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Communist Sniper Rifles
Dragunov (SVD)  

7.62 x 54R
gas, short-stroke piston, self loading
rotating bolt
10-round box magazine
4.3 kg with PSO-1
1.22 m
622 mm
4 grooves, rh, 1 turn in 254 mm
fore, adjustable
Muzzle velocity:
830 m/s
Rate of fire:
Effective range:
1000 m post; rear, U-notch, tangent

The Sniper Rifle Dragunov (SVD) is a gas-operated, semiautomatic weapon. It fires the Soviet 7.62 x 54R cartridge and uses a detachable 10-round box magazine. Its overall length is 1,225 millimeters, and its empty weight is 4.3 kilograms. (Its loaded weight with bayonet is 4.78 kilograms.) Its bolt mechanism and gas recovery system are similar to those of the AK and AKM; but, because of the difference in cartridges used, parts are not interchangeable with the assault rifles. The most distinguishing feature of the SVD are the open butt stock, which has a cheek pad for ease in sighting, and telescopic sight mounter over the receiver. It has a combination flash supressor/compensator. It may mount the standard AKM bayonet. The Soviets issue it with four magazines, a cleaning kit, and an extra battery and lamp for the telescopic sight.
The SVD fires approximately 30 rounds per minute in the semiautomatic mode. It has a maximum effective range of 1,300 meters with the 4-power telescope or 800 meters without it. The PSO-1 optical sight has a 6-degree field of view. It contains an integral, infrared detection aid and an illuminated range finder reticle. Thus, the SVD is effective in daylight against point targets or at night against active infrared emitters, such as night driving aids and weapon sights. It can fire light ball, heavy ball, steel core, tracer and anti-tank incendiary ammunition.
The SVD can fire only light and heavy ball-type ammunition with accuracy. Even though it is equipped with a bayonet, the SVD is not an ideal weapon for close combat because it can fire only in the semiautomatic mode. Its weight and length also limit its maneuverability. The 7.62 x 54-mm rimmed cartridge of the SVD is not interchangeable with the 7.62 x 39-mm rimless round of the AKM.
The Soviets developed the SVD in 1965. It entered service in 1967 and is the standard Soviet sniper weapon. One squad in each motorized rifle platoon has an SVD; selected riflemen receive regular, centralized sniper training on it. Largely due to its open buttstock, the SVD is lighter than older sniper rifles.
Mosin-Nagent M91/30 sniper-rifle with 3.5 power PU telescopic sight

Length: w/o bayonet
48.5 in.
Length: w/bayonet
65.4 in.
Weight w/o bayonet & sling:
11.3 lb
28.7 in, 4 grooves, right hand twist
5 round integral box
Russian Light Ball M'08; bullet 148 gr, charge 48 gr
Muzzle Velocity:
2850 fps
Effective Range:
1000 meters

This is one of the sniper rifles used by the North Koreans from the beginning, and Chinese Communists about a year later, during the Korean War.
An adaptation of the basic Soviet infantry rifle, a turned-down bolt handle was used to clear the sight. Communist snipers were trained by Soviet advisors, who were reputed to try their hand at killing American troops whenever the opportunity offered.
The rifle M1891/30 is about the same length as the M1891 Dragoon, but with many improvements. Used in large numbers by the Soviets early in WWII, it was replaced by the carbine M1944 as the standard Soviet infantry shoulder weapon at the end of WWII.
The sniper rifle M1891/30 is basically the M1891/30 adapted for use with a telescope. The telescopes were somewhat similar to those used on US hunting rifles. Both the rifle and the sniper rifle were standard issue in some Soviet satellite armies into the 1970s.
"During the Winter War of '39-'40 the Russians learned from the Finns through bitter experience the value of snipers. Simo Häyhä, a farmer, is credited with the killing of over 500 Russian soldiers in fifteen weeks with his Model 1928 Mosin-Nagant rifle. As a result, the Russians began to place more emphasis on their sniper training programme.
Production of the 1891/30 sniper rifles began in 1937 and ended in 1963 when the 1891/30 sniper rifle was replaced by the Dragunov sniper rifle. Sniper rifles were chosen for accuracy from the production lines, had the bolt turned down, and were fitted with a telescopic sights. Apart from these differences, they were the standard 1891/30 rifle. Two types of scope were used, the earlier 4 power P.E. scope and the compact 3.5 power P.U. scope. The best of the Russian snipers preferred the 1891/30 to the SVT40, which was also issued in a snipers model, because they were more reliable and the action made practically no noise."