet with scabbard, bipod, four 15-round stripper clips (they enable rapid magazine charging), a stripper clip guide, cleaning kit, sling, magazine pouch and a lubricant bottle. The weapon can also be used with a blank firing adaptor after removing the muzzle device.

The wz. 88 rifle fires the intermediate 5.45x39mm ammunition with either standard, tracer or training cartridges, all produced locally by Zakłady Metalowe "Mesko" in the town of Skarżysko-Kamienna.[1]

VariantsEdit

The Tantal was used to develop the Onyks carbine, the karabinek-granatnik wz. 1974 rifle/grenade launcher combination and a “night” variant of the wz. 1988, equipped with a receiver side-rail used to mount an NSP-3 night sight.

NotesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Wozniak, Ryszard. Encyklopedia najnowszej broni palnej - tom 4 R-Z. Bellona. 2002. pp135-138.

ReferencesEdit

  • Wozniak, Ryszard (2002). "p. 135–138", Encyklopedia najnowszej broni palnej – tom 4 R-Z. Warsaw, Poland: Bellona. ISBN 83-11-09312-1. 
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External linksEdit

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