Russian Dragunov SVD Military Sniper Rifle 7.62x54Rmm
Снайперская винтовка Драгунова СВД
7.62 mm Izhmash SVD
7.62mm x 54r
fore, post; rear, U notch; adjustable 0 to 1200 m; Scope: 4x24 PSO-1M2
Russian SVD sniper kit from the Izhmash factory in Izhevsk. In addition to the five magazines and pouch, there is a cleaning kit with sectioned rods and a remote scope battery compartment plus an amber polarizing filter. Scope is standard PSO-1M2 4x24 power which is detachable via a side dovetail rail.
The sling is a standard Kalashnikov canvas type.
What the SVD is: A semi-automatic (one shot per pull of the trigger) rifle designed for reliable operation in extreme environments. Its main purpose is to extend the reach of an infrantryman beyond the limitations of their standard rifle's caliber and sighting system. Accurate aimed fire at fleeting targets is possible due to the 4 power scope's wide field of view and lead correction markings on the reticle. One-ragged-hole groups are not necessary with this type of rifle, though it is capable of excellent accuracy with proper ammunition.
What the SVD is not: A traditional sniper's rifle capable of extreme accuracy at great distances. Comparing the SVD to a Remington 700, Sako TRG, or similar rifle is like comparing a Jeep to a tank.
Typical dense Russian woods environment where long distance shooting is not common.
The Russian SVD (Snayperskaya Vintovka Dragunova) was intriduced in 1963 as a replacement to the Mosin Nagant M91/30 and SVT Tokarev sniper rifles. The designer, Evgeniy Dragunov, had the complex task of designing a sniper rifle that was both accurate and reliable in a wide variety of condtions. From Valery Shilin's excellent biographyof E. Dragunov, he describes the complicated task of obtaining this goal.
Since the Dragunov SVD is more expensive to manufacture than the ubiquitous Kalashnikov, only a few countries have been able to produce the rifle themselves.
The first version of the SVD-63 rifle featured laminated wood hand guards with 6 holes (3 on each side), lightening cuts on each side of the receiver, a ribbed receiver cover, and a PSO-1 scope with a built-in infra-red light detection screen.
The barrel twist on the earliest SVDs was 1:320mm or 1:12.5 inches. In the late 1970s the twist rate was changed to 1:240mm or about 1:9.5 inches to handle newer bullets.
Izhmash arsenal cartouche (arrow with fletching feathers in a triangle). Early SVDs had the receiver markings applied by hand with an engraving tool. Note the SVD from 1971 has a letter prefix and a 3 digit serial number (the last number is digitally obscured). From around 1973 the prefix became two letters and 3 numbers. At some point, probably around 1977 or 78, the serial numbers changed to five digits and no letter prefix.
The г (Г in Russian ciryllic) is an abbreviation of "год" (the Russian word for year) and just signifies the number is a date rather than a serial number.
An update to the SVD features black polyamid plastic hand guards with a ribbed gripping area.
This aided the soldier in keeping hold of the SVD while seated in a vehicle or helicopter with the muzzle pointed up.
The PSO-1 scope was replaced with the PSO-1M2 which deleted the obsolete infra-red detector.
After 1993 a new receiver was developed that eliminated the lightening cut out on the sides. This gave added strength to the receiver and allowed Izhmash to offer the SVD in more calibers.
A new black polyamid butt stock was also added that is more ergonomic and weather-resistant. Plus the built-in cheek pad eliminated the problem of lost or stolen pads during use.
The Chinese version of the SVD is called the Type-79 sniper's rifle, later updated to the Type-85. It has design features similar to the earliest variation of the Russian SVD-63, though it is not an exact copy. Differences include shiny black finish, slanted trigger guard, laminated wood stock parts are more orange tinted.
Iran manufactures a copy of the Chinese Dragunov called the Nakhjir sniper rifle in 7.62x54R.
Poland attempted to update their aging Russian SVD rifles during a military modernization trial program. Their model SWD was upgraded with a heavier barrel, variable magnification scope, and detachable bipod. The SWD-M (M=modern) rifle did not survive the change to NATO standardization in Poland's military and this program was suspended.
There was a variation of the SVD chambered in 9.3x64mm cartridge. After testing began around 2006 it was never officially adopted into the Russian military.
The SVDK uses a rimless 9.3 x 64 mm Brenneke cartridge also known as 7N33 in Russia.
This rifle had a much larger bottom receiver portion to fit the longer 9mm magazine. Scope dovetail rail was shorter.
A variant of the Tiger hunting rifle called the Tigr-9 were manufactured briefly. The production has ceased on these due to high manufacturing costs and low demand. Unlike the military SVDK, the receiver was not modified with the larger area around the magazine well.
SVD in use
This Russian sniper demonstrates the proper aiming position of the SVD. Note the support hand is holding the magazine and not the hand guards. The sling is allowed to hang free so it does not induce pressure on the barrel.
A magazine hold also eliminates the upward pressure of the hand guards against the barrel, which interferes with barrel harmonics. This is also why a bipod can not be effectively mounted below the hand guards. (Photo by RomanS of militaryphotos.net)
Note how much bolt bounce is present. Recoil is stout on these light rifles.
A soldier stationed in Iraq emailed this photo of a personal trophy liberated in the field. This Russian SVD has seen heavy use.Note the modified Romanian ten round PSL magazine inserted instead of the proper Russian version.
The built-in optics dovetail rail on the SVD allows the use of a wide variety of day and night optical sights.
The SVD on the bottom features a 1PN58 night vision scope.