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When my Marine Corps brother Andy called me up to tell me that I could have free reign of his Class 3 gun shop (and bar-b-que), Defcon-1 Armory and Chow Hall, to write about any of the military surplus firearms he has, I jumped at the opportunity. After all, if history isn’t kept alive, it disappears forever. When he told me that he received a Finnish AK variant called the Valmet M76W, of course my response was: what the heck is that? . . .


First, some history

Unfortunately, Finland found themselves positioned on the wrong team during WWII when they aligned themselves with Nazi Germany. Because of this, they were unable to manufacture weapons until the late 1950s. The Finnish company Valmet began production of its first AK variant rifle, the M60, sometime between 1958-1960. This rifle was only available with a tubular stock, and one cartridge size: 7.62X39.


The M76 Rifle

Several years and revisions later, Valmet began production of the M76. There were a few variations, to include the “W” model denoting the wood stock, and several others with folding tubular, fixed plastic and other stocks available in a few different cartridge sizes.

ed _29

The rifle pictured is chambered in .223. However Valmet turned out other camberings including 7.62X39, 7.62X51 and the rare .222, which was primarily exported to France.


In fact, besides domestic use, this rifle was produced as much to exported to both civilian and military markets across the globe. Civilians saw an exclusive semi-auto rifle, while military buyers would receive the select-fire M76.


The quality construction has tight tolerances without an excessive amount of wobble. Like the AK, M76 receivers were usually made from stamped steel which were then riveted and reinforced for strength. However, there are several examples of M76s with milled receivers floating around as well.


One of the most recognizable characteristics on this rifle is the three prong flash suppressor/bayonet lug and the rear sight located on the backside of the receiver’s cover. Apparently, one of the selling points was the flash suppressor’s ability to cut barbed wire. Simply place the wire through the three prongs and squeeze the trigger. Of course, you’d give away your position and run out of ammo more sooner, but hey, at least you could walk into the slaughter more comfortably.



While the exact number of M76s is nearly impossible to determine, some estimates claim that there were less than 1,000 of this particular model ever imported into the United States. Because so few of them mad the journey, they can command a higher street price than some of the other imported AKs variants, even when in bad shape. An M76 in average condition can command $1,500+. Of course, price increases with quality.


Valmet was responsible for producing many reliable and fairly accurate weapons that, by today’s standards, are considered rare. Most gun shops will never see one of these rifles, so if you’re in the market, you’ll probably have to purchase yours online, and at a premium.

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  1. “Unfortunately, Finland found themselves positioned on the wrong team during WWII when they aligned themselves with Nazi Germany.”

    Unfortunately, this is such a simplistic characterization of history, all I can do is recommend folks pick up a book or google the heck out of Finland and the Winter War. After a pretty fierce civil war where the communists nearly took over the fledging independent nation in 1918, then after killing somewhere upwards of half a million invading Soviets and nearly losing their nation again, the Finns did what ever was necessary to survive. I wouldn’t say the Norwegians were on the “wrong team”. Condensing a couple of decades of blood and death into being on the “wrong team” is pretty lame.

    • Being friends with Hitler, no matter the context, is not a thing to be proud of. And Mannerheim did smoke his stogie in front of Der Fuhrer.

      Finland did sign a ceasefire with the USSR in 1944 and had to fight the Germans in Finland and Lapland, so technically the Finns were on the side of the Finns, as they had every right to be.

        • And Stalin was friends with Hitler, initially, so by the transitive property of dictator friendships, we were friends with Hitler.

      • The axis powers had by far the greatest number of participating nations. The reason for that is simple: Europe was on the verge of a complete communist take over. Not all those countries or their leaders agreed with Hitler’s deranged racial views, but the threat of Stalin was seen as far greater than one crack pot. When you read up on how Hitler’s theories were viewed by other Axis participants, it is clear that they were mostly in it to fight communism and little else.

    • Kiitos minun ystava! (Thanks my friend)

      You saved me from having to write up a history lesson or two.

  2. A Finnish AK? Should be good – it sure does look good.

    One thing; I’m not sure the description of ‘aligned with the Nazis’ is the most generous or accurate representation of history.
    “During the Continuation War (1941–1944) Finland was co-belligerent with Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union, and dependent on food, fuel and armament shipments from Germany. In spite of this, Finland retained an independent, democratic form of government. Moreover, during the war, Finland kept its army outside the German command structure despite numerous attempts by the Germans to tie them more tightly together.”

    • Indeed, had the Finns (and the Japanese, for that matter) behaved more like true allies with Hitler, there is some possibility that the war could have turned out differently IMO. But both Finland and Japan rebuffed Hitler’s pleas to attack the Russians at different times when such attacks would have certainly been helplful to the Germans (Finland, in particular, refused to advance beyond their pre-Winter War border with Russia, as I understand it).

    • “Aligned with the Nazis” is accurate in a sense that Finland did invade the USSR alongside German forces in 1941, and participated in some combat operations (most notably, Siege of Leningrad – the entire northern part of the siege was maintained by the Finns, and they were involved in artillery shelling and bombing of the city).

      Regardless of the reasons that they had for this alignment, the alignment itself, as a matter of Finnish foreign policy, remains a fact.

      • Finnish artillery were given strict orders not to fire Leningrad by the high command. Additionally, the ice road which was used to supply the city was never fired by the Finns either. Doing So would have been against the Finnish interests.

  3. The Valmets are solid rifles and the real basis for the Israeli Galil. Year ago I passed on a new one like that shown in the picture because I wanted it in 7.62 instead of .223. At that time the only 7.62 variants had tubular steel stocks, which I have never been fond of. Mores the pity thanks to 20/20 hindsight.

  4. I’m not an AK guy, but this looks better than the WASRs at the lgs for $800+. I wouldn’t mind this replacing something already in my gun safe.

      • Tell that to the lgs owners they still have AK’s with a sign over them saying Obama won’t import anymore too. I do my shopping online, or with lgs that are decent folks. My smallest lgs does transfers for$20.

  5. It’s not every day TTAG posts one of my Dream Guns. Valmets were said to be the best AK variants ever made available to the unwashed, though with the few imported Galils also on the market and the high-end Arsenal builds being sold today I’m not sure how true that is anymore.

    Two things, though: 1) Why on Earth would you post this glorious example and not report your shooting impressions? Were your booger hooks not allowed time at the bang switch? And 2) I’m not gonna bother correcting your perceptions of Finnish history, people have already started doing that, but I suggest you do a little research. Finland didn’t exactly cozy up to the Nazis the way a number of other Axis “allies” did.

    • While Valmets are nice, it hasn’t been true since the 1980s, but the legend mostly lives on through the old-timers who stopped paying attention to what eventually became available for sale after 1994.

      If you hang around the AK world long enough you notice the older guys seem to only be interested in “pre-ban” rifles and put stuff like Valmets, Norincos, etc. up on a pedestal that they just don’t deserve to be on.

    • William, I have an apples to oranges comparison on that peep sight and zero. I had a Russian sks that I put the tech peep sights on. There was no real effect on the sights when removing and replacing the dust cover for cleaning. It was a mass produced battle rifle. Maybe if a scope was used it might have a bigger effect on zero.

      I would assume that an ak varient with the peeps would also not have much effect on zero.

    • No. The top cover is adjusted at the factory to be tighter than the average AKM, and doesn’t move much – at least not enough to affect irons zero.

  6. I take it the author didn’t actually get to shoot this one? That’s a pity. I would have liked to hear how it shoots, accuracy-wise. The Finns have a reputation for nice-shooting rifles.

    I’d also be interested to see if the cover-mounted rear sight retains zero very well. Do these Valmets attach the cover in a more solid and repeatable way than other AKs, or is it a question of re-zeroing the sights every time you take the cover off?

    Lastly, I think I know what you mean with this sentence, but damn, that thing is a mess: “In fact, besides domestic use, this rifle was produced as much to exported to both civilian and military markets across the globe.”

    • The top cover has some tabs and additional tightness to keep it tighter. It will flex while the gun is fired, but will return to basically the same place after the action cycles or you put it back on after cleaning. It won’t be exactly the same, but has a margin of error of a couple MOA and likely wont exceed that dispersion in any direction.

  7. I had a ‘sporting version’ in ‘308. I forget the designation.

    Fit, finish and accuracy would rival any Browning autoloader.

    Folks, these are the end all in AK design and function!

    One of the few firearms I continually kick myself for trading off!

  8. Shame you didn’t get to fire it. That magazine looks like it has a bolt hold-open feature too.

  9. I had the Valmet M 76 in .308 with the plastic fixed stock.
    It was a nice rifle. The gas tube came off in a clever and easy way for routine cleaning. The dust cover mounted rear sight seemed to hold zero. It shot 3 to 4 moa with the cheap walmart ammo I usually shoot. It had a lot more recoil than my Federal Ordnance M 14. Since the M 14 was far more accurate with less recoil, I almost never shot the Valmet. I kept that gun for 15 years. I used Galil .308 mags in it and they worked fine.
    I traded it for a new Steyr Aug last year and now the Aug is my favorite gun of all time.

  10. The Fins didn’t find themselves on the wrong side in WII, Russia found itself on the wrong side of the Fins!

    Seriously, they would ally with satan if it meant the chance to kill Russians.

  11. i do really like my M76. probably not as nice as this one in the article, though.
    …but let’s not talk about trying to source magazines for it.

      • it’s been my understanding that there are some issues with those. have had some good luck with modified .223 AK magazines for it, however.

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