The Romanian PSL 54C rifle is a wonderful gun to shoot and is much more affordable than many other military sniper style rifles such as the Dragunov, or M1A. My example cost me 800 Dollars US and came with two ten round box magazines, a standard military 4 power scope with scope mount, cleaning rod, sling, a canvas pouch to carry the scope and a military canvas pouch to hold the scope, cleaning rod and four box magazines that can be added to a web belt. I have added to it an aftermarket removable scope mount and an after market scope.
There are some things to note about the rifle right off the bat. It usually comes with a wood stock, although I have seen syntetic stock versions out there for sale. The rifle resembles the Dragunov, but this is only cosmetic. Internally it uses the same style action as the AK-47 although it has been reinforced and stretched to take the 7.62X54R round instead of the AK’s 7.62×39. This gives the rifle significantly more power and range over the smaller and lighter round, but it is at a cost as you are not able to carry as much ammunition for this weapon. Another interesting quirk with this rifle is the shorter than normal shoulder stock at least for what an american is used to. In my research to find out why the rifle is made this way I found that the Romanian Military usually wears much thicker clothing due to the local climate and this made shortening the should stock a necessity. Even though shooting the rifle was a little awkward at first after a box or two of practice I got used to it and don’t even notice when shooting this rifle anymore.
As far as shooting the rifle goes it is wonderful to shoot, it has very little recoil due to the gas and piston system that cycles the rifle. I have fired thirty to forty rounds from the gun in a sitting and not had it feel uncomfortable, however if I switch to my much heavier bolt action Mosan Nagant which fires the exact same round after about ten shots I begin to feel it in my shoulder and it starts to get uncomfortable.
As far as performance goes, the rifle shoots extremely well for the first 3 shots or so, however with the very thin barrel under sustained fire the gun begins to open up its grouping. With factory PPU loads shooting a 150 grain bullet it held about a 3/4 inch group when shooting from the bench. With my hand loads the rifle putting three rounds in the same hole. I will note that all firing with a scope is at 100 yards. All open sight testing was at 25 yards. With open sights were were getting similar performance. In fact if you remove the scope the rifle will function as a good battle rifle.
Now I know some of you out there will say this is not a sniper rifle and that is true, it is actually designated a marksman’s rifle. Each combat platoon is assigned 2-3 of these rifles and it is the job of the marksman in the platoon to take out or pin down the enemy out to 800 meters or so while the rest of the platoon moves in to eliminate the threat. The battle doctrine of the romanians is very differnt from that of the US military in that they do not use separate sniper teams but have an integrated marksman in the platoon structure, this means the rifle does not have to be as accurate as the US snipers rifle. However the fact that this rifle is built on the AK-47 design means it is rugged and reliable and it has proven to be very popular in Iraq and Afghanistan for its range and durability.
My rifle is set up using a Swift Scope that is 4.5 x14 with a 44 MM AO lens. I am shooting a hand load which uses a PPU case, a .312 Cal 150 Grain Soft point Hornady bullet, 44 Grains of IMR 4895 powder with a CCI LR primer. It has proven to be very accurate and I am getting a three shot group with each round touching as shown below.
So to sum it up, if you are looking for a utility long range rifle to hunt with or for defense or one that is just a pleasure to shoot I highly recommend the Romanian PSL 54. The only down side to this rifle is that extra magazines are someone scarce and expensive but you really don’t need more than a couple for this gun for most use.