May 10, 2012, 10:45 PM
Hey ya'll, thought I'd ask about a rifle I don't see mentioned real often in the flurry of Mosins and SKS's out there. I'd like to include a unique Russian to the growing :uhoh: milsurp portion of my gunsafe, and the SVT 40 seems to fill the niche of "powerful-plinker" beautifully.
-What are their pros/cons as a fun plinker and their proficiency at hunting and target shooting?
-Are they sturdily built, and with a safe action, or are they "one of those you have to be careful with?" Are they built to better standards of manufacture than other period Russian guns?
-Any wierd quirks or nit-picks a buyer should be aware of? Are there similar but "better" rifles out there I should look at first (not necessarily milsurp)?
-Lastly, what prices have you seen for these (looks like 800$+ is the going rate on GB, a bit high methinks for a rough-shod semiauto)
I ask because I am, unintentionally, filling my arsenal with pieces that seem to rate highly on the "Most fun ___ to ___" lists. Since I apparently have the same tastes as a lot of folks here:cool:, I thought I should ask ya'll for guidance
I have 2 K31's, which look to be the #1 or #2 best-made bolt rifles of the war (easily), and, ostensibly, crazily accurate (no range time yet)
The VZ-58 is next on my to-buy list and is highly regarded among semi-auto carbines as more "comfy," "ergonomic," and "controllable" than AK's
Lastly, my FNAR is a hoot for rapid, precise, (but expensive) paper-punching, though a tad too easy at 100yds
The High Road's wisdom is 3/3 for my rifle purchases so far, tell me what you think of the SVT-40 :)
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May 11, 2012, 12:11 AM
I'm pretty happy with mine. Not the most reliable rifle, but a lot of that is due to worn out seventy year old parts. Still plenty accurate though. Here is a hundred yard group I shot with mine:
May 11, 2012, 03:06 AM
Well I do think it is my favorite rifle (sorry to my AR-15 if it learns to use the internet), just take a look at my signature line. Sorry to say that if you live in the USA $800 is a going rate, cheapest I saw at the last gunshow was $690 without magazines (not fun to find or fit) and the highest for a grand or a garand (his words). If you want to live with our fine neighbors to the north you can get them for $300 all day long (5 round magazines:(). FWIW I would not have paid $800 for mine, but now that I own one I find that to be a fair price for a sweet rifle.
So to the quirks. Magazines can require some fitting and are very expensive. Use 147gr ammo the actions are strong, but the stocks can crack with abuse. Think of it like a garand (I am going to get flamed for this) that has a box mag, and can shoot really cheap ammo if you don't mind cleaning. If you can spend some time with the rifle before you buy, check the gas system for corrosion and the stock for cracks. Other than that enjoy comrade:D
May 11, 2012, 09:30 AM
Gun shows around here have them for $630-$730, I also think $800 is a little high. That being said I would LOVE to have one.
May 11, 2012, 10:11 AM
Do it, they're worth it. I've had as many as five, though that got a bit silly and I reduced down to just two.
Ten shot semiauto, same mechanism as a FAL, decent sights (which for all the chest-thumping about aperture sights being unconditionally better, work better in dim light), a simple enough mechanism to take down once you've field-stripped it a couple times, and generally a very fun and cheap rifle to shoot.
Drawbacks are price and variable condition. You might get a former Naval Infantry rifle that was maintained immaculately and killed hundreds of Germans, or you might get a rifle that was dropped in the snow in November and fished out in May.
Most of the whining about the design comes from people who get a rough rifle, are terrified of corrosive ammo, or don't bother to bear in mind they're shooting something designed in the early thirties and produced during a war by factories on the frontlines.
I love mine.
May 11, 2012, 12:35 PM
They are good rifles, accurate, powerful, and reliable. Price is really the only downside to these rifles. my only other complaint about the one I owned was an occasional problem with the rimmed cartridges causing failures to feed.
Another great rifle that is similar in 8X57 is the Hakim, nice examples can be found for about half that of the SVT's and extended mags are easy to form. These have a great muzzle brake, low recoil, very reliable, adjustable gas system,and accuracy on par with the SVT.
here is a nice example at a very nice buy it now price...
May 11, 2012, 12:45 PM
Are there similar but "better" rifles out there I should look at first (not necessarily milsurp)?
There's always the AVT-40 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmN5Q2qDOmE). Betch can't guess what the "A" stands for! ;)
I've only ever seen one, and the cost would be a little different. But hard to top for the COOL factor.
May 11, 2012, 01:03 PM
Like the Garand they're an early attempt at a semi auto battle rifle. Good, but not perfect. I think a lot of the reliability issues come down to the wide mix of 54R surplus and a general poor knowledge base about these rifles. Imagine if we were shooting Garands with no veterans to give us pointers, no manuals to look at, and no instructional material. We'd have to learn all the little problems and tweaks as we went along, we'd be ill-prepared to judge the gunflesh at the shop, and the Garand would be known as a jam-o-matic. People would be running them with hot .30'06, running them with no grease, making improper mods to them, etc. If you go in for them, check out the various forums where this knowledge base has been painstakingly recreated. There you will find pointers on what to make sure to clean, lube and how to feed and care for the beast.
If you don't want to mess with that, there are later designs like the SAFN or PSL that will work well without as much fuss and that aren't banged up by the Ostfront.
May 11, 2012, 04:15 PM
I like this thread. I've been wishing for an SVT for a while.
May 11, 2012, 04:19 PM
I like this thread. I've been wishing for an SVT for a while.
May 11, 2012, 04:35 PM
I'd love to have one myself but I just can't make myself pay the going rate these days. But if I ever catch one in the 500 dollar range I'm all over it.
May 11, 2012, 04:42 PM
there is the unique rifle
May 11, 2012, 05:16 PM
I love mine, very fun to shoot.
Vaarok, that's a nice looking Navy rifle. (For those not familiar, the Naval Infantry version can be identified by the sling cut in the buttstock).
May 11, 2012, 08:46 PM
Thanks for the replies folks, glad some of ya'll could chase up some alternatives. Here's what I've come away with so far (tell me if I'm forgetting any or got my info wrong);
-SVT 40; seems like the ship has sailed on these as an accessible milsurp, 800$+ is just too much (for me anyway). Heck, I paid only 100$ more my .308 FNAR, an infinitely more refined rifle. Appears well made among Russian service arms of the era, but parts are basically non-existent these days. Light and handy, though long. Suprisingly accurate considering its manufacture quality.
-FN 49; looks almost as good as the SVT, prices are climbing on these, too (700$+). Seems word has gotten out about these under-appreciated rifles. Very well made, more sophisticated/perfected, but shoots a (slightly) less common round (8mm Mauser) than 7.62R (There is a 30-06 on GB for 1300$:eek:) Supposedly more accurate than the SVT 40 (more consistent gun-to-gun, too).
-Hakim; Plays a similar role to the FN 49, 8mm mag fed Semi-Auto. Again, very well made. Apparently Swede-designed (and made on their tooling by the Egyptians), so it would play well with my K31's:). Much lower price than it's competitors at ~500$ (thanks for mentioning the Hakim, 451 Detonics, hadn't heard of this one)
-VZ52; I discovered this one a few months back after confusing my CZ 52 and the VZ 58 in a Google search :D. Seems to be the Czech version of the SKS concept, but, like the VZ 58, better executed than the Russian counterpart. Seems the 7.62x45 ammo is quite sparse, and the rifles available aren't in the greatest condition:(
The Hakim, a rifle I hadn't heard of previously, seems to be my favorite thus far. If they ever made these guns (of equal quality) in more common calibers, I think I'd be all over one for 500$. Were any variants or conversions made?
Gosh, but those SVT's look pretty, though... a handsome Naval-Issue on GB is already bid north of 800$, with 6 days of bidding left...
May 11, 2012, 09:07 PM
The Hakim, a rifle I hadn't heard of previously, seems to be my favorite thus far. You might be able to get a good deal on one from a confused looking man missing a thumb. :uhoh:
;) They're cool rifles. Really cool. They have a loading and charging operation that can only be described (generously) as perplexing. And they make the infamous tendency of the good ol' Garand to nip the thumbs of the uninitiated seem like a playful nuzzle from a lab puppy! :D
An Hakim would make a mighty good home-defense rifle. Just leave it out where the burglars are likely to enter. They'll stop, totally derailed by their curious inability to make it work, and then awaken you with their screams. :what:
No, seriously...they're very cool rifles!
May 11, 2012, 10:18 PM
"You might be able to get a good deal on one from a confused looking man missing a thumb (or with a hole in his hand)" amended it for ya...
Yeah, I'd heard the thumb thing mentioned a few...dozen times in the course of my brief research. Lots of horror stories and Frankesteined thumbs. You're right though, it appears have the most inscrutable semi-auto action I've seen, and I'd need some stick time to get things down pat. Ugly, too.
As you alluded to, the same could be said of the Garand, though. I'm honestly more concerned with the "fun" offered by the rifle than the "cool factor" or pure novelty.
"Fun" for me is a mix of;
-Good handling/feel (i.e. no annoying ergo issues, but I can't always handle guns ahead of time :banghead:)
-Sufficiently accurate (relative to similar class guns)
-Low or fair price for what I'm getting (condition, quality, consistency, availability)
-Interesting, unique, or innovative mechanical design (yeah, I'm an engineer...)
-Doesn't cover the same bases as another rifle I own (until I cover all the bases, that is)
If the FN49's would come down in price a little (or the Hakims's go up before I get off my rear) my decision would be easier;)
May 12, 2012, 02:56 AM
Well consider somemore in the Hakim's family
the Rashid (or Rasheed) a carbine in x39
or the Ljungman the 6.5 Mauser, Swedish predecessor, BTW the Swedes build the first couple orders of Hakims I do believe.
Oh and the Vz. 52, was rechambered into .39 when the soviets forced the Warsaw pack to adopt a common caliber, if you can find a 52/57 no need to learn to reload. you can also purchase glue in chamber adapters. But they tend to be rare as the Czechs adopted the Vz. 58 in response.
Oh, and you forgot the French Mas 49
Personally I'd like to find a Colombian FN 49 in 30.06 or one in 7mm
May 12, 2012, 08:56 PM
MAS-49/56 is another. Fairly common, superb weapons with very low popularity due to herp-derp French-bashing. Which is fortunate, because it keeps prices down on an otherwise superb rifle.
My opinions of the two alternates of the SVT - the Hakim and FN-49, are that the Hakim is a sort of dead-end design that's fun and loud but not particularly great, and the FN is painful to handle considering the hamstrung features like a fixed box mag that differentiate it from the FAL.
The Vz-52, however, is a superb rifle in all regards if you can find a decent one that's also in 39. Just don't expect to.
May 12, 2012, 09:07 PM
The Rasheed is a mini Hakim action...neat guns but the prices have skyrocketed. I love my Hakim...bought it when like new guns where selling for 80 bucks. I have shot cases of ammo through mine and it has always worked.
Currently is is sporting urban Hawaii camo and a homemade scope mount...
May 12, 2012, 09:23 PM
Some nice choices here. Almost any SVT under a grand can be considered a deal these days.
I've got most of the alternatives listed; SVT-40, Hakim, Rashid, vz-52 and 58... they are all fun.
May 12, 2012, 10:14 PM
Since I think I have just about all the rifles you are thinking about I figured I'd give my thoughts.
My favorite is the G43. Might be out of your price range, but hard to beat in cool points. Also you can find 8mm ammo just about anywhere which is nice.
SVT-40 comes in second. One of the more common rifles, but still very cool.
FN-49s are great. Chambered in quite a few different calibers. Mine is an Argentine Navy model in 308. Also the only FN-49 model with detachable magazines.
Hakim is kind of a scary rifle until you get used to it. Super loud and draws a lot of attention at the range.
Rasheed is basically a baby Hakim. Being in 7.62x39 is really a bonus though.
MAS 49/56 is probably my least favorite. Ammo is hard to find, and being French isn't very cool. Sorry if I'm offending any French people here.
VZ 52 is a very cool design, especially with it's side folding bayonet. The problem is that 7.62x45 ammo is almost impossible to find. I should chronograph some of the ammo I have because it feels a lot hotter than 7.62x39.
May 13, 2012, 03:12 PM
56Hawk - nice collection!
May 16, 2012, 12:55 AM
Great thread and awesome posts by everyone. I love my Fn 49 and AG 42B. Reload for them for quality control on the ammo. With the Ljungman, I was shooting old ball ammo dated 1946. Suffered a case-head separation and broke the extractor.
One of these days, will add a SVT-40 to the collection.
May 16, 2012, 07:23 PM
With the Ljungman, I was shooting old ball ammo dated 1946. Suffered a case-head separation and broke the extractor.
AG42's need lubricated ammo if you are using milsurp 6.5x55....otherwise with handloads you can use the correct powder to prevent ripping the case head off while the pressure is too high.
May 17, 2012, 02:37 AM
That makes a lot of sense and thank you for the tip.
May 17, 2012, 09:37 PM
Love this thread. That's all I got. ...Just sayin' and posted to subscribe.
No, wait, there's this too. I had one as the first foreign weapon I ever bought but got rid of it as expensive Norma was all I could find to shoot at the time.
May 18, 2012, 05:59 PM
I have had mine for about a year...it is in my top 5 surplus weapons. It was just not the right rifle for the Soviet army.
On a side note i like the 49/56 quite a bit. Partizan has the ammo..and you are shooting 308 class bullets.
May 18, 2012, 07:05 PM
Is anyone willing to sell their SVT? :D
May 18, 2012, 11:20 PM
Is anyone willing to sell their SVT?
Yeah, if you've got an extra grand or so laying around, there are plenty...
I'm actually suprised by how many are on GB at the moment, half dozen or so last time I checked. At this point, I'm not sure the functionality is matched by the price, since I'm not a collector. I'll have to pass this time ("but a man can dream, though, a man can dream...")
The FN49 (in a common caliber) is the winner for me since it seems to be the best executed of the field, while still having a reasonable price (kinda). But at their price point (1200$:scrutiny:) though, modern platforms are more competitive. I was kinda hoping I'd be able to find a cool/quirky older semi platform (for little scratch) that can hang with today's offerings (like my K31 in bolt-action). Guess I'll just have to start combing through pawnshops and estate sales for that "killer deal" now that I know what's out there. Or buy a CMP Garand like everyone else;)
Thanks a ton for the photo lineup, 56Hawk, very helpful to see these laid out like that. They ought to "sticky" that for any future "Which Semi-Auto Battle Rifle?" threads. I had no idea the VZ52 was that short, I figured they were overbuilt tanks, but I was thinking they were as long as a Mosin. Your photo again confirms the SVT is the shapliest of the bunch:D
May 18, 2012, 11:44 PM
The FN49 (in a common caliber) is the winner for me since it seems to be the best executed of the field, while still having a reasonable price (kinda). But at their price point (1200$ :scrutiny:) though, modern platforms are more competitive.
I got my FN49 for $700. Most of the other rifles I pictured were in the $500-$800 range. All of the guns except for the Rasheed I found at local gun shows. You just have to wait and see what shows up.
And thanks for liking my picture. It's fun to show off the collection. :D
June 12, 2012, 07:45 PM
The LGS has a SVT 1941 for 900$, and I got the chance to check it out today...Problem is, I just shelled out 600$ on a (hopefully) killer deal on a 30-06 FN49 Lux. Dare I even consider...:uhoh:
Before I get to that, my hands-on experience in the shop:
I was suprised how light & handy the thing was, it's like a M1 carbine compared to the Mosins :D. However, I'll bet it kicks like a mule:(. I was also impressed with the machining, the bolt face and action felt much more refined than I was expecting. The wood seemed comparable to most of the Russian Mosins that were in the store (asking 300$ for them, BTW :rolleyes:), but didn't look as banged up (no cracks), and had a nice smooth laqcuer on everything. I didn't see any rust or obvious pitting (I couldn't take it apart to check out the barrel), just machine marks. There was some wear around a screw/knob with plier flats set into the stock on the right side (gas adjustment?). Bluing was in "old service gun" condition (gone on the highspots, heat shield was still blued).
Overall, I was impressed. I didn't know Russia made arms of that quality at that time. I looked around for interesting markings on the gun; no import stamp :), and a circle with what looked kinda like a "A" or Cyrillic backward "R" on the right side of the reciever. This rifle did have the magazine, and appeared to hand cycle properly. I like how the trigger is locked out until the last micron of bolt travel, at first I thought the mech was broken, but I just hadn't let it slam home. I couldn't tell visually that the rifle was out of battery :). I was suprised by how light the trigger was; a really creepy (kinda like a two stage with a really mushy transition) and fairly long draw, but under 5lbs, it felt like. The safety was very crude, but seemed to work. The gun looks awesome from about five feet away, but the "rough Russian" qualities ugly it up a bit up close. For instance, the cool metal barrel shroud at the front was fairly loose (no worse than Mannlicher (sp?) stock foregrip wood, though), and the bolt handle was kinda cruddy. It either wasn't knurled, or the knurling had worn off, and had many machine marks.
Now here's the hard part: As the date of my OP on this forum indicates, I have been pining for one of these for a while. I even asked around for similar rifles to fill the main-battle-rifle niche. And finally, just when I commit to a great deal on the closest competitor to the SVT (the FN49), it has the audacity to just "show up" right in front of me:cuss:. Before the FN49 even arrives:mad:. Ridiculous.:fire:
Phony anger aside, if this is actually a great deal on the rifle, I'd be a fool to pass it up, even if the purchase would cause me to exceed the 'ol coin jar budget for a bit.:evil: I've done business with this shop before (picking up the FN49 from them, too), so I believe I can talk them down a tad. Is 900$ for what appears to be a decent-to-good quality (I'm not qualified to rate it) SVT-40 worth the trouble of obeying the speed limit and cooking my own meals for a month?:D
Also, if any of ya'll can provide any insight on how you think this rifle seems to compare to others you have experience with, I'd be most appreciative.
PS: I swear, it's like fate keeps tempting me away from the VZ-58...
June 12, 2012, 08:06 PM
It's a decent rifle, fairly accurate but no tack driver. Good and reliable once the gas is properly adjusted. Does need some special attention when cleaning after shooting corrosive ammo. It's just simple enough to take the whole action(less wood) into the shower (REALLY) and just wash it all down with HOT water. Once you are done...spray it with WD40 then clean as needed.
Any SERIOUS WW2 collector WILL have one.
June 12, 2012, 08:40 PM
Any SERIOUS WW2 collector WILL have one.
Dang, I just wanted to buy it for a fun range blaster :o, since I already have a tack-driver in my .308 FNAR, but I have heard that the SVT has pretty good accuracy with decent ammo. I take care of my guns, but I intend to shoot this rifle if I buy it, with collectibility/history only a distant consideration (and no, I wouldn't Bubba-stardize it...:rolleyes:). I would probably attempt to shoot non-corrosive, if such ammo exists yet. I don't think SVT's are quite to the point of collectibility that they must be safe queens (like lots of those fancy Pythons :neener:), so I shouldn't feel bad about wanting to use the thing for now, right?:o:scrutiny:
June 12, 2012, 08:48 PM
Plenty of non-corrosive exists, just expect to pay at least .40 a round instead of the sub .25 you are used to with corrosive. With an svt-40 you want to use 147gr ammunition to avoid cracking the stock. I love my svt-40, and unless we start getting russian imports again they are only going to go up in value. That being said I would not have an SVT if I did not get it for the steal it was.
June 12, 2012, 08:50 PM
www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=F1VEPR54R2301&name=Russian+VEPR+7.62x54R+23%22+Rifles&groupid=11 if you wanted something a little more modern take a look at these. I have been wanting one for awhile.
Sent from my MB870 using Tapatalk 2
June 12, 2012, 08:58 PM
I own a SVT, FN49 Hakim, Rasheed, and a VZ52. SVT is hands down my favorite, light with low recoil (that break does wonders) followed closely by the 49 ZERO recoil due to the weight.
June 12, 2012, 09:40 PM
Thanks for the timely replies ya'll!
Yeah, I've checked out the VEPR's before. I think it's the most attractive package I've seen AK's in, but it just didn't speak to me (just like all AK's and AR's). Call me contrarian, but I kinda like the less common, but equally functional solutions out there. That's why I own two K31's, a CZ52, and now, an FN49 instead of K98's, a Tokarev, and a Garand. Although, if the VEPR's are competitive weight-wise, I may have to reconsider...
I've heard that sentiment a number of times, actually; "SVT is my fav, closely followed by the FN49," but only from people who owned/shot both. Otherwise, it was "FN49 is awesome, but I've not shot an SVT." :) My favorite I've seen on some forums is "I dunno about those other guns, but Garands are better":banghead:. Very cool to hear that break takes some of the heat out of the kick, I've been scared to buy a Mosin for that reason (my K31 kicks hard enough :o). I forgot to note whether or not the rifle I saw had the full-auto or semi-auto break on it, though it did have a "A" stamped on the reciever.
You got yours for a steal you say, what would you say a "steal" nowadays is? I've seen many going for just north of 1000$ online, so this seems like a good bargain (also no shipping/FFL fees). Like I said, I'm not afraid to buy if it is likely to be a good deal; I can always sell to one of you guys and recoup/make the money back if I don't care for the rifle. :D
I just didn't expect to hit a good deal so soon after my FN49, which I got for around half what I've been seeing them go for online. (Man, I really hope that rifle's not messed up or something when it gets here...:uhoh:;))
June 12, 2012, 09:59 PM
+1 on the MAS 49/56
reloadable and non-corrosive ammo is out there and not that expensive. She might be ugly, but she'll never let you down.
June 12, 2012, 10:38 PM
Anything south of $800 w/magazine is a good deal. Saw three at the last gun show for $600-$700 w/o magazines. I did not pay even that last Nov. but it was a steal. $900 is a fair price, I see people asking north of $1000 routinely.
June 13, 2012, 01:03 AM
I got mine for a song about 10 years ago. It was light and didn't recoil much, but mine was not accurate. I sold it a year or two ago for more than I paid for it, so I'm not unhappy about the experience. That old rifle may have even solved a mystery (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=2710366), although I'm not entirely convinced of this.
Oh, yeah...the disassembly and reassembly. Some say that it's not a problem. It's significantly more complicated than any machine gun that I ever dealt with and is (presumably - I'm not convinced) somewhat less complicated than a space shuttle is. I'd argue that it featured far too many steps and parts for a military rifle, then or now, but the civilian shooter can cope. The Russians largely hated them. The Germans largely loved them. Make of that what you will.
I don't miss mine, but I miss the concept, if that makes sense.
Rustle in the bushes
June 13, 2012, 05:39 AM
theyre a cool gun it depends what youre into. having a muzzle blast that will knock your friends hat off if he stands at the right angle beside you= AWESOME. these things create a shockwave and I love it when my brother brings it out to the range because I havent seen another gun that makes this happen.
As far as reliability concerns that you hear about(largely from uneducated Russian operators and uneducated civilian operators)- the gas system is adjustable and will give you cycling problems if not properly set to the ammo youre shooting. We have his dialled in to deal with surplus stuff and its fine.
Surplus 54R can be found fairly cheaply in Canada dont know about you guys, we pay alot less for the rifles too I think.
Did I mention we unboxed his at the range and proceeded to smash clays at 100 yds?
But srsly- the shockwave
June 13, 2012, 12:34 PM
I would love to have one for my collection. An SVT-40 would do well with the AG 42B and FN49 Would love to see the three in a side by side comparison. About 20 yrs. ago, I had the chance to get an SVT for $350. At the time, I was a student and that was a lot. Still kicking myself for not taking the plunge.:cuss:
Anyway, have fun and enjoy
June 13, 2012, 08:09 PM
Well, I got a chance to take a closer look at the SVT in the shop today, this time armed with a lot of information. I was looking for a couple things, here's my quickie buyer's guide:
-Matching Serial Numbers: No numbers matched, but was acceptable since "SA" stamps on the mag and reciever indicated Finn capture and re-arsenal. This is a 1941 rifle. All numbers were stamped, none penciled, which I believe indicates the rifle was either 1)not made under as much pressure as later guns, and 2)parts were not replaced by the typical arsenal process that would re-match everything (likely since the Finn's did the rearsenalling).
-Maker's Stamp: An assortment of parts, Ivhesk and Tula; Reciever group was Ivesk, magazine looked to be Tula. There are no visible import marks.
-Stock Condition: Stock was refinished, evidenced by no stamps, serials, cartouches, except 1 "daisy" looking mark. Fairly blonde color, heavily laqcuered, with few (but deep) dings, and a long repaired crack in the upper handguard. The sling mount was the more common stud at the bottom of the stock. No cracks at the grip/wrist area. Stock had only one cutout for the safety, indicating it is an original "SVT" stock, as opposed to the later/beefier "AVT" stock. other than the foregrip crack, there were no other repairs visible.
-Blueing Condition: All exterior metal was still blue, except on corners. The bolt looked yellow-green, which I believe meant it was white-metal with laqcuer on top of it. The bolt knob itself was blue/brown, probably due to natural usage wear/corrosion. The reciever has scope mounts milled, but they are unused, by lack of mounting notch. This indicates this rifle was not a late 1941, since I believe the scope mounts were left off at that point.
I looked up how to break one of these down earlier today, so I took a crack at field stripping the SVT in the store. Taking it apart was far easier than reassembling it, at least as far as getting the spring cover back on was concerned (ten minutes it took me :mad:), but overall not as bad expected.
-Bolt/Carrier: All the bolt/reciever/cover parts looked good; nothing rusted, bent, or missing. They were all a bit loose, though this may be intentional (likely). I would guess the recoil spring is a bit played out, mainly due to its age. It felt weaker than any recoil spring I've come across, pistol or otherwise. There were a few obvious shiny spots at contact areas.
-Barrel/reciever: The lever-thing at the back of the reciever was pretty stuck (didn't want to tear up my thumb picking at it), so I had to examine the rifling from the muzzle :eek:. Needless to say, I don't envy the soldiers who had the same opportunity back in the day... Anyway, the bore was pretty dark (common), with light frosting that could have been dust or dirt. I couldn't run a patch or slug down the barrel. Rifling was still very obvious, but I couldn't tell how sharp it was. Sounds like a run of the mill SVT barrel. Acceptable, nothing special. The crown looked decent, I think it'd be hard to damage one with the giant six-slot (earlier) brake on the end of the thing. I couldn't check headspace or verify it wasn't rechambered to something stupid.
-Gas System: This gun still has the cleaning rod (bent, but a +50$ value), which once removed, allowed me to take off the cool stamped steel heat guards that cover the gas system. The ring that holds the hand guards together was very loose, especially since I've heard some folks have to pry them off. This means the top handguard rattles quite a bit. Probably doesn't affect operation, though. The piston, a simple forward facing cup that is blasted by the gas tube, was easy to move against its return spring, with no hitching or obvious grinding felt. Sounds like the operating rod isn't bent :). When pulled all the way to the rear, I saw that the gas tube and cup, while coated with a thick layer of black soot, were not rusted, and looked dirty more than pitted. As seen by the amount of soot on my hands after this inspection, I couldn't really judge what shape these delicate/vulnerable parts were in without a thorough cleaning. I am fairly sure they are functional, since the barrel is in decent shape, and the action still cycles smoothly.
Summary: I decided to pass on the rifle since the asking price of 900$ is out of my league, especially since I just dropped a chunk on a FN49. The dealer was completely unwilling to bring the price down any, which is his right, but still kept the rifle about 100$ above my "buy" threshold. If I had reason to believe this rifle was worth 1500$ or something, I'd go for it, but that is simply not the case; it's a Finnish capture refurb in decent condition, and 900$ is a fair price for it. Maybe if it's still there in a month or so *tear* I'll feel more like paying the price. I do have more respect for the LGS, though; they know how to set fair prices, and find cool stuff to stock (until I let the cat out of the bag recently, they had six K31's collecting dust). At least now I feel informed enough to buy sight-unseen online, if I find a better deal elsewhere. I thought I had moved on from this rifle when I decided to buy the FN49, but I now realize I want an SVT more than ever (and the FN49 :D)
'Till then I'll be a-wishin'...Oh well, I'll get to know the Belgian in the meantime:)
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