Firearm of the Week, the Dragunov, Snayperskaya Vintovka Dragunova (SVD), Снайперская винтовка Драгунова, Type 79/85, The Bear

By CTD Allen published on in Ammunition, Firearms, News

Greetings capitalists, from Russia with love, Snayperskaya Vintovka Dragunova is good rifle, da? This is the long arm of the enemy. Vietnam, the Gulf, Afghanistan twice and Iraq, the spelling of the word nemesis is D-r-a-g-u-n-o-v. Built around the action of one of the greatest rifles ever – the AK-47 – how could it fail to rock the battlefield? It is the one we fear most, the SVD Dragunov.

The Dragunov SVD Sniper Rifle

Rugged like all Russian arms, yet light, it makes for the perfect light-infantry weapon. Chambered in the venerable 7.62x54R cartridge and despite its 121-year-old legacy, it still rivals if not out performs many cartridges of today. This rifle in the hands of a trained professional is able to reach out to 1,200 meters (1,312 yards) and beyond.

The Dragunov was another product from the height of the Cold War. Design began in 1958 and concluded in 1963 – just in time for the Vietnam War. It was the third prototype received by the Soviet military. The first design came from Sergei Simonov, best known for his short-lived Samozaryadnyi karabin sistemi Simonova (SKS). The second submittable came from a relatively unknown designer, and the third from Yevgeny Dragunov. Production of this new rifle began at the famous Izhmash Machinebuliding Plant (Ижевский Mашиностроительный Завод) in 1964.

Dragunov SVD doing what it does best.

For our soldiers in Vietnam, it was a tough replacement to encounter. The main precision rifle was the World War II Mosin Nagant sniper rifle. Both the Mosin and the SVD came chambered in the same cartridge. However, the Dragunov was a semi-automatic platform and with the PSO-1 scope mounted as a package, a new weapon for the WARSAW Pact was born. The bolt action Mosins came with the PE scope that was an antiquated upgrade from the PU scopes. The Mosin was more plentiful in Vietnam but it was in its sunset. The dawn of the SVD had just begun.

Mosin Nagant M9130 sniper rifle

The fixed iron sights work best for close-in contact. The side-mounted PSO-1 scope gives it the long reach, allowing use of the iron sights as well. It has a 4x magnification and 24mm objective thus making the scope a fixed 4×24. The field of view is 6°. While not an overwhelming piece of glass, it was much better than the PE or PU scopes previously issued to snipers. It did have a bit of modern technology in that it had Bullet Drop Compensation (BDC) for elevation.

Dragunov SVD PSO-1 Scope with BDC

The lightness of this rifle comes from the hollowed-out stock. A majority of the weight of a gun like this can be in a solid wood stock. The best woods for stocks are not made of balsa wood but strong wood. Strong wood is usually heavy wood. If you do not believe that, go cut you a five-foot length of Black Walnut and run around the block with it. Sadly the wood stock was very appealing in appearance but like most tactical rifles these days synthetic stocks in flat earth tones or boring old black are now replacing the beauty of the wood. Put your pitchforks down, please. I recognize that tactically for field use, that is the smart call. I just like the look of wood on rifles. Nevertheless, my tactical rifle has a black synthetic stock. Can we be friends again? спасибо!

Unfortunately for our troops, like many things Soviet, they were built tough and by the thousands. Additionally, the great copy machine of military technology – the Chinese – picked up the design and made thousands more of them, calling them Type 79 and later Type 85. Presently, the SVD is a formidable foe in a place like Afghanistan, where long shots are the norm for an enemy that avoids a stand up fight. We will have to contend with this silent and deadly enemy for a long time to come.

Конец быстрой для человека в целевом Тихая смерть

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Comments (2)

  • MMSDave

    |

    I’ll take 2 and 4 or 5 thousand rounds to go. That should get me through this political winter.

    Reply

  • Michael

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    I still want one! Something so classic and ominous just cries to be in my collection!

    Reply

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