7.62mm: Bolt Action Rifles

The Finnish Weapons Series

Sixteen Bolt Action Rifles



This is my third version of the Finnish bolt action rifles, the fifth in my series of Finnish weapons. If anyone has additions or comments, please let me know.

Bibliography:

  • - : Kivääri 91 - Rakenne, hoito ja käsittely. Puolustusministeriön julkaisuja. Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava, Helsinki 1926
  • -: Puna-armeijan jalkaväen kenttäohjesääntö, I osa (Yksityinen sotilas, ryhmä, joukkue, komppania). Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava, Helsinki 1943.
  • -: Taistelukivääri - TTPA:n jalkaväen ja ampumavalmennuksen inspektorin tov. Vasilenkon vahvistamasta kirjasta "Tarkka-ampujajoukkueen aseistus". Valtion kustannusliike Kirja, Petroskoi 1936.
  • Barker and Walker: Russian Infantry Weapons of World War II. Arms and Armour Press, London 1971
  • Hyytinen, Timo: Arma Fennica 2 - Sotilasaseet. Gummerrus Oy, Jyväskylä 1987
  • Ikonostasov, V and Mjasnikov, M.: Jalkaväen taistelujärjestys. Valtion kustannusliike Kirja, Leningrad 1931.
  • Palokangas, Markku: Military Small Arms in Finland. Second Volume - Finnish Weapons. Vammalan kirjapaino, Vammala 1991
  • Smith, Joseph E. and Smith W.H.B.: Small Arms of the World. 10th edition. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 1973


    Stats:

    Finnish Bolt Action Rifles
    7.62mm
    Finland, Russia, USSR
     
                                       Length Barrel SigRad Weight Velo
    _RIFLE_______________________________cm____cm_____cm_____kg____mps_
    Jalkavaenkivääri m/91    kiv/91     130.5  80     69    4.3    880
    Ratsuvaenkivääri m/91    kiv/91 rv  124    73     62    4      865    
    Jalkavaenkivääri m/91-24 kiv/91-24  130.5  80     69    4.4    880
    Sotilaskivääri   m/91-30 kiv/91-30  123    73     62    4.1    865
    Jalkavaenkivääri m/27    kiv/27     119.5  68.5   59    4.3    860(1) 
    Tarkka-ampujakivääri  kiikiv/27 PH   "      "      -    5.4     "
    Ratsuvaenkivääri m/27    kiv/27 rv  111.5  61     52    4      850(1)
    Sotilaskivääri   m/28    kiv/28     119    68.5   59.5  4.2    860(1) 
    Tarkka-ampujakivääri  kiikiv/28      "      "      -    5.4     "
    Sotilaskivääri   m/28-30 kiv/28-30  119    68.5   59    4.3     "
    Tarkka-ampujakivääri  kiikiv/33      "      "      -    5.6     "
    Sotilaskivääri   m/39    kiv/39     118.5  68.5   57.5  4.5     "
    Tarkka-ampujakivääri  kiikiv/39 PH   "      "      -    5.4     "
    Tarkka-ampujakivääri  kiikiv/39 SOV  "      "      -    5.2     "
    Tarkka-ampujakivääri  kiikiv/39-43   "      "      -    5.1     "
    Tarkka-ampujakivääri  kiikiv/39-44   "      "      -    5       "
    
    
                                       Length Barrel SigRad Weight Velo
    _RIFLE_______________________________in____in_____in_____lb____fps_
    Jalkavaenkivääri m/91    kiv/91      51.4  31.5  27.2   9.5   2887
    Ratsuvaenkivääri m/91    kiv/91 rv   48.8  28.7  24.4   8.8   2838   
    Jalkavaenkivääri m/91-24 kiv/91-24   51.4  31.5  27.2   9.7   2887
    Sotilaskivääri   m/91-30 kiv/91-30   48.4  28.7  24.4   9     2838
    Jalkavaenkivääri m/27    kiv/27      47.1  27    23.2   9.5   2822(1) 
    Tarkka-ampujakivääri  kiikiv/27 PH   "      "      -   11.9     "
    Ratsuvaenkivääri m/27    kiv/27 rv   43.9  24    20.5   8.8   2789(1)
    Sotilaskivääri   m/28    kiv/28      46.9  27    23.4   9.3   2822(1) 
    Tarkka-ampujakivääri  kiikiv/28      "      "      -   11.9     "
    Sotilaskivääri   m/28-30 kiv/28-30   46.9  27    23.2   9.5     "
    Tarkka-ampujakivääri  kiikiv/33      "      "      -   12.4     "
    Sotilaskivääri   m/39    kiv/39      46.7  27    22.6   9.9     "
    Tarkka-ampujakivääri  kiikiv/39 PH   "      "      -   11.9     "
    Tarkka-ampujakivääri  kiikiv/39 SOV  "      "      -   11.5     "
    Tarkka-ampujakivääri  kiikiv/39-43   "      "      -   11.2     "
    Tarkka-ampujakivääri  kiikiv/39-44   "      "      -   11       "
    
                                                         (1)= Estimated
    
    Penetration (kiv/91-30):
       "From close range":
           35 25mm thick pine boards placed at 25mm intervals. 
           1 meter of earth
           75 cm thick wooden wall
           One and a half brick thick brick wall
    
    
    
     RT:     8
     ROF:    3 
    
     Cap:    5 charging strip
     AW:     0.27 lbs (0.12 kg) CS
    
     KD:     12
     SAB:    7
    
    
     Aim Time:           
          kiv/91     kiv/91 rv  kiv/27 rv  kiv/39 kiikiv/28   kiikiv/39
          kiv/91-24  kiv/91-30                    kiikiv/33     (all)
                     kiv/27                       kiikiv/27 PH
                     kiv/28                        
                     kiv/28-30
        1  -23         -23        -23        -24     -23        -24
        2  -12         -13        -12        -14     -13        -14
        3   -9          -9         -9        -10      -7         -7
        4   -7          -8         -7         -8      -5         -5
        5   -6          -6         -6         -6      -4         -4
        6   -5          -5         -5         -5      -2         -2
        7   -4          -4         -4         -4       0          0
        8   -3          -3         -3         -3       1          1
        9   -2          -2         -2         -2       2          2
       10   -2          -1         -1         -1       3          3
       11   -1          -1          0          0       3          3
       12   -1           0                             4          4
       13    1
    
     Ballistic Data: kiv/91, kiv/91-24
                 10   20   40   70  100   200   300   400
         FMJ PEN 24   22   20   17   15   9.1   5.5   3.3
              DC  8    8    8    8    8     7     7     6
        *JHP PEN 23   21   19   17   14   8.6   5.2   3.2
              DC 10    9    9    9    9     9     8     8
          AP PEN 35   32   29   25   21    13   7.9   4.8
              DC  8    8    8    8    7     7     7     6
    
     Ballistic Data: kiv/91 rv, kiv/91-30
                 10   20   40   70  100   200   300   400
         FMJ PEN 24   22   20   17   15   9.0   5.5   3.3
              DC  8    8    8    8    8     7     7     6
        *JHP PEN 23   21   19   16   14   8.6   5.2   3.1
              DC 10    9    9    9    9     9     8     8
          AP PEN 34   32   29   25   21    13   7.9   4.8
              DC  8    8    8    8    7     7     7     6
    
     Ballistic Data: kiv/27, kiikiv/27 PH, kiv/28, kiikiv/28,
        kiv/28-30, kiikiv/33, kiv/39, kiikiv/39 (all models)
                 10   20   40   70  100   200   300   400
         FMJ PEN 24   22   20   17   15   8.9   5.4   3.3
              DC  8    8    8    8    8     7     7     6
        *JHP PEN 22   21   19   16   14   8.5   5.1   3.1
              DC 10    9    9    9    9     9     8     8
          AP PEN 34   32   29   25   21    13   7.8   4.7
              DC  8    8    8    8    7     7     7     6
    
     Ballistic Data: kiv/27 rv
                 10   20   40   70  100   200   300   400
         FMJ PEN 23   22   20   17   14   8.8   5.3   3.2
              DC  8    8    8    8    8     7     7     6
        *JHP PEN 22   21   19   16   14   8.3   5.1   3.1
              DC 10    9    9    9    9     9     8     8
          AP PEN 33   31   28   24   21    13   7.7   4.6
              DC  8    8    8    8    7     7     7     6
    
              BA 64   56   48   41   36    27    21    17
             TOF  0    0    1    2    2     5     8    11
    
    
    
    All Finnish bolt action rifles are basically versions of the model 1891 rifle. In fact many of the guns were produced from existing 1891 rifles simply by changing barrels and sights. They all look very similar to the Karabin 1938g of the World War II Weapon Data Supplement. All of these rifles use the Mosin-Nagant action and the standard Russian/Soviet 7.62x53 round adopted in 1908. The bolt is complicated and the safety is difficult to work (double normal number of actions required to switch safety on or off). The weapon is loaded in the same manner as Mauser action rifles, that is the bolt is pulled back and the charging strip is inserted into the magazine from above.

    The Jalkavaenkivääri m/91 "Mosin-Nagant" (kiv/91, Infantry Rifle model 1891) was selected as the standard rifle of the Finnish Army in 1918 because the country already had almost 200 000 of them inherited from the Imperial Russian army. These rifles were in relatively poor condition however and the design had some deficiencies among which the primary were the unprotected Russian sights which were graduated in arshins, an old measurement equal to 71 centimeters, or about two paces. Originally the sights were graduated up to the equivalent of 1665 to 2272 meters but in the 1920s all model 1891 rifles underwent maintenance and the sights were converted to metric measurements, now reaching only up to 850 meters. However for use beyond 850 meters the rear sight could be raised and the original arshin measurements used up to the equivalent of 2272 meters. In the Soviet Union, rifles made after the Revolution were also graduated in meters.
    The rifle was used with a socket-attached, 0.4 kg 50 cm long bayonet shaped more like a spike than a bayonet. Other accessories supplied with the weapon included a cleaning rod and some spare parts.
    The rifle continued to be manufactured throughout the Second World War - over 25 000 were made during the period - and old service rifles were continually being refurbished with new parts. After the war thousands of rifles were put in storage, many of them brand new at the time. The model 1891 rifle was still being taught to NCOs in 1987 and was still in army stockpiles in 1988, though plans had already been made to finally phase out the type.

    The Ratsuvaenkivääri m/91 (kiv/91 rv, Dragoon Rifle model 1891) was originally a Russian weapon bought from Poland in 1919. It boasted a distinctive hexagonal receiver and its barrel was seven centimeters shorter than that of the infantry rifle for easier use on horseback, this weapon was used by Russian and later Soviet cavalry from about the year 1900 onwards. In its home country it was soon being supplemented by a carbine model 1910, a handier gun for riders. Finnish modifications to the design included the same sight modifications as carried out on the Infantry Rifle 1891 and a change in the rifle strap attachments. The rifle could be fitted with a 37.5 cm bayonet. There were approximately 3000 kiv/91 rvs in Finnish service. During the war the kiv/91 rv was mostly used in training centers but some did find themselves at the front. In addition, large numbers of equivalent Soviet rifles were captured early in the war. This rifle model was retired from Army service in 1959 when the remaining examples were sold abroad.

    The Army considered a model 1891 rifle to be of acceptable accuracy if, at the range of 300 meters, five out of six rounds fired struck a 35 cm (13.8 inch) diameter circle. The Civil Guards, a patriotic rightist organization, was a major user of the rifle. As part of their defense activities they participated in marksmanship competitions and for them the Army standard for accuracy was not enough.
    The Jalkavaenkivääri m/91-24 "lottakivääri" (kiv/91-24, kiv/24, Infantry Rifle model 1891-24, "the Lotta Rifle") was a thicker-barreled conversion of the original model 1891 rifle. The rifles were partly funded by the Lotta Svärd organization, a women's auxiliary corps, and assigned to the Civil Guards. Though the improved model was heavy, its accuracy was much better than that of its predecessor. About 26 000 were converted in 1925-28 using barrels manufactured abroad. During the war the rifles were used by regular army units and became assimilated with original model 1891 rifles during maintenance as interchangeable parts were freely mixed. After the war the kiv/91-24 continued to be used alongside the original rifle model. The model 91-24 could be fitted with a 50 cm, 0.4 kg bayonet.



    The 1891-30 rifle. Picture from a Soviet manual of 1936.


    The Sotilaskivääri m/91-30 (kiv/91-30, Military Rifle model 1891-30) was a Soviet Army weapon. The model 91-30 was the standard Soviet rifle of World War II and it is amazing that it was not included in the World War II Weapon Data Supplement. The rifle was rather like the earlier Dragoon Rifle but had a more ordinary, round receiver. The sights were protected by a cylindrical hood and a spring-loaded catch was used to fasten the bayonet in place. Typically the soldier was not provided with a seath for the bayonet, it was kept attached to the rifle. The Red Army placed great emphasis on bayonet fighting - in fact infantry units were expected to defeat their enemy in close combat, not from a distance. For such use the sturdy model 91-30 was well suited.
    The sights were graduated up to 2000 meters and technical books talk about the possibility of using concentrated rifle fire against large area targets up to a distance of 1000 meters. However both prewar and wartime Red Army Field Rules specify that the rifles were to be used at ranges of 400 meters or less. Only snipers and "commendable riflemen" were to engage the enemy at longer ranges because rifle fire at ranges greater than 400 meters is already inaccurate and will only serve to hinder the assault [by Red Army troops] (Ikonostasov & Mjasnikov).
    28 000 such rifles were captured during the Winter War. During the Continuation War their numbers rose astronomically and it quickly became one of the most common rifles in the Finnish Army. Like most Soviet weapons, the model 91-30 was found to be a reliable, dependable gun. Finnish factories produced spare parts for the rifle type until 1953 and about 10 000 whole new rifles were put together from spare parts as late as the 1960s. The type was still in Army inventory in 1988, though plans had already been laid down for its retirement.

    The Jalkavaenkivääri m/27 "pystykorva" (kiv/27, Infantry Rifle model 27 "the Spitz") was an improved version of the model 1891 rifle. Unlike the m/91-24 which was made for the Civil Guards, the model 27 was a regular Army rifle. It featured a new safety and trigger, better supported sights, better ergonomy while skiing and several structural design features copied from the German Mauser rifle. In addition, it was a more modern, shorter design than its bulky predecessors. 55 000 examples of the rifle were manufactured in 1928-39 and an additional 1000 during the Winter War. The rifle was used with a short bayonet.
    Because the front sights were shaped slightly like the ears of a dog, the gun was given the nickname "the Spitz," after the Finnish elkhound. The name stuck and was subsequently used for later rifle types as well.
    Unfortunately the new barrel mounting design proved to be far too fragile for military use. Just a few shots while the bayonet was attached, and the whole wooden body of the weapon would sometimes break in two ! Also, the barrel proved to be made of material which was very susceptible to wear. In 1937 it was decided to refurbish all rifles with new stocks and supports, but unfortunately the work was not finished when the war started. Many kiv/27 rifles broke during the war and by 1951 there were only 27 000 of the type left. The remaining rifles were either stockpiled or used in basic training until the Seventies. The type was retired in 1986 and most remaining examples were sold abroad.

    The Tarkka-ampujakivääri m/27 PH (kiikiv/27, Sniper Rifle model 27 PH) was a standard model 27 rifle fitted with a 3x Physica scope with an 8 degree view. 150 rifles were made and used in the Continuation War and retained after the war in stockpiles until the late 1970s.

    The Ratsuvaenkivääri m/27 (kiv/27 rv, Dragoon Rifle model 27) was a shortened version of the model 27 Infantry Rifle. Other differences included the postition of the strap attachment (important so that the stock of the gun would not hit the rider's back with every step the horse took) and the characteristic bent bolt which did not catch onto the rider's equipment. About 2000 kiv/27 rv were produced. During the war the rifles were used by cavalry troops. About 1000 Dragoon Rifles model 27 were scrapped in 1944 and the remaining 300 sold in 1960 to gun collectors in the United States.

    The Sotilaskivääri m/28, "suojeluskuntakivääri", "pystykorva" (kiv/28, Military Rifle model 28, "Civil Guard Rifle," "the Spitz") was a an improved version of the model 91-24 design. Though the 91-24 rifle was an improvement over the original model 1891 type the Civil Guards were still not satisfied. They wanted an even more accurate rifle for military competition shooting. Improvements of the new model included a new, shorter and thicker barrel which did not suffer so much from the gun's wooden parts' tendency to warp in extreme temperatures and humidity conditions. Also, the gun's sights now had some protection so that in theory they would require less re-adjustment if the gun was dropped or otherwise mistreated.
    The rifle could be fitted with a 42 cm, 0.4 kg bayonet. About 40 000 model 28 rifles were manufactured in 1927-35. During the war the rifle was used extensively and by 1951 only about 17 000 remained on inventory. The type was retired in 1986 and the majority of remaining examples were sold abroad.

    The Tarkka-ampujakivääri m/28 (kiikiv/28, Sniper Rifle model 28) was a standard model 28 rifle fitted with a 4x Zeiss scope. Only eleven rifles were made in the 1930s but all were used in the war and retained afterwards in army inventory until the late 1970s.

    The Sotilaskivääri m/28-30, "pystykorva" (kiv/28-30, Military Rifle model 28-30, "the Spitz") was an improved version of the model 28. While the earlier model had suffered from sights which often needed readjustment, the new sights, which were graduated for both short distances and up to 2000 meters, were for the first time fully protected from mistreatment. The rifle could be fitted with a 42 cm, 0.4 kg bayonet.
    Arguably the best Finnish rifle ever, the model 28-30 earned world wide recognition as a fine weapon and was used as the military rifle of the 1937 World Championship shooting competition where world records were shot with it in all categories. About 40 000 model 28-30 rifles were made or converted from earlier models in the years 1932-41 and delivered first to the Civil Guards and later to the regular Army. In Army use the gun was also well liked by the troops and was the rifle of choice for any soldier. By 1951 22 000 rifles remained in the inventory. In the Eighties the Ministry of Defence sold the remaining 17 000 examples to gun collectors.

    The Tarkka-ampujakivääri m/33 (kiikiv/33, Sniper Rifle model 33) was a standard model 28-30 rifle fitted with a 4.5x Busch Visar scope with sights out to 1200 meters. Unlike other rifles based on the 1891 design, this model's magazine had to be reloaded one bullet at a time because the scope prevented the use of a charging strip. 25 rifles were made and used in the Second World War and the few which survived were kept in Army inventory until the late Seventies.

    The Sotilaskivääri m/39, "Ukko-Pekka" (kiv/39, Military Rifle model 39, "Old Man Pekka") was the last of the bolt action rifles to be wholly based on the 1891 design. A logical continuation of the development resulting in the model 27 and 28 rifles, the model 39 featured a sturdier construction, a new stock and a new safety mechanism. As a result it was rather heavy. The rifle could be fitted with a 30 cm, 0.3 kg bayonet.
    The gun was nicknamed after President P.E. Svinhufvud who was an ardent gun enthusiast. Over 100 000 model 39 rifles were produced in 1941-45 and by 1951 about 80 000 remained in inventory. The rifle continued to be the Army's primary rifle until the 1960s when the Assault Rifle model 62 started to replace it. Spare parts continued to be manufactured until the Eighties as it was thought that the rifle would remain stockpiled until the 21st century, but it is possible that the 1991 acquisition of about 100 000 assault rifles from Germany (ex-East German Army equipment) has hastened its removal from Army reserves.

    The Tarkka-ampujakivääri m/39 PH (kiikiv/39 PH, Sniper Rifle model 39 PH) was a standard model 39 rifle fitted with a 3x Physica scope with an 8 degree view. 100 rifles were made and a considerable number of the kiikiv/27 PH were converted into m/39 PHs. As a result, by 1951 there were 193 m/39 PH rifles in the inventory and they were stockpiled until the late 1970s.

    The Tarkka-ampujakivääri m/39 SOV (kiikiv/39 SOV, Sniper Rifle model 39 SOV) was a standard model 39 rifle fitted with a war-booty Soviet 3x PE or PEM scope. The PE scope had sights up to 1400 meters. About 200 rifles were made and the remaining examples were phased out in the the 1970s.

    The Tarkka-ampujakivääri m/39-43 (kiikiv/39-43, Sniper Rifle model 39-43) was yet another model 39 modification. It was fitted with a proven German 4x Ajack scope with a 5 degree view sector. About 300 examples were produced during 1943-44 and an additional 200 after the war. The type remained the Army's primary sniper weapon until the early 1980s. The rifle itself was retired in 1988 but the scopes were still being kept in the inventory.

    The Tarkka-ampujakivääri m/39-44 (kiikiv/39-44, Sniper Rifle model 39-44) was yet another variation of the model 39 rifle, this time fitted with a Finnish 4x scope. Only fifty were made and these did not arrive in time for the Second World War. The scopes were still being kept in reserve in 1988 but were due to be phased out completely.

    The Mosin-Nagant rifle was the mainstay of both the Soviet and the Finnish armies in World War II. Proven, accurate and reliable, the weapon soldiered on in active service until the Sixties and beyond despite the introduction of more modern, automatic rifles. A hundred years after the initial introduction of the weapon, tens of thousands are probably still in military use in Third World countries, and many more are stockpiled away in reserve.





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