Frequently Asked Questions :

  1. "Who makes the best Dragunov?"

  2. "Ok, should I get a Russian or a Chinese version?"

  3. "About how much will one of these cost me?"

  4. "I just bought a Dragunov parts kit, which receiver can I use?"

  5. "I am a lucky owner of a Russian SVD imported by KBI. Why is my receiver different from military SVDs?"

  6. "Why does my 7.62x54R SVD only get about 2 MOA?"

  7. "What are the differences between the 7N1 and the 7N14?"

  8. "Where can I get this match grade ammo?"

  9. "Do I need to only use light-weight bullets when shooting my Dragunov?"

  10. "I have a Romanian "SVD". If it isn't a Dragunov, what is it?"

  11. "I just bought a Tiger. Is this a real Dragunov or fake SVD, or what?"

  12. "The chamber on my Tiger's barrel looks damaged, help!"

  13. "I have a Chinese NDM-86, is this really a Russian SVD?"

  14. "I hear shooting reloads gives the best accuracy but I've never done it before

  15. "My cartridge cases are getting dented after I fire them, is this normal?"

  16. "Why can't SVDs be imported from Russia again?"

  17. "I bought a Dragunov magazine online and it doesn't work. Why is that?"

  18. "Why is the scope on my Dragunov not centered over the receiver?"

  19. "What's the best scope to buy for my rifle?"

  20. "Can I legally add SVD military parts to my Dragunov Tiger?"

  21. "What kind of sling do I use for my rifle?"

  22. "What kind of bayonet fits my Dragunov?"

  23. "Where can I get your catalog" or "Do you sell rifles or parts?"

  24. "How do I use this website? The menus seem confusing."

Dragunov Questions

"Who makes the best Dragunov?"

Well, first of all we can rule out the Romanian version. Regardless of what you may have seen in advertisements, there is no such thing as a Romanian Dragunov. The two manufacturers that are available here in the US are Norinco from China and Izhmash from Russia.

"Ok, should I get a Russian or a Chinese version?"

If you can afford the price of a Russian manufactured SVD then get that one...if you can find one for sale. KBI imported about 100 of these military SVDs from Russia in the early 1990s so it may take time to find one offered for sale. By the way, Russian military SVDs qualify as Curio & Relics. As shooters, both are equally accurate. The differences are mainly cosmetic. The Chinese rifles are usually painted with a high gloss black paint that easily chips, plus the metal surfaces are a little rougher in appearance. Also the Chinese NDM-86 has a slightly different receiver cover. The Russian SVDs have a semi-flat black coating that is extremely durable. The quality of the metal is very good on either rifle.

If you come across a Russian SVD in rough condition or missing parts it probably has been brought back from a war zone. If there is no US importer info marked anywhere on the receiver that is a big clue. Some people have said there is no legal way for a soldier to "bring back" a weapon from a war zone anymore. Make sure you verify the legality of owning one of these by contacting your local BATFE and/or DOJ office.

"About how much will one of these cost me?"

Here in the USA, you can expect values to be broken down like this:

Russian SVD: $6000 - $18,000 depending on condition and accessories.
Russian Tiger carbine: $2300 - $3800 also depending on condition and accessories (add $1000 to price if California Armory version).
Chinese NDM-86: $2800 - $5000 if in 7.62x54R and $2800 - $4500 if 7.62x51. Add premium if KFS imported Deluxe model in red velvet case

These prices are for reference only. You may find the occasional better deal online or much higher prices in your local shops. For the latest on how much people are willing to pay for these rifles, go to a gun auction web site and conduct a search on completed auctions.

"I just bought a Dragunov parts kit, which receiver can I use?"

What you most likely bought is a Romanian PSL parts kit. Even though they are being advertised as "Dragunov" rifles, they aren't. These kits are disassembled Romanian PSL rifles, known in the US as ROMAK-3 or SSG-97. The good news is that PSL receivers are easy to find if you live in the US. The bad here for more info. Another option available is the receiver made by NodakSpud.

For more discussion on building one of these kits, click on any forum from the links page.

"I am a lucky owner of a Russian SVD imported by KBI. Why is my receiver different from military SVDs?"

At some point around 1993 Izhmash updated their receiver design at the request of foreign end-users and ommited the outside lightening cut for both military and sporting rifles. This was to add strength to the receiver because the factory had been getting many requests to produce an SVD in non-standard calibers. The main difference between the Type 1 (old style) and the Type 2 (new smooth side) receivers are the lightening cuts over the magazine well. These cuts shaved off a few ounces of weight and gave some relief to the soldier who carried it. It also aided in tactile identification of where to insert the magazine in low-light conditions. (L to R: Tiger, KBI SVD, Military SVD). When KBI ordered your SVD from the Russian arsenal Izhmash, what they got were the latest specification of receiver, with lightening cuts on the inside only.

Comercial Izhmach Tiger Receiver Izhmach SVD Receiver 
      Imported By KBI Izmach Military SVD Receiver

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"I have a Romanian "SVD". If it isn't a Dragunov, what is it?"

What you have is a "PSL " which is a Kalashnikov design, not a Dragunov design. It is a Designated Marksman's rifle made in Romania. Years ago these rifles were mistakenly called FPKs by the US government and the name can still be found in use from time to time (though it is not correct). The receiver is a stamped sheet metal design that has reinforcement below the barrel trunion and at the rear cut-out to prevent cracks due to the powerful 7.62x54r cartridge. The gas system is like an AK series with the gas piston being attached to the bolt carrier. Click here for more comparison pictures

Click for more info

The rifle on the top is the PSL. On the bottom is the Russian Tigr/Tiger, a hunting rifle.

"I just bought a Tiger. Is this a real Dragunov or fake SVD, or what?

Your Tiger is a real Dragunov. If someone asks what you have you can say "It's a Dragunov" but just add in "Tiger". Yevgeniy Dragunov was the designer of your rifle and the model is the Tiger (or SVD if that's what you have). This is similar to people who own a Saiga or MAK-90. They would say they own a "Kalashnikov" because that is who designed their rifle.

"The chamber on my Tiger's barrel looks damaged, help!"

If you just noticed what looks like a few chunks of steel missing from around the outer edge of the chamber, don't worry, it's normal. This is part of the design due to the cartridge being rimmed. This, of course, only applies to people with a rifle chambered in 7.62x54R. Now that you are looking in that area, this is a good time to inspect the triangular piece of metal that moves the bolt lugs as the bolt closes on the chamber. Make sure it is clean, not damaged (mushrooming edges or chips) and apply a little grease there.

"I have a Chinese NDM-86, is this really a Russian SVD?"

Despite what you may have read on some internet forum, there has never been any credible evidence that a Chinese NDM-86 uses Russian SVD parts, or has a scrubbed Russian SVD receiver. This rumor continues to persist possibly fueled by certain unexplained stamped symbols on the Chinese receiver that are mistaken for Russian proofs. The two most obvious strikes against this theory are 1) Russia and China were enemies during the period when the Chinese adopted the Type-79 Dragunov rifle (about 1979). It is unlikely the Soviets would have shared the design of their advanced (for the time) sniper rifle with a country they were close to being at war with. 2) The Chinese are world famous for reverse-engineering and copying products they do not hold the patents for. They have a known history of copying Russian arms without permission.

"Why can't SVDs be imported from Russia again?"

Russian SVDs and Tigers, and Chinese NDM-86s are banned under different agreements with Russia and China. You will not be able to get newly imported Dragunovs now that the "Assault Weapon Ban" has expired . Pres. Clinton banned Chinese imports of arms and ammunition to the United States in 1994, which was a separate ban from the Russian Voluntary Restriction on Arms and Ammunition. It is Russia, not the US, that is preventing new Dragunov rifles from being imported to the US.

For more information about the ban on Russian Dragunovs click here: Russian Agreement on Arms

"I bought a Dragunov magazine online and it doesn't work. Why is that?"

Although Romanian PSL magazines have a very similar appearance to SVD magazines they are not interchangeable with a Chinese or Russian Dragunov rifle. However it is possible to modify the locking tabs of the PSL magazine to fit the Dragunov. See here for details.

Romanian PSL magazineRussian SVD magazines


Ammunition Questions

"Why does my 7.62x54R Dragunov only get about 2 MOA?"

The reason is most likely because you are shooting old military surplus ammo that you paid $100 for a 440 round tin. The SVD was designed to shoot a match grade cartridge called 7N1 and 7N14.

"What are the differences between the 7N1 and the 7N14?"

The 7N1 was the original load developed by Russian armorer Sabelnikov in conjunction with the development of the SVD back in the late 1950's. It has a steel jacketed projectile with an air pocket, steel core, and a lead knocker in the base. The 7N14 is a new load developed for the SVD. It consists of a 151 grain projectile which travels at the same 2723 fps, but it has a lead core projectile and is supposed to be the more accurate of the two. Nikolai Bezborodov, head of R&D at Izhmash, stated that it was the most accurate load for the SVD.

"Where can I get this match grade ammo?"

Unfortunately very little was imported in to the US for resale. The Russian government has never been interested in exporting their official sniper ammunition. What has made it here has come via captured quantities from the Middle East and is now being sold by collectors. A large quantity of Russian 7N1 was imported to the US in April 2006 and sold to the general public for about $150 per case of 880 rounds. Within 2 months it was all sold out and the price has skyrocketed.

"Do I need to only use light-weight bullets when shooting my Dragunov?"

Yes and no. Yes you should stick with lighter bullets if you actually have a Romanian PSL (sometimes mistakenly called a "Dragunov"). No, if you have a 7.62x54R Russian or Chinese Dragunov. A Romanian PSL is designed to use bullets in the 150 grain range. There have been reports of damaged receivers and other parts when heavy bullets are used. See this page for more info .

However the Russian manufacturer of the Tigr and SVD (Izhmash) states on their web site that bullets up to about 204 grains are safe.

"I hear shooting reloads gives the best accuracy but I've never done it before"

Reloading is very common among Dragunov owners and can be a pleasant part of your shooting experience. It is possible to reload both the 7.62x54R caliber (.311 bullets) and the 7.62x51NATO (.308 bullets). You just need to start with Boxer primed brass, either already fired in your rifle or purchased brand new. To determine if a spent case has a Boxer primer look inside at the bottom of the case. If you see one tiny hole it's a boxer primer. Two holes means it is a Berdan primer and can not easily be reloaded. For a basic starter in becoming a reloader click here.

"My cartridge cases are getting dented after I fire them, is this normal?"

If you weren't aware of the flight pattern of ejected cases this video may help as well as this one.

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Optics Questions

"Why is the scope on my Dragunov not centered over the receiver?"

Ever wonder why all Russian scopes sit off-center over the receiver of your rifle? It is not because the designers have a bias against left handed shooters. It is to aid the shooter who wants to switch from looking through the scope to using the iron sights. The off-set design allows quick and easy switching between the two.

According to someone at Izhmash, the original design of the Dragunov sniper rifle was to have a feature that allowed it to be loaded from the top with the magazine still inserted. The receiver cover originally was similar to the SKS design. The scope had to be off to the side to allow space for this feature. When the top loading idea was scrapped the PSO-1 scope and mount had already been designed. It was decided to retain the offset design and extra instructions were given to each soldier issued the SVD to adjust for windage when changing elevation settings. Because the scope doesn't sight down the center of the bore a windage correction must be made each time the elevation is changed on the scope turret.
Early SVD protoype
More information about these on this page
Early SVD protoype rifle

A variation of this early design is the Russian Izhmash Medved rifle:

Medved Rifle

"What is the best scope to buy for my rifle?"

There are a variety of scopes available and choosing the best one is not always easy. Most of what is readily useable on the Dragunov rail is the POSP series made in Belarus. These come in various magnification powers from 4x24 up to the rare 10x42. The PO/PSO series are made in Russia and have a more direct military connection. The POSP and PSO scopes can be equally good but some people believe the Russian PSO scopes have better factory quality control so the chances of a defect are more rare.

The scopes model numbers tell you the magnification power and the objective bell size diameter in milimeters. What that means is a 4x24 scope has 4 power magnification and a 24mm diameter lens (the one facing away from the shooter, opposite your eye). A larger objective lens means more sunlight can get through the scope to make everything look brighter as you look through it. However large objective lenses sometimes bump against the rifle's parts, usually the rear sight leaf, as you slide it on to the side rail mount. So you have to make sure you are getting the scope that has the right mount for your rifle.

Also the higher the magnification the more the reticle will jump around as you look through it. It's more sensitive to your movements as you try to aim and can make accurate shooting frustrating unless you have a very steady hold. Lower power scopes are less sensitive to this.

The most common higher magnification scope is the POSP 8x42. They have different reticle types so you will need to decide which one you will need (SVD-style, mildot, German #1 post, etc). These larger scopes are quite heavy so if you will be carrying your rifle it may add too much weight for your comfort.

Lastly, factor in to your decision the kind of shooting you will most likely be doing, off-hand or supported, hunting targets at various distances, or a fixed target at a regular known distance, and so on. This article will give you more information about choosing a scope



General Questions

"Can I legally add SVD military parts to my Dragunov Tiger?"

According to a decision by the ATF Technical Branch and contained in this letter, owners of Dragunov Tigers may install military features such as flash hiders and polymer stock sets.

"What kind of sling do I use for my rifle?"

The SVD uses the same olive green cotton canvas sling as the Russian AKM. The PSL uses a dark green woven nylon (or brown leather) sling. The NDM-86 uses an olive green cotton canvas sling similar to the strap around the metal scope case. Each of these will have a metal clip on one end and a simple metal slide on the other. The Tiger sling does not use the metal hook clip since the front attachment point is a wide metal slot instead of the typical ring hole.

"What kind of bayonet fits my rifle?"

These rifles are designed to use the standard AK bayonet from which ever country built your rifle. There is no proprietary SVD bayonet. However not all rifles come with a bayonet mounting lug.

"Where can I get your catalog" or "Do you sell rifles or parts?"

I do not sell any rifles or parts. There is no catalog available and is not associated with the Russian maker of the Dragunov rifle (Izhmash). For parts click on this page.

"How do I use this website?"

You may have noticed the menu at the top of these pages where you can click over to pages featuring various Dragunov rifle types, optical sights, this FAQ, etc. There are also sidebars on the left and right side of the pages which contain more links to click. The sidebar on the left titled "Menu" is for pages within this web site that contain information related to a particular page you are reading. The sidebar on the right is for external links, meaning each link will take you away from to a website with related content. The links in these sidebars will be different on every page you read.

Do not forget to look at the bottom of the page in the footer section for even more links. The footer (and header) menu is the same on every page on this site. If you are interested in seeing every page on this web site click on the site map link. There are almost 60 pages of information here on!

Most of the links and photos have additional hidden info that pops up if you hover your cursor over them (if your browser supports this feature, not all do).


The new Dragunov owner take care to protect the finish from scrapes and chips that result from ejecting brass. The area to the rear of the ejection port is where the shell casing head scrapes against the receiver cover. Many owners will cover that area with a layer or 2 of black electrician's tape. You can also use black duct tape or whatever else that will not mar the finish and provide a cushion against contact from the brass.

scuffs on the ejection port

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