2-Gun Action Challenge Match: SVT40 vs M1 Garand

So, after the hype about setting the FG-42 up against the M1 at a practical action match, I unfortunately have to let you down. We had a bit of a mishap right before the match started, which rendered the FG unable to be used. It’s disappointing, but we’re going to get it fixed up and try again in anther month or two. In the meantime, we switched to an SVT-40 as a backup rifle:

Still definitely a fun matchup, and perhaps a bit more evenly balanced than the scoped FG would have been against the M1.

Also, FYI for you guys out there with FG-42s  – don’t use the M14 method of buttstroking the rifle into the ground to clear a stuck case! The FG doesn’t have a metal buttplate, and the stress may not react well with the stock.


  1. This same SVT40 ran without issue at the August match of this year.

    1) The plan was to use the FG42 so the SVT40 was not “pre-flight” checked.
    2) The ammunition used in August was Bulgarian, the ammo available this time was Russian. Both surplus, both 147 grain.
    3) The temperature variation from August to October in Arizona was ~30 degrees, as in 110 in August and 80 degrees this month.

    It was on 1,5 before (when working in August) and needed 1,7 to be reliable (tested after match).

    Reference 1 stage from August with same gun on 1,5 with Bulgarian:


  2. I don’t know the answer, of course, but were Russkies issued more than just the standard two serial numbered mags for their SVTs? Wouldn’t the average Russky soldat have had to reload his SVT with stripper clips into the magazine on the rifle, instead of being able to change the entire magazine, as shown in the event? Or at most change the mag only once, then need to reload with strippers thru the mag well.
    this would change the speed of reloading in your matches.

  3. The intention of the SVT-40 was to issue 3 magazines to the rifleman, and there re standard issue pouches that reflect that.

    The idea that these were only ever intended to be used with stripper clips is false.

    That said, who knows how many men actually got 3 or 4 magazines, specially as the war dragged on…as a result it became “common knowledge” that stripper clips were the intended reloading mechanism for the SVT40.

  4. Love the video! That is so stinkin’ cool! I’ve never done two or three-gun matches, but watching this makes me want to find one in North Carolina. Anyone know where to find a good range?

  5. The Soviet SVT-40 manual clearly shows that a rifleman so equipped was to have a magazine installed in the rifle, a magazine pouch with two extra magazines worn on the left of the load-bearing equipment belt, and a standard Mosin-Nagant cartridge pouch with 6×5-round chargers for a total of fifty ready rounds. Presumably an additional 3x5rd. charger box was carried in addition for 15 or more extra cartridges.

    How this worked out or played out in actual usage doubtless varied a good deal.

    My 1943 SVT-40 was real cantankerous and capricious about ammo it was fed. I had to crank the gas setting up to 1.7mm to get it to work. Later, I got the reproduction stainless steel gas system parts and it works good at 1.3mm.

  6. My thoughts.

    1. I like how you’ve been synchronizing the editing with both shooters side-by-side.
    2. Is that a fabric cover on the Garand fore-end or a non-wood replacement piece?
    3. It’s always good to have a back-up.
    4. Ian wins the Enjoy Yourself award. “Currahee!”

    • I like the synchronizing too – it really lets you see how we are doing relative to each other. It can be tricky to get a good field of view, though, because doing this requires cutting off half the camera view.

      The M1 had a fabric cover over the foreend, because it was a decorative piece that we didn’t want to scratch up. A bit of background, it’s a 1940 production rifle that Karl used at Camp Perry.

  7. The SVT 40 was rarely issued to regular troopers in the Red Army. Most got by with M 91 and variants and very little ammunition. They remember that the Russians faced their own rifles in the hands of Imperial Germans and their allies. If you were a sniper rapid fire would quickly ruin the accuracy of your rifle. A Red Army veteran I know saw only a few SVTs during the war and says even the PPsh41 gunners usually had only one spare magazine. It was SOP to take weapons and ammo from the dead of both sides. The SVT 40 like the SMLE was intended to be loaded with stripper clips.The battlefields were littered with them. According to the afore mentioned Red Army vet only political officers and their staff; and crew served weapons had magazines and lots of ammo.
    There was a definate class system in the Soviet military.

  8. Gentlemen, I really enjoyed the show in particular that this is as close to reliving the history, as physically possible. Both of you have done very well, so much more given the fact Karl had some hang-ups. At the end you seem to be well matched.

    Both guns are well working pieces and in fighting order, being proof that you take care of them. Shame the FG-42 got screwed up. I really like that gun; wish to see it in action especially how it would fare with its side-loaded magazine. Keep on rolling Arizona!

  9. Bud of mine in (The People’s Republik of )CT (I goaded him into getting his C&R) has one SVT from each mfr…Tula, Ishevsk, and Kovrov…I created a true monster – his total collection is bigger (and better) than mine…and to think that at first he wanted no part of ‘being on some gummint list’…when he paid off his mortgage he bought himself a Reising SMG – it was the cheapest way (and spouse approved) for him to get into Class III/Title II collecting

    CB in FL

  10. Here is original Russian video of SVT-40. It goes to small details in explaining design and function. With dose of patience it may be helpful to watch for several reasons, mainly how the gun is supposed to be handled (for example insertion of magazine). There are also some combat action takes; some may be authentic while others may be staged.

    Speaking od magazine, I have to give credit to Tokarev for that he managed relatively trouble-proof feeding of rimmed cartridge. I believe he was first in S.U. to achieve that and his work was later utilized by others, namely by Dragunov.

  11. Thanx for the link…I’ve shared it with all my C&R buds. Amazing what you can find on You Tube!!!

    CB in FL

    • You are welcome Chris! The fact this is in Russian language may be a hurdle, but it is rich on visual information. It’s ‘right from the source’ as you may call it.

  12. Sorry to say Ian, but you and Garand won only because your pal had something like 30 malfuntions with the gun. Did anybody actually count them all?

  13. Not a real match against weapons. More of a match between shooters.

    And why do they feel that they need to stand up to reload? Neither had the familiarity required for their weapons. Additionally, the ad hoc method of carrying ammunition was poor. A real head to head should have included correct load bearing gear and magazine pouches.

    • It’s not intended (nor advertised) to be a scientifically rigorous experiment – it’s fun and educational for us to do, and hopefully entertaining for folks to watch.

      That said, I was using an original GI ammo pounch (marked for carbine mags or Garand clips), and Karl’s SVT mag pouches were for all practical matters equivalent to the original wartime ones. What leads you to say that we were not adequately familiar with the rifles?

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