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Tokarev SVT-40. Identifying, Collecting and FAQ.

Dedicated to those who fell.. and to those who carry on...

Group of young Ukrainian Insurgent Army fighters with SVT-38s and SVT-40s captured either from retreating Red Army or from auxiliary Nazi units. This weapon was used against Nazi and later against Soviets.
1. Acknowledgement and disclaimer.
This article would not be possible without the help of Ratnik (Oleksandr) from Ukraine, who has been a valuable source of most of the information below and criticism, without collectors and members of my two favourite communities - CanadianGunNutz and Gunboards. Special thanks to another Canadian collector – Bill (aka [email protected] aka [email protected] ) for proofreading this text.

Disclaimer: All information below is a compilation of publicly available sources, such as books and forums, results of research of my friends, other fellow collectors and my personal observations. No information (including one that is published in official documents) can be 100% reliable and thus all that is below should be considered as current, up-to-date understanding and interpretation of available data. I am sure the future will bring even more clarifications and new information that could change current interpretation. Should you believe any picture or text below is in violation of copyrights please contact me.

2. Introduction.
The purpose of this article is to provide beginner and intermediate collectors or curious parties with reference knowledge about SVT-40, debunk most common myths (like "Kovrov rifle" and "Navy stock") explain differences and variations of rifle's features and present various types of rifles available for collectors in North America. Unlike other sources of SVT-40 information this article is focused on how to understand the rifles that North American shooters and collectors have access to, and describes all possible variants and their features. This is my attempt to put together all up-do-date information available from sources such as recently published books and research presented on web forums. I hope I will have enough time in the future to develop this reference guide and elaborate on various subjects and add some topics for advanced collectors.

The "Tokarev self-loading rifle" (SVT) or "Самозарядная винтовка Токарева" has a very special place in the history of WW2 semiautomatic weapons with significant usage on the Eastern front. Intended to replace the Red Army's Mosin Nagant M91/30 it went through several stages of development - Model 1938 (known as SVT-38), Model 1940 (known as SVT-40), and was phased out in favor of the Mosin Nagant M91/30 as it was cheaper to produce and easier to learn for regular Soviet conscript. Possible factors that might have contributed to such an ill fate are:
  1. Low level of training and often an absence of training at all for conscripts of the Soviet Army. Unfortunate men were often thrown into battle right after they had been conscripted. While this was not always the case, it was quite common. At the same time, from some memoirs, we know that there were Soviet soldiers who really liked and valued the rifle. We also know that German Wehrmacht and SS troops also liked and used SVT-40s. The Finnish Army successfully used captured SVTs. Ukrainian and Baltic insurgents also were able to provide better training for the troops and numerous pictures and memoirs praise the Soviet "ten-rounder" rifle. This proves that any person with sufficient training and discipline of regular cleaning was able to use this rifle successfully.
  2. Second factor - very low level of development of Soviet metallurgy, manufacturing facilities and a lack of qualified personnel. You probably would be surprised to know that to facilitate manufacturing of SVTs in 1940 USSR had to purchase some machinery and tools from the USA (Source: 1. p.225). At certain stages of production the proportion of defective parts was close to 90% (Source: 1. p.224). Only in July of 1944 was factory N.314 at Mednogorsk (ex Tula) able to produce the first batch of SVT-40 rifles that fully met original Tokarev specifications and requirement, both in quality and in materials used (Source: 1. p.225). Just think about it - from acceptance to service in 1938 and initiation of production in 1939 it took 5 years to start producing the rifle the way she was designed. Of course hardships of the war also contributed here.
  3. Third factor – USSR faced enormous losses of firearms during the first months of the German invasion. The cost of SVT-40 production was 713 rubles in 1940, while cost of the M91/30 was 170 rubles (Source 3. p 6). To recover from losses and provide the required level of supply of firearms, the decision was made in favour of a cheaper, less technological product that also required fewer man-hours to be manufactured.
  4. Fourth factor - it was the beginning of the era of self-loading rifles. WW2 was the first war where such rifles were tried on a large scale. It is worth mentioning that at the outbreak of the war there were no theoretical calculations for the process of re-using the energy of gases. M1 Garand initially had a gas trap mechanism which was later modified to a drilled hole. German Wehrmacht engineers did not believe that it was a viable idea to design a self-loading rifle with a hole in the barrel to tap the gases, so technical requirements for designers clearly stated: “no hole in the barrel for gases tapping”. To meet this requirement the G41 was designed with a cone-shaped gas trap invented by Søren H. Bang. Only after Germans were able to lay their hands on captured SVT-40s, was the G43 created with gas system similar to the Soviet rifle. SVT-40 production was stopped in Jan of 1945 when the outcome of the war was evident and USSR had more than enough weapons. Gas systems similar to SVT-40 can be found in English SA-80 and AR-18, safety switch was copied in French FR-F1. Bolt locking similar to SVT was used in Swedish Lungman AG M/42. The SAFN 49 uses the same locking mechanism and operating principle as the SVT however, it could be a coincidence. This proves that SVT-40 played an important role in the development of modern, semi-automatic firearms.

Soviet Naval Infantry with SVT-40.
3. Short history references and facts.

Tokarev started his weaponry career in Imperial Russia. His first works were attempts to modernize the Mosin Nagant rifle into a semi-automatic weapon. During the Soviet period, Tokarev designed the well-known TT-33 which is a kind of simplified version of the Browning system, SVT-38 and SVT-40, Tokarev machine gun, and created numerous trial rifles.

Tokarev semi-automatic carbine Model 1918 (Mosin Nagant-based model)

SVT-40 strictly speaking is an improved version of SVT-38 (in official Soviet designation both are called "Tokarev self-loading rifle" with the addition of of "Model 1938" or "Model 1940" respectively) so we'll start with SVT-38.
- 29 Dec 1938 SVT-38 accepted as new service rifle - Model 1938 (Source: 1. P.36)
- 16 July 1939 manufacture of parts for mass production started (Source: 1. P.222). First known rifles are dated September 1939 (Source: Olexandr (Ratnik) serial numbers study)
- 13 Apr 1940 improved version accepted as Model 1940 (SVT-40) (Source: 1. P.223). Changes were the result of many factors: planned development and trials and battle testing during the aggression against Finland. The overall goal was to make a rifle much lighter – a factor that caused issues with stock later.
- Production was undertaken at three or four different factories: No.314 NKV (“People Commissariat of Weaponry”) initially located in Tula and later evacuated to Mednogorsk, No.74 NKV in Izhevsk, No.460 NKV in Podolsk, later partially evacuated to Zlatoust Factory No.385 NKV that also manufactured small amount of rifles.
- 3rd Jan 1945 GKO (“Top Commissariat of Defense”) issued orders to NKO to stop or reduce production of the small arms. On 5th of Jan 1945 NKO relayed this order to factory No.314 NKO and production of SVT-40s was stopped. As of the end of 1944, USSR had 145,000 SVTs in reserve.

4. Types of SVT-40 available for collectors in Canada and US and how to identify them.
There are 5 distinctive groups for the purpose of SVT-40 identification.
  1. So-called “veteran bring backs”. Such rifles were probably acquired either from German troops, as captured firearms, or from Soviet troops as exchange or gifts. This category could also include some of the Finnish capture rifles as not all of them were reworked and have SA markings. Typical features of “bring back”
    • - Do not have SA stamp
    • - Mostly matching. The following serial numbers were stamped:
      • Receiver: XXX or AAXXX or AAXXXX, where AA- letters and XXXX - digits.
      • Bolt carrier handle on top or bottom
      • Bolt on the bottom including letter prefix
      • Stock - horizontal including letter prefix (early Podolsk stocks have a vertically stamped serial number)
      • Trigger Guard - stamped (some refurbished rifles also have stamped numbers on the trigger guard, but the font is different from the receiver).
      • Magazine. Early versions had serials and numbers 1,2,3, Later magazines had just serials.

  2. Example of rifle in original condition, note thin bluing and reddish color of stock. Pictures of the rifle from the Applegoomp (GB) collection.​
  3. Nazi capture. Because of many fakes, there is a need to elaborate on this subcategory of bring-backs. Strictly speaking, a "captured" weapon did not receive any special marking. However, if repaired at one of the depots, it received Army Equipment Depot (Heereszeugämter or HZa) markings. That mark would be on the bottom of the wrist area of the stock. For example one of the known captured rifles has an HZa Spandau marking – E/Su 27. According to Vic Thomas, there is another type of Nazi markings - direct German orders early in war indicated that captured weapons should be marked on the bolt, receiver and barrel for testing and approval and designates rifles by a German code. So it might be possible to find captured and evaluated rifles that have the three mentioned markings. Except for the rifle from Vic's collection, all other rifles I saw had fake WaA (waffenamt) or fireproof markings. So if you see waffenamts or fireproof markings on SVT – it’s most likely a fake. Other than HZa marking, this category is similar to the “bring back” rifle's external features. (Thanks to Vic Thomas and CanadianAR for clarifications on this topic).

    Legitimate Nazi capture stock. Picture from the open sources.

    Fake notch with fake fire proof (from author collection), fake fire proof on receiver (from open sources).​
  4. Finn capture.
    • - SA Property marking (some do not have this stamp). While SA was introduced in 1942, only rifles that went through repair depots were marked as such during the war. Most of the Finnish capture weapons received SA markings post war, when it was overhauled and stored.
    • Some parts swapped so mostly mismatched (again, there could be exceptions). There are examples with force-matched new serial numbers above scrubbed original serials. However, most Finn capture rifles do not have the original serial numbers on the metal parts scrubbed.
    • Sometimes an additional number is stamped above the serial number on the receiver. The purpose of this number is not clear.
    • Metal could retain remnants of original bluing or could be re-blued with an appearance similar to Soviet refurbishment dip-bluing
    • Stock can be original with serial number and cartouches intact or sanded with no serial and no other markings, some stocks were re-finished with oil or shellac after sanding.
    • Latest known year of Finn capture rifle is 1944

      Finnish captured SVT-40. Note SA property marking, heavily sanded and refinished stock with no remains of cartouche, bolt and carrier “in white”, re-blued metal. From the author’s collection.

      Example of force-matched Finnish capture rifle. Note the new stamped serial number on the receiver, faint serial on the left side of the bolt carrier, and also on the bolt and trigger guard. Courtesy of [email protected]
  5. Bulgarian refurb.
    This is the "light" refurb that includes dip bluing and covering the stock with lacquer. It used to be referred to as "Old import SVTs". Bulgarian refurbs are very desirable as most of them retain original matching parts.
    • All known Bulgarian refurb rifles are made in 1943 and 1944
    • All originally stamped parts are matching (except magazines). It is possible that magazines were matching too, as their serial numbers sometimes are very close to the rifle's serial numbers. Were these mismatched in Bulgaria or in Canada? We do not know.
    • Metal is always reblued and looks similar to bluing on Soviet refurbs. The bolt is blued on top of existing bluing and has dark brown to black color.
    • Original serial number on the stock is slightly sanded but still visible; the same number with no prefix is re-stamped vertically on the left side of the stock. Then the stock was lacquered in a quite sloppy way. Some stocks escaped serial re-stamping and were just lacquered in a very distinctive way (see picture). Rarely, stocks were left bare after sanding or were finished with very different lacquer (see picture). On some rifles, stocks are not original (faint original serial number is not the same as the new vertical number).
    • Upper wooden handguard was serialized on the underside (probably by Bulgarians as originally this part does not have serial), probably for the purpose of the proper assembly after refurbishing. However, most of the Bulgarian SVT-40s have this newly numbered part mismatched. How it happened we don't know. Some upper handguards escaped serialization.
    • In some cases some parts (bolt, bolt carrier) could have the original serial removed and a new one marked with a chemical pencil or scratched.
    • Magazines are either of late-type with rough finish and single serial number, or of early type with 3/4 of the upper part of the body scrubbed out, no serial applied, Bulgarian KK22 or similar marking stamped.
    • Bulgarian refurbs bear no arsenal refurb marks, unlike Soviet refurbs.

      Typical Bulgarian refurbished rifle, note absence of refurb mark on the receiver, sloppy stock finish, and vertically re-stamped serial on the stock. From author’s collection.
  6. Soviet refurb.
    Most common type in NA. Arsenal refurbishing process involved full disassembly (except in most cases receiver and barrel and sometimes muzzle brake were not separated), inspection, dip-bluing of metal parts, and stock re-sanding and shellacking.
    • Refurb mark on the top of the receiver ring (where the date and factory stamps are) (there are few refurb rifles that escaped refurb mark). Often have a refurb mark on the right side of the stock. for the list of refurb arsenal markings go there -
    • Mostly mixed parts from different periods and factories. However, there could be some very nice examples where most parts are from the same factory. For example, the whole trigger unit could be all-Podolsk
    • Most refurbs only retain the original serial number on the receiver. We can’t exclude the possibility of finding refurbs with other parts having original matching serial numbers. (For example, the author has a 1944 rifle with non-refurbished stock with a matching serial number, however other parts of the rifle are mixed).
    • Stock may have a serial number removed with careful sanding, crude scrubbing, or striking out or XXX-ing out. New numbers are mostly without letter prefixes, but sometimes with.
    • Trigger guard number scrubbed and electro-penciled (EPed ), but sometimes a new number is stamped, however, the font differs from the one on the receiver. The bolt carrier serial is removed and a new number EPed. The original bolt serial was applied either on top of the handle or on the bottom. The new EPed number is always on top. The bolt serial is removed, new number EPed. Magazines have a new number either EPed or stamped and there are struck-out old serials.
    • Stocks are shellacked and may have wood repairs and cross bolts (sometimes two). Cross bolts were also probably used during wartime, however, metal ones on refurbs were definitely made after the war.

      Typical refurbished Podolsk rifle, note square refurb mark near oval, dip blued metal and shellacked stock with repair. From author’s collection.​
5. Factories information.
We can conclusively say that there were only 4 factories that manufactured or attempted to manufacture the SVT-40.
a. Factory No.314 NKV. In 1940 - 1941 was located in Tula. Part of the factory responsible for SVT-40 production was,, evacuated near the end of 1941 to Mednogorsk to Factory No. 621 NKV. In February 1942 Factory No. 621 NKV was renamed to Factory No.314 (as a successor of SVT-40 production) (Source 3. p 13) and manufacture of rifles continued until the order to stop was issued on 5th of Jan of 1945. This factory used "star" logo.

Tula star on Bulgarian “light” refurb rifle. From the author’s collection.

b. Factory No.74 NKV. Had been manufacturing SVT-40s in 1940 - 1941 period in Izhevsk. SVT production was stopped in the autumn of 1941 in favor of increasing Mosin Nagant 91/30 production. Order to stop manufacturing came in on 20 Aug 1941, however, factory finished 41,520 rifles in September and 82 in October (Source: 3. Page 131-132). Some tools were transferred to Zlatoust factory No.54 NKV (Source: 1. Page 229). Factory No.74 NKV logo is an arrow in a triangle.

Izhevsk triangle with arrow on Soviet refurb rifle. From the author’s collection.

c. Factory No.460 NKV. This factory was originally built by the American company Singer in 1901 in Podolsk. By 1939 name was "Podolsk mechanical factory" and was part of NKOM (НКОМ - Народньій коммисариат общего машиностроения - People Commission of General Machinery) factories and was officially transferred to military NKV ministry only in Oct of 1941 (Source 3. Page 136). Had been manufacturing SVT rifles from 1940 - 1941. Part of the factory was evacuated to Zlatoust Factory No.54 NKV. Produced both SVT-38 and SVT-40. The factory logo has three distinctive variations pictured below. No correlation found yet between variations and date of manufacture except that all observed 1940 rifles have variation 1. Variation 1 is the most common, variation 3 is the scarcest.

Three variants of Podolsk logo. From author’s collection and open sources.

d. Factory No.385 NKV. Factory No. 54 NKV in Zlatoust was supposed to have started SVT-40 production in 1941 but failed. It is known though that in 1941 this factory was manufacturing parts for SVT-40 rifle. At the end of 1941, this factory received tooling and equipment from No.460 NKV and No.74 NKV factories. In 1942 factory No.54 NKV was reorganized and the part that became Factory No.385 NKV was officially assigned as the successor of No.460 NKV factory and was able to manufacture 140 SVT-40 rifles only in February and March (Source: 1. Page 229) (or 572 according to Zlatmash factory “70 year of Great Victory” communique). After that SVT production at this location ceased. No know rifle made at No.385 NKV exists, just one single stock marked with Podolsk oval with arrow and 1942 date is known.

6. Production numbers and serial number prefixes.

The table below illustrates the total production of SVT-38 and SVT-40 rifles (Source: 1. Page 320)

Tula No.314SVT-38: 23,000SVT-38: 98,766
SVT-40: 121,641
SVT-40: 675,976**
SVT-40 Sniper:
Mednogorsk No.314--SVT-40: 9,930
Training SVT-40:2270
SVT-40: 101,036
SVT-40 Sniper: 14,220
AVT-40: 167,863
AVT-40: 213,586
AVT-40 Sniper: 300
AVT-40: 118,751AVT-40: 999*
Izhevsk No.74SVT-38: 8,434SVT-38: 60,384
SVT-40: 92,466
Training SVT-40: 5301
SVT-40: 287,140----
Podolsk No.460-SVT-38: 1392
SVT-40: 11,659
SVT-40: 100,000**----
Zlatoust No. 385---SVT-40: 140 (572)---
TotalSVT-38: 31434SVT-38: 160542
SVT-40: 225763
Training SVT-40: 5301
SVT-40: 1,111,052
Training SVT-40: 2270
SVT-40: 115,396 (115,828)
AVT-40: 167,863
AVT-40: 213,886AVT-40: 118,753AVT-40: 999

* - maximum estimated amount based on the 1945 serial numbers observations (all four known 1945 rifles have ДГххх serials).

** - estimation based on total production figures.

Next table illustrates correlation of serial number prefix to the time of manufacturing. This table is Olexadner (Ratnik) research with my minor additions like earlier SVT-38 production discovered, late Izhevsk added, illustrated overlapping of SVT-38 and SVT-40 manufacturing, etc.)

7. Features explained.
Over the course of production, there were a lot of small changes. Some were improvements, some were simplifications, and some combined both attributes. However, no major design changes were implemented as it would have required re-tooling, and process changes and would have endangered planned production numbers. I'll try to focus on the most visible and most important features and their changes.

a. Receiver types. There are four plus one distinctive types of receivers one can find on SVT-40 rifles. “Plus one” is because SVT-38 receivers were recycled and used to build SVT-40 rifles after the war (at least all known SVT-40 rifles with SVT-38 receivers fall into the prefix range that dates their manufacture to the SVT-38 production period). The first type of receiver was used since the beginning of SVT-40 production and resembles SVT-38 receiver except for its front part). The type 2 receiver was introduced probably in the middle of 1941 and Type 3 at the beginning of 1942. The Type 4 receiver was probably part of the middle of 1944 improvements (Source 1: p. 176, 137) to prevent case head separation and has side walls reinforced in the magazine well area. There are also other smaller changes in receivers that we could call transitional.

Recycled SVT-38 on top and Type 1 SVT-40 receiver on the bottom. From the author’s collection.

From top to bottom: Type 1, 2, 3, and 4 receivers. From the author’s collection.

b. Muzzle brake. The first version of SVT-40 muzzle brake had six ports. In January of 1941 two-port muzzle brake (and lower cut bayonet) were submitted for trials (Source: 1. Page 43). The reason for the proposed change of muzzle brake was to lower the volume of sound which was deafening to nearby shooters. With the new muzzle brake this goal was achieved, but the side effect was that the effectiveness of brake performance decreased by 40% (Source: 1. Page 43). This decrease in performance was acknowledged as acceptable and a two-port muzzle brake was recommended into production 18 Apr 1941 (Source: 3. Page 127), however, was not implemented immediately. Factory No.460 NKV (Podolsk) first started mass production of new muzzle brakes and they are spotted on the rifles dated September of 1941. Factory No.314 started production of two-port muzzle brakes only after evacuation to Mednogorsk at the end of 1941. However, some experimental carbines manufactured prior to June of 1941 at No.314 also had the two-port muzzle brake. There are no known two-port muzzle brakes manufactured at Factory No.74 (Izhevsk) and it is not clear why this change was implemented originally in time only by Factory No.460 (Podolsk). Apart from the manufacturer markings, one can see the difference between Factory No.460 (Podolsk) and Factory No.314 (Mednogorsk) made two port muzzle brakes in the machining quality with No.460 being finely machined and No.314 very rough.

Row 1 - early and late Tula/Mednogorsk muzzle brake. Row 2 - early and late Podolsk. Row 3 - Izhevsk. From the author’s collection.

Rifle with second version of muzzle brake on picture dated 12 Sep 1941 – probably one of the first Podolsk rifles with such muzzle brakes. Picture from the open sources.

c. Cleaning rod was shortened from 645mm to 640mm in Jan 1941. (Source: 1. Page 136)

d. Receiver rails (technically they are grooves) were machined on all rifles (including SVT-38s) since the very beginning of production. There is no clear understanding of why those rails were cut – the mount and scope were not finalized by that time. Probably rails were cut to accommodate some kind of universal mount that would sit in rails. The course of war required simplifications and rails were eliminated on regular rifles in the summer of 1941. Factory No.314 (Tula) eliminated rails in July 1941 however some October rifles still had rails (old stock of receivers used). Factories No.460 (Podolsk) and No.74 (Izhevsk) received new orders on August 18th and stopped cutting rails immediately (Source: 3. Page 131). Because the latter two factories had some stock of receivers with rails it is quite uncommon to find No.460 (Podolsk) or No.74 (Izhevsk) receivers with no rails. For newly produced receivers starting in October of 1941 rails were machined only for sniper rifles. There are anomalous 1942 manufactured non-sniper rifles with rails. All of these rifles belong either to known sniper serial prefixes or supposed sniper prefixes and probably were selected to become sniper rifles but either failed some of the tests or were in excess of sniper rifle requirements and thus were utilized for regular rifles. Such railed 1942 rifles are actually extremely scarce, even scarcer than 1942 sniper rifles. However, there are several fake snipers made from such rifles. This is really sad when a rifle scarcer than a sniper is turned into a fake and its value destroyed. There were also 300 sniper rifles made in 1943 but none is known to exist. (Source: 1. Page 320)

Receiver with rails and with no rails. From the author’s collection.

e. Receiver back wall. Factory No.460 (Podolsk) went even further with simplifications and along with rails eliminated the rounding of the upper back wall of the receiver in October 1941. There are single specimens of Factory No.314 (Mednogorsk) rifles with flat receiver wall, one is dated January 1942 and another one is August 1942 (Source: 2), however, there is no evidence of mass production of such receivers at Factory No.314. This contradicts R. Chumak’s conclusion about the early 1942 and end of 1941 production of such receivers at No.314 (Source: 1. Page 137).

Scarce simplified Podolsk receiver with no rails and flat back wall. From the author’s collection.

f. The trigger guard was widened sometime around September of 1941 (Source: 2). This was part of wartime simplifications (Source: 1. Page 137). An interesting fact is that the SVT-38 had a wide trigger guard, but it was narrowed to make the SVT-40 rifle lighter. So far only No.314 NKV (Tula and later Mednogorsk) made wide trigger guards have been observed. Because of the date, this change was implemented there is the possibility that No.74 (Izhevsk) and No.460 (Podolsk) also manufactured wide trigger guards. When you see a wide trigger guard marked with No.74 or No.460 logo don’t forget to check if it’s an SVT-40 and not SVT-38 trigger group, as some refurbished SVT-40 have SVT-38 trigger groups.

Narrow and wide trigger guards. From the author’s collection.

From bottom to top, trigger guards: recycled SVT-38, early SVT-40, late SVT-40. Notice the width difference of the sear base in the middle of each trigger unit, disregard the hammer shape difference – there were several variations too. From the author’s collection.

From bottom to top, trigger guards: recycled SVT-38, early SVT-40, late SVT-40. Notice that SVT-38 and late SVT-40 have the same width. From the author’s collection.

g. The hole in safety / selector switch was abandoned in the autumn of 1941 almost immediately upon implementation of the wide trigger guard at No.314 NKV, before this factory was evacuated from Tula to Mednogorsk. Don't confuse a late safety switch with SVT-38 switch that never had a hole in it. (pic svt-38. svt-40 early, late)

SVT-38 safety, early SVT-40 safety, late SVT-40 safety. From the author’s collection.

h. The top barrel shroud (vented metal handguard) design was changed from the early 8 holes version to 7 holes in Jan 1941. The new version was 4mm shorter and 0.9mm higher (Source: 1. Page 136). It was not immediately implemented in production so some rifles were fitted with early upper shrouds until March of 1941 (and even until April of 1941 for Podolsk rifles).

Early and late upper shrouds. Notice 8 holes and a straight profile on the early shroud and 7 holes and slight recess on the late one. From the author’s collection.

i. The lower barrel shroud (metal vented handguard) was simplified in third quarter of 1943 according to Chumak, however, according to Koldunov (Source 3. Page 134) it was done at the end of 1941 - beginning of 1942.

Early lower shroud on left, later on right. From the author’s collection.

j. Rear sight leaf central groove was abandoned in the Autumn of 1941 at No.460 Podolsk and No. 314 Tula factory (source: observed rifles in original condition). Rifles produced in Dec of 1941 (MK series) at No.314 NKV (at that time-based in Mednogorsk) factory also had the simplified leaf with no central groove.

Early grooved and late flat rear sight leaves. From the author’s collection.

k. The front barrel band changed from 2 pieces assembly to a single-piece unit probably in the first half of 1942. However, in his book (Source: 3. Page 130) Koldunov points out that factory No.74 implemented this change 20 Aug 1941. He also claims that the existing 20,000 pcs of old type were modified into "transitional" type. So far I haven't observed such specimens.

Early two pieces front barrel band and late single-piece front barrel band. From the author’s collection.

l. Oxidizing of the bolt carriers and bolts (bluing) was started at the end of 1941 at No.314 (Mendogorsk) Factory, right after the evacuation. This information is based on several observed authentic original examples and is the current best guess. Mass production of blued carriers and bolts is observed starting from the beginning of 1942. It also should be noted that single specimens with blued bolt carrier pairs were observed in 1940 and 1941 on rifles from all three factories (Source: 1). Original bluing was light and of cherry red color. Later specimens (1944) have a more saturated red color. After the war during refurbishing, arsenals scrubbed and reblued most bolts and carriers resulting in different shades of plum and bronze colors, however, some bolts and carriers escaped this and can be found in the white on Soviet refurbs. It is also worth mentioning that strictly speaking bolt carriers and bolts “in the white” were also oxidized in a chemical way, a process called “passivation” where mechanical metal processing and polishing parts are dipped into acid.

Pictures: 1 - early bolt carrier "in white", 2 - later "cherry red" carrier and bolt, 3 - refurbed blued, 4 - Bulgarian refurb rebluing on top of original bluing. (Pictures 1,4,5 from author collection, 2 - courtesy of RyanE (GB), 3 – from open sources)

m. Stocks. The two-piece stocks for SVT-38 were wide and heavy and the Army requested modifications to make the rifle lighter. The first SVT-40 stocks were slimmer and prone to cracking in the wrist area. So the first change to the SVT-40 stock was to address this issue and the stock was widened from 46mm to 49mm. This change was tested by the commission in August - September of 1941 (Source: 1. Page 181). Ruslan Chumak in his book claims that this change was implemented only in 1944. However, my observations tell me that it was probably implemented sometime in the middle of 1942. To understand the next feature change we need to remember that in the middle of 1942 select-fire version of the rifle was introduced under the designation of AVT-40. To allow safely lever/fire selector to move to the right side stock should have had a second cutout on the right side added. Such stocks were also marked with the letter “A” on the right side. This was the second major change to stock. By the time of its implementation Factory No.314 in Mednogorsk apparently had a supply of both wide and narrow types of stocks. This caused a situation when some AVT-40 rifles were assembled with narrow stocks with two cutouts and at the same time, some SVT-40 rifles were assembled with wide stocks with only one cutout on the left side. SVT-40 and AVT-40 production overlapped only for one month – June 1942 (Source: 1. Page 231). Altogether these observations and facts make me think mid-1942 was the switchover date for wide stock. Later in 1942, even semi-auto-only sniper rifles had wide stocks with two cutouts as a result of the process of unification of stock supply. The next significant change in stock occurred during the first part of 1944: a new type of stock with a rear sling slot instead of a rear swivel was introduced. It is not clear if the sling slot instead of swivel was part of the original Aug-Sep 1941 commission recommendation. There’s one known 1941 Podolsk stock with the sling slot, however, we don't know if it was mass production or an experimental run.
To sum up, stocks can be of the following types: early narrow or late wide, early with swivel or late with sling slot, early SVT with one safety lever cutout, and late AVT (or we might call it universal as it was used on sniper SVTs) with two cutouts. It's not correct to call wide stock "AVT" as AVTs were issued with narrow stocks too. It's also not correct to call stock with sling slot "Naval" as they have nothing to do with the Navy.

Narrow stock with single cutout. Notice that the width of the wood beside the receiver is slightly wider than the receiver side walls. From the author’s collection.

Narrow stock with two cutouts. Notice the width of the wood is slightly wider than the receiver side walls. From the author’s collection.

Wide stock with single cutout. Notice the width of the wood beside the receiver is significantly wider than the receiver side walls. From the author’s collection.

Wide stock with two cutouts. Notice the width of the wood beside the receiver is significantly wider than the receiver side walls. From the author’s collection.

Early stock with swivel and later with the slot. From the author’s collection.

8. Dates and serial number series.
This part will be published as soon as I get permission from the author of the research.
9. Collecting.​
Without going into a discussion about what is collecting and what is collectible (we all have different opinions on that) I here present my own thoughts on the subject.
- The general opinion is that the most scarce and most-collectible rifles would be those that are very close to original condition and preserved well. Unfortunately, such SVT-40 rifles are extremely scarce. So-called "bring backs" are few and far between, and only some Finn capture rifles still have the original Soviet wood finish, while many have refinished wood and even reblued metal parts. Also, the SA property mark does not add value in my opinion for the reason that in many cases it was applied post-war. While technically Finland started using the SA mark in March of 1942, it was stamped only on weapons that ended up at arsenal repair facilities, and not all weapons passed through these until after the end of the war. I must acknowledge that some collectors value specifically Finnish capture weapons and SA is a desirable proof mark for them. An interesting variation is the Bulgarian "light" refurb. Among them, one can find rifles with all parts (except the magazine) originally matching, however, the wood finish is not original and the metal is reblued. Because of the many factors listed above SVT-40 collectors’ desire to own the rifles in most original condition does not line up with the reality of what is available. Don’t be discouraged by that. Refurbished rifles while not original still are collectible if you want to have a lineup of all the years, features, or factories. No purist collector will be able to complete such a collection with all original rifles!
- As most of the available rifles in North America are in refurbished condition (Soviet arsenal refurbished) the first thing that one needs to pay attention to is the receiver and its features. The receiver defines the year, and make and includes several other important features like rails. The typical refurb will be a complete “mixmaster” but rifles may be found with correct ancillary parts for the year of the receiver (possibly from the same factory) which can add value. If the refurbished rifle is unfired and still in cosmo - even better. With Finn capture rifles one needs to pay attention to the stock (original finish versus sanded versus sanded and finished with oil), and matching versus mismatching parts. Many of the refurb rifles have wood repairs on stock
- Matching - nonmatching. Technically speaking a fully matching rifle would have at least one matching magazine (originally three magazines were issued, numbered to rifle). So in my opinion it's incorrect to call a rifle "fully matching" with a mismatched magazine. Truly matching rifles are extremely scarce and only a few are known to collectors. Most of the rifles collectors will encounter will be either Soviet refurbs or Finn capture rifles. The former have force-matched numbers electro-penciled, and the latter mostly mixed numbers.
10. Variations and their rarity.
I’m proposing two ratings with the first being very subjective and based on observations of how common certain variations are in North America. This rating does not always reflect production numbers, but rather the number of surviving rifles that are available for NA collectors.
Rarity (increasing on a scale of 1-10) in the list below is sorted mainly by receiver (and ancillary) features, year of manufacture, and association with significant changes (like factory relocation). Condition of the rifle such as finish (original vs refurbished), type of refurb, and matching/nonmatching are not taken into account. It is evident that condition plays an important role on top of everything else.
A second rarity rating is based on production numbers. Assumptions are: total number of rifles produced is 1954144. Tula 1941 assumed as 675,976 and Podolsk 1941 assumed as 100,000.

1No.314 (Tula) 1940, railsearly muzzle brake, narrow SVT stock.Very common.1/10(6.22%)
2No.314 (Tula) 1941, railsearly muzzle brake, narrow SVT stock.Very common.1/10(27.67%?)
3No.314 (Tula) 1941, rails, sniper notchearly muzzle brake, narrow SVT stock.Scarce.6/10(1.94%)
4No.314 (Tula) 1941, no railsearly muzzle brake, narrow SVT stock.Less common.3/10(6.92%)
5No.314 (Mednogorsk) 1941 (MK series), no railslate muzzle brake, narrow SVT stock. (note: even original MK series rifles observed with parts from other factories, including receivers, so “no rails and late muzzle brake” is typical but not always correct set of features for MK prefix rifle). Scarce.7/10(0.50%)
6No.314 (Mednogorsk) 1942, no railsearly or late muzzle brake for the beginning of 1942, late muzzle brake for the rest of 1942, narrow SVT stock until the mid of 1942, then wide stock. Mid-1942 stocks could have one or two cutouts, later stocks always have two cutouts.Very common.2/10(13.79%)
7No.314 (Mednogorsk) 1942, rails, sniper notchearly or late muzzle brake for the beginning of 1942, late muzzle brake for the rest of 1942, narrow SVT stock until the mid of 1942, then wide stock. Mid-1942 stocks could have one or two cutouts, later stocks always have two cutouts.Very scarce, more scarce than 1941 sniper.7/10(0.73%)
8No.314 (Mednogorsk) 1942, rails, no notchearly or late muzzle brake for the beginning of 1942, late muzzle brake for the rest of 1942, narrow SVT stock until the mid of 1942, then wide stock. Mid-1942 stocks could have one or two cutouts, later stocks always have two cutouts.Very scarce, more scarce than 1942 sniper.8/10(appr 0.19%) based on ratio of 1942 sniper and railed non-snipers observed
9No.314 (Mednogorsk) 1943, no railslate muzzle brake, wide stock with two cutouts.Very common.2/10(10.93%)
10No.314 (Mednogorsk) 1943, rails, sniper notchlate muzzle brake, wide stock with two cutouts.Very scarce, none is currently known.10/10(0.015%)
11 No.314 (Mednogorsk) 1944, no railslate muzzle brake , wide stock with two cutouts and rear swivel until first part of 1944, then sling slot instead of swivel. (Let me add one comment here. Number of rifles manufactured in 1944 was definitely higher than number of sniper rifles produced in 1941, so why comparable ratings? 1944 rifles are very uncommon in NA and I suppose the reason is that not many of them were issued. Issued rifles were refurbished after the war, and went to Army storages in Ukraine, from where they were imported to NA. At the same time unissued 1944 rifles in original non refurbished condition were kept in Russia where they are currently widely available in civil version that includes some modifications).Not common.6/10(6.08%)
12No.314 (Mednogorsk) 1945, no railslate muzzle brake, wide stock with two cutouts and sling slot.Very scarce, less than 999 made, only four known to collectors.9/10(0.051%)
13No.74 NKV (Izhevsk) 1940, railsearly muzzle brake, narrow SVT stock.Very common.1/10(4.73%)
14No.74 NKV (Izhevsk) 1941, railsearly muzzle brake, narrow SVT stock.Very common.1/10(13.06%)
15No.74 NKV (Izhevsk) 1941, no railsearly muzzle brake, narrow SVT stock.Uncommon.5/10(1.63%)
16No.460 NKV (Podolsk) 1940, railsearly muzzle brake, narrow SVT stock.Very scarce.6/10(0.597%)
17No.460 NKV (Podolsk) 1941, railsearly muzzle brake, narrow SVT stock.Uncommon4/10(5.12%)
18No.460 NKV (Podolsk) 1941, no rails, flat receiver wallearly or late Podolsk marked muzzle brake, narrow SVT stockVery scarce6/10(0.512%)
19No.385 NKV (Zlatoust) 1942, no railsprobably late muzzle brake, narrow SVT stock. Supposedly marked with Podolsk oval.Very scarce, no rifle is currently known to collectors.10/10(0.029%)

Continued in the next post...

1,219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
11. Magazines.
Information about magazines is based mainly on observations. There are three major types of magazines: Type 1 (SVT-38 magazine manufactured by Factory No.314 in Tula) , Type 2 (SVT-38 magazine manufactured by Factory No.74 in Izhevsk) and Type 3 (SVT-40 magazine manufactured by all factories). Type 1 (SVT-38) magazines have round holes in body to hold the cup like floor plate. Type 2 has same design but with "stadium" shaped hole. Information that Type 2 magazine is actually early SVT-40 magazine was published in Koldunov book (Source 3 page 80), however this information is not correct. Type 3 magazine has flat floor plate with small hole in it. It looks like Type 1 and Type 2 magazines were made with solid single locking lug. Later design was changed to double lugs. Factory No. 314 probably switched to double lugs design only during production of Type 3 magazines. There were also design changes in the way body of the magazine was formed and other minor deviations. Below are some of the types of the magazines one can encounter (all magazines are from author's collection unless noted otherwise). They are sorted in what I believe is more or less chronological order.

Type 1 (Factory No.314 SVT-38 magazine) with round holes

Type 2 (Factory No.74 SVT-38 magazine) with stadium shaped holes

Type 2 magazine with lug changed from single to double

Type 2 mag with front wall with seam

Type 3 (SVT-40) mag with still single lug and still no seam on front wall

Type 3 mag with double lug and seam. Represents typical early Type 3 mag with good finish and rifle serial and 1,2 or 3 mag number.

Late Type 3 were serialized but not numbered with 1,2 or 3

Type 3 spare armorer mag, not serialized originally, EPed later.

Type 3 mag scrubbed in Bulgaria with Bulgarian KK22 mark

Late Type 3 with very rough surface

One of the war-time simplification (I'm still looking for one like this to add to my collection). From the open sources.

12. Sniper rifles.
For sniper rifles see great reference provided by Olexandr (Ratnik) -
Later I’m planning to add information on how to tell fake sniper vs authentic one with pictorial.
13. Bayonets.
a. Bayonets with upper cut were produced until Jan 1941, since Feb lower cut bayonets were produced (Source: 1. P.225). Bayonets were partially or fully oxidized.
b. There were numerous technological changes in scabbard manufacturing so the following information is based only on visual appearance of scabbard and bayonet. Early type had roundel at the end of the scabbard. Late type with no roundel was introduced in first half of 1942 (Source: 1. P.225), according to another source - 18 April 1941 (Source: 3. P.127). Early scabbard had one flat metal band and another one wire type to hold the belt loop. In first part of 1942 both bands made flat and connected or (rare) - not connected. There was also transitional scabbard type - no roundel, but still early bands.

From top to bottom: upper cut partially oxidized unissued bayonet in early scabbard, lower cut refurbished bayonet in early scabbard of the same type, partially oxidized bayonet in scabbard with no roundel but still with early type of bands combination, fully oxidized issued bayonet in late scabbard, refurbished bayonet in later scabbard of rare type with disconnected bands. From author's collection.

Same bayonets, inner side, notice different belt loops - original textile, post war refurb, original textile, leather, leather substitute.

Same bayonets from left to right, close up on blades and bands.

Same bayonets, close up on belt loops and metal bands.​
14. Sources.

  1. Чумак Р.Н. Самозарядные и автоматические винтовки Токарева, СПб. Атлант. 2014
  2. Oleksandr (Ratnik) SVT-40 serial numbers study.
  3. Колдунов С.А. Самозарядная винтовка Токарева образца 1940 года (СВТ-40). Санкт-Петербург. 2013
  4. Author's observation of available rifles
15. Contacts.
One can reach me via PM to user Horilka on CGN (CanadianGunNutz) and GB (GunBoards) forums. I'm also on FB group "SVT-40 owners and collectors".
Revision history.
2016.04.28 - Revision 1.
2016.05.02 - Revision 2. Updated Nazi capture part, added Magazines part.
2016.07.19 - Revision 3. Picture of force-matched Finnish capture rifle, 5th type of bayonet added.
2017.01.06 - Revision 4. Ratnik's serial number prefixes table added. Some dates corrected and new information on dates of production changes added/elaborated.
2017.03.28 - Revision 5. Corrected information on SVT-38 and SVT-40 magazines classifications.
2017.07.21 - Revision 6. Corrected information on magazines (again).
2020.05.13 - This page is not maintained anymore. Please visit for updated version

64 Posts
Fantastic, very good information. I saw my first SVT40 about 30 years ago. The distinctive appearance of the semiautomatic Soviet battle rifle alone makes it desirable. I purchased one, about 30 years ago that was missing it's magazine and had a sanded stock. I knew so little about them. I have learned more on this forum in the last year about the SVT40 then all the so called experts that commented on my rifle. My thanks to the members that have shared their vast knowledge. I so much appreciate the pictures of the rifle in the field too.

Gold Bullet member
13,266 Posts
Wonderful job! Thank you!

2,420 Posts
According to Vic Thomas there is another type of Nazi markings - direct German orders early in war indicated that captured weapons should be marked on the bolt, receiver and barrel for testing and approval and designates rifles by a German code. So it might be possible to find captured and evaluated rifle that has three mentioned markings.
This just isn't true. The stamps on some barrels of some foreign rifles are a beschussstempel (fire proof), and these were only stamped to indicate the newly installed replacement barrel passed a test fire with a high pressure proof cartridge. These weapons will not have the bescussstempel stamped on either the receiver or the bolt as seen on newly manufactured German K98k. Generally speaking, this practice was confined to the various 8mm Mauser rifles, mostly those taken in Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Yugoslavia, that could easily use German/Czech/Polish/Lithuanian spare barrels and German 8mm proof cartridges. Rifles in non-standard cartridges (7.62x54R, etc.) were simply cannibalized for parts if the barrel was toast. The Soviets didn't manufacture spare barrels anyway, so there were no replacements available even if the Germans had been inclined to replace any (which they were not).

The only German markings you are going to see on SVT40 are depot markings on the stock.

1,219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you Ryan for your comment. After some reading (including your posts) and seeing only fake markings on metal I'm inclining to agree with you. However Vic does not agree. It would be nice if Vic could publish a copy of document he was referring to and maybe some new pictures of his rifle that has those markings.

Admin Emeritus
19,073 Posts
Yes I will id like to see what others think. I've had this rifle for some 25 years and didn't even notice the eagle till it was highlighted. It was purchased as a regular Finnish capture in a cut down stock. The barrel marking was found when a replacement stock was installed. Darrin Weaver provided the info on the dispersion of rifles and marking.

The upper cut m/40 has the same type of frog than m/38, it has the leather frog with 4 rivets, not the textile one.
Is the proper designation for the upper cut SVT-40 Bayonet 1938G? I think I saw it referred that way on Bayonet connection site.

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

1,219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The upper cut m/40 has the same type of frog than m/38, it has the leather frog with 4 rivets, not the textile one.
Yes and no. First set of changes to SVT-40 bayonet happened in Jan 1941. This revision included change from upper to lower cut and change from leather band to textile. Changes were implemented as soon as supply of previously made parts / materials was used up, so sometime one can find transitional variants that incorporate both early and late features. Like the first bayo on picture.
BTW - there were leather bands with 3 rivets too. Topic on bayonets is not developed properly yet, there are lot of material to add, couple of more variations too. Not much time though.

Is the proper designation for the upper cut SVT-40 Bayonet 1938G? I think I saw it referred that way on Bayonet connection site.
It is not correct to refer to short uppercut bayonet as 1938G, it was never intended for SVT-38, nor it was accepted in 1938.
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