Exo-A1 Concept Rifle

A young Mechanical engineer from Africa emailed me these CAD renderings of a rifle he designed while he was at college. He decided to become a firearm designer at a young age and studied mechanical engineering to achieve this goal but unfortunately was unable to find work in this field.

I really like the futuristic style. Personally I would lose the barrel shroud and increase the rail length.

The designer can be contacted at exoskeleton.a1@gmail.com

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Trev

    Much of the stuff looks really impractical. The scope mount comes to mind. Doesn’t look like it was designed by someone with much shooting experience.

    • Trev

      The stock does not appear to be adjustable for LOP either.

      Visually appealing, maybe you can sell the rights to some video game company.

    • Eugene

      In the exploded diagram, the scope mount is a set conventional scope rings attached to rails on the receiver, with a shroud over the scope itself. And the stock does have what looks like a replaceable/adjustable spacer stack for adjusting the length of pull.

      Looks to me like the designer has put a lot of thought into this, if you take the time to look into the details

      • Trev

        So whats the idea of the shrouds then?

        A rifle that can’t be adjusted for LOP without adding or subtracting components when you need to make the change on a hunt or in the field. LOP is something that can change based on your shooting position.

      • Eugene

        I’m not the one to ask since it’s not my idea, but Steve has kindly provided the e-mail address of the designer for you to get in touch directly.

        That said, it’s a design choice at the end of the day.. But would a scope shroud be such a bad idea? And the stack-adjustable stock has many precedents, like the Accuracy International rifles and the M40 among others. Those rifles can’t be adjusted in the field too, like you said, but does that make those bad rifles?

      • RocketScientist

        This seems pretty obvious to me, but the scope shroud is likely on there to… shroud the scope? You have a thin sheetmetal and polymer tube, holding multiple delicate pieces of precision optical glass in precise alignment down to the micron, which in many cases costs as much as the rifle it is attached to. It seems pretty reasonable to me that someone might want to put a thick-gauge piece of robust metal between it and the rest of the world.

      • I would assume like any shroud (our designs included) its primary purpose is more than likely to serve as a protective shell to whatever it is around.

        – Damien

      • Paul J

        On the FRF2 the barrel shroud serve as a thermal camouflage for barrel.
        We may be crazy in France, but we also got thermal sights…

  • AznMike

    Damn, looks pretty cool. Like something out of Mass Effect or Borderlands. A few things. As Trev has already pointed out, the scope mount doesn’t look really practical, I think a standard picatinny rail would be better. Also already mentioned, the rail should be longer. That or create a smooth forend to keep it light and that it has slots for attaching rails similar to that of the Remington MSR. The grip also looks kinda weird, it could be because it is a 3D model but looks way to thick. Best of luck to this guy.

    • Eugene

      But isn’t the actual scope mount a set of rings bolted onto picatinny rails on the receiver? There is a two part shroud cover over the scope itself.. is that what you meant?

      I could be wrong, the grip looks like one of those you find on target rifles, but ambidextrous.. Maybe that’s what he’s going for?

      • AznMike

        I didn’t notice that at first, just read his post and I can see the need for a protective system for the scope. Guess that was what he meant for the grip.

    • El Duderino

      I like the protective rings around the scope body. If you’re designing a rifle for serious work you’re going to protect the most sensitive components. Even a Nightforce or other top end scope isn’t impervious to damage.

      • AznMike

        Never thought about that, now that I think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

  • jdun1911

    That’s a very good modeling. He should try to applied for a green card to the US. Talents like that should not be wasted.

  • mechamaster

    Oh My ! It’s Cyber-punk style sniper rifle !

  • bbmg

    The styling is definitely very attractive but a military weapon is not a designer item. If it’s chambered in 308 or 338 then its performance on target will be virtually indistinguishable from any existing high end sniper rifle out there.

    The tool of the sniper is the bullet, not the rifle.

    • El Duderino

      So we can arm our snipers with Rossi Wizard single shots with NcStar scopes as long as they are using match grade ammo? 🙂

      • bbmg

        You’re missing the point.

        In the hands of a good sniper, a Vietnam era M40 sniper rifle in 308 would achieve the same result on target as this futuristic concept rifle, because it’s firing the same bullet.

        In the same way, someone shot by a 9mm Glock today will look exactly the same as someone shot at the same range by a 1908 Luger in the last century.

        Taking this into account, introducing a rifle that is slightly more comfortable and rugged on a market already saturated with similar rifles is not really that exceptional. I’m not trying to knock the efforts of the artist involved, certainly even creating a 3D model of an existing design is already quite a chore in itself, and he has certainly come up with an impressive design. This though is not progress.

        Unfortunately these days we are content to use literally the same cartridges our great grandfathers used while fawning over every extra rail on the latest “new” firearm.

  • ChielScape

    “He decided to become a firearm designer at a young age and studied mechanical engineering to achieve this goal but unfortunately was unable to find work in this field.”

    Well shit. I’m studying M.E. for that purpose too.

  • exoskeleton

    Hi all, I appreciate all the comments.

    First of all, yes, I have no military experience, but I have competed on international level in target shooting and I am a dedicated hunter, but mainly I just love drawing and designing weapons, it is a hobby now.

    The idea with the EXO-A1 was not to design a new sniper rifle as such (there is some excellent systems out there already), but more of a weapon system to improve the protection of the rifle. Any of you that have some shooting experience know that you want 100% confidence in your rifle. When you are out in the field a small bump on the sight can change the point of impact by a considerable amount at 800 yards.

    A little bit more information.

    -The telescope cover can easily be removed without removing the telescope itself. The windage/elevation dial cover was designed to protect the most vulnerable part of the telescope, but still enable one to see the adjustment settings. When adjustments need to be made, the cover is pushed forward to expose the dials.

    -The stock I put a lot of thought into. Many rifle manufacturers these days try putting in more stock adjustments and convince people that it is better, apart from more stuff to brake, it is not the best thing to do, but too few adjustments is bad as well. In the end it is all about balance. Just for interest sake, the man that won the London Olympic gold in mens 50m prone shot with a very basic rifle and setup compared to his fellow competitors.

    -The stock adjustments include; Length of pull using a spacer system, butt plate up and down, cheek piece up and down. I chose the spacer system because it is simple and fool proof. You don’t want to adjust your rifle in the middle of a mission, in fact an Olympic shooter once told me, if it works, weld it! If you look closely at the rifle layout, it is very straight thanks to the spacer system. There are many reasons why this is desirable, but I don’t want to bore everybody with rifle science. The only adjustment I can think of that might be needed in the field is to be able to move the butt plate up or down. A good comfortable shoulder weld is essential. The butt plate is concave, thus in a low position it faces towards the ground and in a high position it faces the sky.

    -The grip was designed to feel like a thumbhole grip without all the extra body and it is ambidextrous.

    -One of the advantages of the barrel shroud is that you can cover your rifle with a lot of vegetation and camouflage material without affecting the barrel harmonics. Just an idea I threw out there.

    Hope this gives some more clarity.

    • Denny

      You seem to have suffient background, talent and all around knowledge pertaining to the subject. Since I am in similar territory and did plenty of trying, my suggestion to you would be: start your own company. That is what others with ideas do. Offering to somebody your own design is somehow counter-productive and most likely bound to failure. The greates treasure is your capability, try to have use of it – and for yourself!

    • fcp503

      Awesome to see new and innovative designs. My advice: follow your dream.

    • AznMike

      Hi, i also don’t have any military experience so that what I’m about to say with a big grain of salt.
      -“the man that won the London Olympic gold in mens 50m prone shot with a very basic rifle and setup compared to his fellow competitors.”
      While I understand that keeping it simple is a good thing, from the sounds of it, this could be a potential military rifle and the situation a sniper will face will be very much different than a competitor in the Olympics. So maybe the mentality of a basic setup might not really work when a sniper might need to attach things to their rifle.
      -“One of the advantages of the barrel shroud is that you can cover your rifle with a lot of vegetation and camouflage material without affecting the barrel harmonics.”
      Most sniper rifles use a free floating barrel so the harmonics won’t be affected. There one can use a smooth forend to cut down on weight and have slots in the forend that would allow to use to attach rails if they wish to attach some accessories.
      Best of luck to you, can’t wait to see any future ideas.

    • Tuulos

      From my observation, my head ends up on a different position on the stock depending on my shooting position so quickly adjustable LOP would be nicer in my opinion. It is a problem that the olympic shooters don’t tend to have because of the rules.

      Also, Denny suggested starting your own company and I’ll suggest some kind of Kickstarter fund collecting on top of that.

  • MrMaigo

    Looks like every other modern tactical sniper rifle… except there’s a scope shroud thing.

  • gunslinger

    nice detail on the firearm. I’m interested in the folding stock. how is it locked/secured?

    i like the idea of the shrouds on the scope, as well as the LoP system.

    I hope this gives some extra exposure to design houses. Best of luck!

  • Looks fantastic. I wish him the best of luck.

    If I could leave one piece of advice for the inventor it would be this;

    Haters. Gonna. Hate.

    It sounds cliche, but its true; do what you love and love what you do – ignore the people who throw negativity your way.

    – Damien

  • alannon

    I like the scope shroud; having dropped a rifle on the scope, it’s something I’d appreciate. 🙂

    The rest of it, I think, comes down to preference. The barrel shroud, for instance, seems like it should be removeable; if that’s the case, then use would depend on if you anticipate moving or not (if you’re going to move a lot, ditch it; if you’re going to sit and pretend you’re a bush, leave it).

    The rails seem more than long enough for a full rifle (as opposed to a shorty rifle or carbine). You need a place to attach a bipod. I’m not even sure what one would do with the other three rails; it’s not like laser are terribly useful at 500yd. (Or 5yd, really.)

    • Denny

      Just thinking about that barrel shroud… and not knowing what it is out of and how is fastened; I believe there is value to it. It can protect barrel from elements an temprature changes; let’s consider similarity with tank guns barrels. It looks novel and that creates curiosity; on balance it is an item for practical purpose (as long as it does not add too much weight).

    • John Doe

      Agreed I think you only need two short rails on a sniper rifle. NVO + bipod.

      • The current preference is for a long upper rail so you can leave the standard day optic fixed while adding an inline night vision device ahead of it when needed.

  • Michael

    Barrel shroud? The shoulder thing that goes up?

  • Polarwizard

    Although this is a serious firearms blog, this particular blog is about a talented but unemployed concept artist. I understand he is serious about his craft and wishes to pursue a career in firearm design but based on the futuristic look to this weapon, there may be potential for him to make some money designing weapons for some of those combat related video games. It’s food on the table while doing something close to where is heart is, until he can find employment with his real passion.

  • Gabe

    I’d be interested to know a little more about the theoretical specs, specifically the weight with and without the shroud, with quality long range optic and bipod. I really like the look of it, and I’m normally not really a tactical/black rifle kinda guy. As has been suggested, Kickstart would be an awesome way to get funding for this. I wish you the best of luck in this and all future endeavors!

  • Jeff M

    3d design pays pretty well! Looks like this kid has a knack for it. Yeah put together a resume and send it to game developers and multimedia/advertising/marketing firms.

  • SiloZen

    It’s good, and unique. Two things that the Gun industry lacks for now.

  • Anonymoose

    A bolt-action rifle designed by an African engineer, you say? This sounds quite promising, actually. :3c

  • nice stuff.

  • Mason

    I really like the design of this rifle, but I saw one thing that I’d change: the stock, in its folded position blocks access to the bolt handle; I would fold it to the weapon’s left side to resolve that.

    • Josh

      Wouldn’t the stock design be similar to the Modular Sniper Rifle by Remington? If it’s good enough to qualify for evaluation by SOCOM….

      On a more serious tack, I can’t possibly imagine a scenario wherein someone would fire a sniper rifle without first unfolding the stock. If they need to get at the bolt, then… well, unfold the stock…

    • exoskeleton

      The only way to carry a bolt action rifle comfortably in the unfolded position, is with the bolt handle away from your back.

      When the stock folds to the left hand side, the rifle is uncomfortable to carry on both sides. Thus the reason why the stock folds to the right. That is my logic behind it.

      It does make the design a bit more tricky, but more functional. It takes a bit playing with the dimensions to get a spot for the bolt handle to fit into the folded stock and not interfere with the cheeck piece though.

      • I agree, plus why would you use this rifle in the folded position?

  • John Doe

    I like the scope shroud. When the scope is often the most expensive thing on a rifle (it is on my Remington 700!), you should protect it. While the grip isn’t the most comfortable looking thing in the world, the stock looks simple and well thought out. I don’t think a longer rail is necessary. Just enough for a bipod and a night vision optic.

    Cutting down the barrel a bit for handling purposes would be great, but I’m no expert. Just an opinion. Looks awesome, and I wish this guy the best in the pursuit of his dream.

  • Mike Knox

    Looks like someone’s played too much video games..

    • Matrix3692

      well, there are some governments (such as mine) that does not show interest in domestic firearms production and there are some societies/cultures that are too “pacifist” to support firearms industry(again, such as mine.)

    • Matrix3692

      sorry, wrong comment treat

  • Wolf

    Wow… I mean, is this what it means to be a voice in the wilderness? What’s your government thinking (??) now some moneyed western guy is gonna profit from your design! If I were in your government I would fight for you to get hold of a couple of a million dollars; so you set up a neat workshop and do your thing–develop your skills, spit out “know-how” gun-tech demonstrators if anything!

    • Matrix3692

      sorry, i just post on the wrong comment treat.
      well, there are some governments (such as mine) that does not show interest in domestic firearms production and there are some societies/cultures that are too “pacifist” to support firearms industry(again, such as mine.)

  • Griff

    Looks like the sniper rifle from that new XCOM Game.