NORINCO Type 79 (SVD)
Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle
The Type 79 is a Chinese copy of the Soviet Dragunov SVD semi-automatic sniper rifle.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Once-close political ties between China and the Soviet Union led to closer military ties. As such, much of the Chinese stocks were of Soviet origination to which, at different points, localized license production of some weapons eventually occurred. One such direct Chinese copy of a Soviet product was the Type 79 semi-automatic sniper rifle which, for all intents and purposes, was the Soviet SVD line in Chinese guise. The People's Republic of China Army received their first SVD rifles from Soviet production lines and some may have been manufactured in China with delivered kits.
As in the Soviet model, the Type 79 was chambered for the 7.62x54R Russian cartridge and fed from a 10-round detachable box magazine. Outwardly, the Type 79 exhibited the same lines of the original Soviet design including its hollowed shoulder stock, wood furniture and long-running barrel assembly. The stock integrated into the pistol grip with the trigger unit just ahead, containing the curved trigger assembly. Ahead of the trigger was the magazine feed which was managed with a magazine release/catch just aft. The charging handle and ejection port were all located in their traditional locations along the metal receiver. The weapon was of gas operation so a gas cylinder was located above the barrel though shrouded by the perforated wood forend. The barrel was capped by a slotted flash suppressor as well as a forward iron sight. Optics were affixed to the top of the receiver in the usual way. The standard scope was of 4x magnification with infrared detection capability. However, even this was a direct copy of the Soviet PSO scope design with nothing new to add.
While largely similar to the Soviet design in most respects, the Type 79 incorporated a slight few differentiating features to set it apart from the Russian design. Mainly, the Type 79 differed in its overall measurements but this was expected considering Chinese production when compared to Soviet lines of the time. Beyond that the Type 79 proved a serviceable rifle and decent copy of the original - surely a more budget-conscious approach for the growing (and modernizing) Chinese Army.
The Type 79 is no longer in active production. Some late-production models were chambered for the .308 Winchester rifle round.
The Type 85 was offered as a modified form - again another local Chinese design of the SVD weapon. The CS/LR19 became an upgraded variant.