New IMBEL 7.62x51mm sniper rifle in the works

Ronaldo Olive
by Ronaldo Olive

IMBEL – Indústria de Material Bélico do Brasil may soon be producing and marketing a new 7.62x51mm sniper rifle. This comes as a follow-up of the company’s previous venture into the precision rifle market, which started in the early 1990s with the AGLC, named after the initials of its creator’s name, Brazilian Army Colonel Athos Gabriel Lacerda de Carvalho. Widely used by the Brazilian Army and some local LE agencies, the .308 Win-chambered weapon is based on a refined Mauser bolt action with an adjustable trigger coupled to a heavy, cold-forged steel free-floating heavy barrel (610mm-long) and an all-wood furniture. The rifle’s overall length is 1200mm, and empty weight is 4.7kg. By the end of 2017, it was still available from IMBEL’s Fábrica de Itajubá (Itajubá Factory), Minas Gerais State.

The .308 Win AGLC rifle is seen here fitted with a Leopold Mark 4 1040 scope (the most common factory option) and an omnipresent Harris bipod. No iron sights are fitted to this no-frills gun, generally 1-MOA capable at 100 meters.
Author and an AGLC in an informal activity at the Itajuba Factory range. The inset shows a reduced-scale (14cm high) target consistently hit at 50 meters, which corresponds to a 1.70m-tall target at 600 meters. Oh, well...

Mention should be made of a single AGLC-based rifle in a skeletonized configuration made by Col Athos in Fábrica de Itajubá in 2002 or so. It featured a forged-steel 610mm barrel (1:12in pitch) with a threaded muzzle to receive either a combination compensator/muzzle brake that added 51mm to its length or a sound suppressor. An ASTM 7075-T651 aluminum adjustable stock was fitted to the gun, which was consistently able to make 1-MOA groupings at 300 meters with .308 Win ammo hand loaded by Col Athos himself. The detachable, FAL-type 10-round magazine was the same supplied for use in the IMBEL-made Springfield Armory SAR4800 rifles.

Old photos of the one-off skeletonized AGLC rifle made in Fabrica de Itajuba in the mid-1990s. Scope fitted to the MIL-STD-1913 tempered steel rail above the receiver is a Sightron 8-3250, while the foldable bipod is a Harris, of course.

A new, conceptual sniper rifle idea apparently came into view within the Itajubá Factory walls late in 2016. It was, in fact, an in-house concept study that was not sprung by any Brazilian Army requirement, the general aim being the creation of a semi-auto and eventually multi-caliber precision gun. A study example chambered in 7.62x51mm was ready by mid-2017, when TFB had the privilege of taking a brief look at it and firing some rounds at IMBEL’s range in Itajubá. The author has now been cleared to bring it to light, with the information that firing results with that specimen have been generally promising towards a sub-MOA at 100 meters accuracy performance.

Not much as a surprise, considering IMBEL’s long-term experience in manufacturing FAL rifles, the firing mechanism of the new gun is based on that rifle’s, this including the use of the 20-round box magazine. The fitted barrel is 610mm long and was given a somewhat bulky muzzle brake, the whole rifle being 1.20m long and weighing 5.4kg with an empty magazine. The scope currently fitted is a 4.5-18×50 Kahles K418.

What follows is a selection of pictures of the single “study” example (not really a prototype) made by IMBEL. TFB will try to keep you informed of additional developments in the program, which the author has informally – and very unofficially – named the SVI – Snayperskaya Vintovka Imbela…

A general view of the 7.62x51mm test example. Other caliber options, such as .300 Win Mag and .338 Lapua Magnum, are likely to come by.
Right side view of the rifle, Harris bipod folded forward under the heavy barrel. Muzzle brake side orifices are visible.
This closer view shows the use of a 7.62x51mm IMBEL IA2 (itself, a FAL derivative) receiver, characterized by the grip/trigger guard shape. Note that the selector's full-auto setting was maintained.
Right-side view of about the same area, detailing the commercially-available adjustable AR-15 stock fitted for testing purposes. A final, dedicated stock may have a stabilizing monopod.
This photo details the rifle's skeletonized structure for bipod and inverted carry handle support. A future production version would probably have the gas tube covered with a handguard to reduce heat emanation to scope viewing.
Time constraints during a visit to Fabrica de Itajuba did not allow me to properly adjust the Kahles K418 scope to my senior eyesight-correction sunglasses, so I'll politely refrain from being specific on shot grouping analysis... The rifle's general handling characteristics were okay, though.

Higher-res pics:

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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