If you spend much time on social media — and most of us do — you should consider leavening your selection of meme pages by following some educational accounts. And by educational, I mean teaching firearm history, current geopolitics, and even tactics (though the latter’s worth is far more subjective than the former). To that end, I will share some battlefield posts about Anti-Materiel Rifles (AMRs) and ballistic tech (Barrett BORS) sourced from some of my favorite Instagram accounts.

I’ll leave additional recommendations below.


“Idlib” 12.7mm Anti-Materiel Rifle



Necessity drives lots of things, including weapon craft. These images, sourced from @thedixiemauser on Instagram, display a single-shot, bolt-action 12.7mm anti-materiel rifle produced (or assembled anyway) in Syria’s Idlib region.

Says the account’s curator, “It is quite obvious that these rifles are based off of the Iranian AM-50 12.7x99mm single-shot rifle (which is an unlicensed copy of the Steyr HS-50), but these Idlib rifles are slightly different and are allegedly chambered for the Soviet 12.7x108mm cartridge.”

If you watch OSINT and informational accounts like this much, you’ll quickly see a pattern where Idlib is often used in conjunction with local “craft” gunsmithing, manufacturing, and firearm modification.


Idlib-AMR-twelve-seven (3)

Given the chancy and inconsistent nature of logistics in both Ukraine and Syria, it’s no surprise so much of their loadout – weapons, scope rings, foregrips, accessories, and the like – are scratch-built or improvised.


The Dixie Mauser goes on to explain:

“The Idlib 12.7mm rifles feature a large AM-50-style muzzle brake, barrels of varying profiles, bipods, adjustable check risers, rubber butt pads, & are usually seen with an East German AKM or Iranian KL series Kalashnikov pistol grip.

The barrels on some of these rifles are possibly repurposed from Chinese W85 heavy machine guns. Some barrels look like they are professionally made, with well-machined lightening cuts and profiles very similar to the barrels on Steyr HS-50 rifles. It is possible these barrels came from another nation, such as from Turkey. There is also the possibility that these weapons are assembled from mostly foreign-made components. All we can do is speculate, as there isn’t really any information about these weapons available at this current time.

These rifles are used by various anti-government rebel factions. Rebels use these heavy 12.7x108mm rifles as long-range sniper rifles or anti-material rifles against fortifications or vehicles.”

More than a few “Idlib AMR” examples have been reported on Ukrainian battlefields.


Idlib-AMR-twelve-seven (2)




It’s interesting that the first conflict widely photographed professionally was the Crimean War (1853-1856). and the first conflict widely caught on individual camera (and then propagated via social media)


Above: The Genoese Castle at Balaklava from near the castle’s docks. Roger Fenton Crimean War photograph collection, Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, LC-USZC4-9116

Below: An unidentified combatant in the Russia-Ukraine conflict sometime in 2022; photographer unknown.



While it’s not the first war to be captured in the modern “cell phone” sense, it is the first (and largest) to be played out over every conceivable form of social media, from Facebook to Telegram and all their counterparts around the world.




ASVK-M AMR & M107A1 Barrett

These images feature a couple of different weapons, but all were taken in roughly the same region. Thank you, @streakingdelilah!



The ASVK-M is a variant of the Russian KSVK 12.7 built at Degtyarev Plant in Russia.

The curator says,

“Pictured here is a member of the Ukrainian GUR’s (Main directorate of Intelligence) “Kraken” unit as he poses with a Captured Russian ASVK-M AMR chambered in 12.7x108mm.”


SVK-M AMR chambered in 12.7x108mm

You have to wonder sometimes how these guys source their gear. It probably takes a lot more effort than those of us who can go online to Primary Arms, Brownells, GunMag Warehouse, or whatever.


“The ASVK-M is a bullpup configured, bolt action, magazine fed rifle which is a modernised variant of the original ASVK which entered production in 1998. This particular rifle appears to have been fitted with a 1P88 optic. This Kraken Combatant also possesses 2X potent, captured Russian RPG-28/RsHg-1s which entered service with the Russian Armed forces in 2011. This image was taken in the Summer.”


Barrett BORS

The M107A1 Barrett probably needs no introduction on a site like AmmoLand, but just in case: it’s a U.S.-made semi-automatic AMR chambered in .50BMG. You’ve seen it in one incarnation or the other in moves like Shooter, Smokin’ Aces, The Accountant, The Hurt Locker, The Expendables, and all sorts of FPS video games.

“Streaking Delilah” says,

Pictured here is a member of the Russian Armed Forces as he poses with a captured M107A1 AMR during a training session at a local training facility in Russia.

This particular M107A1 appears to have been fitted with a Barrett QDL suppressor as well as a Leupold Mark 4 optic. The latter seems to have been fitted with the “BORS” system (Barrett Optical Ranging System) which can be seen sitting on top of the rifle scope. The BORS is an integrated ballistics computer manufactured by Barrett Firearms that aids snipers and long-range marksmen in taking precise and accurate shots.”


M109-Barrett-in-Ukraine (3)

The logistics required for letting a gun like this eat might not be as bad as you’d think given the wide variety of weapons (and large number of nationalities) on the battlefield.


“The system mounts directly to the riflescope and couples with the elevation knob. With the aid of the BORS, marksmen can rapidly account for temperature and barometric pressure and aiming at an upward or downward angle. The computer built into the BORS, constantly updates to account for changing factors.

Barrett states that the BORS instantly takes care of the data work so the shooter can focus on the task of putting lead on target. It takes data from thousands of tables and accounts for a number of real-time external factors, automatically giving the shooter the exact yardage at which a bullet will hit its target

Quite a decent amount of US-supplied Barrett AMRs have been captured by Russian forces, which hints at the possibility that Barrett firearms were supplied to Ukrainian forces in large quantities.”


Here’s another Barrett 50

It’s unclear whether this is the same one at a different location or a separate weapon entirely. 

“[A] captured Ukrainian M107A1. Pictured here is a member of the Russian Armed Forces as he poses with a Captured Barrett M107A1 Anti-material rifle somewhere in Ukraine.

This particular M107A1 also appears to have been fitted with a NightForce optic mounted on what looks like a SPUR QDP uni-mount, but it is unknown if the optic was captured together with the rifle.


M109-Barrett-in-Ukraine (2)

You could beat someone to death with that Nightforce scope, but you’d have to get a lot closer than you need to with the Barrett.


Before anyone mentions it, the patch seen on his chest is not the Ukrainian flag but rather the Komi Republic flag, which is a small republic lying in the Northeast of European Russia.


M109-Barrett-in-Ukraine (1)

Going back to the caption from earlier about obtaining gear. They can’t easily go online, order scope rings, and have them delivered to “the frozen dugout behind the overwatch trench somewhere near Petropavlivka” now, can they? Nor rely on a website to show them how to choose scope rings if they could. (Note: I know about Petropavlivka because I followed @nicklaidthelaw.)


You should follow those Instagram accounts if you liked this imagery and info.

You might also consider:

@squinting_archivist (Insta)
@paul_the_history_dude (insta)
@the_colt_ar15_resource (insta)
@war_noir (Twitter)
@silahreport (Twitter)
@calibreobscura (Twitter)
t.me/entre_guerras (Telegram)


About the Author: 

David Reeder is part of the faculty at Gun University. A former action guy who never saw much action, he is the current editor of the GU blog and HMFIC over at Breach-Bang-Clear.