IMBEL’s new 7.62x51mm IA2 carbine and rifle

During the recent (April 4-7, 2017) LAAD Defence & Security exhibition in Rio de Janeiro, IMBEL – Indústria de Material Bélico do Brasil showed the latest development examples of its 7.62x51mm IA2 carbine and rifle prototypes which are expected to soon join the similarly-designated 5.56x45mm variants  currently in full production at the company’s Fábrica de Itajubá (Itajubá Factory) facilities in Minas Gerais State.

When the IA2 program got a real start around 2009-2010, emphasis was on the development of the 5.56x45mm model, since that’s what the Brazilian Army and police forces were expected to acquire in large numbers, what eventually happened. However, a 7.62x51mm-chambered gun somewhat based on the FAL (for long time, license-produced by IMBEL) was also developed side-by-side, though in a secondary position in the priorities list. Anyway, prototype examples of both types were already being demonstrated at selected Brazilian Army units in December, 2010.

Examples of both the 5.56x45mm (foreground) and 7.62x51mm variants of the IA2 rifle were ready for initial demonstrations late in 2010.

Early, non-official illustrations of IMBEL 7.62×51 IA2 rifles and carbines with different stock configurations. (Image source: www.smallarmsillustrated.tripod.com/Index.htm)

The semi-auto carbine version, primarily aimed at the LE market, is currently undergoing an official certification test program at CAEx – Centro de Avaliações do Exército (Army Evaluation Center) in Rio de Janeiro. Although it has inherited the FAL tilting-block breech locking bolt, plus the firing mechanism and the very same 20-round steel magazine, everything else is derived from the 5.56x45mm model, but this includes a re-dimensioned piston gas system. Polymers, of course, are found everywhere, such as in the side-folding stock, hand guards, and the pistol grip, which clearly shows less forward inclination than that of the well-known FAL.

With the stock extended, the 7.62x51mm IA2 carbine is 800mm long, the cold-forged barrel being 265mm in length. Gun’s empty weight is 4kg. Full-length Picatinny rail on top and shorter ones around the handguard.

The IMBEL carbine gets pretty compact (550mm) with the stock folded to the right, while still keeping the firing possibility. Note the MEPRO M5/MEPRO RDS PRO Red-Dot Sight, compatible with GEN II and GEN III NVGs as well as with magnifying scopes.

The 7.62x51mm IA2 carbine in an even more businesslike configuration resting on a frontgrip/bipod and fitted with a MEPRO MOR Multi Purpose Reflex Sight with Laser Pointers and, aft, a MEPRO MX3-F X3 Magnifying Scope with Integrated Slide Flip Adaptor.

As far as the selective-fire IA2 rifle version is concerned, TFB was told that Brazilian Army official certification tests are scheduled to start sometime in mid-2017. The gun features the same general configuration, but is fitted with a longer (390mm) barrel, which raises overall length to 920mm (or 670mm, stock folded).  Empty weight, 20-round steel magazine in place, goes up to 4.3kg.

The 7.62x51mm IA2 rifle features a 390mm barrel fitted with FAL’s NATO-standard flash hider, being 920mm in length overall and weighing 4.3kg with an empty magazine in place.

The IA2 rifle, polymer stock folded, and (below) a closer view of basic grip/trigger/fire-selector area. Typical FAL cylindrical charging handle and disassembly latch are recognizable.

Wait no longer: here’s the first published photo of the 7.62x51mm IMBEL IA2 rifle field-stripped. Steel lower receiver and anodized aluminum upper, all metallic parts being parkerized and covered with epoxy paint.



Ronaldo Olive

Ronaldo is a long-time (starting in the 1960s) Brazilian writer on aviation, military, LE, and gun subjects, with articles published in local and international (UK, Switzerland, and U.S.) periodicals. His vast experience has made him a frequent guest lecturer and instructor in Brazil’s armed and police forces.


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  • Graham2

    The Imbel IA2 FAL carbine, where FAL stands for Fireball And Loud!

  • hkryan

    Cool looking but I don’t understand why they’d even go through the trouble of redesigning the FAL if this is the result. I basically see a Para FAL with polymer furniture and an ARMS-style railed top cover. No significant improvements at first glance. Free-floated barrel? No. Adjustable length and/or cheek riser stock? No. Lighter weight? Not really. Retrofit of existing inventory? Not if part dims are really different.

    Also, pretty sure the upper is steel and the lower aluminum, not the other way around.

    • Anonymoose

      I’ve heard horror stories about the old aluminum FAL uppers, but apparently they were good enough for intermediate-caliber Meeper conversions.

      • Robert Harper

        My Meeper was done on an Imbel, then again it also shoots .50 Beowulf.

        • John Bear Ross

          I also had Vern do a detachable barrel conversion on my STG-58A, but never followed through with more barrels or mag blocks. I should have never sold it.
          Best,
          JBR

          • Robert Harper

            I wish the original owner of mine didn’t keep the 7.62×25 conversion, that would have been a lot of fun to shoot!

          • jcitizen

            How well does the one you have hold zero?

          • Robert Harper

            Pretty well the last time I shot it.

          • jcitizen

            That’s amazing!

          • jcitizen

            Is Meeper still doing those – I have an FAL I’d like to convert to detachable barrel.

          • Robert Harper

            As far as I know he doesn’t, he was sick many years back and people tried to contact him and his kids hung up on everyone. I don’t think anyone on the FAL Files has heard from him in a long time. I asked around a few years ago to see if I could get him to do another 7.62×25 kit for my Meeper but no one new if he was even alive.

          • jcitizen

            Sorry to hear that – I have a friend who was probably one of the world’s best release trigger builders, and he won’t answer my phone calls either – I don’t know what I did wrong, but I sure am sorry to end that relationship!

          • Robert Harper

            Yeah, I was upset that he no longer works, but I’m glad that I have one of his rifles though it might be time to sell it. Too bad there’s no one out there that’s willing to acquire some samples of his work and reproduce it.

      • John Bear Ross

        Ah, the old Williams Aluma-bombs! That was an ugly time on the FAL Files.
        Best,
        JBR

    • RSG

      An 8.5lb SBR? Lol.

    • Denny

      Original FAL is labour intense (besides receiver) in gas cylinder area. They may have achieved some savings there.

      • EdgyTrumpet

        Looking at the last picture with the field stripped rifle, it seems it has tappet gas system.

  • Stephen Paraski

    Beautiful.

  • iksnilol

    My teeth hurt from looking at the shorty version.

    • EdgyTrumpet

      “empty weight is 4kg”
      I wouldn’t worry about that.

      • iksnilol

        Think of the weight savings of all the flashbangs you don’t have to carry.

        • Friend

          Lol. That’s one way to look at it. Maybe we could get the US army to issue it as a resurgence of the flamethrower.

          • Major Tom

            Using high-flash blanks?

      • OldHand241

        And this buys me what, over my M1 Garand?

    • roguetechie

      As a former Fal para owner I can attest to the flame throwing…

      I was actually finding myself interested in a .308 gun other than “small frame” AR10’s right up until I read tilting bolt…

      Then I was like… NOOOOPE

      • JSmath

        I was going to ask what’s wrong with tilting block, as my VZ58 seems to manage just fine considering, but I looked it up myself.

        Kind of a peculiar adventure in learning, as one of the highest listed results via [that one search engine] took me to Stormfront (I didn’t check the URL, just noticed it was specifically comparing rotating bolt vs tilting block). Then among the technical details, I noticed people commenting about protecting white people and the next thing I know I’m laughing my ass off because I didn’t realize I was browsing a crazy white pride forum while trying to figure out minutia of how firearms work — Probably on a government list now, if I wasn’t already. Sigh.

  • RSG

    Perhaps a “made in America” blog should be using the American units of measurement? Crazy, I know.

    • Major Tom

      Ronaldo is from down in Brazil. Metric reigns supreme as the units of measure across most of the world including Brazil.

      Besides it’s not hard to convert from metric to American customary.

      • Stephen Paraski

        Keep a tape next to confuser.

    • Denny

      Nobody is using inch/pound/degF except United States. This web is read worldwide.

      • Graham2

        We still use it in England, which makes sense, seeing as we invented it. We do use metric as well for some things, so we have the best of both worlds.

        • iksnilol

          No you don’t, “stone” makes no sense as a measurement of weight.

          • Stephen Paraski

            Unless they come from your kidney.

      • KestrelBike

        I really wish we’d abandon it and go to metric. But not celcius. Fahrenheit is so much more precise.

        • iksnilol

          Fahrenheit is stupid, there, I said it. It has no logic behind it, it’s so arbitrary.

          There’s a reason Kelvin uses the same degrees as Celsius.

          • Major Tom

            It was originally scaled as 0F was the freezing point of a brine solution and 100F was the temp of the human body. The brine temp is accurate, the body was slightly off. Fahrenheit temps are much more precise and readable and less prone to significant inaccuracy. After all the difference between 0 and 100 Fahrenheit is a lot less than 0 and 100 Celsius.

          • iksnilol

            That’s what I mean by it doesn’t make sense. Why a brine solution? What ratio was it mixed? It is pretty darn arbitrary.

          • Major Tom

            It’s the same arbitrary as Celsius using the freezing point of water. Use something with scientifically replicable consistency as a base value.

            And mind you, in both Fahrenheit and Celsius the base values are set for a certain scientific measure. The brine solution changes freezing temp if you increase/reduce the brine element, just as the freezing point of water changes if you reduce or increase atmospheric pressure. Neither is a hard and fast 100% applicable in all scenarios no matter what.

          • iksnilol

            I dunno, pure water isn’t arbitrary, it’s a solid starting point.

          • Major Tom

            Pure water only freezes at exactly 0C when the atmospheric pressure and gravity is sea level on Earth. Same with the 100C boiling point. That changes greatly with pressure compared to sea level. Did you know at 6000 feet elevation (~1900 meters) the boiling point of water is about 12C less than at sea level? At the top of some of the mountains in Colorado at 14,000 feet (> 4000 meters) the boiling point of water is even lower, running at about 150-160F (~65C-~71C).

          • iksnilol

            I did know that, but again, it is a solid starting point. And Fahrenheit is pretty arbitrary due to not being consistent.

            A 10 degree variation in Fahrenheit is different from where you are on the scale. The 10 F between 32 and 42 F are different from the 10 F between 64 and 74 F (not much, but still, there’s a slight difference).

          • jcitizen

            Celsius is just flat easier to do chemistry and other science calculation on – it is definitely superior, and all college classes stick with it. If a lab tech wants to know Fahrenheit, he can apply the conversion formula and that is that.

          • Tom Currie

            Thanks for staunchly defending the insanity of the Fahrenheit scale, but please stick to arguments that at least look like they make sense.

            The change in the boiling point of water at different altitudes cannot be used as an excuse for sticking with this arcane system because the same change occurs in both measurements.

            Actually all the original basic units in the metric system have their initial values based on ‘Standard Temperature and Pressure’ (a term that is generally only applied to measuring the volume of gasses today). For example, one liter of water originally weighed one kilogram, but that was only true of chemically pure water, in liquid form, at 0 degrees Celsius, at standard atmospheric pressure at sea level.

            This concept is true of ALL measuring systems in common use because all have their origins in people trying to standardize units in the real world as they found it. If civilization (or science) had gotten its start among Tibetan monks, we would undoubtedly have very different measurements today.

          • Brian Backes

            Brine, because the freezing point of seawater was no small matter, both practically and culturally, even perhaps metaphysically, to a proud seafaring people, who built their empire on the strong back of seafaring ships. The English/British psyche of the time was steeped in brine.

            While seemingly arbitrary to landlines like me, for Ye Ole Briney, ’twas bleeding obvious.

          • iksnilol

            BUT DIFFERENT SEAS HAVE DIFFERENT BRINE!

        • Major Tom

          For some things yes. (Milli/Centi/Kilo)Meters is a much more consistent measure of distance and length than inches, feet and yards

          But for weight and volume, sometimes the old ways are better. For example cooking. The recipe calls for a pint of something, not 500 mL. Put 500 mL and you might screw up the recipe. Put the pint and you can’t go wrong. (Unless you suck at cooking.)

          • Stephen Paraski

            In Machine tolerances Inch system is best. But Metric FAL is better.

          • jcitizen

            I can never remember which my FAL is. Inch or Metric? – It is exasperating when I’m shopping for parts.

        • FulMetlJakit

          True, but duodecimal is easier to break down. More highly divisible base lends itself to fractions, which is far easier for “in-your-head” math, for most people.
          I don’t see anyone clamoring to change time to a 20 hour, 100 minute hour, 50 second minute based system.

      • David B

        Canada also uses imperial for somethings. Just the “official” measurements are metric

      • Aquaman knows the answers

        Not true. Zimbabwe is also using “standard” over metric. Sooooo, that puts us and Mugabe on the same team….. disgusting.

    • DIR911911 .

      not crazy . . . just very limited.

  • Denny

    That aluminum receiver has to be pretty strong to sustain tilt bolt pressure. Even with hard steel insert (looks like round pin), there is chance that aluminum will stretch. But yes, Al is 2.5 time stronger than steel at the same weight.
    Overall weight (4kg) is still too high though, regardless of material used.

    • jcitizen

      Yeah, even with forged aircraft aluminum, I’d have a hard time trusting it.

  • El Dude

    Makes me feel a little better that Brazil and I both can’t afford a SCAR.

  • fmike15

    Finally, the progression of the FAL!

  • LazyReader

    If it looks like a fal, smells like a fal and quacks like a fal….it’s something else

  • TSA_TheSexualAssault

    Who is the USA importer? I could use a container of almost-new FAL steel or SS magazines, in addition to some sales samples of the civilian-sales legal self-loaders.

    • TSA_TheSexualAssault

      I can understand why the Brazilian police would want 5.56 and AR-standard magazines for urban use with short range, but those are common in the USA. A lightweight modern rifle in the FAL-style (if not an actual FAL) that uses FAL accessories but is 30% lighter is the super-desirable weapon for careful shooters (aim-n-shoot, not “spray-n-pray”) who might need to make limited shots count. Add tritium sights, rifle grenade accessories, and you’ve really got something!

  • Jason Lewis

    Someone will put a 4-16 scope on it.

  • .308 51st State

    Was one of the design criteria that the rifle be uglier than sin? If so they nailed that part.

  • Spock

    Looks like a good rifle. I can’t find one on the web to obtain it’s street price. Anyone?

  • Rogertc1

    I love FALS I made this one with a CAI and a parts kit as a battle worn arm. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4bdff799af9ec566bbc90ff60d7e1e6efede2be92bc1b60e9bef2783ecfe5a16.jpg