Why China's Crack Snipers Are So Good
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Key point: Beijing's army is one of the best. So the modernization efforts for his snipers paid off.
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While the U.S. Army is concerned about next-generation Russian precision rifles and tactics, China has made significant progress in this area as well.
In the 1980s, the Chinese used practically the same equipment as the Soviet Union. Nowadays, they use quite different pieces of equipment, including some rifles that are housed in NATO calibers. The different development of Chinese precision rifles on the same basis is an interesting parable of the development of small arms, which is driven by teaching.
In the 1980s, the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union used the same "sniper rifles", although in the West these rifles were more precisely referred to as rifle rifles. The Soviet Union used the SVD, a gas-powered 7.62 x 54 R short-stroke rifle that was fed from a ten-round magazine and had an effective range of around 800 meters. With the right Russian sniper ammunition, the SVD was able to achieve an accuracy of 1-2 MOA. China made its own clone of the SVD after taking a sample called Type 79 during the Sino-Vietnam War, which was later refined to Type 85. These were made together with copies of the Soviet optical sight PSO-1 4x. China appears to have trouble copying the SVD because its gunmaking industry was not fully developed. The cloned PSO-1 was unable to recoil the 7.62 x 54R cartridge in previous versions, and problems with the firing pin metallurgy that broke easily on the Type 79 were noted. According to sources in the CPAF, this resolved the Type 85 case.
The main problem with Type 79 and Type 85 was the lack of suitable ammunition. Russia released special ammunition 7.62x54R together with cartridges SVD, 7N1 and later 7N14. China has not developed a version of it and only issued machine gun ammunition with type 79 and type 85. This led to below-average accuracy. Why China didn't produce a sniper round is uncertain, but perhaps the limited use of 7.62 x 54 R by the Chinese military in conjunction with the PLA drive for a new intermediate cartridge in the 1980s made the development of an additional round of snipers an unnecessary burden . The lack of integration of rifle and precision rifles also delayed the need for such a round. Type 79 and Type 85 rifles were not widely used by regular troops and were only used by special operations forces, police forces and border guards.
While Russia continues to use the SVD as a primary "sniper rifle", China developed a replacement for the QBU-88 in the 1990s. Development began in the early 1990s when the rifle completed the trials in 1996 and was first used at the PLA garrison in Hong Kong in 1997. The real root of the project was the development of the 5.8mm cartridge for machine guns. A 5.8mm cartridge has been developed that performs better or has the same performance as the existing 7.62 x 54R cartridges in Chinese inventory. Therefore, a special rifle for sniper purposes was developed in this caliber.
The QBU-88 or Type 88 is a relatively modern design that uses the bullpup layout to add extra barrel length. Chinese sources state that the penetration and accuracy are higher than the Type 85. Modern techniques have been used to manufacture the Type 88, including CNC milling and extensive use of polymer. A new phosphating process was used to apply the metal black. The design itself has some questionable aspects. The bipod is attached directly to the barrel, which leads to a displacement of the impact point when using the bipod. The security is also located in a hard-to-reach place behind the magazine slot, so the shooter has to move his support hand under the magazine slot to activate and deactivate the security (with a 180-degree throw). Most western precision and rifle rifles use a thumb or trigger guard that enables quicker actuation without moving your hand from the firing position. When upgrading from the fixed 4x of the SVD, the QBU-88 uses a 3-9x variable zoom oscilloscope with a bullet-drop compensator built into the reticle.
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While the Type 88 and Type 85 are the most commonly used rifles, there are a variety of other rifles for precision shots and special purposes. The AMR-2 and QBU-10 are available for anti-material purposes. The AMR-2 is a bolt-action repeating rifle and the QBU-10 is semi-automatic. Also noteworthy are the CS / LR rifle series, the real Chinese counterparts to western precision rifles such as Remington 700 and Steyr SSG69. The CS / LR4 is the direct competitor and is located in the same 7.62 x 51 mm NATO cartridge. It was developed from previous designs and seems to take on a lot of references from western rifles, from the Mauser action with front locking to the thumbhole stock. They do not meet the standard or accuracy of western rifles. The specified accuracy is 2.9 cm at 100 m or more than 1 MOA. It also has a Picatinny rail in front of the scope, so users can mount a night vision device in front of their optics. The CS / LR3 is the same weapon housed in the standard 5.8mm cartridge used by the military. However, CS / LR rifles have been used more often by police special forces that require greater precision.
Charlie Gao studied politics and computer science at Grinnell College and frequently commented on defense and national security issues. This first appeared in 2019 and will be republished due to the interest of the readers.
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