|part_length=612 mm (24 in)
action=Gas-operated, vertically sliding bolt
velocity=840 m/s (2,756 ft/s)
weight=4.3 kg (9.5 lb)
length=1.23 m (48 in)
The AVS-36 (from "Avtomaticheskaya Vintovka Simonova 1936 model"; Russian: "Автоматическая винтовка Симонова образца 1936 года") was a Soviet automatic rifle which saw service in the early years of
World War II. It was among the early select-fire infantry rifles (capable of both single and full-automatic fire) formally adopted for military service.
The designer, Sergei Simonov, began his work with a gas-operated self-loading rifle in 1930. The first prototype was ready in 1931 and appeared promising, and three years later a trial batch of an improved design was made. Next year, a competition between Simonov's design and a rifle made by
Fedor Tokarevwas held. The Simonov rifle emerged as a winner and was accepted into service as the AVS-36. The AVS-36 was a gas-operated rifle with a short piston stroke and vertical sliding locking block. It was capable of both automatic and semi-automatic fire. The barrel was equipped with a large muzzle braketo reduce recoil. Ammunition was in a detachable magazine holding 15 rounds. A knife bayonetwas issued with the rifle. A sniperversion was produced in small amounts with a PE scope. The AVS-36 was first seen in public in the May Day1938 parade in Moscow.
Once in service, it quickly became apparent that the AVS was not a satisfactory design; the operating mechanism was overly complicated, and the problem was made worse by the rifle's construction which let dirt get inside the weapon. The rifle was also particular about ammunition quality. The muzzle brake design proved to be a failure — the rifle was nearly uncontrollable in automatic fire. Some of the problems were traced to the magazine, which was deemed too long. Production of the AVS-36 was terminated in 1938, and a new design competition was held to which Simonov and Tokarev submitted their improved designs. Simonov's rifle was lighter and contained fewer parts, while Tokarev's rifle was considered sturdier. This time, the Tokarev design won (reportedly in part because of
Stalin's interference in favour of Tokarev) and went on to become the SVT-38. Simonov would later design an anti-tank rifle, the PTRS-41, and the SKScarbine, which employed simpler tilting bolt operation.
Overall, about 65,800 AVS-36s were manufactured (although some sources place the number lower than that). The rifle first saw service in the
Battle of Halhin Gol, and later in the Winter War, but did not perform well. Some of the problems were caused by incorrect maintenance; many rifles went into combat without having being cleaned of their storage grease, which then "froze" solid. SVT-38 and LS-26 used on the Finnish side suffered from similar problems. Finnish forces captured several hundreds of these rifles and put them to use, though after a large amount of the more serviceable SVT's were captured, they were largely withdrawn from service. In the Soviet Union, the AVS was quickly marginalized and apparently withdrawn from service during 1941, though it saw brief service during World War II. Some reports claim that remaining AVS's were mostly scrapped. Today, the AVS-36 is a rare collectors item; most of the remaining rifles in existence are in Finland.
M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle
M1941 Johnson machine gun
* [http://world.guns.ru/rifle/rfl16-e.htm History and technicalities of the AVS-36]
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