Soviet Goryunov SGM machine gun seized in São Paulo, Brazil

As TFB readers may probably have noticed through some of my posts in the past, firearms regularly seized from criminal hands in Brazil range from DIY models of all shapes and quality standards to a very large variety of AK and AR-15 platforms, plus an also habitual assortment of FALs, HKs, and other species. Not to mention a myriad collection of semi-auto (and others, not so…) pistols, with revolvers becoming a more and more sporadic catch. But rarer items also do show up, as in the case of a machine gun that has turned up in Riberão Preto, São Paulo State.

This was brought to my attention mainly as a result of the curious headline that made me take a closer look at a recent (April 10) TV news bulletin: “Civil Police arrest a suspect with an air-combat rifle in Ribeirão Preto.” I had to see that!

When I watched the footage, from which the grabbed pics are used here, I could finally discover that the “air-combat rifle” actually was a WWII-era 7.62x54R Soviet Goryunov SGM heavy machine gun. This gas-operated weapon was the brainchild of Piotr Maximovitch Goryunov, a locksmith-turned-gunsmith who worked with Federov, Degtyarev, and other Soviet designers. In 1940 or so he began designing a heavy machine gun to replace the existing Maxim PM1910 model, the result being the SG-43 heavy machine gun (typically, on a Sokolov wheeled mounting) which entered service in 1943, the very same year in which its creator passed away. The design was subsequently further developed by his brother, M. M. Goryunov, resulting models being being the SGM (with longitudinal ribs on the barrel to assist the dissipation of heat), and the SGMT (with solenoid mounted on the backplate) and SGMB versions, for tank and vehicle mounting, respectively.

A typical SG-43 on its wheeled and shielded mounting as used in WWII.

Goryunov machine guns were widely used by the Soviet Union and its major client countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, having been also cloned in China as the Type 53 and Type 57. Czechoslovakia (vz.43) and Poland (Wz.43) also made their respective copies, while Hungary came out with a local version fitted with a bipod, pistol grip trigger mechanism, and an RPD-type buttstock, externally looking somewhat like a PK. No clues as to the origin of the seized gun were available.

The Hungarian KGK Géppuska was a local, lighter variation of the Goryunov machine gun. (Image source: Petrohai Ferenc, in

The seized SGM seen from the rear, the spade grips being evident. No iron sights were present in the gun.

Although originally chambered to 7.62x54Rmm, the gun displayed at a Civil Police station was shown with what appears to be four .30-06 or .308 Win rounds partially inserted in the non-disintegrating link belt… on the opposite side of the feeding direction! The accompanying flimsy tripod is an improvised feature, hardly firm enough to be of any practical use.

A closer view of the gun’s conical flash hider and part of the finned barrel. “Look, ma, no front sight!”

This other view shows more of the finned barrel configuration and its integral changing handle.

Higher-res pics? Here: