Export Variant of the Tor Rifle Presented by ZM Tarnów

PUBLISHED AT: Friday, 08 September 2017, 12:00

ZM Tarnów facility is showcasing its TOR anti-material rifle in the export version, during the MSPO 2017 defence industry exhibition. Last year the weapon has already been sold abroad. .50-cal. Tor AMR is the heaviest of the sniper rifles manufactured by the ZM Tarnów facility.

designed for the purpose of destroying targets that may be protected by light field covers, light armoured vehicles, unexploded ordnance, artillery rounds or any other non-armoured or lightly armoured targets, at distances of up to 1700 metres, far beyond reach of any other weapons used by the infantry. The weapon may also be used against the enemy soldiers at distances exceeding 2 kilometres.

Counter-sniper operations may be viewed as one of the potential fields for application of the said rifle. In scenarios as such long range and accuracy of the applied assets may have a decisive meaning for the conducted missions. The weapon may be used in extreme weather conditions, in temperatures ranging from -50⁰C to +50⁰C. The rifle may be fitted with an optronic or optical sight compliant with the MIL-STD 1913 or NATO STANAG 4694 norms. The mounting rail has an inclination of 35 MOA, the weapon weighs 14 kilograms.

TOR rifles: standard (foreground) and export (background) variants. Image Credit: Marta Rachwalska/Defence24.pl

Tor has been designed to respond to the interest of the Polish Army. At the moment when the rifle was being developed, no other weaponry utilizing a round as strong as the 12.7×99 mm NATO (.50 BMG) ammunition was placed within the inventory of the Armed Forces. The initial tactical and technical assumptions for the new rifle were approved in February 2000. The weapon has been developed at the Tarnów Mechanical Equipment R&D Centre which is now a part of the ZM Tarnów facility. The final model of the rifle was ready for the initial test programme in 2002.

Following the modifications, the first 10 series-manufactured examples were ordered for the Polish Army back in the year 2005, another 30 examples order followed in 2008, with further deliveries gradually taking place since then. The rifle has received a military designation name of Tor (thorium). The Polish firearms derive their names from the names of the elements, within the Polish Army’s nomenclature - e.g. Beryl (beryllium) or Tantal (tantalum). Before being included in the inventory of the Armed Forces, Tor was being known as WKW Wilk (Wolf AMR).

The weapon has been designed as a bull-pup platform, which diminishes its dimensions and enhances the portability. The 880 mm long barrel is free-floating (only attached to the rifle at the base, with the sight mounting rail and bipod unattached to the barrel).

70% of the recoil of the .50 BMG rounds is compensated by the muzzle brake, muzzle flip is also insignificant. The weapon features a magazine holding 7 rounds, allowing the user to rapidly take another shot, following the first fired bullet. As it is emphasized by the representatives of the ZM Tarnów facility, the weapon’s design ensures high resistance to any dirt or sand that may get inside.

Back in the year 2005, when the Tor development programme has come to an end and the first 10 examples were delivered to the user, the Mechanical Equipment R&D Centre (ZM Tarnów now) made a decision to develop more sniper rifles. In this way, Bor (boron) rifle was born (known, within the factory nomenclature, as Alex, the name comes from the first name of Aleksander Leżucha, engineer working on both Tor, as well as the Bor rifle).

Bor rifle Image Credit: Marta Rachwalska/Defence24.pl

The first variant of the Bor rifle was using the 7.62×51 mm NATO round. The state tests of the prototype weapons came to an end in December 2006, with a positive result. At the moment, Bor is a part of the inventory of the Polish Armed Forces.

Similarly as in case of the Tor AMR, Bor is a bull-pup design with a 660 mm long free-floating barrel. The weapon weight is 5.7 kilograms, it is fed from a box magazine holding 5 or 10 rounds. The rifle allows the shooter to engage targets at distances of up to 1000 metres. Civil variant of the Bor rifle, a hunting/sporting weapon shooting the .308 round, known as ZMT HS, has also been created. The rifle design has been simplified a bit, the weapon is also lighter than its military counterpart.

Alex-338 is the latest member of the family of Tarnów-manufactured sniper rifles. It is a variant of the Bor rifle, shooting the .338 Lapua Magnum high power round (8.6x70 mm). The weapon is slightly heavier than the version shooting the NATO round (6.1 kilograms), filling in the gap between Bor and the Tor AMR. The application of a stronger round makes it possible to utilize the weapon against point-targets at distances of up to 1500 metres, making it close in performance to the Tor rifle which is twice as heavy. Nonetheless, Alex-338 offers less when it comes to the potential armour-piercing abilities.

At the moment ZM Tarnów offers a full range of repeating sniper rifles, shooting the 7.62×51 mm NATO (.308 Winchester), 8.6×70 mm (.338 Lapua Magnum) and 12.7×99 mm NATO (.50 BMG) ammunition. The user may select a proper weapon for the mission carried out. Alongside the Tor and Bor rifles being supplied for the Polish Army, the ZM Tarnów facility is also looking forward to exporting the aforesaid firearms.

SKW-308 and SKW-338 semi-automatic sniper rifles, shooting the 7.62×51 mm NATO and .338 Lapua Magnum rounds respectively, have also been presented during this year’s edition of the MSPO Defence Industry Salon. The weapon features a folding stock.

SKW-308 semi-automatic sniper rifle Image Credit: Marta Rachwalska/Defence24.pl

SKW-308, which is the lighter weapon, has been designed to act against targets at distances of up to 900 metres. It may be fitted with 16 inch or 20 inch long barrels and a magazine holding 5 or 10 rounds. The heavier SKW-338 rifle can be used at ranges of up to 1500 metres, it features a 26 inch long barrel.

SKW-338 semi-automatic sniper rifle. Image Credit: Marta Rachwalska/Defence24.pl

Last year, ZM Tarnów announced that both the .308 BOR, as well as the .50 BMG TOR rifle, have been included in the company’s export offer. ZM Tarnów may also, soon, enjoy more interests in its sniper rifles in Poland, as the new Territorial Defence (WOT) branch of the Polish Armed Forces is being formed. In interview for the “Dziennik Gazeta Prawna” daily, published back in June, commander of the WOT component, General Wiesław Kukuła, stated that Bor and Tor rifles would become a part of the company-level inventory of the new branch of the army. 300 units as such are planned to be ultimately formed. The lighter sniper rifles are to be placed at a lower level within the force structure.

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