TechRussian snipers resort to NATO ammunition due to limited options

Russian snipers resort to NATO ammunition due to limited options

The new Russian rifle MT-556 in NATO caliber 7.62x51 mm NATO / .308 Winchester.
The new Russian rifle MT-556 in NATO caliber 7.62x51 mm NATO / .308 Winchester.
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9:37 AM EDT, October 31, 2023

Russian snipers and shooters are soon expected to be equipped with new MT-566 rifles. In this article, we discuss their specifications and explain why Russian ammunition is not their optimal choice.

The MT-566 rifles, a number of which have already been tested in combat, will soon be in the hands of Russian snipers and shooters.

Interestingly, these new weapons make use of a Western 7.62x51 mm NATO /.308 Winchester cartridge, rather than the standard Russian 7.62x54 mm R. The latter is now seen as less suitable for such a weapon.

The choice of ammunition stems from two issues. Firstly, there has been a lack of development of sniper bullets for the Russian cartridge in recent years and secondly, the quality of ammunition produced in local factories has been low. The first issue represents many years of development and requires support from the civilian sector, potentially from sports or hunting industries, to influence growth.

The second issue calls for technologically advanced production machinery, such as CNC machine tools, which Russia had struggled with lately.

Consequently, Russians have limited options but to use Western ammunition, procured through various methods. One such way includes acquiring crucial components like the bullet and shell via free circulation, and using third-party countries like Kazakhstan to bypass sanctions.

The MT-566: a new addition to Russian snipers' arsenal

The MT-566 rifle is a product of the TsKIB SOO factories located in Tula. These factories have been responsible for intriguing designs such as the OTs-03 SVU rifle, the ShAK-12 caliber 12.7x55 mm rifles, OTs-14 Groza rifles, and the ADS amphibious rifle.

The MT-566, a 7.62x51 mm NATO /.308 Winchester rifle, borrows concepts from the renowned SVD rifle. A weapon weighing 10.6 pounds and spanning 49.2 inches, the MT-566 is embedded with a short-stroke piston operating mechanism reminiscent of its legendary predecessor, along with a two-position gas regulator.

However, new alterations have been made. For example, the lock safeguarded by rotation in the MT-566 features six locking lugs, enhancing its locking precision and subsequently, the weapon's accuracy. The weapon also incorporates an aluminum bolt chamber with internal steel guides, a barrel that can be screw-mounted, and user-friendly ergonomics for both right- and left-hand users.

The manufacturer boasts of the weapon's accuracy, which is reportedly 1 MOA or better. This places the MT-566 on par with rifles like the Ukrainian Zbroyar UR-10/Z10/UAR-10, for example. MOA, or minute of angle, is a key determinant in measuring firearms accuracy.

Furthermore, corresponding to contemporary trends, the rifle offers ample space for attaching accessories. The rifle's back end has an optics section to mount the sight, while other attachments have designated spaces on the sides and bottom of the stock. The rifle can accommodate ten-round magazines.

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