Range Reports

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Norinco NDM-86


NDM-86 Report 1

NDM-86 Report 2

Norinco NDM-86 Range Reports

100 yard group

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Executive Member

I was shooting my .308 NDM-86 over the weekend along with my Enfield #4 and had the usual crowd gather around. Where I shoot there are rifle racks behind the shooting tables and that's where I keep the SVD while I shoot whatever else I bring. I started to get the usual questions of "What IS that?" and "How much did you pay?" (Which I really don't like to answer, so if you are one of those people who absolutely HAS to know what someone paid for a rifle or whatever, please don't expect that everyone is comfortable answering) So this guy who brought his M-1A's turns to his buddy and says "Those things are over-rated. When I shoot highpower 99% of all the rifles are M-1A's." I ignored the ignorant guy but got a lot of pleasure in showing his buddy, a little later, my 5 shot group with the SVD. I had managed a 4 shot clover pattern with the 5th opening the group up to just under an inch. I was using 168gr Federal match at 100 yards. His know-it-all buddy came over and grunted as he saw my target and then walked away.

NDM-86 3 shot group @ 100 yards
3 shot group at 100 yards with .308 handloads through the Chinese NDM-86 utilizing the Russian bipod.

100 yard group
10 shots at the same distance. The lower cluster shows 4 shots in almost the same hole!

How does it shoot at 500m? 800m? sounds real nice at 100!

Super Moderator

Bob, At 800 meters you're dead.....nuff said. I get a 6" group @ 600yds with 175 BTHP Moly Black Hills in the Orange.

Executive Member

I took the SVD out again today and as soon as I was setting my stuff down on the shooting bench this guy 2 tables down looks at my stuff and asks me to move farther down the lanes. "I don't want to get hit by your ejecting shells", he says. This is one of those guys who brings a custom bolt action rifle with fluted barrel, you know the works, and lines all his handloads up nicely and is shooting about 1 round every 5 minutes through a chronograph. Anyway I'm starting to get this snobbish vibe from the guy and it's annoying me. So I move 5 tables away from the guy, no one in between us, and load up my .308 SVD. First shot I take, the shell flies in this long arc and hits the snobby guy square on the cheek! These SVD's are not only accurate shooting forward, but also sideways!


Range Report on the 7.62x54R NDM-86 (from a post on

"Mine is 54r and shoots about 2-4 inch groups at 100 yards with wolf 148gr FMJ. Czech silvertip 148gr is very similar, maybe a little tighter depending on the particular box I'm shooting out of.
WWB 200gr gave about 4 inch group at 100 yards and is a little heavier on the shoulder.

At 300 yards the wolf 148gr opened up for me a lot, I was consistently hitting a 12" x 18" Shoot N C target but wasn't getting particularly tight patterns. Frankly I have a lot to learn about shooting this rifle, all my 200-300 yard experience has been with M16A2 and irons, so with the NDM I find that I have learn how to adjust for the recoil and use the scope properly.

There is no doubt in my mind this rifle can do better, the limitation here is clearly me but as time goes on the groups get better and better. A friend is cooking up some hand loads for it, next step is to slug the bore to get a good sizing. From there we'll probably be able to come up with a consistent round that will do well and then its practice practice practice. "

"I either got a 1.7" or 2.3" (cannot remember which) grouping using Wolf 147gr ammo. And that was with one flier. I'm sure the rifle could have done in others hands."

"The SVD is misnamed as a sniper rifle, it is a squad support rifle. The 7.62x54R is not super accurate, probably 2.5 moa on average. I know that the .308 versions have a much better reputation for accuracy.

Here is my first and only outing so far. The target was 100m and I was firing Wolf.

100 yards with Wolf

Wolf 3 shot group

Best 3 shot group:

NDM86 at range

On my end, I was shooting this thing for the first time. I never had any experience with anything even similar. The Chinese/Russian scope is not really designed for precision IMO, no traditional crosshairs. I only had 100m to shake this bitch out, I'd like to really get settled in at around 300m sometime."


Another NDM-86 owner:
Had my .308 NDM-86 out to the range yesterday. I have shot target rifles in all sorts of disciplines for almost 20 years, and I would have bet you green money that a Drag would at best consistently hold about 1.5 moa with match ammo. I bought it because it looked like the devil's own rifle. First, let me say I solved a bad extraction problem caused by shooting CAVIM surplus ammo. I only fired my handloads and everything worked perfectly. Second, I have fired only about 50 rounds total in 2 range trips and after initial zeroing I fired four 3 shot groups, 2 @ 100 and 2 @ 200 yards. And yesterday I collected 9 shots on the 200 yard target fired over a 2 hour period (changing light and wind). The two 3 shot groups @ 200 were 1.5" and 1.75". The two 100 yard groups were .75" and .4375" (see picture). The 9 shots on the 200 yard target were a total of 2.5" All this with a 4 power inverted V reticle not very suitable for benchrest shooting. To say I am impressed is an understatement. This rifle shoots incredibly for such a lightweight piece. I also see no need to shoot 5 or 10 shot groups as it is not a match rifle, it is a sniper rifle. I would post this on the SVD Discussion Board but no one would believe it unless they owned one. If only this rifle didn't have a cheesy paint job, it would be perfect.
100 yard target


Dave Fortier had some additional comments:
In my own testing of a Russian SVD I have found they will hover around 1 MOA for 5 shot groups. Sometimes better sometimes not. I have shot sub-MOA groups at 300 yards, but it is not easy. Switching to a Chinese .308 SVD with Winchester 168 grain Match, shooting off a pack prone, I shot consistent 3.25" inch groups at 400 yards. So they will shoot. The triggers are 2-3 pounds, and Marc Krebs did a trigger job on one of my rifles giving it a superb letoff. The trigger on these are well designed. Keep in mind that the 7N1 and its replacement the 7N14 (which I have not had a chance to test, it's a 152 grain lead core projectile that is supposed to offer the best accuracy) are NOT match loads but sniper loads. With a true Match load in a 155 grain weight or so it would be quite interesting to see what it is capable of. With generic ball, groups DO open up to a couple inches at 100 yards........but so does an Army M24. I agree that the rifle is effective out to 700-800 meters or so depending on operator skill. One shot one kill.

The unique stock is VERY different from what U.S. shooters are used to. It is a competition style thumbhole affair with a full pistolgrip. Remember E. Dragunov designed mostly sporting and competition guns, not military weapons. His rifles have taken Olympic Gold Medals. Due to the Theater of Operations of the Russian Army, the stock has a short 12.5" length of pull, for winter use. I live in Maine so believe me, the short stock is a must when wearing a thick jacket in extreme cold. It feels strange at first, but if you train with it - and only it - for some time you begin to understand.




"A Russian cartridge collector friend and co-worker recently blew up a Chinese Dragunov while shooting groups to compare different types of factory ammo. The rifle had been fired previously for several hundred rounds using various LPS ball rounds. Then he tried some Soviet match ammo, from arsenal 188, dated '80. The very first round blew the gun!
The case let go at the ejector cut in the bolt and the primer disappeared. The bolt head is cracked at the lip nearest the ejector cut, the top cover was flattened out by gas, and the edge of the bolt carrier was galled.
Upon returning home, my friend went thru his extensive cartridge collection and had a blown, fired case that was of the same arsenal, dated '62, documented as having also been fired in a Dragonov. The case look identical, except that the '62 case was a battlefield pickup from the middle east.
This ammo has been previously successfully fired in an SVT 40 with flattened primers, but no other ill effects. Sorry, we don't have a digital camera available to post pics. This is an FYI post."


"I notice that this was the first round fired. Did it fire upon chambering, or did he pull the trigger? Chinese Dragunovs are known to be an out-of-battery slamfire risk, but usually only the ones in .308. The problem is that they have a large free floating firing pin, which spells bad news for anything other than milspec primers. You were asking for trouble firing commercial .308 in a Chinese Dragunov. Many were recalled and a spring installed to remedy this problem. Check CDNN's web site and see that they still are taking them back (only the ones sold by them). I have never heard of an issue in 54R. I assumed that this was because all the ammo readily available had very hard primers, and the problem never surfaced as a result.
I have a TIGR Dragunov (true Soviet, but the commercial version), and it has a sprung pin. I guess they noted a risk, and added the spring. Something the Chinese didn't do..."


"FYI, the shooter was not hurt. No gas got to him, all went out to the right. The round went off when the trigger was pulled. We sectioned a case and it appears the webbing is thinner than on GI cases. The bullet is noticably longer with a blunter ogive. We need to see if the bullet is contacting the rifling when chambered. I will post when we find out. It appears we can weld up and remachine the bolt, as the locking lugs were not damaged."

"A followup: the rifle was brought into work today, along with some unfired ammo. No additional damage was done to the receiver or barrel, tho the rear sight was damaged from sudden contact with the bottom of the scope.
When inserting cartridges into the chamber by hand, standard LPS ball freely entered and extracted. The Match ammo, on the other hand, had the bullet forcibly contact the rifling. It had to be pushed with about 25 lbs of thumb pressure for it to seat into the chamber. When pried out, there were rifling marks about .050" long on the bullet. This bullet has probably the longest bearing surface of any .30 cal projectile I have ever seen. This may have been a contributing factor. This same ammo has been safely used in several Mosin Nagant bolt rifles and a few Tokarev semi rifles as well. The match ammo does not contact the rifling in the several M/N rifles we checked it in."

3-4CAV on

"I learned the hard way, when I was VII Corps foreign weapons instructor, that the Soviet SVD was lethal in two directions: First, for those unfortunate enough to be downrange when someone who knows how to use it is shooting at them, and second, for those who are unfortunate enough to be standing on the right side of it when it ejects an empty cartridge. I was shooting from a bench, and the guy next to me had blurred vision for a couple weeks when an ejected cartridge hit him right in the temple. I felt bad, because it was the first time I'd fired the weapon and he was a pilot, and the blurred vision grounded him and required a medical board. "

mike radford
Gunboards Member

Posted - 02/07/2006 : 11:45:53
"I dream of a KBI import SVD.... My buddy, who spent $5000 for a fully equiped Stoner SR 25, love/hates my 308 NDM-86 Drag. It outshot his rifle first time out at both our hands."