There’s some interesting stuff coming out of the United Kingdom these days, specifically a new concept for getting around the existing semi-auto rifle ban that has been in place for ages. Previous attempts to get a somewhat functional AR-15 or semi-automatic-esque firearm into the market relied on a pump action sort of design where the operator worked the action for every shot, but now a new design seems to be popping up that’s enabling our limey cousins to enjoy some of the rapid firing capabilities of the rifle that they have been sorely missing.

The above video isn’t entirely accurate (the gun doesn’t fire from an open bolt as claimed), but the overview of how the system works is pretty good. The idea is that the bolt locks open after every round, and the operator needs to push a button to reload the gun after every pull of the trigger. This satisfies the requirement that the gun not be semi-automatic, and it does so in a way that’s quicker to operate and much easier to use.

It just goes to show you that no matter how hard you try to prohibit something, ingenious people will always find a way around the ban.

[h/t Reddit]

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95 Responses to Brits Find Gun Prohibition Work-Around, Finally Have a Usable AR-15

  1. This is a *legal* way around the ridiculous and unnecessary ban. The black market has been available for criminals and such since, well, probably the first time a Democrat had to ban something.

    • This gun is not new. The only thing that is new is that he finally managed to offer it in a rifle cartridge at a ludicrously obscene price. Trust me, it’s not enough to keep me in this country for the rest of my days.

  2. That is some seriously groundbreaking stuff. The Brits now legally have more or less semi auto ARs now. I am sure they could get some seriously high ROF with some practice.

      • Magical things, I would assume. Honestly this looks like less of a PITA than the ridiculous “bullet button”

        • The bullet button is dead simple to operate and only comes into effect for each magazine change. This is for every shot.

      • It would completely and totally screw up the gun, and would render your warranty null and void.

        This was posted on the Firearm Blog last year, it’s designed so that if the trigger is pulled when the lever is down, that it will not work.

    • Rob is faster with a newer take on this mechanism built around the VZ.58 but that brinags the problems associated with the pain of optics on that platform. Having said that and having shot it, it’s more ‘natural’ (if such neutering can be called such a thing) and it comes up at half the price of this SGC AR-15. There’a a video on YouTube of the VZ.58 (MARS action) big operated rather slowly, but the designer has another one elsewhere with a Rob which approximates real semiauto.

      Also in case you are wondering about the double squeeze and safety concerns, there’s a very distinct trigger pull weight difference between the one that releases the bolt and then one that actually fires.

  3. Coming to a NJ legislature near you…

    Otherwise, I’m impressed at the ingenuity.

    With regards to ROF, it probably won’t slow down the average (U.S.) shooter that much anyways, so basically the brits are now back up to our speed. 🙂

      • Doubt most poeple in America would be able to afford it. Last I checked the price was 2k GBP, which translates to 3.5k USD and that is without import/export fees.

        Better go for the pump action AR in my opinion.

        • £2k for the 9 mm and .45 ACP models. The .223 is either £4k or £5k (somewhere in between)… Nucking Futs!

        • Not nuts or futs, it is simply a higher standard of living (+ a smaller market). Same reason why tourists don’t drink in Norway (20$ for a drink!?)

          I doubt that the .223 model is going to be much more expensive. I went through the gun builder and it came out to less than 3k GBP. That is with a Vortex scope+mount, Magpul goodies and Geiselle match trigger (those are good, right?) + a railed forend.

          Check it out:
          http://www.southern-gun.co.uk/Gun-Builder/223-556-Gun-Builder

        • Hi there,

          Sir, I happen to live in the UK, check any British forum for opinions on the price. Suffice to say I asked in person at Bisley when Mr Clark had a stall at the Phoenix meeting and via e-mail the price prior to release was quoted in excess of £4k. Also, allow me to disabuse you of the notion about the standard of living: I am able to compare my brother’s standard of living in the USA vs mine here and even accounting for those intangible “assets” that come from living in a place like London, I know who is doing better and where I would rather be. Re: the rifle builder, you cannot order the lever release .223 via that source, if you have any doubts mail Bob Clark about pricing and that will spare you all those assumptions.

          FWIW I buy here only that which I can’t buy in the USA, even with delivery (which often arrives faster than local services) I still save money. If I recall correctly an article on Business Insider as to the rationale for prices here, companies know they can push the prices up here and it has nothing to do with living standards, there are plenty of comparing websites if you don’t believe me, at least there are other people who submit the data used for comparing.

        • Why is he making false advertising? That can’t be good for business. If their website says 3k then I expect 3k, not 4-5k. Needless to say I have a really bad impression of this Clarke guy.

          I know how it is, when there is a small tightly controlled market they always raise the prices. Just like drugs, glasses and guns in some countries. How is British standard of living by the way? Feeling a bit lazy to look it up. I know I got a bad impression of the American standard of living from a Florida visit. If you are poor (minimum wage) then you are going to stay poor unless you get hit by a stroke of luck. Since there is no opportunity to work yourself up (all money goes to upkeep) and that is with two jobs. Though if you are middle class or something then I guess it is okay, though I am disgusted by all the waste of resources (food, metals, plastics, fuel) I saw.

  4. Field strip, cleaning and lubrication after 500 rounds. Full strip and clean, replace gas rings every 5000 rounds. Replace barrel after 10,000 rounds.

    Lubricate thumb every 10 rounds. Replace thumb after three 30-round magazines.

  5. Soon to be the only assault-style weapon legal for ownership in these United States as well. You know what happens when we give politicians ideas.

      • No this would still get banned in Maryland. Its an AR-15 clone, or close enough that the ATF would consider it one. The funny thing it that I believe that California would still consider it a banned firearm.

        • I wonder, shooting seated, with string from your toe of your shoe to the lever….bang, tap foot.,bang,tap,bang,tap. You could get a good rhythm going.

  6. I wouldn’t mind having the bolt release on my ar. Just for speed on a mag reload. Being able to reinguage the bolt fast like that would be nice. But only for an open bolt, not to make it able to shoot after every shot.

    • Get yourself a Magpul B.A.D (battery assist device) lever and you don’t even have to use your thumb, just rock your booger-hook forward about a half-inch from the trigger to release the bolt.

      There are several versions out there, the Magpul is just the only one I could think of off the top of my head, and the one I use on my own weapons (yeah yeah, totally mall-ninja’d out the wazzhoo! – I’m just too lazy to move around much when I’m shooting!)

  7. They will probably ban bolt actions (or at least re-define them) after a few years of these on the market. I hope not, but I think it’s likely.

    • Nothing. The mechanism is designed against slam-firing since that would make it a semi-auto. I remember reading about somebody asking the same question some years ago.

      • Well, I wouldn’t expect it to slam fire, only allow the bolt to close for another trigger pull. That is what most bolt hold-opens do, simply lock the bolt back until released. And yes, that would mean it was semiautomatic.

    • The gun will break, and it will nullify your warranty.

      Believe me, if you’ve thought of this, so has the British gov’t

  8. Not very ambidextrous. If I didn’t have to shoot long guns lefty, I would want one, Just ‘Cuz. I don’t see a southpaw version on their web site.

  9. I think the government there requires you to store your firearm at the “Gun Club” or some other moronic thing. Remember those pathetic people who had to order a bat from Amazon during the last riots. The UK doesn’t recognize a right to self defense. The rich and powerful get to have armed guards and the peasants have the right to run away if they are able, and die if they are not. Fight for your rights or loose them as happened in the UK.

    • As I understand it, you can defend yourself, but with no more force than “reasonable”, which is usually interpreted to mean no more than that with which you are being attacked, at least, that is, after you have fulfilled your duty to retreat–including a duty to retreat from your own home if necessary. Which in practice usually means defend at risk of losing your freedom for more time than the thug that invaded your home to rob you.

        • I can assure you that’s wrong. I live in Northern Ireland, which is a part of the UK and we can legally own a firearm for self defence and even conceal carry with an appropriate reason. Unlike the guys across the water we can also own pistols that aren’t ridiculous or classified as relics (meaning 1911s made in .455 Webley and a few others).

      • Mark,

        This is a myth that’s as persistent, widely-held and wrong, as the notion some Brits have that you can buy fully-automatic “assault guns” over the counter in any US supermarket.

        No duty to retreat from your house, and “reasonable force” can be pretty widely defined including firearms: just stop shooting once they run away (you’re allowed to cover them and resume firing if they turn around, but they should have most of the wounds to their front).

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/9569359/Expect-to-be-shot-if-you-burgle-gun-owners-judge-warns-criminals.html

        No charges, let alone prosecution, for the armed homeowner: and the burglars who bleated about how *scary* and *painful* being shot was, got told “go and do one, sunshine” (okay, a bit more legalese than that) by the judge sentencing them. Good result, if you ask me…

        • Jason, the problem with that notion is that if you are able to respond to a breaking in, there’s the possibility that you will be investigated for not keeping your firearms secured in a safe or armoured room, which is part of the requirements in order to be granted an FAC. Also, one judge’s position does not necessarily a law makes. A precedent may be set in court but a different judge may well rule against it… The wonders of not having a constitution :/

    • You are wrong about the storage thing and right about the right to self-defense thing. It gets in the way of the “human rights” of criminals and their need to make a living at your expense. One thing is for sure, I am not willing to test the newly improved laws regarding self defense at home. Once you lose your guns here you may well lose them for good here and wherever you happen to choose to move when you can finally escape the land of hope (lessness) and glory. Instead of putting up with inner city violence in London, I opted for avoidance and found myself a more suburban location to be at until it’s time to head elsewhere.

  10. These are not innovations. All it does is give legitimacy to the banned item. If they have the power to, either by decree or by the stroke of a pen, to ban one thing or another for one reason or another then they can do the same with this contraption.

    The real solution is to resist. But apparently that’s not palatable anymore. Carry on then, your masters are waiting…

    • The Brits won’t stand up until they have absolutely no further choice in the matter. They will wait until their society collapses around them and they have no options left.

    • Resist? I presume then that you have unregistered silencers, SBS’/SBRs and have converted all of your ARs to FA?

      You view it in a disturbingly simplistic way.

    • Yes, in the UK you can have guns at home.

      Why don’t people google a bit about gun laws in various countries?

      • Facts? We ain’t got no facts. We don’t need no facts. I don’t have to show you any stinking facts!

      • Centerfire? My understanding is that only rimfire and shotguns could be taken home unless you’re a professional hunter.

        • Well you are wrong. If you have a Barrett .50 cal on your ticket and have applied to store them at home (most people do), you may take them home, in fact you had better.

        • Oh, so you have to ask permission to take a gun home. How is that better? That’s right up there with may-issue CCW permits.

        • @Richard In WA

          Nobody is saying it’s better. He was merely correcting the other poster’s misconception that only hunters can have centrefire firearms at home.
          Of course we’d rather not have all these restrictions & bans but anything that works round them is something of an improvement.

  11. Eh, this is old news. Only new thing about this is that it is chambered in 223 (fun fact: In Europe 223 and 5.56 are rated to the same pressures). I saw the original one some years ago, it was chambered in 9mm. If my memory isn’t failing it is at least 5 years old, the action that is.

  12. Look at a video of the Norwegians shooting the Steyr STR in competition and tell me again why everyone is so invested in the idea that semi-autos are necessary for rapid fire shooting.

    • Something like this? 5 aimed shots in 13.5 seconds.

      I am not that good, I usually go for 5 well aimed shots in 30 seconds (sub-moa at 100 meters with .22 LR). I do like semi-autos though, mainly because you have more time to aim since you spend less time working the action and then steadying the gun since you moved it when pulling the bolt back.

      Just wish Sauer would sell the actions, will probably have to copy one in the future. Thinking Sauer action using G3 or M14 mags with 20 inch aluminum wrapped barrel (Walther Lothar?).

      Also here is a comparison between the Mauser, Sauer, Krag and G3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK8fSVuxVaU

    • So you are allegedly a gunsmith and you are asking that question? I would have thought that having more choice is always better for end users and for your business too. If you have a problem with that just don’t offer it yourself and don’t impinge on the choices of others SMH

      • Dyspeptic is a gunsmith, his posts prove that he’s got more expertise with guns than most of us (especially the old stuff). He might be old fashioned (not always a bad thing) but he knows his stuff. Also, he does have a point. The only reason why i prefer semi-autos is that I am ambidextrous and I like shooting from both shoulders. My favorite trick (also the easiest one) is emptying half a magazine right handed, switching shoulders and continuing like nothing happened. Easy way to impress people. I don’t have to mention that I shoot for a group doing this, do I?

        Enough about me (I am awesome, I get it, I try to be humble). I believe people are so invested into semi auto is because it is faster, both mechanically and in regards to practice.I am fast, but I have practice, hard work, and a mix of talent and luck working for me. Also it takes a lot of practice to be fast with a bolt and most modern bolt guns aren’t as smooth (the Sauer is an exception). I don’t have to mention that there is less of a focus on individual marksmanship in modern times.

        • The rough-as-a-cobb issue with modern bolt guns is another part of the quality issue I harp upon WRT modern manufacturing.

          The 1917 Enfield rifle (made for the US to outfit our troops in WWI), while ponderously heavy and somewhat ugly looking with a dog-leg bolt, is quick a slick action and can be run pretty quickly.

          The pre-war Model 70 Winnies are also quite smooth. But a cock-on-close action like the Enfields… they can be run fast.

      • Sigh.

        My point sailed over your head at about Mach 1.0. My point isn’t about what one can own.

        What I’d like is for people to see how fast a trained shootist can cycle the bolt on a good bolt gun, reloading along the way as the Norwegians do.

        When you see this level of skill exhibited, you see that it is not only not necessary to have a semi-auto to shoot rapidly, the evidence has been for over 100 years that semi-auto rifles lose in marksmanship competitions against semi-autos in rapid fire at longer ranges.

        The conclusion then is that banning semi-autos is absurd. Bolt guns can be just as fast at slinging aimed rounds downrange, and banning semi-autos won’t do a thing.

        • should have read:

          “Semi autos lose against bolt actions at longer ranges”

          Here’s the video I’m thinking of: Sauer vs. Krag vs. Mauser (all bolt guns) vs. H&K G3 in semi-auto mode:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK8fSVuxVaU

          Notice how the blind magazines are recharged with stripper clips. Notice how quickly that re-charge happens.

          Here’s a bit more focus on how a bolt gunner drives a bolt gun in rapid fire. Notice the use of the middle finger to trip the trigger, while the thumb and forefinger are used to manipulate the bolt:

  13. What’s the point? If you can’t have semi auto, standard cap mags and no bullet button what’s the point? What advantage does a gelded msr have over a lee-enfield?

    • Exactly my question. I don’t get it.

      Sooner or later, I think it will be time to re-introduce a bolt gun that cocks on close, with a wicked smooth bolt, three lugs so it needs only a 60 degree close arc, with a blind magazine fed from stripper clips. Or let’s look at a Schmidt-Rubin toggle bolt, again with a blind mag, strippers, etc.

      If someone made such a rifle in, oh, 6.8SPC (or 6.5 Grendel, or 6×45 or similar ideas based on a .223 case), I’d wager a guy with some training could make that thing sing. A double-stack blind magazine could fit 10+ rounds into a rifle not too much larger in depth than a Springfield ’03.

      Once the Bloomberg Brigades see what a man can do with such a rifle in terms of speed, they’ll look silly in their fixation over semi-autos.

      • The idea is it is faster than a traditional straight pull whilst still being legal for Modern Service Rifle competitions. So chambered in 5.56 and replicating a real service weapon.

  14. I knew I should have put in a patent for an semi- semi-auto design… There probably is already one though.

  15. I thought up a similar system when our country was contemplating a semi-auto rifle ban, but with the “bolt release” activated with a forward movement of the trigger finger. Almost as fast as resetting a regular trigger (I assume).

    • I think I heard about that somewhere before. Oh, yeah, it’s right there in the second line of this very post: “Previous attempts to get a somewhat functional AR-15 or semi-automatic-esque firearm into the market relied on a pump action sort of design…”

      • i suppose i could have worded my comment better. i blame facebook for my declining writing skills. 🙂

        anyway, the article isn’t clear whether the pump is legal in the uk and i offered the link for refrence.

    • Centrefire full bore rifles operated with pump actions are illegal in the UK but legal in Oz… go figure. Semiauto rimfires are fine in the UK but illegal in Oz… Nucking Futs.

  16. There are also the double trigger versions of the VZ58 sold in the UK, as in, you need to squeeze the trigger twice for it to shoot.

  17. These would work well in Canada as well as we have a semi-automatic rifle capacity limit of 5 rounds and bolt actions are unlimited. Mind you if a magazine was designed for a pistol but works in a rifle you can have a 10 round capacity legally. Or if the magazine was designed for a different caliber but will work with your choice of ammo there is a .50 cal magazine that allow us to have a 14 round .223 magazine.

  18. better get that ready for production here. CA and NY will have us there soon.

    hopefully it’ll be a retrofit kit

    • having served with Britt soldiers during the Korean war ,these brave wonderful guys ,it was hard for me to imagine them being disarmed and turned into sissy pansies . of course not ,,,but what a desecretion they suffererd .. over there and i was E.O.,D. and was tdy to britt engineers a great deal, and visited many direct combat outfits in course of my work i got to know many and quite friendly so.. they werent allowed to carry our 1911 45’s either altho we could . so they devised a substitute , had some Argentine troops over there under the 1st British commonwealth div, the “Argies” had some Ballaster Molenas (45.s just like a 1911 except no grip safety),, so the Britts aquired a number of them from the Argies the Argies would steal the Molenas and sell to the Britts ,they were hungry for money. .one Britt even got me one for 40.00 which i cherished the rest of time there ,couldnt bring it home so sold it . oh we had M-2 carbines and could buy 1911’s on the black market but they were expensive and ripped us off so the Molena was welcome for me .some places we worked, we had to carry a weapon and was handier to carry a pistol when there was no real threat of attack as the carbines interfered with our work sometimes .and wed walk off and forget em or foriegn soldiers would steal them if got a chance.

  19. That is not a bad looking rifle. The speed of the firing can easily be overcome by making your thumb move faster lol. It is a whole hell of a lot more attractive looking than that monstrosity I seen from an outfit in NY. I still like semi auto weapons. Just because its a semi, don’t mean you have to speed shoot every round. It throws our aim off whe you do that. Anyways great looking weapon.

  20. Hmm
    This has got me thinking.
    The FAL already has a last round bolt hold open & it wouldn’t take a huge amount of modification to make it function every shot, rather than only on an empty magazine.
    Unfortunately the PTB over here are likely smart enough to figure that it wouldn’t take a practical minded person too long to work out how to return its function to the original….

  21. These would be a quite legal Category ‘B’ here in Australia, so get it over here, hurry up and take my money !!!!!

    😀

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