Just over a year ago, Kalashnikov Concern rolled out its newest blockbuster military product, the SVCh Chukavin, which will begin mass production and delivery to the Russian armed forces next year.
Though it’s chambered for 7.62x54R cartridge, and it somewhat shares the guts of Kalashnikov’s legendary AK-series rifles, the Chukavin represents a departure from the old school simplistic style of East Block small arms design towards a more westernized take on service weapons.
While the Russian military undergoes an overhaul of large proportions, its small arms arsenal has been largely ignored over the years, carrying on with remnants from the past including the standard-issue AK-74 service rifle and the 1960s-era Dragunov SVD designated marksman rifle.
Unlike the gun it aims to replace — the ages-old Dragunov DMR still in use with the Russian military today — the Chukavin looks much less like a Warsaw Pact weapon and more so a tricked-out Magpul’d rifle you might find in the hands of a NATO sniper cell.
The Chukavin comes outfitted with a full-length top rail, a reworked handguard with accessory attachment points, a polymer stock, and Kalashnikov plans to offer the gun in several additional calibers including 7.62 NATO and, potentially, .338 Lapua Magnum.
Now, Russia’s largest small arms producer has decided to drop a civilian version of its Dragunov-killer, dubbed the “MR1.”
Word surfaced on the MR1 late last year in the form of a video on Kalashnikov’s official media site, but it wasn’t until this month that the company announced the rifle as a limited edition firearm available for purchase.
According to the company, the 4.5-kilogram MR1 will retail in two main calibers, 7.62x54mmR and .308 Winchester. The 7.62x54mmR version comes with a standard 20.9-inch chrome-lined barrel, while the .308 Win version can either make use of a 20.9-inch or a shorter 16.1-inch barrel (both also chrome-lined).
Enter the SVCh Chukavin, a new and highly modern (compared to the SVD) DMR which Kalashnikov Concern hopes will finally replace the SVD and give Russian infantry units a formidable and versatile ranged weapon amidst a massive effort to modernize the Russian military and fully bring it into the 21st century.
Buyers can get their MR1, built to a near-clone spec of the Chukavin, with either the original folding stock or a fixed stock depending on their preference. The rifle will come with an adjustable gas block and fully-ambidextrous safety selectors.
American enthusiasts will be hard-pressed to find an authentic MR1, thanks in no small part to the 2014-era ban on the import of Kalashnikov (then known as IZHMASH) products to the United States.
However, it wouldn’t be wholly unreasonable to assume that sometime in the coming years, a US-based manufacturer could potentially take on the task of building a homegrown MR1 for the American market.
According to The Firearms Blog, the MR1 in 7.62x54mmR will be expected to sell for the equivalent of around $1800, and the .308 Win version will sell for $2300.