Right from the beginning of works on the MSBS (Modułowy Systemem Broni Strzeleckiej) it was assumed that there will be whole family (ultimately it has word “System” in its name) of firearms, where base variant is 5.56×45 mm assault rifle in classic and bull-pup version completed by additional versions such as LMG or DMR (a dozen of version in total).
Works on 7.62 x 51 mm NATO caliber MSBS designated marksman rifles beag at the turn of 2015 and 2016 when Polish MOD announced analytical phase for the replacement for Sovier SVD Dragunov sniper rifle. What’s interesting is that development of the MSBS-7,62 project is completely funded by FB Radom itself and that means new weapon will never take any consequences like it would have in case of financing or co-financing from government, especially during introducing it to the MoD inventory and also fully disposing it by the producer (including independent implementation of any modification to the project) what can be previously seen I the instance of MSBS-5,56 (Grot) rifles.
The MOD stated that new DMR platform must be designated to combat enemy live forces (including personal ballistic protection) and unarmored and light armored targets up to 800 meters. According to terms of reference, new rifle has to be semi-automatic, gas-operated, 7.62 x 51 mm NATO caliber, with magazine with the capacity no less than 10 rounds. Total weight of the empty rifle with 20 round magazine and iron sights without any additional equipment (sights, bipod) has to be lower than 6 kilograms (approx. 13.3 lbs) with barrel length under 510 mm and overall length no more than 1100 mm. Rifle has to be equipped with STANAG 4694 Ed.1 top mounting rail in with the length that allows for using sights with night vision or thermal clip on (inevitably must allow to mount back up iron sights or optoelectronic sight) and side and bottom rails for additional equipment (bipod for example).
Lifespan of the weapon has to be no less than 10,000 shots, muzzle device placed at the end of the barrel must allow quick attachment a suppressor. Barrel must be easily (not quick) exchangeable in field and the rifle has to be coated in Khaki, Flat Dark Earth, Grey or Sand color. Those were basic terms. Team of engineers from Fabryka Broni Łucznik-Radom and Wojskowa Akademia Techniczna (WAT) composed of: Paweł Madej (FB), Janusz Pawlak (FB), Joanna Romanowska (FB lead engineer), Łukasz Szmit (WAT), Ryszard Woźniak (WAT) and Mirosław Zahor (WAT) developed concept of new weapon and start the work. Effect of their work is six 7.62 mm x 51 NATO rifles with 16 inch (406 mm) and 20 inch (508 mm) barrels, in DMR version (20”) and precision support weapon for airborne and airmobile units (16”) based on MSBS-5,56 rifle, but lay far from concept that was made two years ago, yet still fulfilling all of the terms determined by MOD as a potential replacement of SVD rifles.
MSBS-7,62N follows the MSBS-5,56 design. It keeps same configuration of manipulators and use the same design solutions, appropriately oversized due to requirement more powerful ammunition. Internal mechanisms were reinforced as well as upper and lower receiver. It also keeps the capability to change side of case extraction port. As of now, bull-pup version of 7.62 rifle is not considered.
Engineers kept the way of changing the barrel, although barrel itself is thicker. Interchangeable between both caliber versions are handguards, stocks and pistol grips. MSBS-7,62N with 20-inch barrel was equipped with designed in FB aluminum, fixed adjustable stock and the “airborne” version was equipped with standard MSBS/GROT side-folded stock. It is nice to hear especially about handguards, because too short front rails were subject of complain in sport Grot S16 FB-M1.
Due to obvious reasons those rifles are heavier. 20 inch barrel version weights little under 5 kilograms and 16 inch version around 4.2 kilograms, so they are plainly heavier than carbines, and notice that we are talking here about weight of the weapon itself. Our sport GROT S16FB-M1 with EOTech EXPS-3 & EOTech G33 combo and full 30 round magazine weights about 4.6 – 4.7 kilograms. After adding to rifles, optics, bipod and ammunition their total weight will increase significantly, but after all this is rifle that fires powerful rifle round (enough to mention similar rifle HK G28 DMR in “standard” and “patrol” configuration). Currently there are two styles of triggers used. First is foreign commercial one and the second is modified MSBS-5,56 trigger. Eventually, the MSBS-7,62N trigger will be exchangeable with commercial AR-style trigger as they will just use common casing. Safety lever for commercial trigger will be different.
Both MSBS-7,62N versions are developed as semi-automatic firearms but engineer’s state, that they can without any problem develop full-auto versions if such will be required. This could be a chance to create a Polish equivalent for SCAR H and L rifles that complement mutually. Experiences from Afghanistan showed soldiers lack of range and accuracy using 5.56 rounds. Such requirements were reported by Polish airborne and airmobile soldiers during ISAF deployment . Need for weapon like that, for now semi-automatic but maybe fully automatic in the future.
Test rifles are currently covered in Cerakote RAL8000 and green coating: handguards, upper receivers and aluminum stock. Lower receivers are now still in black color same as folding stock and pistol grips.
At this moment, both rifles are in the state of working model – weapon fires, goes through test that are aimed to check properness of working mechanisms.
Weapon „in flesh” makes better sensation than in the photos. We have to admit that that project is simply pretty and can be liked. Ergonomically they are same as MSBS so there is no point to write here about how they are operated. Aluminum stock of 20-inch rifle is quite comfortable and can be adjusted in great range and additional monopod for stability can be attached. Unfortunately, we had no opportunity to shoot the rifles, but we count that in the future we will have opportunity to test it out on the range. For now, we were told that they work well and there is not much to complain about. Well, we have to be patient and we count on the favor of the FB Łucznik-Radom in case of checking personally those rifles. Maybe till the end of 2018 or in the first quarter of 2019 engineers will successfully make prototype of both versions of MSBS-7,62N and conduct factory tests.
What if, for example, will happen if MOD will not adopt this weapon or choose something different? Nothing. Because project right from the beginning is financing by the factory own founds, weapon can be sold to the civilian market or exported. This is very good information because it appears that when MSBS-7,62N rifles will be bought by Polish Army it will finds its way to the hands of the soldiers very quickly and civilian shooter will not have to wait long to opportunity to purchase one.FULL STORY