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bamaranger
January 2, 2011, 04:10 AM
For about 2 years now I have been experimenting with my PSL/SSG-97. Just recently I got the opportunity to take it out to 600 yds and develop a range card. I thought some might like to hear about my experiences.

Ammo
The PSL rifle is supposedly "timed" for light ball, 150gr slugs. Steady use of heavy ball, often commonly found as surplus, will allegedly beat the rifle up and cause serious damage. So light ball it was. I avoided surplus light ball as I did not want to fool with corrosive ammo.

I could not get respectable, repeatable, accuracy with Wolf standard 7.62x54R 147 gr ball, which was what came with the rifle. Groups were at about 3 MOA and there were often unexplainable flyers. I could not locate any of the vaunted "7N1" ammo which was specifically designed for the Draganov's and supposedly worked well with PSL/SSG's too. Its out there, for a price, but not at what I'm willing to pay. Privi ammo, the 150 gr SP, was not any better than Wolf ball, and worse in that it shot in now way close to the point of aim for the other loads I tried. I intend to pull the slugs to get the brass for reloading the remaining 50 rds or so I have.

I started loading for the caliber, initially using .308 slugs, hoping that the Sierra 150 gr Match King would be a winner. It showed promise, as did Sierra .308 dia 150 Game Kings (PSP) but still there would be an occasional flyer, and some times a group that was unexplainably large. I switched to .311 dia bullets and groups tightened and flyers disappeared.

I finally settled on a load using Prvi or Win brass, 46.5 grs of Varget and Speer or Sierra 150 gr, .311 dia SP. This is a mild load, which I suspect does not break 2700 fps, but gives me consistent 1.5-1.75 MOA for 3 rd groups.
I prep new brass by neck sizing, chamfering case mouths in and out, uniforming primer pockets (though seldom does my primer pocket uniformer move any brass to speak of, often it seems not to touch the pocket base!) and uniforming, deburring flash holes. The load also is a bit gentler on brass, as the PSL is a brass monster during the ejection cycle. Brass, BTW has become a bit hard to come by.

Out to 600!
After establishing a good 100 yd zero, , with the help of a shooting buddy who has the range and targets and bench, I began to work up a range card to 600 yds. The 8x POSP scoped is graduated and finger adjustable, among other features, and the ability to range, dial and shoot seemed attractive. Two hundred yds was easy enough. With the elevation turret dialed up to 200(2.0 on the scale) , I could center the 12" gong w/ ease. Likewise, 300 required a setting of 3.0, or a lower 6/o'clock type hold with 3.5 to stay centered on the gong. Four hundred required a full 5.5 setting, but once we figured the drop, hits were no real problem. At 500, things got interesting.

We needed a paper backer to catch the slugs, which were landing low and very right. Eventually we concluded the side mount scope had finally figured into the picture, and I added 1 click (4 MOA, yes 1 click on the windage drum of a POSP yields 4 MOA adjustment!) of left windage and ended up with a 8.5 setting on the elevation drum. When I drove out to finally check the target, I found I had nearly centered the 6" aiming point. On to 600!

At 600, my buddy has an 18" gong that is mounted. On it is painted a 3" center point. I set the elevation drum at 11.0, left the 1 click (4MOA) on the rifle held center, and touched one off. The bullet caught the gong on the edge at 11'oclock. I held at 6 oclock, and fired again, which was called a miss, but we learned later had centered the black aiming point and could not be seen. I then held center, and that shot was clearly seen to go high and strike the embankment beyond. I lowered the elevation to 10.5 and fired two more times, holding center. One in the black (seen this time) and another about 7" away at 11'oclock. When we drove out for inspection the 3 good hits could be covered with your hand. I was greatly pleased.

So the PSL/SSG, will shoot, at least mine will. It kept 1.5-1.75 MOA all the way to 600yds with my reloads. The trajectory was a bit steeper than anticipated (my loads are slower) but now it is known and can be figured. Sorry, no chrono, so I can't really say the velocity of the reload......I suspect 2650 or so, about .300 Savage velocity. The POSP scope has consistent, repeatable adjustments, and has lasted through at least two users, me and the former owner. I have about 500 rds through the rifle.

For "an AK on steroids", from a platform not readily recognized as accurate, my SSG did quite well. They are now cheaper than they were when I bought mine. If you've ever considered one, I'd encourage you to give them a try.

armoredman
January 2, 2011, 07:24 AM
Very nice, good work, and thanks for the report! I was curious about that rifle for years, always wanted a Drag, but could never afford the pinch on areal one.

hooligan1
January 2, 2011, 08:02 AM
Wow Bamaranger, "good dope", try to go a little further, maybe different bullets or something, just so the project stays alive!;)

wnycollector
January 2, 2011, 08:19 AM
Nice report. The PSL has been on my list of rifles to pick up for a few years now...with your report it may have moved up a few notches;)

bamaranger
January 3, 2011, 03:02 AM
Well, to go further I will need at least three more things.

An invite back from Tom to use his assistance and range. Thanks buddy.

His place is fixed to 600, we can improvise to 750, but more than that will require a new site, some public land ROW or something. I very much doubt that the load will stay supersonic much past where I have it, and thus go stupid, but it would be fun to find out I agree. I had a great time working up the card.

Ideal conditions, things are variable enough w/o the wind giving us fits.

More affordable brass, as stated the SSG/PSL destroys brass. Norma and Lapua are steady sources, but the price is prohibitive when the rifle is ruining brass on a regular basis. Both of my Privi sources have dried up. I may try to modify the top cover, remove a portion, so that ejected brass is not striking same.

The shooting session described used 23 rds. Rate of fire was very slow, the PSL barrel heats up rapidly and groups deteriorate quickly.

I'll keep everyone posted.

Katophract
January 3, 2011, 02:34 PM
Very good report! I bought a PSL last year and so far have been impressed. I've consistantly been able to get around 2 MOA. I only have a x4 scope on mine and 600 yards seems to be the limit of my reliable accuracy. (a shame because my range goes out to 950 yards.)

The thing about PSL's is that each one seems to like a different ammo and ammo makes a big difference in PSL's. Russian silvertip seems to work well in mine and offers great penetration with the steel core penetrators, but isn't good for hunting, naturally. The corrosive aspect isn't the problem that some make it out to be. Keep in mind that corrisive ammo is what the soviet military used int the field for long periods of time. They wouldn't use it if it made the barrel turn to rust in a day. Poor some hot water down the barrel after shooting and dry. (or windex at the range.)

bamaranger
January 6, 2011, 12:57 AM
Meant to mention that I used CCI #34 primers, the mil-spec hard shell number due to the PSL firing pin being inertial or free floating.