Simonov Sunday

No rest for the wicked, as Your Humble Blogger (and Small Dog Mk II, who is invited) meets with a business partner today. (SDMkII may be meeting the partner’s dog-in-law, that bit’s not clear).

Meanwhile, back at Hog Manor, it snowed off and on all day yesterday. Spring can spring any time, honestly. It reminds us of this, and that’s freaking Finland in the Winter War. (Observe the rifle… there will be questions).

Re the title of this post. We’ve just heard from a gentleman who has a registered Simonov AVS. The AVS is an extremely rare Soviet automatic rifle, adopted in 1936 and rapidly replaced by the broadly similar Tokarev SVT and AVT. Many AVSes were used in the Soviet-Finnish Winter War and large quantities were captured by the Finns.

 

Most Soviet 1945 and earlier semi and auto rifles that are in US circulation without import marks were imported before 1968 — in the late fifties, actually — from Finnish stocks. This rifle is suspected of being one of those, although the owner has not observed a Finnish property [SA] stamp.

He is missing three parts:

  1. The screw that goes into the rear of the trigger guard, through the wrist of the stock, into the receiver. It’s an oddly shaped screw indeed, not a standard part;
  2. The gas tappet;
  3. The 15-shot magazine. He did manage to find a 5-shot magazine, in a former Soviet republic. (The mag in the photo is a Tokarev mag adapted to fit).

Objective is to get this rare rifle running again, and so we’d like to hear from anyone

  1. who has any of these parts and can be induced to part with them;
  2. who has drawings of any of these parts;
  3. who has any of these actual parts and is willing to lend them for reverse engineering;
  4. who has a Simonov AVS (registered, dewatted, parts kit, anything) and is willing to turn one of us loose on it with nondestructive measuring tools.

The screw is odd, but it’s something any machine shop should be able to duplicate with a good drawing. It’s possible that a Tokarev SVT or Simonov SKS gas tappet could be adapted.

Previous WeaponsMan Content on the AVS:

  1. 20 Jul 16: SVT-Inspired Italian Rifle: It’s Strange
  2. 30 Dec 15: Rare Simonov AVS-36 Sold for $5k — as Parts
  3. 31 May 13: More Finnish Archive Rarities!
  4. 38 May 13: Are You Finnish with Russian Weapons?

19 thoughts on “Simonov Sunday

  1. Klaus

    There is a gentleman that comments on Ian’s all the time who seems to know a lot on Russian weapons and often posts many links to drawings and schematics of rare and obscure Russian arms. I think he uses the name Daewoo. Worth a try anyway.

    1. redc1c4

      same here in The Valley, like totally, fer sure!

      (you realize he hates us for this sort of thing, right? ;-)

      1. Matt in IL

        … my flowers have even started to bloom in Chicago it’s been so nice and toasty warm

  2. change to

    ***Most Soviet 1945 and earlier semi and auto rifles that are in US circulation without import marks were imported before 1968 — in the late fifties, actually — from Finnish stocks. This rifle is suspected of being one of those, although the owner has not observed a Finnish property [SA] stamp.***

    I suppose you know the backstory about the Finn weapons import deal of 1958-’59. The Soviet Politburo nomenklatura was so pleased with Red Army 1950’s incursions into East Germany and Hungary that they began plans to finish off the job they’d started in 1939, taking what then-Premier Nikita Khrushchev described as *a million casualties* in the four-month long Winter War. The Finns had the intelligence on the probable invasion routes and deployment, and a solid cadre of Army and reservists, but not the weapons for a national mobilization, nor the economy to buy them, nor time to produce them domestically. Enter the smiling face of American Sam Cummings of recently-founded American arms trading firm Interarmco [later changed to Interarms after Armco Steel got in a snit.]

    Cummings cut the Finns a deal: he got all the old Winchester lever guns, some dating back to the days when Finland was a Czarist Russian duchy, and all the other obsolete Swedisn Rolling Blocks, Russian Krnka breechloaders and assorted captured and obsolete cavalry cutlery. He also got an awful lot of other more recent goodies from the Winter War [talvisota and Continuation War Jatkisota: many of the Swedish, [m/94 6,5 carbines and BARs] French [5000 CSRG Chauchats!] Italian [7,35 Carcani] and British [Boys AT rifles] military aid gifts that weren’t particularly first-line in the Finnish planning. Interarmco also got a nice selection of later war goodies: MG34s and 42s, MP40s, MP35s and MP44s, K98k and M98 Mausers, and all sorts of Russian capture equipment, including M91-30 Nagant rifles [they saved the older M91 octagonal receivered versions for rebuild] AVT and AVS semiauto rifles and carbines, snowcap Maxim machineguns, DPs and DT MGs, 50 and 82mm mortars, and all sorts of other miscellany, including 200 of the novel Finnish 20mm Lahti AT rifles, effective against Soviet light tanks and armoured cars of 1940, but less useful against T54s and T55 tanks. American collectors, sportsmen looking for inexpensive rifles that could be sporterized for taking afield, and Cuban exiles looking for sterile and deniable weapons to augment those they had that were a little too obviously from US military sources, all became Interarmco customers on the other end of the pipelline.

    And what did the near-desperate Finns get out of the deal? A half-million Sten guns to augment the few thousand wartime kp/31 *Suomi* SMGs that had so helpfully cut down invading Soviet troops during those four cold months in 1939-’40, and a few thousand more KP44 *Pelti-Heikki* [Tin Henry] postwar copies of the Soviet PPS Sudareva, but in the Finns’ standard issue 9mm rather than the Soviet 7,62x25mm chambering.

    The Finnish ammo facilities, especially Lapua, began turning out 9mm ammo for the Suomis, Pelti Heikki and Stens, Stens, Stens and more Stens by the truckload. With a 9mm submachinegun and a dozen magazines for most every man and large boy [and a good many women, who found the Sten easy to use] it became clear that another Soviet adventure in Finland would likely be more expensive than the one that opened the early days of WWII. And cost the Soviets the troops and leadership they needed when the German Army invaded Russia and the Ukraine.

    The Soviet leadership reconsidered. Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev -who had been a junior officer and political commissar during the 1939 invasion of Finland- was retired. The time was not right for the Red Army to spank the Finns, but there were other possibilities elsewhere for advancing the Communist cause in Cuba, in Southeast Asia and in Africa in the Congo and in Kenya.

    There’s STILL 1958 and 1959 Lapua 9mm Parabellum ammo [headstamp VPT] in neat little square 25-round boxes showing up at US gun shows. Samuel Cummings passed away in 1998, retired from his business and probably contemplating some of the things he’d seen over the previous 40-plus years.

    Former Finnish banker and businessman Mauno Koivisto, General Manager of the Helsinki Workers’ Savings Bank who had helped arrange and finance the deal became Finland’s Minister of Finance in 1966, 32nd Prime Minister of Finland from 1979 to 1982, and in Jan 1982 became 9th President of Finland, holding that office until March 1994. While Finland’s President, Koivisto saw the 1991 disintegration of the Soviet Union and the end of its red hammer-and-sickle flag, carried when those Soviet troops had invaded his country in November of 1939. And he had been one of those to fight them and drive them and the remaining Germans out, serving as a DP machinegunner in the Infantry Detachment Törni, a reconnaissance and raider unit led by a Finnish Army Captain named Lauri Törni, later to continue his vocation of killing Communists as an enlisted man and later officer in the US Army Special Forces with a namechange to CPT Larry Thorne.

    Of course, sometimes you can save yourself and your country the trouble and bloodshed it costs when you’re invaded. All it takes is a half-million automatic weapons or so.

    *”When you have taken part in a game in which your own life is at stake, all other games are small after that”.*
    — Mauno Koivisto

      1. archy

        Mauno Koivisto is still alive and has turned out a couple of biographies. He was a bit young for the Winter War, 15 or 16 or so, and therefore spent the duration as a sort of volunteer fireman/forest ranger, which freed a more adult fireman to go out and kill Russian invaders; the risk from Soviet aircraft bombing population centers and Finnish forests with incendiaries was a very serious problem at the time. I don’t believe anything he’s written yet covers the ’57-’60 period in detail, but he was a Social Democrat who tried very carefully not to twist the nose of the Russian bear living next door without real good cause- and he may still be trying to protect Finland’s intelligence sources still living and retired to a nice dacha somewhere. In January it was announced that he’s now being cared for inn a nursing home, undergoing treatment for Alzheimer’s. I’ve not read all the Finnish-language biographies and histories of his service, but have a couple of Finn researchers keeping an eye out. This is a pretty good starting place, as it seems unlikely that any more autobiographical material will be forthcoming.

        Lauri Torni/Larry Thorne was KIA in SEA, and his body was finally recovered and returned. there’ve been a couple of pretty fair accounts of his military service under three flags, and he was the model for the character *Sven Kornie* in Robin Moore’s novelized account of SF *The Green Berets.*

        The late P.T. *Pete* Kekkonen, wrmmo* iter and editor of the now-archived *Finnish Gunwriters on the Web* website is also gone now; passed away in the early days of this Century. He at least got to live to see the Communist red flag he so despised pulled down while that of Finland still flies. Pete and I exchanged information on the subject, and I found him an American magazine article with some of the details of the Interarmco Finnish acquisitions. His article on the matter never saw print before his death.

        I’ve also passed some info on *all those boxes of VPT 9mm ammo* to a writer from the late Mike Dillon’s * Blue Press* catalog, which frequently contains technical and historical accounts of things gunny. The writer is a former Interarms employee, though I believe from later than the period in question, and may have the contacts among his former bosses to tickle out some more info. Interarmco/Interarms founder and bossman Sam Cummings is another lost source, having passed away in April 1998.

        http://s177.photobucket.com/user/SVT-40/media/Scans%20%20Photos%20ect/doc145.jpg.html

        http://s177.photobucket.com/user/SVT-40/media/Scans%20%20Photos%20ect/doc153.jpg.html

  3. Steve M.

    Sounds like Bubba the gun smite might be able to help you get the AVS running.

    The missing screw is the easiest part to replace. You’ll need a wood screw if you want to engage the wood stock. The pointy end will thread nicely into the receiver while the wider body of the wood screw engages the stock. The other option is a machine bolt. Thread it right through all the existing holes, install the nut and then cut to length while it’s on the gun with your trusty hacksaw. The most important part about either one of these options is that they will mangle the existing threads in the receiver. Mangling ensures a better fit.

    Tappets are easy. Just grind down a ball bearing and let it bounce around. Then again Bubba might just skip the tappet entirely and run it all direct impingement style. Good enough for Chuck Norris in all the Delta documentaries and it’s good enough for the AVS.

    Finally, the magazine is a not a problem at all. The Archangel stock for a Mosin Nagant is pert-near a direct fit with a Dremel tool. New stock plus new mag. It’s a win-win.

    1. Alan Ward

      Please tell me you know this because Bubba is a distant cousin in law of a poorly chosen first ex wife.
      Otherwise I might think you had done these war crimes yourself,.

      1. Steve M.

        Some of that comment was based off of previous experiences with Bubba’s handiwork. No firearms were harmed in the making of the comment time stamped April 02, 2017 at 22:12.

      2. Hognose Post author

        I should tell the story of Plaintiff I’s rural Alabama family, but it was the Blogbrother who really had culture shock there as he didn’t have the Army’s exposure to all thing Southern. He went from innocent New England perma-college-student to traumatized for life, and he tells the story better than I.

        However, there was no idiot kid with a banjo.

    2. archy

      Finally, the magazine is a not a problem at all. The Archangel stock for a Mosin Nagant is pert-near a direct fit with a Dremel tool. New stock plus new mag. It’s a win-win.,p.

      A better choice may be the 20-round steel magazine for the Finnish Lahti-Saloranta automatic *machine rifle,* as it’s of all-steel construction and *transition feeds* reasonably reliably from a double-row cartridge stacking to a single row for better feeding as the rounds advance up the magazine closer to the feed lips. With the rimmed 7,62×53 cartridge that’s a pretty good trick, but the L-S was specifically designed for operational reliability in subzero weather. Despite its lack of a quick-change barrel, a fault shared with neighboring Sweden’s BARs, the guns remained in service for decades until replaced by beltfed PK LMGs.

      I use the magazines for the things on VEPR civilian SVD clones, and the occasional AVT Tokarev that comes my way. The usual rule of thumb is to modify [*butcher*] the less expensive part, but I like for my rifles to be able to interchange magazines. And, just on the chance that a LS-26 ever comes my way, I’ve got at least a start on magazines for it.

      http://gamma.nic.fi/~junkyard/PIC00069.jpg

      1. Hognose Post author

        Someone has a ton of these. Sarco? Another guy was selling a couple on GunBroker, but didn’t know what they were (I told him).

        1. archy

          ***Someone has a ton of these. Sarco? Another guy was selling a couple on GunBroker, but didn’t know what they were (I told him).***

          I got a couple dozen from Century a couple of years back at around $3-4 each. Don’t know if they still have any or not. They don’t seem to work well with Romanian PSL/FSK rifles, but I wasn’t the one trying that mod.

          http://centuryarms.biz/products.asp?cat=177

Comments are closed.