The .22LR carbines: Guns of Nelmo Suzano

Ronaldo Olive
by Ronaldo Olive

In the early-1980s, while acting as an associate and head designer of the Rio de Janeiro-based LAPA – Laboratório de Projetos de Armamento Automático Ltda company, Nelmo Suzano also found the time to create two .22LR carbines, which shared several design features with his 9x19mm SM Modelo 3 submachine gun and 5.56x45mm FA Modelo 3 bullpup rifle. To begin with, they employed polymer-based bodies topped by a so-called carry handle, actually, the rear sight protection structure.

The semi-auto CE MOD.01 was successfully tested and approved in Brazilian Army examination for "permitted-use" (non-military) guns in 1982.

The semi-auto model was called the CE (Carabina Esportiva, Sports Carbine) Modelo 01, being a blowback-operated gun fed by a 10-round magazine inserted in the pistol grip. It was fitted with a 370mm barrel, which gave the weapon an overall length of 755mm. Empty weight was only 2.1kg. The flip-type aperture rear sight had settings for 50 and 100 meters, and was fully protected by the carry handle structure, while the cocking piece, a simple vertical rod in the prototype, ran inside that. To cope with the straight-line configuration, the front sight post was mounted on top of an elevated metal structure and protected by side ears. Fire-selection (“S” and “1”) was made by a disc-shaped unit on the left side of the gun.

The single prototype built was submitted to basic functioning and safety tests at the Brazilian Army Marambaia Proving Grounds in September, 1982, receiving the grade of “good quality weapon”. No series manufacture was undertaken.

The CA MOD.02 prototype was distinguishable from the semi-auto model by the larger capacity magazine in the pistol grip and the curved shape of the cocking lever within the carry handle.

Side-by-side with the sports model, Nelmo also completed a selective-fire variant, the CA (Carabina Automática, Automatic Carbine) Modelo 02. With the same dimensions and weight of the semi-auto model, the prototype with rock-and-roll capability was distinguishable for having a slightly-curved cocking lever and a longer 18-round magazine in the pistol grip. Depending on the ammo brand used, the CA reached incredible cyclic rates of fire ranging from 1,200 to over 2,000 rounds per minute. The weapon fired from the closed-bolt position, whose hammer and firing pin were based on those used in the LAPA bullpup rifle. It also remained in the prototype stage, only, and was never officially submitted to tests.

Closer view of the selective-fire CA MOD.02 shows the disc-shaped fire selector with the markings "S" (front), "1" (top), and "30" (rear) displayed in a 180 degrees arc.
The magazine catch was located at the rear bottom of the pistol grip, being pressed forward to actuate.
Some family traces are evident in this side-by-side view of Nelmo Suzano's CA MOD.02 selective-fire carbine and the SM MOD.3 submachine gun.
Part of author's "Enciclopedia de Submetralhadoras" e-book with pics of the CA automatic carbine. Note the use of a flash hider, not really necessary in a .22LR gun, but very neat-looking. Sharpen your Portuguese language, folks!

As a final note, one may now wonder why the heck would anyone want a voracious rimfire spitter. It just so happened that at that time (i.e. 1970s) there were some proponents that such .22LR buzzguns could well find a place in LE/riot control/prison security duties. In fact, this is what the American-180 submachine gun of that period was about. Adapted to more modern production methods, it re-appeared in the former Yugoslavia as the MGV-176 during the 1980s.

Ronaldo Olive
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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  • Tassiebush Tassiebush on Jan 27, 2017

    To make a bold controversial statement, if full auto wasn't globally such a restricted thing and game laws were significantly different (two massive insurmountable ifs now but a tad less so in the 1970s) then a select fire rimfire like this one firing at buzz saw rate of fire would have to be a pretty versatile gun for the average civilian user. Obviously it's a regular small game gun in semi but an aimed burst at vital areas would bring down bigger animals and that option would function for defensive use too. Good logistically as well.

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    • Tassiebush Tassiebush on Jan 27, 2017

      @iksnilol My assumption is that in such a controllable round at such high rof that a burst would pattern into a relatively small area and be comparable to buckshot. Heart lung area shots, neck shots or brain shots on stationary beasts shouldn't really be any worse than if using buckshot. My biggest concern would be about lack of penetration. If a beast was running then spread out group might be an issue though. That's my hypothesis anyhow.

  • Jones2112 Jones2112 on Feb 03, 2017

    Very cool looking firearm, the 80's were indeed a time of cool looking guns that unfortunately are no longer being invented...