The Valmet M76 was a civilian semi-automatic variant of the Valmet RK 62 (Rynnäkkökivääri 62, Assault rifle 62), produced in .222 Remington, .223 Remington/5.56×45mm NATO, and 7.62×39. It is in fact a heavily modified Kalashnikov AK-47. The gun was in production from 1976 to 1986. Its receiver is made from stamped and riveted sheet metal, instead of Rk 62’s milled receiver.
Finns adopted the Soviet armory at the end of the war and the Kalashnikov AK-47 rifle in the early 195s. However, like the Czechs, they have ideas of their own on what a good rifle consists of, and in a few years’ time, they were at work modifying the Kalashnikov design. They have now gone through three stages of change and their latest version is known as the Valmet M76.
Though it looks like a standard Kalashnikov (though with a far better exterior finish) there are some major differences. It has been adopted by the forces of Qatar, in the Middle East, and a semi-automatic-only version is sold as a sporting rifle in the United States.
The receiver is of stamped steel riveted together, and there is no wood whatever in the construction; the pistol grip and fore-end are of steel, covered in plastic. Earlier versions (Valmet M60 and Valmet M62) have cooling holes in the fore-end, but these have been omitted on the Valmet M76.
There is a three-pronged flash hider on the muzzle, one prong of which carries a bayonet lug. The foresight is a hooded, adjustable, post, while the back sight is an aperture type protected by two wings. Instead of using the Soviet position in front of the chamber, the Finnish rear sight, being an aperture, is at the rear end of the receiver. It is also fitted with Tritium light beads for night aiming.
The trigger guard has no forward part so that heavily-gloved fingers can get into the trigger; there is a hinged bar at the front end to prevent accidental release of the magazine. Four types of butt-stock are produced: the Valmet M76T has a tubular unit, very thick, plastic-covered and rigid; the Valmet M76F has a folding skeleton butt; the Valmet M76M has a plastic stock of conventional appearance, and the Valmet M76W has, unusually, a wooden butt.
In 1981, Valmet announced the existence of a new experimental rifle, the Valmet M76 Short; this uses the same Kalashnikov mechanism of the M76 but fitted into a bullpup stock. It is chambered for the 5.56 mm cartridge. The stock of the prototype is entire of wood, but it is said that if the rifle were to go into production, then a plastic stock would be developed. However, the Finnish army showed no interest and the design was abandoned.
|Manufacturer:||Valmet Oy, Jyvaskkyla, Finland|
|Type:||gas-operated, selective fire|
|Caliber:||7.62 x 39 mm Soviet|
|Barrel:||16.5 in (420 mm)|
|Weight (empty):||7.7 lbs (3.5 kg)|
|Effective firing range:||300 m|
|Rate of fire:||700 rounds per minute|
|Magazine capacity:||30-round detachable magazine|