Iraqi Steyr HS.50 & SSG-08 Patterns, Iranian or Iraqi?

    It is well known to the majority of us, in the Middle East, that Iran clones a number of firearms from Steyr. It is also well accepted that Iran and Iraq (nowadays) have an unprecedented level of co-operation within levels of governmental support for combat supplies i.e. the support that PMU receives from Iran such as arms, expertise, and even combatants.

    During my research in armament updates, I have found various numbers and models of Steyr’s. I don’t have enough information whether they were imported to Iraq already modified,  modified in Iran under Iraqi request, or entirely made in Iraq –with Iranian expertise of course- or simply imported from Austria.

    The Iranian model which is called Sayyad (translated to Hunter) will be our standard measure in this comparison.

    The Sayyad is a typical clone of Steyr HS.50 with some minor changes such as the non-fluted barrel in the Iranian version and the pistol grip and trigger guard.  Its overall length is around 150cm  compared to 137cm of the Austrian version –the original one- but it’s still chambered in .50BMG

    However, here are some Steyr’s that found in the Iraqi war theater.

    Standard Sayyad 12.7x99mm

    Comes in .50 cal BMG, the bolt handle looks identical to the original rifle, everything looks the same except the differences mentioned before.

    Saqar 12.7x108mm

    This variant is named Saqar سقر which is one of the valleys in hell according to the Islamic religion. It’s claimed to be made by the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Unites or PMU and its chambered in the Russian caliber 12.7x108mm.

    While the original HS.50’s barrel is 833mm in length, this one is made with 1050mm barrel.

    Note the trigger guard here and pistol grip and compare to the original HS.50, also the bolt is not blued neither the bolt handle is.

    14.5x114mm Variant

    NOT GHOUL, the Palestinian variant, which is chambered in 14.5x114mm has been seen in the area between Iraq and Syria –the PMU is active on both fronts.  There is not enough technical data about it, yet the barrel is clearly longer than 12.7mm models with a shorter Picatinny rail.  The bolt looks custom made.  The trigger guard is curve shaped and the barrel is shrouded with a sleeve full of holes, and there is a secondary grip under the buttstock to handle the significant recoil.  The rifle is heavy enough to not kick hard.

    Baby Steyr (Steyr SSG) 7.62x54mmR

    The PMU in an interview with local TV declared that they manufactured a baby Steyr.  Since the Steyr SSG in .308 NATO is smaller than the HS.50 they called it the “Baby Steyr” (does that makes the HS.50 the “Daddy Steyr”?). Anyway, according to them, they used a barrel taken from PKM machine gun, which makes us wonder if the other rifle’s parts are imported or locally machined new parts.   The polymer stock is hard to determine if it is from Iran or its Iraqi made. The rifle is identical to the SSG-08 and is also fed by a 10 round magazine.

    We apologize for bad resolution in some pictures but that’s how we got it from the sources, Thanks for understanding in advance.

    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.