(Mfg by Valmet in Finland)
(Click PIC to Enlarge)
(Click PIC to Enlarge)
Caliber: ........................ 7.62mm NATO
Rifling & Twist: ............ Right Hand Twist
Barrel Length: .............. 24.125 in
Overall Length: ............ 43.125 in
Weight: ........................ 10.5 lbs
Magazine Capacity: ...... 20 rounds
Qty Mfg: ...................... Unknown quantity produced between 1978 and 1986
Source: .... ValmetWeapons.com; Wikipedia
Valmet M78 Light Machinegun
(31 picture virtual tour)
Note: Pics of rifle provided courtesy of Milsurps.com moderator Claven2.
The Valmet M78 is a gas operated Light machine gun of Finnish origin, which was also made in a semi-automatic version for the civilian market. Based on the earlier Rk 62 (Rynnäkkökivääri 62, Assault rifle 62), it is a modified AK-47 pattern rifle with a heavy-barrel which was intended as a light support variant of the Valmet M76 assault rifle in Finnish Army service. The M78 is Vamet's version of the Russian RPK squad automatic rifle.
The M78 was developed to fill the need for a light weight, higher firepower squad support weapon. The M78 excels in this role, more so than the assault rifle, due to its longer barrel, collapsible bipod which aids in stabilizing the rifle when firing automatic, and heavier milled receiver. The rifle seems to have been in production from about 1978 to 1986.
The M78 has a clubfoot RPK-style buttstock and either a wooden or black Synthetic forstock/handguard. The non shooting hand is used to grab underneath the buttstock, pulling it tight to the shoulder which allows greater control and accuracy when firing.
The M78 was produced in 5.56x45mm (.223 Remington), 7.62x39mm, and 7.62x51mm (.308 Winchester). It's thought only the 7.62x39 version was used by the Finish military, the other caliber variants having been produced for foreign commercial and military sales.
In developing the M78, the Finish designers began with a licensed copy of the milled AK-47 receiver. The basic design, however, was upgraded. Tolerances were made much tighter than those specified for the Soviet bloc Kalashnikov-based rifles. The gas piston was re-designed to included fingers near the head to traverse smoothly inside the gas tube, increasing the accuracy of the rifle and finally, the sights were greatly improved upon.
In 1983 Valmet released a specialized version of the M78 with a black Synthetic Thumbhole stock and black Synthetic Foregrip, called the M78/83, which was set up as a designated marksman rifle (DMR) or sniper rifle.
Interestingly, in the cult-classic movie "Red Dawn", the RPK's that the Wolverines were using were actually Valmet M78's in 7.62x39mm.
Valmet M78's in 762 NATO like the one pictured were offered in both semi-auto and select-fire versions. At different times during the production runs, Valmet sold these with new manufacture magazines of high quality with a blued body, and at other times with G3 mags converted to fit the M78 which were presumably purchased on the world market.
Receiver covers were also available with an integrated optics mount base and flip-up iron sight. This mount base accepted a proprietary QD scope mount which allowed the use of an optical sight.
Collector's Comments and Feedback:
1. The pictured rifle was a civilian sales M78 in 7.62 NATO exported to Canada in the early 1980's. Aside form the caliber markings (marked .308 Winchester, despite the NATO chambering) and the lack of select-fire parts, the rifle is identical to its automatic military issue counterparts.
Valmet M78 rifles are relatively rare on todays market, with only small numbers of them having been released for civilian sale before production ceased. In Canada, the Valmet M78 and Valmet Hunter are the only AK47 variants not specifically prohibited by legislation, they remain classed as non-restricted. This has greatly added to their desirability in Canada where prices have been pushed to astronomical heights.
........... (Feedback by "Claven2")