The Russian SV-98 sniper was brought about to replace the ages-old SVD series in some Russian agencies. While the SVD series proved a capable long-range sniping platform in its own right, it still maintained origins well-laid in the Cold War years. What modern Russia needed now was a more modern system taking into account the changing face of warfare, Russian doctrine in the post-Cold War world and technological advancements. Thusly, the SV-98 sniper rifle was born.
Design of the SV-98 - under the direction of Vladimir Stronskiy, began in 1998. The design was based on the Izhmash Record-CISM series. After a period of evaluation, serial production followed and was undertaken out of the Izhmash OJSC facilities with service entry of the weapon into the inventories of the Russian special forces - including Spetsnaz- and some police units in 1998.
Outwardly, the SV-98 attains a most conventional appearance as sniper rifles go. All of the major internal working components are naturally housed in the receiver. An ergonomic shoulder stock is set to the rear of the weapon with the barrel ahead of the receiver. The system utilizes a pistol-style grip handle with an integrated trigger system protected within an oblong ring. A forestock is fitted to the lower forend of the receiver. The magazine feed it just ahead of the trigger unit along the bottom face of the receiver. The shoulder stock is constructed of laminated plywood and features a thumbhole, adjustable buttplate and cheek comb for comfort and can mount a carrying handle. A molded fiberglass stock can be substituted for the wood version when ordering. An adjustable bipod is standard as is a rear-set monopod. Loops at the forend and the stock can address the fitting of a shoulder strap for marching.
The SV-98 weighs in at just over 17lbs when fully-equipped with magazine, suppressor and sighting equipment. She features a base running length (sans barrel attachments) of 47.24 inches with a barrel measuring in at 25.59 inches. The barrel sports a 4-groove design with a right-hand twisting pattern and is free-floating within the design. The SV-98 is chambered for the Russian 7.62x54mmR cartridge as well as the 7.62x51mm NATO-standard round (.308 Winchester) with an effective listed range out to 1,100 yards utilizing optical sights and 650 yards when using the standard iron fittings. The weapon is fed by a spring-loaded, 10-round, plastic bodied, detachable box magazine system while the trigger presusre is adjustable to suit the operator. A Picatinny-style rail system is affixed to the top of the receiver, allowing for various optics fixtures to be utilized - both Russian and foreign as needed. The standard Russian sight for the SV-98 is the PKS-07 series sight of 7x power. In addition to optional optics systems, the SV-98 is completed with a threaded barrel which opens it up to use with various suppressor systems or specialized muzzle brakes. Both the barrel and action of the SV-98 are of cold hammer forged processes while the bolt features a rotating bolt mechanizm and three locking lugs. As a bolt-action rifle, the SV-98 relies on a manually-operated lever that requires the operator to manage. The action ejects any spent casings in the firing chamber while introducing a fresh cartridge ready-to-fire.
In practice, the SV-98 has proven effective in the capable hands of Spetnatz elements - particularly when utilizing the 7.62x51 NATO catridge over the typical Russian sniper ammunition. Despite the promising nature of the SV-98 system, the Russian Army has not adopted the type into their service, in part, due to concerns about true performance specifications.
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