After the Winter War and Continuation War, Finland settled a peace treaty with the Soviet Union, and started looking to modernize its infantry rifles – something semiautomatic was needed to replace the Mosin Nagants it was still using. A variety of rifles were tested, including the AR-10, Sig AM-55 (predecessor to the Stgw 57), and Madsen LAR. The Kalashnikov was really the clear choice, though, and the Finns received their first batch of Russian AKs in 1954. Sako and Valmet began working with AK designs in 1957, and by 1960 the Russian Type III milled receiver pattern was chosen as the basis for the new Finnish rifle.
That rifle would be formally adopted in 1962 as the Rk62, with full scale production beginning in 1965. It was mechanically a copy of the Kalashnikov, but with an assortment of external changes chosen by the Finns. Most significantly, the sights were dramatically improved. The front sight was given precise windage adjustment screws (as opposed to the Russian drift adjustments) and combined with the gas block. The rear sight was changed to an aperture type and moved to the rear of the receiver cover, which was also made with a much more precise fit than on Russian rifles.
The Finns also chose their own furniture style, including the distinctive tubular stock. While folding versions of this stock were sold commercially, the military pattern Rk62 used a fixed type, as does this M62/S semiautomatic version of the rifle. This example also has the early type of corrugated tubular pistol grip and “cheese grater” hand guard, both of which would be updated and improved after some time in Finnish military service.
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