Over the past couple of months, the Ukrainian MAYAK arms plant has been quite active on their social media pages publishing information on a variety of new and prototype firearms. Last week we talked about their KalashNash rifle, an AK variant that has a barrel change feature. Today, we’ll take a look at another new firearm designed by this company – a single-shot bolt-action anti-materiel rifle called Horizon’s Lord (Володар Обрію, volodar obriyu). The cartridge this rifle is chambered in is also new. It is a .50 caliber cartridge called 12.7x114HL (HL presumably stands for Horizon’s Lord) created by necking down the 14.5x114mm case. Let’s take a closer look.
One of the primary reasons for starting the development of Horizon’s Lord rifle was the need for an anti-materiel and sniper weapon system that would have a longer effective range and flatter trajectories than the rifles chambered in .50 BMG. The company notes that cartridges like .416 Barrett or .408 CheyTac could be a great choice for extreme long-range sniping applications thanks to the availability of good long-range projectiles and precision barrels, however, there are no special bullets (armor piercing, incendiary, etc) designed for these cartridges limiting their anti-materiel use. The 14.5x114mm cartridge was rejected for the opposite reasons – it has a good selection of special military bullets but there are no precision bullets readily available for this caliber nor there are match-grade barrel blanks available. The .50 caliber turns out to be perfect for such a multi-task cartridge in that there are both precision long-range shooting bullets like the Hornady A-MAX and a variety of special military bullets used in .50 BMG and 12.7x108mm rounds (both cartridges have about the same bullet diameter – 12.98mm vs 13.01mm per CIP). That’s why this caliber was chosen. Now, to propel the .50 caliber bullets to higher velocities to have an advantage over the .50 BMG, they needed a case with a larger capacity. So they chose the case of the 14.5x114mm cartridge which was simply necked down to .50 caliber and that’s how the 12.7x114HL cartridge was born.
Thanks to the use of ballistically superior bullets, the new 12.7x114HL cartridge also has a number of advantages over the 14.5x114mm cartridge. It has flatter trajectories, extended supersonic range and at longer distances, better retains energy and is less affected by the wind. According to the data published by MAYAK, the 750gr Hornady A-MAX bullet pushed by the 12.7x114HL cartridge to an MV of 1000 m/s (3280 fps) goes subsonic at about 3000 meters whereas the 988gr B-32 bullet of the 14.5x114mm cartridge also traveling at a muzzle velocity of 1000 m/s becomes subsonic at 2400 meters. The new cartridge is also advertised to generate 30% less recoil than the 14.5x114mm.
In order to maximize the consistency of the loads and achieve better accuracy results, the company ordered custom-made brass cases from a US manufacturer which were designed to take .50 BMG boxer primers. Particularly, they use CCI #35 primers. They also use .50 BMG powders produced by Alliant, Hodgdon and Vihtavuori. Additionally, they are negotiating with a US company to develop a slower burning powder tailored for this cartridge that could allow further increasing the muzzle velocities to 1150-1200 m/s (3770-3940 fps). The high-quality ammunition components in conjunction with Bartlein barrels allowed them to achieve sub-MOA accuracy with the new rifle and cartridge.
Besides the ballistic requirements, there were also length and weight restrictions set for the new rifle to make it easy to carry the gun on the battlefield and transport it in any common vehicle. The new rifle had to have a maximum overall weight of 15 kilograms (33 lbs) and the length with a folded stock could not exceed 1.6 meters (63″). These are probably the reasons why the rifle is a single shot.
Another design requirement for Horizon’s Lord rifle was the capability of changing the caliber. That’s why the bolt head and barrel of the rifle can be easily detached. In a matter of bolt head and barrel change, the caliber of the rifle can be changed to .416 Barrett, .460 Steyr, .50 BMG, or 12.7x108mm. Even easier, in a matter of only a barrel change, the rifle can be converted to 14.5x114mm or 23x115mm. The company notes that other rifles and machine guns (such as the KPV heavy machine gun) chambered in 14.5x114mm can be easily converted to fire the 12.7x114HL cartridge. They are also developing a new machine gun called UKR (УКР) chambered in this new cartridge.
Here are a couple of videos showing the test firing of Horizon’s Lord rifle prototypes.
What I’d really love to see is actual extreme long-range shooting footage of the new rifle, a demonstration of its accuracy and a comparison with the .50 BMG and 14.5x114mm cartridges at extended ranges. The detachable barrel must be a useful feature not only for changing the calibers but for installing new barrels because this cartridge should be extremely overbore resulting in a very short barrel life. What I’d add to the design of this rifle is some sort of bottom receiver extension or maybe a handguard to mount a bipod on and have a free-floated barrel. The current setup with a bipod attached to the barrel is probably not the best solution although this rifle is still in development and that may be changed on the final version. We’ll be following the development of this firearm and cartridge and reporting the news to our readers. Thanks for reading and stay tuned!
Pictures by PJSC “Plant Mayak”,