By: Warren Gray

Copyright © 2022

The accuracy and range of this rifle (the SVLK-14S) sound almost

unreal and yes, audacious. Its owners often display less than 0.2

MOA of a group of five shots with such a powerful cartridge as

.408 CheyTac, which  few people are able…to shoot.”

— Lobaev Arms web site, 2022.

“We created silent versions of our DXL-3 and DXL-10 sniper rifles.

The first is used by GRU units (Russian, elite special operations forces)

in Syria, and the second is used by FSB counterterrorist units (such

as Spetsgruppa Alfa) working in urban areas.”

— Yuri Sinichkin, lead engineer for Lobaev Arms, 2020.

Lobaev Arms of Tarusa, Russia, 65 miles south of Moscow, headed by Vladislav N. Lobaev, is a specialty manufacturer of custom-built, bolt-action, sniper rifles. Their original offering, the SVL (Sniper Rifle, Lobaev), was produced in 2010. It mounted a .408 CheyTac (.408 CT) barrel on a carbon-fiber, hunting-style stock, claiming extreme range (2,200 meters and beyond) and accuracy of .1 to .3 MOA (1/10th to 3/10ths of an inch at 100 yards), depending upon custom modifications, making it the most-accurate, sniper rifle in the world! This original, introductory variant, no longer in production, was adopted by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Federal Protective Service (FSO), and the United Arab Emirates Army. All Lobaev rifles are guaranteed by the factory to achieve at least .3 MOA accuracy.

Currently, Lobaev produces 11 different rifle variants, including the modular, DVL (Sabotage Rifle, Lobaev) series of three rifles, the TSVL (Tactical Sniper Rifle, Lobaev) series of four rifles, the DXL series of three rifles, and the extreme, SVLK-14S/M model. Their entry-level range includes the DVL-10 M1 Saboteur, the DVL-10 M2 Urbana, and the DVL-10 M3 Wolfhound, all sporting skeletonized, fully-adjustable, folding stocks, pistol grips, minimalist, aluminum-alloy receivers, with five-round or 10-round magazines, and match-grade, stainless-steel barrels.

The Urbana has a 26-inch barrel, and is chambered for either .308 Winchester, 6.5x47mm Lapua, or .338 Federal. The Wolfhound is simply a shorter version, with a 19.7-inch barrel. The Saboteur mounts an integrally-suppressed, 19.7-inch barrel with titanium suppressor housing, and is available in .308, .338 Federal, or .40 Lobaev Whisper (10x48mm), a subsonic round (419 grains at 1,017 fps). All three of these DVL-series rifles are currently in use with Russian law enforcement agencies.

The TSVL tactical series utilizes the same aluminum stock and receiver, but upgrades the caliber selections to the more-powerful .300 Winchester Magnum or .338 Lapua Magnum, with a five-round magazine being the only configuration. These models include the TSVL-8 M1 Stalingrad, the TSVL-8 (or 8K) M3 Berserk (named for the ancient, Norse, “Berserker” warriors), the TSVL-8 (or 8K) M4 Dark Matter, and the TSVL-8 M5 Dominator.

The Stalingrad (named for the brutal Battle of Stalingrad from 1942 to 1943, in which famed, Russian sniper Vasily Zaitsev killed 225 German soldiers in just over two months) uses a 26.77-inch barrel, which is reduced to just 19.7 inches on the Berserk. The Dark Matter is an integrally suppressed version of the Berserk, and the Dominator is an integrally suppressed, Stalingrad model; both are fitted with carbon-fiber suppressor housings. The Berserk and Dark Matter are currently the shortest-barreled rifles in existence in either caliber. They were specifically designed since 2019 for combat action in Syria; although, the Berserk apparently scored a confirmed kill in Chechnya at 1.08 miles: a greater than the stated effective range (.93 mile) for the rifle.

Next is the DXL series, including the DXL-3 Longstrike in .300 Winchester Magnum or .338 Lapua Magnum, with 29-inch barrel; the DXL-4 Sevastopol in .375 CheyTac or .408 CheyTac, with 32.3-inch barrel; and the DXL-5 Havoc in 12.7x99mm or 12.7x108mm, with 32.3-inch barrel. All feature a five-round magazine. The ultra-long-range Sevastopol, in particular, has been in active service with Russian Special Forces units since 2020, as well as with Russian separatist militias in eastern Ukraine, with a demonstrated, combat range of over a mile and a half!

The Sevastopol was named for the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimea, lasting from 1941 to 1942. During the siege, Soviet/Ukrainian sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko, age 25, nicknamed “Lady Death,” killed 122 German troops. Adding these to the 187 confirmed kills to her credit already, during the siege of Odessa, makes her the highest-scoring, female sniper in history, with a total of 309 confirmed kills. She was awarded the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union medal, their highest decoration for bravery.

The $25k DXL-5 has already been ordered by an unnamed, foreign customer, and Lobaev states that they are presently developing a new generation of 12.7mm hypersonic ammunition, at about 5,650 feet per second (Mach 5), that will permit engaging targets as far away as 4.35 miles! This may be possible theoretically, using a discarding-sabot round with a tiny, tungsten dart inside, much  like modern, tank ammunition, although Lobaev is not discussing how they hope to achieve such hypersonic velocity.

Their final offering is the astounding SVLK-14S (single-shot) or -14M(magazine-fed, five rounds) Sumrak (“Twilight”) in .375 CheyTac or .408 CheyTac, with 35.4-inch barrel and fixed, carbon-fiber stock. Vladislav Lobaev claims that it’s the most-accurate sniper rifle in the world, at .2 MOA, and it’s also made in .300 Winchester Magnum or .338 Lapua Magnum. The new (2019), futuristic, Russian Bespoke Guns Phantom H sniper rifle in .300 Winchester Short Magnum (.300 WSM) and other calibers, with a 16-inch, heavy-profile barrel and an effective range of 600 meters, is claimed to have an accuracy of .1 MOA, and is supposedly in use with Russian SpetsNaz commandos.

Yuri Sinichkin, the lead engineer for Lobaev Arms, said: “This weapon (the SVLK-14S) was made piece-by-piece, just like a Ferrari or Porsche, for people who appreciate high-precision guns, as well as for professional snipers.”

The ultra-long-range, ultra-expensive ($35k) Twilight attempted a new world record on October 9, 2017, using a weapon specially chambered for a souped-up, wildcat version of the .408 CheyTac round, with a March Optics (American, gasp!) 5-40Xscope. They smugly thought that they had set a new, world’s record by successfully hitting a one-meter-square target at a truly-impressive 4,604 yards, or 2.62 miles.

Unfortunately for the gloating Russians, an American team had already secretly broken the world’s record 10 days earlier, on September 30, 2017, at an astounding 5,000 yards, or 2.84 miles. The Americans used a customized, Armalite AR-30 rifle chambered for another wildcat derivative of the combat-proven, with .408 CheyTac cartridge.

In 2019, sniper Sergey Shmakov set a world record for sniper shots at night with a Lobaev Twilight rifle. From a distance of 2,112 yards, he hit a 24×24-inch target five times, employing the Russian Daedalus-NV night sight.

In practical, combat situations, however, an engagement range of 2,300 yards is normally as great as can be expected, because the .408 CheyTac projectile begins to yaw or tumble as it transitions to subsonic speed at that range. So far, Lobaev sniper rifles have been used by the Russian Federation, Argentina, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, and the United Arab Emirates. It’s a good bet that most of these variants have been combat tested in Syria, or even more recently, in eastern Ukraine during the 2022 Russian invasion. Lobaev’s custom-built, sniper rifles are quite rare and expensive, but their range and ultra-precise accuracy are unrivaled!

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Warren Gray is a retired, U.S. Air Force intelligence officer with experience in joint special operations and counterterrorism. He served in Europe and the Middle East, earned Air Force and Navy parachutist wings, four college degrees, and was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Intelligence Operations Specialist Course, and the USAF Combat Targeting School. He is currently a published author, historian, and hunter. You may visit his web site at: