Tokarev SVT-40

Tokarev SVT-40

Technical data

Manufacturer Tula Arsenal, USSR (*)
Caliber 7.62 x 54mmR
Action Semi-Automatic. Gas-operated, tilting bolt.
Barrel length26 3/4", 68 cm
Total length 47 7/8", 121.6 cm
Capacity 10 rounds detachable magazine
Reloading 5 rounds stripper clips
Weight 9 pounds, 4 Kg
Wikipedia page

(*) The rifle I have access to. Other manufacturers produced this rifle.

Bolt operation

The SVT-40 is a gas-operated weapon using a short-stroke, spring-loaded piston.

SVT-40 gas action

Note: the springs, bolt cover and handguard have been removed to show the action.

When a round is fired (red arrow), gas is redirected through the gas port (blue arrow), to the gas piston which pushes on the gas cylinder, on the piston rod, on the piston rod extension and finaly on the bolt face (green arrows). The bolt cycles to the back, ejects the spent casing, rearms the hammer, collects another round from the magazine on it's way forward and closes, ready to fire again.

The bolt remains in the back position when the magazine is empty.

SVT-40 bolt

If your SVT-40 refuses to cycle (like mine when I got it), you should verify:

  • Ammunition quality.
    • Some poor quality ammunition will not generate enough presure.
    • Other ammuntion is too large and gets jammed in the chamber.
  • My SVT-40 had not been properly cleaned by the previous owner. The entire piston system was jammed in carbon.
  • The amount of gas can be adjusted by rotating the gas regulator (image on the right). It protudes in front of the gas port (left and lower image). It is possible to completly shut off the gas port.
SVT-40 gas system

Safety and magazine

The safety (1) is on the safe position if it is rotated down. It simply blocks the trigger from operating.

The picture also shows the magazine release (2). It can be folded flat with the receiver. To operated it, rotated it at a 90° angle with the rifle and push it towards the muzzle. To remove the magazine, rotate it forward.

SVT-40 safety

Sight picture

Typical Russian sights.

SVT-40 sight picture

Rear sight

The rear sight is a ladder, with graduations from 100 up to 1500 meters.

SVT-40 rear sight

Front sight

The front sight is a fixed post.

SVT-40 front sight

Fun feature

The trigger release is protected by the trigger release cover. Once rotated it also allows you to line up your cleaning rod with the barrel. You need a long one however. Mine is 36" long and is just long enough.

SVT-40 trigger release cover