Interesting High-End Steyr Sporting Rifle In Use By Syrian Rebels

A reader sent us a link to the above photo that shows a Syrian rebel sniper using a Steyr Mannlicher Classic rifle. I am not sure what these sell for new in Europe, but in the USA they costs $2,200+. The scope is a letdown. It looks to be a cheap illuminated NcStar scope with a large 50mm objective lens, these retail for about $80.

The photo reminded me of an article I read in a gun magazine many years ago. During the Boer Wars the Boer Army confiscated all the high-end sporting Mauser rifles from their wealthier citizens and gave them a regular issue Mauser rifle to use in its place. The high-end rifles were distributed to the army’s top shots to use as sniper rifles. I cannot remember which magazine I read this in.

Yesterday I was sent a link showing Syrian rebels using Steyr AUG rifles. Steyr seems to have found a new niche …

Thanks for SanJuancb for the link.

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.


  • Lance

    Saudi Arabia and Qatar are supplying military gear to AL Qaeda and yes they are AL Qaeda. With there weapons. the Saudis in some units as well as Qatari units have Austrian AUGs and maybe SSG sniper rifles in there arsenals so some extra being sold is what is probably happening. Doesn’t matter Syrian Army units have good bolt action SVS and semi auto SVD sniper rifles to counter them.

    • Yep got a picture of one using an Aug. It may be posted

    • Nokloss

      Steyr Mannlicher is still selling AUGs to Oman, so if you spot ne AUG A3 Commando… 😉

    • Joe Schmoe

      The SVD is not a sniper rifle, it’s a designated marksman rifle. I blame Hollywood for creating this false pretense that every gun with a big scope on it is a “Sniper rifle”.

      • mikewest007

        Yeah, especially my 10/22… 😉 And in that awful Muzzelite stock, it’s an “assault weapon”, to boot!

  • Jilu Khan Spandiary

    I’ve spotted sooo many different types of guns from different eras as well.
    One guy had stg 44, another had m1 Garand, etc

  • Bud Spencer

    Im austrian (born in Steyr ; ))
    SSG69s have been supplied to the syrian police units in the 80s. AUGs must be of foreign nature (probably saudi Arabia). The austrian goverment has and ever had pretty strict export laws for assault rifles.

    As of 2013 the SSG69 is slowly fading out of production due to its outdated design.
    Its in the 1.600-2.000 € range for newer models.

    There has been some uproar about austrian weapons in the hand of the rebels and syrian regime. But like I said they have been legally exported for police use in the 80s. Even some rare sporter conversions have been spotted.

  • C-H

    Pretty certain that’s a Steyr Mannlicher SSG69 precision rifle, not a Classic. It looks identical to my SSG69 (sans the crap-tier optic). The SSG69 was in use with Assad’s forces as a sniper rifle when the civil war broke out.

  • August Hurtel

    When they want to take promo pictures, they just grab whatever they can find in the prop department. One of these days, someone will slip up, and a rebel will be sporting a phaser.

  • tracel88

    “Rebels” – you americans with your jewish-invented “political correctness” hahaha

    • kthxbai

      you whatever with your idiot-invented “anti-semitism” hahaha

    • Joe Schmoe

      Your a sad little person who could invent anything if your life depended on it, so you are jealous at those that do invent; we understand.

      • brian

        *couldn’t (I’m guessing)

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Regardless of wether or not you support them, they are rebels by the very definition of the word.

      I am tired of people trying to force us, a non political blog, to change how we use the English language.

  • John Pollard
  • Sanjuancb

    I just knew it was a Steyr of some sort.Certainly would work as a sporting rifle. I’d carry one for whitetails in a minute, but 2,000 euros is an outrage when you consider the alternatives…

  • Frosty_The_White_Man

    Is there a name for the phenomenon of junk scopes on classy rifles? It’s my #1 firearm pet peeve.

    • Blake


      see also the numerous higher-end sports sedans running around with no-name tires on them…

    • gunslinger

      so you’d rather see an acog on a hi-point?

  • Blake

    I think this is the first time I’ve seen a photo of a “rebel fighter” actually aiming a rifle at something (as opposed to vaguely pointing said rifle in the approximate direction of the target).

    I recall seeing an article a while ago about marines in Afghanistan being more worried about taliban armed with Enfields than AKs, as the Enfield-armed dudes knew how to aim them.

    • Josh

      I read something quite some time ago in an older book written by someone who interviewed a bunch of SF veterans. They discussed an experience in one of the gulf wars where they were doing some kind of recon that was essentially camping out in a spider hole and counting tanks, when they were discovered. As they pulled back the regular Iraqi army guys just sprayed and prayed with their AK’s, but the sheep herders that were around had old bolt guns and they had a few close calls with them.

  • JN

    Probably from a Saudi/Kuwaiti sponsor

  • Kirill


    Just the other day while watching the news I saw a clip of a Syrian rebel using a Tabuk. While, to my understanding, it is not abnormal to see Tabuks turn up here and there, it was what I saw shortly after that made me peak an eyebrow.

    I could have sworn I saw an SVDK in rebel hands.

    I’m more interested in how that got into rebel hands: Russia has not sold any SVDKs to other nations to the best of my knowledge, and it was clearly a full-blown service grade SVDK.

    Strange things are afoot.

  • onewhen

    It’s a Steyr SSG 69 with a Kahles ZF69 6x scope, and they were sold to Syria back when Syrian dictators were having dinners with Western heads of state.

  • Aimz

    The above picture is actually a few years old. These Steyr rifles have been in use with the Syrian military as well.