The AVS-36 (Russian: Автоматическая Винтовка Симонова образца 1936 года, Avtomaticheskaya Vintovka Simonova, Obrazets 1936 goda lit. "Simonov automatic rifle, Model of 1936") was a Soviet automatic rifle designed in 1936 by Sergei Simonov and produced from 1936 to 1938 by IZhMASh. One of the first attempts at an automatic rifle by the Soviet Union, the AVS-36 was the first automatic rifle adopted by the Red Army in any significant quantity.

History[edit | edit source]

The design of the AVS-36 dates back to about 1930 when Sergei Simonov was designing a new gas-operated semi-automatic rifle for use by the Red Army, with a number of improved models following shortly after. The first trial batch for this new rifle design was ready by 1933. Come 1935, the Red Army organized a trial to find a new semi-automatic rifle that could be adopted; the Simonov design competed against another design by a Fedor Tokarev. The result of the trials was unanimous: the Simonov design was preferred, and as such was selected and adopted as the 7.62mm Simonov automatic carbine, Model of 1936 (7,62-мм автоматическая винтовка системы Симонова образца 1936 года 7,62-mm avtomaticheskaya vintovka sistemy Simonova obraztsa 1936 goda).[1]

The AVS-36 was pressed into service in 1936 and production began shortly after at the Izhevsk Arms Plant (better known as IZhMASh); Simonov was actually sent to the plant to assist in production of the new weapon.[2] However, after the new weapon was drafted into service, it became quite apparent that the AVS-36 design left more to be desired; it was complex, difficult to manufacture and most notably, very prone to malfunctioning in the field.[1]

While this was going on, another trial was being held to find yet another semi-automatic rifle that could be adopted to possibly replace the AVS-36. A slightly updated design by Simonov competed against another design by Tokarev and a third design by Nikolay Rukavishnikov. It was in these trials that the Tokarev design was selected, with the performance of the AVS-36 being "slightly worse" than that of the Tokarev rifle.[3]

The AVS-36 was only publicly displayed of the first time in 1938 at the 1938 May Day parade in Moscow.[4] Shortly after, the AVS-36 was replaced in service by the SVT-38 design from Tokarev due to the results of the trials that were conducted a number of months prior, although there may have also been a political agenda related to the replacing of the rifles.[1]

The AVS-36 saw use in the Winter War and was produced in some quantity; between 35,000 and 65,800 were produced between 1936 and 1938 although the actual number is disputed as exact production figures for some years is not reported.[5] After production halted, many AVS-36s were put into storage and later destroyed.[1]

Design Details[edit | edit source]

Functionally, the AVS-36 was a gas-operated rifle using a short stroke gas piston, very similar to the later SVT-38 and 40. The weapon's locking block slides up and down the receiver to lock and unlock the weapon. The weapon feeds from fifteen round detachable box magazines which was a rarity for the time.[1]

Recognized by its large circular muzzle brake which proved to be quite ineffective, the AVS-36 was a select-fire automatic rifle with a rate of fire of approximately 800 rounds per minute. The high rate of fire combined with an ineffective muzzle brake led to the weapon being very uncontrollable, and it was likely because of this that later designs by other designers such as Tokarev would scrap full automatic functionality on their rifles.[1]

Ammunition[edit | edit source]

The AVS-36 is chambered for 7.62×54mmR ammunition.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 https://www.forgottenweapons.com/early-semiauto-rifles/simonov-avs-36/
  2. https://web.archive.org/web/20180923101824/http://www.barrels-n-bullets.ru/index.php/rifles/russia/abc-36
  3. Vannikov, Boris Lvovich, The defense industry of the USSR on the eve of the war (from the notes of the People's Commissar), 1968
  4. Rifle Master magazine, issue 5, 2010
  5. Bolotin, David Naumovich, Soviet Small-arms and Ammunition, 1995
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