Specific M38 & M44 carbines features

Sights

M38 and M44 carbines had unique rear and front sight design, different from M91/30 sights (the only thing similar was the front sight itself, but a different height pin was used). Both the rear and front sight bases were made as sleeves. Both carbines had few modifications of rear and front sights.


The M38 carbine was designed in 1938, but the first mass-produced carbines for field trials were issued in 1939. These carbines had some unique features, similar to the 1938 prototype. The front sight had no globe shape protection, the front sight had a triangle shape profile, like on M91's and M91 variations.

 

The notch in the rear sight leaf also had a triangular shape. However, a very small quantity of carbines with these sights were made. In 1939 production switched to a different type of sights, these being a standard globe shape front sight with a pin and a rear sight with round shaped notch. The construction of the rear sight base was also changed.

On the top - M38 rear sight leaf, on the bottom - M91/30 sight leaf. Excerpt from the drawings.

On the top - early M38 front sight and base (early 1939), on the bottom - later type (1939-1945)

On the top - early M38 rear sight triangular profile notch (early 1939), on the bottom - later type with a round shape notch (1939-1945)

Triangular profile of the early M38 front sight

Standard 1939-1945 front sight and base

After intensive field use during the two years after serial production started, it became obvious that the sight curve of the rear sight base did not match the actual ballistics of the bullet. In 1941 some corrections to the shape of the rear sight base were made, these changes were only introduced into mass production in early 1942.


Interestingly, during the initial period of M38 production in Tula in the Spring of 1944, the factory used old drawings. The very first M38 carbines produced in Tula had "prewar" pattern rear sight bases. Shortly afterwards production was updated. It should also be mentioned that features of the rear sight leaf (notches at the top and bottom) were changed respectively to changes in M91/30 sight leaf construction, they are described in the Sights section

Different patterns of M38 rear sight bases.

On the top - very early 1939;

In the middle - Izhevsk factory 1939-early 1942, Tula factory - March-April 1944;

On the bottom - Izhevsk factory - early 1942 and later, Tula factory - April 1942 and later  (also used on M44 carbines of both factories).

Any of these rear sight base patterns can be found with a rivet instead of a pin at the rear. It's a repair modification, a rivet was installed if the pin was loose

The 1939 and early 1940 M38 carbines were issued with stocks made from the stock blanks different from M91/30 stock blanks, they required special machining, not just shortening. The size of the rear barrel band was different from the M91/30 barrel band. These features made production more complicated, thus, in early 1940, it was decided to unify M91/30 and M38 production as much as possible. The stock and handguard were redesigned, new stocks were made using shortened M91/30 stock blanks, this made possible the use of the M91/30 rifle rear barrel band. Mass production of these new features started in early 1940.

On the top - early M38 stock and handguard (1939-1940), on the bottom - later type (1940-1945)

In the summer of 1943 the M38 carbine was modified with a folding bayonet designed by N.S. Semin. It was essentially the M38 carbine with a modified front part of the barrel, which got a threaded area that was used for the attachment of the sleeve with the folding bayonet lug and rear sight base. After the sleeve was attached, it was locked in place by a pin. The stock also received a cutout for the folded bayonet. A trial run of these new carbines was issued during the 4th quarter of 1943. Until the January of 1944 they were called "model 1938 carbine with non-detachable folding bayonet". Starting on January 17, 1944, after they were officially accepted for service - "model 1944 carbine".


In 1944-1945 the M44 carbine received a number of updates. The first thing that was updated was the bayonet blade. Shortly after carbines were issued to troops, it became obvious that the impact point with the folded and extended bayonet is different, with a deviation up to 25 cm. After this issue was researched at the Scientific-Research proving grounds of the Red Army, a simple solution was found. The shape of the screw hole on the bayonet was changed from round to oval. This change made movement of the bayonet during shooting in both positions possible. A trial batch of updated carbines was submitted for trials in September 1944, after success this change was implemented into production.


The next thing that was updated was the bayonet lug and bayonet collet. The first type required the collet to be moved by hand for bayonet attachment. The new modification was called "self locking", the shape of the lug moved the collet forward and then it locked automatically. The new model was submitted for trials in Spring 1945, it was implemented into mass production in Autumn 1945.


In May 1945 another modification was submitted for trials, the front sight base was widened, respectively, the bottom of the front sight as well. The area of the dovetail connection between the sight base and the front sight became longer. This made the placement of the front sight more solid. A decision about this updated was taken after numerous claims from the Army that the front sight position is not solid enough and that it can move after different impacts. The new front sight and base were implemented into mass production in Autumn 1945.

On the top - M38 stock, in the middle - M44 stock with a cutout for the bayonet, on the bottom - M44 stock with the cutout and a folded bayonet.

On the top - early M44 bayonet with a round screw hole (1943-1944), on the bottom - later type with an oval screw hole (1944-1948).

On the top - early M44 bayonet lug (1943-1945), on the bottom - later type  for "self locking" bayonet" (1945-1948)

Differences between early and late M44 bayonets, bayonet lugs and collets. Excerpt from a 1946 M44 repair manual.

On the left -early M44 front sight & base (1943-1945), on the right - late type (1945-1948).

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