THE SVU STORY
Russia's Bullpup Sniper Rifle
|7.62 x 54r
|Weigth w/PSO Scope and Mag
|Weight w/o PSO scope and Mag
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
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.
- Muzzle Brake / Absorbing up to 40 % of recoil energy.
- Equalizer / Reducing fluctuations of the barrel.
- Balance / Displaced the forward center of gravity of
- Sound Suppressor / Due to the expansion and cooling
of gases inside chambers, the device also reduced the level of sound
from a shot up to 150 DB, therefore negative sound influence on the
shooters hearing is decreased.Shooting comfort with the SVU was greatly
improved in comparison with the standard SVD.
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
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.
(CLICK ON SMALL IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW)
SVU's in Action
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