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The Red Army's Self Loading Rifles

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SVT-40 Ishevsk receiver mark. This mark was also used on the SVT-38.

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SVT-40 Tula receiver mark.


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This marking was used by the Kovrov arsenal, a supplemental manufacturer of the SVT 40 from 1940 to 1941. This armaments factory, located some 260km east of Moscow, ceased production in 1941 to concentrate on machinegun production like the Maxim m/1910 and automatic airborne cannon like those used in the Shturmovik and Mig 3 airplanes..

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SVT-38 Tula receiver mark. The box above the star indicates that this gun was rebuilt into SVT-40 configuration. Note the longer reciever bridge ( flat ) length.


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SVT-40 Ishevsk with a German test/capture proof overstamped to indicate use by the Wermacht. Interesting note: this gun is also Finnish capture marked (SA).

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SVT-40 Finnish capture mark on receiver side. Note the line out of the original serial number and the addition of the Finnish serial number 81.


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SVT series top to bottom: SVT-38, SVT-40, AVT-40, and SVT-40 Carbine

( factory model )

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SVT-38 right and left views. Bottom gun is Finnish capture marked and is fitted with a later canvas sling.


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This SVT 38  mfg. at Tula in 1940 was captured by Finnish forces more than likely at the closeof the Winter War. Note the bolt carrier does not have any lighting grooves on the sides of the bolt carrier as the later SVT 40 did to reduce some weight. The seam of the two piece stock can be seen here as well.


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The SVT 38 used  two barrel bands to retain the short sheet metal handguard and the long wooden handguard. The bayonet lug is also visible here with no provision to hold the cleaning rod. It is located on the right side of the stock. The muzzle break is also clearly shown. It is slightly larger than it's later version used on the SVT 40.


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This picture shows the stock seam for the rear and fore pieces of the stock as well as the cleaning rod seated in it's retention groove inletted into the right side of the stock. The SVT 38 magazine is also shown

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The SVT 38's cleaning rod groove to retain the cleaning rod. The rod is removed to show the metal housing at the rear and the cross bolt of the rear portion of the stock The Finnish Army used the SVT in great numbers during the Winter and Continuation Wars, some 15,000 were captured. The need for tool kits was a necessity for the newly captured rifles.



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The SVT 38's two piece stock disassembled to show it in halves-front and rear


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The two halves of the SVT 38 stock, rear and front. The peg and recess for the two to join is evident in this picture. This feature was a week point for the SVT rifle and was discontinued on the updated version in 1940 with production of the SVT 40 in a one piece stock.


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This is a side by side comparison of the early standard style stock found on  SVT 40 rifles produced prior to 1942. On the left is the standard stock. On the right is a rare heavy hardwood stock on a 1944 produced SVT that was an attempt to remedy the stock cracking problem that plagued the SVT in it's later forms, particularly the AVT type rifles. This stock is not only physically bigger it is noticeably heavier and of a different wood type, a hardwood instead of the earlier artic birch.


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The SVT rifle was produced in the model 40 configuration from 1940 thru 1945 when production was ordered to cease. It was the first mass issued semi automatic weapon in service with a major power. Intial plans called for over 2 million of these rifles to be produced to equip the Red Army. That number was never realized.This rifle is in it's standard early form and is a 1940 Ishevsk produced weapon. It's detachable box magazine held 10 rds of 7.62mm ammunition and a integral muzzle break was standard for this weapon


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SVT40, sniper scope/mount, magazine/pouch, M40 helmet, cleaning kit, and bayonet with scabbard.  All a good Red Army soldier would need.


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The later one-piece front swivel left and two-part front swivel right. 

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SVT-40 Sniper Rifle.


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Side view of 6X sniper rifle.

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SVT scope and mounts with lens caps and covers. The top is the 3.5X. Note that it has an additional buckle on the top to roll the cover up on the mounted scope for protection when the scope is not mounted. The bottom  is the 6X with its distinctive cover.  Note the increased size of the cover and length of the lens cap. 


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Close up of an early SVT scope and its markings.


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Another view of the SVT sniper rifle.   These were put to use by both Soviet, German, and Finnish snipers in WW2.  The advantage of the semi auto as a sniper rifle is the lack of movement that is required to work a bolt action.

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SVT Sniper rifle with scope cover.


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Sniper scope view

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Sniper scope cover


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These unusual stocks appear in mid to late 1942 on the SVT 40 rifle. Some but not all are in an AVT configuration. For the sake of this article and from evidence of Soviet photographs I refer to this stock configuration of a front swivel on the band and a rear slot in the stock like  Mosin Nagant as a Naval Infantry stock. Various pictures of Soviet Marines disembarking craft or used in a land based role show them with this type of stock in use. The sling is a modified SVT sling that utilizes a rear sling loop while the front retains the normal strap. The use of this style stock appears to have been from 1942 to 1945 from observed examples dated and marked as such.


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A full side shot of the type of sling used for this configuration stock-the Naval Infantry version. Note the strap in the front as found on the typical SVT sling and the lack of one on the rear, instead a sling keeper is used and a sling loop to utilize the slot in the rear of the stock. There are two versions of this sling. Type 1 as shown on this gun and another -type 2- that has a sling loop with a buckle type attachment that projects of the side at a 90 degree angle and fastens through he slot preventing it from pulling through. It closely resembles a K98 type buckle. This sling, the type 2, is very rare and I have only encountered two in my time collecting. The addition of the 90 degree strap on the rear sling loop prevents the sling from twisting when the rifle was slung. 


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Early and late SVT40 muzzle breaks


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SVT40 Top and AVT40 Bottom

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Stock cartouche AVT rifle.   It is rather common to see these stocks on later reworked SVT40's since extra stocks were in place when AVT production was halted.


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Here you can clearly see the difference in the stock dimensions between the SVT on the left and the AVT style on the right. You can also see the dual safety cut out's on the AVT instead of the single cut out of the earlier SVT. This allowed the safety to swing to the left to trip the weapon into a full auto mode. This was not a widely successful conversion. Soviet soldiers where only allowed to switch the weapon to a full auto capacity only upon direct command of a superior, and then only in dire circumstances. Many of the currently imported SVT are fit with the later AVT style stock as many unissued stocks from earlier production runs were available post war and used in the rebuilding process.


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SVT bayonets. From left to right: SVT-38, early SVT-40

cutting edge up , polished SVT-40, blued SVT-40

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SVT-40 early, SVT-40 polished, and SVT-40 blued.

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