Rifle HAC-7 basic modification. Photo: Aftermathgunclub.com
Kalashnikov assault rifles, FN FAL rifles and AR series have certain advantages that have become the key to their popularity and widespread distribution. The simultaneous use of all the powerful features of this weapon, complemented by new original ideas, could lead to very interesting results. The American company Holloway Arms took this step, and the result was the HAC-7 rifle.
The perfect weapon
The future rifle designer Robert “Bob” Holloway once fought in Vietnam, and later took part in the Rhodesian conflict. During the two wars, he had the opportunity to become closely acquainted with a number of modern automatic rifles from different countries and draw technical conclusions.
In the early eighties, a retired military man decided to create his own rifle design, combining the best features of existing samples. The Kalashnikov assault rifle, AR platform and FAL rifle were used as sources of ideas. At the same time, the gunsmith’s own ideas were used to combine the borrowed solutions into a workable design.
View from the other side. Photo: Aftermathgunclub.com
In 1984, the newly formed Holloway Arms Company brought to the market a ready-made model – the HAC-7 self-loading rifle. The product was intended for civilian users, but, despite this, it had some features necessary for army weapons.
Own and borrowed ideas
In general, the HAC-7 was a self-loading rifle with an automatic gas evacuation with locking by turning the bolt. Outwardly, it was similar to the Belgian FAL, but the internal mechanisms resembled other examples of that time.
Aluminum was widely used in the design, and steel went only to loaded parts. One of the goals of the project was to achieve maximum manufacturability. In the future, this in some way affected the results of the project. We also managed to get a gain in mass (without any negative consequences).
The principles of disassembling weapons. Drawing from user manual / biggerhammer.net
The disassembly scheme was borrowed from the AR-15 and FAL. The receiver was pivotally connected to the trigger casing and fixed with a pin. It was proposed to remove the pins with a cartridge: for this, their ends had a depression under the bullet nose. In some cases, during disassembly, a sleeve was used as a lever.
The standard barrel for the HAC-7 was 508 mm long. A HAC-7C carbine with a 406 mm barrel was also produced. Sniper and sports modifications with a barrel length of 610 mm were developed. The manufacturer’s catalog mentioned the possibility of adapting the design for different cartridges, but serial rifles used only .308 Win (7.62×51 mm). The barrels were equipped with a muzzle device for a rifle grenade.
In front of the forend there was a gas block with a regulator and the ability to discharge gases for firing grenades. Inside the forend was a gas tube several inches long. With its help, it was possible to displace the gas piston back: this reduced the mass of the structure and changed the forces acting on it when firing and rolling back moving parts.
Working with a gas tube. Drawing from user manual / biggerhammer.net
The HAC-7 received a bolt carrier similar to that used in the AK. At the back, it was propped up by a re-imagined return mechanism with a spring on a telescopic guide. A rotating bolt with two large-width lugs was placed in the frame channel. The shutter was rotated 60 °; the turn was carried out using a transverse pin and a copier groove in the frame. The shape of the groove was made in such a way that the shutter was unlocked and retracted for an increased time – this allowed to reduce recoil.
The lugs were very long and interfered with the work of the store. Because of this, a separate plate appeared under the bolt on the frame, holding the cartridges. The head of the pin that controls the rotation of the shutter did not fit into the dimensions of the receiver. This problem could be solved with the help of a gentle nudge on board, but R. Holloway used a simpler design. A hole with a lining was provided in the receiver.
The bolt was cocked by an L-shaped handle on the left side of the weapon, stationary when firing. Ejection of casings – through the window to the right. There was a shutter delay button on the left above the store shaft.
The bolt group and return mechanism are of a familiar design. Photo: Aftermathgunclub.com
The lower casing accommodated the trigger and served as a store receiver. The USM design was borrowed from the AK with minimal modifications, but the management principles were changed. On the left side of the weapon there was an AR-type fuse flag, which simply blocked the trigger. The automatic modification needed a different system with the ability to fire bursts.
A rifle chambered for .308 Win could use AR-10 box magazines, which had undergone minor modifications. On the rear edge of the store, a small slot was made for the latch – this part was borrowed from the AK.
A front sight with height adjustment was placed on the gas block. Behind the receiver is an aperture sight with range adjustment and lateral corrections. On the upper edge of the box, threaded holes were provided for mounting an optical sight bracket of the desired model.
General view of the bolt group. Drawing from user manual / biggerhammer.net
The basic HAC-7 was equipped with a plastic handle and a forend of two sidewalls. There was a butt that folded by turning to the right. Modifications could have other fittings and additional attachments.
A rifle with an unfolded buttstock had a length of 1092 mm, with a folded stock – 840 mm. Product weight without magazine is less than 4 kg. Special weapon modifications could differ in size and weight.
For sniper, athlete and left-hander
Based on the HAC-7, several special weapon modifications were developed and offered. The HAC-7A project provided for the use of a trigger with automatic fire. The rate of fire was 650-700 rds / min. This rifle was intended for the army and police.
The HAC-7C carbine, due to the shortened barrel, had a length of 990 mm and was almost a kilogram lighter than the base rifle. There were no other differences. Also offered was an automatic carbine HAC-7AC – a shortened weapon with an “automatic” trigger.
Details of the bolt group. Drawing from user manual / biggerhammer.net
The HAC-7S sniper rifle with a 24-inch barrel had a length of 1.17 m, was intended for mounting an optical sight and was supposed to show an increased effective range of fire. The HAC-7M sporting rifle was done in a similar way.
Of all the modifications, the HAC-7L is of the greatest interest. According to statistics, up to 15% of the population is left-handed, and these people may face problems when working with “right-handed” weapons. Holloway Arms decided to work with this sector of the market and made a special modification of the rifle for the left hand.
The HAC-7L featured a “mirrored” receiver with a right-hand bolt handle and a left-hand ejection port. The fuse box and the delay button were moved to the starboard side. The shutter was changed by moving the extractor to the left. The design of the automatics and trigger mechanism remained the same. All this made it possible to preserve the main characteristics, but to make the rifle more convenient for a noticeable part of potential buyers.
According to R. Hallway’s idea, the new rifle, being a successful compilation of the most effective solutions of existing projects, was supposed to show advantages over competitors and have a high commercial potential. However, these expectations did not materialize, and the market launch in 1984 did not generate any excitement.
The trigger mechanism based on AK units. Photo: Aftermathgunclub.com
At that time, there was a mass of various self-loading and automatic rifles with various characteristics and capabilities on the US civilian market. The Holloway Arms rifle was just another example of its class. In addition, at that time the public’s attention was drawn to weapons chambered for the intermediate cartridge 5.56×45 mm, and other rifles faded into the background.
However, HAC-7 was released in a small series and brought to sales. According to known data, no more than 290-300 of these rifles were collected in total (there are also estimates of up to 350 units). Most of these products are basic rifles and carbines. Also made up to 50 “left-handed” rifles. There is no exact information on the production of HAC-7S and HAC-7M. Automatic modifications, as far as we know, never made it to the series. All rifles were sold to the United States, they were not exported.
New orders for the production of the HAC-7 were not received, and already in 1985 Holloway Arms was forced to close. Bob Holloway, having failed, retired from the arms business. However, as reported a few years ago, he would like to return to this industry and create new designs.
“Left-handed” rifle HAC-7L. Photo Forgottenweapons.com
Results of the project
From a technical point of view, the HAC-7 rifle is of some interest. Its creator did not look for fundamentally new ideas, but used already well-known and proven solutions – both directly and after a certain rethinking. However, the rifle did not live up to expectations.
In general, NAS-7 was a good weapon, but it needed fine-tuning. Users complained that the rifle was inferior in reliability to other models. In addition, in 1985, problems began with spare parts – due to the closure of the manufacturing company. However, with a stock of parts and self-tuning, the rifle became a worthy weapon for civilian use. Over time, HAC-7 has gathered a real fan club around itself.
Despite the lack of commercial success, the Holloway Arms HAC-7 project confirmed the fundamental possibility of creating a new weapon based on several existing samples. In addition, it was one of the first attempts to create a lightweight rifle with the .308 Win cartridge. But the real time of such samples came later, when R. Holloway’s company had already left the arms market.