The reliability requirements for military firearms are perhaps the highest. Ideally, they must be able to perform flawlessly in any climatic condition found on the planet. And that’s why military torture tests are conducted – to ensure particular weapon system’s capabilities and find out the weaknesses. The SVD rifle is one of those military weapons with legendary reliability. Here is how it passes torture testing in Russian company TsNII Toch Mash.
In that company’s premises there are various testing stations called “climatic chambers”, which simulate various climatic conditions. They are designed to simulate tropical rain, arctic cold, desert storm, high humidity, quick temperature changes and even frost and dew. Besides the climatic chambers, there are also several special stations including salt fog cabinet, vibration testing station and a test station that simulates dragging the gun on various surfaces.
The guns are held in each station for a certain period of time then immediately tested by shooting a magazine or two of ammunition. For various guns, there are different requirements. In the case of SVD, the requirement is that it must shoot all the ammunition without a single malfunction. For some tests (e.g. rain test) the testing employee enters the chamber and conducts the shooting test not interrupting the climate simulation. The magazines and ammunition are also placed with the gun into the test chambers.
In the video below you can see the rain test and an extreme cold testing during which they freeze the rifle down to -50°C (-58°F).