Dickson has shared another factory tour with us. This time he went to Hungary to check out Sero Engineering, the people how make the barrel recoiling GM6 Lynx.
Have you ever seen that really cool .50BMG bullpup rifle that shows the barrel recoil like a howitzer cannon after each shot and blows up anything in its sights on YouTube?
Perhaps you’ve seen the animated GIF image flowing around on the internet ripped from the full video. Did you know that the rifle, called GM6 Lynx, is made in Hungary?
To those who are not familiar, the GM6 Lynx is a portable anti-material rifle that fires either the .50BMG NATO cartridge or the 12.7x108mm Russian cartridge. It’s a semi-auto, bullpup design that weighs only 25 pounds empty. It features a unique barrel recoil technology that dissipates most recoil energy and the barrel can be retracted during transport or when the operator is in a vehicle. It does not feature the use of a gas piston like a Barrett semi-auto, instead it’s recoil operated. With a hit of a button the barrel extends and it is loaded and ready to fire in one second.
Here is another video showing how quick and easy it is to get the gun deployed and firing.
When the barrel is retracted the total length is only 36.5 inches which is truly exceptional for a firearm of this type.
It is usually equipped with a 29 inch barrel but there is a longer 36 inch barrel optional. Effective range is 2000+ meters with match ammunition. It is capable of sub MOA (minute of angle) accuracy with match ammunition and it uses match grade barrels. It uses steel magazines capable of holding total of 5 rounds.
Back in early December, I had the fortunate opportunity to travel to Hungary to meet Endre Szabo Jr., the general manager of Sero Engineering Ltd. and I was provided a factory tour of their newly built production facility about 30 minutes north of the Hungarian capital Budapest.
Hungary has a long history of producing various weapons, ammunitions and ammunition components dating back to the Austro-Hungarian era in the late 1800s. The famous Mannlicher M95 bolt action rifles that were made in Steyr, Austria were also produced in Budapest for the Austro-Hungarian troops in World War I. FEG (Arms and Machine Factory in English) was a famous producer of small arms, known for their quality Kalashnikovs as well as Hi-Power pistols. Unfortunately, firearms production was ceased in 2004 and the company instead produces heaters and air conditioners.
Writing as a long admirer of the .50 cal round, it has always been a personal goal to obtain a “50”. As a recent owner of a Steyr HS50 M1, my interest with 50BMG rifles has only increased. It’s like the ultimate precision rifle as the .50BMG is an extremely versatile round. I’m finally part of the big boys club.
In the automotive world, this is akin to driving a V12 powered car. This past Summer I had the rare opportunity to drive a beautiful 6.0 Liter V12 Aston Martin DBS which is more akin to a grand tourer rather than a true sports car. The sound of the engine was just so raw and addictive. Once you have driven a 12-cylinder car, you get to listen to the wonderful noise, feel the smoothness of the engine and available low end torque without needing to rev like a 4-cylinder motor. There is simply no going back.
I did not know what to expect with my visit other than the fact that the company is relatively new. The GM6 Lynx is similar to the Gepard series of anti-materiel rifles that originally came about in 1988. Endre explained that the development of the GM6 Lynx first started in 1999. The family owns various companies since the late 1980s as that was the earliest time when regular citizens were allowed to start and own private companies in Hungary. They have previous experience in manufacturing producing parts for military vehicles. Since his early childhood, he was fascinated with guns, cars and tanks. Over the years he has accumulated an amount of knowledge on design and engineering of firearms and vehicles. In fact, in his office he has all the service manuals for Soviet tanks such as the T-72 and T-55, etc. He was delighted to hear I drove a T-55A tank just last year in the town of Várpalota in Hungary. Unsurprisingly, he is a fan of nice cars – he showed me his 90s Mercedes Benz S-class and Lincoln Continental Mark VII (with the 5.0 Liter V8) project car that were both imported from Florida that is part of his collection. Guys will always be guys – we love their toys no matter which part of the world we are in.
Upon asking Endre who their lists of clients are, he pointed out that majority of the sales are to military and police units around the world. They have impressively recently received a large contract to deliver 800 rifles in the next 12 months in addition to the few hundred rifles that are currently being produced for various countries. He already has plans to expand the assembly area and acquire more machines to increase production numbers. He does receive civilian orders from Canada as well as from wealthy countries like Switzerland. The GM6 is approved for US imports, and the Canadian Importer, Tactical Imports Corp. will be looking at handling US sales in early 2017.
In the production area of the facility, he showed me the raw, unfinished rectangular aluminum blocks that were being fed into the CNC machines.
The aluminum were machined into pieces for the pistol grip as well as the lower receiver. Each piece was checked for tolerances in a separate enclosed room by a probe machine that can measure a 2000th of a millimeter.
Endre assures me that each manufacturing area is climate controlled at 20 degrees Celsius to ensure manufacturing of the materials are dimensionally accurate when the measurements were done.
At a nearby station, Endre showed me the steel magazines that were laser welded and the industrial caliper used to inspect the dimensions once they received the magazine body from the supplier. Due to the precise fitment of the magazine into the receiver, the cost of manufacturing the magazines is quite high and he assured me that they make no profit selling additional magazines to their customers. He said the future plan is to introduce polymer version. Polymer magazines not only will be just as durable but also will be much cheaper to produce. The cost savings will get passed down to the end users.
We proceed to the boardroom upstairs where Endre has a GM6 Lynx on the table. He told me that each rifle is to have a 5000 round guarantee which is quite impressive. The rifle is also capable of firing without any oil which is a benefit in desert environments. They submit the gun to a third party laboratory for military testing that involves a drop test, water submersion test and sand test. In addition to the Hungarian military standard, he had also submitted the rifle for testing with other countries as they have slightly different requirements. It’s interesting to note that one test rifle fired just a little over 6000 rounds before a malfunction occurred. That is a lot of loading rounds into magazines and magazine changes!
Endre pointed out to me this is a low recoil rifle. In fact, he was the person that fired the rifle at many of the demonstrations with various military and police units around the world. In one particular demo he fired 500 rounds in 7 hours without fatigue to his shoulder. The rifle slowly pushes against your shoulder instead of a hard slap and there is less recoil than shooting a 12 gauge shotgun.
Disassembly was also an ease and requires no tools. First the muzzle device needed to be unscrewed, and then a long but small diameter spring was released from the buttstock with a slight push.
Then, unscrew the nut up front holding the large spring running over the barrel. Once that’s done, proceed to unscrew the captive nut on the top of the buttstock. The upper receiver can then be lifted up which allows you to pull on the charging handle to remove the bolt assembly. The barrel will slide out and the field takedown is complete. In one of the army demonstrations, one soldier was shown how to do the disassembly and reassembly twice, and he was able to do that including removing and reinstalling the firing pin in less than 3 minutes.
It was clear that this beast of a rifle balanced naturally in my hand, due to the weight distribution of the bullpup design. I mentioned to Endre that the competition does not have anything close to their offering, but he was reluctant to go into product comparisons as he is also friends with many people working at these other companies.
Endre brought out the first serial production of the GM6, serial # 001 for me to compare the various improvements they have made. The difference between the two is quite dramatic.
The current rifle seemed to be much better made and overall more polished. In the original rifle, the charging handle was just cut from a steel cylindrical shape instead of the more refined, machined shape it is now. The picatinny top rail extends further out to accommodate night vision attachments and there are picatinny rails 3, 6 and 9 o’clock for attaching various accessories such as a vertical grip, laser, flashlights, etc.
In terms of factory options, they offer a scope protector made out of aluminum that protects the scope during transport or in case the rifle is dropped. It also functions as a carry handle as well as backup iron sight.
If that’s not to your liking, a lighter, nylon scope and muzzle cover is offered. In addition, they also make a backpack that is designed to fit the rifle for long distance deployment. Of course, a factory suppressor that screws directly to the barrel is also an option.
I raised the question about the ability to feed match rounds with heavy and long bullets. Endre showed me the box where it showed the rounds on the table were actually 770 grain bullet and after feeding the round into the mag, there’s plenty of extra space available.
It would make sense since the rifle is also capable of firing the 12.7x108mm Russian round which is longer by 9mm. He pointed out that the rifle only requires a quick barrel and magazine swap to change between the two calibers. This can be done in the field without tools.
The GM6 Lynx is a well rounded rifle that’s capable of various types of missions from close quarter combat to precision shooting over extreme distance. One major drawback similar to other bullpup designs is that it can only be fired right handed. The company did receive customers’ requests for a left hand version but currently there’s not enough demand to justify production.
In terms of future product development, they are currently working on a magazine-fed, semi-automatic rifle that shares the same long recoil technology as the GM6 Lynx but fires the much larger 14.5x114mm Russian round.
This round has twice the energy at 32,000 Jules than a .50BMG at 15,000 Jules with a 3km (1.9 mile) effective range. This round makes the .50BMG looks small! Interestingly, the 5 round magazine is parallel to the pistol grip. The prototype that they had shown me is quite light weight at just 17kg without ammo and scope. Most of the 14.5mm bolt action rifles in the market weight around 23kg (51lbs) empty. This is really a handheld artillery.
To round up the tour, I had mentioned previously to Endre that I love Hungarian dishes such as goulash and chicken paprikash. He took me to a local Hungarian restaurant and we ordered exactly just that. The goulash, not to be confused with beef stew, was delicious and so was the chicken. There are definitely many things to love about Hungary and there are a lot of reasons for anybody to come for a visit.
Thanks Dickson for sharing this. I want to shoot one of these badly. It is on my bucket list.