Steyr AMR 5075

It will be recalled that the 1980s saw a sudden interest in the development of heavy sniping rifles, primarily intended for the destruction of vulnerable high-technology equipment. Unfortunately, the word 'sniping' suggests anti-personnel shooting, which gives many people a completely wrong idea about the function of these weapons. Steyr-Mannilcher avoided this by carefully calling this weapon an 'anti-matériel' rifle.

The AMR 5075 is a heavyweight precision rifle for a long-range attack of vulnerable equipment. It uses the long recoil system of operation; barrel and bolt recoil locked together for almost ten inches, after which the bolt is unlocked and held while the barrel runs back to the forward position. The bolt is then released to run forward, collect a cartridge, load it and then lock into the chamber by rotating.

This long recoil movement helps to absorb some of the recoil force; more is absorbed by a multi-baffle muzzle brake of high efficiency, and the entire barrel recoils inside a sleeve-type hydro-pneumatic recoil system which is more like the sort of thing found on artillery weapons than anything generally associated with rifles. All these reduction methods cut the felt recoil to a level which is little more than that of a conventional service rifle.

This is necessary, because the cartridge is a very powerful design. Instead of building the weapon around an existing cartridge, Steyr designed the cartridge to do what was wanted and then designed the weapon to suit. The cartridge case is of part-plastic construction and carries a 36-gram (1.25 ounce) tungsten flechette which has a muzzle velocity of 4920 ft/sec (1500 m/sec) and an effective range up to 2000 meters, depending upon the type of target. At 800 meters range this fiechette has penetrated 40mm of rolled steel armor and then shattered behind the plate to give severe fragmentation damage.

The weapon is supported on a bipod, attached to the recoil cradle, and there is a 10-power telescope sight fitted as standard. A box magazine is inserted from the right side; on the prototype this held five rounds, but an eight-round magazine has since been developed. Other options for the future are automatic fire at a low rate, and the adoption of a rifled barrel so as to be able to take advantage of other ammunition designs.

The AMR 5075 was first shown publicly in 1990; this, unfortunately, was just the time when severe economies were beginning to be felt in the military world, and though a great deal of interest was expressed, no army has so far decided to adopt the weapon. Meanwhile Steyr go on refining it, and we may be sure that we have not heard the last of this potent design.

first authored and published by Ian Hogg in his book entitled Modern Small Arms