Discussion in 'Valmet and Tikka' started by StevoMT, Sep 28, 2020.
The M71 was made in 7.62x39, but as far as I know was not made as a semiauto for civilian sale in that caliber. The original was intended as a basic AKM, with stamped receiver and original Soviet style gas system and open sights. Manufacturing cost was less than the rk/62, but not many were built. I believe they were issued mainly to reserve units. As far as I know the m/71 semi was only made in .223 and .222, the latter being a small number for France and other European countries where semiautos were legal but not in military calibers.
There are some rare and valuable guns in that photo. From the bottom:
m/62s with fixed tubular stock, milled receiver, and early "bicycle" style pistol grip.
m/76 with fixed tubular stock. Very rare in 7.62x39.
Model uncertain because the folding stock obscures view of the receiver, but probably a stamped m/76 - also rare in 7.62x39
m/78 in 7.62x39 with what appears to be a Soviet 75-round RPK drum. Not as rare as the 76 in 7.62x39, but a fairly scarce item. Most examples are in .308, some in .223.
Thank you for that information. I have been trying for years to put the collection in the photo together. Frankly, I'm relieved if the M71 was not available in the Russian caliber! The Valmet with the stock folded is a M76 with milled receiver and the improved side folding stock. Some say Galil copied from Valmet and others say Valmet copied the folder from Galil.
What do you mean by "improved" side folding stock? Were there two versions of the Finnish stock, or are you comparing it with the Galil? The original Galil was a modified rk/62 with some improvements and adaptations for Israeli use. The stock was one of these; the Israelis didn't care for the tube stock and replaced it with one apparently derived from the para version of the FAL, the previous Israeli service rifle. Other mods included a thumb-operated safety lever on the left side (a huge improvement in handling). The ARM version of the Galil also had a bipod, which doubled as a wire cutter, and a bottle opener built into the forend.
The chain of copying goes like this: Finland obtained some Polish AK-47's with milled receivers, which they used as a base for the much improved rk/62. Improvements included a much better barrel for improved accuracy, an aperture rear sight, an improved gas system with a hooded front sight mounted on the gas bock, a flash hider, and of course the tubular folding stock. The Israelis took the rk/62 as the basis for the Galil, adding their own improvements and adaptations as noted above.
The tubular stock of the rk/62 and its successors is a curious and purely Finnish design. I've never seen anything like it anywhere else. It is quite rugged and practical, but takes a bit of getting used to. I hate to say this as a partisan of all things Finnish, but I prefer to shoot with the more conventional stock on the Galil. My Galil is actually a parts kit gun, a Century "Golani." I picked it up for cheap at a small-town gun show; I didn't want to spend two or three grand on a real IMI-built import, preferring to conserve my resources for Finnish weapons.
By the way, I have seen one (and only one) m/71s in .223 with a tubular stock. I don't know if it was a factory original or a buildup. The original military rk/71 did have a tubular stock. The gun was for sale online and I should have bought it, but I was short of cash at the time and decided to pass. Oh well.
As long as we are talking about rare Valmets, here's one for you. I no longer own it; I sold it to one of the curators at the NRA museum.
And my favorite Valmet accessory of all time.
I have seen two Valmet folding type stocks. Most common is the left folding stock with the unique "hook" latch. Once mastered, the stock opens quick enough, but the mechanism is not exactly obvious. The other was a more recent design. It folds to the right and is more Galil/FAL like. It utilized the tube stock as in the other Valmet stocks, but the hinge is the big change.
Also this M76 milled side folder has the enlarged tab on the selector to accommodate gloved hand manipulation. I know there are other M76 milled side folders in 7.62 X 39 out there, but this is the only one I have ever seen.
I've seen a couple of the 7.63x39 m/76 folders on Gunbroker. They went for fairly large sums of money.
My stamped m/76 in .223 has the left-folding stock with the multi-fingered hinge and the hook. It's been so long since I shot it, I had to dig to the back row of the safe to confirm that, since I couldn't remember which it was. The right-folding hinge may well have been borrowed from the Galil, since it was a later development. It looks like the Galil hinge.
Do you have one of these? It's quite useful.
No, but I wish I did.
Here are a couple more Finnish Army issue goodies for your amusement. The sight is, of course, completely useless on a civilian gun, but I still think it's kind of cool to have one in my collection. The pouch I got cheap a couple of years ago; now sellers want absurd prices for them. Glad I got it when I did.
Wow, that is very cool!
Here are a couple of other items you may or may not have seen, depending on how long you've been collecting Valmets. Mainly for the .223 m/76s or m/71s.
Those are items that I have never seen. What scarce accessories!
The case was dumb luck. I picked it up at a show a long time ago. The Beta Mag tower was made by a guy named Tony Rumore in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. He's still in business; I think he builds AR stuff and .50 BMG uppers. Anyway I was active in an online Valmet collectors group at the time, and Tony made up a prototype and took orders for them. He filled the original orders and decided it was more work than the money he was getting, so he didn't make any more. I think he built maybe two or three dozen in all. Mine works fine. The Beta does interfere with folding the stock, so I usually only use mine on the fixed-stock gun. It will not work on the bullpup - no clearance. Those are the only Beta conversion towers I've ever seen or heard of - I've never seen one for a .223 AK, Beretta AR70, etc. Beta and the Koreans are both making 100-rounders for a few more guns than they used to. I have a Korean knockoff for a Mini-14. Tony also converted East German .223 AK mags to work in a Valmet. I have a couple; they work quite well. I also converted two different Chinese .223 mags to Valmet. They work too, and the conversion was pretty easy. One was Norinco and the other was Polytech.
By the way, do you know the story behind the "sniper" m/78's like the one in my photo? If not, I'll fill you in. Most of what people say about those guns is BS.
I heard the "sniper" M78s were put together in this country by Odin Imports. Over the years I had one pass through my hands, but that was a long time ago.
That is correct. Odin overestimated the demand for the m/78 and had some unsold units fitted with AK-style scope mounts and Dragunov-type stocks to sell as "sniper rifles." Surprisingly for such a small number of guns, they used both wood and plastic stocks. I wonder if they got back the cost of the mold, or what might have happened to it. Those molds are expensive! I don't know how many guns were converted but it wasn't many. Couple of hundred at most, maybe as few as fifty.
I got the story many years ago from the former marketing director of Odin Arms, whom I ran into on the firing line at the Izaak Walton League in Northern Virginia. At the time I still had my "sniper," so I was very interested in his account. I sold the thing because I was moving, I needed the money, and it really wasn't much fun to shoot, being big and heavy and also a "sniper rifle" with the accuracy of a SAW, which of course is what it was. There's one of the plastic-stocked versions for sale now on Gunbroker. Guy wants seven grand; he's had it listed for a couple of months with no bites.
The M78 I have in 7.62 X 39 is an Odin Import, but it doesn't have the same receiver as the "sniper". I believe the sniper and some others have that unusual bulge on the left side. They took a different top cover as I recall to accommodate the bulge.
Is the "unusual bulge" the one just forward of the scope mount in the photo below? I've owned one or two other m/78's besides the sniper but I don't recall whether or not they had the bulge. I don't know what the purpose of that bulge is; I'll see if I can find anything about it in Palokangas when I have time.
I think I was in error when I said the rifle for sale on Gunbroker had a plastic stock. On closer examination, it appears to be wood with a very dark stain, which combined with an underexposed photo made it look more like black plastic. I have, however, seen the plastic version.
As you probably know, the m/78s was made on both stamped and milled receivers. As far as I know, all the snipers had the stamped receiver. I don't think the milled receivers had the bulge, but I can't be sure. As far as I know, they would have been identical to the milled m/76 receivers. As a side note, I have seen one or two m/78 carbines - cut-down m/78's with conventional stocks and barrels cut to 16". One of them was for sale 20 years or so ago at Potomac Arms in Alexandria, VA. I didn't buy it, being short on cash at the time, but I did remember it. I saw another, similar gun on Gunbroker a year or two ago. I thought about bidding, but didn't want it all that badly. I wonder if Odin built that as well, or if not where did it come from?
Separate names with a comma.