The Valmet M62/76 series of rifles are updates of the AK-47 design. Beginning with a licensed version of the AK-47 receiver, Valmet set about upgrading the design at every point. Tolerances are much tighter than the Soviet bloc AKs while still being generous enough to assure outstanding reliability in all climates. The gas piston included small “fingers” near the piston to ensure smoother functioning inside the gas tube, which helped to increase the inherent accuracy of the rifle. Another move toward increased accuracy was the upgraded sights.
The front sight is mounted on the gas block which makes for one less attachment to the barrel, adding to the mechanical accuracy. The front sight is fully adjustable in the field by the soldier. There is also a flip up tritium night sight that covers the front post for low light shooting.
The rear sight is an aperture on a sliding tangent affair adjustable to 600 meters and a “battle sight” setting of 150 meters. The rear sight is located toward the rear of the top cover. The rear sight also has tritium inserts for night shooting by flipping the sight all the way forward (upside down). Once in this position, there is a square notch arrangement with two tritium dots on either side. In this position, the rear sight is adjustable for elevation via a set screw under the sight arm.
Another feature of the Valmet M62/76 series rifles is the flash suppressor. It resembles an enlarged version of the suppressor on the original M16. Directly under the flash suppressor is a bayonet lug to accommodate the knife-style bayonet manufactured by Fiskars and Hackman. The flash suppressor has some sharp edges along its longitudinal cuts for wire cutting. A soldier slides the barbed wire into the flash suppressor and simply rotates his rifle around until it snaps the small gauge wire. For thicker wire, the soldier inserts the wire, gives a half turn and fires the rifle, which will snap the wire. On the M16 the prong type flash suppressor was abandoned for the bird cage type because the prongs tended to snag on vegetation in the field. While this is still a problem with the M62/76, the sharper edges help to cut through some of the vegetation.
There are both solid and folding stock versions. Folding stock designs may become troublesome in that eventually they tend to become loose. This is not a problem with the M62/76 series of rifles as the hinge and lock design are very robust. Both feature a trap door in the butt to store a cleaning kit. So as not to freeze a soldier’s face in the often frigid temperatures of Finland, there is a thin plastic sleeve over the tube section of the stock that typically contacts the shooter's face.
All variants of the M76 are finished with an industrial grade Parkerizing throughout.
The muzzle velocity depends on the ammunition used; the NATO round being 900 m/s while the Kalashnikov round is 719 m/s.