Tiger at a Glance
The Izhmash Tiger is basically a sporterized carbine version of a Russian SVD. It utilizes the same internal components, milled receiver, and short stroke gas piston as its military counterpart. However since the Tiger was a commercial contract gun the exact features of each rifle differ depending upon which company imported it. Several companies imported the Tiger in the early 1990s. These companies included among others B-West, Century Arms, and California Armory.
|B-West Receiver Markings|
The Tiger imported by B-West is characteristic of most of the Tigers imported into this country. The most noticeable differences between this rifle, and its military counterpart is the fact that this rifle has a shorter 20.8 inch barrel without flash suppressor and bayonet lug, and also has a thumbhole stock instead of the military version with cheek piece attached. This rifle also does not have ventilated hand guards. However upon closer inspection several other differences between this rifle, and its military counterpart can be found.
For instance this version of the Tiger does not have a hooded front sight, and the rear sight leaf is only marked to 300 meters unlike the Russian military SVD rear sight, which is marked to 1200 meters. This rifle also does not have an adjustable gas system.
The B-West Tiger comes packaged from the factory in a cardboard box. Included with the rifle in this box is a rifle soft case, sling, rifle instruction manual, scope instruction manual, oil bottle, cleaning kit, spare firing pin with spring, PSO-1 scope, scope tools, spare switch covers for the scope, spare bulbs for the scope, amber scope lens filter, cold weather battery adapter for the scope, and several five round magazines.
|Century Arms Tiger |
The Century Arms Tiger is basically the same as the B-West Tiger although some Century Arms Tigers were imported with military stocks with cheek pieces attached instead of the thumbhole stock like the B-West Tiger has. Also some Century Arms Tigers do not have the Izhmash logo engraved on them.
|California Armory Tiger|
Photo Courtesy Collectorsfirearms.com
The Tiger imported by California Armory is the rarest, and most sought after of all the Tigers imported into this country. Although the receivers are numbered to one thousand the exact number of California Armory Tigers in this country is unknown. Since customs cut off the importation of this rifle before they had all arrived. This rifle is very similar to its military counterpart however there are two differences between them.
Like the B-West Tiger the California Armory Tiger does not have an adjustable gas system. Although the barrel of the California Armory Tiger does appear longer than the B-West Tiger it is actually the same length. It only appears longer because of the flash suppressor attached to the end of the barrel.
These rifles were imported into this country with the flash hider, and bayonet lug assembly included in the box but not attach to the rifle. Although this isnt the first time a post 89 ban rifle was imported into the country with a banned feature included in the box (some Galils were imported months after the ban with folding stocks included) it is still illegal to attach this assembly to the rifle. However some owners, and retailers did do just that. Since the front sight post is attached to the flash suppressor and bayonet lug assembly, and you cant use the iron sights without putting it on the rifle. As long as you were not the person who originally attached these banned features to your rifle you cannot get into trouble for it although the ATF may confiscate your rifle.
Photo Courtesy Collectorsfirearms.com
|The California Armory Tiger comes packaged the same way as the B-West Tiger although it comes with three ten round magazines instead of the five round ones, and also includes a bayonet.|
The Tiger is a very capable rifle in the hands of a decent shooter. It is capable of one and a half inch groups at 100 meters with the right type of ammunition. I personally have not been able to obtain that type of accuracy with this rifle, but I can consistently hit (9 out of 10 shots) an eighteen-inch gong at 500 meters.
Most of the cheap ammunition available for this rifle is military surplus corrosive ammunition from a wide range of com-bloc manufacturers. Although this ammunition is all right for plinking you must make sure to thoroughly clean your rifle afterwards since it is corrosive, and will pit your barrel. Make sure to take apart your gas system, and clean it too if you shoot this type of ammunition.
If you want to achieve better accuracy with your rifle I recommend replacing the 4X PSO-1 scope that came with the rifle with something more powerful. I personally use a PSO 8x42 scope that I purchased from nightvisionweb.com. The scope barely clears the rear sight leaf however, but I find it is a drastic improvement in magnification over the PSO-1 scope. I also recommend finding a decent brand of non-corrosive ammunition for use with your rifle, and sighting in your scope for use with just that brand.
The Izhmash Tiger is the most affordable Dragunov on the market, and can usually be found retailing for between $700 and $1400, although California Armory Tigers do sell for considerably more. If you happen to stumble across a Tiger in that price range you should seriously consider buying it.
Even though most shooters are quick to point out to Tiger owners that their rifle is not a real Russian SVD, and isnt worth as much as a real one that does not change the fact that the Tiger is a Dragunov, and is the only Russian Dragunov available in decent numbers in this country.
The only drawback to owning a Tiger is the complete scarcity of spare parts. Almost all Tiger owners agree that they would like to replace their thumbhole stock on their Tiger with a longer more comfortable military style one. Although military furniture sets can be found for sale the price is usually sky high. Replacement parts may become easier to find as a US company Dragunovparts.com is researching the making of US made parts for the Dragunov.
Magazines for the Dragunov are also hard to find. Five round magazines can usually be found for $40 to $50. However the ten round magazines retail for around $100, but can sometimes be found for around $80. You may see advertisements in the Shotgun News advertising Romanian Dragunov magazines for sale. Although these magazines do look similar to real Dragunov magazines they do not work in Chinese, or Russian Dragunovs.