Evgeniy Fedorovich Dragunov was a legendary person.

Dragunov has become very well-known for his sniper rifle. The development of DSR (Dragunov sniper rifle) was dedicated to the competition announced by the General Staff of the Soviet Army to design a new semi-automatic sniper rifle (1958).

However, Evgeniy Fedorovich began constructing weapons even 10 years before this event by upgrading rifles made in 1930s. Based on Mosin rifle, Dragunov created by a number of rifles of which not much is known today.

Dragunov had a great experience working with weapons. In 1940, Eugene Fedorovich graduated from the school of artillery instrumental intelligence and received a mark of distinction “Voroshilov Sharpshooter”, which at that time was a great deal. Dragunov was a gunsmith during World War 2 and for more than 20 years was engaged in shooting sport. That’s why it is not surprising that his life’s work became the construction of weapons, combining his two main passions.

The first sniper rifle MS-74 made in 1948

In 1948 Dragunov was tasked to modernize a sniper rifle model 1891 made in 1930s. He had to improve the accuracy of the shot and make it possible to charge the rifle out of the magazine charger, because before that the rifle could only be charged with one bullet at a time. In addition, the existing rifle was heavy, and the optics was uncomfortable: with prolonged observation of combat target, sniper’s neck got tired reducing the accuracy of the shot.

An upgraded model was called MS-74. The tube was made more massive, and the rifle became lighter. After successful ground tests, the updated Dragunov rifle was better than its competitor –a rifle built by Simonov, and it soon was approved for shooting.

Sporting rifle S-49

In addition to building military weapons, Dragunov, a true fan of sport shooting, was also engaged in designing sporting rifles, but little is known about this part of his life.

The sporting rifle S-49 was most likely designed for Finnish Olympic Games, which took place in 1952. The model S-49 became the first random sample of Soviet weapon, which had excellent characteristics required for target shooting. Such rifles were used by Russians during shooting competitions at the Olympics up until 1976, bringing the highest awards.

Creating the famous DSR

Dragunov sniper rifle

by Vitaly Kuzmin

When work began on the construction of a new sniper rifle for the Soviet Army, Dragunov and his team already had some experience in making combat rifles, but of an entirely different character. Before creating the first model of the famous rifle, Eugeniy Fedorovich had a number of setbacks. According to Dragunov, designing the magazine charger took the longest.

To create a new type of sniper rifle, as it has always been the case, again two constructors worked together: Konstantinov and Dragunov – in order to be able to select the best model of the two presented. Numerous tests and diverse changes have been completed for both rifles, which certainly brought them closer together with regard to the technical characteristics. But in terms of shooting accuracy, which is crucial for a sniper weapon, Dragunov rifle was superior. In 1964, Dragunov sniper rifle was accepted into the service of the USSR Army Forces and is still used today in Russia and many other countries.

Dragunov sniper rifle was a breakthrough in the field of high-precision weapons and the first rifle, which was got a massive worldwide distribution. Special attention received the updated models of DSR – sniper rifles with night vision sights SVDSNZ and SVDNZ, which, according to the leading weapons experts, have been recognized as the best combat semi-automatic firearm in the world.

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