by Rick Love

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The Finnish M39 rifle is my favorite rifle both to work on and to shoot. It is one of the finest rifles I have ever had the pleasure to fire. I have quite a few of these fine models in my collection.

In 1939 there were quite a few changes made to the Mosin-Nagant design. The Finnish Army, Civil Guard and their Department Of Defense approved a new design called the M1939 infantry rifle. The first 4,000 - 5,000 were manufactured with a straight wrist stock and after that a pistol grip type stock was used. The Finnish stocks were made in two pieces, finger mortised together on the bottom just aft of the rear sight. The reason for this feature was to prevent the wood from warping in the extreme cold temperatures of the Arctic climate. Finger mortised stocks made before the end of World War II have rounded or pointed joints. Post war stocks have square mortised joints. The M39 rifle was manufactured by SAKO, VKT and Tikkakoski. The M39 continued in production until the Finns surrendered to the Russians in September of 1944. Over 5,000 more rifle were produced from mostly pre-existing SAKO parts between 1967 - 1972. These are considered highly accurate target rifles made for Finnish Military training.
    I have collected several M39's over the past few years. And they are a dream to shoot. My pride and joy is a 1942 model marked with the rare "PUOLUSTOSLATOS".  (Patti bought it for my birthday two years ago). This marking was only used for two months in mid 1942. It was then replaced by the "SA" .  PUOLUSTOSLAITOS means "Department of  Defense". The "SA" marking means Suomen Armeija, or Finnish Army. Other markings found on the receivers of the M39 rifles are SKY, which stands for the Finnish Civil Guard and VKT from the "VALTION KIVAARITEHDAS" state rifle factory. An excellent book to research your Mosin-Nagant type rifle is "The Mosin-Nagant Rifle" by Terence Lapin.  It is a book written for the serious collector. It is my opinion that the Finnish people took the Mosin-Nagant rifle to a superior level of excellence. They captured many weapons from the Russians during the Winter War of 1939 - 1940 and again during the Continuation War of 1941 - 1944. The Finns would use the captured rifles for parts or rebuild the Russian rifles for their own use. Finnish M39 rifles were even reported to have been captured by American military personnel during the Vietnam War.

Caliber:    7.62 X 54R
Overall length:    46.6 inches
Barrel length:    27 inches
Weight:    9.3 pounds
Magazine:    5 Round, Single - column
Sights:    front, protected blade & Rear, U-notch adjusted by tangent & leaf from 150 - 2,000 meters.
Bayonet,    Knife - style with a 7.2 inch single edged blade.