Valmet M82: A rare bullpup assault rifle from the past century

The Valmet M82, manufactured by the Finnish company Valmet, is a bullpup assault rifle with an internal design based on the Valmet RK 62 76

Eric Sof

Valmet M82 bullpup assault rifle
Valmet M82 bullpup assault rifle (Photo: XY)

The Valmet M82, manufactured by the Finnish company Valmet, is a bullpup assault rifle with an internal design based on the Valmet RK 62 76 models. The firearm is available in two variants: the model 255 470, chambered for the 5.56×45mm NATO caliber, and the model 255 490, chambered for the 7.62×39mm caliber.

Introduction

The M82, a Finnish firearm, was introduced in 1978, and production ceased in 1986. Valmet produced approximately 2,000 units, most semi-automatic variants in 5.56mm NATO caliber. ODIN International Ltd. of Alexandria, Virginia, was the primary recipient of these rifles. While a few weapons were issued to the Finnish Army’s paratroopers, they were deemed unsuitable for service.

One of the problems that arose during the rifle’s brief service life was that the rear sight of an uncased firearm tended to impact the paratrooper’s lower face, nose, and cheekbones during landings. Furthermore, the rifle’s weight distribution was not optimal, as most weights were at the back.

Design

The Valmet M82 is a compact bullpup assault rifle designed to reduce the firearm’s overall length. The Finnish designers sought to convert the successful Valmet M76 assault rifle into a bullpup layout, which helped to achieve this goal. The internal design of the M82 is comparable to the Valmet M76 and the Soviet AKM. The rifle is gas-operated and selective fire, with a lightened bolt carrier and a thinner barrel to reduce weight. The receiver and barrel of the Valmet M76 were retained.

Valmet M76
Valmet M76 – a civilian version of Valmet RK 62 (Photo: Valmet)

The rifle features a pistol grip with the trigger located at the front of the magazine port and the safety/fire mode selector switch placed far behind the pistol grip and trigger. The rifle can be set to “safe,” “single,” or “automatic” firing modes. The charging handle is on the receiver’s right side, and the weapon feeds from 30-round capacity magazines compatible with all standard M16-type magazines. However, semi-automatic civilian versions of the rifle use smaller magazines.

The early rifle prototypes had wooden stocks, but later models featured a polymer housing. One of the drawbacks of the Valmet M82 was its poor balance, with most of the weight at the rear. Another limitation was that the rifle had no provision for left-hand ejection, limiting its use to right-handed soldiers.

The M82’s fixed dioptric sights are set to the left of the weapon axis, similar to a Bren light machine gun or other belt-fed machine guns. The shooter’s right eye focuses on the front sight, while the left eye is focused on the rear sight. Although the two sights overlap at certain ranges, providing excellent accuracy at fixed ranges, the fixed nature of the sights limits the rifle’s accuracy at variable ranges. As a result, the M82’s accuracy beyond 300 meters is limited.

Valmet M82 bullpup assault rifle from the late 1970s
Valmet M82 bullpup assault rifle was introduced in 1978 (Photo: XY)

Despite these limitations, the M82’s main issues were related to soldier comfort and practicality. The rifle produced too much noise, which could harm the shooter’s ears, and the foresight could hit soldiers’ teeth during hard parachute landings. Additionally, the M82 lacked a bayonet lug and could not mount a knife bayonet, but the Valmet M82A solved this problem with a redesigned front sight post.

Technical specifications

Country of origin:Finland
Manufacturer:Valmet
Entered service:
Caliber:5.56 x 45 mm
Weight (empty):3.3 kg
Length:710 mm
Length (with folded stock):
Barrel length:420 mm
Muzzle velocity:975 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire:750 rpm
Practical rate of fire:40 – 100 rpm
Magazine capacity:30 rounds
Sighting range:300 m
Range of effective fire:300 m

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