Russia is about to replace all legendary Dragunov SVD sniper rifles with Chukavin SVCh

Russia has finished the state tests of the Chukavin SVCh sniper rifle, which is to replace the Dragunov sniper rifle (known for the Russian initials as SVD) in the troops.

The Russian Army is about to get its first new sniper rifle in decades. The Chukavin sniper rifle, or SVC, replaces the Cold War–era Dragunov SVD. A fully modern rifle, the Chukavin comes in a variety of calibers, with a maximum range of more than 1,600 yards. now this gun is ready for mass equipping the sniper units of the Russian army.

“The state trials of the Chukavin sniper rifle, which will replace the Dragunov sniper rifle in the troops, have been completed with a positive result. At present, the results of the trials are being documented, and the decision to pass the new rifle complex into service will be made afterwards,” spokespeople for the Kalashnikov Concern said.

The Chukavin sniper rifle (SVCh) of the Kalashnikov corporation is a versatile sniper rifle with an outstanding design that meets the strict requirements of modern sniper rifles of the Russian army, which will completely replace the full role of the Dragunov SVD sniper rifle.

Russian president Putin with Chukavin SVCh sniper rifle
Russian president Putin with Chukavin SVCh sniper rifle

The RT television channel, citing information from Russia’s leading weapons corporation Kalashnikov on October 5, said that the new sniper rifle Chukavin (SVCh) has been completed and is ready to go into mass production for mass equipment soon for the Russian army.

Chukavin (SVCh) was first introduced at the Army-2017 Exhibition. It is expected that this new gun model will become a powerful weapon for snipers in the Russian army. The Kalashnikov Group said that the SVCh will replace the legendary Dragunov sniper rifle (SVD) born under the Soviet Union, to play the role of a designated marksman rifle (DMR) in the Russian army.

To do this, the manufacturer has applied many special improvements to increase the combat efficiency of SVCh-308, making it much superior to the outdated SVD line. SVCh is a semi-automatic DMR model with an effective range of up to 1,000 m, higher than the SVD’s 800 m.

The gun was developed with the application of some designs from the VSS Vintorez silenced sniper rifle. Kalashnikov Corporation has developed this gun with three variants for different calibers, to suit the needs of each Russian military unit.

The basic variant uses 7.62×54 mm ammunition similar to the SVD gun. This is the medium caliber used for sniper rifles and machine guns since the Soviet era, has a higher range and damage than the 7.62×51 mm model on NATO machine guns and DMRs. Another variant uses the .308 Winchester (7.8×51 mm) ammunition, this type of ammunition that Russian snipers appreciate more than the domestic 7.62×54 mm line. The last model uses ammunition .338 Lapua Magnum (8.6×70 mm) with very high accuracy and a range of up to 1.6 km.

Chukavin SVCh sniper rifle variant (lower one is SVD)
Chukavin SVCh sniper rifle variant (lower one is SVD)

As the .338 Lapua Magnum caliber is larger in both diameter and length compared to the 7.62 cartridges, the .338 SVCh will use a significantly different receiver, whereas the 7.62 versions will be able to swap calibers with just bolt and barrel changes. The size difference is evident when the three rifles are displayed together.

A full length Picatinny rail is present on top of the rifle, no provision is made to accommodate older dovetail rail sights. This greatly simplifies the attachment of additional combat accessories. SVCh sniper rifle weighs only 4.2-4.5 kg and has the ability to reduce weight, The length is only 1,080mm, the stock can be adjusted in length, short to suit the user. Another advantage is that the maintenance and cleaning of the weapon is very easy, with access to the trigger being enough to remove it.

The biggest difference between SVCh and traditional Russian sniper rifles is the modular design of parts, allowing quick change of caliber, as well as carrying when in use.

In terms of the overall structure, the SVCh is made according to the semi-automatic principle with a short gas extraction system, the ammunition compartment uses a rotating loading shuttle, with a linear recoil when the stock is at the barrel level.

SVCh can be equipped with a variety of optical sights, allowing the operators to easily take the line of sight and adjust the parameters during combat.

In addition, the gun also has a flypoint system and a backup sight when there is no scope, these parts can be quickly removed from the gun. The gun has a silencer mounted at the top of the barrel, and at the same time a part that suppresses the flash of the barrel when firing.

The gun is also designed to be gunner-friendly when there is a safety lock and a flexible shell exit on both sides of the gun body, convenient for both right- and left-handed people, the stock can be adjusted to suit user.

Kalashnikov’s designers created the SVCh based on the experience of snipers, it is known that gunner Andrei Kirisenko, former world champion in military shooting, consulted in making this gun model.

In addition to the military version, the SVCh also has a civilian model for lovers of military sports, a civilian Chukavin version called MR-1 with a shorter barrel and a weight of only 4.3 kg.

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