Odd Guns: Sporterized .303 British Finnish SVT-40

Nathaniel F
by Nathaniel F

While I am one of the last people to condone the conversion of what are often valuable historical artifacts to a “sporting” configuration, in some cases these conversions themselves add value (both monetary and historical) to the firearm in question. Is the example below one of these exceptions? I will leave it to TFB readers to decide that. From WeaponsMan:

It’s probably not fair to call this the work of Bubba the Gunsmith, because it was the work of professionals, turning what was then an awkward, ugly, unwanted military rifle in a weird caliber into something a hunter might reasonably take afield, and in the process, turning a bunch of ex-Soviet arms dumped by the Finnish Army, which had captured and tried to use them, into dollars — in this case, Canadian dollars.

How were the principals of Globe Firearms Ltd. to know that some day original, unmolested Tokarev rifles would be worth real money? For that matter, how were they to know that the uiquitous .303 British round would become a rarity in North America, and the Russian 7.62 mm x 54mm become more popular? You could not have predicted either outcome in the mid-1960s, unless you were an actual clairvoyant — or certifiably insane.

This gun has now turned up on Gun Broker, with $950 asked, about what a decent condition Tokarev goes for (but there are very few decent condition guns out there — lots of purple-bolt-carrier Century imports, really). You’d have to want this oddball sporter pretty badly to go that much for it, in our opinion.

Be sure to click through and read the whole thing.

Hognose mentions in the article that at the time, .303 British was a sensible conversion, as there was little imported 7.62x54R ammunition coming into the country. Of course, today’s buyer sees this as a decided negative, unless perhaps they are a collector of sporterized guns like this.

Nathaniel F
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. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.

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  • Barneysamson Barneysamson on Aug 25, 2015

    To ME the sporter looks like a steaming pile of shit.

  • JCitizen JCitizen on Aug 30, 2015

    I was really stupid for not buying an SVT 40 back when there were quality examples at every gun show, and the price was cheap. I'd have a ready made semi that shot the cheapest ammo on the market. You had to watch out though. Some of the full auto versions got past the importers, and that would NOT be worth putting up with!