The first Soviet sniper complex based on the SVD rifle naturally became a testing ground for designers who were tasked with increasing the combat effectiveness of standard weapons chambered for a 7.62-mm rifle cartridge. They tried to make automatic, landing, smooth-bore and small-caliber weapons from SVD, but not all of the ideas conceived were embodied in serial products.
At the end of the 60s, the Main Missile and Artillery Directorate (GRAU) of the USSR Ministry of Defense launched a number of research projects (R&D) to improve standard weapons. In 1968, within the framework of the research work "The search for new principles and design schemes for the creation of promising small arms and cartridges", such studies were carried out with the Dragunov SVD sniper rifle.
As part of such research and development, it was planned to create a model of automatic weapons with an effective firing range of over 300 m.This was done not without looking back at the armament of ideological opponents of that time from NATO countries, where the main infantry weapon of a soldier was assault rifles of the HK G3 type or FN FAL. The only Soviet analogue of such a weapon for a rifle cartridge in the Soviet army could only be the SVD rifle. It was from her that they tried to make a machine gun - and at the same time a sniper one.
Automatic sniper rifle with magazines for 20, 15 and 10 rounds, 1968
Image source: gunsforum.com
To implement the stated requirements, Izhevsk designers under the leadership of E.F. Dragunov with the participation of A.N. Voznesensky made a number of changes to the design of the rifle. The automatic SVD received a new firing mechanism (USM), a shortened and thickened barrel, light folding bipods, increased-capacity magazines, a modified flame arrester with a compensator function and a number of other differences. All this made it possible to obtain an automatic weapon with a rate of fire of 720 or 850 rounds per minute (the gas regulator had two firing positions).
Achieve satisfactory results the accuracy of the shooting was not immediately possible. In the process of research and development, in order to achieve them, it was necessary to introduce amortization of the bipod, change the design of the butt and flame arrester. At the same time, it turned out that automatic firing from such a light weapon as SVD leaves its mark on the requirements for the skill level of the shooter. At the same time, the domestic B-70 significantly surpassed foreign rifles (M14, AR-10 and FN) in terms of the effectiveness of automatic fire.
B-70 automatic sniper rifle, 1970
Image source: M. Popenker
Further work in the framework of research led to the creation in 1970 of a product under the designation B-70. At the same time, there were not many differences from the earlier version. The barrel became even shorter, only a 20-seat magazine remained in the kit, and the rate of fire dropped to 600-730 rounds per minute. Tests of the B-70 took place in the course "Shot" in the volume of exercises for the RPK machine gun. Despite the results of the shooters not lower than the "good" mark, further work on the automatic rifle was deemed inappropriate. Later, in 1999-2000, based on the design of the B-70 rifle bipod in Izhevsk, the S-1 quick-detachable bipod for the SVD rifle was developed.