Bob Holloway, then of Fort Worth, Texas, in the 1980s built on his experiences in Southeast Asia and Rhodesia to design a .308 caliber military rifle, what eventually became the HAC-7. His rifle was an amalgamation of Armalite, FN, and Kalashnikov designs, with a considerable amount of his own ingenuity thrown in. The result is now one of the most interesting “might-have-beens” of the 20th Century: A lightweight .308 infantry rifle two decades older than the FN SCAR-H.
Not much is known about Mr. Holloway, and what’s known of his rifle has mostly been gained through study of the less than 350 weapons that were made between 1984 and 1985.
The rifle, besides being a collection of “good ideas” from other rifle designs, has benefited from a number of clever and original ideas: The bolt has ample underlug (the distance the carrier is allowed to retract before rotating the bolt out of the locked position), but this created a problem in how the moving parts group interacted with the ammunition below it in the magazine during feeding. To solve this, a large fixed plate was attached to the bolt to prevent the ammunition “fishtailing” in the magazine. The weapon is designed to be stripped with only a round of ammunition. To this end, screw heads are designed to accept the case head of a round as a driver, pins are designed to be pushed out by bullet tips, and two parts even are designed to use the cartridge case head as a wrench.
In the 1980s, 5.56mm rifles were the hot item, and Holloway’s decision to use the more powerful 7.62mm round probably had a major effect on his ability to sell the weapon, and Holloway Arms Company closed in 1985. Nevertheless, the design was a simple, well-thought-out firearm that – had it been born three decades earlier – could have become very successful.
While there isn’t much information available on the HAC-7, those who own and love the weapon are very passionate about it. As a result, owners (known as “Hackers”) of these rifles can participate in a dedicated forum* for the HAC-7, hosted at BiggerHammer.net, which also mantains a dedicated HAC-7 page. In addition, Forgotten Weapons has a HAC-7 article and video, and the Aftermath Gun Club also has a more extensive field strip video showing the use of a round as a takedown tool. The club (which is clearly very enthusiastic about obscure modern infantry small arms) also maintains a registry of the weapons (which apparently came with promotional belt buckles) at HollowayArms.com.
*The HAC-7s produced were all semi-auto weapons, made in the United States and sold to US customers. Every rifle made probably remains in this country, and most of those owners probably have internet access. Owning the rifle, then, is something unique that every owner has in common, and it’s only natural that in looking for more information on their weapons they would find and gravitate toward the HAC-7 forum.