Fedor Tokarev


Fedor (Fyodor) Vasilievich Tokarev

Fedor Tokarev is a famous Russian firearm designer. He received a Ph.D. degree in 1940 for his achievements in designing pistols and automatic rifles that were officially used in the Russian Army from 1930 to 1956.

Fedor Tokarev developed a wide range of weapons - from automatic carbine MT (1925) to TT-30 pistol (1930) and the SVT-40 (1940).

A Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR from 1941 to 1950. Received a USSR State Award in 1940.

(Excerption from the Soviet Encyclopedic Dictionary, 1985)

Fedor Tokarev
developed series of pistols called TT (Tula-Tokarev, or Tulskiy Tokarev, i.e. Tokarev from Tula. Tula is a Russian city with the population of about 500,000 (2005) located about 200 kilomerters south of Moscow. Tula is famous for its weapon manufacturing plants. Tokarev's pistols and rifles were used by the Red Army against German fascists during World War II.


Tokarev TT-33 Pistol - 7.62 mm

TT-33 was developed by Fedor Tokarev in 1930 and adopted by the Soviet Army the same year.

TT-33 Tulsky Tokarev Gun

In 1933, the Tokarev was improved with a new locking system and a different disconnector. It bears a resemblance to the 1903 Colt .380 Pocket Automatic Pistol and disassembles about the same way of a Colt 1911. The pistol is single action, and recoil operated of the Browning design. The barrel and slide are temporarily locked together for a fraction of an inch during rearward travel. This allows the bullet to exit the barrel and reduce pressure before the casing is ejected. Also, the Tokarev is fed by an eight round single stack magazine.

The TT-33 was the basic service weapon of Soviet officers during the Great Patriotic War (WWII). The TT-33 chambers the 7.62X25 cartridge. The magazine holds 8 rounds. The Tokarev Pistol is still being produced in China. Most parts are interchangeable.

Several countries, such as China, Poland, North Korea, Hungary and Yugoslavia are still producing Tokarev pistols in 9mm and 7.62mm. The Norinco (China North Industries Corporation) and the surplus Soviet Tula made TT-33's are encountered more often. These pistols now come with the added safety lever and wrap around grips with thumb rest, to comply with U.S. importation laws. They are truly a bargain gun but not a cheap gun by any means. With supplies of these gems drying up since the import bans, prices for these are climbing to the $200 mark.


Russian Development and the 7.62x25mm

In 1930 Fedor Tokarev produced a pistol chambered for the 7.62x25mm cartridge. This pistol was adopted as the standard sidearm for Russian troops.

In 1933 the pistol was replaced by the TT-33 model which was a 1930 continuing design effort of Tokarev. Tula is a city in Russia which is the largest weapon manufacturing area in the country. 

In 1945, Russia began gradually replacing its 7.62x25mm firearms with the less powerful 9x18mm Makarov design. The Makarov pistol can be found in .380 as well as the standard 9mm Makarov (9x18mm).


A Brief History of the Tokarev(SVT40) Rifle

Well-known Tokarev's rifles:

Tokarev M1930
Tokarev M1938
Tokarev M1940

The Tokarev 7.62-mm semi-automatic rifle M1938(SVT)2 was the first of a series of Tokarev rifles. This model has a two-piece stock and is very lightly built. It is believed obsolete in Soviet and satellite forces. The Tokarev 7.62-mm semiautomatic rifle M1940 (SVT40), as well as the 7.62-mm automatic and semiautomatic rifle M1940 (AVT)3, while considerably sturdier than the M1938, still proved rather flimsy for military use. Considerable difficulty was experienced in repair and maintenance of these weapons during W.W.II, and it is believed that they are no longer standard weapons.

The Tokarev semi-automatic rifle sniper rifles M1938 and M1940, because of their flimsy construction and the difficulties experienced in their repair and maintenance, are no longer standard weapons. These sniper rifles are merely Tokarev semiautomatic rifles M1938 (SVT) and M1940 (SVT) which have been specially selected for accuracy and adapted for mounting telescopic sights.

The above is a brief excerpt from US Ordnance Corp. Manual, "Soviet Rifles and Carbines, May 1954"


SVT - 1940 (Tokarev) Soviet Rifle
By James Bardwell (bardwell@netcom.com )

The SVT (Samozariadnyia Vintovka Tokareva Obreazets) 38 and 40 rifles are Soviet made semi-auto rifles, designed by F.W.Tokarev. The number refers to the year of adoption. Both are chambered for the Russian 7.62x54R cartridge, and are very similar, the SVT-38 is slightly heavier, and employs a side mounted cleaning rod, rather than the 40's under barrel mounted one. The 38 model also uses a two piece wood stock, the 40 a one piece. The SVT-40 model will be focus of this faq, as I don't have access to a 38 model. According to E. C. Ezell, in the book, "Small Arms of the World" (12th Ed.), 1,322,085 SVT-40's were made in the USSR, as compared to 4,450,000 SVT-38's. Only 51,710 sniper versions of the SVT-40 were made. The sniper version is distinguished by two grooves on either side of the receiver, parallel to the bore, to accommodate a scope mount. Some of these grooved receiver rifles are being sold now, although the scopes and mounts seem to be rarer than the rifles that will accommodate them. Aftermarket mounts and scopes are currently available. The SVT rifles were made from 1938-1945, or so.

There was also an automatic rifle (machine gun) version of the SVT-40 called the AVT-40. Very few AVT-40 rifles are legal in the USA. It essentially is a conversion of the SVT-40, done by swapping the semi-auto trigger assembly for a full auto one, it uses the safety as a selector. The full auto feature of the AVT was meant for emergencies, the rifle is supposedly very hard to control on full auto. A similar problem exists with other automatic rifles in similar calibers, like the FN-FAL and M-14. Additionally the full auto fire would wear out the barrel on the AVT very quickly, and barrel replacement is not an easy job on these rifles. I am told there was a special 20 round magazine made for the AVT rifles, the standard one is 10 rounds.

The SVT rifles first saw combat use in the Winter War (1939-40) invasion of Finland. They did not perform very well, as with other Russian weapons, the Finns acquired many SVT rifles, "only jammed and dropped once." Part of the problem may have been heavy grease applied at the factory, which gummed up and jammed the action in the cold weather. The fluted chambers on later SVT-40 rifles may have been an attempt to correct for extraction problems experienced in Finland.

There has been a new interest in the SVT-40 rifle in the USA; with the fall of the USSR, and the end of the Cold War, many formerly very rare Soviet small arms are being imported into the USA. The SVT-40 is probably cut off from further import by the recent Crime Bill ban on "assault rifles" (it is a semi-auto that takes a detachable magazine, and has two bad features, a flash hider and bayonet lug). However a number have already been imported by CDI, Swan VT, and distributed by SOG, among others. SVT rifles already in the USA are not affected by the Crime Bill.

The SVT-40 uses some principles that were later incorporated into more modern battle rifles, such as the tipping bolt locking system, and gas piston system both used in the FN-FAL. H&K rifles also employ a fluted chamber to assist in extraction, although the H&K's employment of a different operating system (recoil, as opposed to the gas system of the SVT) makes it more necessary in those guns than in the SVT-40.


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