The Last of Mosin-Nagants


7,62 mm Military Rifle M/39 "Ukko-Pekka":

PICTURE: Rifle M/39 with straight rifle stock. Only about 6,000 straight stocked M/39 rifles were made (by Sako in 1940 - 1941) and they are nowadays considered highly collectable. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (48 KB).

PICTURE: Rifle M/39 with typical wartime rifle stock. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (54 KB).


7,62 mm x 54 R


1187 mm

Barrel length:

685 mm


4,5 kg


5, non-removable

Official abbreviations:

"7,62 kiv/39" and "762 KIV 39"

Country of origin:





Mass production 1941 - 1945, minor scale till 1970's, total amount over 100,000.

Finnish use: Issued mainly to Finnish frontline troops during Continuation War (1941 - 1944). As produced mainly during that war the percentage M/39 among all rifles used by Finnish troops increased steadily during the war. Most typical Finnish post World War 2 rifle type until bolt lock rifles were replaced by assault-rifles starting from 1960's.

Military rifle M/39 was the second try of Finnish Armed Forces in improvement of Mosin-Nagant. Often used nickname "Ukko-Pekka" came from Finnish Ex-President Per Evind Svinhufvud, who as a well-known competition shooter and NCO of Finnish Civil Guard. Opinion differences concerning requirements needed from military rifle between Suojeluskunta (Finnish Civil Guard) and Armed Forces had lead into introduction of both M/27 and M/28 & M/28-30 rifles, which had some design feature differences that made using the same spare-parts in both rifles impossible. However, neither of these two rifles was as good as they might have been, if work of both design teams would have been combined. Civil Guard, having less red tape and powerful empasis towards developing rifle marksmanship, had been able to identify problems and solve problems in more effective manner for their rifle development, which culminated to M/27. Spring of 1934 Army finally woke and realised that large amount from M/27 rifles needed for frontline troops were nor fit for combat because of structural defects. Ordnance Department of Defence Ministry started seeking solution for this crisis in year 1935. First developing of domestic semiautomatic rifle was considered, but lacking readily available semiautomatic rifle design, which could have been placed into production quickly resulted burying this idea. Not that there would have likely been financing available for introducing new automatic rifle in any real numbers at that point either. Civil Guard was offering its recent M/28-30 rifles as a rifle model which could have been officially approved also for Armed Forces. But personnel of Armed Forces Ordnance Administration were very much against this, since it favoured its own shorter rifle design - test rifle M/91-35. Test rifle M/91-35 was a 7.62 mm x 54R carbine-length bolt-action rifle of Mosin-Nagant family with 111-cm long barrel. It was a final product of numerous Armed Forces committees, who had spent years theorizing on what would be optimal rifle design - while ending with some design features, which seem to make little sense.

Lack of funds and good semiautomatic rifle design had already delayed the process (leading Finnish firearms designer Aimo Lahti had designed some semiautomatic rifles, but none of them good enough). In particular Colonel Leonard Grandell (War Economy Chief of Armed Forces at that time) further fuelled the argument by basically ordering production of M/28-30 rifle to be halted by calling off modification program of older Mosin-Nagant rifles of Civil Guard to m/28-30 standard in April of 1938. He wanted both Finnish Armed Forces and Civil Guard to adopt the new rifle and did not see any need to continue production of "old" M/28-30. This caused irritation in Civil Guard. What followed was that essensially Armed Forces tried get its own M/91-35 test rifle accepted both Armed Forces and Civil Guard without even bothering to test it against already well-reputed M/28-30 rifle of Civil Guard, which had been placed in production only four years earlier. At the same time many representatives of Civil Guard were unwilling to see any need to improve in their M/28-30 and wanted it to be accepted as service rifle of Armed Forces just as it was. April of 1938 Civil Guard's leading firearms experts Engineer Harry Mansner and Major Arvo Erkala wrote and several memorandums, whose conclusions Defence Ministry Ordnance Department were not able to dismiss and forced Armed Forces to include Civil Guard into development work of new standard issue military rifle in June of 1938. The first practical product of this co-operation was new carbine-size rifle prototype, which was equipped with sights based on those used in M/28-30.

PICTURE: Finnish soldier with snow camo suit and military rifle M/39 in snowy foxhole. The rifle bolt is cocked. This photograph was taken by 2nd Lieutenant V. Hollming in Rukajärvi region in April of 1943. (SA-kuva.fi archive, photo number 127241). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (146 KB).

The most serious weak point of test rifle M/91-35 design was sights with windage settings being adjusted with purpose built shims, while these were apparently replaced in development work early on, the plan of going with carbine-length rifle lingered longer. Short 111-cm rifle barrel used in M/91-35 and other carbine-size prototypes proved to create excessive muzzle-flash in particular when used with old cartridges loaded with 9.6-gram/148-grain (S-08/22 aka S-1) spitzer bullets. While new 13-gram/200-grain D-166 boat-tail bullet had been adopted in as standard bullet type for Finish Armed Forces in year 1936, at that time Finnish ammunition stockpiles still contained mostly older ammunition with 9.6-gram/148-grain bullets. In addition to this, the difference between point of impact with ammunition equipped with these two bullet types proved too large with carbine-lenght rifle barrel. October of 1938 the process finally started getting somewhere - decision was made to design a new rifle using proven M/28-30 as a starting point. New committee was established to design the new rifle. Members of the new commission contained A.E. Saloranta (co-designer of Lahti-Saloranta M/26 LMG) and Harry Mansner (main designer of sights for M/28-30 rifle). Because of all time wasted in earlier delays only one was week was given to this new committee for its design work - after which it spent six months in doing the work and failed to produce final rifle model. The committee developed protype rifle referred as N:o 14, which was shown to Civil Guard in February of 1939 and already had most of new features, which would be later included to final military rifle M/39. Civil Guard responded to this by producing its own new protype rifle with serial number 100932, it was otherwise very similar to N:o 14 protype, but had new rifle stock design and front sight, which had been moved slightly further away from the muzzle. This change in location of front side was introduced to make sure that if bayonet attached to rifle would get get loose on its own, it would drop from the rifle without stopping in such position, that could leave it hanging in front of the muzzle. April of 1939 military rifle M/39 was officially approved, but at that time not even blueprints, much less prototype of the rifle existed yet.

A new committee was established to continue the development work in April of 1939. It went through the rifle's main features, changed still some details and had two additional protypes made. Some changes such as changing front sight windage screws to type, which could be adjusted with normal screwdriver instead of special tool and equipping wrist of rifle stock with semi-pistol grip were approved in May of 1939. The final details of rifle M/39 were officially approved in Ministry of Defense in September of 1939, but even at that point rifles about to delivered to Army and those to be delivered Civil War were intended to have differences in their sights, with Army preferring cone-shaped front sight post, rear sight tangent had less range options and even suggested again Army rifles to be equipped with front side windage screws that required special tool. Soon Winter War cancelled these plans of having two separate versions of rifle M/39. Finland had rather little industrial capacity for small arms manufacturing with the three existing manufacturers (SAKO, VKT and Tikkakoski) getting swamped in work of repairing and manufacturing of new military weapons - hence starting production of military rifle M/39 got delayed. In addition the rapid need for making weapons manufacturing as effective as possible left little room for manufacturing of different service rifle versions. Hence once rifle M/39 was finally placed in production in autumn of 1940, all rifles manufactured were to be the type earlier intended for Civil Guard only.

PICTURE: Sergeant Major Moisander with his rifle M/39. Photographed by Military Official T. Ovaskainen in June of 1943. "S with-in a gear" brand in side of the rifle butt indicates the rifle was manufactured by SAKO. Sergeant Major Moisander wears summer cap M/39, summer tunic M/36 with field artillery insignia, breeches with patched knees and standard issue "jackboot" type leather boots. (SA-kuva.fi archive, photo number 129232). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (191 KB).

M/39 rifle came to have following differences when compared to earlier M/28-30:

But rifle m/39 has also numerous features and even parts inherited from earlier rifles. As all other Finnish-manufactured rifles of Mosin-Nagant lineage, also rifle M/39 was built with receivers and bolt parts recycled from earlier manufactured Mosin-Nagant rifles. In addition parts for fixed magazine used in it were recycled from earlier rifles, but had the same "jam free" magazine body modification as in rifle M/28-30. But this was the most important design feature inherited from rifle M/28-30, since that feature was rifle sights. Those front and rear sight developed by Harry Mansner for SAKO and Civil Guard allow easy and very precise easily measurable sight adjustments, due to which rifle can be zeroed in very precisely and tangent rear sight that allows diminutive changes for range setting.

PICTURE: Photograph of Finnish sentry in his rocky foxhole in northern shore of Lake Laatokka / Ladoga. Photographed by Lieutenant Kim Borg in August of 1944. (SA-kuva.fi archive, photo number 160030). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (157 KB).

Accessories issued for rifle m/39 were quite small in number. Universal issue green-grey leather sling had been adopted for small arms by Armed Forces in year 1936. This universal issue small sling was manufactured in versions varying by length depending type of firearm. The version of universal issue sling, which is 120 cm long became the standard rifle sling type for military rifle m/39 and remained so through its service career, although due to leather shortage also substitute canvas slings with leather reinforcements were manufactured for it during World War 2. Other equipment contained cleaning rod, muzzle protector and cleaning kit. While the rifle is compatible with earlier Finnish long knife-baynets (M/27, M/28 and M/28-30) and shorter knife bayonet M/39 developed for it was manufactured only in quite limited scale and did not see much wartime use.

Deliveries of M/39 rifles to Finnish Army by September of 1945:






























Source: Report of Finnish Defence Forces GHQ Ordnance Department concerning weaponry belonging to its area of expertise manufactured in Finland 1935 - 1945. T20207/F16 sal, Finnish Military Archives. Notice: The table does not include rifles delivered to home front troops. Also, instead of being called manufacturer, it might be more accurate to call AV3 a "assembly plant", since it had minimal role in manufacturing the parts that it used in making rifles.

Especially sling and rifle stock used in M/39 proved more practical than the ones used in rifle M/28-30. 14th of April 1939 the new M/39 rifle got approved into military use, this was highly unusual in such a early phase, there was not yet final prototype and even final blueprints did not exist yet. Then came Winter War and messed the production plans, all depots and gun factories had their hands full without new rifle to be introduced to production. First order of 20,000 rifles was not made (to Sako) until April of 1940. Supply department of Finnish Army HQ sent some questions to all Army Corps asking experiences gained about existing rifles used during Winter War and resulting feedback was used for suggesting changes to M/39 rifle.

PICTURE: Rifle M/39 with post-war rifle stock. Due to finish used for these rifle stocks they have notably lighter colour than those produced during World War 2. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (59 KB).

The mass production of rifle M/39 did not start until late summer of 1940 and even then starting manufacturing in Sako factory was delayed. Because of this Finnish troops did not get any M/39 rifles until year 1941. Finnish Army HQ ordered 60,000 rifles of this type from Sako during World War 2 and received about 53,500 of them before Continuation War ended. The remaining 6,500 were completed soon after the war in year 1945. HQ of Home Front Troops (previous GHQ of Civil Guard) ordered some 20,500 rifles from Sako with finances of Civil Guard and received some 10,500 of those rifles before the war ended. Also Weapons Depot 3 (AV3) manufactured about 30,300 M/39 rifles, which went to Armed Forces. The rifles M/39 manufactured in Weapons Depot 3 had rifle barrels made by VKT (Valtion Kivääritehdas = State Rifle Factory), while Sako manufactured also the barrels for M/39 rifles that it produced. The most important component that AV3 manufactured for rifles that it assembled were rifle stocks, while Sako manufactured also the rifle stocks that it needed for its own rifle production. In typical Finnish manner much of the parts (receivers, grand majority of bolt parts, magazine components...) used for manufacturing rifle M/39 were recycled parts from earlier Mosin-Nagant rifles. Large scale production of rifle M/39 ended year 1945, but smaller scale production from existing (and often previously unfinished) parts continued until 1970's - last known years of this small-scale production were 1970 and 1973.

PICTURE: Finnish soldiers in close order drill in year 1962. All soldiers seem to have military rifles M/39. They are also still wearing military uniform m/36 with summer tunic m/36 and summer cap m/39. Photographed by Erkki Voutilainen. Photo provided by Finnish Heritage Agency (Museovirasto), acquired via finna.fi and used with CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (212 KB).

Mosin-Nagant rifles continued their career as standard-issue rifles of Finnish military also in post World War 2 era, with rifle M/39 facto becoming standard issue rifle for post World War 2 peace-time Finnish military until finally replaced by assault rifles. It seems to have been typical in 1950's and 1960's to issue each conscript two rifles - infantry rifle m/91 for combat training (in which the rifle was more likely see harsh treatment) and military rifle m/39 for shooting practice. The change started with AK-47 rifles acquired as training use in 1960 - 1961. While Finnish 7.62 RK 62 assault rifle entered to mass-production in mid 1960's and started slowly replacing old rifles, some Finnish military units still issued their conscripts rifles m/39 instead of assault rifles until late 1970's. Even after this rifle m/39 did not totally disappear from Finnish Armed Forces inventory. Large number of rifles M/39 remained in storage for possible wartime use until early 1990's, when Finland bought about 200,000 AKM-type assault rifles from Germany and China, which allowed World War 2 era rifles and submachine guns to be finally retired completely. Military rifle M/39 the last standard issue rifle of Mosin-Nagant lineage to be surplussed by Finnish Armed Forces, with rifles being sold as surplus in 1990's to 2000's for both Finnish civilian market and export. Nowadays rifle m/39 is the most popular rifle model among Finnish reservists for old military rifle shooting competitions and have internationally gained reputation as old military rifle capable of excellent shooting accuracy.


7,62 mm Military Rifle M/91-30:

(7.62 mm vintovka obr. 1891/1930 g.)

PICTURE: Soviet M/91-30 rifle. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (75 KB).


7,62 mm x 54 R


1230 mm

Barrel length:

730 mm


4,0 - 4,1 kg


5, non-removable

Official abbreviations:

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

Country of origin:

Soviet Union




1927 - 1944

Finnish use: Over 100,000 of these rifles were captured and used by Finnish troops during World War. Few thousand M/91-30 rifles were built with Finnish barrels in 1943 - 1944.

While the Finns designed new shorter Mosin-Nagant rifle models through 1920's, the Soviets concentrated improving already existing dragoon rifle M/91 during mid- and late-1920's. The role they had reserved for M/91-30 was that of a standard service rifle, making it the standard rifle issued for infantry. The Soviets had stopped manufacturing of other Mosin-Nagant rifle models than dragoon rifle in year 1922 and had noted the need for new improved univeral rifle model suitable for all troops already at that time. Most of the design work was done by Kabakov, Komaritsky, Osintsev and Fedortsev. The improvements they designed led into introduction of rifle M/91-30, which was approved to use of Soviet military in April of 1930. Most notable changes compared to earlier dragoon rifle M/91 included:

PICTURE: Finnish soldier with Soviet M/91-30 rifle. Photographed by Erkki Viitaaslo in February of 1942 in region of Maaselkä Isthmus. (SA-kuva.fi archive, photo number 57671). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (121 KB).

While M/91-30 was approved in April of 1930, its features were apparently only gradually introduced to actual rifle production. Due to replacing old imperial era measurements such as arsina/arshin (steps) with metric system, the rear sight of M/91-30 also had range settings in meters. The new rear sight was introduced to rifle production by Izhevsk in year 1931 and by Tula in year 1932. Earlier front sight design remained to be used in rifle production until temporarily being replaced with front sight design which had higher sight post and intended to be used with Panshin-bayonet manufactured around 1931 - 1933, before being replaced with ring-procted new front sight design starting circa 1933. Early production M/91-30 rifles also still had hexagonal receivers and replacing them with round receivers was even slower. Neither manufacturer shifted their manufacturing from earlier hexagonal receiver to new round receiver until mid 1930's with Izhevsk implemented this shift in year 1935 and Tula in year 1936. During World War 2 the Soviets further simplified the receiver design to speed up its manufacturing.

As noted Izhevsk and Tula gun arsenals were main manufacturers of these rifles, their production grow until in late 1930's yearly production reached about 1.3 million/year. The Soviets manufactured over 4.2 million rifles M/91-30 by early 1940. In addition of manufacturing of new rifles the Soviets also modified most of their existing dragoon rifles M/91 into M/91-30 rifles. During World War 2 production of M/91-30 kept growing and in year 1942 alone over 3 million rifles were manufactured, after this production started to decline - probably at least partly due to some resources being transferred to submachinegun production. Introduction of carbine M/44 as general issue weapon of Soviet Red Army in January of 1944 was beginning of an end for manufacturing of M/91-30 - carbine M/44 replaced it in production. Total production of Soviet M/91-30 rifles is been estimated around 13 million. Generally speaking M/91-30 rifles made during World War 2 were not as well made as the ones made before the war. During Spanish Civil War Soviet Union delivered large number of these rifles to Republican Spain. The Germans captured large amount of M/91-30 rifle during World War 2 and called it "Gewehr 254 (r)." During World War 2 German military issued these captured rifles to its garrison units, Ostlegione (volunteer units created from soldiers of Soviet origin), other Hiwi (hiflwillige) volunteer units and Volksturm.

PICTURE: Finnish soldier photographed while in process of loading Soviet M/91-30 rifle from stripper clip. Photographed by Sundström in October of 1941 east of Kiestinki / Kestunga. (SA-kuva.fi archive, photograph number 72162). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (226 KB).

Finnish military captured several divisions worth of Soviet weapons during Winter War. Due to both Finnish and Soviet military using 7.62 mm x 54R as their standard ammunition for rifles and machine guns, captured Soviet rifles, light machineguns and medium machineguns could be easily taken to Finnish use. According Finnish inventory listing from June of 1940 by that time 28,303 rifles M/91-30 had been taken to use of Finnish military. In addition thousands of damaged M/91-30 rifles had been captured, but not included into inventory until they had been repaired. The most heavily damaged rifles were cannibalised for parts that were typically used assembling M/91 and M/39 rifles. During early phase of Continuation War the total number of captured weapons was even larger and Soviet M/91-30 rifle become one of the main rifle types used by Finnish troops. The basic structure of M/91-30 was very similar to other Mosin-Nagant rifles, so same parts could be used in certain extent. Around July-August 1944 Finland also bought 56,722 Soviet rifles (grand majority of them M/91-30) from Germany, but most of them were in such a poor shape, that they were used as parts for manufacturing new rifles instead of being issued.

PICTURE: Finnish soldier with captured Soviet M/91-30 rifle in a trench. Photographed by military official Niilo Helander in November of 1942 in frontline sector of River Syäri / Svir. (SA-kuva.fi archive, photograph number 114307). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (156 KB).

With manufacturing years of many Finnish rifle models (M/27, M/28-30 and M/39 overlapping with those of Soviet M/91-30 and them all being Mosin-Nagant rifles, comparing them against one another leads into interesting observations. One could note that the development work that the Soviets made for M/91-30 was less ambitions that it could have been and while they did have more development resources in form of numerous existing development teams, the M/91-30 rifle that they ended up going with was a modest improvement of just improved sights and bayonet over M/91 dragoon rifle and sticking with it . Admitted this was quite certainly effected by Soviet development projects for self-loading rifle, which led to development of AVS-36, SVT-38 and SVT-40, none of which proved particularly satisfactory and required too much resources to produce in massive numbers - hence the Soviets ended up keeping M/91-30 as their standard rifle model for practically whole World War 2 and replacing it in production with carbine M/44. By comparison even if Finnish rifles used recycled parts in much larger extent, there was notably more development work to develop better sights which could be zeroed in more precisely, better two stage trigger and more reliable fixed magazine. In addition in general especially when it comes to manufacturing quality of wartime production and built quality of refurbished rifles Soviet quality control was notably less consistent. But yet ultimately when it came to reliability and functionality in the field World War 2 era Soviet M/91-30 was about equal to most Finnish-made rifles. While Soviet wartime produced M/91-30 show signs of cutting corners, they were still fully functional rifles, but Finnish military was also lucky in that sense that the grand majority of Finnish-captured M/91-30 were predated year 1941 and were hence higher quality pre-war manufactured rifles.

Finnish rifle M/91-30 or rifle M/30:

Finnish repairs made for damaged captured M/91-30 resulted introduction of some new Finnish design features, which apparently were not introduced in any notable uniform manner, but vary from one rifle to another. New sights of M/91-30 rifle were designed for new kind of sight adjustment tools, which the Finns did not have. So Finnish solution was to equip the rifles with M/91 type front sight with filling part, added in between front sight post and front sight base, this stacked sight front sight design allowed using the same adjustment tools as with old M/91 rifles. Also new rifle stocks were needed, so domestic production of rifle stocks for M/91-30 was started. Finnish made rifle stocks have several differences to original Soviet ones and due to their shape are commonly referred as "pot belly stocks". And finally in year 1943 also manufacturing of rifle barrels for M/91-30 started in Tikkakoski factory. When captured Soviet M/91-30 had been rebuilt in Finland with these changes one could argue if it really can be anymore called Soviet M/91-30, or a Finnish one, since many of the most important parts were now Finnish. With typical Finnish practice of recycling parts from damaged and worn-out rifles the line in between doing extensive repairs to damaged rifles and manufacturing new rifles was unclear to begin with. Personally I would place the fine line in between the two in manufacturer of rifle barrel - with any M/91-30 rifle that has Finnish-manufactured rifle barrel being considered as Finnish-built. This sort of Finnish version can well be called Finnish M/91-30, or more simply rifle M/30 as the particular Finnish-modified version sometimes listed. While Finnish military ordered during Continuation War enough most important parts to repair or built 20,000 rifles, it seems that only few thousand M/91-30 built with Tikkakoski- manufactured rifle barrels were delivered by end of Continuation War in September of 1944. Year 1951 Finnish inventory included 91,334 rifles M/91-30, but only 4,279 of these were listed as rifle M/30. Finnish military kept rifles M/91-33 mothballed until late 1980's, until being declared obsolete and sold to surplus small arms market, with most apparently being exported to United States.

PICTURE: Military rifle M/30 - a Finnish version of Soviet M/91-30 rifle. Notice stacked front sight design and Finnish "potbelly" rifle stock. Photo source finna.fi - original photo by Jorma Kontio for Forum Marinum maritime museum, used with CC BY-ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (54 KB).


7,62 mm Carbines M/38 and M/44:

(7,62 mm karabin obr. 1938 g.)

(7,62 mm karabin obr. 1944 g.)

PICTURE: Soviet carbine M/38. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (47 KB).

PICTURE: Soviet carbine M/44. Note folded bayonet located side of rifle. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (58 KB).


7,62 mm x 54 R


1060 mm

Barrel length:

512 mm (M/38) / 517 mm (M/44)


3,5 kg (M/38) / 3,9 kg (M/44)


5, non-removable

Official abbreviations:

"7,62 kiv/30 rv" and "762 KIV 30 RV"

Country of origin:

Soviet Union


M/38: 1938. M/44: 1943


M/38: 1939 - 1945. M/44: 1943 - early 1950's

Finnish use: Captured and used by Finnish troops in small numbers during World War 2. Finnish Army captured some 2,300 carbines M/38 and M/44.

Soviet M/91-30 rifle was not really suitable for all troops, so handier carbine was designed for cavalry, signal troops, artillery and vehicle drivers. That carbine was carbine M/38 introduced to use of Soviet military in February of 1939. Mass production started already in 1939, and kept going until end of World War 2. What is known suggests that Izhevsk arsenal manufactured M/38 and M/44 carbines in 1939 - 1945, while Tula manufactured them only in year 1944. Carbine M/38 was very similar to M/91-30 infantry rifle, but barrel and forward parts of stock were naturally shorter and rear sight plus holding rings different. Carbine M/38 also had no attachment for bayonet of any type and it was issued without bayonet.

PICTURE: Captured carbine M/38 in Finnish use. Soldiers of a propaganda company prepare leaflet launcher for launching propaganda flyers towards Russian positions. Both soldiers are wearing snow camouflage suits. Photographed by Tauno Norjavirta in December of 1941. (SA-kuva.fi archive, photograph number 66010). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (100 KB).

The Finns captured 489 carbines M/38 during Winter War and even larger number was captured during early phase of Continuation War. However the total number of Finnish-captured M/38 carbines was never very large. This carbine had limited popularity among Finnish troops - while it had handy size it also produced large muzzle-flash. Large muzzle flash did not only give away the shooter even in daytime, but in the dark ruined night-vision of the shooter temporarily, in effect momentarily blinding him. Finnish troops captured also carbine M/44 in small numbers during the last few months of Continuation War.

PICTURE: Two Finnish Army soldiers photographed in November of 1942. Unknown soldier in the forefront has carbine M/38, while Major General Aarne Blick behind him has stick hand grenade Sa/39. When this photograph was taken Aarne Blick (1894 - 1964) was commander of VI Army Corps. He had commanded Taipale Sector in Winter War and as during Continuation War commanded of 2nd (Infantry) Division with such succees, that he was awarded with Mannerheim Cross. Aarne Blick retired from Finnish Army as Lieutenant General in year 1954. Photographed by Military official Niilo Helander. (SA-kuva.fi archive, photograph number 114288). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (116 KB).

During World War 2 the Soviets started considering the lack of bayonet as a problem with carbine M/38, so tests were organised in May of 1943. Design of N. S. Semin with folding bayonet got selected and its mass-production started in January of 1944 replacing carbine M/38 and rifle M/91-30 in production (*). While manufacturing of M/44 carbines ended in Soviet Union in year 1945, Soviet industry later shortened number of M/91-30 rifles to carbine length, with the resulting carbine being known as M/91-30-59. After World War 2 carbines M/44 were manufactured in least in Poland, Hungary, Romania, China and North Korea. In Finland the number of captured carbines M/44 was never large, so Finnish Army marked them under the same inventory name "7,62-mm carbine model 1930" as M/38 carbines. Year 1951 Finnish inventory contained 2,291 "carbines model 1930". Remaining carbines of both types were sold to Interarmco in the same time and exported year 1960.

(*) Also M/44 carbines with barrel markings from year 1943 exist. These could be from field test series manufactured in November of 1943. Second possibility is that the barrels used in them were originally manufactured for M/38 carbines, but when M/44 replaced it in production they were used to make carbines m/44.



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)

D.N. Bolotin: Soviet Small-Arms and Ammunition.

Risto Erjola: Aseiden valmistus Suomessa vuosina 1939 - 1945

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

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

Finnish M39 Mosin Nagant to 1,100yds: Practical Accuracy on 9-Hole Reviews

Article: Neuvostokarabiinit 7.62 mm Karabina obr. 1938g ja obr. 1944g by Mika Pitkänen in Ase-lehti magazine vol. 1/99.

Article: Kolmatta linjaa huipulle, Ukko-Pekka m/39 by Mika Vuolle in Kaliberi magazine vol. 3/2004.

Article: Mosin-Nagant M1944 karbiini by Janne Pohjoispää in Kaliberi magazine vol. 5/2009.

Finnish military archives, archive references T20206/F9, /F10 and /F11

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

Last updated 3rd of June 2023
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