Russia's Bullpup Sniper Rifle

7.62 x 54r
Weigth w/PSO Scope and Mag
4.4 kg
Weight w/o PSO scope and Mag
3.6 kg
Overall Length
870 mm
Barrel Length
520 mm
800 m


(Sniper Rifle Short)

In 1975 the Tula factory was appointed to carry out the modernization of the SVD sniper rifle at the Central Konstruktorsko Research Bureau of Sports and Hunting under the management of L.V.Bondareva. Designated as the SVU (Sniper Rifle Short), the modernization was to be made from standard samples of the SVD. Consequently, it was deemed only necessary to carry out the replacement of the butt stock, pistol grip, trigger mechanism, and the fastening of a sight.
But some questions arose about the balancing of the weapon, and the Linear recoil with a high-power cartridge demanded special devices for indemnification of high-energy recoil.
The barrel was shortened 100 mm resulting in a 15% decrease of muzzle energy and the gas chamber was displaced back, this in turn caused increased loads on the gas piston, which demanded special measures for the prevention of breakage. Having the piston rod resting in a reinforced tube resolved this problem. A trigger shaft mounted along the left wall of the receiver carried out the connection of a trigger hook with the trigger mechanism.
Accuracy was slightly below normal compared to the standard SVD but the SVU was intended for "urgent" work in smaller front line units, so this was deemed acceptable for this purpose.

For the reduction of recoil influence, an ergonomically designed elastic butt stock with an integral lamellar spring was non-rigidly affixed to the receiver, this stock was designed to turn slightly forward absorbing part of the energy from the recoil. A three-chambered muzzle device was also added to the barrel, this device was very complex and played a simultaneous role.

The SVD mechanical sights were replaced with a more convenient design. And a PSO optical sight was incorporated, but domestic optical sights could also be utilized through the use of a standard dovetail mount.

The magazine is a standard issue SVD (10 cartridges).
Provisions for a bayonet were removed.
The Magazine, Pistol Grip, Butt Stock and Forearm were given a camouflage treatment.

Initially the rifle was created for paratroopers, but after army tests in 1979 the VDV Command refused this rifle for use in close combat fighting, because the reliability and accuracy was said to be less in comparison with the SVD. And the cartridge capacity was not adequate to be useful as a battle rifle.


(Sniper Rifle Short - Automatic)

In 1991 the modernization of the SVU continued, the rifle was now capable of fully automatic fire and designated the SVU-A (Sniper Rifle Short – Automatic).  Other designations were also given to the rifle following the letter "A"; these were basically revisions and different options that the rifle had been supplied with. The center of gravity was also increased through the addition of a forward extended receiver mounted bipod.

Improved optics and new 20 and 30 round magazines were developed.

NOTE: “Developers have stated that under sustained fully automatic fire the muzzle device does not cope with a stream of powder gases and fails.”

In 1991 the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation became interested in the rifle, special divisions of the MIA adapted the sniper weapon for close urban missions after the army conducted tests in 1993.

Today the MIA in very specialized operations is still using the SVU. There have also been reports of limited use in Afghanistan and Chechnya.


Many of the early problems that plagued the SVU were rectified with this new version. But considering its limited accuracy with distances of more than 400m. The rifle has seen only limited success since the disadvantage of using such a powerful cartridge for such short distances is obvious. And in city conditions the probability of a ricochet with the 7.62x54R is great, these conditions are undesirable for operations in which the Ministry of Internal Affairs possiably can be engaged.
The full auto variant of this rifle, the SVU-A, looks better, but nevertheless it is worse than the usual AK-74 with an optical sight. Since it is heavier, and can not conduct high-grade automatic fire.

   Image Gallery




SVU's in Action


SVU Renderings