Finnish for the Gun Collector (Part 2, Basic Firearms Vocabulary)

Discussion in 'General Sako Discussions' started by icebear, Jan 24, 2020.

  1. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    Here is the second part of the Finnish language guide, with basic firearms words. Comments or questions are welcome. If any Finns catch me in a mistake, please let me know. I don't claim to be the final authority, just a foreigner who speaks a little Finnish.

    Basic Firearms Terms

    OK, let's get down to business. In this part, I'll lay out a basic firearms vocabulary. This will be mostly in a narrative format rather than a straight vocabulary list, because I can convey more information that way and I also think it will be easier to assimilate and remember. Note that many Finnish firearm terms are of Germanic origin; most came into Finnish by way of Swedish. I have given the foreign origin of Finnish words where I know it.


    The basic Finnish word for a weapon or firearm is ase (pl. aseet). Small arms are käsiaseet (lit. hand weapons); military small arms are sotilaskäsiaseet. For those interested in Finnish military weapons, this leads us to the standard reference on that subject, Sotilaskäsiaseet Suomessa 1918-1988, by Markku Palokangas (3 volumes). It's in Finnish, but photo captions are translated into English and there are English-language chapter summaries. It is richly illustrated with original military photos.

    Another Finnish word for gun is pyssy, but I have seldom heard it used.

    Finnish has three words for a rifle. The most general is kivääri, from the German gewehr or the Swedish gevär. The word kivääri is most commonly used for a military rifle. A hunting rifle is usually called a luodikko, after luoti, meaning bullet. Similarly, a shotgun is a haulikko, after hauli, meaning shot. The third word for rifle is rihla, which also means the rifling in a barrel. The term is seldom used for a firearm, except in the word haulikkorihla, which is a combination shotgun-rifle. For a double barrel, an over/under is päällekkäinen (haulikko or luodikko) and the adjective for side-by-side is rinnakkainen. I have also seen kaksoisluodikko for a double rifle and kaksoishaulikko for a double shotgun, but a native speaker has informed me that these terms are not in common use. These derive from kaksi, the number two.

    A pistol is pistooli; a revolver is revolveri.

    A small-caliber rimfire rifle (like a .22) is a pienoiskivääri, after pieni, meaning small. You can also have a pienoispistooli or a pienoisrevolveri.

    The action of a firearm is lukko (lock). You will recall that in the old days, we used the term lock, as in flintlock, etc. A bolt action is pultilukko; lever action is vipulukko. Semiautomatic is puoliautomatti (n.) or puoliautomattinen (adj.). Puoli means half.

    A machine gun is konekivääri; a submachine gun is konepistooli; an assault rifle is rynäkkökivääri.

    The stock is usually called tukki (lit. a log). Wood is puu; plastic is muovi. The butt is perä. The military calls a folding stock taittoperä.

    To complete the trio of lock, stock, and barrel, the barrel is piippu. The muzzle is piipunsuu (lit. mouth of barrel). Muzzle crown is suuviiste (viiste meaning bevel or chamfer).

    The magazine is lipas.

    Sights and Scopes: A sight is a tähtäin; sights are tähtäimet. A scope is a kiikari; same word for a telescope or binoculars. A scope base is a kiikarijalka (lit. scope foot); the plural is kiikarijallat. A ring is rengas; rings are renkaat. Open, as in open sights, is avoin. A peep sight (diopter) is diopteri.

    Ammo: Ammunition is ampumatarvikkeet (lit. shooting material) or ammukset. A cartridge is patruuna (after the German and Swedish patrone). The bullet is luoti; powder is ruuti; a primer is nalli; the empty case is hylsy. Lead is lyjy. A jacketed bullet is vaippaluoti. A soft point is lyjykärki (lit. lead point). Weight of bullets and powder is measured in grams, not grains.

    Accessories (varusteet):
    Sling – hihna
    Holster – kotelo
    Bayonet – pistin
    Ammo pouch patruunatasku
    Cleaning equipment – puhdistusvälineet

    The verb ampua means to shoot. Most any Finnish word you encounter with the stem ampu- or ammu- relates to shooting. Ampumahiihto (lit. shooting-skiing) is the sport of biathlon, which is popular in Finland. An ampumarata is a shooting range. Finnish m/39 rifles are occasionally found with KR painted on the buttstock. This stands for koulurata, meaning training range (lit. school range).

    And to finish this installment, here's some background on the names and origins of the most familiar Finnish gun manufacturers.

    Sako was originally an acronym, which is why old Sako logos are in all caps. SAKO was short for Suojeluskuntain Ase-ja Konepaja (Civil Guard Arms and Machine Works). The company was founded to build weapons and military equipment for the Finnish Civil Guard. The company was sold to the Finnish Red Cross after the war with the Soviet Union, as part of Soviet postwar reparation demands. It later became an independent company; it is now owned by Beretta.

    Tikka means woodpecker in Finnish. It is named after the original location in the town of Tikkakoski. Koski means a rapids or small waterfall, so the town's name translates as Woodpecker Falls. Tikka originally built weapons for the Finnish army; after the war it changed over to civilian sporting arms. It was merged into Sako in the 1980's and Tikka rifles are now made at the Sako factory in Riihimäki.

    VKT was the State Rifle Factory (Valtion Kivääritehdas). It was a state-owned company making weapons for the army. In the postwar era VKT was merged with other state-owned enterprises to form Valmet, short for State Metal Industries (Valtion Metallitehtaat). Valmet made a variety of products, including high-quality farm tractors. Valmet's arms business was merged into Sako, and firearms are no longer made under the Valmet name.

    A smaller Finnish gun company, little known on this side of the Atlantic, was Tampereen Asepaja (TAP). The name means Tampere Arms Works; Tampere is a city in central Finland. TAP made some very high quality rifles, the only one of which to reach the United States in any numbers was the TAP Lakelander 375 (model number, not caliber). TAP is no longer in business.

    Note: Revised to correct errors pointed out by a native speaker. Kiitos (thank you) to P04.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2021
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  2. P04R

    P04R Well-Known Member

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    Great post. Could not do it better myself. Only two things I found to be strange: Not exactly wrong, but I have never heard anyone use the term kaksoishaulikko. Usually it is just haulikko. I think this is because these days the double barrel is the default what people own and use. If the number or orientation of barrels is relevant then it is päällekkäispiippuinen haulikko (shortened to päällekkäinen) for over and under, and rinnakkaispiippuinen haulikko (shortened to rinnakkainen) for side by side.

    The other thing is the muzzle. Kuono means the muzzle of an animal. What I see and hear used most of the time is Piipunsuu (lit. mouth of barrel). Muzzle crown is suuviiste (viiste meaning bevel or chamfer).
     
  3. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    Kiitos. In fact, the one word I was least confident of was the muzzle. I got kuono from several online dictionaries, even entering "gun muzzle" rather than just muzzle to be sure I was getting the right word, but that was one of the few words that I did not know personally and was unable to find a reference in my Finnish-language gun books. So, many thanks for the correction.

    And thanks for the shotgun terms as well. I have seen my two words in print, but yours are much better. It's interesting that the double shotgun is the preferred choice in Finland; that was certainly the case the few times I went bird hunting there. In America we seem to be more fond of semiautomatic and pump shotguns. Personally, I prefer a double. I have a 20 gauge Valmet 412 and a 12 gauge Ruger, both over/under, and an old custom A.H. Fox 12-gauge side by side. I also have a 16 gauge side-hammer haulikkorihla by Robert Schräder of Göttingen. I do not own any repeating shotguns and I do not want one. I'll shoot a pump if I don't have my own gun with me and have to borrow, but I absolutely detest semiautomatic shotguns. They are OK for defense but I don't want to hunt with one.

    I will make the necessary corrections, and thanks again. I may be sending you a message asking for some help with the next installment!
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
  4. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Although I shoot virtually nothing but "double barrel" shotguns (o/u or s/s), there are a couple of good reasons that Americans somewhat more commonly shoot pumps or autos. These "new fangled" single-barrel repeaters came into use in the late 1800's and early 1900's, after the side-by-side had been the shotgun standard for many years.

    The majority of American shotgun shooters at the time tended to be of a different type than European shotgun shooters. Americans were mostly rural people like farmers and ranchers whose use for the shotgun was less for sport and more for sustenance (taking small game and protecting the homestead). On the other hand, European shooters tended to be mostly better-off financially and shot their guns for recreation, where the double served them well and its higher cost was inconsequential.

    American "sustenance" shooters quickly adapted to the pumps and autos since they usually cost less than a double and could shoot five to six shots without reloading. Not only was the lower cost important, but the greater shot capacity allowed them to capitalize on a flock of quail or turkeys, taking home more meat than they might otherwise. Thus, a couple of generations of American shotgunners were raised with the notion that the double was "old fashioned" and somewhat obsolete, while their pumps and autos were "modern" and more effective. It is only in the last few decades during which American shotgunners have become much more sport shooters than sustenance shooters that the double has had a resurgence of interest with American shooters.

    Double fan that I am, I do have just one disagreement with Icebear: The Browning humpback autoloader with its super long sight plane, quick reloading, and flawless function may be the finest game gun ever designed. When the third pheasant or fourth quail flushes that third through fifth shot can come in pretty damn handy. And once when hunting in Mexico where a plug is not required for migratory birds I did manage a "quadruple" on whitewings with a Browning auto. A Purdy may be "purty", but it won't do that.
     
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  5. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    All very true. Subsistence hunting and sport hunting are two very different things. A repeating shotgun is generally more affordable than a double, although I used to have a Stevens 20 gauge that didn't cost any more than a repeater of equivalent quality. As for the humpback Browning, that's strictly a matter of individual fit and preference. Back when I was in college, they still required gym credits and you could get one gym credit for a shooting class. When we got to the skeet range, I was handed a Browning automatic. I couldn't hit a thing with it. Swapped it out for a Wingmaster and started breaking birds. It was like night and day. I haven't fired a Browning Auto 5 or its clones since.

    That old Stevens double did me well. Living in Belize in the late 70's when it was still a British colony, I was invited to go duck hunting with a group of British officers. Now the British regard repeating shotguns, especially automatics, as unsafe and look down on American hunters for using them. The friend who invited me later told me that when I opened my gun case, all eyes were trained on it to see what came out. When that double appeared, there was a giant collective sigh of relief and I was part of the group. That's also where I acquired a taste for Famous Grouse. Several of the officers were Scottish, including the friend who invited me, and being military officers they could buy any Scotch they wanted, tax-free, at a big discount. Their drink of choice was Famous Grouse, and I happily joined the fan club. I sold the Stevens to a Belizean friend when I left the country. He was quite a character too - half Palestinian and half Scots, with a big blond Afro, and married to a woman from Texas. He was a rancher and hunting guide who kept a pack of dogs and a pet puma. He once took me jaguar hunting. But that's another story...
     
  6. P04R

    P04R Well-Known Member

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    Go right ahead. Happy to help. Though, I might not the greatest authority on the subject with my 6/10 Finnish language score. :D
     

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