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Simonov AVS-36 automatic rifle (Russia)
Caliber: 7.62x54 mm R
Overall length: 1260 mm
Barrel length: 627 mm
Weight: 4.2 kg empty, w/o bayonet
Magazine capacity: 15 rounds
Rate of fire: 800 rounds per minute
Red Army conducted several trials for automatic rifles between 1928 and mid-1930s, but the first more or less practical self-loading / automatic rifle appeared only in 1936. This rifle was developed between 1931 and 1936 by the Sergey Simonov, and was adopted as "7.62mm Automaticheskaya Vintovka Simonova obraztsa 1936 goda" (Simonov automatic rifle, model of 1936), or AVS-36 in short. Service life of this weapon was relatively short, as it was too complicated and expensive to make and maintain, as well as not sufficiently reliable in harsh conditions. Something between 35 000 and 65 000 AVS-36 rifles were delivered to Red Army between 1936 and 1940, when it was officially replaced in service by the Tokarev SVT-40 self-loading rifle. The AVS-36 seen not much combat, but it was used during Winter War between USSR and Finland in 1940, as well as in early stages of Great Patriotic War of 1941-45. Since the basic design of the AVS-36 was far from being ideal, Simonov consequently dropped its locking system with vertically sliding lock, and turned to the more common and practical tilting block locking. Using this system, he later developed the famous 14.5mm PTRS-41 antitank rifle and 7.62mm SKS self-loading carbine.
The AVS-36 is a gas operated, selective fire rifle. Short stroke gas piston is located above the barrel, and has its own return spring. The bolt is locked using vertically sliding locking block, which is located in the receiver, between the magazine and breech face. Because of this arrangement the receiver and bolt are relatively long and heavy. The cartridge feed path from magazine into chamber is long and steep, and this was the cause for numerous stoppages. Bolt group also was overly complicated, as it contained special anti-bouncing lock. AVS-36 had the fire mode selector at the right side of the receiver, which allowed for single shots and full automatic fire (rather ineffective with such a lightweight weapon and powerful cartridge). The barrel was equipped with large muzzle brake and bayonet mount. The bayonet could be attached to the barrel not only horizontally, but also vertically (down), to form some sort of monopod for firing from prone position. Open sights were marked up to 1500 meters. Cleaning rod was carried in a groove at the right side of the stock, along the barrel. Some AVS-36 rifles were issued as sniper weapons, thus being fitted with telescope sight. As the rifle ejected its empties to the top, the scope mount was offset to the left and was located at the left outer wall of the receiver.