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    Member Hardlickher's Avatar
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    SVT-40 Shooting & Ammo Review



    This is a rifle that is so cool that just owning one is a pleasure but firing one is literally a blast. A rifle that has seen the gates of hell in WWII then made its way to me here in North America. A rifle that was hammered together just before the Soviet Union was invaded. A rifle that beats the quality of the majority or today's modern rifles. A rifle that was more loved by the enemy than the ones who made it. The history of the SVT-40 is enough to get someone to want one but how well do they shoot? What are their faults?

    This is my shooting review of the SVT-40 Tokarev. This is going to be fairly long so please relax, grab yourself a cold one, and enjoy. Of course, if you are one of those ones who can't stick around long, or just don't like to read , They're a bunch of pictures and each picture is labeled so you should be able to understand the review just from looking at the pictures. Who doesn't like looking at pictures? Some of you may like my use of both the metric and imperial measurement systems .



    This is the range (figure 2-A). The distances are marked in the photo. I shot, for the most part, at 100 meters. There is a steel silhouette of a turkey at 200 meters as well as two body silhouette steel targets. There is also a goat silhouette at 274 meters and a deer silhouette at 100 meters.



    A close up of the range (figure 3-A) with targets marked with a red dot.





    The ammo I was using today (figure 4-A) is 185gr FMS and 148gr SCDS 7.62x54r. The gas system for the SVT was originally set at 1.5 for the 185gr ammo but the ejection what violent throwing the shell casings way out in front of the rifle. I adjusted down to 1.2 and the rifle would eject the round just off to the rifle still on the table. The 148gr functioned flawless on 1.3. There was never a single failure well the rifle was in use today but the rifle had troubles chambering the first round only with the 148gr SCDS ammo for some reason. (figure 6-A). After the round was chambered, the rifle functioned flawlessly with both brands of ammo.



    The ammo (figure 5-A) out of their boxes. The SCDS is suppose to be premium and costs $16 a box of 20. The ammo is copper washed steel cased non-corrosive. The MFS is less expensive at $12 a box of 20. The ammo is zinc plated steel cased non-corrosive. Both are of Russianicon origin.



    The SVT 40 is very loud. Its so loud that ear muffs aren't enough. I was using ear muffs and ear plugs to stop my ears from ringing. The recoil isn't bad at all thanks to the muzzle break. The recoil isn't any worse than a M14/M1Aicon/M305. After 40 rounds, you do begin to feel the effects of the recoil in your sholder but its not bad. The trigger is heavy but with practice, smooth trigger pulls are achievable.



    The first group of the MFS was ok. (figure 7-a) The group spreads out a lot due to what people say that the SVT-40 is famous for shifting in its stock well firing. I will have to try and shim the stock to get the rifle to fit better to see if this is actually true. The 3 shots that groups together is pretty good.



    The first group of the SCDS was pretty good. (figure 8-A) The grouping is right where I was aiming. well the MFS shot slightly off to the left and high. Strange since the MFS is a heavier bullet. You would think the MFS would hit lower than the SCDS. There is a hit in the upper part of the black electrical tap if people can't see it. This strange radical change in shot placement must really be the rifle shifting in the stock or I'm just that bad at shooting. Not sure if its the fact the SCDS ammo is premium ammo or if the SVT-40 just likes the 148gr, 9.6 gram bullets better then the 185gr, 12 gram bullets.



    The second group of the MFS (figure 9-A) was about the same as the first only the 3 shots that actually grouped are much closer to the center and yet there is one hit way off to the left. Do these rifles shift in their stocks not only from front to back but from left to right? As a reference for the size of these groups, the red/orange sticker is 2" or 5cm in diameter. These crazy spread groups are about 5" - 6" in size at 109 yards or 12.5cm - 15.5cm at 100 meters.



    The second group of the SCDS (figure 10-A) has that string line group that the SVT-40 is famous for. This group isn't as good as the first group with the SCDS but its still closer to where I was actually aiming. Again, hitting the orange/red sticker. There is a hit in the black tap and it may be hard to see so I've marked it with a red dot. I really want to shim the SVT-40 stock and try grouping it again and see what happens. You can see why many Soviet snipers preferred the Mosin over the SVT. A rifle that shifts in its stock would be completely unacceptable for a sniper rifle although, some of the craftier troops figured out field modifications to shim the SVT-40s stock with scraps of wood.








    Grouping a rifle and figuring out what it can do is great. It gives you a good idea of where to aim your rifle if you want to actually hit a target. But you see it countless times people come to the shooting range, bench rest their rifle and group it, are happy or not with their groups, then go home but never actually try to hit something with it. Plinking and target shooting are two completely different things and hunting is more like plinking than target shooting and at that, hunting is off hand not bench rested. My personal favorite hunting shooting position is sitting down with your elbows resting on your knees. With that, the target shooting was over and time for the plinking to begin.

    (figure 11-A) With it being Canadianicon Thanksgiving, its more than fitting to have a turkey target out right . The turkey silhouette at 200 meters / 218 yards surprisingly got it on the 2nd try with the MFS. I left the sights set for 100 on the rifle and first tried aiming below the turkey and missed. Tried again aiming above the turkey and that loud hard hitting connect rang back at me. The target hit the ground before the sound of hitting the target got back to me. The sound delays are kind of neat. Guess who gets turkey dinner now .

    (figure 12-A) The larger body silhouette target was really easy. Aim for center of mass and there was no way I could fail to hit this one. This one, I was using the SCDS which hit high rather than low like the heavier MFS. It makes sense but I didn't think the trajectory of 148gr 7.62x54r would still be rising that much at 200 meters. I did have the rifle sights set at 100 still rather than 200.

    (figure 13-A) The smaller body silhouette target was also pretty easy to hit. I was using the SCDS ammo for this one again but at this point, I didn't know the SCDS was hitting higher than the MFS was so I first tried aiming higher but missed. Came down and aimed at the targets leg and got the sound of the hard hitting connect and the target slamming to the ground. At this point, I was wondering "what the hell" since I had to aim above with the MFS before to hit the turkey but after going over to take a look is when I discovered the SCDS was hitting higher than the MFS.

    That was basically the end of the day. I had 5 more rounds of the MFS and 5 more rounds of the SCDS left and continued to plink at various targets at 100 and 200 meters. Plinking is by far the most enjoyable style of shooting in my opinion. My friends and I use to play a game that involved clay birds that were placed at various distances and it was like a game of HORSE if you know what that is. One person hits one of the clay birds at a distance, standing, sitting, or prone and you had to match that hit or better to avoid getting a letter added to your HORSE. The first person to miss enough to spell out HORSE has to buy the case of beer when we get home. The game is way funner in the snow for some reason.

    The SVT-40 really is a hoot to shoot even with its faults of shifting in its stock and it being picky with its ammo. The SVT-40 is not simply an alternative bigger version of the SKS. The SVT-40 asks more out of its owner so if you intend to get one, be prepared as the SVT-40 is quite demanding with having to adjust the gas system for different loads, which isn't hard even without the tool, and its complex design can be a pain in the *** to get use to taking the gun apart and cleaning it. Once you get use to it, its really simple. In face, I can take the SVT-40 apart and back together faster than my M14.



    For those of you who are wondering, "Is the SVT-40 really inaccurate like that or is Hardlicker on hard liquor when he shoots?" Well to answer that, I brought along my CZ 550 to sight in for hunting season. (figure 1-B) I'm using Federal Powershock 130gr / 8.4 grams .270 Winchester. No hand loads but I'm still pretty good with cheap Federal "blue box".





    Two 3 shot groups at 100 meters. (figure 2-B and 3-B) Wanting to bring the group over closer to the middle so adjusted 4 clicks to the left. I set the scope 2 clicks back to the right. This rifle averages 1.5moa with my skill and this ammo.



    Then a single 3 shot group at 200 meters. I'm not the best shooter but I'm not a terrible shooter either.

    There you have it, the end of my long shooting review. I hope you enjoyed it. You probably drank a whole 6 pack by the time you finished reading this. If your comments are slurry and don't make sense then I'll understand. I understand the CZ 550 isn't a milsurp and it appears on a milsrup website but it was just for reference to show that I'm not a terrible shooter and the SVT-40 really is pretty inaccurate without shimming the stock properly. Once I shim the stock for the SVT-40, I'll try this again and see if it shoots any better. I have a feeling that out of the 5 shots, the 3 that actually group is the accuracy the rifle should get.

    Happy shooting everyone

    Hardlicker
    Last edited by Badger; 11-08-2013 at 07:59 AM.

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    Will be looking forward to your further experiments with the SVT40. Wondering how tight the trigger group is fit. I've found that these rifles were largely individually fitted, and that the trigger group should take a rather hefty amount of pressure to latch for best accuracy. (Providing the it's snugging the action into the stock and not just binding metal to metal!)

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    Member Hardlickher's Avatar
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    I'll have to look into this. My trigger group just falls out when I press on the bullet latch. I have some Katana repair kits that have little pieces of wood that would work perfect for shimming the stock or anything else that needs to be shimmed. Would like to see this gun do 3 - 4 " at 100 rather than 5 - 6"

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    If the bore and especially the crown is good, then 3-4 MOA is an altogether reasonable expectation with ammo it likes.

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    YouTube slow motion SVT. You will be shocked.

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    Really Senior Member RCS's Avatar
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    There is an excellent article in the new issue of GCAicon Journal Fall 2013 about the SVT 40 and WW2 M1icon Rifle. Both weapons were tested. After WW2 ended the SVT 40 disappeared

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    Quote Originally Posted by WarPig1976 View Post
    YouTube slow motion SVT.
    A clear illustration of barrel lash...for the disbelievers. I finally shot one after years of seeing them. After adjustments, I quite like it. Way more than the Nagant rifle...
    Regards, Jim

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    Really Senior Member RCS's Avatar
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    I have seen a few SVT 38 rifles in collections and there are some Finnishicon capture SVT 40's still around with the SA markings. There just was not enough time to complete development of the SVT 40 during the start of WW2 and the Sovieticon plan to replace the Mosin Nagant bolt action rifle with the SVT 40 did not work out. Plans for a sniper SVT 40
    fell short too - it was not that accurate to be a useful sniper rifle. It was also important to have the tool for gas adjustments.

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    Great post... thanks for putting it together ..

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    Great thread Hardlickher. I can't wait to get one of my SVT's out to the range now for a test. I'm very impressed with the SVT design- very straight-forward and with some obvious advantages over K43's and Garands. I suspect the design might have been pursued further by the Soviets if they hadn't deviated down the SKS, AK47 path so strongly right after the war. As a sniper rifle its strength may have been in running battles between many "snipers" and large troop concentrations as opposed to the one-shot one-kill from a cold barrel version of sniping. Zaitsev ("Notes of a Russianicon Sniper") specifically mentions the SVT in a positive way in reference to an encounter where a group of several snipers engaged a few hundred german troops at a range of 300m.

    Ridolpho
    Last edited by Ridolpho; 10-17-2013 at 02:42 PM.

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