Not enough to go around

If the Soviet/German war had not started in 1941 the Red Army would likely have fielded far more SVT40s than the 1.5 to 2.0 million reportedly built. Instead they had to rely mainly on the old Model 91/30 bolt actions. At least both rifle models chambered the same cartridge. With not enough SVT40s to go around, Red Army NCOs got many and snipers got most of the scope sighted ones. Actually, there were many female Soviet snipers and they are often seen in photos and films carrying the SVT40. Another common user of these Soviet semi-autos were German soldiers. Photos abound of Wehrmacht troops armed with captured ones.

I’ve fired my two SVT40s with original World War II ammo, some post-war ammo made by Eastern European nations but mostly with my own handloads developed to replicate the Soviet “Heavy Ball D” loading with a 185-gr. FMJ at approximately 2,650 fps, or Light Ball LP with a 149-gr. FMJ. I worry not about using hollowpoint or softnose rounds since I’m not a signatory of the Hague Conventions.

By American standards Soviet-made military weapons are crude but they don’t lack functionality. Neither of my SVT40s have ever had a failure to feed or fire though with the iron-sighted model I did have a slam fire. For this reason I recommend to load 7.62x54mm ammo for them with mil-spec CCI #34 primers.