The Rifle

Scharfschützengewehr in German simply means sharpshooter’s rifle. The 82 denotes the year the rifle was designed, thus the name; Scharfschützengewehr 82. That being said, there are many who will disagree with me that this rifle is indeed a “sharpshooter’s rifle” and is capable of a very high degree of accuracy. Reports on the accuracy of the rifle range from one hole 5 shot groups to 4 inch 3 shot groups and anywhere in between. In my first range session, the rifle being shot as it was imported, from a bench, with RWS ammunition, at 100 yards, yielded a .670 inch 3 shot group. The only thing that proves is that I am skillful enough as a shooter that with my gun with that particular load I was able to achieve those size groups. Other’s experience will be based on the same factors; skill, load, rifle condition, weather conditions, ect. Thus, accuracy claims must be taken with a grain of salt and seeing as how only around 600 of these rifles were imported by Century Arms International makes me skeptical if whether or not many of the people making these claims have ever held, let alone fired one of these rifles. Sadly, accuracy is probably the least controversial subject surrounding these rifles as there are really no hard facts surrounding their intended purpose, numbers built, ect. With that in mind I will separate unlike many others, what I’ve heard, from what I know, from what I think.

What I’ve heard: The trigger is adjustable in 7 different aspects. The magazine holds 7 rounds. The magazine holds 10 rounds. The rifle was only used in competition. The rifle was used by airport security. The rifle was used by the German Stasi. The rifle was used by the German Special Forces. The rifle was used on the Berlin wall to shoot defectors. There were 2000 made. The rifle was made by Suhl. The first 100 rifles made are the “Switzerland Model” (see Switzerland Model page for more info). Cases will get stuck in the chamber during prolonged firing causing the extractor to break. The triggers break easily with any side load.

What I know: The rifle is 11 pounds with the scope and is 42.25 inches long with the plastic adjustment shims that can be installed to adjust the length of pull. The barrel is  23 inches long, cold hammer forged, with a semi-bull profile, a 1 in 8 twist, is free floated, and features a target crown. The safety is operated by rotating a small disk on the right side of the rifle, while the magazine release is located on the bottom right behind the magazine well. It has a non-rotating  bolt with 4 locking lugs that operates the action and while the magazine is said to be only a 5 round it will work with 6 rounds, or at least it did in my case. The stock is a competition style with stripling where the hands are placed and the bolt release is located on the left side of the receiver. The magazine as well as the most metal parts on the rifle are blued and polished. The trigger is adjustable for weight, and is constructed of aluminum. The German Democratic Republic is the country of origin and it was imported to the U.S. in the early 90’s after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It fires the 5.45x39mm cartridge.

What I think: The rifle does bear much resemblance to rifles made by Suhl, in particular the model 150, so this is not out of the question for me. The case extraction problem and trigger breakage seems pretty common so there is likely some validity to those claims. I personally have not yet had problems with extraction and I think other’s problems may stem from not ejecting the cartridge immediately after firing it. The trigger could be adjustable 7 different ways but I like mine the way it is so I am not going to mess with it. 2000 as a production number seems entirely possible given their scarcity. There is a German site- in which the author claims to know that the rifle was indeed made by Suhl and that it was designed for and was used by the Stasi and other elite German forces. This to me makes a lot of sense, seeing as how the rifle being developed for sporting or competition uses is unlikely as there were already many rifles available that would fit the same role just as well. Also the lack of information in terms of use leads me to believe that the rifle was indeed manufactured for groups like the German Special Forces as its use in that capacity would not be very well documented or available to the general public. I do not know the author of the German site but from what I can gather he either has first hand experience or has talked directly to someone who does.