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Dragunov SVD Sniper Rifle (1963)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 6/22/2015

The Dragunov SVD was the standard Warsaw Pact sniper rifle and is still in service today.

The Dragunov SVD sniper rifle is an automatic rifle based on the Kalashnikov rifle series. The weapon system was the standard sniper rifle issued to the Red Army and most Warsaw Pact nations during the cold war.

The SVD utilizes the heavy and hard-hitting 7.62mm round, with sighting accomplished through a removable scope (designated as the PSO-1). Unlike the Kalashnikov rifles it copies, the SVD actually uses a lower-recoil system so as not to spoil the accuracy of a given shot. The rifle system as a whole is quite long (nearly 50 inches) and features a fixed stock. The Dragunov SVD is still a favorite of snipers in former satellite states such as Iraq, where it is being used in guerilla warfare. It has proven quite easy to fire (the low recoil system mentioned earlier makes it so) and is as accurate as the shooter is trained to be.

There is also a sport rifle based on the military SVD known as the Medved (or "Bear") and is chambered to fire the 9x54R cartridge. Though over forty years old, the SVD can and will be found in some form or another all across the globe for decades to come.

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Specifications for the
Dragunov SVD
Sniper Rifle

Country of Origin: Soviet Union
Manufacturer: Izhmash - Soviet Union/Russia; Norinco - China; Zastava Arms - Serbia
Initial Year of Service: 1963

Overall Length: 1225 mm (48.23 in)
Barrel Length: 620.00 mm (24.41 in)
Weight (Empty): 9.50 lb (4.31 kg)

Caliber*: 7.62x54R Russian
Action: Gas-Operated; Rotating Bolt
Feed: 10-Round Detachable Box Magazine
Muzzle Velocity: 2,723 ft/sec (830 m/sec)
Range: 4,265 ft (1,300 m; 1,422 yds)
Sights: Mechanically-adjusted iron sights (backup rear); sliding tangent rear; optional optics

* Listed caliber(s) for firearms may be model dependent if more than one model type/chambering was produced. Always consult official manufacturer's information or a licensed dealer.

SVD - Base Sniper Model Designation

SVDS - Folding tubular metal stock; cone-shaped flash-hider; synthetic pistol grip; fixed cheekpiece; synthetic shoulder pad; revised barrel; improved gas cylinder.

SVDSN - Night-Capable SVDS variant.

SVDN - Night-Equipped SVD rifle; adaptable to several types of night optic telescopic sights.

SVD Medved - Sport rifle

SVU - Assault sniper rifle; shortened barrel; PSO-1 telescopic sight; bullpup layout; triple-baffle muzzle brake; improved recoil reduction; folding iron sights.

SVU-A - Selective fire capability; based on the SVU model; 20-round magazine.

SWD-M - Modernized SVD; heavier barrel; LD-6 (6x42) telescopic sight capable.

"Nakhjir" - Iranian license-production copy of the SVD

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