7.62x54 Precision rifle: PSL vs. M39 vs. ???


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Codename46
December 31, 2008, 11:31 PM
As a college student, I unfortunately cannot afford the finer aspects of the firearms industry, and thus my main SHTF rifle is a Romanian WASR 10/63 instead of an AR-15. I doubt I can afford decent 5.56 or .308 ammo, much less a nice AR or a .308 bolt gun.

So I've been researching precision rifles in 7.62x54R, which is relatively cheap (although match-grade ammo is expensive and rare). I looked at PSLs, but got mixed messages as far as accuracy goes. Finnish M39s, from what I've read, are pretty accurate, but don't come with a scope and mount like PSLs do, so I'd have to spend > 100 bucks for that.

I know, you get what you pay for, and don't expect anything close to sub-MOA accuracy with mil-surp light ball, but anything minute-of-man at 400-500 yards would be acceptable to me.

And no, I can't afford an NDM Dragunov :(

Thanks.

Oh yeah, hi I'm new :P

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Rubber_Duck
December 31, 2008, 11:56 PM
PSLs are essentially elongated AKs (unlike the true Russian Dragunov and the Norinco NDM-86, which are in a league of their own). Accuracy is useable to about 600 yards, but they don't shot sub-MOA no matter what anyone says. I would say 3-4 MOA.

As for the Finnish M39, they are a very fine rifle but I would not drill into one to mount a scope. Too much historical/collector value (kinda contradicts what I said in the other thread about me being a shooter, not a collector :neener:).

Deckard
December 31, 2008, 11:58 PM
I was thinking about getting a PSL/Romak 3 a while back and from what I could find out quality varies greatly and has to do as much on the importer as anything else. The stock receiver has to be removed in Romania before it can be imported and the replacement is not always up to snuff. I've heard especially bad things about those imported by TGI so watch out where this thing is coming from. That being said a PSL doesn't go cheap these days. You're looking at a $700-900 price tag when all is said and done. You could get a better rifle for the money. If you've got your heart set on 7.62x54R you could look into an SVT-40.

elmerfudd
January 1, 2009, 01:07 AM
I've got both and if I were to do it again I'd save the money I spent on the PSL, kick in a little extra and buy a LR308 instead. The PSL isn't exactly bad, but there are so many niggly little things about it that I can't really recommend it.

The M39 on the other hand is a joy to shoot. It's not really a good choice for a precision rifle because optics mounting sucks for a variety of reasons. But if you just want to have a great shooting iron sighted rifle for use at the range or hunting, you can't beat it. They're accurate, they're comfortable and they're great for position shooting. They're also very historical. There's probably no other surplus rifle out there that is more likely to have spilled blood in it's time. The Finns didn't have much in the way of heavy weapons and they used their M39's to inflict hugely disproportional casualties on the Russians.

jpwilly
January 1, 2009, 01:18 AM
Had a PSL and sold it. I too was disappointed in it after a short time. It's a rugged rifle and shot well enough but it's not an MOA rifle! It's purpose was to add a couple hundred meters effective range to the infantry most of whom are equipped with AK's.

Could it be used for sniping? Sure but that doesn't mean it's as capable as a dedicated sniper rifle.

I would suggest the M39.

NetJunkie
January 1, 2009, 01:40 AM
I was thinking about getting a PSL/Romak 3 a while back and from what I could find out quality varies greatly and has to do as much on the importer as anything else. The stock receiver has to be removed in Romania before it can be imported and the replacement is not always up to snuff.

That's not true. It's not a hi-cap gun so it can be imported as-is. My two PSLs were made in Romania just as they are.

jpwilly
January 1, 2009, 01:44 AM
That's not true. It's not a hi-cap gun so it can be imported as-is. My two PSLs were made in Romania just as they are.

He was probably referring to the "3rd" axis pin hole being welded on some recieves making them "illegal machine guns"...there was a recal from century on this! Even though the rifle was never made with a happy switch. 10rnds is hardly enough for that anyway.

stubbicatt
January 1, 2009, 10:17 AM
You can get a faux Mosin sniper from IO for not a whole lot of money. I bought one on an impulse, and have been quite pleased with it. A real one may be had for $8 - 900, and once you learn how to shoot it, will impress you.

I've been pleased with mine, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend one. I bought it as an inexpensive hunting rifle, and it has surpassed my expectations nicely.

Mannlicher
January 1, 2009, 10:25 AM
Try as you will, you just can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear...... so to speak.
If you accept that you will not have a real precision weapon, you may or may not be happy with the results you get.

Coronach
January 1, 2009, 10:59 AM
The Finns managed to make some pretty good silk purses from the M-N, but since they were Finn-built or Finn-rebuilt to begin with, they may not have been sow's ears in the first place.

I would say that if you wanted to build a true precision rifle (in the 1940s sense of the word) on a budget, I would start with a Finn M-N. There are Russian M-N "snipers" out there, too, but their conditions vary from fine to crappy to forgery. ;) The basic Finn rifle was good to begin with, and would make a good base for your project. Try not to hack it up, as it is a piece of history. If you want to go semi-auto, your budget will limit you to a PSL.

Your main problem is going to be finding good ammo. If you reload, you're fine. If you don't...ehh. It will be an issue. Also, remember that most of the -54R ammo you find is corrosive. Clean your rifle immediately after firing.

Mike

NC-Mike
January 1, 2009, 11:11 AM
I hope to shoot my new PSL today. I am very impressed with the build quality of this rifle. Compared to my AES-10B and WASR-10, this is a fine firearm in terms of fit and finish. The only thing that compares to it in terms of quality is the older Romak's that first came out of the Cugir factory.

I really like my rifle. Hope it shoot well and I have a feeling it will do just fine.

MachIVshooter
January 1, 2009, 01:11 PM
PSLs are essentially elongated AKs (unlike the true Russian Dragunov and the Norinco NDM-86, which are in a league of their own). Accuracy is useable to about 600 yards, but they don't shot sub-MOA no matter what anyone says. I would say 3-4 MOA.

The first one I had, which I hand-selected out of a dozen rifles, was < 2 MOA and had beautiful blonde furniture. It was a full military PSL. The replacement I got from CIA after the 3rd hole recall is closer to 4 MOA, has mismatched wood, a lowsy receiver finish and a gritty, stacking trigger. I'd sell the *&#@^$% thing if I didn't have so much 7.62x54 laying around. CIA will never get my business again, that's for sure.

jpwilly
January 1, 2009, 02:53 PM
^^^ You could get a Red Star adjustable trigger and spend some time accurizing the rifle and possibly get back down to 2MOA - Maybe? Another thought I had when I had mine was to put a LimbSaver de-resonator (http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/links/link.jsp;jsessionid=D3CJXL12DN4WJLAQBBJSCNNMCAEFIIWE?id=0033309227667a&type=product&cmCat=froogle&cm_ven=data_feed&cm_cat=froogle&cm_pla=0340307&cm_ite=0033309227667a&_requestid=94318)on the bbl and give it a try.

USSR
January 1, 2009, 03:59 PM
7.62x54 Precision rifle: PSL vs. M39 vs. ??? ...anything minute-of-man at 400-500 yards would be acceptable to me.

Not sure what you are looking for, but IMHO, none of the rifles being discussed are "precision" rifles.

Don

Realbigo
January 1, 2009, 04:31 PM
I suggest you get your self an Ex-Sniper Moisin, I see them advertised quite a bit and Mount it in a Zytel stock. You can get a prebent bolt handle, and I have seen a couple of Moisin's using the bolt on Side mounts, like on many AK's. Then you can mount any scope you want on a 1913 rail that clamps onto your mount. Not really MOA, but definitely MO Bad Guy

grimjaw
January 1, 2009, 05:26 PM
If you want precision out of the cartridge and you aren't necessarily picky about the platform, one of the least expensive ways to get that is to have Bullberry whip you up an Encore barrel for it.

Even the SVD isn't a "precision" rifle in general, although I am sure there are individual rifles that might come close to it.

But you're OP just asked for "minute of man," and I think I was getting that at 450 yards (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AGi8gKCLkM) with a M91/30 sniper replica and milsurp ammo.

If you don't mind the lack of historical accuracy and it's not going to make you cry that somebody hacked up a wartime Mosin Nagant you can find a replica for anywhere from $300-600, but I'd strongly suggest you be able to visually inspect the condition of the rifle (especially the bore) before you buy it.

jm

ps. Honestly, I could hit at 450 yards with a $89 Big5 special, but it was more difficult to do and harder to see the target.

elmerfudd
January 1, 2009, 05:27 PM
If you want an actual precision rifle, forget about surplus weapons. Instead look for a used heavy barreled Savage or Remington and buy some reloading gear. If you shop around you can probably find a decent rifle and scope for around $600 and if you buy used reloading gear you can probably get a decent reloading bench set up for around $200.

That's probably less than a used PSL will run you nowadays and you'll actually have a precision rifle. Reloads typically cost around $.40 a round, which isn't bad when you consider that you can make match grade ammo tailored to your rifle for that price.

I'd go for something in a common caliber, like .308, 30-06 or .243 since you can often get good brass for free just by picking it up or asking for it at the local range. These common calibers also generally have the best selection of bullets available for them as well.

col_tapiocca
January 1, 2009, 06:03 PM
Finnish M39s, from what I've read, are pretty accurate, but don't come with a scope and mount like PSLs do, so I'd have to spend > 100 bucks for that.

Please don't scope any finnish rifle:mad: Don't foozle any finnish rifle, they are not many of them. Any finnish rifle with good bore are "minute of man" at 400-500 yards. Just learn how to shoot with iron sight.
And if you get a finnish Mosin, you have to check the bore diameter. Most finns need .308 bullet but not all. Accuracy will degrade, if you shoot russian or east bloc surplus with .311 bullet.
If you are a reloader try get a Finn, if not get one of those countless soviet rifles with .311 bore. Because right ammo for finnish rifles. (7.62x53r = finnish variant of 7.62x54r with .308 bullet but very hard to find and expensive)

dirtyjim
January 1, 2009, 06:27 PM
if i hadn't spent my last $900 on strippers & booze i'd buy a finn m2876 from tg international.

Eagles6
January 1, 2009, 06:48 PM
You can get a very good American bolt gun, .308, 30-06 for the amount of money you're looking to spend. Much better ammo, factory and components available too. Winchester, Remington, Savage, Stevens, Weatherby, Mossberg all make good, solid bolt rifles that can be had with a decent scope for $500 or less if you look around. Check for used ones too.
BTW nothing wrong with a WASR if it shoots good.

mstirton
January 1, 2009, 07:07 PM
+1 on elmerfudd's and Eagles6's responses. You could even get a CMP Garand and have a better chance of good accuracy with the Greek or LC 30-06 than surplus/run-of-the-mill 7.62x54 through a PSL.

BoltCollector
January 22, 2009, 02:21 AM
I know this was mentioned in previous posts, but for the price of outfitting a milsurp u can find a very accurate modern sporter. I collect milsurps and classic sporting rifles, which are a lot of fun, but for an affordable SHTF rifle I would get a Savage, or a Howa, or even a Ruger Hawkeye in .308. They can all be bought and scoped (relatively well) on a budget (bout $1000 depending on scope and hardware) and will shoot better than the milsurps. I'd also check around for a good used rig. My last purchase was an "almost new" Remington VTR in 22-250 with a Burris Fullfield II 3-9x40 mounted to Weaver hardware, in a hardcase for $800. The guy had that and an identical VTR in .223 that he had bought caus of the cool factor, then had not liked the factory trigger pull and was willing to get rid of them to try the next new thing. Pain in the rear to get the trigger pull adjusted caus of the factory glue they put on the adjustment screws now, but now it shoots great, has killed several coyotes and a pile of prarie dogs. Good deals are out there, just have too be patient. I've got some good Mosins (5!), but I went through @ 15 of them over the span of @ 10 years to find ones with shiney bores and that shoot well!:D

Pipe Burn
January 22, 2009, 02:41 AM
My PSL is 2 MOA capable with 7n1. A m39 should do that if not better. Some PSL's will string as the barrel gets hot. Luckily mine isn't so finicky. Bought mine from IO in 2003. Before the crappy builds happened. It's an AK design, but a 4 MOA PSL would be a POS in my book. Many are gems and some are not. M39 would be a safer bet that you'd get a shooter. I'm not a fan of seeing Mosins get drilled out for scopes either.

Quiet
January 22, 2009, 08:51 AM
Do not shoot heavy ball ammo out of the PSL, it's only designed for light ball.

Too much of the heavy ball ammo beats up/damages the PSL reciever.

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