Dragunov vs. M14 (as designated marksmen rifle)


January 27, 2004, 01:35 PM
Does the Dragunov have the same trigger as the AK?

Can it be on par with the M14?

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January 27, 2004, 01:39 PM
The Dragunov comes with a trigger pretty close in quality to an M14/M1/M16. I don't know what quality of trigger AKs come with as they are not within my area of interest.

January 27, 2004, 02:13 PM
Triggers on Dragunov's are generally better than AKs. Those that aren't can easily be remedied.

For the DM role, I don't see why a Dragunov could not be close to the M1A. The M1A will probably have the edge on accuracy, and mag capacity(20 vs. 10).

January 27, 2004, 02:19 PM
From a report from a Finnish sniper that CARRIES a Dragunov in service (that's been posted a couple times), with the right ammunition a Drag can be more accurate than your rack grade M14. The Drag was designed as a marksman's rifle, whereas the M14 is a standard infantry rifle. (There are, of course, accurized M14s out there.)

Now, either would probably work quite well in the DMR role, with the right optics and a skilled shooter pulling the trigger. The M14 has 20 round magazines instead of the Drag's 10 rounders, but in the DMR role this hardly matters.

Both have quick-detach, side-mounted scope mounts. Both are semiauto. Both are quite accurate, and both fire a full power rifle cartridge for which match ammunition is available.

7.62x54mmR and 7.62x51mm are very close in performance. The Russian round has a slight edge when it comes to using heavier bullets (200 grain factory loads are available) but both are well-suited to the DMR role.

Accuracy is important in the DMR role, but no more so than reliability. This is one area where the Dragunov reportedly excells; it's accurate and yet it's low-maintance.

The M14 is also a very reliable rifle. I've heard that reliablility drops and maintenance requirements go up as you increase the accuracy, but I have no experience in this area.

January 27, 2004, 02:57 PM
I've heard that the Dragunov also allows a quicker follow-up shot than the M14. Can anyone confirm this from experience?

Also, how do they compare in terms of weight and length?

January 27, 2004, 03:13 PM
Using my scoped scout squad (has a muzzle brake) from any position other than standing, I can get back on target and a followup shot going in about a second, perhaps less. In so doing, I accept that my group will open up from 1 inch to perhaps 3.

Dunno about the Dragunov, I've never fired one.

January 27, 2004, 03:22 PM
Rifle fit to the particular shooter is going to be way more important for quick follow up shots than either action type.

January 27, 2004, 06:27 PM
I've never fired a Dragunov but I'm familiar with the AK. Any other differences between the Drag and AK47?

I was wondering about the durability of scope mounting. I still hear a lot of griping about M14 mounts, and side mounts on AKs.

January 27, 2004, 06:38 PM
Any other differences between the Drag and AK47?

Very different gas system.

You can learn a lot about the SVD Dragunov from THIS PAGE (http://world.guns.ru/sniper/sn18-e.htm) over at World.Guns.Ru (http://world.guns.ru).





January 27, 2004, 07:00 PM
"SVD was designed not as a standart sniper rifle. In fact, main role of the SVD ir Soviet / Russian Army is to extend effective range of fire of every infantry squad up to 600 meters and to provide special fire support. SVD is a lightweight and quite accurate (for it's class) rifle, cabable of semi-auto fire. First request for new sniper rifle was issued in 1958. In 1963 SVD (Snaiperskaya Vintovka Dragunova, or Dragunov Sniper Rifle) was accepted by Soviet Military. SVD can use any kind of standart 7.62x54R ammo, but primary round is specially developed for SVD sniper-grade cartridge with steel-core bullet. Every infantry squad in the Russian (Soviet) army had one man with SVD."

I find that to be very interesting.

How come the U.S. didn't do that ? Or did we?

I know we are now..................

I don't see anything about the different gas system?

January 27, 2004, 07:05 PM
That isn't mentioned in there. The SVD uses a long stroke gas system, and a completely different trigger setup. (The trigger group can drop out as a complete unit.)

We're doing the DMR thing now, sort of, but it's been more of a field expedient thing than a matter of doctrine. The official equipment list for your typical infantry squad doesn't often include a DMR of any sort. The Russians have been doing it since World War II. *shrug*

It was, is, and will remain a good idea, though, to have one guy in the squad that has a rifle with a good scope and a longer effective range than what the standard issue weapon has, especially when the standard issue is a 14.5" barreled carbine.

The M14 will work for this task, though the supply of M14s is somewhat limited. I think perhaps acquisition of new DMRs might be in order, but that's my opinion.

January 27, 2004, 07:57 PM
Personally I have never fired an SVD. I have fired thousands of rounds through an M1A though. Having held both, I think the SVD is quite a bit more ergonomic; with optics mounted. Even a friends (m-21 I think?) Springfield, sniper type rifle feels a bit odd in my hands, when using optics. :confused:

January 27, 2004, 08:22 PM
Even a friends (m-21 I think?) Springfield, sniper type rifle feels a bit odd in my hands, when using optics.

I agree.

I do have a 3-12x40 on my FAL, but I wouldn't want that setup for combat. I'd rather have a bolt action for Sniper work and an ACOG on my FAL.

The Dragunov concept seems pratical.

I like the 10rd thing, too.

January 27, 2004, 08:31 PM
I think the FAL could work as a DMR. I'd want some mods, though.

-Scope. An ACOG 5x would work for DMR work. You want a lower-power scope with a wide objective.

-Heavier barrel. Nothing super-heavy like DSA's bull barrels, but something like a DSA Medium Contour would work.

-Redesigned handguards. The handguards should be redesigned to allow a sturdy bipod mount (you wouldn't want the bipod on the barrel) and a sling mount (you wouldn't want the sling on the barrel of a DMR either). You'd want the bipod to fold up flush, out of the way. It should be a very sturdy unit, also.

-Stock with cheek piece to help with cheek well.

-Cleaned up trigger. Reliability is more important than a match trigger, though. Must work with hard military primers.

-Flash suppressor, with a threaded barrel for mouting a suppressor.

The barrel needn't be too long. I think DSA's 19" Predator model would be pretty good at the task:


Also acceptable would be the standard medium contour rifle:


4v50 Gary
January 27, 2004, 08:33 PM
The M-14 is great as a battle rifle. As a prima-donna target or sniper rifle, she's a real princess and won't behave unless you treat her like one. It's reminiscent of the old scoped target guns of that some carried by some of Berdan's Sharpshooters. When they shot, they shot really well. But there were too many things that could and did go wrong in the field and they needed constant care and maintenance (high-maintenance).

If the Dragunov could deliver equal accuracy, I'd go Dragunov. You want the same gun and not want to worry whether it's going to be off for one reason or another.

January 27, 2004, 08:46 PM
I've taken several 5x scopes to the range and hated them. I have learned that anything more than 4x slows me down if I had to engage a target under 200yds quickly.

I'd zero the rifle at 300yds and want a 2x or 4x scope.

January 27, 2004, 08:57 PM
Ahem....isn't the role of the DM quite different from that of the sniper?

As I understand it, the two best marksmen in the squad get the DM rifles, and engage individual targets farther out than the grouped fire of the squad, but they don't go Carlos Hathcocking around in the bush.

So....which role are we talking about here?

Reason I bring it up is because the prima donna babying the M-14 needs for the long range sniper role may not be relevent to the DMR role. (After all, ya only need "minute of commie" :) )

January 27, 2004, 09:23 PM
DM means (to me atleast) the guy that takes the 300+ shot without having to call in an air-strike.

January 27, 2004, 09:37 PM
Nightcrawler: one lil quibble; Dragunov uses a long stroke piston... This is exactly backwards. Dragunov uses a short stroke piston. AK.xx uses a long stroke piston. The short stroke piston has less reciprocating mass so the recovery from recoil is quote unquote better.

450vGary: Unquestionably, as one who owned both guns (I sold the M1A as it offered not a whit of advantage (other than the arguable .308 v. .223 advantage) compared to my AR15 SP1) the Dragunov is a much better thought out design than the M1A, especially when the scope is considered. Dragunov was built for a scope, M14/1A it was added as an afterthought. I think the Drag would prove more trouble free, also as there is very little to go wrong with the design which is very robust. YMMV

January 27, 2004, 09:39 PM
My mistake. I was trying to remember how the two were different. I don't think the Drag's piston is attached to the bolt carrier group like the Kalashnikov's is.

January 27, 2004, 09:40 PM
All the Dragunovs I've seen at gun shops looked like trash.

What is the average price of these?

Who makes the good ones?

January 27, 2004, 09:46 PM
All the Dragunovs I've seen at gun shops looked like trash.

The Chinese ones have very crappy finishes, that flake badly.

The average price for a Drag runs about $1,000 and up. Reason being that they're banned from importation, even though with the flash hider and bayonet lug removed they're, confiuration wise, identical to the VEPR rifle, which is imported. (Thumbhole stock, 5 and 10 round mags only, etc.) The reason is that they're "military" weapons, or something.

The closest thing you can get is the Romanian PSL (SSG-97, ROMAK-3), which isn't really a Drag. It's a long-action Kalashnikov. You can get one of these for $700-900, depending on where you look. The mags are expensive, but are reportedly sturdy and don't wear out easily.

The best actual Dragunovs are probably the ones made by Izhmash in Russia. Though, due to legislative interferance, you can't simply order one of these.

January 27, 2004, 10:01 PM

This is the Romak-3. Note the difference in the location of the magazine. The only change I'd make to it would be to adapt one of those ATI thumbhole-with-cheek-piece stocks to it, as I'm left handed and I'd find the stock, um...stock unusable. Thanks to Inter Ordnance (http://www.interordnance.com) for the picture!

The ATI example is longer, too.

Check it out:


Thanks to Dragunov.net for the second picture!

You know what I'd really like, though?


Zavasta M-76. Long-action Kalashnikov counter-sniper rifle in 8mm Mauser.

Thanks to THIS PAGE (http://www.xs4all.nl/~morak/zastava%20m76/zastava%20m76.html) for the picture of the Zavasta.

January 27, 2004, 10:10 PM
Interesting on the Zastava. A few months back SOG/Pac west arms imported a few of those with ATF apporval (just like in the pic!!!!!) My friend, an FFL holder ordered one, got it and was estatic. We both pawed it over, very well made, much better than his Tiger carbine and in 8mm mauser. About two weeks later, he received a letter from Pac west stating that ATF had changed their minds and he must (under penalty of law) return the rifle, and would receive a full refund. He did,.....we never shot it.....end of very irratating story.:cuss:

January 27, 2004, 10:34 PM
The stuff I have read since the US deployed troops to Afganistan and Iraq mirror the post made by 4v50 Gary. I have read several pieces where they are having a lot of problems keeping the highly accurized M14s running in the sand.

January 27, 2004, 11:50 PM
I'd love to get my hands on an SVD. They are just too darn expensive!
My latest issue of Shotgun News (2/1/04) Has a very good article on the SVD by Kokalis.

That Romanian FPL is almost a Dragunov. The price isn't too outrageous....... Anyone have any trigger time with one?

Almost forgot. Kokalis says that Izmash is making them in .308, has experimented with 30-06 and is producing them in .338 Lapua!
PLEASE lift the import restrictions!

January 27, 2004, 11:53 PM
Originally posted by Telewinz (http://www.thehighroad.org/member.php?s=&action=getinfo&userid=440) in this thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=56070)

"It's not the equipment or the money, it's about training and that cold will..."

The following is an excerpt of an email I received recently.

I am a special forces military sniper from Finland. One of our duty guns is the Russian Dragunov SVD, through which I have put several thousands of rounds. I must say as a sniper, I love this gun. Throughout most of Finland, engagement distances are moderate due to a low visibility caused by the thick forests and marshes which makes the SVD a perfect tool. The climate and terrain is sometimes quite harsh but the SVD is our choice because of the very low maintaining requirements, and above all its reliable...and that is mostly what it is all about in war. You need reliability to stay alive.

You may be surprised to learn that the main sniper weapon in Finnish military battlefield missions is the SVD. Our Special Forces snipers are mainly employed as rear security element in LRRP missions and assigned sniper duties within a given mission. The other main function is counterterrorist/urban assault sniping missions including hostage rescue and fire support.

Besides the SVD we have access to any available sniper weapon in the world, depending on the mission/target configuration. We have suppressed and silenced weapons of all kinds as well as .50 Barretts, Sako TRG 21 & 41's, and H&K PSG-1's to name a few. Normal Infantry sharpshooters use old modified Mosin-Nagant M39's (free floating barrels, wood stocks) also in 7.62 x 53R with German Kahles scopes. They also have some TRG's with Leupolds. Their training is quite different, as more battlefield support fire oriented with some countersniper abilities. We put a little more emphasis in to camouflage, movement, communications etc...

By the way, originally SVD stood for Semipolarnya Vintovka Dragunova, (NOT Snayperskaya Vintovka Dragunova), which means Semi-automatic Rifle Dragunov, indicating that the rifle was not meant to be a truly sniper' s weapon. It was designed to shoot accurate supportive fire beyond the range of the original AK-47 in the battlefield.

On the ROMAK-3:
I also own privately a Romanian military PSL made in 1994 and I wanted to bring out some opinions of my own into that seemingly never ending debate about SVD vs. PSL. Regarding accuracy: even though you can find the ROMAK-3 for about a fraction of the price of the genuine Russian SVD, you should buy it. Mine has a Russian military PSO-1 on it and 1PN58 with IR illuminator for night use. I have modified the grip a little and did a trigger job (easy because our service weapons are Sako and Kalashnikov assault rifles which have the same kind of action and trigger assembly).

Now both of these weapons are equally accurate!!! About 3/4 MOA groups constantly. PERIOD.

The world of difference is the ammo. Believe me we have tried it all, everything available. And what we use is the Lapua 7,62 x 53R with 148gr D- 47 bullet, which is the thicker version of the D-46 (also 148gr). It is boat-tail MATCH ammo for the old Mosin-Nagant and Finnish equivalents from the WWII- era.

I don't want you to think I'm biased because the ammo is Finnish too, its simply the most accurate for these weapons. A second choice is the Swedish Norma. The Russian silvertips to my knowledge (and our special forces sniper school's) were never intended to be accurate ammo for SVD and neither is it a match grade ammo for any 7,62 x 54R. Russians simply don't make match ammo for that caliber. It is just better quality normal ammo. (More consistent manufacturing tolerances, better powder and so on). It is somewhat accurate in SVD but not great. Russians have adopted those silvertips for their use because manufacturing match-grade ammo for the SVD would only give marginal results. Big country, big tolerances, you know. The tip is painted silver to recognize it from the other same caliber rounds, especially from WWII- era mass- production ammo.

When asked to clarify what "Silver tips" are:
I've been doing some research on your question about Russian Silvertips / 7N14. The following is not the "ultimate" truth about this yet, but to my understanding Russian silvertips are those civilian soft cast metal bullets with a little milder powder charge as I mentioned before. Those 7N14's you mentioned are probably new "Snaiperskaya" cartridges made especially for SVD, but there is no such 7N14 marking in the cartridge case, so I'm still working on this.

Anyway that new snaiperskaya is still not yet even boat-tail ammo, so the accuracy is more consistent, but generally over 1 MOA. The "thing" in those cartridges is the powder and charge, which in Russia is said to be "the most suitable used for the SVD", which is probably right, because itÕs ballistics are somewhat identical to Lapua and Norma, and it stabilizes the bullet properly. The lack in accuracy depends still on bullet construction. By the way Sako and Lapua have also manufactured 7,62 x 53R ammo in boxer cases for competition purposes and I happen to have about 100 of them. They are accurate!

The reason why it is hard to obtain Match-grade ammo for the caliber is mainly bullet construction. The bullet is a bit thicker than average boat-tail match .308, which makes it a lower volume manufacturing product for any bigger ammunition factory. If you mean to reload your ammo, you can easily obtain powder and bullets, but Berdan primers are hard to get items. If you can get Berdan primers for the cartridge, you first have to invent a method of getting those used primers off from the two- priming hole case without harming it. We have most commonly used water pressure. You can use boxer primers in Berdan cases but it leads to primer pressure leaks and primer off-center problems which causes uneven burning and leads to fatal loss of accuracy ( "flys" [a.k.a. flyers], which means one single bullet tens of centimeters off target). Also the boxer primer sits a little bit too deep into berdan primer hole, which can cause a dud or an uneven pressure curve in powder burning. In Finland if a person can get his hands onto boxer primed cases you can definetly consider yourself as a lottery winner!

I also have an M39 in mint shooting condition. I use Lapua match ammo with D-46 bullet and that rifle is truly accurate and pleasant to shoot. I also own a Suomi submachine-pistol with 14 new barrels and shim-sets.

I was asked to add:
Everything I have stated is of my own responsibility and my own opinion and experience, not Finnish Army's or Government's official claim.

January 28, 2004, 12:12 AM
Excellent post! Now I'll be scrambling about to find $ for an FPL!

I love my M1A but I have no desire to mount a scope on it.
My FAL is a very nice rifle. Scoping it would be pretty easy but accuracy, while at times quite good, is a little inconsistant.

Perhaps I'll put the 700P on the block. Those damn Dragunov type rifles always get under my skin.

max popenker
January 28, 2004, 02:18 AM
Almost forgot. Kokalis says that Izmash is making them in .308, has experimented with 30-06 and is producing them in .338 Lapua!
SVD in .308 is actually a "civilized" version, called "Tigr" (Tiger), which lacks bayonet lug and is sold on russian market.
the ".338" is actually an enlarged Tiger, chambered for magnum-class 9.3x64mm (same as 9.3x64 Brenneke); it is offered to military as SVD-K but so far as i know, there were no significant sales (yet)

offical IZHMAS site 'bout Tiger: http://www.izhmash.ru/eng/product/tigr.shtml

January 28, 2004, 02:21 AM
You used to be able to get Tigers in this country, you know. Until the ATF said they're not sporting, or some such buearucratic nonsense...

January 28, 2004, 08:18 AM
The quit importing TIGRs about '89 or soon after the the next ban/exec order came out.

RUSSIAN DRAGS: The metal is pretty well finished by Russian standards, the wood is also down to their typical crappy COMBLOC standards, made of laminated wood. It is not going to win any beauty contest, but handsome is as handsome does; they kick booty where it counts: reliable and accurate power delivery. I think the Dragunov by Izhmash is the finest high power autoloader yet built for all around use. YMMV

January 28, 2004, 08:31 AM
David Fortier in a past issue of SGN reported the NDM-86 (Chinese Drag in .308) w/match ammo is capable of 3" groups at 600yds. I used to own a Romak-3 (wish I hadn't sold it! :banghead: ) and even with the 4x scope & Russian '188' surplus ammo I could consistently hit the 500m gong. I have to wonder what it could do w/the 8x scope & better ammo! Sigh...

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