Experimental less recoil rifle

NRA Blog has an entry this week that is showing the last donation to the NRA Museum in Fairfax, VA of 2015. It is an absurdly looking contraption of a prototype rifle that was designed along the same lines as the AN 94, with the aim of reducing felt recoil. The inventor is a certainĀ Fredric D. Ducolon, Jr who was the person who donated the firearm to the National Firearms Museum. He has a patent for it in 1991, and had some interest in the design by the U.S. Army and General Dynamics. Essentially the action and barrel are encased in a G11 like one piece stock that I can’t see where a magazine is inserted. Via a complex system of pulley’s and springs, the barrel uses a Browning short recoil system when fired, and thus moves back to a certain point, wherein the system of pulley’s and springs comes into play, working against the recoil of the firearm so overall felt recoil is reduced to the shooter. The prototype is a working model and does fire, but the enormous complexity in it really hinders any practical military or civilian use of the firearm. Still, it is an interesting look into the extreme of what we do to reduce felt recoil in a rifle. This is the abstract for the official patent

The present invention provides a recoil-redirecting mechanism for a gun which includes a frame, a gun barrel assembly having a barrel and a receiver with a bolt therein. The gun barrel assembly is slidably mounted to longitudinally reciprocate on the frame between a forwardmost position and a rearwardmost position. Means for firing the gun when the gun barrel assembly is substantially at its forwardmost position is provided. The recoil-redirecting mechanism includes a recoil-absorbing spring, a fixed pulley mounted on the frame, and a travelling pulley mounted on a longtudinally-reciprocating block which is longitudinally slidable relative to the frame substantially parallel to and independent from the gun barrel assembly. A cable having a first end fixed relative to the frame operably extends over and is reversed in direction by the travelling pulley, further extends over and is reversed in direction by the fixed pulley, and has a second end fixed to the gun barrel assembly. The spring biases the gun barrel assembly and reciprocating block so that, when the gun is fired, the gun barrel assembly recoils rearwardly exerting rearwardly-directed force on the spring and the second end of the cable means. The cable means, in turn, exerts force on the pulleys to thereby cause the block to slide forwardly and to exert forwardly-directed force on the spring. An alternative embodiment provides a fixed gun barrel assembly with a blow-back bolt.

protoleft protopatent protogun_main


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


  • MPWS

    Are not muzzle brakes good for that purpose?
    Secondly, is this necessary for light impulse round?

    • Major Tom

      Recoil operates in many forms. A muzzle brake will dampen the muzzle squirreling around but it doesn’t help the pain in your shoulder enough when firing a higher power caliber. Likewise, internal recoil buffers and pads reduce the effect of felt recoil on the shoulder but don’t do that much to prevent the muzzle from squirreling around in rapid fire.

      Thus to tackle recoil effectively and efficiently, you have to have a full spectrum composite approach for the shoulder, arms and barrel among other things. It is not like a Battleduty video game where one attachment does the work.

      And yes even light impulse rounds like .223 have substantial recoil when firing either on automatic or extremely rapid strings of semi automatic. It might not seem to bobble or drift off much at short ranges but try hitting 500 meters reliably with a fully automatic .223/5.56 weapon or through reckless trigger pulling. Unless you’re stabilized on a good bipod or tripod, even light impulse rounds are going to kick you off target and do so quite quickly.

      • MPWS

        Thanks for your view Tom.
        I wanted to see what people think and that was reason for my “devil’s advocate” questions. I am personally studying this problem for at least 25yrs. Yes, I do have a solution… just to get it materialized.

      • MPWS

        Another item which falls into this category is the “balanced system” as presented in Russian developments. I realise they do not take care of recoil impulse directly but they ad to stability quite a bit.

      • MPWS

        One more detail. I recall reading study which goes back to 60’s and that determined that the pistol grip removes affectively up to 1/3 of recoil impulse. This might have been in reference to M14.

        • Stan Darsh

          That’s interesting. I wonder if that report is specifically comparing T20 vs M1 rifles or the T25 vs M14 rifles.

        • iksnilol

          It makes sense, the “traditional” stock pivots easier I believe.

  • John

    Could scale it up for other applications, like mortar fire.

    • PK

      Already done. Take a look at the HIWS from FN.

  • BillC

    Fallout 4?

  • Jwedel1231

    Here’s the thing about counter-recoil systems like this, or the AN94: This would be a great idea if we hadn’t developed intermediate cartridges. A counter weight system would be the bee’s knees in .308 or .30-06, but a .223 with a good muzzle brake recoils so little that a complex system like the one above doesn’t add enough value to justify the cost and complexity. You could say that this allows us to go back to full power rifle rounds, but then we have to deal with the increased weight of more ammo, a benefit we got from intermediate rounds without realizing it. These guns are cool and I’m glad to see them being developed, but only from an engineering and geek point of view. Practically speaking, they have no purpose I can see (so far).

    • JE

      In the military they serve a purpose — muzzle brake are in general very poor flash hiders ( which are very important at night ), and brakes also tend to stir up more debris and dust when fired prone which can obscure vision and give away the shooters position.

      Counter-recoil systems have a important place and if we are still using cartirdge technology in the next 50 years expect them to become much more standard

    • BrandonAKsALot

      You have to also take more than just recoil into consideration. It’s not the only force at play here. The cycling of the operating system and percussion/harmonics all affect every about. This is magnified on full auto. This stuff is developed less for reducing felt recoil and more for keeping the rifle on target. The goal of the AN-91 was to allow a soldier to hit a target with 2 rounds at a time without dealing with all the forces and help keep them on target easier. Felt recoil reduction is a by product.

      I was able to keep a full auto AR on target the first time I shot it, but you still get that slight disruption of aim and muzzle rise.

      • Jwedel1231

        I see what you are saying, and if we still used .308 your point would only be more valid, but your own experience of keeping a full auto AR15 on target the first time trying renders counter weight designs unnecessary. Throw one in a .308 or .36-06 and you will have something awesome on your hands! Putting it in a 5.56 or 5.45 and I’m left wondering if it is worth it.

  • Phillip Cooper

    Neat, but I think the real question here is- how does the “Fairfax, VA of 2015” differ from the Fairfax, VA of early 2016, or 2014 and prior?

    • With the rest of the sentence, the last donation to the museum in Fairfax, VA, of the year 2015. Or did I mess that up grammatically?

      • Devil_Doc

        It’s a faux sentence, so it doesn’t matter…. šŸ˜‰


      • Glenn Bellamy

        You were correct. Many people fail to use the comma after the state, as they should.

  • Glenn Bellamy

    Hey, I recognize that! Fred was my client way back when and I got that patent for him.

    • iksnilol

      Any stories to share?

      • Glenn Bellamy

        No. He was a very private fellow. Lost touch with him for more than 15 years.

  • Devil_Doc

    Did someone light this thing on fire? And where’s the slow-mo video by Vickers?

    • andrey kireev

      only if it has to do with overlubrication and fireclean

  • 5flytyr .

    Looks like someone did a couple bowls of crack before booting up the cad-cam to make this mess…..

  • iksnilol

    Remember when we complained about the lack of clearance around the AR trigger making it vulnerable to debris?

    Or when we complained that the AN-94 is complicated?

  • PavePusher

    Rube Goldberg, paging Dr. Goldberg……