Gun collectors, retailers, and shooters don’t simply know the technicalities of a gun and how to shoot, they are also passionate about the history of firearms. And, there have been many interesting rifles manufactured over the decades that warrant our attention.
There’s the former USSR’s SVD Dragunov and China’s NDM-86 that are both flexible, slender and elegant combined with practical simplicity. However, they are becoming expensive as demand grows and not many of these rifles make it to the USA. But there was the SVD short-barreled equivalent, the TIGR which was a lot cheaper than what it is today.
It’s heartbreaking for a collector to come across SVDs and modified commercial counterparts that were adapted from the original design, like seeing a 7.62x54R Chinese NDM-86 up for sale where the original scope and carry case was replaced with a Russian PSOP. A collector would have paid a premium for the original rifle.
There are other factors at play when it comes to modifying a rifle such as selling off parts for extra cash or wanting to modernize it with alien components to “improve” on it. Unfortunately, people underestimate the loss of real value when altering the real McCoy, specifically if the original wood was replaced too. To keep a rifle’s collectible worth, keep its original parts, which ideally should be numbered to the rifle.
Now, if we look at the Romanian PSL sniper rifle with scope and accessories, it’s currently affordable and may never hit the pricing range of the SVDs. This is because it doesn’t have an original receiver, but it’s the only version of this rifle that can be legally imported (the original military receiver is illegal). If you’re hunting for a new collectible that represents what our troops are using overseas, the current batch of PSL snipers is a top pick, with or without the original receiver.
Active shooters are mostly buyers of the PSL who more often than not choose a rifle without a scope because they intend to modify it for target shooting using a higher magnification Russian PSOP. In contrast, the collector will buy the full original PSL kit with all the original parts used in service.
Collectors are interested in analyzing the detail of a rifle’s original fittings when first issued and how it evolved over the years. With the PSL rifle, the original receiver is removed before being exported from Romania with the original receiver block intact.
When obtaining a PSL rifle in this condition, most will have the following all-matching parts stamped with matching serial numbers:
- Top Cover
- Recoil Spring Rod Guide
- Secondary Sear
- Safety Lever Block
- Rear Sight Leaf
- Bolt Carrier
- Gas Tube/Upper Handguard
- Flash Hider
Most magazines will have electro-penciled block letters and rarely match the rifle. While this is frustrating for collectors, it’s not a far-fetched idea to get a few hundred people to participate in entering rifle and magazine details into a database. Then, it could be possible for PSL owners to locate their original magazines.
The PSL rifle may look like an ordinary rifle at first glance, however three notable items stood out: the Flash Hider, Trigger, and Front Sight Post.
There are two different types of Flash Hiders found on the PSL rifle. The first has small dimples around the circumference and with the plunger lock located on the fore of the Front Sight Post, it’s used for locking the flash hider in place. Most rifles with the first type have the plunger in place. The second Flash Hider type has a hump on the top. A pin is driven through this to lock the Flash Hider in place.
The Trigger varies in the metal construction where some have thin triggers while others are fatter and usually have small arsenal markings.
The Front Sight Base also comes in two different types with the first providing for the plunger lock in the Flash Hider indicated by a small hole in the base above the barrel facing the muzzle. The second type has no drilling for the plunger and more commonly used with the second type of Flash Hider.
Rifles may or may not come with the original wood. Mostly, the rifles have a dark yellow tone typical of Com-bloc weapons. The finish will differ between dull reflectivity or a high shellac finish. Although not common, unit markings have been found inside the buttstock.
A proper PSL kit includes accessories like the magazine pouch for four 10 round magazines and the dismounted PSO type rifle scope. The pouch design is made from an OD Green cotton weave with four front magazine pockets. The edges have a brown or reddish synthetic leather piping on two of the three types of pouches, while the third one has a more modern edging. Its spacious compartment has storage for additional accessories such as cleaning kit components.
PSO Scope Covers
Only two scope covers are used for the Romanian LPS scope and both don’t have internal pockets like you would expect from a WWII PU scope cover. Instead, they use leather closures with buckles. The first scope cover is a heavy-duty cotton canvas twill in a dusty green/tan color and the second is an olive colored modern tight nylon weave, which is more water resistant than the first.
The scope is adjustable and repeatable with quality glass. Two different thicknesses can be found on the reticle, the most common being thicker and better in low light. The scopes have a grey crinkle painted surface, typical of PSO designs, although somewhat darker than the Russian PSOP scopes.
Many of the PSL rifles come with the magazine, cleaning equipment, and sling. The slings vary from used or new leather or a new web sling. And, all slings are designed from the SVD where at one end is a metal loop clasp and D ring with a square buckle on the other end.
The use of the Romanian PSL rifle is prolific, especially in the Middle East, so owning one in a collection is a rare privilege. While we may not be lucky to see a vet bring one back in our time due to US law, the rifle will one day draw the keen interest of collectors and shooters alike when they start disappearing from the market.