Valmet’s Bullpup: The M82

RIA’s catalog page for this rifle

The Valet M82 is a bullpup conversion of the Valmet M76 rifle, originally designed in the hopes of attracting Finnish military interest for paratroopers. These initial military rifles were made with wood stocks and in 7.62x39mm. For a multitude of pretty obvious reasons, this did not work out – but the rifles were sold commercially on the civilian market, mostly to the US. The commercial guns were chambered for the 5.56mm cartridge, and used a urethane stock instead of the original wood. A total of about 2,000 were made and sold between 1982 and 1986, when “assault weapon” importation was cut off. Today they are one of the scarcer Valmet variants, and definitely the strangest.


  1. I recall when these were advertised in gun magazines. One issue bullpups deal with, part of problematic ejection, is length of pull. This one is especially long.

  2. The South African army experimented with a bullpup version of the R4, the Vector CR21, that was a very similar to this. It never got much past the prototype stage due to the basic problem of all bullpups, namely how do you fire it left-handed?

    Those who advocate bullpup rifles for MOBUA seem to forget that roughly 50% of all building corners are right turns, and the only way to fire a rifle around them without exposing yourself to enemy fire is to do it off the left shoulder.

    Which is how you get a manual for the SA80 which replaces the old “transfer rifle to left hand and shoulder” of the SLR with “take two steps out from corner and maintain”. Which no troop is dumb enough to do, generally speaking. I can’t speak for the HQ genius who came up with that one.

    He was probably one of the ones that thought a bullpup rifle was a swell idea to begin with. The most often cited reason being, “Conventional rifles are too long to fit into IFVs”. Which tells me whoever designed your IFV needed a swift kick in the backside, since that was obviously where he was keeping his brain.

    It’s worth noting that the Finnish Army adopted a new rifle for its paratroops in 1995. The RK95TP is basically simply a Sako/Valmet RK62 with a folding stock;

    When all else fails, the KISS Principle prevails. (Keep it Simple, Stupid.)



    • Exactly the point. Urban warfare calls for compact weapons but they have to be able to go around corners from both left and right. I encountered issues with corner peeking in the game Brothers in Arms DS. The issue was that trying to fire around any corner, whether a right turn or left turn, resulted in the player avatar literally jumping out from around that corner, firing as long as the trigger button was pressed in full view of the enemy, and then jumping back behind cover. In contrast the Japan-only DS game Unknown Soldier-Mokuba no Houkou featured a much better corner cover technique when the player equipped an sub-machine gun or pistol: The player avatar would peek around the corner and fire at the enemy one-handed with reduced accuracy (though it’s much better than having the player’s avatar jump out imitating some action hero). I suspect that a bullpup would fail at opposite dexterity corners. Did I mess up?

    • If the bullpup ejects downward, then you just shoulder it on the left and fire. See FN P90 or Keltec RDB. Or you have a chute that directs the casing not into the shooter’s face (FN F2000, or Desert Tech MDR).

  3. The bullpup has always seemed to me to be the answer to a set of questions nobody down on the pointy end of things was asking. It’s always come in as a top-down driven creation of the technocrats, and the compromises forced on the designs by the format chosen have been hand-waved away as being inconsequential by those technocrats. From the perspective of the actual rifleman, however…? Those issues are a bit of a real problem set.

    All of the bullpup designs share the same problems, in that the ergonomics are not aligned with tactical reality. In the fight, your weapon must align with what you are doing to maintain situational awareness, and if you have to lose that awareness to serve the weapon, or if it distracts you as you do that, you’re going to die in the actual gunfight.

    You can observe what I’m talking about in the many officially-produced videos coming out of places like the British Army’s recent CQB efforts. In those videos, you’ll see the exact same thing I first observed with British troops and the L85 back in the 1980s–The f**king rifles are deadly. Every reload, every immediate action, the soldier has to stop, take their weapon of the shoulder, and remove their attention from the surrounding environment, looking down at their weapon to either load it or clear it. The latest set of these videos I’ve seen was produced within the last three-five years, and you see the riflemen doing exactly this, removing situational awareness, focusing on serving their weapon, right in front of the CQB instructors, who apparently see nothing wrong with the practice!

    Mind-boggling–The technocrats provided them with a weapon that forces them into sheer tactical stupidity, and nobody objected. You can see guys going to a knee in the assault, and reloading, looking down at their rifles to perform that drill. They do the same thing in shoot houses, demonstrating that it’s clearly a trained and approved technique. It’s baked into the design–You practically cannot do anything else with the L85.

    Now, you see that as being “no big deal”, when you’re the uninvolved observer; after all, there are always going to be guys on the left and right providing cover, yes? But… The problem is what happens when the reloading soldier returns his attention to what is going on around him… He’s lost continuity, focus; things have been happening while he was looking away, reloading. What that leads to is both missed opportunities to take the enemy under fire, and a loss of awareness of what his comrades are doing. It takes seconds to re-orient yourself, and in that time, enemy troops can escape, friendlies can disappear into the woodwork, and you start from zero, trying to assess what to do next, whether to shoot or not, and it’s not a good thing. This is how blue-on-blue happens, and how you get blindsided by the enemy doing the “unexpected”. Which is usually “the unobserved”, in reality.

    With a standard-format rifle, everything you need to do is right there in front of you; you can serve the weapon without taking total focus off the environment. Hell, with practice, you can shuck your entire basic load of ammo through your M16/M4 without it ever leaving your shoulder, or taking your eyes off the surrounding environment. I’ve done that as a drill in the past, and it’s a great confidence-builder.

    Try it with almost all of the bullpups out there? LOL… Ain’t happening. Especially with modern body armor and other gear; reaching around under your armpit ain’t easy to do when you have all those magazines and other items in a chest harness or on your armor. There’s a reason most of the British Army is still using the old-school belt and harness arrangement for their gear, and that’s one of them. Doesn’t matter if it’s an AUG, a FAMAS, or the excremental L85–The ergonomics dictate having to take the damn things off the shoulder, and your hand sure as hell ain’t finding hand to do the reload. With the standard layout, you index your firing hand forefinger on the magwell, and then putting the mag in is simplicity itself, as long as you’ve drilled that into muscle memory.

    The M16 family has nearly perfect fighting ergonomics, for a right-hander. All I can think of to improve the thing would be to make the controls truly ambidextrous, and move the bolt release down to where the Robinson Arms XCR has it, at both sides of the forward trigger guard. With that modification, and the rest of the AR-15 ergo package, you’re set for success.

    The key thing is that your weapon must align with what you’re doing under fire, and enable you to do that without creating unnecessary distractions. Bullpups have those distractions baked in, and even the Israeli X95 version of the Tavor has still got many of the basic problems there, even though they’ve gone a long way towards eliminating them.

    In short, if you’ve got to fix attention on your weapon to serve it under fire, you’re screwed. The technocrats who force these things on their forces all need to be taken out to a firefight, and handed one of their creations, so that they can experience the problems for themselves. Of course, most of them have no damn idea at all what they would be doing or observing, so maybe that would be a waste of time, and we just ought to sterilize them for the good of the species, replacing them with old-school SF weapons sergeants who understand the realities of combat. There are reasons that much of the West’s premier special operations types have gravitated towards the AR-15 format, and it ain’t the nonexistent kickbacks from Colt, either. As a combat instrument, the AR-15 is about 90% perfect, despite the many teething problems it had at the beginning.

  4. Bullpups can allow for longer barrels, in a shorter overall weapon. 5.56mm is better out of a longer barrel at range. So logically if afghans are out ranging you’d select a longer barrel, but you don’t want a long rifle.

    L86 length Lsw same as the Em2. Shorter by 6″ than an SLR.

    • I just don’t get it, if the “useful” 5.56mm can be improved via a longer barrel, yet to do this you don’t want a longer gun; bullpup, 26″ 6″shorter than a SLR. De-clutter the Lsw you “externally have an Em2″ which was 6” shorter than a rifle we used for years.

      Instead of 6,5mm grendel etc why don’t we actually try 5.56 bullpups I.e. Short overall length yet with decent length barrels.

    • Theoretic ballistic benefits of longer barrels do not even begin to justify the ergonomic cost imposed by the bullpup format.

      All of the technocrat reasoning behind the adoption of these things is specious in the face of realities on the battlefield. I would wager that the cumulative effect of serving a bullpup rifle in combat is probably as significant as hauling around a belt-fed SAW. You have to consider what is going on with every reload and mis-fire drill–The rifleman has to take their attention off the environment, coordinate with his flanking team members as he does so, focus on his weapon exclusively, perform his functionally slower drill, re-shoulder his rifle, and then re-orient himself to what is going on around him. It isn’t just the reload drill you have to consider–The time it takes to communicate and re-orientate is significant, and slows the overall pace and tempo of the operation.

      We did battle drills with some British Army elements, once upon a time. During our after-action review, one of the issues brought up by the British NCOs was that we US Army guys were not doing the coordination piece when reloading our rifles. Discussion was had over the issue, and once the difference between the L85 and M16 was made clear, they saw the lack of sense of bothering with it, when all of my guys were trained to reload in split-seconds while maintaining observation of the situation.

      There really is that much difference between the formats. I did a demonstration rapid fire from cover, and then asked the Brits to tell me where and when when my magazine changes had taken place. They could not tell, not even coming close. My only real pauses in firing were during target resets, and most of the mag changes were accomplished during target presentations.

    • Irrelevant when modern ammo means the shortest *practical* barrel is too short for the bullpup because you run out of forearm.

      When 5.56mm ammo was ALL designed around a 20″ barrel, maybe. But when it is tailored for the 14.5″ barrel, you get the length advantage of your bullpup, with equal ballistic performance, reduced weight, superior trigger, vastly better ergonomics, and credible bi-dexterity without weird workarounds.

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