Today is a two gun deal. This is the Valmet Rk 62. This is one of two “NATO AK’s” as I’d call them. These are NATO versions of the classic AK platform. It began back in 1962 in Finland, of course.
Now Finland’s always had a history of modifying their enemies weapons for their own needs, such as the M39 Mosins and the variety of modified Soviet tanks made during the Winter War and with the Cold War, this was no exception. so they decided to start with a license made AK receiver and entirely upgrade it.
This included a tube folding stock, plastic furniture, enlarged trigger guard and mag release for those with gloves, redone sights set to the back of the receiver rather than the barrel trunion and a cold forged match steel barrel. It also boasts a muzzle break that can be used to cut wire by either twisting the wire or just shooting it.
They also came in more ridiculous civilian made variants, usually with wooden furniture and usually stylized off of the AK series to appeal to the US and Canadian Market pre-Norinco. Now these Valmets are very good rifles, but unfortunately aren’t a big film gun excluding portrayals as AK’s or as futuristic plasma weapons. Or in the hands of the future governor of California.
But, the Valmet lead to another AK styled NATO rifle, one that’s a lot more famous than the Valmet.
The iconic rifle of Israel, the Galil has become a popular gun across the world. In the 1960′s, Israel was constantly updating its arms, given the large amount of wars it was in. During the Six-Day War, the IDF began to have problems with their normal battle rifle, the IMI Romat, a licensed copy of the FN FAL. Sand and mud tended to clog it up, something later found to be due to IDF conscripts not cleaning their weapons. It got so bad that during the Yom Kippur War, many soldiers opted for long barreled Uzi’s over the Romat.
So in the early 70′s, the IDF had a contest for a new rifle, including the Stoner 63, the M16A1, the HK 33, an AK, and even a design by Uziel Gal. However, a man by the name of Yisrael Galil had made a design that took the Valmet and modified it. These modifications included a selector lever on the pistol grip, allowing you to edit your fire selector much easier, raised contact points on the piston and a change to 5.56 to ease the ammo supply. This won the trials and it served as the Galil rifle following the Yom Kippur War.
It served alongside the US M16A1 and Colt Carbines and was very well liked by the IDF, only recently being replaced by the Tavor series in service, even then not fully. It serves as the main rifle for countries like Colombia, the DRC, Nepal, the Philippines, Vietnam and most famously South Africa, who made the R4 series on license,
The Galil’s only faults was that it was a very heavy gun and that tended to mean the Galil was very commonly swapped for the M16 series. This lead to a number of different versions, such as the Galil ARM, with heavy barrel and bottle opener, the Galil SAR, a short barreled carbine, the Galil MAR, a even shorter barreled carbine, the Galil Sniper or Galatz.
There’s also the modern Galil ACE series of rifles, and the Vektor R5 and R6 carbines and the bullpup CR-21. But with all these variants, the Galil is a common sight in the media.
The Galil is a common sight in films, with it being the main arm for a number of countries including South Africa, Israel and so on. Most movies showing the IDF usually have Galil’s or Tavor’s, It’s usually the armament of mercenaries, including that of District 9′s MNU and of the various in the Strike Back series. It’s even a common sight in the crime dramas like Heat and Miami Vice. The Galil is a gun that gets around, and while it’s common in TV, video games tend to vary on it’s depiction of the Hebrew Hammer.
The Galil’s an uncommon gun in video games, despite it’s long lineage. It’s usually either the arms of the IDF or some other power. It’s usually seen as a sort of in between from an AK and an AR style rifle, the accuracy of the former, the spray and pray of the latter. But it’s still a reliable rifle there.
And that is the NATO AK’s the Finnish Valmet and the Israeli Galil. They’re both very iconic rifles with a lot of history behind them and whether it’s the sands of Israel to the Jungles of Southeast Asia, the Galil will be a variable weapon. It’s the best of both worlds and it’s the perfect weapon for showing defiance against all odds.
How hard is removing cosmoline from an sks? Do you have a preferred method?
It’s not hard it just takes time and effort. Since I’m in a hot climate I like to throw the stock into a black plastic bag and put it outside in the sunlight for a day. Then in evening opening it up and wiping it down and tossing the bad then doing it again the next day. By then the majority of the cosmoline is gone. On steel you just get mineral spirits and a rag and get to work.
An alternative to it is a hair dryer. It’s quicker but you also have to be there the whole time you are doing it. It will take several passes over the same spot to clear it but the heat will bubble the cosmoline to the surface.
Ah yes, the SPAS-12. An icon of cinema, what started life as a police shotgun ended up the kingpin of the action movie.
The tale of the SPAS-12 begins all the way back in Italy. Luigi Franchi SpA, commonly just known as Franchi were the maker of a number of sporting shotguns, however in the 1950′s and 1960′s they began to edge into the military and police market. These included the failed attempt at the Italian Army rifle contract, the Franchi LF57 submachinegun, the Franchi RF83 revolver and the SPAS-12.
The SPAS-12′s basic idea was to make a high-end multi purpose police shotgun. This included it being one of the first combination pump and semi automatic shotguns, this was useful as a number of police rounds such as birdshot, tear gas and rubber bullets don’t have the high enough pressure to run reliably on a semi-auto mechanism. It also included large ghost ring sights, extended magazine tubes and your choice of a folder stock or solid plastic stock.
And the SPAS-12 sold fairly well. A number of special forces units, such as EKO Cobra, Malaysian SOF, Turkish Gendarmerie, Irish Army Rangers and a number of police SWAT teams across the world. A total of 37,000 were made between 1979 and 2000. SPAS by the way stands for Special Purpose Automatic Shotgun or Sporting Purpose Automatic Shotgun, in an attempt to save it from the federal ban hammer of the early 1990′s, unfortunately it didn’t and the SPAS-12′s were cut off from importation in 1994.
That doesn’t mean it didn’t have an effect on the media at the time, oh hell no, movies loved the SPAS.
The 1980′s Hollywood movie era was saturated by SPAS-12′s. They’re large size and pretty intimidating look made them a favorite. And while movies never tended to use them in semi-auto, it still became a classic. The T-800 was the first in 1984, then followed by a sea of action flicks, including Jurassic Park, Exterminator 2, The Hitcher, La Femme Nikita, The Wraith, The Matrix, Bad Boys and many more. From the shores of Miami to the megaslums of Detroit, the SPAS-12 is a common sight. And a gun this iconic always needs some video game appearances.
And like the Python, the big break for the SPAS was Half Life.
Yes, the Valve classic is back again in my lists. 1998′s Half Life had a great story and a great arsenal of guns and the SPAS was one of the best. While it had a rather hilarious goof where it could fire two shots at once, it was a very powerful weapon for the confined spaces of Black Mesa and helped the SPAS-12 to become an icon in the video game scene.
With a film history as rich as it is, the sheer amount of video game appearances of the SPAS-12 is staggering. There have been just as many SPAS-12′s digitized in games as ones made from steel. Besides Gordon Freeman, it’s the main shotgun for a number of games. Agent 47 of the Hitman franchise uses it as his primary shotgun, Far Cry 2, 3 and 4 boast a SPAS-12, GTA Vice City and San Andreas boast one, both Battlefield and Call of Duty packed SPAS-12′s either in semi-auto or pump action. It’s big, imposing and ready to tear through whatever stands in it’s way.
And that is the tale of the SPAS-12, one of the most iconic shotguns ever made. What started off as a simple police combat shotgun blossomed into one of the most well known and recognized shotguns ever made. And while Franchi stopped production in 2000, their still an uncommon sight in media and it’ll be shredding bad guys, dinosaurs and zombies for years to come.