I’ve always wanted to see the PolarStar Fusion Engine put into a dedicated sniper rifle platform. The ability for the Fusion Engine to easily reach high FPS velocities and the instantaneous trigger response using the closed bolt mode is perfect for a sniper airsoft gun. David Neitzelt had the same idea and he tracked down a Classic Army Dragunov SVD, and at the suggestion of the fine folks of AmpedAirsoft, he sent it out to me to have it converted to use the PolarStar Fusion Engine.
The Dragunov SVD is nearly perfect gun for the Fusion Engine, but there are several variations of the SVD available. There are bolt action spring rifles, and AEG implementations. The bolt action spring rifles are relatively inexpensive but the trigger mechanism takes up a lot of room in the gun making it difficult to fit the Fusion Engine cylinder assembly. With the AEG variation, there is the Real Sword version and the Classic Army version. There are other makers, but they basically follow the design of either the Real Sword or Classic Army. These two AEG forms use very different gearbox orientations. The Real Sword version has the motor located inside the pistol grip of the gun, while the Classic Army has the motor horizontal. Also the Real Sword has the bolt cover attached to the gearbox shell, while the Classic Army has it attached to the upper receiver cover. While I’m sure the Real Sword AEG version can also be converted to use the Fusion Engine, the Classic Army SVD is a more straightforward conversion since there is plenty of room for the Fusion Engine cylinder and the bolt cover doesn’t have to be addressed.
The AEG SVD gearbox (in both variations) use an offset nozzle, but the offset is down (instead of up like in an M14). To avoid using a “Z” nozzle and allowing for maximum airflow, I wanted the Fusion Engine cylinder to be mounted slightly lower to allow the nozzle and the hopup to line up. To mount the Fusion Engine cylinder and to support the trigger and safety mechanism, the gearbox shell was cut and milled to act as a cradle for the Fusion Engine. By mounting the Fusion Engine in the gearbox shell, the cylinder assembly had to be pushed back slightly. This required a longer nozzle to be fabricated and a front brace had to be made to keep the hopup aligned with the BB feed tube. The Fusion Engine cylinder is locked to the gearbox shell using 3mm screws tapped to the solenoid mounting block, and the solenoid mounting block had to be milled down to allow for the air line to exit out the back and run down through the pistol grip.
On the CA SVD, the magazine pushes up to the bottom of the gearbox, so there wasn’t any room for the nozzle air line and banjo fitting. To get around this problem the front cylinder was rotated 180 degrees and the air line and fitting are moved to the top, where there is headroom since the Fusion Engine cylinder assembly is mounted lower.
The hybrid Fusion Engine and gearbox shell drops right into the gun and uses the existing two mounting points on the body. The CA SVD uses a mechanical safety, so the trigger can’t be pulled when the safety is engaged, so an electrical safety was not needed.
Since there is no longer a motor there is plenty of room behind the Fusion Engine for the FCU and the battery, which makes it much easier to access than wiring it to the front handguard.
The PolarStar Fusion Engine mates up with the Classic Army Dragunov SVD very nicely. The performance is simply amazing. The gun is much lighter, the trigger response is instant, and with a silver-bored nozzle and the extremely long 650 mm barrel, the gun shoots 505 FPS at 80 psi, and 588 FPS at 120 psi (w/.2g bbs), so there is a lot of headroom to shoot even hotter (if allowed), or be extremely air efficient using lower psi air. Add a sound dampening apparatus (as David plans to do) to the barrel and you can be a seriously stealthy and effective sniper on the airsoft field.
So if you play the airsoft fields in AZ, and you keep getting plinked by an unknown and unseen shooter, ask around and see if David has his PolarStar Fusion Engine powered Dragunov at the field, and you’ll know the likely answer.