Meet India’s Award-Winning New Sniper Rifle

    Ishapore's Award Winning Sniper Rifle (Rifle Factory Ishapore/OFB)

    Back in February India’s Ishapore Rifle Factory unveiled their 7.62x51mm Sniper Rifle. A wooden-stocked bolt action rifle with an adjustable stock and back up iron sights. The Rifle Factory Ishapore, perhaps best known for their Lee-Enfield-pattern rifles, is part of India’s state-owned defence industry and is overseen by the Ordnance Factory Board.

    Sadly, the Rifle Factory Ishapore’s website goes into very little detail about the Ishapore 7.62x51mm Sniper Rifle. It simply notes that the rifle is a bolt action, chambered in 7.62x51mm, feeds from a five-round magazine and has a range of 800 metres. The sniper rifle has what Ishapore describes as a “direct lug locking with bolt” action and is capable of less than 1 minute of angle. Despite its ergonomic looking polished stock, which gives it a certain retro vibe, the rifle is rather heavy, weighing in at around 7 kg or 15.4 lbs. The stock has three cuts in the forend, likely to reduce weight, and a height and position adjustable cheekpiece. The rifle would certainly have benefited from a more modern stock.

    While the information on the new rifle is scarce, we thankfully have at least one good high res photo that shows the rifle has back up iron sights, a top Picatinny rail for mounting optics – it is pictured below with a Paragon 3-15×50 scope from Shanghai-based Vector Optics. It is unclear if this is the scope which will be officially issued with the rifle. From the photo, we can also see that the muzzle is threaded for a suppressor.

    Ishapore’s Award Winning Sniper Rifle (Rifle Factory Ishapore/OFB)

    In February, the Rifle Factory Ishapore presented Brigadier H.S. Sandhu, Commander of 22 Sector of Assam Rifles with one of the new rifles, as the first of 100s of the rifles were delivered to the Rifles. The Assam Rifles are India’s oldest paramilitary force, dating back to the 1830s, today the Rifles man the Indo–Myanmar barrier which marks India’s border with Myanmar. The Assam Rifles is a police/border force tasked with counter-insurgency operations and has nearly 64,000 personnel. The Rifles are primarily armed with the INSAS 5.56x45mm rifle and 7.62×39 AKM-pattern rifles.

    Well, it now appears that Ishapore’s sniper rifle has become an award winner! Hitendra Singh, one of the general managers of the Ishapore Rifle Factory, shared that the rifle had been award a prestigious award for innovation on 21st June. The Golden Peacock Awards were established in 1991 by India’s Institute of Directors.

    The Golden Peacock Award’s website makes it clear that the award is “the only Award, which has a meticulously defined and transparent selection criteria and is determined by a highly elaborate and independent assessment process.”

    While the Assam Rifles border force appears to be the first organisation to receive the new rifle it remains unclear if the regular Indian Army will be interested in the rifle as they have previously expressed greater interest in a more capable rifle chambered in a .338 calibre. Despite its excessive weight, the rifle certainly meets the Indian government’s current push for small arms Made In India and it may well be suited to police operations.

    Matthew Moss

    _________________________________________________________________________ – Managing Editor – Managing Editor

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.

    Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]