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DSEI 2023: Steel Core eyes assault rifle market with Black Widow

Steel Core Designs Black Widow 5.56 mm assault rifle. (Janes/Amael Kotlarski)

Steel Core Designs publicly unveiled its Black Widow 5.56ร—45 mm assault rifle at DSEI 2023 in London.

Speaking to Janes, Mike Cherry, the company's CEO and designer of the Black Widow, explained the design philosophy behind the new weapon. Better known for their high-precision rifles, the company decided to design an assault rifle using a unique and patented action.

The bolt is locked by an โ€˜over-cam' system using two actuating arms to lock the bolt face to the breech face by way of a pair of locking shoulders in the lower portion of the receiver. The bolt is actuated by a short-stroke gas piston. The rifle features a fixed ejector inside the upper receiver, and the bolt sports an oversized extractor and free-floating firing pin. The purpose of the design was to do away with a rotating bolt, which can induce a rotation of the rifle in the shooter's hands as they fire, especially in bursts of automatic fire.

Still in the prototype stage, the weapon consists of an upper receiver constructed out of extruded aluminium, and a polymer lower receiver. The receiver houses the bolt and the recoil spring assembly, enabling the rifle to be fitted with a side-folding stock. The Black Widow is a select-fire rifle, with a fully automatic rate of fire of 650โ€“800 rounds per minute.

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