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Sniper Rifles

SVD Dragunov – most popular combat sniper rifle ever

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Dragunov SVD - a most used sniper rifle

Anyone familiar with accounts of the Great Patriotic War cannot but help note the emphasis given to sniping by the Soviet army. Post-war, that emphasis remained undiminished, and to carry out the sniping role the Soviets developed what is widely regarded as one of the best contemporary sniper rifles. This is the SVD, sometimes known as the Dragunov.

PRIZED WEAPON

The SVD Dragunov first appeared in 1963 and ever since has been one of the most prized of infantry  trophies. It is a semi-automatic weapon that uses the same operating principles as the AK-47 assault rifle but allied to a revised gas-operated system. Unlike the AK-47, which uses the short 7.62-mm (0.3-in) x39 cartridge, the SVD fires the older 7.62-mm x54R rimmed cartridge, originally introduced during the 1980s for the Mosin-Nagant rifles. This remains a good round for the sniping role, and as it is still used on some Russian machine-guns, availability is no problem.

dragunov svd mongolian army - SVD Dragunov – most popular combat sniper rifle ever

The SVD has a long barrel, but the weapon is so balanced that it handles well and recoil is not excessive. The weapon is normally fired using a sling rather than the bipod favoured elsewhere, and to assist aiming, a PSO-1 telescopic sight is provided. This is secured to the left-hand side of the receiver and has a magnification of x4. The PSO-1 has an unusual feature in that it incorporates an infra-red detector element to enable it to be used as a passive night sight, although it is normally used in conjunction with an independent infra-red target illumination source. Basic combat sights are fitted for use if the optical sight becomes defective.

Perhaps the oddest feature of a sniper rifle is that the SVD is provided with a bayonet, the rationale for this remaining uncertain. A 10-round box magazine is also fitted.

LONG-RANGE ACCURACY

Tests have demonstrated that the SVD can fire accurately at ranges of well over 800m. It is a pleasant weapon to handle and fire, despite the lengthy barrel. SVDs were provided to many Warshaw Pact and other nations and the weapon was used in Afghanistan, some ending up in the hands of the Mujahideen. It seems reasonable to assume that te SCD remains in use in Russia and with other former client states of the USSR. The Chinese produce a direct copy of the SCD and offer this version for export, quoting an effective range of 1000 m (621 ft).

svd dragunov sight scope - SVD Dragunov – most popular combat sniper rifle ever

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS OF DRAGUNOV SVD

SPECIFICATION
Dragunov SVD
Calibre: 7.62 mm (o.3 in)
Weight: Complete, unloaded 4.39 kg (9.67 lb)
Length overall: 1225 mm
Length of barrel: 547 mm
Magazine capacity: 10 rounds
Muzzle velocity: 830 m (2,723 ft) per second
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Sniper Rifles

The Army’s Deadly Sniper Rifle Is Hiding a Big Secret

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M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle - The Army's Deadly Sniper Rifle Is Hiding a Big Secret

The selection of .300 Winchester Magnum extended the U.S. Army sniper’s range to 1200 meters—four hundred beyond that of the M24. As a result, the M2010 ESR received an improved, longer-range optic, the Leupold Mark 4 M5A2 with variable 6.5- to twenty-power magnification. The Leupold scope can be fitted with the Knight’s Armament  AN/PVS-29 or AN/PVS-30 night-vision scopes for night firing. Finally, a suppressor designed by Advanced Armament Company eliminates flash and significantly reduces the noise signature of the rifle, very useful features when a sniper is trying to conceal his or her position.

Author: Kyle Mizokami (National Interest Blog)

The U.S. Army’s long-serving sniper rifle has its roots in one of the most iconic American hunting rifles ever produced. The M-24 Sniper Weapon System, the standard issue among the Army’s sniper teams, is based on the fifty-six-year-old Remington 700 hunting rifle. When the U.S. Army decided to field a new, heavier-caliber sniper weapon, it again turned to the Remington 700 to produce the advanced M2010 rifle.

The Remington 700  is one of the most popular American firearms of the twentieth century. Introduced in 1956 as an affordable, relatively lightweight bolt action hunting rifle, the 700 line of rifles sold more than four million copies. The rifle is available in a more than two dozen calibers, from .17 Remington to .458 Winchester Magnum, and can bag game from squirrels to moose.

In the mid-1980s the U.S. Army decided it needed to replace the service’s existing sniper rifle, the M21 sniping rifle, with a new weapon. The M21, based on the M14 battle rifle, dated to the Vietnam War. Although semiautomatic, the M21 was less accurate and required more maintenance than most sniper rifles. The Army opened up a competition for a new rifle in November 1986 and picked a winner, Remington Arms, in July 1987.

Remington’s contestant, known as the  M24 Sniper Weapon System, was a bolt-action rifle based on the Remington 700 hunting rifle. It was similar to the Marine Corps’ M40 sniper weapon, also based on the Remington hunting rifle. The rifle barrel was free-floated, only touching the rest of the rifle where it attaches to the Remington action, in order to prevent pressure from changing the point of impact. Remington also provided the weapon with a Harris bipod to support shooting from the prone position and cover.

The M24 was chambered in 7.62×51-millimeter (.308 Winchester), meant to use M118 7.62×51 Special Ball ammo and the M118’s 173-grain bullet. The rifle used a heavy, twenty-four-inch-long barrel that increased velocity (and thus distance), and could be fired repeatedly without heat affecting accuracy. Barrel twist, which imparts spin on the bullet and increases accuracy, was one complete turn for every eleven inches.

The optic is one of the most important features of a sniper rifle. The M24 was originally equipped with a Leupold M3A Ultra fixed power scope with ten-power magnification and featured Redfield (and later OK Weber) fixed iron sights for use in emergencies. A fixed power scope, the M3A had fewer moving parts to break under field conditions. This was later replaced with a ten-power Leupold Mk. IV LR/T M1 scope.

Unlike the M21, which was a semiautomatic rifle fed by a large twenty-round box magazine, the M24 was a bolt-action rifle fed by an internal five-round magazine. The shift away from semiautomatic to bolt action may have been controversial at the time, but it was the right decision. Bolt-action weapons, manually cycled by the user, are more reliable and far less prone to jamming. They were also more accurate than semiautomatic rifles at the time, although this is no longer necessarily true.

The M24/M118 Special Ball combination was a reasonably accurate combination, capable of shooting a minute of angle (one inch of deviation at one hundred yards). As one retired U.S. Army sniper put it, the M118 Special Ball round was capable of accuracy from .2 (1.5-inch groups at five hundred yards) to one minute of angle. At worst the M118 Special Ball round was capable of a ten-inch spread at a thousand yards—acceptable considering a human target’s chest is generally assumed to be twenty-three inches across.

The M24 performed well in Afghanistan and Iraq, with sniper teams capable of long-distance, long-term observation of target areas. On September 27, 2005, U.S. Army sniper team leader SSgt. Jim Gilliland shot an insurgent with his M24 Sniper Weapon System at a range of 1,367 yards, or seven-tenths of a mile. At that distance, gravity caused the 7.62-millimeter M118 round to drop an amazing ninety-one feet vertically, a distance that Staff Sergeant Gilliland had to compensate for in order to make his shot.

In 2010, the U.S. Army selected a new sniper rifle, the  M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle, to replace the M24. The M2010 is actually the same M24 Remington action, which is a move of great foresight the Army had demanded be technically a long-action, capable of someday moving to the heavier .300 Winchester Magnum caliber. The M24 action was rebarreled with a twenty-four-inch .300 WM barrel and bedded into a futuristic-looking aluminum chassis that provided a rock-steady firing platform. Although the M2010 has a detachable box magazine, it retains the same number of rounds (five) as the M24.

The selection of .300 Winchester Magnum extended the U.S. Army sniper’s range to 1200 meters—four hundred beyond that of the M24. As a result, the M2010 ESR received an improved, longer-range optic, the Leupold Mark 4 M5A2 with variable 6.5- to twenty-power magnification. The Leupold scope can be fitted with the Knight’s Armament  AN/PVS-29 or AN/PVS-30 night-vision scopes for night firing. Finally, a suppressor designed by Advanced Armament Company eliminates flash and significantly reduces the noise signature of the rifle, very useful features when a sniper is trying to conceal his or her position.

The Remington Model 700 is completely unrecognizable as the M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle, but the sleek, skeletal sniper weapon owes its existence to the classic hunting rifle found in homes across America. The ability to draw on a hunting weapon and turn it into not one but two sniper rifles is a testament to the Model 700’s excellent design.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the  Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the  Daily Beast.  In 2009 he co-founded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter:  @KyleMizokami.

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Sniper Rifles

Sako TRG

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IMG 7217 - Sako TRG

The Sako TRG is one of the most popular sniper rifles among special forces operatives. It is an accuracy concept designed to accomplish a single-minded mission: to hit the target – whatever it takes.

The Sako TRG gives you performance that surpasses the highest demands for accuracy, reliability and versatility.

Sako TRG are a series of sniper rifles developed by the Finnish firearm manufacturer SAKO of Riihimäki (Finland). The TRG-21 and TRG-22 are designed to fire standard .308 Winchester ammunition, while the TRG-41 and TRG-42 versions are designed to fire more powerful .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum ammunition and therefore have a larger action and barrel as standard.

The company also offers the Sako TRG M10 Sniper Weapon System. The Sako TRG M10 was designed as a user configurable multi caliber modular system and does not share its receiver and other technical features with the rest of the TRG line.

The Sako TRG rifles are available with olive drab green, desert tan/coyote brown, dark earth or black stocks, and are also available with a folding stock.

First rifles were designed in 1989 (TRG-21/41 while the TRG-22/42 was designed in 1999. Today, SAKO TRG rifles are part of armories around the world, military or law enforcement.

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