A Rare Look at the Soviet AVS-36 Automatic Rifle

Before the famous Tokarev SVT-38 and -40 rifles of World War II, a Soviet engineer who would later become famous in the West for another of his designs developed a light weight select-fire infantry weapon in the standard full-power 7.62x54R caliber. That engineer was Simonov, and his AVS-36 was set in the mid-1930s to become the foundation of the future Soviet infantry rifle squad, supplanting the aging repeating bolt action Mosin M1891 rifle. A member over at Guns.ru posted pictures of his demilled AVS-36 to the forum, a few of which are presented below:


1465465 1465487 1465544 1465562 1465564 1465580 1465656 1465767

Like many rifles in its class (e.g., the US T20E2), the AVS-36 featured a large single-baffle muzzle brake to help control recoil in fully automatic fire. It turned out that the AVS-36 was too fragile for normal combat use, and instead of ordering the design to be perfected, the Red Army adopted the second place design, Tokarev’s AVT. The automatic variant, however, was put on the back-burner, while the semiautomatic SVT-38 was readied for production. Eventually, the improved SVT-40, however, would be withdrawn from production.

Eventually, the concept of a full-power select-fire rifle faded from prominence. The degree of optimism that led to this concept being tried in both the United States and the USSR proved to be too much, and gradually the intermediate cartridge concept took prominence.

H/T, Hognose at weaponsman.com.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • Samael527

    i wish this article was written by Alex C.

    • mosinman


  • MPWS

    Unfortunately, the bolt looks badly mutilated. Too bad.

    • Drambus Ambiguous

      First paragraph of the article says it has been “demilled”.

  • guest

    So in essence the “M-14 lessons” that USSR got, before any M-14 was actually on the drawing board.

  • gunsandrockets

    Makes me wonder how well a full-auto SKS would work. An AVS-45?

    • Gjert Klakeg Mulen

      I think the Yugoslavians were messing around with a full-auto SKS in the 1960s or 70s.

      There is also the Chinese Type 63/68. Though it’s was different from an SKS internally, it looks like an SKS and is full-auto, so close enough:

      • Scott P

        And were not very reliable hence why they were dropped, sticking with the Type 56 until they got it right with the Type 81.

        • gunsandrockets

          If they were so unreliable, why did PRC make a million of them?


          • Tritro29

            The Chinese made also thousands of crappy APC’s called Type 63, it’s not because the Chinese (or Americans or Soviets) persist on a faulty design, that it means anything.

  • CanadianShill

    SVT-40 is my next purchase, still find them around here for $400. These early higher power repeaters just do it for me.

  • Mazryonh

    “Proved to be too much”? I thought that the Browning Automatic Rifle was a rather successful design in both WWII and the Korean War.