Al-Hassan Ibn Ali Battalion (one of the Syrian opposition armed factions) declared that they had locally manufactured a heavy sniper rifle in 20mm caliber. We will spotlight on three variants of this rifle which all had the same name (Al-Hassan 20mm). The early first design, the second modified one, and the modifications they made for the second version with pictures showing differences between each.
Al-Hassan 20mm V1
The first version consists of three main parts; the barrel, the receiver that contains the bolt and the mechanism section.
The mechanism section contains a spring-loaded piston and the trigger just like any normal air gun, the piston’s task is to strike the firing pin located in the bolt when released by pulling the trigger. This section is assembled to the receiver by threads like a screw.
The receiver is quite huge, a very big diameter heavy metal block machined on both ends to thread the barrel to the front and the trigger section at the rear, it is milled as well up to the right side for loading and extraction port and to the downside for bolt pulling and operating, both at the right side which gives the operator an easy to load and operate with one hand.
In my opinion, the coolest mechanical feature of this weapon is the mechanical section and bolt were made in two parts which are very effective in reducing the recoil damping, in addition of the barrel’s weight and the huge receiver, during the shooting trials the rifle barely kicks.
The bolt has 2 locking lugs but they are non-functioning, the locking happens by rotating the bolt’s handle downwards (clockwise) in its L-shaped path to seal the chamber’s/barrel’s breech to fire safely, yet it has an extractor lip in the bolt like any decent firearm.
The rifle has no sights nor a scope mount and the tripod is pretty impractical, its consisted of a square metal plate which probably brought from an architecture supplies store with 3 slots where the pods are shoved in, which makes it impossible to run with the rifle with the tripod assembled because simply the pods will fall down, luckily the rifle can still rotate and move up and down on that tripod’s axis.
Al-Hassan 20mm V2
Due to the downsides showed in the first version, they decided to make an improved version to minimize disadvantages as far as they can, according to their potential.
In this version the receiver and the mechanical parts come in one package, the action remained the same with the hammering piston.
The receiver looks slimmer and handier than the earlier version, the barrel -which is apparently taken from a dismounted 20mm cannon and re-chambered to fit the new rounds in- is assembled by screwing its threads to the receiver, while the buttstock which seals the moving parts is simply punched into receiver’s rear side.
Unlike the previous version this one has a scope mount which looks like a scope rings but in fact they are circular clips to clap the scope in, also the tripod is replaced with a bipod, you will note a rectangular box right in front of the trigger, It appears like a magazine but it’s only a trigger guard.
One of the operational disadvantages of the rifle is the loading procedure, the bolt handle is operated from the right side while the loading/ejecting port is located on the left.
Improvements on V2
Nothing much to say here except they switched bolt handle to the left and milled a loading port to the right side, the rectangular block trigger guard was also removed probably to decrease the weight.
The most interesting thing here is the ammo, its locally made from A to Z, the case is machined by a lathe, yet it’s not a bottle-necked case (personally I used to make my own custom calibers on a lathe since 2011) while the projectile itself is molded from plain brass not lead alloy jacketed with metal. The primers can be made either homemade method or by recycling/reloading the spent primers of other ammunition. No assured information about the case length, it might be 20x82mm or 20x110mm or even a custom length.
Anyway, the rifle can be great on the level of self-sufficiency, but we have to keep in mind its only a long-range anti-personnel rifle, not an AMR due to the ammunition it consumes unless they decide to fit H.E. projectiles rather than current K.E. bullets.