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Sniper Rifles

SVD Dragunov – most popular combat sniper rifle ever



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.


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.

Training with US Marines - SVD Dragunov

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.


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


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

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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Sniper Rifles

Steyr-Mannlicher SSG-69



I have previously commented upon the recent rise in the use of bolt-action rifles for military sniping, replacing the earlier semi-automatics. One of the first to make this move was the Austrian Army, and the Steyr SSG-69 was the weapon developed to their specifications.

When this rifle first appeared, most commentators suggested that it was simply the Greek Army Mannlicher-Schoenauer Model 1900 revived, but this was a gross simplification. In the first place the bolt is unusual in having its six locking lugs, in three pairs, at the rear and not in the front; in theory, this is liable to the giver is to compression stresses in the bolt and consequent inaccuracy, but in practice, it seems not to matter. By way of compensation the barrel is set extremely deeply into the receiver and the receiver itself is strengthened, so that whole assembly is rock-rigid.

The magazine is the Schoenauer rotating spool type, not seen on a military rifle since the fore mentioned 1900 model, and ti can be quickly removed from the bottom of the stock by squeezing in two grips on its base. The rear face of the magazine is closed by a transparent panel, so that the firer can slip the magazine out and, without moving it, can check on its contents and replace it. There is a specially-adapted 10-round box magazine which will fit in place of the spool should this be desired.

Steyer-Mannlicher SSG-69 sniper rifle is widely used in both law enforcement and military special units

Steyer-Mannlicher SSG-69 sniper rifle is widely used in both law enforcement and military special units

Iron sights are fitted for emergency use, a blade foresight and “V” notch backsight. In normal use this weapon will be aimed by a telescope and the receiver is ribbed to take the Kahles “Helia 6S2” which is standard issue. The same mounting can also be used for infrared or image intensifying night sights.

The stock and butt are made of olive-drab self-colored glass-reinforced fiber plastic material which is rot-resistant, impervious to rain, and fairly resistant to casual impact damage. It is also less likely to be seen than a wooden stock and has a matte surface which gives a good grip at all points, though the pistol grip and fore-end have additional stippling.

In use this weapon is very accurate, giving 3 ½ inch groups at 30 yards, though as with most rifles of this type the accuracy relies greatly upon the quality of the military-grade ammunition. It is now available commercially, with a walnut stock and Walther match grade adjustable sights; it makes an excellent full-bore match rifle.

Technical specification of Steyr-Mannlicher SSG-69

Manufacturer: Steyr-Mannlicher GmbH, Steyr, Austria
Type: Bolt-action, magazine
Caliber: 7.62 mm NATO
Barrel: 25.6 in (650 mm)
Weight: 8.6 lbs (3.9 kg)
Magazine capacity: 5 rounds


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