Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Classic Guns: Valmet M76

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Classic Guns: Valmet M76

    Classic Guns: Valmet M76


    by Martin K.A. Morgan - Wednesday, January 15, 2020



    More
    SUBSCRIBE
    Finland is a country that knows a thing or two about making firearms. Developing successful gunmaking capacity came to that nation out of necessity during the troubled decades of the 20th century, when the Finns found themselves caught in the middle of powerful geopolitical forces. The Second World War brought the country briefly into an ideological orbit with Nazi Germany, but solely in opposition to the Soviet Union. Antagonisms created during the 1930s and 1940s remained alive as the Cold War began, with the result that Finland never moved behind the Iron Curtain. These circumstances meant it had to become a self-reliant and successful gunmaker—which it did by improving on an existing design when the time came to adopt a modern service rifle. In an ironic move for a country with a history of trouble with the Russians, the Finns took the incomparable Kalashnikov rifle and made it better.

    In the late 1950s, Helsinki got its hands on several Kalashnikovs and evaluated them with the objective of ultimately establishing domestic production of an AK-pattern rifle. Toward that end, two manufacturing interests were tasked with copying the weapon: Sako and the state-owned conglomerate Valtion Metallitehtaat—also known as Valmet. Valmet’s prototype featured wood furniture and an improved rear sight that doubled the sight radius of the original. As with the communist-block AKs that inspired it, the Valmet AK chambered the 7.62x39 mm M43 cartridge, fed from a standard AK detachable-box magazine and was built using a solid-steel receiver. It was selected over the Sako prototype in 1958, although there was still design development work to be done.

    When the Finnish Defence Forces adopted it in 1960 as the Rynnäkkökivääri 60 (RK60), the wood furniture was gone: Plastic had replaced the handguard, a rubber-coated, corrugated pistol grip was introduced and a non-folding tubular metallic buttstock was introduced, as well. A trigger guard was not included on the RK60 so troops could still use it through gloved hands, but that was found to be an undesirable characteristic. After just 2 years, the design evolved again with the re-introduction of a trigger guard, a distinctive three-prong flash suppressor and flip-up, tritium-illuminated night sights. With the designation RK62, Finland’s new battle rifle found the form that would give it decades of service longevity.

    As a selective-fire military rifle, the RK62 has armed Finnish Defence Forces for more than 50 years across several models and, as a result of foreign export sales, it has armed Qatar and Indonesia, as well. While it has never realized the battle-tested reputation of the Russian or Chinese Kalashnikovs, the Valmet has established a superlative reputation for exceptional quality—and that reputation followed it to North America during the 1970s.

    Containing a tritium vial for low-light conditions, the front sight of the Valmet is a bit different than a standard AK-47 variant • The rear sight is a departure from the norm as well, offering a peep-style sight, but with the familiar gradations for distance • Sought after by collectors and discerning AK-47 aficionados alike, Valmet’s take on Mikhail Kalashnikov’s famous creation stands out • The three-prong flash-hider (another departure from the AK and AKM) has a bayonet lug on its underside.


    It was, after all, the Valmet that brought the Kalashnikov to shooters in the United States for the first time. Before Chinese examples began reaching the U.S., a civilian semi-automatic version of the RK62 was imported as the M62/S. But, the recreational-shooting market in America was not quite ready to support firearms chambered for the 7.62x39 mm cartridge and anything in that caliber was hard to feed back then. In recognition of that critical market force, Valmet also produced the sheet-steel-receiver M71/S chambered for .223 Rem.—a cartridge in plentiful supply in the U.S.

    Valmet also introduced a civilian semi-automatic known as the M76/S that featured an improved plastic handguard and molded pistol grip. While this firearm was still available in 7.62x39 mm feeding from the standard AK-type magazine, it was also available in .223 Rem. and .308 Win. feeding from proprietary magazines that can be hard to come by today. It came with wood and plastic buttstocks as the M76W and M76P respectively, but then there was also the M76/FS with a side-folding version of tubular metallic stock. Both milled- and sheet-metal receivers were used on the civilian commercial M76s.

    In addition to the other models of Valmet rifles available, there was also a semi-automatic version of the squad-automatic-weapon configuration designated M78/83 available in the same three calibers: 7.62x39 mm, .223 Rem. and .308 Win. It featured a longer barrel and a bipod and, eventually, a distinctive thumbhole stock. With multiple models available, Valmet brought a blend of legendary Kalashnikov reliability and Finnish precision to the American shooting consumer until the import ban of 1989 cut off further importation. Nevertheless, there are still thousands of pre-89 Valmet rifles in circulation today and they remind us that Finland should be counted among one of the world’s leading gunmaking nations.

    #2
    Arguably the best AK ever made.......

    Valmet.jpg
    "The Open Carry guy is my decoy."

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Dan 0351 View Post
      Arguably the best AK ever made.......

      Valmet.jpg
      Yup, for me a toss up between that and the Galil, but the Valmet is truer to the original design
      Take a young person shooting.... Take 2 or more if you can...

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by NRATC53 View Post

        Yup, for me a toss up between that and the Galil, but the Valmet is truer to the original design
        I personally like the Galil's better - but that's because I have a few of them!
        "The Open Carry guy is my decoy."

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Dan 0351 View Post

          I personally like the Galil's better - but that's because I have a few of them!
          Same here, and I do too
          Take a young person shooting.... Take 2 or more if you can...

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Dan 0351 View Post
            Arguably the best AK ever made.......

            Valmet.jpg
            Totally jealous! Back in the late 80's Howie from Magnum arms had one that I wanted. Funds were low back then so I went with the new ar-15 colt first: then the Valmet disappeared. Very disappointing!

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by SemiAutoFetish View Post

              Totally jealous! Back in the late 80's Howie from Magnum arms had one that I wanted. Funds were low back then so I went with the new ar-15 colt first: then the Valmet disappeared. Very disappointing!
              Howie! I recently heard he moved.

              Yeah, as a collector it's cool to own a Valmet and watch it skyrocket in value. The magazines are crazy expensive, this is from today:

              Valmet Mag.JPG Valmet Mags.JPG

              The 7.62 x 39 version is considered a Holy Grail gun for AK collectors. When Jerry's had that estate sale, he had one for sale. I asked and they hadn't figured a price yet, but, "North of $6k."


              My small unit in the Marine Corps Reserve often was allowed to use our personal firearms when we were used as 'aggressors' or 'opposing forces' (OpFor) against the infantry companies. One guy in my platoon always brought his Valmet M78. It was an RPK-size rifle in .308 and it took a beating doing the things we did - I imagine the current owner of that rifle isn't happy about that!



              "The Open Carry guy is my decoy."

              Comment


              • SemiAutoFetish
                SemiAutoFetish commented
                Editing a comment
                WOW....those ARE insane mag prices! The one Howie had was in .223. Always asked him about them when I would visit.
                I saw that same estate sale at Jerry's a few years back. That guy had some really cool shit. Picked up a few guns from that one.
                Loved the BAR he had. All I could think about while there at the sale was I hope never to be this guy with his prized collection going out like that
                I suppose we won't have much control over that when our time comes

              • NRATC53
                NRATC53 commented
                Editing a comment
                Yeah, the M78 mags are hard to find as well

              • Dan 0351
                Dan 0351 commented
                Editing a comment
                Yeah man, we are only owners of these things for a short while - then we die and someone else gets to enjoy them, it's an awesome thought. Just don't let the gov't destroy them.....

              #8
              Originally posted by NRATC53 View Post

              Same here, and I do too
              A mere $9,800........

              Valmet M78.JPG
              "The Open Carry guy is my decoy."

              Comment


              • NRATC53
                NRATC53 commented
                Editing a comment
                Wow...$1K when I bought mine, and that was a lot of money back then. Had been eying a Colt Delta Elite for $600 at US Gun and Knife (the shop by the 7th Precinct), but then this came up

              #9
              Originally posted by NRATC53 View Post

              Wow...$1K when I bought mine, and that was a lot of money back then. Had been eying a Colt Delta Elite for $600 at US Gun and Knife (the shop by the 7th Precinct), but then this came up
              Yes, the M78's have gone crazy. Great choice to collect. I never had a Delta Elite but always wanted one, especially when I saw that Marine Corps FAST companies used them.

              US Gun & Knife - my first AR, I posted this not too long ago. $723 in 1988 equals $1,631.91 in 2021.



              20190411_012516 2.jpg Colt Gov't Carbine.jpg
              Last edited by Dan 0351; 06-07-2021, 08:11 AM.
              "The Open Carry guy is my decoy."

              Comment


                #10
                Originally posted by Dan 0351 View Post

                Yes, the M78's have gone crazy. Great choice to collect. I never had a Delta Elite but always wanted one, especially when I saw that Marine Corps FAST companies used them.

                US Gun & Knife - my first AR, I posted this not too long ago. $723 in 1988 equals $1,631.91 in 2021.



                20190411_012516 2.jpg Colt Gov't Carbine.jpg
                Got mine down the street at T&T a few years before, for $519. The POS Marty had working there at the time opened the box out of my sight, and removed a few things before giving it to me. I spoke to Marty a few days later and he apologized, and took care of it
                Take a young person shooting.... Take 2 or more if you can...

                Comment

                Working...
                X