RIFLES PART 2:

Pre World War 2 Finnish Mosin-Nagant Designs

 

7,62 mm Infantry Rifle M/91-24 "Lotta-rifle":

PICTURE: Suojeluskunta M/91-24 infantry rifle. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (42 KB).

Calibre:

7,62 mm x 54 R

Length:

1305 mm

Barrel length:

800 mm

Weight:

4,2 kg

Magazine:

5, non-removable

Official abbreviations:

"7,62 kiv/91-24" and "762 KIV 91-24"

Country of origin:

Finland

Prototype:

1923?

Production:

1925 - 1928, total amount about 26,000.

Finnish use: Bought by Suojeluskunta (Civil Guard), used by Finnish Army during World War 2.

For all practical purposes this rifle can be described as re-barreled and slightly improved version of M/91 infantry rifle made for Suojeluskunta (Finnish Civil Guard). In early 1920's Suojeluskunta made alarming observation that over large amount of about 70,000 M/91 rifles in its use had seriously worn barrels, which were in hardly in usable shape any more. At the time Finland had no industrial plants, which would have manufactured rifle barrels before. SAT (= Suomen ampumatarviketehdas = Finnish Ammunition Factory) had manufactured small experimental production series of M/91 rifle-barrels around 1919 - 1920, but with poor success. Also Tikkakoski factory did not start making rifle barrels until year 1925. Suojeluskunta ordered 3,000 rifle barrels from Swiss factory S.I.G. (Schweitzerische Industrie-Gesellschaft, Neuhausen) in April of 1923. Next year 5,000 rifle barrels were ordered from S.I.G. - these 5,000 rifle barrels were apparently already thicker stepped version. A separate order for M/91-24 rifle barrels was sent to consortium of German manufacturers, which delivered another 5,000 rifle barrels marked with Böhler Stahl in May of 1924. What is known now these Böhler Stahl marked barrels were also apparently of thicker stepped version. Replacement work of the old rifle barrels with new ones started as soon the new rifle barrels started arriving to Finland.

PICTURE: Photo showing the "step" in barrel of M/91-24 rifle. While the late barrels of M/91-24 were thicker than the ones used in M/91 rifles, the front part of M/91-24 rifle barrel still needed to be in old dimensions to allow using of existing M/91 bayonets (which still needed to be slightly modified for this rifle model). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (13 KB).

The first 13,000 barrels Suojeluskunta acquired from S.I.G and Venus Waffenfabrik all had the same (thickness) dimensions as Russian original ones (used in original M/91 infantry rifle). But then the idea of using thicker rifle barrels to improve accuracy has already gained popularity. June 1925 drawings for a new 1.5-mm thicker rifle barrel were completed. By March of 1927 Civil Guard bought another 13,000 of these thicker rifle barrels for M/91-24 rifles from German Venus Waffenfabrik, which delivered 8,000 of them in August of 1925 and 5,000 in November of 1926. Suojeluskuntien Asepaja (= Gun smith shop of Civil Guard, it later developed to SAKO) took care of installing these new barrels between August of 1925 and early 1928. During this time rifle barrels of almost 26,000 rifles were replaced with these new barrels. While earlier information suggested that half of M/91-24 rifles were with old M/91 barrel profile and another half with thicker stepped barrel, this page now reflects new information gathered from remaining rifles. That new information suggests that only the first 3,000 rifle barrels ordered from S.I.G. were with original M/91 infantry rifle barrel profile and 23,000 rifles were equipped with thicker stepped rifle barrels. Starting from May 1926 rifles getting a barrel replacement started receiving also few other improvements done along replacing the barrel. These improvements included:

As part of the process each rifle was also totally cleaned and all broken parts repaired or replaced. The improvements introduced with M/91-24 were included also to later designed M/28 and M/28-30 rifles of Finnish Civil Guard. For example sensitivity spring (so called "mouse-trap spring" introduced with this rifle remained unique characteristic of Civil Guard rifles and was used in all later Mosin-Nagant rifles issued by Civil Guard. Barrels of later M/28 and M/28-30 were thicker than in original M/91 or M/27 of Finnish Armed Forces. Sights however didn't remain the same - further improvements to them were introduced with M/28 and M/28-30 rifles.

Finnish nation-wide voluntary defence auxiliary organisation Lotta-Svärd was a large financier for the purchases of rifle barrels for these rifles (at year 1923 Lotta-Svärd organisation had collected sum of 545,337 Finnish Marks in donations for this purpose). So the rifle got nick-named as "Lotta-rifle". Rifle barrels started arriving year 1925, which was also the year when Civil Guard weapons repair shop started installing them to rifles that same year. Year 1928, just after M/91-24 rifle project had ended, Suojeluskunta had almost 25,000 M/91-24 rifles in use. Starting from year 1935 Suojeluskunta members could send M/91-24 rifle issued to them to be replaced with M/28-30 rifle if they paid most of the expenses. Because of this the number of M/91-24 rifles started slow but sure decline. The amount of M/91-24 rifles was bit under 22,000 in May of 1936 and decreased to 19,400 by May of 1939. To simplify repairs during World War 2 Finnish military included M/91-24 rifles into same spare part category with M/91 infantry rifles, because of this during repairs many of M/91-24 received replacement parts made for M/91 rifles and in this way they lost some of their own characteristics. When Finnish Civil Guard was disbanded after World War 2 remaining M/91-24 rifles were given to Finnish Armed Forces and later they were sold (mostly abroad) simultaneously with M/91 infantry rifles.

 

7,62 mm Infantry Rifle M/27, "Pystykorva":

PICTURE: Infantry rifle M/27 of Finnish Army. This rifle has the original nosecap. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (37 KB).

Calibre:

7,62 mm x 54 R

Length:

1190 mm

Barrel length:

685 mm

Weight:

4,1 kg

Magazine:

5, non-removable

Official abbreviations:

"7,62 kiv/27" and "762 KIV 27"

Country of origin:

Finland

Prototype:

1927

Production:

1929 - 1934 (*), estimated total amount some 56,000.

(*) Notice: This includes only the actual mass-production era: Smaller scale production continued between 1935 - 1938. For example 300 rifles were assembled from parts in 1937. Also bit less than 1,000 rifles were assembled from existing parts in 1939 - 1940. These are all included to total production number.

Finnish use: First domestic rifle for Finnish Army, most typical of front-line rifles during Winter War (1939 - 1940), even if it had its share of problems.

Infantry rifle M/27 was first really improved model of Mosin-Nagant made for Finnish Armed Forces. Basic plan behind these improvements was a plan of 10 improvements designed for improving Russian M/91 rifles February of 1927 by Defence Ministry Ordnance Department. First the committee assembled for making decision about this matter didn't get into agreement about what to do. Certain members of this Rifle-committee wanted to re-arm Finnish armed forces with new Mauser-type rifles that had been tested, but lack of money made that that idea unrealistic (there had also been some discussion about calibre of future service rifle). Finally the only sane decision about making the designed improvements was made - modifying 120,000 infantry rifles M/91 to infantry rifle M/27 while the old M/91 rifle also remained in service.

Tikkakoski (whom had already earlier delivered barrels for M/91 rifles) manufactured barrels for this rifle model. The first deal for 800 barrels was signed with Tikkakoski at December of 1927. Another batch of 8,000 barrels was ordered next year. Infantry rifles M/27, which had Tikkakoski barrels were assembled by Weapons Depot 1 (AV1) in Helsinki. AV1 also manufactured some new small parts for these rifles. Another barrel manufacturer was VKT (Valtion Kivääritehdas = State Rifle Factory) in Jyväskylä, which seems to have also assembled the M/27 rifles, which had barrels that it had manufactured. Besides these two companies and the Weapons Depot 1 also several subcontractors took part in manufacturing of M/27 rifle by supplying hand guards, various metal parts and rifle stocks.

Most of these rifles had rear part of their Konovalov sight milled flat and new L-shaped aperture blade was attached to it with two screws. Rear sight also has only metric range markings. Front sight was also new design, but its sight post could be drift adjusted with same adjustment tools as front sight of rifle M/91. While original Russian M/91 rifle stock was one-part, Finnish M/27 was two-part design, which has its parts attached to each other with finger joint and glue. Usually early M/27 stocks had their rear parts recycled from old M/91 rifle stocks, while front parts were new and Finnish made. Handguards were new and Finnish-made. Mauser-type safety was tested early on, but this feature was left out before mass-production. Exact type of barrel bands varied during production and so did the finish used in the rifle stock.

Infantry rifle M/27 barrel was 685-mm long, which was 115-mm less than old M/91 infantry rifle. Bolt frame was slightly modified and ammunition magazine had a filler part, which improved its feed reliability. New improved trigger was domestic design and production. Also several other smaller modifications were made, most visible of them being the new front sight arrangement, which soon earned the rifle a nickname "Pystykorva" (Spitz). The reason for the nickname were the upwards pointing protective brackets located both side of the bead, which some Finnish soldier associated to upward pointing ears of Finnish spitz. The nickname soon spread to common use and was used also from Suojeluskunta rifles M/28 and M/28-30 rifle, which became known as "Suojeluskuntain Pystykorva" (Spitz of Civil Guard). Aimo Lahti was the main designer of the improvements, which appeared with M/27. New trigger mechanism, new sights and improved ammunition magazine were his designs. One not so good "improvement" was "wings", which were added to rifle bolts connecting bar and grooves milled for them to receiver of the rifle. This feature included to M/27 rifles manufactured between 1929 - 1933 succeeded only reducing reliability of the rifle and making using their bolts in any other Mosin-Nagant rifles impossible.

Production of M/27 rifles started little by little, the first rifles were completed in 1929 and mass-production grew from that on until problems surfaced and the production started to slow down year 1934. Smaller scale production continued 1935 - 1938. Year 1936 became the year with smallest manufacturing number. Total production numbers for each year of mass-production period of this rifle were:

The total production of M/27 infantry rifle reached about 55,000 rifles by end of 1935.

When M/27 rifles were introduced to large-scale use their problems created by poor quality raw materials and some design flaws started to show. Front end of rifle stock and nosecap used in it proved to be too weak (especially if bayonet was attached during shooting). Only few shots with bayonet attached were often enough to break the nosecap, which typically also broke off piece from rifles front stock. Also complaints about quality of rifle barrels started to surface (they were wearing down faster than the old M/91 rifle barrels). A new "Rifle M/27 committee" established to study the situation, recommended stopping the production of M/27 rifle as soon as the production runs, which already were under work, had been completed. Weak parts of already made M/27 rifles needed to be replaced with better ones and whole Finnish Army rifle M/27 production plan had to be re-considered. More durable replacement parts for the nosecap were manufactured, but early on separate extensive program for replacing the original nosecaps with replacement parts didn't exist. At that time only those M/27 rifles, which suffered also other damage demanding repairs or actually broke because of the original nosecap structure got the new replacement parts installed as part of repair process. Those M/27 rifles, which didn't break usually didn't get the replacement parts and remained in original form. In addition of new nosecap also new heavier rifle stock was introduced for rifle M/27 as part of the improvements was new heavier rifle stock. Autumn of 1937 another 300 M/27 rifles were assembled from existing parts. The mass-production ended in year 1934. Year 1937 Finnish military for the last time tried fixing the problem: It ordered replacing 50,000 nosecaps of M/27 rifles from Weapons Depot 1 (Asevarikko 1), but as Winter War break out the work was left uncompleted. The war also led this rifle being introduced back to production for the one last time - at least in a way. While the actual manufacturing of parts did not start anymore, almost 1,000 infantry rifles M/27 were assembled from earlier manufactured existing parts during Winter War (1939-1940). These rifles assembled by Weapons Depot 3 (Asevarikko 3) during Winter War usually had new thicker rifle stock and typically also lacked many of the usual characteristics found in M/27 rifles, such as winged bolt connecting bar, grooves milled for it in receiver and M/27 trigger.

PICTURE: Improved nosecap of M/27 with "popsicle stick", which reinforced its attachment to stock. (Photo taken in Jalkaväkimuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (25 KB).

During World War 2 infantry rifles M/27 were issued to Finnish frontline troops. When Winter War started they were the newest rifles acquired for Finnish Army, so typically they were issued to frontline infantry. Large amounts of these rifles broke or wear down very fast in hard wartime use. By end of Continuation War most of them had broken - saving in materials had proved very expensive on the long run. During repairs they received replacement parts, which often were not the type originally approved for M/27 infantry rifle, with the necessity of getting functioning rifles over-ruling previous plans. Year 1951 less than 27,000 rifles of this model remained. After World War 2 they remained in Finnish use a very long time. They were even used for training soldiers still in 1950's and 1960's until finally being replaced by assault rifles in 1970's. After this they remained warehoused until being declared obsolete in January of 1986, later that year most of these rifles were sold abroad.

 

7,62 mm Cavalry Rifle M/27:

PICTURE: Cavalry rifle M/27 of Finnish Army. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (49 KB).

Calibre:

7,62 mm x 54 R

Length:

1110 mm

Barrel length:

610 mm

Weight:

4,0 kg

Magazine:

5, non-removable

Official abbreviations:

"7,62 kiv/27 rv" and "762 KIV 27 RV"

Country of origin:

Finland

Prototype:

1927?

Production:

1934 - 1935 + 1937, total amount about 2,200.

Finnish use: Main rifle model for Finnish cavalry during World War 2.

Finnish M/27 infantry rifle was considered unsuitable for cavalry use. Main problems were the sling arrangement and length of the rifle, which were not well suited for cavalry use. Sling arrangement was modified (like earlier with some M/91 cavalry rifles) to be similar as in earlier Mauser M/98a rifles. Because of this front parts of rifle stock had to be redesigned and new barrel, which was only 520-mm long, was introduced to production. 2,000 rifle barrels needed for these cavalry rifles were included to order of 35,000 rifle barrels (for M/27 infantry rifle) barrels (which were ordered from Tikkakoski once again). Weapons Depot 1 (AV1) assembled these rifles with Tikkakoski barrels between 1934 - 1935 and soon after all these rifles were issued to Cavalry Brigade. Also VKT (Valtion Kivääritehdas = State Rifle Factory) manufactured bit over 200 barrels for M/27 cavalry rifles in year 1937. Weapons Depot 1 in Helsinki took care assembling also these rifles equipped with VKT-barrels.

During World War 2 cavalry rifles M/27 were the main weaponry of Finnish cavalry and participated in heavy fighting in frontline. However hard combat use decreased their number little by little. In summer of 1944 Cavalry Brigade suffered heavy losses during battles fought in islands of Viipurinlahti Gulf. Presumably a high large number of M/27 cavalry rifles were lost in these battles (the last method of getting off the islands was often swimming - and nobody could swim very long with a rifle). During demobilisation of autumn 1944 these rifles were gathered to Weapons Depot 3, which found 923 of the remaining cavalry rifles M/27 to be in such a poor shape, that they were scrapped. The last remaining 304 rifles were sold to United States in year 1960 through Interarms. Nowadays Finnish cavalry rifles M/27 are very rare and highly valued by collectors.

However cavalry rifle M/27 is one of the cases in which buyer beware is a valid notion. While rifle stocks of those 923 rifles ordered be scrapped in 1944 were burned, their rifle barrels were sold as scrap metal and other parts reserved as spare parts. Apparently since then quite a few rifles have been assembled by using old barrel (either one of the original rifle barrels acquired from dealer of scrap metal or shortened M/27 infantry rifle barrel) and mixed parts combined with certain parts unique to M/27 cavalry rifle. These later assembled rifles always have new rifle stocks, which may been made by modifying some other old Mosin-Nagant rifle stock for this purpose.

 

7,62 mm Military Rifle M/28, "Suojeluskuntain Pystykorva":

("Pystykorva of Civil Guard")

PICTURE: Military rifle M/28 of Suojeluskunta. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (38 KB).

Calibre:

7,62 mm x 54 R

Length:

1190 mm

Barrel length:

685 mm

Weight:

4,1 kg

Magazine:

5, non-removable

Official abbreviations:

"7,62 kiv/28" and "762 KIV 28"

Country of origin:

Finland

Prototype:

1927

Production:

1928 - 1933, total amount about 33,000.

Finnish use: Bought by Suojeluskunta (Civil Guard), used by Finnish Army in World War 2, one of the rifle models issued mainly to frontline infantry use. Some of these rifles were modified to M/28-30 before the war.

This was second improved Mosin-Nagant rifle of Suojeluskunta (Finnish Civil Guard). By 1920's members of Suojeluskunta came to conclusion that infantry rifle M/91 needed some development to improve its shooting accuracy and suitability for combat use. Biggest problem was considered to be thin barrel, which in M/91 rifle was tightly strapped with barrel bands into one piece rifle stock - rather very poor solution for accuracy. A thicker freely vibrating rifle barrel was preferred as its replacement. A committee established by Suojeluskunta General Staff researched the matter and left its decision concerning plan of new military rifle in June of 1927. The committee had tested ten rifles made for these tests and ended up suggesting rifle with 68.5-cm long freely vibrating thick (24-mm diameter) barrel. This became the rifle barrel for M/28 military rifle, which Civil Guard approved the next year.

Nickname "Suojeluskuntain pystykorva" ("Spitz of Civil Guard") came from the same origin as with infantry rifle M/27 of Finnish Armed Forces. Shape of upward pointing protective brackets in both sides of front sight blade reminded ears of popular Finnish dog breed. The same nickname was also used with later M/28-30 military rifle. While General Headquarters of Civil Guard was familiar with 1/27 prototype of infantry rifle M/27, the committee that it named to plan the new military rifle for use of Civil Guard, became quite different in many regards. Both infantry rifle M/27 and military rifle M/28 were based to infantry rifle M/91 and were both intended as improved rifle-designs to which much of the existing older parts of M/91 rifles could be used, but otherwise these two rifle designs were heading to different directions. One could note that Civil Guard was apparently concentrated its efforts mainly to improving shooting accuracy of its service rifle, while Finnish Army tried to do with smaller more economic updates to develop a better rifle for combat use.

When also old barrel bands had been replaced with new barrel band design, the new rifle stock allowed free-floating of the earlier mentioned heavy barrel. This provided a good starting point for rifle capable to more compact rifle than its predecessor M/91, bust still capable to notably better shooting accuracy. Unlike in M/27 infantry rifle neither sling system or magazine arrangement were yet modified from the one used in original rifle M/91. Rear sight was also different than original Konovalov sight in that sense, that separate notch part had been added to it to provide shooter a better sight picture, with larger U-notch replacing original small V-notch. This sort of added notch part has already been introduced with rifle M/24. Early on M/28 rear sight notch had also horizontal adjustment, but this feature was left out during production. Mauser-type safety switch was also tested in pre-production M/28 rifles, but was dropped already before starting of mass-production.

PICTURE: Military rifle M/28 of Suojeluskunta with double rifle sling slots. The version with these double slots was the first manufacturing version, with some 6,000 rifles manufactured before being replaced in production by single slot version. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (42 KB).

There are also several other differences in measurements between M/28 and M/27. Most rifle barrels manufactured for rifle M/28 were made by SIG (22,100 of them) while Tikkakoski manufactured 11,512 and small number were also made by Sako (= Suojeluskuntain Ase ja Konepaja Oy), which also took care of assembling and finishing all M/28 rifles. First M/28 rifles were completed in spring of 1928 and the production continued until early 1933. About 33,000 rifles were made 1928 - 1933, but some of them were soon modified as M/28-30. M/28 rifles belonged into main weaponry of Finnish Civil Guard whole 1930's. During World War 2 they were mainly issued to frontline infantry and due to this large number of rifles were lost or destroyed in battle. Year 1951 only about 16,700 military rifles M/28 remained. Some of these remained warehoused until early 1980's. Most remaining M/28 rifles were sold abroad in 1980's.

 

7,62 mm Military Rifle M/28-30, "Suojeluskuntain Pystykorva":

("Pystykorva of Civil Guard")

PICTURE: Military rifle M/28-30 of Suojeluskunta made in 1938. The light coloured sling attachment loops are not correct. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (64 KB).

Calibre:

7,62 mm x 54 R

Length:

1190 mm

Barrel length:

685 mm

Weight:

4,1 kg

Magazine:

5, non-removable

Official abbreviations:

"7,62 kiv/28-30" and "762 KIV 28-30"

Country of origin:

Finland

Prototype:

1931

Production:

1934 - 1941, total amount about 40,000.

Finnish use: One of the main Finnish rifle types of World War 2. Mainly issued to front-line infantry, known for its accuracy.

Military rifle M/28-30 was third Mosin-Nagant rifle version designed by Suojeluskunta (Finnish Civil Guard). Just adding a new part to old Russian rear sight (Konovalov m/1910), like with M/28 rifle, had proved less than ideal solution. Adjusting the rear sight of M/28 to exact distance setting was not easy and the whole rear sight proved too vulnerable. So Engineer Harry Mansner working in Ordnance Department of Suojeluskunta General Staff developed an improved rear sight by autumn of 1931. This new rear sight became standard for M/28-30 rifle.

PICTURE: Rear sight of M/28-30 military rifle. The numbers in side of the sight are markings of hundreds of meters. When compared to sight of later M/39 military rifle the biggest difference is that settings in M/28-30 start from 200 metres, while with M/39 they usually start from 150 metres. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (34 KB).

At spring of 1932 about 30 test rifles with this new sight were made, after tests it was decided to order rifles from Sako with this new rear sight - called rear sight M/32. However also the front sight (which was adjusted with special tool) had room for improvement, so Mansner developed also new front sight (known as M/33), which allows windage adjustments with ordinary screwdriver. For these changes the whole rifle was renamed as M/28-30. However as the improvements were under work the first production series made 1933 - 1934 (with serial numbers about 33107 - 35700) still didn't quite all characteristics of final M/28-30 rifle. With mass production of this rifle a decision about ordering the barrels from Sako instead of Tikkakoski (who had been the sole Finnish large-scale manufacturer of rifle-barrels earlier) was also made. When tested rifle barrels manufactured by Sako from Swedish Fagersta-steel were found to be equally good as the ones made by Tikkakoski. Few minor changes were made to these rifles doing production run. First production series of 2,700 was received by April of 1934 and second order had been send already before that. By early 1941 (when production of M/28-30 ended) Suojeluskunta had bought a total of 24,420 rifles of this type. Non-included to this number are some 13,700 "private-funded rifles" (Members of Suojeluskunta could get M/91 or M/91-24 service rifle issued to them replaced with M/28-30 by paying most of the expenses. Or they could get M/28 service rifle issued to them modified to M/28-30 by paying most of the cost of modification. In either case the Civil Guard member didn't get right of ownership to the rifle, but just the right to practice and compete with it. These rifles were called "private-funded rifles". Sako also manufactured some 2,000 rifles M/28-30 for private sales 1934 - 1940.

Sk.Y orders of M/28-30 rifles:

order made

amount

May 1932

2700

September 1933

2370

May 1934

2600

April 1935

2650

May 1936

2650

July 1937

2650

June 1938

2000

November 1939 (*)

2800

July 1940 (*)

4000

Total

24420

Based to chart in Sotilaskäsiaseet Suomessa 1918 - 1988 part 2, page 64. Sk.Y = High-Headquarters (General HQ) of Civil Guard.

(*) Orders made by HQ of Home Front Troops (which is what Sk.Y become during war).

Notice: Besides orders of Sk.Y M/28-30 production also included 13,723 "Privately funded rifles" and about 2,000 rifles made for civilian sales.

Nickname "Suojeluskuntain pystykorva" ("Spitz of Civil Guard") came from same origin as with infantry rifle M/27 of Finnish military. Shape of upward pointing protective brackets located both sides of front sight blade reminded ears of popular Finnish dog breed. The same nickname was also used from M/28 rifle.

World Championships M/28-30:

M/28-30 soon got itself excellent reputation. Suojeluskunta was rightfully proud of its rifle (at the same time Finnish armed forces were very unhappy with their M/27 rifles). World championships of shooting were organised in Finland in 1937 and naturally M/28-30 were select as military rifles with which all teams would compete (in those days military rifle events were always shot with service rifle of host country). Just before championships Sako manufactured a series of 440 rifles, using barrels selected for their accuracy and other first quality parts. Stocks were walnut and a specially identification shield was installed in right side of rifle butt and rifles marked "MM" left side on top of the cartridge chamber. In actual competitions only 83 rifles (serial numbers 48963 - 49466) were used. After championships Suojeluskunta got the rifles and transferred 83 of them to Finnish sports museum. The other rifles made for championships (357 of them) were issued to best shooters of Suojeluskunta as recognition prizes. These best shooters were also Finnish reservists and many of them took their prize rifles when they were mobilised. So during World War 2 some of them these World Championships rifles ended up seeing use in combat.

PICTURE: Front sights of Finnish M/28-30 (up) and M/39 (below) military rifles. Both front and rear sights developed for M/28-30 proved so good that same kind of sights were used also in M/39 military rifles. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (59 KB).

When Winter War started M/28-30 got into wartime service with their users. Even rifles of Suojeluskunta members who were too old to serve in front were gathered and handed over to frontline troops. M/28-30 was undeniably the most accurate Finnish rifle during Winter War and very popular among Finnish soldiers. However Ordnance Department of Finnish Armed Forces wasn't quite that happy - Suojeluskunta had equipped lot of its rifles with tighter barrels, in which captured Soviet ammunition could cause problems. In addition throats of their cartridge chambers had not been designed for D-166 standard bullet of Finnish Army, but had been optimized for slightly lighter D46 and D47 bullets. June of 1940 the amount of M/28-30 rifles was around 34,600. Army was quite willing for taking M/28 and M/28-30 rifles in its use and organising their maintenance. Without all the rifles that Suojeluskunta transferred to the Army in beginning of Winter War the shortage of rifles, which Finnish military was suffering at the time, would have been overwhelming. November of 1944 Suojeluskunta was disbanded and M/28-30 rifles ended up to Finnish Armed Forces. Hard wartime use had taken its toll - year 1951 only some 22,100 of these rifles remained. Some of them got modified as M/28-57 target (sniper) rifles in 1950's. Between 1983 - 1984 over 1,300 of M/28-30 rifles were sold to collectors and employees of Defence Administration and Frontier Guard. January 1986 M/28-30 rifles were declared obsolete, some were scrapped and year 1988 most of the remaining rifles were sold abroad.

Nowadays (year 2004) prices of M/28-30 are on the rise in Finland. Shooting with "traditional rifles" ("perinnekivääri") as pre-1945 military rifles are known today is gaining popularity among Finnish reservists. M/28-30 considered by most as the best of "tradition rifles" and is very popular among reservists - as a result demand has surpassed supply.

 


SUGGESTED LINKS FOR MORE INFO:

Mosin Nagant dot Net More info about Mosin-Nagant rifles

Russian Mosin-Nagant Forum More info about Mosin-Nagant rifles


SOURCES:

Markku Palokangas: Sotilaskäsiaseet Suomessa 1918 - 1988 osat 1 - 3 (= Military Small Arms in Finland 1918 - 1988 parts 1- 3)

Timo Hyytinen: Arma Fennica 2, sotilasaseet (Arma Fennica 2, military weapons)

Bruno Bogdnovic and Ivan Valencak: Das Groze Buch der klassischen feuerwaffen

Jan Kronlund: Suomen Puolustuslaitos 1918 - 1939 (= Finnish Defence Department 1918 - 1939)

Special thanks to Sotamuseo (Finnish Military Museum), Helsinki.

Special thanks to Jalkaväkimuseo (Finnish Infantry Museum), Mikkeli.


Last updated 14th of August 2013
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