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Dragunov 7.62x54mm Sniper Rifle (SVD)

The Russians have a well-designed sniper weapon called the 7.62-mm Dragunov sniper rifle (SVD). The Dragunov semiautomatic rifle was adopted by the military in 1963, and it was the most sophisticated of all models of this type of rifle. The maximum range of the Dragunov semiautomatic rifle with an optical sight is 1,300 mters. It permits successful fire in twilight, in no light and in cloudy weather, when firing a rifle with an open sight is difficult.

The SVD is a semiautomatic, gas-operated, 10-round box, magazine-fed, 7.62-mm x 54 (rimmed) weapon. It is equipped with metallic sights and the PSO-1 4-power telescopic sight with a battery-powered, illuminated reticle. The PSO-1 also incorporates a metascope that can detect an infrared source. Used by the former Warsaw Pact armies, this thumbhole/pistol-grip-style stocked weapon weighs 9.64 pounds with telescope and 10-round magazine. This weapon is 48.2 inches long with a 21.5-inch barrel, a muzzle velocity of 2,722 fps, and a maximum effective range of 600 to 800 meters.

The Soviets supplied their troops with field glasses equipped with an IR detection system and the same system was employed In the scope fcr the Dragunov (SVD) sniper rifle, both good passive detectors, with the latter also a capable "discourager" of undisciplined use on the part of any possible opponent.

The Russian Defense Ministry will purchase new sniper rifles next year, Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov said on 26 December 2012. Under the arms procurement program for 2013, Degtyarev 6S8-1 12.7-mm rifles will be bought for the Russian Armed Forces and from 2014 the ministry will start buying Dragunov 7.62-mm, VSS 9-mm and ASVK 12.7-mm rifles, as well as new optical-electronic sights he said.

By 2016, Russia plans to deploy a total of 1,000 snipers to motorized rifle and tank brigades who would be capable of felling an enemy at a distance of 1--2 kilometers. The next generation of snipers will be recruited from among contract servicemen, and undergo a longer period of training.

The snipers will be issued with the classic Dragunov SVD 7.62-millimeter and VS 9-millimeter rifles. This represents a reversal of the decision in 2011 to halt production of the Dragunov, which is considered inferior to NATO issue rifles. The Dragunov does, however, have the advantage of functioning perfectly in adverse weather conditions, which could explain its popularity among Chechen resistance fighters.

Despite the employment of a short-stroke gas piston operating system on the highly accurate, Soviet-era SVD Dragunov sniper rifle, some experts still contend that the direct gas impingement system provides inherently more accuracy than a firearm utilizing a gas piston system.




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