Aahh, the wonderful world of sniper rifles. So many to choose from, so little time and money. As far as Western-made sniper rifles go, chances are (if you’re either a military veteran and/or a weapons enthusiast, that is) you’ve heard of time-honored weapons such as the Winchester Model 70 and Remington Model 700, as well as the metaphorical “new kids on the block” such as the .50 caliber Barrett M82, McMillan TAC-50, and Remington M24. From the Eastern Bloc offerings, you can go old-school with the Mosin-Nagant or with the comparatively newer Dragunov SVD. But in all honesty, how many here have honestly heard of the Russian ORSIS T-5000 sniper rifle? Unless you’re a hardcore gamer type (I’m not, for the record) who happens to be a fan of the game Escape From Tarkov, then chances are you’ve never heard of it.
Obscure ORSIS Origins?
So then, what do we know about this relatively newish and somewhat obscure Russian rifle?
It is manufactured by ORSIS (ОРСИС, from ОРужейные СИСтемы, “Weapon Systems”), trading name of Promtechnologies Group, a privately owned company headquartered in Moscow and founded in 2011, with the T-5000 tactical rifle indeed serving as the company’s initial launching product. Soon enough, ORSIS began releasing a number of civilian derivatives for both hunting and long-range target shooting. The company produces entire rifles, including stocks, actions and barrels, as well as being able to produce replacement barrels for third party firearms; for example, in 2012, ORSIS entered a joint venture to perform final assembly for a number of Glock pistols.
The following year, the firm gained some additional notoriety when they announced that controversial martial arts film actor Steven Seagal would begin both marketing ORSIS products as well as lobbying for the easing of US import restrictions on Russian sporting firearms. In addition, ORSIS tabbed Mr. Seagal to design and develop a new long-range rifle with the firm preliminarily titled “ORSIS by Steven Seagal;” the 13 October 2013 edition of The Moscow Times quoted Seagal as saying that he expected the rifle to be “the best long-range rifle in the world” and added that “My goal is to be able to do [consistent, accurate shots] at 3,000 meters. I am waiting until this weapon is done to try to do that, and I will do that on film with phantom cameras.”
Adopting Western Calibers
As for the T-5000 itself, it’s a bolt-action rifle with a 2-lug bolt assembly on a glass fiber bedded aluminum frame. Depending upon specific caliber, the gun employs a 5- or 10-round detachable box magazine. One thing that distinguishes it from the Mosin-Nagant and Dragunov is that whilst those older two designs use Russia’s homegrown 7.62x54mmR cartridge, the ORSIS rifle dares to venture into Western “imperialist running dog” (so to speak) calibers such as 7.62x51mm NATO, .300 Winchester Magnum, .260 Remington, 6.5x47mm Lapua, and .338 Lapua Magnum. The rifle T-5000 also comes with a Cerakote finish and multiple color options: black, gray, desert sand and OD green. (Evidently at least some executives in the Russian small arms industry finally caught wind of the proverb “Variety is the spice of life.”) Depending upon the caliber, the T-5000 weighs anywhere from 12 lb 12.5 oz to 13 lb 10.7oz.
Additional features include: adjustable folding stock, rubber pistol grip, large multi-slotted muzzle brake – which the manufacturer claims reduces felt recoil by 50% — a DH 5-20×56 scope, and optional adjustable bipod and forward accessory rail. That DH scope is considered to be the latest & greatest in Russian scope design, and when used in tandem with match-grade ammo, can result in half-MOA accuracy results for the gun.
Known (and Rumored Users)
Russia’s Spetsnaz, along with the KGB, er, FSB (Федеральная служба безопасности Российской Федерации (ФСБ)/ Federal’naya sluzhba bezopasnosti) have adopted the weapon, and it has also been seen in the hands of some of the guerrilla troops of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic operating in that disputed segment of Ukraine. Moreover, T-5000s have been photographed in the hands of some Red Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers and Vietnamese law enforcement personnel — though it’s unclear if either country has officially adopted the rifle as a standard-issue sniper rifle – and the post-Saddam era Iraqi Special Operations Forces.
Christian D. Orr has 33 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the (GSSF) and the (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011. In his spare time, he enjoys (besides shooting, obviously) dining out, cigars, Irish and British pubs, travel, USC Trojans college football, and Washington DC professional sports.