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Valmet M76

Assault rifle

Valmet M76 (762 Rk 62 76)

The Valmet M76 is a Finnish clone of the Soviet AK-47 assault rifle

 
 
Country of origin Finland
Entered service 1976
Caliber 7.62x39 mm
Weight (unloaded) 3.5 kg
Length 945 mm
Length (with folded stock) 680 mm
Barrel length 420 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

 

   The Valmet M76 is an improved version of the Valmet M62 assault rifle. The M76 was adopted by the Finnish Defense Forces in 1976 as the 762 Rk 62 76. The same assault rifle was produced by Valmet and SAKO, another Finnish gun maker. Production commenced in 1976 and ceased in 1986. Eventually 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. This weapon is still widely used by the Finish Defense Forces alongside the older M62, even though a newer SAKO M95 is available. Though operational M76 assault rifles are being gradually upgraded. This assault rifle has been exported to Indonesia and Qatar.

   The Valmet M76 is a gas-operated, selective fire weapon. Like its predecessor it is based on the Soviet AK-47 assault rifle and has the same action. However it uses a modified gas system, which reduces recoil. Furthermore the Finnish assault rifle was manufactured using more advanced equipment to far tighter tolerances and higher specifications. So overall it is a better weapon than the Soviet AK-47 or AKM. In service the Finnish M76 recommended itself as a well-made, robust, reliable and accurate weapon.

   Comparing with the previous M62, the M76 has a stamped steel receiver rather than milled. It has got different polymer foregrip and pistol handle. The M76 is lighter than its predecessor. Also there are some other minor improvements.

   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 Army switched to newer 5.45x39 mm intermediate ammunition, which is still standard with the Russian Army. 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 M76, chambered for standard NATO 5.56x45 mm and 7.62x51 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 M76 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 magazines. It is compatible with both older steel and newer polymer magazines. Also there are 15- and 20-round capacity magazines, though it looks that these were mainly intended for civilian semi-automatic only weapons. This assault rifle 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.

   The Valmet M76 assault rifle has a tubular steel buttstock. The tube of the stock holds cleaning and maintenance accessories. Some civilian models have a side-folding tubular buttstock, while others have solid wooden or polymer buttstocks. A foregrip and pistol handle are made of polymer materials.

   The M76 has diopter-type iron sights. These were completely different than the Kalashnikov sights. Front sight of the M76 is mounted on the gas block, rather than the barrel. 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. It looks like some weapons were fitted with a side-mounted universal scope rail, that could mount various Soviet sights.

   Muzzle brake of this weapon has attachment for a knife-bayonet. It can be used to shoot through barbed wire. Small-gauge barbed wire can be snapped by simply rotating the weapon around. Though this assault rifle can not mount a sound suppressor or launch rifle grenades.

 

Variants

 

   Valmet M76FS is a civilian semi-automatic only version, with a side-folding tubular stock. It was available  chambered for the Soviet 7.62x39 mm or Western 5.56x45 mm ammunition.

   Valmet M78 is a light machine gun. In concept it is similar to the Soviet RPK. It has a heavy barrel for sustained firing. The baseline version of this squad automatic weapon was chambered for 7.62x39 mm ammunition, though there were export versions, chambered for standard NATO 5.56x45 mm and 7.62x51 mm ammunition.

   Valmet M78 83 is a dedicated marksman rifle, based on the M78 light machine gun.

   Valmet M82 is an assault rifle with bullpup layout. It was designed specially for the airborne troops and introduced in 1978. It was proposed as a replacement for the folding-stock models. However this weapon had some design flaws and was never adopted by the Finnish Defense Forces. Still though a small batch of these weapons was produced. These were exported mainly to the United States. Production was finally stopped in 1986.

   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.

 

 
Valmet M76 (762 Rk 62 76)

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Valmet M76 (762 Rk 62 76)

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Valmet M76 (762 Rk 62 76)

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Valmet M76 (762 Rk 62 76)

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Valmet M76 (762 Rk 62 76)

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Valmet M76 (762 Rk 62 76)

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Valmet M76 (762 Rk 62 76)

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762 Rk 62M

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Personal appeal from Andrius Genys

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