My buddy Liem called and asked me if I’d like to shoot his Dragunov sniper rifle. I said that sounded like a great idea. So today, we went to the range.
His rifle is a Romanian FPK Dragunov rifle. This general model has been made by many countries since 1963 until the present. It is the “other side’s” sniper rifle and is well known and often seen in war photos.
Here it is:
It is a semi-auto rifle in 7.62 X 54R (Rimmed). It weighs about 9.5 pounds and has a 24 inch barrel.
It has a semi-curved magazine that holds 10 rounds.
The rifle has a fairly thin barrel to reduce weight and it has a very functional muzzle brake that is loud, but reduces recoil to a very light push.
It has a hollowed-out stock, again to reduce weight. Liem has a raised cheek piece that allows better use of the scope.
Anyone that is familiar with the AK-47 family of rifles will quickly see that the action is identical to the AK system.
The scope is a side-mounted 4 power scope. It has an inverted chevron for an aiming point. It was clear, but the low magnification was a limiting factor for us today.
Liem brought some military ball 7.62 X 54R ammo, with 150 grain bullets. He can handload for this rifle, but we wanted to see how well it would shoot with military ball, its normal diet.
Now, a word of caution: We were interested in seeing how well this rifle would shoot with normal military ball ammo. We know that handloads or target ammo would improve the groups, but that is not what most users will be using in battle.
Here’s Liem on the rifle.
And here’s a reminder of how far 100 yards really is.
I also tried my luck at 100 yards.
Here are a couple of my 5-shot groups. One was 3.18 inches and the other was 1.975 inches.
Liem shot 20 rounds from the prone position.
I decided to compare this rifle and ammo to the US Military equivalent. That could be the M-40 in .308. I do not have that exact rifle, but I do have a Remington VLS in .308.
This rifle is able to shoot “One MOA All Day Long”, as proven in the “One MOA All Day Long Contest”. But that was with handloads. I wanted to try it today with military ball ammo.
I used some South African 7.62 X 51mm ammo made in 1981. It is some very nice military ball ammo.
I shot it at 100 yards.
And I let Liem try it at 100 yards.
Here are our 5 shot groups.
They were 1.70 inches, 2.00 inches, and 1.197 inches. Not bad for military ball. I shot one group on the bottom right with my handloads and it measured .902 inches.
- The Dragunov ran 100% with no failures of any kind.
- The trigger was very light and crisp. (To my surprise)
- The scope was only 4 power, but the view was clear. We felt that we were holding it good and steady. The low (4X) power scope was a limiting factor in our opinion.
- The performance of the military ball was about what we expected. Many shooters are surprised to find that military ball ammo in 7.62 X 54R is simply not that accurate. It is just fine for designated marksmen to use against bad guys, but it is not target quality ammo, and never will be.
- The Remington bolt action is a more accurate system, even with military ball ammo. But that is what we expected.
For use against man-sized targets at reasonable ranges, the Dragunov rifle is a good system and had served the eastern bloc countries well.
It’s fun to shoot stuff.