Islamic Front 23x115mm Anti-Material Rifle

    The Islamic Front is a group of factions based on religious ideology -not moderate but not ultra extremist either-, they are more extremist than FSA are less extremist than Nusrah Front, and, of course than ISIS (whom the Islamic Front criticizes for killing innocent people, including lots of Muslims).

    The group was founded by 11 Muslim rebel groups on 21 December 2012, including Ahrar Al-Sham, the Righteous Brigade of Homs, the Islamic Rise Movement in Aleppo, the Ansar al-Sham in Lattakia, the Monotheism Army in Deir al-Zour, the Hamza Bin Abdul Muttalib Battalion in Damascus.

    Islamic Front is an ally with Nusrah Front and Free Syrian Army against Bashar Al-Assad.

    The video which we have here is an interview with Abu Uday who was a veterinary doctor before the war and he joined the Islamic Front in Aleppo to be a sniper.

    The Rifle:

    Among all the local made rifles which we have seen in Syria, this is probably one of the best, in terms of professional manufacturing, excluding the barrel, of course, which is a 23mm scavenged gun’s barrel trimmed and cut and re-chambered.

    note the 23x115mm round

    The rifle is a single shot bolt action chambered in 23x115mm – Russian Aircraft machine gun ammunition which is effective against a various number of targets.  It features a tubular receiver aligned with the barrel.  The butt stock is also tubular and considered to be a part of the receiver.

    A huge locally-made muzzle brake/flash suppressor is attached to compensate for the massive amount of flames and recoil generated by such a huge caliber.

    note the huge muzzle brake here and the high magnification scope

    The bolt is very smooth in action and quite large so it can endure the high pressures.  It has a long travel between the receiver and the butt stock.  Also, it appears the rifle is not operational without the buttstock. There is a Picatinny rail above the receiver and a high magnification scope attached, an adjustable bipod appears in the scene as well.

    lubricating the parts-look how massive is the bolt

    assembling the bolt back into the receiver

    The butt stock has a neat latch lever for disassembly, unlike the other locally made rifles.  They tied a wrapped layer of sponges on the butt plate to decrease the discomfort from the recoil on the operator’s shoulder–a seems pretty low quality given the rest of the build but It seems to be very effective.

    note the disassembling latch lever of the buttstock

    The Rifle’s size and weight appears to be very handy to be carried and deployed by a single man which is crucial in guerrilla warfare.

    the rifle’s size make it very handy and maneuverable

    What’s really distinctive about it is the way they implement it, the guys don’t just punch holes through the walls but they use it just like how an anti-material rifle should be used.

    BULLS EYE shows how accurate the rifle is

    smoking the heavy machine gun post

    take’em out of service

    According to Abu Uday, they have damaged tanks with this rifle as well as heavy machine gun mounts, and BMP carriers.  It also functions in counter-sniper roles, especially due to the different kinds of projectiles they have, i.e. AP and HE rounds.

    side view of the rifle shows the bolt open while the bolt handle is located in the butt stock, also shows the Picatinny rail, bipod, scope, and all features

    Finally, what do you think about this rifle? Because personally, I want to put my hands on it.

    Marawan Maklad

    Marawan Maklad is an Egyptian firearms and ammunition designer working for Turkish company specializing in the hunting and defense industries, and a dedicated researcher in asymmetric conflicts arms and tactics.