An SVT-40 rifle, modified with the PU sniper scope. More stats, history, and nerd stuff below.
A Soviet Era battle rifle used during the Winter War and Second World War. Chambered in 7.62x54R and utilizing the same stripper clips as the Mosin Nagant, very few logistical changes had to be made to accommodate the SVT-40, and this made it a strong candidate for widespread adoption by the USSR. Joseph Stalin ordered the production of 10 million rifles, however German bombing raids against Russian arsenals and factories forced the Red Army to abandon adoption efforts. Only 1.6 million rifles were ever delivered, barely a tenth of what was initially ordered.
On top of this, the rifles that existed were assembled poorly, and suffered from severe vertical shot dispersion. This was deemed to be unacceptable for Soviet snipers, and only 3% of the rifles produced were ever converted to the "PU variant" for sniping purposes. Another variant exists called the AVT-40, which is capable of fully automatic fire. However, the intense recoil made it impractical for combat use and dramatically increased the risk of mechanical failure, so the project was scrapped after only a year. The standard issue rifles were criticized for being too heavy and too complex for the average conscripted soldier to use effectively. Very few Russian soldiers preferred the SVT-40 over their old Mosin Nagants, however the rifle was very popular with the German and Finnish troops who captured them.
The SVT-40 remains a footnote in WWII history, remembered as the rifle that might have been the best in the world if not for the shortcomings of its design and the Luftwaffe's strategic bombing efforts. However, the SVT-40 was still ahead of its time, and it's limited use served as an important proof of concept, demonstrating that self-loading rifles could be effectively utilized by a single soldier. Four years after the end of the war, the Red Army adopted a new rifle, an ambitious prototype that would soon change the battlefields of the world forever: the AK-47.