Swedish military assault rifles 1945 - 1990, Ak4 and Ak 5.

Text and photos by O. Janson

updated 2009-01-20

To my son Olof.

Ak 4 and Ak 5 - both made in Sweden.

 

After WW2, Sweden needed to renew the weapons for the army. Sweden had 692 000 old Mauser rifles of rifles m/1896, m/1938, m/1941 and carbine m/1894. The army was only equipped with these Mauser rifles, the Ljungman Ag 42b semi-automatic rifle, The Carl Gustaf submachine gun m/1945b and the light machine gun Kg m/1937.

 Like all other countries Sweden wanted a modern assault rifle. Sweden although it was considered to be a Neutral country it preferred NATO dominated by USA.

 The two dominant gun factories at that time was Carl Gustaf Stads gun factory (CG) and Husqvarna Vapenfabrik (HVA). CG had the upper hand.

Several developments of the old Ljungman semi-automatic rifle Ag m/1942b were made.  

 

 Here is the old Ljungman semi-automatic rifle Ag m/42B

 

Eric Wallberg at Kungliga Armétygförvaltningen, Stockholm, made some interesting test weapons which were based on the old Ljungman rifle.

 

Here is the test rifle FM1957 by Eric Wallberg. Note the similarity. A folding stock, similar to the Submachine gun m/1945 and a removable 20 round magazine have been added.

 

Specifications FM 1957 WBG:

  • Calibre         6,5x55

  • Weight          4,9 kg

  • Length          1160 mm

  • Mode            semi-automatic

  • Function       gas piston and tipping breech block

 

Some more changes were made and the gun appeared in both 6,5x55 mm and 7,62x51 mm NATO
and now it was called FM 1957-60
.

 

FM 1957-60

The sight was improved and you can see an new operating handle was used.

 Specifications FM 1957-60:
  • Calibre         6,5x55 mm / 7,62x51 mm NATO

  • Weight          4,3 kg

  • Length          1095 mm

  • Mode            semi-automatic

  • Function       gas piston and tipping breech block

  • Note              separate trigger unit

 

 

Test rifle Ag m/42B rebuilt to 7.62x51 NATO.

 

This is basically the same as the Ag m/42 in 7.62 mm but now a better interchangeable high capacity magazine has been added and a folding stock similar to the Swedish submachine gun m1945.

 


 

Assault rifle GRAM 63

Finally Carl Gustaf Stads gun factory came up with a construction by Nils Lundin which was called Gram 63.

 

Assault rifle GRAM 63

Specifications Gram 63B:

  • Calibre         7,62x51

  • Weight          4,6 kg

  • Length          1105 mm

  • Mode            selective fire

  • Function       gas operated and tipping breech block

 

 

 

It was this Swedish designed CG Ak GRAM 63b which should be compared to several other assault rifles.

They were: 

 

Although the Finnish AK47 was very good it could due to political reasons not be accepted because it used the Russian M43 cartridge. Although it was never officially declared, Sweden considered the Soviet Union as the great threat. The discussion was whether the army should have the same cartridge like Soviet or a NATO cartridge.

 

The final test stood between

CG AK GRAM 63B
FN FAL
H&K G3

These weapons existed in both the old Swedish military round 6,5x55 mm and the NATO 7,62x51 mm. Sweden decided to accept the NATO standard.

 

 

Here is the receiver on one of the three G3 rifles used for the very first evaluation by Sweden.

 

The FN FAL with bayonet.

 

The Ak 4.

 The Swedish design Ak GRAM 63B failed because of economical reasons.

G3 and FAL fulfilled all the test. The FAL had a little edge to the G3 in most cases except for two points. The G3 was not worn out easily, but above all it was cheaper to build, due to new production techniques like stamped steel and plastic.

Sweden accepted the assault rifle Heckler & Koch G3 as Ak 4 in 1964.

The production cost for one Ak4 was 4000 SEK (about 430 Euro).

 

The first accepted Swedish assault rifle Ak 4 made in Sweden under license from Heckler & Koch (G3).

 

 Ak 4 from original production.

 

Detail of Ak 4

 

Author shooting full auto with Ak 4 1972.

 

 

 

The Ak 4 was also issued in a sniper version although it is inferior to real sniping rifles.

 

 

The latest issue of AK 4 for the local home guard

 

Ak4 as Special purpose assault rifle

 

 


 

The Ak 5.

the Swedish Ak 5 (FN FNC)

 

 During 1970 Sweden had a great demand for more assault rifles. Although the Ak 4 had been introduced and issued to military still about 70% of the army used the old bolt rifles! The soldiers guns has during the last decades been considered of minor importance. As an example can be mentioned that it would have cost less to equip 700 000 soldier with Ak 4 than to buy one (1) Swedish attack airplane Viggen.

Sweden decided to buy a new assault rifle in 5,56x45 mm NATO calibre.

Evaluations were made during the winter 1975-76 for tests in cold weather. The following guns took part

 After test with all the weapons FFV 890C and FN FNC turned out to be the best. They were outstanding when it came to winter climate and long life.

 

 

FNC with 4 position selector.

 

From left

Full auto [A] /  3-shots [3] /  one shot [1]   and Safe [S

 

The FFV 890C was a slightly changed Israeli GALIL which also was based on the Russian AK47 but in the 5,6x45 mm calibre.

 

The IMI GALIL

 

On top AK5 and bottom FFV890C

 

 

Military test were made with these two weapons 1979-1980 at Infantry regiment I11 in Vaxsjo.

Officially the FN FNC was better although the military who made the tests clearly stated that the Swedish FFV890C was superior, but the FN FNC was cheaper due to modern production techniques.

Now the FNC was modified and new tests were made 1981-1985. After a number of modifications FN FNC was finally accepted and delivered to the military as Ak5 1986.

The FNC has its roots with the FN FAL. 1967 FN FAL was made in 5,56x45 mm and called FN CAL. It was futher improved and became FNC.

The first Ak 5 were delivered directly from Belgium but very soon they became produced in Sweden by Bofors Carl Gustaf.

The weapon was improved significantly with new hammer, extractor, handguard, trigger guard, and the shoulder stock from FFV 890C. The magazines were improved. These magazines are interchangeable with M16.

Now the Swedish Ak 5 fulfils the highest demands of reliability and has maximum 1 jam per 25 000 shots fired.

The production cost for one Ak 5 was 3000 SEK (about 320 Euro).

 

 

Ak 5 right side
Ak 5 folded
Ak 5 details of right side
Ak 5 details of left side with stock folded.
Ak 5B with red dot scope.

Ak 5 with Susat scope

 

Ak 5 with Susat scope and night vision

Ak 5 with 40 mm Colt grenade launcher.

 

Below you can see my son Olof to the far right
in charge of a squad with Swedish military in Kosovo equipped with FN FNC and two light machine gun Ksp 90B (FN MINI).

 


 

References:

Military at K3, Karlsborg

Colonel (retired) Axel Ekfeldt, Vapenmuseet i Eskilstuna

Arménytt, Swedish army magazine

Eldhandvapen, Per Arvidsson ISSN 91-87158-04-3

Automatkarbin 4  (Ak 4) M7742-101035 SoldR Mtrl Ak 4, Swedish Defence forces

Ian Hogg & John Weeks, Military small arms of the 20th century,

Special thanks to Buddy Hinton, USA