The SVD is arguably the first real DMR (designated marksman rifle) ever build. In fact the Soviet Union was the first nation to utilize the concept of a squad sniper decades before any other. Today the term used most often for that role is Designated Marksman.
This review will cover the SVD GBBR by WE called ‘ACE-VD‘.
As already mentioned the Dragunov Sniper Rifle (Снайперская винтовка Драгунова) can be considered as the first DMR entering service in 1963. It is usually called SVD in English. This originates from the transcription of ‘Снайперская винтовка Драгунова‘ which is ‘Snayperskaya Vintovka Dragunova‘.
However you might also find it refereed to as the SWD. Reason for that is, that the first country to receive the rifle outside the Soviet Union was East Germany. Russian transcriptions into German differs a bit from the English ones, so it is called SWD here.
But lets get back the the WE ACE-VD. Though the name might suggest that hey had license problems again (like they had with their H&K guns), the ACE-VD is a exact replica of the real one. So there are fortunately no odd changes like on the G39.
For the time being there are four different versions of the ACE-VD available:
- Aluminum receiver with black polymer furniture
- Aluminum receiver with wooden polymer furniture
- Aluminum receiver with wood furniture
- Steel receiver with wood furniture
The ACE-VD in this review is the aluminum polymer version, which is obviously the cheapest one (and at the time I bought it the only one available)
The legal markings required in Germany are lasered on the back of the receiver.
Apart from that there are no markings at all. This is somewhat disappointing since the WE AKs have them all.
Though a steel receiver is certainly more appealing, the aluminum keeps the weight down. The ACE-VD weights about the same as the WE AK74 UN (which has a steel receiver).
However there are still many steel parts (dust cover, trigger, gasport…) used on the ACE-VD on any of the four versions.
Compared to the WE AK74 UN one can see how long the ACE-VD actually is. This can pose a huge problem in concealed environments. Yet you should not get in close combat with a sniper rifle anyway.
The scope and bipod mounted on the ACE-VD do not come with the gun, but the cheek rest does.
There are three major versions of the SVD. The most distinctive difference in terms of their appearance is the dust cover. On the photo above you can see the gen1, gen2 and gen3 dust cover (from bottom to top).
The ACE-VD reassembles a generation one SVD. It therefore also has a bayonet mount located underneath the front sight.
Howsoever the SVD used by the regular military is usually gen 2. Not sure why WE decided to go for the gen 1. Of course this is only a small detail and most people will not bother let alone notice.
The gen 1 svd is often used by speznas though. Reason for this is that the accuracy is around 20% higher compared to the gen 2 and gen 3. (this is due to a tighter rifling of the barrel)
Like on the real SVD the front sight is fully adjustable (… and the rear sight for elevation of course) The iron sights can be used even with a scope mounted.
This design feature originates from the Mosin-Nagant, which was the predecessor of the SVD. Reason for this is that the the PSO-1 Scope has a 6° field of view only.
With this design you can acquire the target with the iron sights quickly and then switch to the scope.
The magazines hold 20 rounds and are made from metal and rest inside a steel casing. The WE AK series magazines had some issues with plastic used on stress parts. Apparently WE has learned their lessen, the ACE-VD magazines are built extremely durable. I do not see any issues with them in the long term.
Like on the real SVD you have to turn the disassembly lever over and pull the dust cover
back to disassemble it. As you can see there is no spring guide rod and the recoil spring assembly is hold by the dust cover. I heard many people complaining about this, claiming that the real SVD has an recoil assembly like an AK. However this is NOT the case. WE did it just right!
Could be people got confused by the AIM TOP SVD, which has a AK type spring assembly.
To clarify thing up: The real SVD has nothing in common with the AK family. As already said the recoil spring assembly is loose and hold by the dust cover. Also the SVD uses short stroke gas piston, whereas the AK has a long stroke gas piston. What this means is that the gas system on the SVD has a separate bolt carrier, recoil rod and gas piston. On the AK it all is a single part. This leads to a more reliable action, but decreases accuracy. To compensate for the loss in reliability the SVD has a two position gas regulator.
A sniper rifle which looks very similar to the SVD but actually uses an AK style mechanism is the Romanian PSL.
To get the bolt carrier out you have to pull out the recoil buffer, which is just a piece of plastic. To further disassemble the bolt carrier and get to the nozzle you just need to loosen two screws and push threw 2 pins.
Many people do not like WE guns because they tend to make the internals out of cheap pot metal. This is why I usually recommend buying RA tech replacement parts straightaway.
Even so, the internals on the ACE-VD are not that bad. They are still mainly made form pot metal but now have steel inserts on stressed parts like the hammer. And so far they work just fine. So well done WE. I hope they will stick to this on any upcoming Airsofts.
Talking about the internals, the trigger could be a match trigger from a sporting rifle. Not that this would matter that much on an Airsoft gun, but it feels just right and has a very crisp and pronounced trigger point.
Like on the real SVD the bolt carrier is hold back by a bolt catch after discharging the last cartridge from the magazine. It then is released by pulling the cocking handle to the rear.
With the bolt carrier locked you can adjust the hopup without any tools. Its exactly the same hop up unit used on the WE AK series which I find sorta neat.
As mentioned earlier the SVD has a 2 stage gas port. You can see the two clamps on the photo above. They will fit to an empty 7.62x54R cartridge, so you can rotate the gas port without burning you fingers. Pretty ingenues.
Anyways, it does not have an purpose on the ACE-VD, but it features a sling mount point.
Since the ACE-VD is mainly meant for longer ranges let’s talk a bit about the performance and how to enhance it:
One part that you should absolutely upgrade is the hop up. Not that it is bad on the ACE-VD, but a RA-tech A+ hopup rubber costs virtually nothing and increases the performance a lot.
The FPS are pretty consistent for a GBBR, though they will probably never be as consistent as on an Airsoft without blowback. As the ACE-VD is a pretty hot gun (high fps) you might be tempted to install an NPAS. However the NPAS ruined the FPS consistency on my ACE-VD totally. I do not know why and I can not image why a NPAS could affect the FPS consistency, but it somehow does. Might be this is only a problem on my Airsoft, but be warned.
The stock barrel is perfectly fine in my opinion, though it would not surprise me if the the quality of the barrel could vary from gun to gun. After all it is still WE 😉
All in all I really do enjoy the WE ACE-VD and it is great gun, not only for the price. The built quality is on pair with the WE AK series, which can be consider the best WE has built so far.
As a SVD GBBR it is unrivaled anyway, the AIM TOP is just a piece of s&*#!
However the Real-Sword SVD will probably be available this year and it might be worth waiting for. Time will tell.
Update on the NPAS issue:
We are currently working with WE and RA Tech to find a solution for the NPAS Problem. Apparently the ACE-VD uses a slightly new Open-Bolt design, which requieres a modified NPAS.
24.03.2013 – by netsplit for Gruppa L