Soviet SVT-40 vs. M1 Garand – Best Battle Implement Ever?

The SVT-40, below, is the Soviet counterpart to the M1 Garand. It was the semi-auto battle rifle of the the Allies on the Eastern Front.

The SVT-40, below, is the Soviet counterpart to the M1 Garand. It was the semi-auto battle rifle of the the Allies on the Eastern Front.

General George S. Patton once called the M1 Garand the “best battle implement ever devised.” But was he correct? The run up to World War II saw a giant leap forward in technology for weapons of war. The jet airplane was invented for WWII. Of course the atomic bomb was invented for WWII. But more importantly, the weapons that saw the most combat, the infantry battle rifles of the war, changed considerably as well, worldwide. In 1936, three years after the famous German false flag the Reichstag fire, and three years before Germany invaded Poland, considered the “official” beginning of WWII, the US adopted a new battle rifle called the M1 Garand. During that time the Soviets also developed a new rifle, introduced in 1938, then re-released in 1940, called the SVT-40. Over 1.6 million of the SVTs were made during the early stages of the war, and many of these rifles came to the US in the 1990s. Many are in collections, but you can still find them if you look, for around $1,200 – $1,500. Was the Garand really a better rifle, or is our American perspective just skewed by nationalistic writers. The SVT-40 never really got out of the gate due to the later popularity of the AK-47, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was an influential rifle on the Eastern front during the war, or the fact that it totally rocks. We got to test an actual 1943 SVT-40 side by side with an M1 Garand, and the results may surprise you.

The SVT-40 is several inches longer than the M1 Garand, due to the the long action and flash hider.

The SVT-40 is several inches longer than the M1 Garand, due to the the long action and flash hider.

Semi-Auto vs. Semi-Auto

The SVT-40 is a short stroke gas rifle with the gas tube on top of the barrel, like you see on more modern semi-auto rifles like the FN-FAL. The gas bleeds into the tube from the inside of the barrel on firing, and this moves a piston back, cocking the rifle and chambering the next round. It has a ten round detachable magazine, but because there had been complaints about the magazine getting lost on the SVT-38, the Soviets came up with a clever magazine release that can be locked down by flipping it backward.

Compare that to an M1 Garand. It has a bottom gas tube, and this too pushes an activator rod, but on the Garand the rod cocks to the side and back again. This makes the gun very ammunition sensitive, because too fast a powder or too heavy a bullet can bend the rod. The Garand holds 8 rounds, held in what is called an “en bloc ” clip. This is a piece of spring steel that actually holds the rounds without any outside spring or moving parts, unlike a traditional rifle magazine which can be prone to failure. This is thought to make the M1 Garand a very reliable rifle, and one that is not ruined at the whim of a dented magazine. En bloc clips are cheap and easy to make, and tens of millions were made to support the war effort.

The main difference functionally between the two guns is that the SVT uses a detachable magazine and the Garand uses steel en bloc clips.

The main difference functionally between the two guns is that the SVT uses a detachable magazine and the Garand uses steel en bloc clips.


As you probably know, the Germans fought most of the infantry war with the bolt action K98 Mauser rifle. They did develop a semi-auto battle rifle, and they did use machineguns and subguns extensively, but for the most part the infantry carried the K98. The Soviets likewise carried a bolt rifle, the Mosin-Nagant, of which we have written extensively. It is a great rifle in its own right, and they are widely available in the US market. What you probably didn’t know is that the official “Table of Organization and Equipment” for the Soviet infantry was supposed to include one third semi-auto SVTs. In the long run that never happened, because of the sheer number of infantry rifles needed for the Eastern Front. It is easier to make a Nagant that it is an SVT, so the bolt rifle won out.
The SVT magazine catch is really cool because it flips backward, locking the magazine in place.

The SVT magazine catch is really cool because it flips backward, locking the magazine in place.


What the infantry soldiers didn’t like about the SVT was overall length of just over 48 inches including the flash hider. Our test rifle is lanky, but it is much better balanced in my opinion than the aforementioned FAL, and I find it handier than even an M14/M1A. Still, it is long, and in house to house fighting you would be at a disadvantage to the 43+ inch M1 Garand. Both rifles have an approximately 24 inch barrel, but the SVT is just spread out more.

The Garand, however, is heavier. Few Garands come in under 10 lbs, and the SVT is only 8 1/2, which is what ours weighed. It is notably lighter, and it doesn’t have that odd fat stock that looks so nifty on Garands, but which makes them awkward to hold and shoot. Dare I say, in fear of a tirade of negative comments, the SVT is more pleasant to shoot. It recoils lighter and has less muzzle rise, and is significantly easier to keep on target in rapid fire standing unrested. I am a huge fan of the M1 Garand and own over a dozen of them, but I would rather have the SVT in a gunfight.

Our test rifle was made during 1943, the last year that the SVT was made in large quantities.

Our test rifle was made during 1943, the last year that the SVT was made in large quantities.

Reliability, Function, and Takedown

At first I was horribly disappointed with my SVT-40. The first rounds stuck in the chamber and I had to use a rubber mallet on the bolt handle to even get the action open. Little did I suspect, the first owner of this gun after importation hadn’t even fired it. I sprayed some Rem-Oil into it and ran a couple mags, and she now works like a charm. I have tried since to get the rifle to fail, by shooting one handed, limp wristing, shooting upside down, but I can’t get it to fail to cycle. The original SVT-38 had some reliability complaints, but I have yet to find anything online suggesting that the SVT-40 has long term reliability issues that would make it have a short range life. I have now put about 300 rounds through my SVT and it hasn’t shown any wear marks or required a re-oiling to function properly. This is amazing considering that the 7.62 x 54R cartridge that it fires has an extended rim, like a revolver cartridge. Those aren’t supposed to work well in magazines, yet they do in the SVT. If you give the M1 Garand a perfect record for reliability, which it definitely does not deserve, the SVT would most likely match it.

The safety on the SVT is much more usable than the Garand. You flip it sideways instead of back, and it isn't sticky like a Garand.

The safety on the SVT is much more usable than the Garand. You flip it sideways instead of back, and it isn’t sticky like a Garand.


The biggest difference in function between the SVT and the Garand is obviously he clip vs. magazine. One thing that I find difficult about the Garand system is that you can’t top off your mag easily. If you shot 6 and you get a lull in the action, it is advisable to drop the mag and top it off, which you can do with the SVT. In fact, with the magazine lock feature of the SVT, you lose nothing. Yes, the magazine sticks out of the bottom of the rifle, and you can damage it. But compared to the cludge of the Garand magazine, it is worth it. The M14 is functionally a Garand with an extended magazine and a shorter cartridge. Both rifles still work fine as a single shot should you lose (or run out of in the case of the Garand) your cartridge holding device, but in a Garand, the guts of the system actually get in the way when you try to do that.
The SVT started out really really really really poor in the accuracy department. This was the group with point of aim at the middle of the top orange diamond.

The SVT started out really really really really poor in the accuracy department. This was the group with point of aim at the middle of the top orange diamond.


Taking the Garand down for cleaning is perhaps the simplest of any rifle I have seen. You simply lift the trigger guard and the gun literally falls apart in your hands. The SVT is not so simple. The cleaning rod acts as a switch to allow you to remove the barrel band, and from there the rifle comes apart in stages. It is fairly intuitive, but not as obvious and easy as the Garand. Advantage Garand on this point, but overall, perhaps SVT.

Accuracy

This was another point on which I initially found that the SVT failed miserably. My first volley of 10 rested shots printed into well over a foot of dispersal, so I was like OK, this is why the rifle never got any traction in the long haul. I had read that the SVT was known as a “spray and pray weapon.” But as I shot the rifle more and more, the groups tightened up, and they tightened up considerably.

For these tests, I figured that I would use both a high quality round and a steel cased plinking round, to see how they stacked up against each other in addition to how the rifles themselves stacked up. For the Garand I used Hornady’s 168 grain AMAX bullet M1 Garand rounds for the good stuff and generic Wolf 145 grain steel cased rounds for the cheap stuff. I only shot a couple boxes of the cheap stuff for fear of bending my op rod. For the SVT I used some “7N1 sniper” rounds I got from Lucky Gunner for the good stuff, and the Russian made Silver Bear for the cheap stuff, even though it isn’t the cheapest you can get.

Later the SVT settled in and redeemed itself getting down to 5-6" of dispersal at 100 yards. Not the best, but with Russian ammo, not terrible either. The shock was when I ran some old sticky surplus Romanian ammo through it, far right.

Later the SVT settled in and redeemed itself getting down to 5-6″ of dispersal at 100 yards. Not the best, but with Russian ammo, not terrible either. The shock was when I ran some old sticky surplus Romanian ammo through it, far right.


It was no surprise that the Garand shot into under or around 3" with the Hornady ammo. The cheap steel case ammo spread into just about the same dispersal as the SVT.

It was no surprise that the Garand shot into under or around 3″ with the Hornady ammo. The cheap steel case ammo spread into just about the same dispersal as the SVT.


The Garand I used was the one from my “Sniper Garands” article that I sent out to have made into an M1C with the side mount scope. It is a commercial Garand that was put out by today’s Springfield Armory in the late 90s using old Garand parts. I chose it because it got left in a basement once and has a rusted crown on the barrel, making it not ideal. As expected though, it still shot until just under 3″ at 100 yards using the Hornady rounds. The steel case rounds strung vertically to 4-5 inches, as you can see in the pictures. This usually means sloppy powder measurement.
The package on the old Romanian surplus looks a lot like the 7N1, but the rifle liked the sticky stuff much better.

The package on the old Romanian surplus looks a lot like the 7N1, but the rifle liked the sticky stuff much better.


The SVT started out horrible, no matter what the ammo. But eventually both the 7N1 and Silver Bear warmed up to fall within 5-6 inches of dispersal at 100 yards. There was not a chasm of difference between them. The big surprise came when I used some old ammo from another batch by mistake. I bought this ammo many years ago at a gun show in the standard Russian spam can, and it came in brown wrappers tied with red, white and blue string. Over the years I have used this ammo to zero Nagants, because it is useless for any other purpose. It sticks in chambers, so tight that I have had to hammer M44 bolts open. I was shooting the SVT from a rest, when all of a sudden, it didn’t work right. So I pulled back the bolt and the shell ejected. Hmm. Strange. Fire again. Same thing. And I did this for the whole magazine, figuring that I broke the gun and that reporting it would be part of declaring the M1 Garand the overall winner. Nope. It was this old sticky ammo I soon discovered. But when I looked through the scope at the target downrange, lo and behold, the group was about 3 inches. So I shot another. Same thing. And it repeated, every round having to be jacked out of the chamber manually.
This despite the fact that every single round had to be hand jacked out of the action.

This despite the fact that every single round had to be hand jacked out of the action.


This leads me to believe that the SVT is a rifle that really just needs to be broken in, to settle everything out, and that it has a sweet spot for ammo that shoots well in it. The Russian rifle doesn’t like the better Russian ammo, but I didn’t hold this article until I could get some Hornady 7.62x54R. Of course it is going to shoot better! But who has the money to keep a thousand rounds of that stuff on hand? Most likely, if you are buying this gun to plink and collect, you will be shooting the cheap stuff, or buying a few hundred rounds of reloadable brass and rolling your own. If you buy it as your SHTF weapon of choice, and it is a darn good choice, you’ll also most likely be buying the cheap stuff. Just make sure you break your gun in. Advantage Garand in accuracy, but the SVT is not the spray and pray weapon that people claim.
Note that the sights are much better on the Garand than any rifle you might compare it to, old or new. The SVT has the same sights as the Nagant, eh.

Note that the sights are much better on the Garand than any rifle you might compare it to, old or new. The SVT has the same sights as the Nagant, eh.


One thing I have to point out in comparing these two guns is that the sights on a Garand are far superior to the sight on the SVT. The SVT has a standard notch and post, with a drift adjustable post, and that’s pretty much it. Where it shoots it shoots. Get used to it. The Garand is an absolute pleasure because it has a peep sight that is both windage and elevation adjustable at the turn of a thumbwheel. Peep sights make you shoot better because your eye always naturally centers the aim point on the front sight to the middle. As an “out of the box” battle rifle, there is no comparison to the sight on the M1 Garand. It is the best that has ever been.

So Who Wins?

It is easy to sit back and just accept the M1 Garand propaganda, that is the best blah, blah blah. So why bother with the SVT-40? #1 would be because it is a really cool rifle, and if you can get your hands on one, it helps to go through such a comparison as above so you can see what it is you would be buying. On GunsAmerica they do appear, but only from time to time. Don’t be surprised if you see one at a gunshow for $2,000, because some people know how rare these cool rifles really are, and they don’t let them go easily.

The Garand also take down easier than the SVT, or pretty much any other rifle. You just pop the trigger guard and the rifle falls apart.

The Garand also take down easier than the SVT, or pretty much any other rifle. You just pop the trigger guard and the rifle falls apart.


In actual comparison, the two rifles, SVT vs. Garand, are not apples and oranges as many would say, but they aren’t that alike either. Parts are readily available for the Garand. That is a big deal if you only have the money for one rifle. Garands can often be found for well under $1,000, but be careful that you don’t buy a rifle with a bent op rod. There is no such thing as a sober person selling an SVT for under $1,000, but you never know when you’ll run into a drunk. As battle rifles go, the M1 Garand endured through two wars, and bred not only the M14, but the M1 Carbine, and even the Ruger Mini-14/30. The SVT-40 didn’t lead to much of anything. It’s design invented nothing really, and it was replaced by the Eastern Bloc countries by the AK-47, which took influence from the German STG-44, not the SVT or any Soviet designed rifle. Nostalgically speaking, the M1 Garand is as romantic as rifles come. The SVT is a vagrant of history at best, but is that simply because America has no use for history of the “other front” in World War II? In a fight for my life would I take an M1 Garand or an SVT-40? Um.
The rifles really have similar ballistics. We chronographed the steel case .30-06 ammo in the 24" barrel of the Garand and it came up with 2814 average feet per second. That's 2550 foot pounds of energy.

The rifles really have similar ballistics. We chronographed the steel case .30-06 ammo in the 24″ barrel of the Garand and it came up with 2814 average feet per second. That’s 2550 foot pounds of energy.


The SVT has a slightly over 24" barrel, and the 174 grain Silver Bear bullets clocked at an average of 2463 feet per second, for 2344 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle.  At 500 yards both of these cartridges have more energy left than a 44 Magnum has at the muzzle.

The SVT has a slightly over 24″ barrel, and the 174 grain Silver Bear bullets clocked at an average of 2463 feet per second, for 2344 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. At 500 yards both of these cartridges have more energy left than a 44 Magnum has at the muzzle.

{ 108 comments… add one }
  • Robert Ogburn March 4, 2017, 11:32 am

    The vertical shot stringing is common to the SVT38/40. It is easily corrected by correct stock fitting

  • Juha Teuvonnen February 14, 2017, 11:56 pm

    Ok, let’s set the record straight on the Soviets abandoning SVT. For obvious reasons SVT is quite a bit more labor-intensive to make. Izhevsk could make 10 Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifles instead of one SVT. To add insult to injury, SVT required more training, in part due to adjustable gas system. Due to incompetence of soviet military and political leadership USSR suffered a number of crushing defeats early in the war. They would have completely devastated a smaller country, but USSR was big and had a lot of manpower available. Soviet leadership didn’t hesitate to throw men into the meat-grinder. The third quarter of 1941 alone cost USSR two million men. The Soviets needed to produce a lot of infantry very quickly to replace these losses, and that meant producing a lot of rifles very quickly. This is why USSR went back to making bolt-action rifles that were both easier to make and required less training. In fact, soviet infantry training in 1941-42 is best described as “rudimentary to non-existent”, causing losses that would have been unsustainable for most countries. Suffice to say that approximately 3% of those called up to serve in the infantry in 1941 survived to the end of the war.

    SVT wasn’t a bad rifle. It was better than any comparable German semi-autos that shot full-size rifle cartridge. SVT was simply ill suited for what Soviet military needed in 1941-1942, and it became obsolete in 1943 when Stg 44 came out. If USSR had a better army in 1941, the SVT would have soldiered on just fine.

    I happen to own both a Garand and an SVT. I have never shot a non-USGI Garand, so everything I write implies “USGI M1 Garand”. One major advantage of M1 Garand is consistency of US manufacturing. Even WWII vintage rifles are very well made. They shoot better than 3 MOA with a good barrel, provided the rifle is in good working condition. SVT accuracy depends on the luck of the draw and the history of the rifle. Some shoot well, others don’t. You will need to fiddle around with handloads and tuning the rifle to get SVT to perform. To my knowledge, only a handful of people in the US have the knowledge and the patience to do it. It’s a hundred times easier to do with a Garand because there are plenty of competent smiths who know how to make that rifle perform. When it comes to iron sights – Garand wins hands down. Oddly enough, scoped versions of SVT had decent glass for the time, at least no worse than Garand. Very few were so equipped, so in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter.

  • Jackson February 2, 2017, 12:46 pm

    Dude the SVT-40 absolutely requires up pressure on the barrel right under the barrel band for decent accuracy because the barrel is pencil thin. This is a known field mod of this gun from WW2, the Ruskis used birch chips. Put a 5cm long 1cm wide 1/16in thick cork/rubber piece under the barrel where the barrel band is, then press down at the receiver as you put in you crossbolt screw to lock it in. The improvement in accuracy will be dramatic!

  • James August 31, 2016, 8:17 am

    I think it’s funny, many of the comments are like “M1 GARAND, because ‘MERICA” Do they know the m1 was designed by a Canadian? There both fine firearms. Get over yourselves.

  • Sean August 3, 2016, 11:57 pm

    Left us hanging……

  • Greg February 24, 2016, 7:50 pm

    You can buy a “new” (70 year old) unused svt-40 at Canadian tire for $400 after tax in Ontario. That’s where I got mine

    • Geo February 28, 2016, 3:20 am

      Hi ,

      Which Canadian tire in Ontario ??

  • Vern Covington October 12, 2014, 12:36 am

    Vern October 11, 2014

    I was in the Air Force (Special Operations) before most were born serving in Korea and SE Asia (S. Vietnam, Thailand, and other). I did carry the Garand of course but I did often carry the AK-47 and Markov pistol. I did have occasion use the M-16,and M-14. The M-14 was close to the M-1 Grande but a bit on the heavy size. The AK-47 was limited the 100 yds accuracy and 500 yds total. But who needs any range while in the jungle. . The Russian pistol was a very poor copy of the Walter. The M-16 was junk. It could hold its accuracy all the way to 1,000 yds, but who needs that kind of accuracy in SE Asia. Plus the bullet was to small.

  • Mark October 11, 2014, 8:47 pm

    I have an SVT 40 and a Chinese SKS. I also have an AK74. If shooting surplus and set at gas setting 1.3, my SVT cycles fine every time…plus, it is quite accurate at 100-200 yards – even with iron sights. But it is heavy and a bit cumbersome to clean…I would not use it as primary SHTF….but shooting from a distance with the other guns around….no doubt. 54R is a monster round and with the SVT you can put more rounds down range faster.
    The SKS is a better SHTF choice. Mine is dead-on accurate and cycles any 7.62×39 ammo cleanly. Easy to clean, lighter than the SVT…and reliable as all get-out.
    And the AK74 would be the one I would grab first. Lighter 5.45 round and is very accurate with 2X red-dot scope even with slide mount removed/re-attached for cleaning. Close in, suppression weapon.
    I don’t own any AR’s….would like to, but fear I would poor tons of $$ into all the extras, etc. Don’t want any more ammo sizes to deal with. Have M44, M91/30 and SVT for 54R…wouldn’t mind having AK47 with SKS for 7.62×39. May get rid of 74 for one, but do like the lighter round.
    Bolt action I would go with Mauser 8MM over Mosin for accuracy. But Mosin for cost and ammo availability. There is a reason most modern bolt actions are based on Mauser actions.
    As with any guns….adjust them right, keep them clean….they will be good to you.
    Be safe…long live the Fourth Amendment.

    • Administrator October 11, 2014, 10:54 pm

      Is anyone else rotfl?

      • Mark October 22, 2014, 5:53 pm

        Why rotfl? (Obviously, not too many).

      • Me December 28, 2015, 1:06 pm

        I,m laughing my butt off at how friggin stupid this article is.

        • DeanR April 17, 2017, 5:31 am

          So write a better article.
          That should not be too difficult for a smart guy like you…

  • Kenneth Scott August 27, 2014, 7:10 pm

    I owned the Russian one for a long time. Put a scope on it & used it for deer hunting. Great rifle, but a bit long. I got it free after someone wrapped it around a tree. So I made the stock out of solid walnut as a teenager. Meanwhile, the muzzle has a anti kick back unit, not much of a flash suppressor. Due to the lack of kick back & a custom recoil pad, I could place 3-4 rounds in a 3″ space in 200 yards. I could & did bring home a 4 point Muley deer @ over 500 yards (took 2 shots). Thanks for the report. Oh yes, I used Norma Core Lock ammo.

  • Keith August 27, 2014, 4:00 pm

    The Garand rifle is better than this Soviet SVT-40 rifle.

    One of the best modern rifles is the SCAR 7.62 x 51. The big flaw in the M-16 is the 5.56 x 45 round. The round was designed to wound. We are now fighting an enemy where the wounding doctrine may not work. So now it is two shots to stop an enemy effectively making your rifle equipped with a fifteen shot magazine.

    I hate the M-4. Barrel is shorter making the 5.56 round have less velocity so less range. It is 120 meter weapon about. It is a 15 shot 120 range weapon. You may be hitting your enemy three times or more at longer ranges with an M-4.

    The modern 7.62 x 39 AK-103 is very good in accuracy over the older AK-47 design.

  • Kevin C August 27, 2014, 2:02 pm

    in WWII Id say the M1, it was cheaper to produce, quality control in the US was leagues ahead of Wartime Soviet Union, the Garand was in development since ’23 the SVT was only from…’38 – ’40, the Garand was standard issue, and parts were literally everywhere, the SVT, had no such luxury since it was issued to 1 in each squad (10-15 men), the M1 loaded faster with a single en bloc clip, whereas the SVT used 2 stripper clips top fill up…yes you can top off easier with the Tokerev, but the Garand was designed to eject clips, and insert new ones, instead of fumbling with clumsy single rounds, reloading via ejecting clips, is faster than topping off, so thats what Garand went with, sights, are much better on the M1, accuracy overall goes the the M1, and, wait…..weight goes to the SVT….all 2 pounds lighter 😉 but yes, in a fight to the death in WWII, or even now, Id take the M1

  • Guy August 26, 2014, 9:04 pm

    Cant say enough about how good I felt with the 14 at my shoulder in service in the late sixties. I would fire a few rounds and find myself “married” to the sliding action coming back through to the stock butt as the empties kicked out and bolt in chambered a new round. And, I now own a new loaded ss barreled Springfield m14. However, I have owned the sks and ar15 and know w/o any doubt that if I were ever in a tight spot and needed to remove a chunk of morter to get at some commie’s nose, I’d simply lay prone with my m14 and send the round to that Ruskie.

  • Ronald August 26, 2014, 8:06 pm

    A weapon is only as good as it is accurate… throwing out the one obviously pulled round in your M-1 Grand when you fired the WPA rounds the Grand held 3″ groups… the Russian SVT rarely put a round in the triangle and the best it shot was maybe 4″ groups at 100yrds… try shooting the SVT at 300yrds and that becomes more than a foot off target.

    In addition something was definitely off with the Grand as I have several that hold 1″ groups at 100yrs. The SVT had the reputation of being inaccurate for good reason … it is. On top of that the Grand 30-06 round has much better ballistics, comes in a wide variety of bullet and power combinations, making it much better as a selection for military or hunting applications.

    I would finish by stating that the M1 Grand has a long and successful history as a main battle rifle in the service of many countries… where as the SVT doesn’t. Obviously, for many reasons the M1 is the preferred and better weapon by a long shot..

  • Don August 26, 2014, 4:05 pm

    I recommend everyone reads Ezells’s “The Great Rifle Controversy”. It tells the story of adopting the M14 and M16 rifles. In his book, he covers the many failures and poor performance of the M14. He goes into great detail about the testing done by the Army with the M16. He shows what the Army did wrong. A primary failure caused by the army was the switching from IMR powder to W-W ball powder. Most failures from fouled bolts were directly related to the switch. Ball powders increased the deposits of calcium carbonate. The port pressure went up so high, that the desired 750 RMP increased to 1000RPM. Colt discussed the issue with the Army, but the Army disregarded them. Eventually the rifle was recalibrated to work with ball powder.
    In testing the M16 was found to fail in artic conditions for two reasons. First the twist rate was 1:14 and in dense cold air accuracy fell off. Then it was found the “armorers” had taken the rifles apart, beyond the designed take down guides, replacing the sight tower pins with nails. The twist rate was taken to 1:12 and that problem was fixed. Armorers were trained to not remove the sight tower pins.
    In Vietnam the “never needs cleaning” feature of the rifle was dumb. The units having the most issues showed that all forms of equipment in the unit with the most reported failures were found to not take care of any of their gear. If it had moving parts, like a truck or jeep, it was in poor condition. A command failure.
    Not testing and supplying cleaning gear was a major failure.
    When the first rifles were issued, the chambers and bores were not chrome plated. Rust pitting of both was common, as troops never learned to maintain their gear. The Army fixed that by chrome plating both. And issuing cleaning gear along with the “comic book manual” showed a reduction in problems.
    The Icord hearings showed that the powder change and command failures were the primary forces behind complaints.
    The M14 had serious defects as well. The M14 failures were so common, that drove the administration under MacNamara to cancel future production. After trying many fixes failed, they went into storage, except in the Navy.
    I served in both the Army and Navy. If you want to hear ignorance on display, just start a conversation about guns. I met almost no one with any serious knowledge about guns in both places. Comical things like, “The Russians adopted their guns to fire our ammo”. The 7.62X54mm of 1891, was adopted so it could fire 7.62mm NATO we adopted in the ’50s. Say, What?
    They would then say, “The AK using 7.62X39mm, could also could fire our 7.62mm”. Even when I handed them a round of each, asking how it works, they would hold their barracks thinking.
    I remember a stink near the start of the latest war. When a soldier wrote his congress-person complaining that the Army was issuing “reloaded ammo”. It made the news. He mistook the annealing on the case mouths as a sign of reloading. Obviously, he was ignorant.
    Most complaints I heard about the AR-family were from civilian users, not real military members. When I was able to investigate their complaints, almost every problem was related low quality “remanufactured ammo” (commercial reloads).
    When we put genuine GI ammo in them they ran like Swiss watches.
    When the services did actual studies, including comments from warriors, most found the current rifles and carbines to be well regarded.
    Stopping power, is pretty good. I would like to see a larger cartridge. Regardless, only good hits count. Dumping half a magazine into an enemy doesn’t take long, and only a few hits actually are good hits. Look to the Ferguson shooting. The officer fired close to 12 rounds, six missed, four were non-disabling hits and only two were lethal. You have to make hits matter.
    I love AKs, but I like the AR rifles better.

  • Thom August 26, 2014, 1:22 am

    I still fire my Dad’s M-1. He was one of the lucky one’s to bring one home…he never said how before he passed. I still fires great, but of course I don’t fire it everyday. I want to keep it as long as I can and maybe pass it on to my daughter, yeah she shoot it and loves it too.
    Shot an SVT one time, I didn’t like it, but different strokes for different folks. For me it is the M-1!

  • blueskies August 25, 2014, 7:26 pm

    You made up just too many excuses for the SVT40, get over it. Too many it was so obvious. I read all your excuses and its alo of bs, a lot of it. Get over it!

    • Chuck Derr August 25, 2014, 10:59 pm

      From “The 7.62mm Tokarev Self-Loading Rifle “SVT-40” WWII Ordnance Illustrated, Issue III:

      “A legacy of undocumented reports of poor performance has left students of military firearms with the impression that the SVT-40 was a failure.” In fact, no after-action reports by Germans reflect negatively on the SIG.259(r)…go find one.

      “…both the Finns and the Germans seized thousands of SVT-40s and gladly turned them against their former owners.”

      “Even when…Ishevsk…switched back to [MN production] another 250,000 SVT-40s were produced…”

      “Even though the decision to stop production..has been attributed to ‘poor field performance’ it would not have been possible to base that decision on a comprehensive performance evaluation”

      “…Soviet command issued the SVT-40s with only one magazine…eliminated the greatest asset of the SVT-40…”

      “Soviet weapons assignments called for an amazing 30% of rifle troops to be armed with the SVT-40, a goal that was never close to being achieved…then represented such a low percentage of Soviet battle rifles, required resources such as armorers and spares…would have been deficient.”

      “…the Soviet command made the right decision to return to the [M-N] as their troops were more suited to the simple bolt-action designs, and their industry could easily turn them out in great numbers.”

      I dare anyone to find an original German or Finn or Soviet after-action report that denigrates the SVT-40.

  • Gary August 25, 2014, 7:06 pm

    great gun and worth the money. Shot my Garand and SVT 40 side by side. All the attention usually focused on the SVT!! My friends have shot it and want one. Heavy bullet and firing 3 mags down range as fast as you can change the mags is AWESOME. Would hate to be on the receiving end!!

  • JCitizen August 25, 2014, 3:54 pm

    I’ve never owned one, but have had a few chances to shoot and examine several types. I have not read the comments here, so I do apologize if this was already mentioned. There was apparently a very few of these Russian semi-autos, that were made to go full auto by manipulating the safety button(SVT-40 only). We accidentally discovered this by playing with a few examples that were lent to us from a gun show collector. We noticed the safety button looked different, but didn’t think anything about it when we went to the range. As we were unfamiliar with these weapons, we played with the safety settings, not knowing which way to set them. We discovered one of them went full auto when the button was manipulated a certain way. I can’t remember how – because this was in the late ’70s and I’m getting old and can’t remember how to recognize them. We were certainly surprised, but weren’t prepared to make an offer because we had spent all our money on regular US based Class 3 weapons. I vowed to watch the gun shows from then on to find another, but have since forgotten the recognition factors. Chances are, if the button looks different from standard issue, you may have one of these rare examples. The only trouble is, you will have to turn it into the BATF as a NFA weapon. In some states the local Bureau guys will try to get it registered, as some states have more periods of amnesty for this despite this being a Federal issue. Most BATF agents don’t like the paper work it takes to destroy a weapon, and back then, it could take 3 years of bureaucracy to get that accomplished. If they can find the serial number on any data base, then it is likely they can do an amnesty registration, so you can avoid destroying the weapon. I know folks here are going to criticize me; but I don’t care – I was a Class 3 SOT for 20 years and I know WTF I’m talking about! A letter to the office of the BATF that helps determine curios and relics may make this process more successful too, but it still comes under Title II of the GCA ’68, and later laws, like much hated May ’86 law banning any new machineguns for personal ownership. Registering a weapon after May 86 will put this in that category, and it will only be transferable to police and government agencies, but if you can get a CLEO to agree to taking possession of it, maybe they’ll let you shoot it once and a while. We have good relations with law enforcement in our state, and most of the time it isn’t hard to accomplish this. Maybe an offer to supply a case of ammo would help grease the wheels.

    I have gotten into arguments with agents in the field, and have won them every time, hands down – I know the law inside and out.

    • James1210 April 27, 2017, 2:20 am

      That is the AVT-40, supposed to be a replacement for SVT-40 during WW2 as a battle Rifle. To challenge the STG-44, I guess?

  • Crabappple August 25, 2014, 3:03 pm

    The SVT rifles were issued then recalled due to their inability to stand up to actual battlefield punishment. The Russians finished the war primarily with the Moisin-Nagant supplemented by the newer semi-autos already mentioned. The Garand served us through the early ’60’s Nuff said!

  • Joe McHugh August 25, 2014, 3:02 pm

    Good article about a Russian rifle that most Americans know little about. The well known weaknesses of the famed M1 Garand Rifle were addressed by the adoption of the M14, which was a basically an improved M1 rifle.

    Apples to oranges? Not when you consider that the design for the T44, ( adopted as the M14), began in 1944. The Army wanted a selective fire infantry rifle with a twenty round removable magazine. All development slowed to a crawl after the nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan in August of 1945. The funding for the development of this test rifle was a national disgrace. It would be 13 years before the T44 test rifle was adopted as the M14 “Class A” rifle. Five more years elapsed before significant numbers of M14 rifles were first issued to the troops in 1962. And that was the year that the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, stopped all production of the M14, and started the necessary steps to adopt the ” miracle weapon” the M16 rifle to replace the M14.

    Everybody maligned the hapless M14 rifle except the troops who trusted it with their lives. One Doctor of military history described the M14, on a military history TV program, as being “too powerful and accurate for the modern Battlefield”. As opposed to what, weak and not being able to hit the broad side of a barn?

    The Same “expert” called the Russian AK47 assault rifle as being the most successful military rifle in the world, a rifle that was so inaccurate that a soldier would be challenged to hit the broad side of a barn FROM THE INSIDE! Let’s posit a scenario that eliminates all variables between two enemy soldiers, both well trained on their respective AK47 and M14 rifles. They have been chosen to approach a goal that represents victory. The battlefield is a dead flat plain with no vegetation or other line of sight obstructions. The opposing soldiers must reach the goal while preventing the other soldier from doing so, in order to proclaim victory. The soldiers starts out one thousand yards apart with the goal located exactly between them. Even the Sun is positioned directly overhead. Obviously, the only variable would be found in capability of the two rifles.

    The soldier with the M14 rifle would eventually stroll up to the goal point and announce mission accomplished.
    The soldier with the AK47? He became one with the universe when he progressed to withing 250 yards of the goal point. He fired his AK47 and killed a lot of dirt around his opponent 500 yards away but an M14 bullet made him lose interest in making a lot of noise as well as in respiration.

    There are situations where an AK47 is an ideal fighting instrument but in the overall role of a military arm, it would not enable the bearer to prevail. Even though the Soviet SVT – 40 rifle was average in accuracy it was head and shoulders above the AK47 rifle in accuracy, the “most successful military arm in the world”. The United States Marine Corps teaches its recruits that it is not the amount of noise one makes with his rifle, or the bullets expended, it’s the number of hits that count.

    The M16? That’s another disgrace that has continued to cost American soldiers and Marines their lives for 47 years but that is another story.

  • outfitter August 25, 2014, 2:55 pm

    The SVT-40 had problems in the Russian winter. My own observations was that the stock was too flimsy for combat use. Steel case ammo is lacquered to prevent rusting and in the heat of a chamber gets sticky – the Germans had this problem with their light machine guns.

    When making these sorts of evaluations I tend to stick to the evaluations of those that use them. For example WWII German sub-machine guns win high praise from most American gun enthusiasts and the gun smoke press but the Germans threw them away in favor of the Russian burp guns (which worked in the Russian winter) and even the sten guns. Widely damned by gun writers I never found the sten gun to have jamming problems and hardened German battle vets threw away their MP-40 Schmeissers in favor of the sten because the MP-40 jammed. My latest source are articles by German Waffen-SS veterans of the battle for Berlin published in a book called “With our backs to Berlin”

  • Bearcat August 25, 2014, 2:38 pm

    A lot of comments mention SHTF weapon ? ? ? I would not choose either and if I had only those two to choose from the Garand would be the one. But the SHTF club which I am not a member would be better of with a good old high quality AR platform many can be had for in the $600 range along with cheap ammo , magazines and accessories. All you SHTFers must remember that all the sh*t will happen most likely at close quarters and in high volumes, as for hunting the AR platform will bring down sizeable game such as deer. But I would not use either as SHTF weapons whatever that encompasses. .

  • Don August 25, 2014, 12:04 pm

    Old age and sights really shows the superiority of the M1 aperture sight over any open sight. Russians saved materials and reduced production time by using inferior sights, even to this date. No SVT/SVS is as good as the M1 rifle. It took America years to make aperture sights standard. The short time we used M1917 rifles, convinced the US and UK to make newer rifles with peeps. Although both the US M1903 and UK No.3 were produced into WW2 with open sights, both armies saw the value of aperture sights. US and UK armies adopted rifles with apertures. US M1 rifles, M1 carbines and M1903A3s and UK No.4 Mk1-2s were and are better combat arms then the predecessors.
    Soviets were very much aware of how savings in materials and production times could be used. Getting down to how many square meters, weight of metal chips from machining, and time needed were studied to great extent. Soviet small arms were crude but effective.
    In a pinch, I’d take the M1 over most rifles from the era.
    Today, I’d take a M16-based platform. They have good sights, I have poor eyes, and a scope helps a bunch.

    • Andrew August 25, 2014, 5:09 pm

      There are several good optics platforms available for the M1 I got 1from gunpartsinc.com for less than $60 about 5 years ago

  • Chuck Derr August 25, 2014, 12:03 pm

    This article sounds awfully similar to the one published in WWII Ordnance Illustrated, Issue III (Winter 2009).

  • Mike RUNKEL August 25, 2014, 11:47 am

    I have owned 2 Garands and still have one. I have also owned 2 SVT’s, an SVT 38 and an SVT 40.

    My money is on the good old M1. One of the Tokarev’s had bad ammunition feeding problems and the one that did shoot alright would deform the brass after ejection. I could not find ANY spare magazines and they are not accurate.

    Both m1’s shoot exceptionally well.

    To me there is really only one choice, the Garand!

  • Don Dineen August 25, 2014, 11:44 am

    No way is the SVT40 a serious challenge to the M1 rifle. Many of the SVT (and similar SVS) were used by the guerilla forces. Stalin’s Guerilla’s (a book by that name exists) where needing a reliable rifle was viewed as being a lower priority showed why. The rifle was never as reliable as the M1. SVT’s have many more parts, more fragile parts, poor sights (a common Soviet design defect) and that horrible rimmed cartridge.
    Many of theses rifles came into the US in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Finland had acquired thousands of them. They actually rebuilt them and kept them in reserve. I had one with a chunk of a shell splinter embedded into the barrel. It was left in place and a new hand guard installed.
    Considering the lesser performance in accuracy, reliability and overall club-like 4 foot length it just doesn’t appear to be a serious contender.
    The Russian 7.62X54mm cartridge is an OK round, and if it had the rim removed it is nearly identical to the Swiss and French 7.5mm rounds. Both of which are similar to the 7.62mm NATO.
    The M1 is heavy and it has numerous issues regarding performance in near-Artic climates. But, the SVT/SVS had worse cold weather performance.
    The Soviet rifles are interesting and a fine collectors piece. They just can not perform to the level of the M1.

  • 11B40T3 August 25, 2014, 11:38 am

    Having fought with most combat rifles for 10 years and taught others for 20 years (1967-1988), I offer the following:

    The Garand is more reliable and accurate than the SVT. The SVT gas system is prone to failure when using standard Russian corrosive (and just plain dirty) ammunition.
    Based upon various after action reports, many enemy soldiers dumped their issue rifles to pick up M1s. Never heard of an American soldier throwing down his rifle for a Russian or German one.

    Also, there are those who cliam that the Garand cannot be loaded with a partial clip – nonsense, just read the FM or TM and learn how to do it.
    The steel and the finish of an M1 is much less susceptible to rusting than the SVT.

    The SVT is a good weapon, the M1 is a great weapon.

  • D. Hicks August 25, 2014, 11:19 am

    I bought a SVT-40 at an action, for resale.My boys had to shoot it. I found the butt stock too short and the barrel too long.The 7.62×54 round is a cannon however. The best feature is the detachable magazine.Would take two of them for an M ! rifle or even an AR-15.

  • Larry Conners August 25, 2014, 11:09 am

    I proudly own a June, 1942 M1 battle rifle by Springfield…I shoot twice a month with this rifle at my old qualification distances of 200, 300, and 500 yards for a total aggregate score of a possible 250 ( my best 242 )… 10 rds each @ 200yds offhand slow fire and sitting rapid, 300 yards of 5 rds each sitting and kneeling slow fire and 10 rds prone rapid, 500 yds of 10 rds slow fire…I use the Able 12″ bull ( 200yds/300 yds slow fire ),Dog 19″X26″ silhouette ( 200/300 yds rapid fire ),Baker 20″ bull ( 500 yds slow fire )…Years ago I fired from 600 yards with Iranian and Korean ammo and consistently scored in the low to high 40’s ( 5 points per bull ) over iron sights…At 78 my eyesight won’t allow me to shoot over 500 yards now…
    I love the unique and distinctive ” bark ” of the M1, the manly feel of the rifle when I fire offhand, and the powerful kick that reminds me this is a very serious rifle…I will proudly pass this rifle on to my son and hopefully it will remain in the family for generations as a reminder of the supreme sacrifices made by so many brave and patriotic men that have served this country…Semper Fi

    • elton quinton August 25, 2014, 1:23 pm

      i enjoyed your comments. I qualified with the M1 in the spring of 1955 at camp Mathews (now the site of the university of Cal. La Jolla). I recall the agony of the long days of learning to properly assume the correct firing position. The sitting position was my personal demon. And then there were the range staff; ever quick with a yell or a swat with a swagger stick in response to an improper position. After the first day of live firing our ears were ringing so bad we were almost deaf and our sholders were sore as hell, but we soon learned to pull that butt into the sholder. I wonder what recruits go through today?
      I don’t have an M1 (yet) but i do have an 03A3 that i love to shoot. It is all original except the barrell was replaced in ’44.

      • Andrew August 25, 2014, 2:32 pm

        Not much different minus the swagger stick replace with boot toe
        Minus the rifle add Mattel toy and ear plugs and body armor left over from god knows when
        The prone position was my personal hate and discontent the body armor digs in when you lay on it and when wet weighs you down like none other

        • Andrew August 25, 2014, 3:02 pm

          Elton The other major difference between your boot camp experience and mine was 50 years give or take a few months Jan-Apr 2005

          • Clayton Oxendine August 27, 2014, 11:05 am

            Good time of the year to go through basic. I also went through January through April at Paris Island but it was 1975.

      • Don August 25, 2014, 4:03 pm

        It wasn’t fun to do the qualification course wearing a gas mask and that M1 steel pot headwear.

  • Msgt3227 August 25, 2014, 10:26 am

    I would like to add a thought on the ammo issue… Unfortunately the author failed to use ammo that was designated for the M1. US military spec as published in 1940 for this rifle is the “Cartridge, Ball, caliber .30, M2”; a 150 grain flat-based bullet with a velocity of 2740 fps. Unfortunately the author did not use the specified WW2 ammunition is his “testing” and therefore failed to test the Garand fairly. One other point, I have never had ANY rounds I have fired through my WW2 M1’s require that I hand cycle the action to keep shooting. This includes current factory, handloaded (by me), and old military surplus from the 50’s through the 80’s. Reliability of function is extremely important when bullets are coming back atcha, dontcha know….

    • Jay August 25, 2014, 11:16 am

      This article was written obviously just to stir things up. I shoot Garand matches/NRA High Power a lot, and have not seen a Garand choke on quality or even surplus ammo. I’m not saying they won’t malfunction, but with proper care and feeding they will not fail. What is all of this talk of op-rods bending? What are you guys doing to bend op-rods? I’ve ran (many) thousands through my 1942 Springfield and other M1’s and have never bent an op-rod using factory, surplus, or reloads.

      Comparing accuracy at 100 yards when your M1 (with maybe a screwed up crown?) can’t hold better than 3″ at 100 yards? You seriously either need to have that rifle checked out by a competent smith – or take a basic rifle marksmanship class.

      I own the SKS/AK/AR, and I’ll be first to admit that they are probably a better rifle in this day and age (mainly because most new recruits can’t handle the 30-06 or 308). Back then, men were MEN.

      Looking at the history of the two, it’s pretty obvious which one wins – I suppose I don’t need an “expert” writer to tell me.

      I apologize for sounding like a grumpy old man (I’m not a grumpy old man), and I really hope you find some grumpy old man at Camp Perry or some other place to teach you the in’s and out’s of the M1. I think you are missing out on a lot by assuming you know more than you do…

      • Otis August 25, 2014, 1:38 pm

        Jay, Excellent commentary!
        I have used the M1 at Paris Island and ITR at Lejeune. I have owned and shot them for 35 years.
        The last one I bought from the CMP as Service grade, pretty sure it is Rack grade, and it did come with a bent op rod.
        I garandtee you can get a better group with any ammo at 100 just looking over the sights. Seems the author was (maybe unconsciously, doubtful) was trying to match the group he was getting from the SVT-40.
        This should be labeled Semi-Auto vs. Semi-Manual rather than Semi-Auto vs. Semi-Auto.
        I suspect someone got a big shipment of these jammers and you will see a “big sale” soon.
        The 8 round en bloc clip is fast and easy to load. A lot easier than a 10 round magazine that has to be latched in place. I can’t remember having a jam or FTF. I did however; pull the operating handle out of the groove in ITR to the PMI’s consternation, those rifles made rack grade look good.
        As for tactical reload, worst case, you down to one round just like you adversary.
        What made the M1 so effective was everyone had one! On our side that is. Eight rounds is better than one any day, this gave US fire superiority in a firefight even when we were outnumbered.
        Would I use the M1 for SHTF? No, but I have a great time running lead thru the bore.
        There is no comparison.

      • George Fischer September 23, 2014, 12:37 pm

        I am 88yrs old and fired the M1 in competition for years. (62 to 67) In the Army was issued the same rifle. The only way I know of to bend the operating rod is to use slow burning powder. I always used 4895 and never had any trouble.

  • petru sova August 25, 2014, 10:08 am

    The en-block clip was also another big downfall of the M1, not only was it difficult to load but it could not be topped off resulting in soldiers firing off their last few rounds so they could quickly reload which caused them to run out of ammo much more quickly which in turn resulted in them getting killed. Think about that one awhile.

  • Icorps 1970 August 25, 2014, 9:49 am

    I would hesitate to believe everything I see here I did not read the whole thing but its basically a “lets make waves” piece comparing a battle rifle that set the standard for effectiveness and reliability for decades to a side note in military history. So there is no comparison.
    The M1s reputation needs no defense.

  • SK Trynosky Sr. August 25, 2014, 9:15 am

    It is a neat rifle. Problem with them is the corrosion you find in the gas system. Any failures I have had have been cured by a really thorough cleaning though sometimes the pitting is so bad they need a new piston. Parts are fairly easy to come by but are in almost as bad shape. The other weakness is the thinness of the stock at the wrist. My first one bought forty years ago with 200 rds of 1920’s ammo thrown in for $ 45.00 was in excellent shape except for the gas system corrosion but you can see the potential weakness in the stock. The second one which I got last year has a nasty crack at the wrist which I will have to peg. I have never seen one that was not a “parts” gun with mismatched serials all over the place. The electro penciling on the new imports doesn’t really mean much. was firing ’50’s vintage ammo last week, Polish with a steel case. Good extraction, an occasional misfire and very acceptable accuracy. My Garands do better but they were not as badly abused. Must point out that it is a verrrry menacing looking gun with that extended mag and compensator. The looks you get at the range when you pull it from the case are interesting. They almost expect it to be automatic!

    • Steve August 25, 2014, 1:04 pm

      [quote] The looks you get at the range when you pull it from the case are interesting. They almost expect it to be automatic![/quote]

      Hah! The SVT *does* bear a passing similarity to a Colt Monitor [civvy BAR] now that you mention it!

      WRT the article, I grow weary of complaints about the M1 Garand’s en-bloc not allowing topping off: that part of the rifle’s design was forced on John Garand, as the U.S. military was preparing to fight the last war [as it has typically done throughout our nation’s history], and the mud of the trenches of WW1 was still weighing heavily on their mind. JCG’s original test rifles from the ’20s all had detachable mags, up to the point where the govt. hired on Pedersen as a consultant & spec’d. that the competing designs load via en-bloc clip. Even at that point John Garand showed more creativity than called for, when he designed his clips to be bidirectionally loadable, vs. having to orient a unidirectional clip like Pedersen’s design. Ultimately, we got saddled w/ the 8-rd clip when the powers-that-were changed their mind at the last minute to ditch the technically superior .276 round which being smaller could fit 10 to a clip for the good ol’ ’06, which being larger, could just (barely) fit 8 into the action [& btw, neatly sidelined Pedersen’s inferior rifle design, since it couldn’t readily be converted to fire the more powerful round.]

      The reality is that the “mid-fight reload” was handled by our troops via the expedient method of firing off the rest of the clip & banging another full one in! These rifles were intended for fire teams, not “armies of one.” And the fact that they can be damaged by out-of-spec ammo isn’t unusual: all firearms fall into that category to one degree or another. If you so desperately want to shoot non-conforming ammo out of the M1, you can afford the $35 for an adjustable gas plug to save your op-rod from premature failure.

      • Don August 25, 2014, 3:59 pm

        Good comments. Another failure of Pederson was the ammo needed to be coated in wax. It is/was an interesting cartridge. A 7mm intermediate round in a detachable magazine rifle as reliable as the M1 would be great.

        • PAUL W. October 31, 2016, 2:38 pm

          And there is an alternative!
          Mini-14 in 6.8SPC.
          Now discontinued…….
          Garand type action, and “7” mm cartridge.

  • RiverboatG August 25, 2014, 9:07 am

    Very good article. I own both. SHTF? Keep in mind there will be a gazzilion 91/30’s out there, and spam cans stacked in cellars. Having a semi auto 7.62 is one thing, feeding it is another. When it comes time to covet thy neighbors ammo, you can almost count on an endless supply of 7.62R. Keep your portfolio diversified.

  • petru sova August 25, 2014, 9:04 am

    The M1 had a lot of problems. The stock had no metal liner which caused accuracy to go sour very quickly as the stock mortise would loosed up very quickly. The bolt would gall itself into the receiver because the bolt lug hand no roller on it (which was corrected in the M14 gun). The op-rod often broke because of the type of gas system resulted in a violent thrust rather than the slow push of other gas systems used in other weapons of this type like the M14.

    I would say the better WWII gun was the German G43/K43 semi-auto rifle. Of course the FG42 could fire semi and full auto which made the M1 look like a dinosaur in WWII. When it came to small arms the Germans had it all over everyone else. This is looking at weapons from a mechanical point of view not a religious patriotic fanatic type of view, which is totally impossible for Jethro to fathom. If it is U.S. then it has to be the best like the M16 is, right? LOL.

  • Robert August 25, 2014, 8:56 am

    I own both rifles. I would pick the Garand as my go-to weapon in a SHTF scenario over the SVT for a couple of reasons. SVT mags are expensive and bulky compared to the garand clip. I can carry a couple of bandoliers of garand clips and that translates to having a lot more rounds ready vs the SVT. Repro SVT mags are junk. Originals are around $150-200 each. Compare that to $1.50 for a garand clip. The SVT is just as long as the Mosin Nagant so I fail to understand the authors comment about the SVT length. Also no mention of the SVT adjustable gas system? Opening it to a larger gas setting may have helped cycle those sticky Romanian rounds. Poor accuracy is why the Soviets dropped the SVT in the sniper role. My Garands hit everything I aim at. That said, I like the SVT and have owned 9 of them over the years.

    • Don August 25, 2014, 3:53 pm

      The Soviets phased in the M44 to replace the M91/30. Primarily because the M91/30 was too long force clearing buildings and firing pits/trenches. Soviet soldiers were supposed to keep the bayonet attached at all times except while in transit. It was a nuisance, since bayonet scabbards were pretty much non-existent. The M44 solved both problems, by having the short length and folding bayonet. The M91 was intended to be fired with the bayonet attached. I had a collection of Soviet, Imperial Russian, Finn and Polish M91-types. Most would not shoot to point of aim unless the bayonet was fitted. Finding one with a matching bayonet is rare. When you do find one, it should improve accuracy, if the bayonet is on. The travel position, bayonet turned backwards, led to lost bayonets.

  • Abe Nelson August 25, 2014, 8:31 am

    I guess this is how poor writers get attention, by being “controversial.” Seriously. This is absurd. Bottom line is which rifle won the war, the soviets were a junior partner on the winning team by sure luck.

    • @HellerWithAGunn August 25, 2014, 11:35 am

      To give the devil his due, the Russians did the heavy lifting in WW II. Had Hitler refrained from attacking Russia and thus forcing Germany to fight a multi-front war, the map of Europe would be much different today. Hailing from Canada, I can purchase the SVT-40 for around $200-$250. At that price it is worth picking one up if you’re curious. I would not pay anywhere near $1000-$1200 for one. Overall, I found them to be an okay rifle with terrible ergonomics and overly complex design, much like the German design it copied. Those that I have handled have generally been quite well made, although cosmetics were obviously the furthest thing from the Russian’s mind as they were being built. The M1 Garand was the superior design, without question.

      • JJK August 25, 2014, 3:22 pm

        Canadian here who owns an SVT-40 late war model.
        I wana clear a few misconceptions up.

        The SKS is not based off the SVT-40, it’s based off the PTRS, it’s literally a scaled down PTRS.
        The Russians didn’t copy the German G43, the Germans copied the Russian SVT, there’s a huge information article on canadian gun nutz in the red rifle section which provides in depth information and sources.

        One comment mentions the gas system on the SVT, that’s exactly right. It’s not about sticky surplus, as that’s bull, I shoot surplus all the time, I’ve had FTF and the like, but that’s a strange can of ammo that makes your rounds stick in a Mosin.
        Turn the friggen gas up, you’ll fix that problem easily. Also, for those having their cartridges torn off, turn down the damn gas system. A lot of SVTs come with the gas setting on, or near maximum, mine was, but you just turn it down and it’s fine.

        Someone said that it performs badly in winter weather, this is true, if you don’t adjust the gas system. Just turn up the gas and it’ll run fine in -30 degree Celsius weather.

        It’s true that the SVT isn’t a super accurate shooter, it needs stock shimming to fix that issue in many cases, but it’s not absolutely horrible like what the author seemingly experienced.

        It’s true that spare mags are scarce and incredibly expensive. Nothing wrong bout that.

        I see a lot of complaints about the sights on the SVT calling the open sight a bad design, this is simply not the case, it’s just a difference in combat doctrine.
        The open sights are for quick target acquisition, they’re not intuitively super accurate, but they’re simple and do exactly what it was designed for.
        If bench rest shooting is all you do then of course the M1 has better sights, but if you’re trying to keep your view open to see the enemy, the SVT is far better in my opinion, as you can just naturally bring it up, roughly line up the sight, and blast away, with a decent chance of hitting too.

        Cleaning the gun is more difficult than a Garand, absolutely true, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to clean the SVT, once you’re familiar with it there’s no problem at all, not much if at all more complex than cleaning an AR15.

        I also see the claim that Soviets abandoned the SVT due to it being poor, this is not true, they abandoned it because most Russian conscripts were poorly trained, and disliked anything more complex than a bolt action.
        What is forgotten here is the fact that abandoned SVTs were always taken up by German troops, as it was far better and far simpler than the G41, the Germans even started reissuing captured SVTs and issuing German field manuals for them.

        On another note, it seems the American education system has left many people utterly blind to the realities of WW2, that or maybe you’ve watched too many WW2 movies.

        Russia had essentially already won the war by the time the rest of the Allies invaded Normandy, the Germans had lost the initiative in the East and were being utterly crushed in massive offensives.

        The war in the West was smaller than the overall battle of Stalingrad alone in terms of troop numbers and deaths.

        Anyone with significant knowledge of the war would realize that even if the Western powers hadn’t jumped in, the Russians would’ve crushed the Germans, and then likely taken the rest of mainland Europe afterwards.

        It’s true that America aided the Russians with weapons supplies and the like, however not in significant quantity, much to Stalin’s chagrin at the time, however food was definitely something the West helped provide in ample supply.

        Merely looking at the size of the conflicts on either front, any observer can note the stark contrast on all levels of conflict.

        I’m certain when I say that America’s direct intervention into the war was unneeded to bring the war in Europe to a close against Nazi Germany, however, it was needed to secure Western Europe from Soviet forces, otherwise the SSR would’ve comprised of the whole of continental Europe without a doubt.

        In summery regarding the SVT and Garand.
        The SVT is a rifle better suited to conflict than the Garand, if you know what you’re doing at least.
        The Garand is a better rifle in of itself, but I’d take an SVT for war and a Garand for a hunt or target shooting competition.

        An SVT 40 is not worth anywhere near a 1000 dollars though, I got mine for 250 on sale here in Canada, which makes it worth figuring out the quirks.

    • Don August 25, 2014, 12:36 pm

      The Soviets contributed greatly to the victory in WW2. They could not do it without US or British assistance. We supplied thousands of tanks, aircraft and most important FOOD.

    • SterlingDickie August 25, 2014, 4:19 pm

      I’m sure it’s not your intent to minimize the contribution made on the Eastern Front. Recall that The US involvement in Europe after D-Day was less than a year. the Germans suffered immense casualties in Russia over 4 years. They lost millions to combat; the defeat of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad cost the Germans a full year of war production in lost equipment, not to mention an entire army.

  • Ron August 25, 2014, 8:30 am

    The SVT-40 is an elegant looking rifle, however the reports were that the Soviet conscripts could not maintain the rifle due to its many small parts and intricate design. Many of the rifles were reported abandoned on the battle field in fighting with Finland. It is also reported the Fins repurposed the SVT-40’s into fine rifles much as they did the Mosin.

    • Don August 26, 2014, 10:42 pm

      “Elegant”??? They are ugly and crude. They are interesting. The M1 is so much better in all regards. I don’t know why some say the M1 is hard to load. I never felt it was hard to load, it is different, but if shooting right handed it is easy.

  • Keith August 25, 2014, 8:03 am

    Gas port adjustment tool. Just sayin…

  • NavairDan August 25, 2014, 7:49 am

    From what I just read, the SVT sounds like a pain in the ass. Sound to me like you’re in love with an ugly chick and you’re sharing all her fine “inner” qualities.

    No thanks, GARAND, hands down.

  • Greg August 25, 2014, 7:41 am

    The safety is also the selector switch…some of the SVTs shipped in were full autos that escaped the notice of the ATF. I was at a dealer only sale and bought some 40’s…I was checking the safeties and I found an, “Oooo, it goes full!” rifle in the stack. I really hated to let the guys know, but…dang, it was tempting.

    They’re great rifles, work well, dirt cheap ammo. I only paid $325…I may have to sell my safe queens.

    • D. Hicks August 25, 2014, 11:10 am

      Should’ve kept the Full automatic one.There are ways to get papers one them.

    • Don August 25, 2014, 12:33 pm

      The full auto rifles were the AVT and AVS (A= select fire, S=Simonov)

    • JCitizen August 25, 2014, 4:22 pm

      This is true, as I have shot the full auto version, but can’t remember how to recognize the ‘safety'(or whatever it was) switch – which is the dead giveaway. It has been so long ago, I can’t even remember which activated this feature, but the only outward way to tell was this one switch on or near the trigger assembly. As far as registering them as an NFA weapon – good luck with that after May ’86. See my later comments.

  • DrThunder88 August 25, 2014, 7:36 am

    The M1 certainly had its drawbacks—”nuances” if you will—but it had to have been a pretty effective rifle for as long as it was in service. The same could be said about the M16 platform, and the contentiousness of its “nuances” are worthy of a column all their own. Still, the M1 is a wonderful gun both aesthetically and mechanically. Its robust and unique inner workings and streamlined outer styling exude the art deco era that bore it. I suppose hindsight makes it clear, but it’s no surprise that the war that brought the Garand to the front also brought the B-17, Iowa-class battleships, and even the Willys Jeep. All of which are indelibly etched into the American consciousness not just for the timeless beauty of the devices but for their permanent connection to the courageous men who operated them.

    The SVT-40 is an undoubtedly interesting rifle with retrospectively modern features. I have no doubt that, had it been as prolific as Stalin had intended, it would be as inexpensive and popular among shooters and collectors as the SKS. Whether comparing it favorably to the M1 would seem any less a heresy is up to debate!

    Great article!

  • Chuck Davis August 25, 2014, 7:30 am

    Nice article, I love the Garand too. I do want to get an SVT but the price makes it out of reach for the common man. I have had one come thru my hands though. I helped a friend sell one dressed up as a sniper rifle. I had a lot of interest in it. There are those die hard fans of all WWII items or Soviet memorabilia who spotted it right away and had to touch it. This is a great weapon to have on any collectors table. True enthusiasts can’t keep there eyes and mitts off it.

  • icetrout August 25, 2014, 7:29 am

    can’t wait till the 1,000,000 + M1’s in S. Korea are back in the U.S.A. where they belong…

    • matt August 25, 2014, 10:55 am

      It will never happen, Obama will ban the re-importation of them.

      • SterlingDickie August 25, 2014, 4:06 pm

        i thought the ban on importing those Korean M-1s was a done deal. Can we expect anyone to lift the current ban on importation of Russian ammo and hardware?

  • Peter J. Kolovos August 25, 2014, 7:05 am

    Sorry, but this article really sucks! How can you even compare that crude, Ruskie Canoe Paddle to the far superior M1 Garand. General George Patton was indeed correct.

  • Muhjesbude August 25, 2014, 6:52 am

    Well done article. To keep the almost ‘religious-like’ myths of historic weapons from proliferating it’s always good to factor in ancillary causes of problems or accuracy. Ammo, of course, is an important factor. After too many years in this ‘line of work’, me and many others of similar operational extent have come to the conclusion that the main sequence of rifle accuracy importance starts with the barrel, then the ammo, then the sight system, and then maybe the trigger, contrary to popular legend. If the first three factors are maxed out, I won’t do too significantly worse with even an AK-47 trigger compared to someone with the same platform using a Timney or some such. It’s all in the ‘feel’ and fire discipline. Which takes practice.

    The Gerand legend has always been a curious issue. Just because a big shot was taking a kick back from the manufacturer and said it ‘was the greatest thing’ since the Daisy Red Rider, doesn’t really make it the best battle rifle ever. I never liked them as an actual battle rifle for the obvious and eventually creeping reasons. They never were accurate enough for any justification of the higher power round passed 600 meters. During the War(s) after all was said and done, there was actually more ‘said’, than ever done, when it came to combat proven needed improvements. In the reality of combat, with the exception of dedicated long range snipers, the average seasoned soldier preferred to wait as long as he could to get closer to, or for the enemy to get closer, often UNDER 100 meters when possible. This took the ‘luck’ factor out of long range shots, increased kill per round ration, minimized ammo wasting, etc. And just about any cartridge would ‘work’ at ranges unde 300 meters. So, after two WW’s, they finally made the right weapons for the individual infantryman, or woman. Lighter weight carbine type weapons like the AK’s and AR’s and sub machine guns. That’s also why whenever feasible, the earlier marines and spec ops guys who were carrying M-14’s in Nam during a lot of combat, eventually swapped out to something else when they could. Even an enemy AK.

    As for the dedicated snipers, i also suspect that the most successful high percentage hitters also tried to get their shots down under 500 meters, or, as the reality would demonstrate, usually deployed the esoteric tactic of setting up for a trajectory of firing into a cluster or line of enemy soldiers where a hit, and likely multiple hits would be almost guaranteed, either from the first round hit going through the first target and then continuing to hit others–to garnish those high body counts.

    Especially the British snipers with the Enfields. For amusement we practice sometimes when we get our hands on the real thing to see what we can do with them ‘at length’, and it often amazes me that these guys hit anything at all out to 6 or 7 hundred meters with the ammo they used?

    As for this SVT being a ‘good’ SHTF weapon, uh, well, i don’t see how. ANY gun that you would have to beat the shit out of to extract ANY round, cannot be a ‘good’ shtf weapon, Period. Break in notwithstanding. Not to mention spending over a GRAND On? Why would you even think about any of these things even being a shtf grabber anymore at all? When decent AR-15 platforms are available again at almost half the price you quoted here? And ammo is even getting cheap again. It’s not even a budgetary issue anymore? Plus very, very few people are going to need ‘reach out’ power weapons over a couple hundred meters. Maybe some of you out in the desert or mountain ‘badlands’, and in that case, and for the same price as quoted here, you can get a 50 BMG upper for your AR lower to do a better job and it’ll also be a ‘one shot vehicle killer’ if needed?!

    • Andrew August 25, 2014, 12:49 pm

      After shooting hundreds of rounds out of several AR rifles in two calibers I would not own one again especially as anything other than a plinking gun as far as Vietnam era marines and special forces went alI can tell is what the ones I am related to have told me and that is that they carried what ever they could to get rid of their M16a-1s because they had so many problems
      As far as the snipers that I know both of which have pictures of themselves with 03-A3s in Vietnam
      None of them do or will own an AR Type rifle do not get me wrong they make a great girls gun but that is what they were designed for not for real men and yes I did serve and I did carry an A4 and an M249 depending on the day and I would have gladly traded that A4 for my Remington model1 12GA. Everyday in every way
      By the way they do not teach 1shot 1kill any more now they teach failure drills 1 hammer pair to the chest 1 well placed shot to the head
      Three rounds per KIA Sounds Like A waste of ammo to me but that is what we had to do because of the crap that we were issued

      • Don August 25, 2014, 2:56 pm

        The two to the chest (center mass) followed by a head shot has been standard training. The idea being if two to the chest don’t work, the target may have body armor. Therefor shoot for the head. This was primarily for pistol shooters, since handguns are notorious for not stopping bad guys. Some GSW collectors, simply don’t know when to fall down.

  • Mike August 25, 2014, 6:03 am

    I find it interesting that the only time the svt shot acceptably, the action wasn’t moving. This doesn’t surprise me, if it’s action is similar to that of an ak47. There’s a lot of mass in motion above the barrel, and with the 24″ barrel, it has plenty of time to move all about while the round is still in the barrel. This is why it is so hard to make an ak shoot well too. I like the article, I’ve long wanted to know more about the svt40, but I’ll stuck with the garand. I doubt you’ll see an svt winning matches like a garand can. That and I’m a patriotic American 🙂

    • Don August 25, 2014, 12:29 pm

      Poor accuracy from the AK family can be blamed mostly on the sights. The Finn RK62 and IMI Galil use aperture sights and outperform the open sights on the AK. The most consistent military ammo I ever ran over a chronograph was Chinese steel core, like the Soviet PS. It would group very well when fired from a Yugo M59-66A1. It was within 7 FPS of the published 2350 FPS. Too bad we can’t buy that Chinese surplus anymore. Fantastic performer.

    • Andrew August 25, 2014, 1:51 pm

      As far as being a patriot goes I own over 30 weapons half are US made and half are not
      But I will tell you this there are a lot of my brothers and sisters who would still be alive today if their American made pieces of shit had functioned correctly
      And yes some of my favorites are foreign made god bless the Swiss for their fine craftsmanship not that I would ever live there but they make great watches and guns

  • Bearcat August 25, 2014, 3:35 am

    PS: I think the author needs to attend a remedial basic rifle marksmanship course. I have thrown all types of ammunition through my Garand including the Wolf ammo and never had a grouping like he did (Don’t blame the anmo) Wolf is good ammo !

  • Bearcat August 25, 2014, 3:28 am

    Really no contest the Garand wins hands down. The author must be some commie pinko sympathizer ! Actually the Garand with over 5 or 6 million produced, and quality made “IS” the greatest battle instrument ever devised, while the SVT44 never caught on with the Russian military probably because of its length and its somewhat complex disassembly procedure. I do own a Garand a March 1944 Springfield Armory version I really have no interest in any Soviet era weapons they just are what they were designed to be cheaply made mass produced close quarter assault rifles. But to each his own !

    • Francisco Delgadillo August 25, 2014, 10:25 am

      I own an SVT, a Mosin Nagant, and 2 M1 Garands. The comparison is not even close. Yes, the Russian rifles are barely “ok”, compared to the M1 Garands, quality, precision, durability, maintenance…….the M1 Garand hands down!!

    • Andrew August 25, 2014, 11:04 am

      Not all of them were cheaply made a good many of them were made right here in the good ol USA by good honest Americans it was part of the lend lease act and prior to that on contract to the Russian government

      • Don August 25, 2014, 12:23 pm

        I don’t show a reference to US manufactured SVT/SVS rifles. We did make M1891 MN rifles in the WW1 era. I have not seen where we made those in the WW2 era. Can you show us the source?

        • Andrew August 25, 2014, 2:51 pm

          Both Remington and Westinghouse continued to fill their contracts into the 1920s even though delivery was not being made of the over 3 million MNs made in the US the bulk were not delivered until during WW2 as part of the lend lease act with Britain where they were further delivered on to Russia
          I have seen 2 that not only had US arsenal marks but also British arsenal stamps from the WW2 era both of which were made after 1920 when the US Gov bought out the remainder of the contract guns from Remington and westinghouse I do not know who if anyone was still making large quantities but they were still being supplied as well as ammunition for them
          But not in the quantity that Enfields were to the British

          • Don August 25, 2014, 3:04 pm

            The M1891 rifles were sold on the surplus market. These “British contract” rifles were even issued to US forces in the WW1 era for training and during the Russian Civil War. Many were left in Arch Angel and Vladivostok in the 1920 era. I don’t think the US ever made the SVT/SVS.

  • Martin B August 24, 2014, 5:18 pm

    Actually, the SVT-40 led to the SKS in late 1944, which was also in use in the Belorussian Front, and can be seen in film of the Russian troops in Berlin at the end of the war. My SKS has a 16 inch barrel, and is very handy, though not exactly light. The intermediate cartridge is perhaps the best compromise between power and range, and very appropriate for such a compact carbine. The SKS is more accurate than an AK47, and easier to fire accurately, but lacks the full auto suppressive fire of the AK.

    It still prevents that awkward moment some AK bearing troops felt when, pressing the safety lever all the way down, they inadvertently went past the full auto position and couldn’t understand why the gun wouldn’t continue to shoot with the trigger pressed all the way in. This led to the demise of many Viet Cong fighters.

    I’m glad I have my SKS, the ammunition is much easier to buy and cheaper than 30-06 or any other full calibre.

    • mtman2 August 25, 2014, 9:30 am

      Smart ~!

    • Mr_D August 25, 2014, 10:21 am

      I personally like the sks over many others, It’s more than enough to hunt anything in Texas or Oklahoma, it’s much more accurate than an ak — it has no mags to loose or damage and reliable as hell. I have had 6 of them and 3 ak’s
      I understand that collectors in Canada can get the svt 40 way cheap because importation was not baned as they were here.

      The Garand is a fine weapon and seems to outdo the svt 40 but i wouldn’t hesitate to buy or use either if the price was right.

    • Don August 25, 2014, 12:19 pm

      The SKS is a nice rifle. Had the Soviets built it with a detachable magazine from the get go, I think it would be seen today as much as the AK. Like other Soviet/Russian designs, the sights stink. Watch recent video out of Ukraine, and you see many SKS carbines still being used. During the fall of the Soviet Union I saw quite a few entire units still packing the SKS. Rear echelon troops, transport and maintenance outfits, did not have an AK in sight.
      I’d still have both in my collection, but old eyes made them less useful.

  • Matt August 22, 2014, 7:59 am

    I ain’t buying it the Garand is superior in every way. God bless America

    • Honest Injun August 25, 2014, 6:40 am

      Shouldn’t that be ‘Murica? Fuck yeah!

      • glenn howard August 25, 2014, 9:56 am

        yeah comrade-murica

    • Robert K. Tompsett August 25, 2014, 9:06 am

      I fire the M1 Garand several times a day every Friday, as an Honor Guard at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Battle Creek, MI. I would love to have one for myself.

    • Joe Howell August 25, 2014, 9:39 am

      Clumsy overly long weapon, magazine jutted out at balance point making one handed carry impractical. Mine showed evidence of cases being pried out of the chamber after the extractor tore off part of the rim, probably due to the fluted chamber the author fails to mention. That chamber also ruined good Norma brass rendering it useless for reloading. Better then no weapon but not my first choice by a long run. Loading via strippers was difficult and good luck finding a spare magazine.

    • joe T August 25, 2014, 10:38 am

      Soviet small armes are well know for their lack of accuracy and all of their small arms are extremely poorly made and unreliable..
      Except for the AK-47. I is well the AK is extremely reliable but extremely inaccurate due to it’s sighing outlay and loose tolerences…If you are under 100 meters be very afraid of an AK47. Over 100 meters the m-16 will dominate. Also, the new M-16 variants are just about as reliable… chrome lining, clean powder etc… and with the new military 5.56 round with a steel tip really makes the nato round deadly. And soviet 7.62 has much lower velocity the the nato round…

      • Andrew August 25, 2014, 11:15 am

        Have you actually carried an m16 into combat I do not think so it is in undoubtably one of the worst battle weapons ever pawned off on a fighting man any where in the world it is the most maintenance intensive least hard hitting over penetrating They should have left it as a .308 and never adopted it I personally would have rather carried my M1carbine it had less problems and carrying the same amount of ammo is not a problem

        • Don August 25, 2014, 12:12 pm

          For being the worst rifle, the M16 has stayed in service for 50 years. Contemporary M16A3 rifles and M4 carbines have proven to be excellent combat arms. Yes, it would be better if it had a round like the 6.8mm SPC or 6.5mm. But, the newer OTM rounds give it added range and performance. Complaints about the M4 are actually quite low. Keep ’em clean, use good magazines, and better ammo than the M193, and it does its job well.
          Every rifle has failures in stopping power, including all the bigger rounds from the 1890’s. You might see the work of Dr. Fackler, and you will have an awakening.

          • Joe McHugh August 26, 2014, 8:00 am

            Hey Don, I beg to differ. The M16 family of military rifles have been a disgrace since 1967 when it was adopted as the Class A rifle of our Armed Forces.
            It started out by being the cause of many soldiers and Marines deaths in Vietnam. American news reporters weren’t allowed to publish photos of dead Americans who were obviously killed at close range while they vainly tried to unjam their M16 rifles. A French reporter finally published such photos in a French newspaper and all Hell broke out in congressional hearings.
            Fast forward 47 years to now. The M16, M16A1, M16A2 and M4 rifles have, as you pointed out, improved. Sadly, not enough improvement. They still tend to self-foul with every cartridge fired because they use the direct gas impingement reloading system. No other country in the world is obtuse enough to use such reloading systems in their military arms. The propellant gases just cannot be made “clean” enough to keep these rifles from jamming in an extended firefight. If it were not for force multipliers such as the Apache gun ships and Bradly personnel carriers with their formidable cannons, there would be lots a “Little Big Horns” in the Middle East.

            But the real problem with the piece of poo, known as the M16A2 and M4 rifles is their inability to tolerate wind driven grit and sand. They simply jam in such conditions and they always jam at the very worst times. You know, those times when the bad guys are charging at you with AK47’s that never jam. How accurate does the AK47 have to be when it is being fired at you from down the hallway or across the street?

            The Army is currently considering replacement rifles for the M16 family of rifles. A German look alike is well regarded. Guess what? It has a gas piston to keep those “clean” dirty gases out of the chamber/magazine area.
            No matter what the Army decides to do it won’t be soon enough to get rid of the embarrassment known as the M16 rifle.

            Oh, and for you vets who had the opportunity to compare the M16A2 to the M14 rifle on the battlefield? You know what I’m talking about.

          • Nate August 26, 2014, 11:16 am

            The M16 has been in service longer than the Garand or M14. Are you saying that it’s better than them as well? We kept the POS M60 in service for 40+ years that doesn’t make it better than any of it’s contemporaries. The list goes on and on: F-111, M2 Bradley, Beretta M9, aluminum warships, gunless fighter jets, F-35, Aim-7 Sparrow, etc. All it really shows is how stupid the procurement process is in the US military.

            Complaints about the M4 are low because the troops never know anything different. Our troops in Afghanistan who were embedded with the Polish Army were given the option of carrying Polish AK-74 variants (Valmet?). Invariably, they carried their M4 around on the FOB as it was lighter but every time they headed out into indian country they were carrying AK’s.

      • Nate August 25, 2014, 12:18 pm

        You are wrong on so many levels. Soviet small arms are crude but not poorly made. The AK family of rifles, PPSh subguns, RP series LMG, and Dshk MG’s are all well made where it counts. The real mil-spec versions, not the clunky clones assembled from trash bin parts and a poorly copied receiver, will shoot and shoot and shoot. Their accuracy is certainly good enough for combat. I can routinely hit a 12″ gong at 400 yards with red dot equipped AK. The ppsh is so easy due to the low recoil flat shooting round you can draw smiley faces on the target at 100 yards in full auto. All of the soviet weapons are easier to disassemble and clean (and require less of it) than their western counterparts. The PPsh and the Dshk 12.7mm are both superior to the Thompson and M2 Browning. Cleaning an AK is total easy mode. Pop off the top cover, turn it upside down, and hose everything down brake cleaner followed by some CLP/WD-40/Diesel fuel, then fire another 10,000 rounds

        The M16 is accurate and lighter than the AK family but that’s about it. It still needs more cleaning than most of it’s contemporaries (G3, FAL, Sig 556, Galil, AK, G33). The aluminum receiver is a liability as well. Ripping of 3 mags quickly will get it hot enough to ruin the heat treat on the aluminum. Comparing the M16 to the -47 is a facile argument. Compare it to current russian issue which is the Ak-74M equipped with an Obzor optical sight. Against that the M-16’s star doesn’t shine very brightly.

        The 7.62×39 has a lower velocity because the round weighs twice as much. It is far superior to the steel tip 5.56 at penetrating cover or stopping vehicles. Most of the checkpoints in Iraq and Afghanistan kept RPD or RPK on hand for stopping VBIEDs because of the 5.56’s shitty penetration.

        • Andrew August 25, 2014, 1:41 pm

          Come in to this era the 74M has been replaced and the soviets have gone back to the 7.62 in the 101-104 era. we used both RPKS and RPDs as well as PKCs and M240 andM-2s at our ECPs especially if we were working with L.N.s
          It does not have shitty penetration it either over penetrates on soft targets or it does not penetrate at all shitty penetration would be an improvement
          As far as complaints about the M-4 and A4 you obviously have not been listening to us combat veteran telling about some of us having to empty half of a magazine to get the job
          done
          And the statistical proof goes all the way back to the first M16s in Vietnam when the average number of rounds expended per confirmed enemy KIA went from under 400 to over 700 per DOD stats
          As far as staying in service for 50 years that is because people do not know any better the average American even some veterans who have never used a real rifle think it is a good weapon but on on thing your are correct the 6.8 is a good round but a good round does not fix a bad rifle and compared to their predecessors and their modern counterparts the M16 is a pile of SHIT!!!

          • Don August 25, 2014, 2:47 pm

            A M16A1/A2/A3, are great rifles. I left the Army before the A2 came on scene. Except for rough handling the M16A1 rifles worked well. We saw very few problems beyond broken stock furniture. Yes, they need to be cleaned. AKs work very well, but have issues with dirty magazines, just like all magazine fed rifles. AKs are deficient in several areas. Poor selector-safety. Poor sights. No bolt hold open. Poor hand guard, allowing skin contact with very hot parts. In 7.62mm a lopping trajectory, fixed with the AK74s 5.45mm round, giving soldiers an improved hit ratio about 2.5 times that of the 7.62mm. Wounds at reasonable combat ranges, 200m and under, are unimpressive. The 5.45mm round leaves wounds that are less destructive than 7.62mm (M43-PS) and 5.56mm (any flavor). The M43 round is very stable and pokes holes not much different that .45 ACP or 9mm NATO, as long as no bone is hit on entry.
            We know that stable bullets leave lesser wounds. The US .30-40 Krag, 30-03 (not ’06), German 7.92mm (pre-spritzer), 6.5 Carcano (and all round nosed 6.5 Mannlicher rounds) poked minor holes as long as no bone involvement or “wet” organs are hit. US Army reports from the PI insurgency showed men could return to duty after 2 weeks, if hit in muscle or lung, in the pre-anti-biotic era.
            The British and Italians used bullets having a light weight nose filler (aluminum or fiber) causing the bullet to tumble. The .303 and 7.35mm rounds were more effective than the boat tail rounds.
            Only good hits count. Lots of rifles will leave the enemy still coming, unless support structures or CNS are struck.
            An AK is reliable. The Soviet pattern AKM has a weak receiver susceptible to side wall crush. This was evident during the ’67 Six Day war. Galili and Serkus were examining non-functional sand clogged AKM rifles. Galili is reported to have thrown the rifle onto the ground, then stood on the receiver, crushing it. He reportedly said, “When we make ours, it will have a milled receiver”. At least that is what Sirkus told me. They did go on to making the Galil, using Valmet receivers, M16 barrel blanks and Stoner M63 magazines. With a better safety and superior sights, it is the best AK-pattern rifle, just an improved Valmet due to the improved safety.
            Between the AR and AK, I’d still take the M16 based rifles. Just keep ’em clean.

      • JD Mak August 26, 2014, 2:03 am

        While there is no doubt that current incarnation of the original Armalite (the M4) is a fine weapon, it is still by no means “about as reliable” as a Kalashnikov. You make mention of “loose tolerances” of the AK. Not so. This is a machinists term that has been misused by countless folks who know little of machines and how they are made. The tolerances on the average AK are just fine. If they weren’t the damn things would always be falling apart and have absolutely zero reputation for reliability. What is meant is that the AK has a lot more room in it’s receiver to accommodate any debris that might potentially get in there, thus making it more reliable in less than optimal conditions. When you look into the open receiver of a Kalashnikov what you see is space. A lot of it. Not so with an AR, which has the fire control group packed tightly into it’s skinny lower receiver. Not much room for gunk and junk in there. Also, MANY AR’s have less than tight fits between their lower and upper receivers, and you can feel the lower rattle if you shake the weapon from side to side. THAT would be due to what you might call “loose tolerances”.
        As far as it’s “sighting outlay”, the difference in the sight radius between the standard AK and the current M4 is considerably less than an inch. It’s so little in fact, as to make it negligible in my opinion. Granted, nobody in their right mind will claim that the sights on the AK are superior to the AR family of weapons sights, because it simply isn’t true. Frankly, the stock sights on an AK suck and require some tweaking, or should you desire, replacing. I simply filed the rear notch open on my Norinco AK, threw a red dot on the Ultimak rail and called it a day.
        As far as overall accuracy, yes, the AR does have an edge over the AK…but not as much as you might think, and certainly not enough to make it a better choice for extended combat. “Minute of man” is good enough for most applications and it has been demonstrated many times that it is indeed possible to consistently hit man-sized targets with a Kalashnikov at 500 yards with stock iron sights, more than twice the distance that most hostile engagements occur in- unless you are talking Afghanistan, in which case, BOTH weapons fall short.
        Ammo and the weapons used to fire them are really two separate discussions, but I would like to point out that not ALL loads for the AK are deficient. Most of what is available to the average consumer is “okay”, but not great for purposes of combat or home defense. If you look at the 90’s pre-ban Chinese ammo, however, you’re looking at loads designed to have the projectile tumble within 2-3 inches of penetration of a human torso. Good stuff. There’s all kinds of good combat loads out there for the 7.62 x 39 Kalashnikov, but unfortunately, you have to search high and low and you may have to pay a premium for them. Another nod in the AR’s favor.
        You didn’t bring up weight as a factor, but the weight difference between a “decked out” AR and a Chinese made (they have .5 mm thicker receivers than standard AK’s are are therefore even heavier) AK with a red dot sight is about 1 lb, which really isn’t that much in the big scheme of things. Most troops or fighters in passable shape are already going to be carrying so much crap that they won’t even notice the additional pound. I don’t feel a difference myself, but your mileage may vary. Still, 7.62 x 39 is heavier and a full combat load of that may make enough of a difference to turn some folks off to the AK. So (grudgingly), I’ll concede to the AR’s winning in the category of weight.
        If I were a soldier and had to choose a weapon to go into combat with and I had the logistical support of a 1st world modern military to back me and service my weapon, I’d go with an M4 and a high grade optic. No question.
        On the other hand, if I was to find myself on my own, or with a small group in a survival, “end of the world as we know it” scenario, I’d not hesitate to grab my AK. That is my SHTF weapon. My M4 is my home defense weapon…but only if my 12 gauge pump action is out of reach.

      • Sergey August 26, 2014, 12:55 pm

        Read this:
        http://weaponsman.com/?p=17325
        The comparison to American firearms did not injure the Eastern weapons. The Chinese and Russian weapons were well made and their metal parts were machined as well as an American service rifle’s parts would be. There were toolmarks visible in places where it didn’t matter, and other parts were polished to as smooth-surfaced a microfinish as Springfield itself would do.

        For Chinese AK it was before Cultural Revolution which brought quality down.

        • Joe Serrano August 26, 2014, 5:03 pm

          I though we were talking about the M-1 Garand. I will always stand by the M1. I was trained with it in Basic Training. I’m not an expert in weapons as some of you guys seem to be but let me tell you, you can keep your modern automatic weapons and waste all the ammo you want. A well placed shot will take out an enemy as good as one full magazine of M16 ammo. Thank you.

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