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Valmet M62

Assault rifle

Valmet M62 (762 Rk 62)

The Valmet M62 is a clone of the Soviet AK-47, but was built to improved specifications

 
 
Country of origin Finland
Entered service 1960s
Caliber 7.62 x 39 mm
Weight (unloaded) 3.9 - 4 kg
Length 915 mm
Barrel length 425 mm
Muzzle velocity 720 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire 650 rpm
Practical rate of fire 40 - 100 rpm
Magazine capacity 30 rounds
Sighting range 600 m
Range of effective fire ~ 400 m

 

   In the 1950s the Finnish Defense Forces were looking for a new assault rifle. Eventually they decided to adopt a modified version of the AK-47, then used by their neighbors, the Soviet Union. They took into the account experience of the 1939-1940 Winter War, when the Soviet Union invaded Finland.

   This Finnish assault rifle is based on the Soviet AK-47. Finnish designers used a Polish license-produced version of the AK-47 as their starting point. Originally there was an M60 design (Finnish designation 762 Rk 60). It was a close copy of the AK-47, but with some external differences. Unusual feature of this weapon was that it lacked a trigger guard. It was much easier to shoot for the soldiers wearing thick winter gloves. In 1960 the Valmet M60 it was submitted for military testings. However eventually it was rejected by the Finnish military due to the lack of the trigger guard, as it was a serious safety concern. So the M60 was improved and further developed into the M62. This improved version was adopted by the Finnish Defense Forces as the 762 Rk 62. The same assault rifle was produced by Valmet and SAKO, another Finnish gun maker. In 1976 production switched to an improved M76 model (762 Rk 62 76). In 1986-1987 gun manufacturing unit of the Valmet was transferred to SAKO and Valmet name was no longer used for the gun and ammunition production. The M62 is still used by the Finnish Defense Forces alongside its improved versions. Though some of these weapons are being gradually phased out, while the others are being upgraded to Rk 62M standard. This assault rifle has been exported to Estonia, which is so far the only known export operator of this weapon.

   The M62 is a gas-operated, selective fire weapon. Internally it is similar to Kalashnikov assault rifles, however it uses a modified gas system, which reduces recoil. Furthermore the Finnish M62 was manufactured to far tighter tolerances and higher specifications. In service the M62 recommended itself as a well-made, robust, reliable and accurate weapon. Overall it is a better weapon than the Soviet AK-47 or AKM.

   This assault rifle is chambered for a Soviet 7.62x39 mm ammunition. For decades Finnish Defense Forces used the same ammunition as the Soviet Union, so that in case of war Finnish soldiers could use captured ammunition. Though since the mid 1970s Soviet, and later, Russian Army switched to newer 5.45x39 mm intermediate ammunition. Finnish Defense Forces decided not to switch to the new round for logistical reasons and still rely on older, but more powerful 7.62x39 mm ammunition. Civilian semi-automatic versions of the M62, chambered for standard NATO 5.56x45 mm ammunition, were available.

   This assault rifle has a Kalashnikov-style safety and fire mode selector lever, located on the right side of the receiver. It has three positions for "safe", "semi-auto", and "full-auto". When the safety is on it prevents the shooter from loading the weapon, however it allows the check weather a weapon is loaded. Unfortunately this selector lever is awkward to use.

   The M62 is simple to use and to maintain. For cleaning it can be easily field stripped without using any tools. There are no small and fiddly parts that can be lost while the shooter is cleaning his weapon.

   This assault rifle is fed from 30-round steel magazines. Later improved polymer magazines were introduced. It is also compatible with standard Soviet 7.62 mm magazines from AKM assault rifle and RPK light machine gun. This weapon comes as standard with 6 magazines.

   This assault rifle has a tubular steel buttstock. The tube of the stock holds cleaning and maintenance accessories. A foregrip is made of polymer material.

   The M62 has diopter-type iron sights. These were completely different than the Soviet sights. Front sight of the M62 is mounted on the gas block. It reduced attachments to the barrel and resulted in increased accuracy. Though the sights are adjusted in the same manner as the Kalashnikov-type sights. Maximum sighting range is 600 meters, though range of effective fire is around 400 meters.

   Muzzle brake of this weapon has attachment for a knife-bayonet. It can be used to shoot through barbed wire. Though it can not mount a sound suppressor or launch rifle grenades.

 

Variants

 

   762 Rk 62 TP is a version with a side-folding buttstock. Letters "TP" in its Finnish military designation indicate that the weapon has a folding stock.

   762 Rk 62 PT is a version with a perforated polymer foregrip, rounded pistol grip and slightly different sights.

   Valmet M62S is a civilian semi-automatic version. It was available with a tubular steel buttstock, or a solid wooden buttstock.

   Valmet M71 is an export version, resembling the Soviet AKM. Sight posts were relocated and the front sight post is located on the muzzle brake. This weapon has a tubular steel buttstock (762 Rk 71), but there was also a version with an AKMS-style collapsible buttstock (762 Rk 71 TP).

   Valmet M71S is a civilian semi-automatic version. It is chambered for a standard NATO 5.56x45 mm ammunition. This weapon was available with wooden or polymer furniture.

   Valmet M76 is an improved version. It has a different foregrip and some other improvements. This weapon is lighter than the original M62. It was adopted by the Finnish Defense Forces in 1976 as the 762 Rk 62 76.

   SAKO M95 is a further improved version, produced by SAKO in the mid 1990s. In 1988 the Finnish Defense Forces issued requirement for an improved assault rifle. Development was completed in 1990. Most important improvements of the new assault rifle were a side-folding stock, capability to launch rifle grenades, mount bayonet or sound suppressor. Also there were some other minor improvements. This improved weapon has been adopted by the Finnish Defense Forces in 1995 as the 762 RK 95 TP. This assault rifle was produced in relatively small numbers. Around 20 000 units were built. Production ceased in 1997-1998.

   Rk 62M is an upgraded version of the Finnish Rk 62 assault rifles. In 2015 the Finnish Defense Forces announced that they will gradually upgrade their existing Rk 62 assault rifles. Old tubular buttstock was replaced by an M4-style telescopic buttstock. Also there are some other improvements. This weapon retains a side-mounted scope rail, but also has a standard Picatinny-type scope mount, which is widely used in the West.

   Galil is an Israeli assault rifle, based on the Valmet M62. It was developed during the late 1960s. It is reported that tooling and machinery for production of this weapon were delivered from Finland. The main difference of the Galil is that it is chambered for standard NATO 5.56x45 mm ammunition. There is also a version chambered for a 7.62x51 mm NATO round. The Galil was adopted by the Israel Defense Forces in 1972. Unlike the M62 this weapon was widely exported and is still used in around 30 countries.

 

 
Valmet M62 (762 Rk 62)

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Valmet M62 (762 Rk 62)

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Valmet M62 (762 Rk 62)

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Valmet M62 (762 Rk 62)

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Valmet M62 (762 Rk 62)

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Valmet M62 (762 Rk 62)

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