Syrian Rebels Produce Homemade Anti-Materiel Rifles

Jonathan Ferguson

The Syrian conflict continues to yield interesting expedient small arm designs. Syrian rebel forces have been documented craft producing anti-materiel rifles (AMRs). ARES has received video links (see below) that document the manufacture of this weapon, which appears in two variants. It is a homemade bolt-action anti-materiel rifle similar to and perhaps even inspired by homemade and custom hobbyist type rifles found in less troubled parts of the world, notably the US. These examples are chambered for the Russian 12.7 x 108 mm machine gun round, and are referred to in the videos as the Nimr 2. They were manufactured in the workshops of Katibat Abu Asad al-Nimr, a group associated with the Hazzm Movement.


The tubular receiver is of steel, and is shown being milled in a mill/drill machine, with extensive hand-finishing whilst held in a bench vice. A length of M1913 rail is attached to its upper surface. A simple rectangular trigger mechanism housing (with rotating trigger-bar safety) and magazine well are both apparently welded onto the underside of the receiver. Even the magazine is fabricated from sheet steel, and is seen in one of the videos being offered up to the magazine well to establish the proper seating depth and angle of presentation of the round. The bolt (whose locking arrangement is unclear) and long, tubular firing pin are also milled components, finished using an angle-grinder. Even the single chambered muzzle-brake is scratch-built from welded sheet steel. One variant features a custom wrap-around wooden stock and a fixed tubular bipod, whilst the other has an off-the-shelf plastic AK-type pistol grip and homemade skeletal butt-stock and folding bipod.


An unusual feature on the pistol-gripped example is the camouflage sleeve cover shown being slipped over the barrel and receiver. This cover incorporates a flap dust-cover for the bolt handle slot to protect the otherwise open action. The barrel used on both variants is the only significant factory-produced component, and was originally made for the Chinese W-85 heavy machine gun, available commercially from Norinco and previously documented in Syria. The lack of a factory-produced muzzle-brake may imply that these barrels have not been cannibalised from complete weapons, but rather as spare parts. The telescopic sight is also likely to be Chinese, resembling cheaply-made examples in the 20x magnification range available online. The test fire of the barrelled action in the first video shows immense muzzle-flash, though nothing from the unused machine gun gas port, suggesting that this has been sealed off. The complete weapon is later test-fired several times, apparently with success, though its accuracy cannot be assessed.
Wooden stocked variant
Pistol-gripped variant

The weapon seems to be associated with this Facebook page. Thanks to @JohnnySix and N.R. Jenzen-Jones.