October 26, 2011
By Marco Vorobiev
As I mentioned before our trip to Molot Arms Manufacturing Plant was accompanied by the trip to their range, where we got a chance to shoot some cool guns, both from Molot's new production and from the bygone era.
In the array of weapons that were available to us, one model stood out to me the most, the new 700mm-barrel Vepr rifle in both .308 and Russian 7.62X54R calibers. Russian-made "sniper" rifles have been short in the USA, with the SVD and Tigr's prospects of imported into the States bleak, the only ComBloc snipers that are available to the U.S. shooter were ever abundant Romanian PSL and Yugoslavian M76 rifles. Well, this is about to change.
Built on an RPK receiver, as is the PSL, the new Vepr sports a 700mm chrome-lined heavy barrel. It feels and looks like a rifle intended for long range precision fire. The finish and overall quality is impeccable. The rifles we had at our disposal were dressed in sporting wood furniture. However, all the new U.S. models will feature SVD-like black polymer stock and handguard.
Once I was behind the trigger, it felt like a quality piece of equipment. The trigger was crisp. With bulk ball ammo shooting through a less than perfect Russian hunting scope, I scored 2cm group with the .308 rifle without even trying. Then I repeated it with its 7.62X54R sibling.
All of you the Russian gun lovers, brace yourselves. Exciting things are happening.
The 700mm-barreled Vepr rifle is based on the RPK receiver. A siderail will accept a variety of ComBloc optics or the user can specify a 1913 rail to accept just about any accessory.
Vorobiev found the Vepr's heavy receiver and barrel meant very mild recoil for both calibers. U.S. shooters will be pleasantly surprised with the gun's handling, he predicts.
The Russian model had a cage-type flash suppressor, but import restriction mean none will be installed on the U.S. models. The front sight will also be different for the U.S. market.