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ISIS' big gun (courtesy

I’m so confused! Are ISIS snipers giants or are their snipers shooting giants? Note: I’m not a sniper, nor do I play one on the Internet. Wait. I suppose I do. I snipe at gun control advocates all the time. But not ballistically. Although I have been known to go ballistic after reading their lies and misdirections. Where was I? According to (from whence this title was nicked), “a new photo report purportedly released by the Islamic State, ISIS sniper subunits use their invented 10-foot-long, 23mm caliber sniper rifle on opposition forces in Falluljah (sic), Iraq.” Wait. What? Let’s head over to for the deets . . .

It’s so big that it has to be supported on two tripods and fires ammunition that’s three times the size of standard rifle ammo.

An Isis terrorist has been photographed aiming a 10-foot long sniper rifle out of a flat window in Kobane.

The fearsome weapon fires 23mm calibre bullets, far larger than the standard size.

What sort of effect this gun would have remains open to debate, however, according to firearms expert David Dyson.

23mm bullets? (courtesy

He told MailOnline: ‘The problem with identifying the effect of this gun is firstly that we don’t know for sure what the calibre is, although there wouldn’t be a lot of point in building something like this if it wasn’t of a significant calibre. Secondly, and probably of more importance, we don’t know how well it is made: is the barrel accurately machined and rifled?

‘The effect will also depend on the type of ammunition used. These rounds exist [23mm] fitted with high explosive incendiary or armour piercing incendiary projectiles.They will be effective against personnel and vehicles including lightly armoured ones.’

The media likes big guns and they cannot lie. Actually they can. And do. In this case, bravo to the Mail for telling it like it is. Anything you’d like to add?

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  1. this is why anzio ironworks is trying to sell 20mm sniper rifles to the government. to outrange high caliber bad guys.

    • Ha! I’m so used to seeing the term “high caliber” used by the ignorant to describe ARs that I winced seeing it here – even though you used it correctly.

      I believe “high-caliber” is more grammatically correct. Nevertheless, “large-caliber” sounds better to me. Again, it may just be that I hear the term “high-caliber” misused by the antis more than “large-caliber.” Perhaps I’m used to the term “large-bore,” which I believe is more correct than “large-caliber.”

      On the other hand, “high-capacity” sounds slightly better to me than “large-capacity” in reference to magazines although I have seen both used and probably used both myself. I don’t think I would ever use “large-capacity” to describe something like a fuel tank though.

      I’d love to see a grammarian address this at length.

  2. “The fearsome weapon fires 23mm calibre bullets, far larger than the standard size.”

    “The problem with identifying the effect of this gun is firstly that we don’t know for sure what the calibre is, although there wouldn’t be a lot of point in building something like this if it wasn’t of a significant calibre.”


    I need a drink. Far larger than the standard size…………

    • That was my thought. If this thing isn’t as phony as their supposed tanks (you know, the ones with tires behind the fake tracks) then I’d love to see the end result of a receiver that small handling the recoil of a shell that large… I’m not quite sure how the spent round makes it out of that ejection port, either.

  3. I am just speculating and do not really know.

    However, the Russians have the ZU-23-2. It is a twin cannon that uses 23mm rounds that was used against low flying aircraft or light armor personal carriers. The ZU-23 has been in the middle east since 1960s and according to Wikipedia Iran and Egypt have had them. If you take one of the ZU-23 cannons and move them off the mobile trailer, I guess you could use it as a sniper rifle but you are not exactly shooting and running. It is suppose to have a 2.5 km range so not sure what you are doing with those sights either.

    When I was at CMP last year they had a few dozen M1 Garands recovered by our soldiers so I guess anything is possible.

    • Looks like a ZU23 barrel that they stuck in a cast iron drain pipe with a coil spring off the front end of a car stuck in between the muzzle brake (flash suppressor?) and pipe as a recoil spring. I suppose it would work other than the recoil spring will probably shear the brake/suppressor off on the first shot. I’d question the wisdom of converting an auto-cannon to a single shot other than to make it more “portable”.

      As another commentator mentioned, the pressure from tripping that thing off would be truly awe inspiring within the confines of that room.

      • Looks like a ZU-23 barrel wirh the rear sight from a DShK mounted on it, both Iraq and Syria have or had both ZU-23 and ZSU-23-4 anti-aircraft artillery pieces in their inventories so finding 23x152mm ammo is likely not particularly difficult in either country.

        Your resident Air Force Intel guy

      • From the looks of it I think that thing would be more successful at taking out those dumb enough to shoot it. I don’t see it standing up to the 23. And then to top it off they shoot it inside of a room. I hope to see a video of that!

        Does them resorting to this stupidity mean the good guys are winning?

        • It just means ISIS is losing. Their recruiting is drying up, and they are desperately pretending there is some future aside from cannon fodder in stock for those joining them.

          The last good guy went bad 150 years ago.

  4. Um, I’m calling BS.

    The picture shows this being fired from an indoor position, with concrete walls.

    The amount of pressure boost from this round in a confined space would be more than merely irritating…

    • There are two walls in the photograph. You are only inferring that there are two (or even one) more present if you were to zoom out as it were.

      First world thinking… 😉

      • Yea, I guess you’ve got me there. Silly me, being raised in this thing we call “western civilization,” I tend to make such assumptions…

        • This is old news, improvised 14.5mm and 23mm single shot rifles made from ZU-23-2’s or ZPU’s have been in use by insurgents since almost the start of the Syrian Civil War.

    • Whether it would work or what the consequences might be, I couldn’t tell you. However, this seems to me to be a piece of propaganda to intimidate enemies. This exact gun might not even exist. Could just be a mock up. After all, this is an ISIS-released photo, not something captured by someone else. When they show video of it actually firing and hitting something, it’ll be more convincing. Right now, I’m skeptical.

      • Sooooo…the ISIS version of the “London Gun?”

        Or the “Paris Gun,” if they have actually been able to use that monstrosity.

        • Perhaps.

          Both the Paris Gun (WWI) and the London Gun (WWII) were actually fired, though little used overall and of very limited military effectiveness. This ISIS weapon, I’m suggesting, may not even be an actual gun capable of firing anything. It might exist only in the picture, just to scare people.

          In that regard, it’s purpose may beai more resemblance to the Paris Gun, which was more a psychological weapon than a destructive one. Being able to lob a shell some 75 miles, beyond the range which targeted people could hear the firing, has an effect on people who only know of a shell when it hits.

  5. Is… is that a belt feed under those rounds? Okay, this may sound ridiculous, but another poster indicated that the rounds may have originally been intended for a Soviet AA or AT weapon system. The thought of those rounds in a belt-fed AT system is more than a little terrifying.

    As they are, I strongly suspect the device is an improvised anti-tank rifle. Also agree with the other poster: there’s no way this guy is going to fire that device in that room without any head protection at all. Also, wouldn’t want to be that close to a wall behind it in the event that the tripods haven’t been 100% securely bolt-mounted to concrete and even then would want more space. And a lanyard. And an intervening concrete wall.

    • “We don’t need telescopes on our weapons, just iron sights. If you can’t see your target, squint. If you still can’t see it, squint harder until you do see it.”

  6. Two tripods are the hot setup. Unless you want to traverse. Or elevate.

    My translation of the article: This is a shit setup, using bits of an old anti-aircraft gun…Its hard to aim, not particularly accurate, and we bleed from the ears when we shoot it, but it looks scary.

  7. Is it scarier than say an 82mm mortar? Or a 130mm artillery piece? It’s a big ass gun that should be easy to spot when it fires. Then you pound it out.

  8. He is using iron sights. So this is a sniper rifle that is limited to the capabilities of the the mark 1 eyeball. Unless Mr. Muj has Chuck Yeager like vision he gets one shot before everyone on the opposing force concentrates all their fire on his little cubicle. I imagine a bit of a dust/smoke cloud after this beast is fired. If the shooter survives the shot he better run like hell. I know Eff all about being a sniper. But this is what I see in the photo.

    • With the amount of pressure this round would create he gets at most two shots, if he shoots with one eye closed. The open eye turns to jelly – he switches to the other eye – jelly. In paradise he gets all the virgins that are too ugly for the other martyrs.

  9. I could mock up something just as convincing (for still photography) in an afternoon with some plywood, PVC pipe, and paint. Post an unedited video of someone shooting it, ISIS, or STFU.

    Also, “sniper” rifle with those sights? Sure. As long as your target is a nearby building.

    • Let’s be fair, iron sights are good to about 800-900M+ (minute of human). Much further, minute of Nissan Patrol/Toyota Hilux. I can do it with a Mosin, I have a few friends who do it (well) in competition with a Garand.

      That said, yeah it’s likely a bull shiite gun.

      • That’s exactly what I’m thinking, it’s designed for light vehicles. You don’t need a scope to hit a small truck’s engine bay with a 23mm HE round at 800m.

        ISIS are scumbags but they have plenty of competent fabricators and young engineering students-turned-fanatic in their midst. I’d imagine someone who built this built it around a surplus ZSU barrel and their own custom receiver, used the proper steel for those parts. No I’m not joking.

        The recoil compensation shock is a pretty cool idea.

        There is also a decent stack of cases on the floor so it appears to be working just fine.

        Nope, I think this thing is highly functional and I wouldn’t want to be driving anywhere near whatever their dialed-in hit boxes are.

    • Hell, universal background checks would have kept the guns out off all those terrorists hands. Baaam. No war. Problem solved.

  10. That picture has been floating around and getting comments on the interwebz as to its veracity for more than a year now. I thought I recognized it and sure enough, on the daily mail link it was originally published in Dec. 2014.

  11. I’ve seen pictures of similar things used by haji in Syria, which most likely are guns scavenged from BMPs, self-propelled AA, etc. I figure they probably set them up outside of 1km from fairly large, immobile targets that can’t really shoot back (bunkers/OPs/barracks), and only touch it off when the target is already receiving fire from elsewhere. This particular example looks a little bit more elaborate than just mounting a 23mm gun from a BMP on a pedestal; it seems they have the gun itself somehow floated inside the big tube, and with the coil spring acting as a recoil buffer. But they definitely can make those “hell cannons” from scratch.

  12. I wouldn’t want to stand in front or behind that piece of crap. But would I neutralize that sniper support a troop who would. That’s pretty obvious.

  13. H’mm.

    I wonder that spring thing could be something to consider to tame the bite of that $1000 Serbu 50 BMG….

  14. With two tripods wouldnt it be basically solid mounted. I guess is someone is willing to sit perfectly still for 5 minutes while the turn wheels and stuff to get this thing sighted in then it may work.

    A snipers job is to stay hidded, good luck with this thing. One shot and your as good as dead.

  15. This appears to be silly for two compelling reasons:
    (1) That rifle is NOT easily portable. If anyone finds that sniper’s “hide” (location), he is toast.
    (2) That rifle has a flip-up iron sight, rather than a scope. That suggests that the rifle would not be accurate at long ranges (greater than 600 meters?). Even though that rifle has a superior sight radius over a typical rifle (10 feet versus about 2 feet on a typical rifle) which would enable highly accurate shot placement/alignment at longer ranges, the shooter would not be able to see human size targets very well with their naked eye at ranges of 800 meters and beyond.

    Having said all that, if the rifle was an anti-vehicle weapon, then the iron sights would be more than adequate for taking out vehicles at long ranges (which should be fairly easy to see with the naked eye out to about 1600 meters). I think it is more of a propaganda item than anything.

  16. Whoever shoots that thing might be more damaged afterward than the target. But, then again, that might not be a bad thing for isis.

  17. These ISIS douche bags are all about creating terror. A “sniper rifle” that can shoot out to 2km? Sounds really scary, doesn’t it. Especially if you don’t know anything about firearms. This photo-op wouldn’t by any chance, be a response related to the ISIS instructor who recently got his skull vaporized by a British sniper?

  18. The Daily Mail is probably a British trash rag. Or more like a high un-informed source.

    “The fearsome weapon is thought to fire 23mm calibre bullets”

    This is all you need to read to know how much BS this article is. It isn’t hard to google the difference between a caliber.

    23mm is the diameter a caliber would be the conversion of 23mm to one hundreths on an inch. which using a readily available online conversion tool is

    0.905511811023622 ~ 90 caliber or 91 caliber

  19. There does appear to be a pull cord on it so they could fire from the safety of a few foods over, but that would probably make it even less accurate. They’re probably not releasing the test fire video because this cannon would look like a willie coyote cannon after firing.

  20. My guess this gun is first a propaganda piece and a possible distraction item for counter-sniping.

    In one of my historical references, in WWI British snipers would use an attention getter, something that made a lot of noise, flash, and smoke, to attract the attention of enemy snipers who were then taken out by other hidden snipers.

    As others have mentioned, with the complicated setup and lack of optics, this gun is being used at area targets or light vehicles within 800 metres.

  21. Frankly it looks photoshopped. The front tripod seems to be Behring the “barrel” and the “barrel” seems to have been increased in size and added in.

  22. 2 tripods, what a wuzz! In Rambo 9, where 80 year old Sly Stallone is sent into ISISstan singlehandledly to “sort things out”, he’ll shoot this thing one handed! One in each hand, even.

    • If you look closely, the second doesn’t appear to be connected, merely there as a another prop, or incidental.

  23. looks like the 23×152mmB used in ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun series and ZSU-23-4 “Shilka etc. ballitics for a 90 gram (2,932 grain) BZ API 980 m/s (3,200 ft/s) 88,917 J (65,582 ft⋅lbf).

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