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Posted: 2/2/2011 5:07:58 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/13/2011 6:47:58 AM EST by TX-Zen]
New 2012 Jan 28-29 class HERE for those interested



Behind The Lines is Marco Vorobiev's training company and this year he decided to do a full on winter course detailing many of the tactics and techniques used by the Spetznaz in Afghanistan during the 1980's war. Marco served as a Dragunov marksman for about 2 years near the end of the conflict and this class was designed to show some of how they trained and fought in the snow.

First thing about Marco is how down to earth he is and how easy he is to get along with. He's friendly and makes a point to talk to students on their level of expertise, he doesn't act like you have to be a high speed operator to understand what he's teaching and also listens well to questions. Just like most of the exceptional career soldiers I've met he struck me as being highly intelligent, well versed in his material and able to explain things so they made sense and you could take something away from the training. I personally enjoyed his teaching style and what he had to offer, and the class itself was full of things that I was interested to know more about. He had a good way of speaking to the group about the topic at hand and also tailored the one on one instruction on how the topic applied to each student.

I discovered the class wasn't really about the Dragunov at all, it was all about how a DMR type rifle is employed...the specific rifle doesn't matter, only what it can do and how it's used. In essence the Dragunov itself wasn't what was important and you didn't need one for the class. We had 3 AR's, 2 PSL's and only one Dragunov, IMO we all did about the same shooting wise. Another thing is that this course wasn't a beginner's marksmanship class, it was assumed that students had a certain level of proficiency with their chosen rifle. At first I was more or less expecting some deeper insight into the SVD and PSO scope but came to find out that really none of that was covered. I realized pretty quickly why...there actually isn't anything magical about the rifle or scope, everything you need to know about them is basically common sense and the Russians really don't have any mysterious tricks up their sleeve... that he taught us anyway .

I'll also say that the class was really about simplicity...rolling around in the snow for 2 days will really highlight flaws with your gear choices, weapon handling abilities and even the choice of rifle to some extent. It wasn't how to be a commando, it was about how a rfle squad moves and deploys in combat conditions and how to engage targets from short range to long across the width and depth of an engagement area. Much of it was plain old horse sense and focused on simplicity rather than flashy moves. I found it to be very enjoyable and learned a few interesting shooting techniques. A subtler point that stuck out to me was about movement...both yours and the target's and how to think about the DMR in a less than pretty one shot one kill mentality.


Day one started at 100m checking our zero and making minor adjustments. A perfect zero wasn't required for what was being taught, rather the principle of rapid relatively accurate fire was most important, not being able to put two rounds in the same hole. The first series of exercises focused on shooting multiple targets rapidly. We had 6 lanes set up (one for each of us) with 4 small targets per lane. Marco would hand out a shooting order...1.3, 2.4, 5.1 and 6.2 for example. That mean your first target was in lane 1 and you were shooting at small circle #3. Second target was lane number two, circle #4, 3rd target lane 5 circle #1 and so on. We had 35 seconds to shoot 24 rounds which for a Dragunov meant two reloads...at 3-5 seconds per reload I was looking at about 25 seconds for 24 rounds. Wasn't easy, the best I did was 22 rounds and 2 mag changes. I could usually get off 20 rounds and be ready to fire the first round of the last mag right as the whistle blew and time ended.

What surprised me about this exercise was how accurate I was at speed and how relatively tight the groupings were at that rate of fire. I was getting most of my rounds into a 6" circle on each target and I literally had only enough time to put the chevron in the black and squeeze off two rounds quick before I moved to the next target. What the technique demonstrated was that many things in shooting are automatic when done at high speed, basically the less you think the better you do as an average. No you don't hit one MOA at that speed but you are able to put two kill shots into a target rapidly while using a scope...they don't have to be pretty, they just need to get the job done - again, nothing fancy, just a practical way to take advantage of the semi automatic design of the SVD. Another aspect of the drill was to acquire multiple targets spread across the width of an engagement area...its a lot harder to swing the muzzle back and forth across many targets when shooting at that speed, and that lesson is one I found particularly valuable. It's a complete break from the way I've learned to shoot a scoped rifle which is to take the time to breath, aim, squeeze one round off and then shoot again. This is much more like the pavlovian response beaten into me by the US Army M16 training where as soon as you see a target you tend to reflexively aim and shoot, the fundamentals are there in the background and should work automatically. They definately seemed to work during this drill.

Another thing I took away was the rapid fire itself. Marco stressed the rapid doubletap for getting the highest practical chance to hit, not using deliberate slow fire for maximum accuracy. Certain parts of doubletap are situational dependant obviously, as in you probably wouldn't do it if the target were at 500m with just his head exposed for example, but his intent was to show that even an optically sighted rifle can use the technique to good advantage, particularly in a skirmish with multiple moving targets. Again I wouldn't say this was a must use technique for everyday life but it did give me more insight into what a DMR can do in the right hands. It was also good for increasing confidence in your rifle...the technique works and when you see the results it gives you a new appreciation for your rifle because you actually can put down a high volume of relative accurate fire. Another insight was that my groups varied between which target I was shooting at...certain angles of shooting gave tighter groups than others which is something that I hadn't ever noticed shooting at the same target repeatedly during slow fire on the range in Texas. Not an earth shattering observation but it demonstrated differences in body position and the effect it has on accuracy.

During the first day we also hopped into the back of a pickup truck to shoot on the move. This was to simulate engaging from a BMP troop carrier and while I really doubt I'd be on top of a BMP during SHTF, once again I found the exercise to be useful. It's not easy to shoot with an optic from the back of a truck bouncing through the snow, the reticule flies all over the place and it's hard to get any kind of sight picture. Something new occured as well...eye relief on a PSO scope must be taken into account. From the bench it's always right, in the real world you have to learn fast how to reflexively get lined up correctly...not easy either. Nonetheless I hit way more than I thought I would and noticed something subtle here too...with practice it IS possible to hit from a moving vehicle and while it probably won't be a common occurance in real life, it also increased my confidence with the Dragunov because again, it does work and it is possible.

The first round of truck shooting involved driving back and forth parallel to the steel targets we set up at 100m. The second run was much harder, which was shooting prone while driving towards and away from many many targets. While the first run was only two targets, the second was about 8 spread out somewhat horizontally and to about 50-75m in depth. The truck brought us to point blank on some and closer to 75m on others while we were bouncing around in the back. While using the optic we had to enage all the targets as fast as we could, reload and continue to engage. I found this to be really tough because of how far the rifle had to swing back and forth due to the close ranges and how huge the targets were in the optic. Logically I would have thought it a better idea to use irons at closer ranges but the point of the exercise is that your optic can be used at any range, on any number of targets while stationary or on the move. It reinforced the first moving drill and added on to the rapid fire drill we did from the prone position earlier in the day.

In actuallity I can say that because of these first exercises I will probably never look at my drag the same way again...I won't be subconciously burdened with shooting it like a scoped rifle, now view it now as a rapid fire multipurpose rifle that can be used in several 'unconventional' ways to good effect. It's a very intersting experience I must say.


Marco cooked us a great lunch of boiled buckweat and canned ham, horrible tasting russian canned fish, good Russian bread, hot tea with condensed milk and some snacks. It was a great time with all of us shooting the sh*t and talking about whatever, informal and friendly...kind of like an infantry squad in the field I guess, which fit in with the class. Food was good, the fire was nice and the company pleasant, it was nice way to warm up and prepare for the next round of shooting.

After lunch we got into our winter camo gear and went on manuevers like a rifle squad, occupied a battle position, proofed it and did a range card from our position designating targets, fields of fire, distance and obstructions. This was actually identical to my training as a tank commander in the Army and I felt right at home. From the battle position we engaged multiple targets from 150m to about 350m. I was doing pretty well and then mysteriously my zero disappeared. Thanks to good spotting by Voron I was able to adjust fire and use my second chevron to get back on target and continued doing alright for the rest of the day. I'd say under other circumstances the loss of zero might have soured the day but I decided to roll with it just like I'd have to in real life, overall I was happy with my shooting and it didn't interfere with the training. It was also during this period that I learned snow is a real PITA for a sloppy ex tanker like me, I continually had foggy lenses, snow in the mags and had a couple failure to feeds due to somehow getting snow up in the magwell. I caught Marco giving me the stink eye a couple times and had to admit I was pretty hamfisted with the drag, but it was a good reminder of how to take care of your rifle because you have to count on it. What can I say, I'm still a CDAT at heart.

We did a few more manuevers and then broke for dinner and while the sun went down we prepared for the night fire familarization part of the class. Marco had a 1PN34 and a 1PN58 on his SVDS and SVD so the students could get a taste of what Afghan era night fighting was like. I had brought my own 1PN34 and was pleasantly surprised to see the zero was still good. Without the lense cap the optic did very well at 350m...targets were easy to see with just a bit of background light from someone's car and I got a much better sense of what the 1PN34 can really do at night under the right conditions. I think everyone had a great time shooting in the dark. Prior to the sun going down Marco broke out his semi auto PKM...now that was a blast


Day two involved a lot of simulated infantry stuff...dismounting from the BMP, combat rolls in the snow and jumping off a moving vehicle. I think we all pretty much agreed a couple iterations of each brought the point home...rolling in the snow sucks. We also broke into teams of three and did a simulated contact drill where we were 'engaged' and had to take cover and lay down fire, duck under cover to reload and coordinate breaking contact. Another variation of the drill was transitioning to our secondary weapon, in this case most of us had AKS74's. I never would have thought it but there is a technique to slinging the drag and deploying the AKS74 for close combat and to lay down suppressive fire to disengage from contact. It's not easy (especially when prone) but it is possible with practice and was something that Marco explained the Spetznaz did in real life. They all carried some kind of defense weapon and had to know how to get the drag out of the way in a hurry. Again I'm impressed with the Russians emphasize on simplicity...despite the drag being 4 feet long it can be efficiently slung quickly and there's a reason they learned how to use the technique.

In the afternoon we drove up the range a ways and shot targets out to 500m which was the furthest practical distance we could get on the range. Not as far as I'd hoped and not as far as I've shot in real life but it was fun and I think good practice for all of us. We had trouble with the 500m target because it was lost in shadow as the sun was going down, but I think all of us hit it at least once. Marco had said at the beginning of the class that we would continually improve over two days and IMO he was right, I believe all of us got better and certainly ended up with more confidence in our rifles. I had a blast and I think everyone else did too.


I'd encourage anyone interesting in more dynamic shooting to take a look at Marco's class. It's not intended to teach fundamentals ala Appleseed for example but I think its useful for improving marksmanship skills under a variety of circumstances. I certainly found the class worth the time and money.





Pics:

1st day morning





Our "BMP"





Battle position and engagement area





Lunch




Transitions and manuevers














PKM goodness




Che Drag







Z
Link Posted: 2/2/2011 5:16:34 PM EST
Wow! Outstanding writeup.
Link Posted: 2/2/2011 5:32:36 PM EST
Nice write-up and pics. Looks like a good time.
Link Posted: 2/2/2011 7:35:07 PM EST

Originally Posted By Liquidmetal:
Nice write-up and pics. Looks like a good time.
Truer words were never spoke.

Link Posted: 2/2/2011 9:20:20 PM EST
That's pretty cool dude! If you haven't already you should post that in the Training forum.

Also, is that SVD next to the PKM Marco's? Where the hyell did he get that???
Link Posted: 2/2/2011 10:32:01 PM EST
Shotgun News had an article on it a few months ago. It's a custom job, the rear of the SVDS receiver is different from the SVD, so he basically had to cut the rear fifth off of his SVD's receiver and weld on the SVDS rear section (don't remember where he got that piece). As far as I know it's the only one of its kind in the US.
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 2:27:22 AM EST
Actually there are two now, IronEagle16 from theakforum.net has one that just came back from the gunsmith who did Marco's. I think I'm going to try and be the 3rd



One thing I told Nictra before the class was that I really hoped there would be snow on the ground. I definitely got my wish, it snowed a lot while we were shooting and didn't really get sunny til near the end of the second day while were engaging the 500m targets. At that moment it was a downright beautiful day temperature-wise, but overall the weekend wasn't brutally cold. It stayed between 20 and 30 degrees and never really got that bad.

Prior to the class I had made an intentional decision not to spend money on good winter boots because frankly I will probably only use them once. Knowing the risk I went ahead with my lightweight mesh sided hotweather boots and some good Merino wool socks, I think the socks made ALL the difference. I will say one thing about Merino wool...it works. I was soaked from the waist down including my wool long johns and socks...completely wet from all the snow activity. While my feet weren't toasty they weren't cold either and between the wool and the amount of activity we did I only felt a few times where I was getting chilly. I wouldn't want to be deployed and be that wet, but for a two day class it didn't affect me much and I have to credit to the wool.





Z

Link Posted: 2/3/2011 4:40:20 AM EST
Hey Zen got a question for you.

I noticed in the pics your wearing a German army coat. Did it have a fur lining ? My pops one he had when he was stationed there felt like they used all the sheep's wool they could find?
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 4:53:07 AM EST
I have a new desktop background.

Looks like wicked fun.

- Fin

Link Posted: 2/3/2011 5:09:56 AM EST
Not a whole lot I can add to that, but I will try. Fantastic job Zen.



Learning from Marco was quite the experience. You never know what you’re going to get when you go to the classes, especially with our preconceptions of the Russian Military. Like Zen said, he was a very down to earth gentleman. Voron, who’s range we were using is an exceptional character also. He did all the behind the scenes stuff that we took for granted. I’m pretty sure he was more worn out than we were. Thank you sir for making it happen.



The biggest part for me on this class was learning the basics. I have had very limited experience with Russian optics, and had never even shot a PSL before. Zen has let me shoot che-drag a time or two, but the PSL has a whole different set of ergonomics. While the rifle never malfunctioned (some failure to feeds, but that was due to weak mag springs) and was accurate, it took me the whole 1st day just to get use to the way it felt in my hands, the lack of a "good” cheek weld, and the huge blast it sent out the front. There was literally a 1foot deep hole in front of my shooting position from the blast melting the snow. Once I began to get use to the ergonomics and received pointers from Marco, I started really hitting the targets. The PSL is quite accurate for what it’s intended purpose is and I would feel comfortable taking one into the field if need be. Not only that it has the reliability of any AK and the snow in the mags or in the mag well did not hinder the weapon at all. That being, said, I’m not going out to buy one. I’m going to build a custom Saiga .308 and see what happens. I may have to revisit this after that is done.



Equipment was the biggest shock. I of course didn’t brink anything other than my plate carrier, and it was just too bulky to deal with. I improvised and used my belt and the mag pouch to create a type of carrier over my white cammo. Every time I dropped to the prone, this would inevitably end up in front of me instead of at my side. This made mag changes much harder. I took it off and started using it as a shoulder strap. This is the way to go IMO. Being able to drop it at your position and grab mags at need made life much easier, and I believe when I build up my next rig this is the technique I will follow. Boots, like Zen said, kinda not worth it for a one time use, but I’ve froze many a time and was willing to make that sacrifice. Well, I was limited on funds until after the trip started, so I was unable to pick up a pair. I wish I had been able to. I was wearing my issued browns, and they got wet fast. Thank God SGT drilled it into my head enough that you always carry extra socks.



As for the shooting, rapid fire, reload drills, and transitions, well it was all pretty new to me. I’ve taken Sonny’s class, worked on the transitions, the reloads, and definitely the rapid fire, but all with AK’s and standing up. It’s completely different when you’re in the muck. Marco asked me if I could transition, and I executed a perfect transition. His eyebrows even went up. I got quite smug, until I hit the snow and realized this was gonna happen laying down….didn’t go as well as planned. I had a hard time doing the rapid fire, I was doing more of 1 shot, then 1 second, then another shot, not really double tapping. The shooting from a moving platform was really fun. Zen hit 1st, which spurred me into motion. I have to say I was quite surprised we hit as many targets as we did.



All in all, it was a really fun class and worth the time in the truck up there and back. I met good people, ate good food, and didn’t suffer, too much. As Zen stated, this is not a beginners course, so know your weapon before you go. Don’t be like me and be "that guy”…

Link Posted: 2/3/2011 5:41:31 AM EST
[Last Edit: 2/3/2011 5:48:35 AM EST by saigamanTX]

Originally Posted By nictra:
Not a whole lot I can add to that, but I will try. Fantasticjob Zen.



Learning from Marco was quite the experience. You never knowwhat you’re going to get when you go to the classes, especially with ourpreconceptions of the Russian Military. Like Zen said, he was a very down toearth gentleman. Voron, who’s range we were using is an exceptional character also.He did all the behind the scenes stuff that we took for granted. I’m prettysure he was more worn out than we were. Thank you sir for making it happen.



The biggest part for me on this class was learning thebasics. I have had very limited experience with Russian optics, and had nevereven shot a PSL before. Zen has let me shoot che-drag a time or two, but thePSL has a whole different set of ergonomics. While the rifle nevermalfunctioned (some failure to feeds, but that was due to weak mag springs) andwas accurate, it took me the whole 1st day just to get use to theway it felt in my hands, the lack of a "good” cheek weld, and the huge blast itsent out the front. There was literally a 1foot deep hole in front of myshooting position from the blast melting the snow. Once I began to get use tothe ergonomics and received pointers from Marco, I started really hitting thetargets. The PSL is quite accurate for what it’s intended purpose is and Iwould feel comfortable taking one into the field if need be. Not only that ithas the reliability of any AK and the snow in the mags or in the mag well didnot hinder the weapon at all. That being, said, I’m not going out to buy one. I’mgoing to build a custom Saiga .308 and see what happens. I may have to revisitthis after that is done.



Equipment was the biggest shock. I of course didn’t brinkanything other than my plate carrier, and it was just too bulky to deal with. Iimprovised and used my belt and the magpouch to create a type of carrier over my white cammo. Every time I dropped tothe prone, this would inevitably end up in front of me instead of at my side.This made mag changes much harder. I took it off and started using it as a shoulderstrap. This is the way to go IMO. Being able to drop it at your position andgrab mags at need made life much easier, and I believe when I build up my nextrig this is the technique I will follow. Boots, like Zen said, kinda not worth it for aone time use, but I’ve froze many a time and was willing to make that sacrifice.Well, I was limited on funds until after the trip started, so I was unable topick up a pair. I wish I had been able to. I was wearing my issued browns, andthey got wet fast. Thank God SGT drilled it into my head enough that you alwayscarry extra socks.



As for the shooting, rapid fire, reload drills, andtransitions, well it was all pretty new to me. I’ve taken Sonny’s class, workedon the transitions, the reloads, and definitely the rapid fire, but all with AK’sand standing up. It’s completely different when you’re in the muck. Marco askedme if I could transition, and I executed a perfect transition. His eyebrowseven went up. I got quite smug, until I hit the snow and realized this wasgonna happen laying down….didn’t go as well as planned. I had a hard time doingthe rapid fire, I was doing more of 1 shot, then 1 second, then another shot,not really double tapping. The shooting from a moving platform was really fun.Zen hit 1st, which spurred me into motion. I have to say I was quitesurprised we hit as many targets as we did.



All in all, it was a really fun class and worth the time inthe truck up there and back. I met good people, ate good food, and didn’tsuffer, too much. As Zen stated, this is not a beginners course, so know yourweapon before you go. Don’t be like me and be "that guy”…



What was the food? Looks tasty? Looks like fun held by all but I think you two brought the weather back with you.
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 6:08:33 AM EST

Originally Posted By saigamanTX:


What was the food? Looks tasty? Looks like fun held by all but I think you two brought the weather back with you.

the forecast was in place before we left, can't blame us. Good try though. I believe Zen said what it was, but it was buckwheat and canned pork, simple, hearty and filling.
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 7:56:51 AM EST
Sorry gotta do it. WOLVERINES!
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 11:31:23 AM EST
Looks like a lot of fun, thanks for sharing.
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 11:46:14 AM EST
Originally Posted By nictra:
Voron, who’s range we were using is an exceptional character also.He did all the behind the scenes stuff that we took for granted. I’m prettysure he was more worn out than we were. Thank you sir for making it happen.[/div]



+1

I apologize...congratulating Voron on the job he did slipped my mind. I was concentrating not so much on Marco but more on the details of those particular shooting exercises and I really should have taken a minute to publicly thank him for all the work he put in before, during and after the course. Without him there wouldn't have been a class and he worked his tail off both days just so the students could get the most out of the time as they could. He's a hell of a guy and helped us with hotel arrangements, places to eat, what to bring and all sorts of things, very involved from the beginning and all the way through.


Huge thanks Voron!



Z
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 12:04:14 PM EST
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 12:21:14 PM EST
Excellent question

We did see a modern SVD 10 mag chest rig that Marco brought, but nothing specific was discussed other than mags needed to be higher on the chest to help reloading while prone and help reduce fatigue on long patrols. Backup loadouts weren't covered in great detail either because generally the self defense weapon was a personal choice for the SVD marksmen in the squad, and they tended to carry whatever was light and easy to use. Stechkin machine pistols sounded like they were popular, no mention of the AKSU though. I got the impression that they didn't carry alot of spare mags and ammo for the self defense weapon because they were in a squad bristling with AK74's.

Like Nictra mentioned the idea of a shoulder bag full of mags and loose ammo turned out to be very handy, particularly in the back of the truck when shooting prone. I used the hell out of my right side dump pouch to keep fresh mags handy. Marco encouraged a left hand hold on the SVD and reloading with the right hand to achieve the smoothest and surest mag changes, he was very against keeping the hand on the PG like we do with AK's and AR's. When prone you could see the logic of his method and a right side dump pouch worked well because you had to roll on your left side anyway. If I were to do it all again I'd probably add one more dump pouch for empty mags, keep the one I have for loaded ones and carry a shoulder bag to drop on the ground as well.

We fired a lot in each series, a whole lot. 4 mags wasn't enough, I'm thinking 10 fresh mags would be ideal for most of the rapid shooting we did. We spent a lot of time reloading empties while we were doing other things...listening to Marco, checking targets, getting set for the next engagement etc. Overall I'm happy with my rig, I spent a lot of time thinking it through before Sonny's class last year and it worked great for AK stuff, I kept the same config and added a few things I thought would work with the SVD also. Turned out the dump bag was the big winner because it was simple and handy. I'm actually going to sell the TT utility pouches I picked up to try out...they fit 3 SVD mags but aren't secure enough to keep them snug and not fast enough compared to the dump bag or having mags on the ground next to you.



Z
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 12:39:40 PM EST
[Last Edit: 2/3/2011 12:40:05 PM EST by Forest]
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 12:43:57 PM EST
We had one guy with a pistol as his secondary, Marco said he was never issued a one and the Spetznaz didn't carry them. I would think the firepower of a Stechkin outweighs it being slightly larger than a handgun.

I can run out and take some pics right quick, but the bag is this one: http://www.tacticaltailor.com/roll-updumpbag.aspx
The utility pouches are great but not really so hot for this application http://www.tacticaltailor.com/multi-purposepouch.aspx



Z
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 12:50:15 PM EST
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 12:58:39 PM EST
I will probably tighten the straps up to raise the belt section a little, I lowered them to the max specifically for going prone in this class. Not to get to them easier but to keep gear out of my stomach when laying flat. In practice none of the gear seemed to get in the way so maybe I will raise it up again and see how it feels.





Again these pouches do carry SVD mags, but really only the front velcro pocket is useful. I had two mags fall out of the larger pocket in back even while snapped shut. Stuff tends to go flying when rolling around.






Here's how I had it setup for Sonny's class, worked really really well.






The nice thing is that I can add two more TACO pouches for 5.45 mags and still keep everything onboard after ditching the TT utility pouche on the left side.



Z
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 1:01:07 PM EST
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 1:51:43 PM EST
great thread, thanks.
Looks like fun
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 3:31:05 PM EST
They should use this thread for advertising. Looks like and awesome time!
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 3:45:11 PM EST
already saving for the next one. And that Krink is beautiful Zen.
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 4:44:21 PM EST
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 4:54:54 PM EST
Awesome! I have a former Spetznaz buddy named Max that operated quite a bit in the 90's and later did private Russian gov't military contracting (which I can't get him to talk about ) and man don't they seem to have all kinds of cool toys!? RPK, PKM, rare variations of AK's ! Sounds like Marco is the same way. Love that belt fed stuff!
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 5:48:09 PM EST
Great write up and photos Zen. Thanks for the AAR. Looks like you can't get a more "Authentic" class than one in the snow!
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 6:05:50 PM EST
Awesome write up Sir! Took me almost a whole day to read it since I'm a slow reader .

So the Drag performed well in the snow except for a few FTF caused by the snow and the lenses on the PSO scope fogged up correct?

I also noticed from reading the comments that the PSLs performed really well in such condition. That's very interesting.
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 6:50:40 PM EST
Sweet AAR and pics! Thanks for the write-up. A lot of good info here.
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 7:16:38 PM EST

Originally Posted By TX-Zen:
We had one guy with a pistol as his secondary, Marco said he was never issued a one and the Spetznaz didn't carry them. I would think the firepower of a Stechkin outweighs it being slightly larger than a handgun.

I can run out and take some pics right quick, but the bag is this one: http://www.tacticaltailor.com/roll-updumpbag.aspx
The utility pouches are great but not really so hot for this application http://www.tacticaltailor.com/multi-purposepouch.aspx



Z

Last time I was back home, I stopped by TT's retail shop, just outside of Ft. Lewis, and got them to make me 4 single mag SVD pouches, custom. They work pretty well.

Great write up, makes me want to take one of M. Vorobiev's classes more than ever.
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 9:03:00 PM EST
This is such a great thread. I'm working toward putting together a .308 Saiga setup (I'm already kitted up to reload .308, so that's basically my reasoning for a Saiga over a PSL) and training along this doctrine. I've totally added this thread to my subs so I can go back to it and read and re-read it as soon as I'm kitted up with the rifle and scope.

Also ha ha I love how the one guy in multicam sticks out the most in that snow.
Link Posted: 2/3/2011 9:10:35 PM EST
Originally Posted By Forest:
Thanks for the info and insight. I do have some followup questions though.

1) Is a handgun considered a reasonable 'backup' in Soviet Doctrine?

2) Do you have any pics of your bag?

Again my thanks for your AAR.


Marco carried a Stetchkin as a back-up.......so a machine-pistol rather
than a standard PM
Link Posted: 2/4/2011 4:30:58 AM EST
Originally Posted By MNRidesHonda:
Awesome write up Sir! Took me almost a whole day to read it since I'm a slow reader .

So the Drag performed well in the snow except for a few FTF caused by the snow and the lenses on the PSO scope fogged up correct?

I also noticed from reading the comments that the PSLs performed really well in such condition. That's very interesting.


The main problem was me, I literally got the mag well full of snow during a reload once, totally my fault. The mags themselves seemed to run fine with snow in them, so I don't think it was that the PSL's did better, I think those guys were just more careful than I was and didn't have the problem. They actually had plenty of issues with mag quality, the first half of the day one guy had a jam every round. We tinkered with the mags and got him running ok, Nictra had the same problem until he swapped internals on two of his mags and then Marco's borrowed PSL ran great. The AR guys had a lot of trouble from the moving vehicle, there's something about AR's and jostling the mag that causes them to jam pretty quick but overall their rifles ran pretty well I think.

Everyone else had some issues with foggy lenses I think but not as much as me, again here I think it was me having trouble because of my ham fistedness. I guess I was hurling myself down hard and causing a great bow wave of snow to engulf everything but yea, I had a few problems. On the whole fogging didn't stop the show for me, but I had to be concious of what I was doing with the rifle and it bit me a couple times. The nice thing was that a few times I quickly rotated the cheekpad out of the way and went irons without removing the PSO and did well, thats another example of the excellent design of the SVD and good real world practice for 'degraded mode gunnery' similar to what I used to do as a tank commander.


Z
Link Posted: 2/4/2011 5:29:17 AM EST
I read that you lost your " zero"
What happened?
Link Posted: 2/4/2011 6:05:25 AM EST
Someone knocked the NDM off the rack when I wasn't looking and it took a spill, pretty sure that's what caused it.




Z
Link Posted: 2/4/2011 8:08:06 AM EST

Originally Posted By TX-Zen:
Someone knocked the NDM off the rack when I wasn't looking and it took a spill, pretty sure that's what caused it.

Z

seen it with my own 2 eyes. A horrible atrocity. I was too frozen and too slow to react properly. Good news, only a tiny little scratch on the FS.
Link Posted: 2/4/2011 8:13:53 AM EST
Link Posted: 2/4/2011 10:29:25 AM EST
Hard to say, I think it's just bad luck on that day. I've had a couple incidents over the years where my NDM has taken good hits and not lost zero. This particular time I suspect the turret got moved but I intentionally elected not to fool with it because I was able to adjust fire and keep moving on with the class, I didn't want to make it worse by tryng to fix it and losing what I had.

If the class were some kind of match I would have been screwed probably but as I mentioned in the beginning I realized it wasn't about super precision accuracy, it was about practical accuracy. I could still hit and so I just kept on with what I had, fortunately it didn't ruin the weekend for me.




Z
Link Posted: 2/4/2011 11:44:20 AM EST
What would you say was the longest range shots you took during the class? And any time to break out the S12?
Link Posted: 2/4/2011 2:51:40 PM EST
Originally Posted By saigamanTX:
What would you say was the longest range shots you took during the class? And any time to break out the S12?


Marco normally has students shoot out to 800 yards in Kansas
not sure how far they could shoot out to in PA
I know it was at least 500 yards.......
Link Posted: 2/4/2011 7:36:41 PM EST
Link Posted: 2/4/2011 8:17:29 PM EST
Link Posted: 2/4/2011 9:31:00 PM EST
Link Posted: 2/5/2011 2:42:28 AM EST
Originally Posted By Gunwritr:
not sure how far they could shoot out to in PA
I know it was at least 500 yards.......


500m was the max for this class, but really environmental conditions limited us to the 450m target. Too much shadow with the sun as a backdrop against the 500 target.



Z
Link Posted: 2/5/2011 2:44:02 AM EST


Thats the one. Very nice in person, I was impressed with it.




Z
Link Posted: 2/5/2011 2:50:19 PM EST
Great AAR guys.
Link Posted: 3/4/2011 12:57:55 AM EST
Fellas...I am new to the 7.62x54 and Dragunov platform. Never owned one. But looking real hard at them. There is one made my Tennessee Guns floating around lately.

My question is what is the accuracy of these weapons? I am going to compare to the AR-10 platform. I like the Kalashnikov guns for sure. Need the scope mount of course.

For some reason I have a problem with paying 1400 bucks or so for an AR vs maybe 800 for the Dragunov. If the Draguov is close to the accuracy of the AR, choice is clear..

Link Posted: 3/4/2011 2:44:10 AM EST
[Last Edit: 3/4/2011 2:46:49 AM EST by TX-Zen]
The Tennesse Dragunov is not a Dragunov at all actually, it's basically an AK chambered in 7.62x54R. They are Romanian DMR rifles and filled a similar role in a rifle squad, however they don't have much in common with an SVD other than caliber and intended use. An SVD doesn't use a long piston or gas tube for example, instead it uses an operating rod and has an adjustable gas system, stainless steel bolt and the rifle itself is milled instead of stamped like an AK. The proper terminology is PSL for the Romanian military guns but in the states the ones imported were marked Dragunov for some reason, probably marketing hype to help sell rifles. While good at what they do they aren't Dragunov's in anything but name.

As far as accuracy goes both the SVD and the PSL are not sniper rifles in the sense we understand the term in the West, they are designated marksman rifles intended to extend the range of an AK equipped rifle unit, so sub MOA accuracy is not the most critical feature. The ability to shoot rapidly at multiple targets in a dymanic situation is where they shine, not the one shot one kill sniper style that the West uses. Officially they get about 2 MOA which is fine for their intended role. 2 MOA translates to about 15-18 inches at 600m which is plenty accurate enough to hit a man size target, when you factor in rate of fire I think it's possible to see why the tradeoff for pinpoint accuracy was made.

Having said 2 MOA, it's entirely possible for SVD's and even PSL's to shoot sub MOA. I have personally done it with my Chinese NDM86 (SVD copy in 7.62x54R) and have had this confirmed by other Dragunov owners. I haven't done it with 7N1 but I have done with handloads, and the 3 people I know with actual KBI imported Russian SVD's have told me they do shoot sub MOA with 7N1. There are several people that have shot sub MOA with PSL's too, Marco Vorobiev who taught the class lent his PSL to Nictra and it's a sub MOA shooter. As a side note Chinese NDM86's in 308 will shoot sub MOA with a variety of commerical ammo also and in my experience are very consistent even for a non sniper type like me.

With both rifles proper ammo is everything. 7N1 was the original sniper load designed specifically for the SVD and in a good marksmans hands an SVD can shoot sub MOA with it, and probably likewise for the PSL as well. OTOH surplus spam can ammo will not get you best accuracy by any means and neither will Wolf commercial ammo (but Wolf Extra Match 203gr is supposed to be as good or better than 7N1 from what I am told). With PSL's I think the build quality of the gun itself is a big factor...some people have excellent shooters and some people have lemons that won't group well at all.


Realistically you shouldn't expect for a PSL to compete with an AR10 in terms of raw accuracy but in real world conditions the PSL will do it's job well. With the PSL you'll need to adapt to the ergonomics of the stock and how the LPS optic sits and if you want maximum accuracy you'll need to spend some time behind the trigger before you decide it it's as accurate as it can be...there is a learning curve or familiarization process because these rifles are not designed the same way an AR is. Some people have a hard time getting used to them just because they are more used to something else like an AR for example.


Also remember that there is no correlation between price and accuracy....Dragunovs are $4000+ because they are rare, not because they have $3000 more quality than a 'lower end' rifle like the PSL. PSL's are cheap because they are everywhere. If you get a good one they are great shooters and worth the money. NDM86's are much more of a collector's rifle which is partly why they are so dang expensive.



Z
Link Posted: 3/4/2011 3:49:57 AM EST
[Last Edit: 3/4/2011 3:51:17 AM EST by nictra]
army_eod, what Zen said is quite accurate. I can't really find anything to expand on other than give your new rifle time for you to get use to it. I had never shot a PSL when I went to Marco's class, and felt pretty good about it by the end of the day.

If you have time to wait, I am picking up a Yugoslavian M76 (built by Assault Weapons of Ohio) next week and Zen and I (if he would return my phone call or respond to txt) will be putting it through the paces. I plan to site it in and then running fairly hard, well as hard as we can at the range we are at. I will do as thorough of a write up as I can, but I'm no Zen when it comes to writing long informative posts.

To reiterate, do your research, get an idea what you, and then have fun. FWIW, we had 2 AR10's at this class.....
Link Posted: 3/4/2011 6:43:57 AM EST

Originally Posted By TX-Zen:
The Tennesse Dragunov is not a Dragunov at all actually, it's basically an AK chambered in 7.62x54R. They are Romanian DMR rifles and filled a similar role in a rifle squad, however they don't have much in common with an SVD other than caliber and intended use. An SVD doesn't use a long piston or gas tube for example, instead it uses an operating rod and has an adjustable gas system, stainless steel bolt and the rifle itself is milled instead of stamped like an AK. The proper terminology is PSL for the Romanian military guns but in the states the ones imported were marked Dragunov for some reason, probably marketing hype to help sell rifles. While good at what they do they aren't Dragunov's in anything but name.

As far as accuracy goes both the SVD and the PSL are not sniper rifles in the sense we understand the term in the West, they are designated marksman rifles intended to extend the range of an AK equipped rifle unit, so sub MOA accuracy is not the most critical feature. The ability to shoot rapidly at multiple targets in a dymanic situation is where they shine, not the one shot one kill sniper style that the West uses. Officially they get about 2 MOA which is fine for their intended role. 2 MOA translates to about 15-18 inches at 600m which is plenty accurate enough to hit a man size target, when you factor in rate of fire I think it's possible to see why the tradeoff for pinpoint accuracy was made.

Having said 2 MOA, it's entirely possible for SVD's and even PSL's to shoot sub MOA. I have personally done it with my Chinese NDM86 (SVD copy in 7.62x54R) and have had this confirmed by other Dragunov owners. I haven't done it with 7N1 but I have done with handloads, and the 3 people I know with actual KBI imported Russian SVD's have told me they do shoot sub MOA with 7N1. There are several people that have shot sub MOA with PSL's too, Marco Vorobiev who taught the class lent his PSL to Nictra and it's a sub MOA shooter. As a side note Chinese NDM86's in 308 will shoot sub MOA with a variety of commerical ammo also and in my experience are very consistent even for a non sniper type like me.

With both rifles proper ammo is everything. 7N1 was the original sniper load designed specifically for the SVD and in a good marksmans hands an SVD can shoot sub MOA with it, and probably likewise for the PSL as well. OTOH surplus spam can ammo will not get you best accuracy by any means and neither will Wolf commercial ammo (but Wolf Extra Match 203gr is supposed to be as good or better than 7N1 from what I am told). With PSL's I think the build quality of the gun itself is a big factor...some people have excellent shooters and some people have lemons that won't group well at all.


Realistically you shouldn't expect for a PSL to compete with an AR10 in terms of raw accuracy but in real world conditions the PSL will do it's job well. With the PSL you'll need to adapt to the ergonomics of the stock and how the LPS optic sits and if you want maximum accuracy you'll need to spend some time behind the trigger before you decide it it's as accurate as it can be...there is a learning curve or familiarization process because these rifles are not designed the same way an AR is. Some people have a hard time getting used to them just because they are more used to something else like an AR for example.


Also remember that there is no correlation between price and accuracy....Dragunovs are $4000+ because they are rare, not because they have $3000 more quality than a 'lower end' rifle like the PSL. PSL's are cheap because they are everywhere. If you get a good one they are great shooters and worth the money. NDM86's are much more of a collector's rifle which is partly why they are so dang expensive.



Z

I can't confirm the first, as I have never shot 7N1. I'll definitely have to get some of the Wolf Extra Match and try it out, though.
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