Review and Range Report
|Some of you may have caught the article in the Feb. 2000 issue of Gun World magazine about the Izhmash LOS-7-1. This article, written by David Fortier, was seven pages of high praise for a little known Russian bolt-action rifle that "knocked the socks off" the writer. I was thoroughly impressed by the reported accuracy of this lightweight .308 gun which had given a three shot grouping of 1 7/8 inches at 300 yards to Mr. Fortier. But the hard part was actually finding the rifle anywhere. The importer, Kalashnikov-USA of Port Saint Lucie, Florida, did a lousy job of marketing what could have been a strong seller.|
|When I finally came across one, it was in a local gun shop that I'd never been to. I spotted the rifle hanging on the wall almost immediately. It stands out because of its light-colored wood stock and hooded front sight post. It’s not the beauty that its cousin, the Dragunov SVD (which is manufactured in the same Russian factory), is but I was more interested in its performance over its looks.|
|If you read Fortier's article, you would know that this rifle has a very impressive array of features. These include a medium-weight free floated barrel, a stock that is both glass and pillar bedded, a fully adjustable trigger, detachable 5 round magazine, iron sights with a removable front hood, scope groove on the top of the receiver, and a thick rubber recoil pad. It also comes with an accessory package of a spare 5 round magazine, scope rings, cleaning kit and rod, tools and an oil bottle. All this for a suggested (year 2000) retail price of $357 though you could opt for a Russian 7x29 scope bringing the price to $495.|
Since I was in a retail shop, I ended up paying the full $500 price for a used gun with only one magazine and no accessories or manuals. It did come with the Russian scope with its busy range-finding illuminated reticle (with multiple aiming chevrons).
The bolt (which appears to be brushed chrome) cocks on opening and is a bit stiff pulling the handle up. Cycling the action is not as smooth as I'd like, but it may get better with use.
|OK on to the nitty gritty: I took the rifle out for some accuracy testing with several different handloads and some factory Federal Gold Medal match. I was shooting at 100 yards and as I only believe in 5 shot groups (instead of 3) that are repeatable here are my honest results:|
|I have no idea what the twist rate is of this chrome-lined barrel so I shot both 147 grain and 168 grain bullets for comparison. The 147 grain NATO FMJ bullets were bought from Midway and I actually weighed each one to keep things as consistent as possible. The rifle really hated those bullets. If I only had surplus ammo to shoot, I would think this rifle sucks. Average grouping was like 5 inches. Recoil was quite comfortable with those light bullets.|
|The 168's I used were from Hornady and Nosler. The powder charges varied from 41 to 43 grains of IMR 4064. First of all I am no expert reloader so don't try anything you see here without looking through a manual. What I found was the rifle didn't like my Hornady loads but really liked the Nosler HPBT. I would have tried Sierra Match Kings but they are so expensive now that I prefer the Noslers.|
|The Federal Gold Medal Match was probably the best performer as you can see from the picture. That's a sub inch group. It also hit to point of aim whereas my reloads were a bit to the right even though the bullet weight was the same. What's really impressive is that it usually takes me a couple shooting sessions to get used to a new rifle's trigger and get the thing shooting well. This LOS-7 was easy to shoot from the get-go. I don't have much experience behind commercial bolt actions but the trigger is surprisingly nice and the rifle feels well balanced. Because it is fairly light, the recoil is stout, but the thick rubber recoil pad helps reduce shoulder fatigue. I didn't come home with a bruised shoulder which is normal when shooting a Mosin Nagant with a steel buttplate. In fact there was nothing about this rifle that reminded me of the Russian surplus rifles I'm used to shooting.|