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Old 03-20-2018, 06:31 PM   #1
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Default PSL quality question

So Iím curious to get into the world of ComBloc DMRs. Now obviously if I could sell a kidney, id get a Tiger, but even if my job would let me, I donít know WHERE to sell organs, so... the only other option in 7.62x54r seems to be the PSL. I remember about 5 years ago when I DIDNT buy one, the opinion was they were really lousy rifles that looked like an SVD but was a junk gun with terrible accuracy and not worth wasting money on.

Over the years of ownership, can anyone attest, are they acceptable DMRs? Can I go with a PSL to scratch the itch?
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Old 03-20-2018, 06:47 PM   #2
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In my opinion US built PSL is not well built, there is always some issues with rivets or scope rail. The ones imported from Romania are probably the ones that failed quality control for their export to Iraqi military.
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Old 03-20-2018, 07:59 PM   #3
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All I can tell you is my experience with the one I bought several years ago new. I have put many rounds through it both factory, milsurp and hand loads with out any issues. I have stuck to using lighter bullet loads in in all cases as many have advised this. Accuracy is good if one sticks to five round strings and let it cool a bit between. If you crank off long strings of shots it will string out the groups as the thin barrel heats rapidly. With hand loads and sticking to five shot strings I have gotten mine to do 100 yard groups in the 2 moa range. I agree that its not top quality compared to true sniper rifles and its really nothing more than an oversized AK but it's darn fun to shoot and play with. I have even taken it deer hunting. And some have reported issues just as hakentt has stated. I feel mine is well worth the money I paid for it and I wouldn't let it go for something else but I have other guns that fill the role of long range precision shooters.





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Old 03-20-2018, 08:23 PM   #4
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It is what it is... an oversized AK. A Dragunov (SVD or Tiger) is completely different. A PSL is best with Lightball ammo. The Heavy stuff can beat it up over time. Accuracy is typical for Russian sniping - minute-of-man versus minute-of-angle. As long as you can "get it in center-mass, it's good enough." This even goes for SVDs and Tigers which are also not considered sub-MOA rifles.

If you're looking for a an SVD/Tiger clone, also consider a Vepr. I too cannot afford the real thing so I went with a 23" Vepr. Pic below. Even though are no longer imported, you can still find them out there and converted for the same price that you can get a PSL. Veprs also can handle heavyball ammo and actually do better with it.

If you are looking for a sub-MOA rifle... none of these (PSL, SVD, Tiger, Vepr) are what you want.

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Old 03-20-2018, 09:25 PM   #5
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Thanks for the reality check gents! I guess I’ll keep my eyes open for the VEPR first!
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Old 03-20-2018, 11:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BorisBadenov View Post
It is what it is... an oversized AK. A Dragunov (SVD or Tiger) is completely different. A PSL is best with Lightball ammo. The Heavy stuff can beat it up over time. Accuracy is typical for Russian sniping - minute-of-man versus minute-of-angle. As long as you can "get it in center-mass, it's good enough." This even goes for SVDs and Tigers which are also not considered sub-MOA rifles.

If you're looking for a an SVD/Tiger clone, also consider a Vepr. I too cannot afford the real thing so I went with a 23" Vepr. Pic below. Even though are no longer imported, you can still find them out there and converted for the same price that you can get a PSL. Veprs also can handle heavyball ammo and actually do better with it.

If you are looking for a sub-MOA rifle... none of these (PSL, SVD, Tiger, Vepr) are what you want.

Canít speak for every tiger but mine is 1moa or better with 182gr match. Much better than my old PSL
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Old 03-21-2018, 12:06 AM   #7
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I think BorisBadenov brings up a lot of good points about the PSL in particular. With that said my PSL is not for sale. Many owners do not want to sell their guns, which is why the price has gone up so much - supply vs demand. I love mine because of the history behind it and the character it posses. Mine was not the best built gun, in fact it's been rebuilt (heavy ammo was used through it causing the rear end to fail), but it's damn accurate. I also feel a lot better about shooting my PSL than the SVD. The SVD has become way to expensive and I worry too much about scratching it.
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Old 03-21-2018, 01:00 AM   #8
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Have you checked out the zastava m77?

Its cheaper than most rifles out there, has adjustable gas, and has readily available magazines
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Old 03-21-2018, 09:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hakentt View Post
In my opinion US built PSL is not well built, there is always some issues with rivets or scope rail. The ones imported from Romania are probably the ones that failed quality control for their export to Iraqi military.
A true fully "made in Romania PSL" is nearly impossible to find and usually difficult to identify as such. 90%+ of those marked "Made in Romania" were assembled from blank receivers made in Romania with all the rest of the (re)assembly done in the USA. Only the blank reciever was made overseas. That's all the law requires and that's the way they are - flat out.


As far as quality fail - receivers imported to the US are only allowed to have 2 axis pins or the ATF bans them as possible machine guns. "Military production" PSL's for overseas military had the 3rd axis pin for an out of battery safety sear. Those guns were never headed to the USA (except for the few dozen that were sold and recalled for destruction).

There's so much mythology and BS about the PSL its amazing.
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The PSL is like a 1970 ss396 Chevelle. Not really rare, not too fast, turns and stops like crap - but still a classic everyone wants
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Old 03-21-2018, 09:21 AM   #10
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So, interesting question, can a PSL be made more accurate and able to withstand heavy ball? Or is the design inherently sub par?
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Old 03-21-2018, 11:28 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXsailor View Post
So, interesting question, can a PSL be made more accurate and able to withstand heavy ball? Or is the design inherently sub par?
If that is the bar, the design is sub par.


You can shoot heavy ball if you block the gas port and cycle the gun like a bolt action.

With a lot of work you can restrict the gas port to safely cycle heavy ball, but there is a lot of trial and error work to zero in on the range of cycling that is reliable and safe - and - no one has PROVEN that most PSL's will be more accurate with heavier bullets. Could be a lot of work with no benefit.
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The PSL is like a 1970 ss396 Chevelle. Not really rare, not too fast, turns and stops like crap - but still a classic everyone wants
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Old 03-21-2018, 01:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FullAssault View Post
Canít speak for every tiger but mine is 1moa or better with 182gr match. Much better than my old PSL
these are mine results as well, only with a NDM-86. the old PSL I had years ago could never break 3MOA no matter what a fed it
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Old 03-21-2018, 04:00 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by FullAssault View Post
Can’t speak for every tiger but mine is 1moa or better with 182gr match. Much better than my old PSL
Didn't mean you can't get to sub-MOA with one, but rather they are generally not considered or thought of as such as most people report 1-1.5 MOA.

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Have you checked out the zastava m77?

Its cheaper than most rifles out there, has adjustable gas, and has readily available magazines
This is a good option too, but I believe it was designed specifically for the US market, wasn't it? It's only in 7.62x51 NATO/.308. Although, not sure if it would be considered a "ComBloc DMR" despite being from Eastern Euro. Did it ever see service. ??? Curious to know. But I also think the Op was looking for something in 7.62x54R?

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So, interesting question, can a PSL be made more accurate and able to withstand heavy ball? Or is the design inherently sub par?
Yes and no. It's just designed to be what it is - Romania's version of the SVD (which 7N1, a 152gr lightball, was specifically designed to shoot of the SVD).

After Russia stopped sharing their weapons and tech with Romania because they didn't join in the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia with the rest of the Warsaw Pact, Romania then created their own version of the SVD and developed the PSL. They basically took a standard AKM 7.62x39 (that shoots 123-124gr bullets), put a longer barrel on it, chambered it to fit a x54R cartridge and viola - the PSL. (There are other slight differences, obviously, but that's basically the gist.) I don't think they had any intention to shoot heavy ball out of it - the SVD didn't. Heavyball for sniping/long-range shooting didn't seem to be thought of back then (despite the 180-182gr Match ammo that was available).

So is design "sub-par?" Not for what it is.... sub-par for heavy ball, yes - but again, it wasn't intended for it.

Last edited by BorisBadenov; 03-21-2018 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 03-21-2018, 04:55 PM   #14
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VEPR, basically the same design as PSL, but much better made and better accuracy potential.
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Old 03-21-2018, 05:17 PM   #15
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VEPR, basically the same design as PSL, but much better made and better accuracy potential.
+100500

Take a .308 vepr. Cut and recrown it. Put on good chassis. And with new 20 rounds vepr magazines it will rock.
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Old 03-22-2018, 01:13 AM   #16
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+100500

Take a .308 vepr. Cut and recrown it. Put on good chassis. And with new 20 rounds vepr magazines it will rock.
Without a doubt my 308 vepr is the most accurate AK I own. I never believed an AK could shoot such good groups.
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Old 03-22-2018, 08:23 AM   #17
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Our battalion had 12 PSLs ,
out of them only 2 were 1moa.

The others were unreliable.
After the barrel heat up accuracy was gone
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Old 03-22-2018, 08:42 AM   #18
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So, interesting question, can a PSL be made more accurate and able to withstand heavy ball? Or is the design inherently sub par?
I did the gas block mod on mine so I could shoot heavier loads out of it and it shot pretty good with Brown Bear 182 grain. Easy to do and I even found that I could restrict it for the lighter loads.
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Old 03-22-2018, 10:19 AM   #19
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VEPR, basically the same design as PSL, but much better made and better accuracy potential.
another +1. Veprs are build better and by that I mean both cosmetic (which doesnt mean shit) and have better quality barrel work- which is the key to accuracy in AK platform.

I have a 18 inch 308 vepr that I have not reloaded for, but it holds a solid 1.5 inch group with German DAG ammo all day long. Imagine if worked up a load either using IMR 4064 or H4895 the groups would shrink even further.
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Old 03-22-2018, 11:58 PM   #20
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Put the DEZ arms adjustable gas block on mine.
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Old 03-23-2018, 12:45 AM   #21
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The m77 was used as a DMR by mali and cypress. I recommend it because of the adjustable gas system is a nice feature over the vepr rifles
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:48 AM   #22
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Sorry pics of my PSL
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Old 04-24-2018, 02:50 PM   #23
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Thanks for the reality check gents! I guess Iíll keep my eyes open for the VEPR first!
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Old 04-24-2018, 02:53 PM   #24
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All I can tell you is my experience with the one I bought several years ago new. I have put many rounds through it both factory, milsurp and hand loads with out any issues. I have stuck to using lighter bullet loads in in all cases as many have advised this. Accuracy is good if one sticks to five round strings and let it cool a bit between. If you crank off long strings of shots it will string out the groups as the thin barrel heats rapidly. With hand loads and sticking to five shot strings I have gotten mine to do 100 yard groups in the 2 moa range. I agree that its not top quality compared to true sniper rifles and its really nothing more than an oversized AK but it's darn fun to shoot and play with. I have even taken it deer hunting. And some have reported issues just as hakentt has stated. I feel mine is well worth the money I paid for it and I wouldn't let it go for something else but I have other guns that fill the role of long range precision shooters.

Thanks for sharing the load data.
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Old 04-29-2018, 12:28 AM   #25
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If that is the bar, the design is sub par.


You can shoot heavy ball if you block the gas port and cycle the gun like a bolt action.

With a lot of work you can restrict the gas port to safely cycle heavy ball, but there is a lot of trial and error work to zero in on the range of cycling that is reliable and safe - and - no one has PROVEN that most PSL's will be more accurate with heavier bullets. Could be a lot of work with no benefit.
Most of this statement is so much bullshit I almost don’t know where to start. I have a PSL that I did the gas port reduction modification on and it took me all of about 30 minutes. All it takes is a 8-32 tap (the gas port is exactly the right size for this tap) and a couple of .060”-.065” drill bits and a few 8-32 set screws. All the tapping of the gas port can be done through the top of the gas block as the port is angled back. Drill a couple 8-32 set screws out to different sizes between .060” to .065” and test until you find the port size that gives you positive ejection with your heavy ball load.

Mine likes the.060 port size and using 174gn SMK bullets and 44.5 grains of Varget, it shoots about 1.5 MOA. The brass lands about 4-5 feet from the rifle and it is very soft recoiling.

I find that I am limited by the factory scope and my 66+ year old eyes, so a better scope and a better shooter would probably do better. Also the scope sits a bit too high for me to get a proper cheek weld, so I modified a duplicate buttstock I picked up and made an adjustable cheek riser to make it more comfortable for me to shoot.

I love my PSL and I wouldn’t sell it for three times what I paid for it.

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Old 04-29-2018, 09:55 AM   #26
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At .0625 my PSL still pitches cases 15 feet or so; at .050 it didn't cycle to eject, using the original recoil spring and the new aftermarket spring (which did not impress me at all). For my gun the sweet spot is somewhere between and will take a lot more time than you got lucky with. My gas port was so hard it took longer to tap than yours did; I probably spend a little over 30 minutes tapping it alone. Turn, break a chip, back out, turn, break a chip, back out. My local source for set screws turned up harder screws than you found. I blunted a drill bit trying to drill each one. The same bits I usually drill thru stainless counter tops, so it wasn't the bits.
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Old 04-29-2018, 12:23 PM   #27
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The blackned set screws are hard as hell. I annealed mine by heating them red hot and letting them cool gradually. Like yours, my gas port was fairly hard and I have to admit I was pretty nervous tapping it out.

I bought a new tap, four flutes are the strongest, but all I could find was three flute taps in that size. I used copious amounts of tap magic and cleared the chips every 1/3 turn or so. All in all, mine went pretty easy and I left a shoulder at the bottom in order to seat the set screw. I had some 3/16" screws so that is what I used. I have a number bit drill bit set, so even if I had to make a few more it would have been easy to do. I guess I did get lucky (better to be lucky than good sometimes) and hit the perfect size gas orifice on the first set of screws I drilled out. My rifle still has the stock recoil spring and as I said it is very soft recoiling and it is as accurate as I hoped it would be.
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Old 04-29-2018, 02:47 PM   #28
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Embarrased that I blunted more than one expensive number size bit - should have thought of softening the set screws. Thanks for pointing out my process error; always good when we can learn from each other!
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Old 04-30-2018, 12:52 PM   #29
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The m77 was used as a DMR by mali and cypress. I recommend it because of the adjustable gas system is a nice feature over the vepr rifles
I hear this a lot lately. Adjustable gas system. sounds kewl huh? I have a bunch of FALs with "adjustable" gas system. So what? each and every one is different and requires tuning of it to cycle with different types of ammo. you switch ammo- you might have (most likely will have to either due to over-gassing or not cycling) re-adjust it. And now your POA is shifted as well.

My AKs shoot anything without have to deal with it. Suppressed AKs- thats different
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Old 05-01-2018, 07:26 PM   #30
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Mcmaster sells 8-32 vented stainless steel setscrews with an .040" hole through them and they drill larger easily.
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Old 05-02-2018, 01:59 PM   #31
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Op, the psl is a highly over rated weapon. If you are ok with 3moa, then fine. If you are expecting better, then run. Yes, some psl are capable of better. But 3moa is pretty standard. Ive had lots of them. Always tried really hard to like them. Never could bring myself to love em.
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Old 05-02-2018, 08:01 PM   #32
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I like my PSLs, while they are not the greatest rifle especially compared to western designs I enjoy mine. I own Tigers, an NDM-86 and a few PSLs. A PSL compared to an SVD is less accurate but still adequate enough to shoot out to 500m with not too much difficulty.
A funny thing by way of comparison: Is that a SVD and PSL have the exact same accuracy standard for zeroing and group size when fired from the shoulder. Now an SVD is more accurate but I find it funny that they have the same standard none the less.
Regarding heavy ball that is a weird situation. Being that in military PSLs I have seen fire a couple thousand Hungarian steel core heavy ball with no ill effects. I have also seen them fire hundreds of Russian made 170 grain ammunition also with no problems. I would guess that maybe there is something quite different in the ones made in Romania vs. the ones made here? In addition to that the PSL manual has the heavy ball cartridge listed as authorized for use and another book actually has the ballistic tables for firing heavy ball from a PSL.
Obviously there is a disconnect somewhere. My first experience with the PSL was one I got that was an SSG imported by Interord in 2001/2002 and it shoots about 1 MOA-I have shot it with ammunition going up to 203 grains maybe 200 or so rounds of the heavier ball. I am guessing that is an original Romanian made PSL?
The PSL is a unique weapon has its place in history and it is not for everyone. I like mine and they are not going anywhere.
At some point I need to get out to a range with my PSLs, Tigers and NDM and have a shoot off.
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Old 05-03-2018, 10:14 AM   #33
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good informative post man.^^

Its an interesting point you bring up about PSL's ability to shoot heavier grain projectiles. You say that you have seen the original manual that states it is ok to shoot them? Do you have either a link or do you have the actual manual that maybe you can scan?

i am just curious to read it.
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Old 05-03-2018, 12:15 PM   #34
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Semper has got an original Romanian Manual for the PSL. A rather rare document and the only copy of it Iíve ever seen in person.
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Old 05-03-2018, 12:33 PM   #35
Black Blade
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Tend to have good luck with mine (actually have 8 total in the collection)



My VEPR is a bit better (smoother) but I like both PSL and VEPR as well as my M76 rifles.

VEPR 7.62x54r

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