How to use an svd scope

Written by ben beers
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How to use an svd scope
The Dragunov is based on the Kalashnikov family of guns. (gun image by Cora Reed from

The PSO-1 is the first true sniping scope produced for the SVD or "Dragunov" rifle. Some imported scopes lack the original military reticule, which was calibrated for finding man-sized targets. Russia prohibits the export of military goods, including the scope itself. Most of the "Russian" scopes in the U.S. are actually imported Belarusian copies. The Belarus-made scopes usually have the military reticule, although they lack the infra-red detector featured on the original scopes.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • PSO-1 scope or Belarusian equivalent.

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  1. 1

    Look at the targeting reticle. On the left is a horizontal straight line beneath an upward-curving line; this is the rangefinder. The series of inverted V-shaped lines ("chevrons") in the centre is the bullet-drop compensator. The row of vertical lines with a "10" at either side is the windage elevation scale.

  2. 2

    Look for a man-sized target. An object 1.5 meters high is considered "man-sized" for these optics. Move the scope so that the target fits between the horizontal and top reclining lines.

  3. 3

    Fit the target into the rangefinder and find the closest number-mark on the recurving line. Multiply that number by 100; this is the distance to the target in meters. A meter is 1.11 yards, or three feet, three inches.

  4. 4

    Move the gun so that the target is in the centre of the windage elevation scale. Every gradation on the scale is 10 centimetres for every 100 meters from the target. At a distance of 300 meters, moving one gradation to the left would move the bullet's striking point by 30 centimetres.

  5. 5

    Use the bullet-drop compensator. Bullets aren't weightless; they fall as they travel forward. So you have to aim high to hit the target. At a distance of 300 meters to 900 meters, the target should fit at the top chevron. For every 100 meters farther away than this, drop down another chevron.

Tips and warnings

  • The drop compensator is calibrated for the Dragunov's standard 7.62mm by 54mm ammunition. The drop compensator may not function accurately with different ammunition.
  • The scope's illuminated reticle is powered by a 1.5-volt battery. A Duracell D357/303 will do the trick.

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