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Denel NTW 20: A Multi-Caliber Anti-Materiel Rifle


You guys good? That’s actually not bad at all. Actually kind of fun. That was so much fun we’re gonna do some more,
then I’ll talk about how this thing actually works. Three round magazine. Going hot. Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on ForgottenWeapons.com. I’m Ian McCollum, and I am here today at Denel Land Systems and we are taking a look at their NTW 20, which is really a pretty interesting 20mm anti-materiel rifle. It is chambered for the 20×82 cartridge instead of some of the larger and more common, well, or used to be more common, 20mm rounds like the US 20×102 Vulcan, the 20x110s or, for comparison sake, if you get up to things like the old World War Two Lahtis and Solothurns, those were 20×138. So this is a substantially shorter cartridge, and that’s done deliberately because this is not intended to be an anti-tank rifle. The days of a rifle like this being a feasible
weapon against an actual tank are long, long gone. This is instead intended to be an anti-materiel rifle,
and in particular it’s intended to be a man-portable anti-materiel rifle. So we’ll get into
disassembly in a moment, but the barrel comes out very easily without any
tools other than a cartridge or an empty case, and this whole thing splits into two
packages that are about 15 kilos each, so about 30 pounds each. And for a two man
team that’s heavy, but that’s far from impractical. And so the idea is this allows a small team to
get into some place that might be inaccessible to larger forces or larger weaponry, but actually
have basically cannon firepower at their disposal. So if you look at the cartridge, of course it is a little shorter,
muzzle velocity is a little lower than something like a 20×138 however, the whole purpose of a 20mm projectile is the explosive
effect of the warhead, and that’s not velocity dependent at all. So having a lower muzzle velocity really doesn’t
degrade the functionality of something like this, and it allows for engagement of things like light vehicles,
radar stations, heavy equipment, that sort of thing. And one of the other really cool features here
is that because the barrel comes off very easily, and because this cartridge was specifically designed
on the case head of the Russian 14.5mm cartridge, this actually comes with, as a standard package, two barrels.
The 20×82 and also a 14.5 by I believe it’s 115 or 114. And the two cartridges do very different things,
even though they’re roughly the same physical size. The 20mm is something that’s
used for its high explosive payload. The 14.5 is a really high velocity cartridge, that
thing’s moving at something like 3,500 feet per second, I mean like 1,150 metres per
second, if I’m running the numbers right. It’s an extremely fast cartridge and that makes
it actually really good at armour penetration. So something like this with the 14.5 barrel is an excellent
weapon for engaging things like armoured personnel carriers. It’s not going to shoot through a tank, but something
like a BMP, or the equivalent, is extremely vulnerable to a rifle like this, which can be carried around in
a pair of backpacks by two guys pretty easily. So this isn’t really intended to be a, you know, a
mass issue weapon, it’s more of a niche weapon. And they have been in production since the mid-1990s
when they were first developed, and they’ve actually been purchased by a number of militaries in small numbers.
So these things are actually out there being used. And there’s a lot of cool mechanical elements
to this. So let’s take a look at that next. Alright, so let’s start off with the magazine. It
uses a 3 round, detachable box magazine, and one of the issues you’re going to run into
with something that has this sort of recoil is the cartridges moving in the magazine. So you can
see … for a follower this is a very complex follower to ensure that the cartridges are held nice
and steady. And then, more substantially, here at the back there is actually like a
T-slot at the back of the magazine. And when you put a cartridge in when you drop this down to put a
second cartridge in, the rim is actually held firmly in place by these two little ridges in
the magazine, and that prevents the, you know, number 2 and 3 cartridges in the
mag from sliding around under recoil or getting pushed out of orientation. So there’s the magazine fully loaded. Then the action itself is a manual bolt-action. So bolt goes forward, drops down. There’s a little
locking wedge or a little locking surface right there. So once the bolt’s down you can’t accidentally bump
it out of battery without pulling it just slightly back. Then it pulls open, slides all the way back, ejects the cartridge, loads a new one. That’s pretty basic and simple. One potential issue you run into with a cartridge like
this, not so much the 20mm, but much more so the 14.5 is difficult extraction, so there’s a specific
primary extraction mechanism built into the gun. So right here is the opposite
side of the bolt handle itself, and when you go to open the
gun the bolt handle actually slides, I have to actually hold the bolt in place to do this.
The handle itself is on a spring and it pivots, and this bar pushes against this surface
right here, and that gives you primary extraction. That gives you like an 8 to 1 leverage
advantage in prying the case out of the chamber first and then
cycling the whole thing open. The scope is also a pretty unique thing to this rifle. And you may have noticed that the
scope’s really far forward on the gun. Now, if you’re shooting a 20mm like this,
one of the big concerns is, of course, the scope is going to come back and
it’s going to go straight through your face. And that’s a problem. So what Denel did on
this was they actually contracted out a custom, specifically made, scope for this gun. And it
is an 8x power by 56mm, long eye relief scope. So you have absolutely no concern about
this thing hitting you, because, as you can see when I’m shooting it, your face is over
a foot farther back behind the scope. Now, that’s an absolute benefit, that’s a really
cool system to have. There are downsides to it. Primarily, the eye box is fairly small,
so you do have to have your eye just in the right place in order to
get a sight picture through the scope. That’s an issue in general with long eye relief
scopes, so as with so many things, it is a trade-off. But it’s a cool trade-off to see done on this gun,
because the advantage I think is really well worth it. For example, when I did some shooting with a Solothurn
I was really kind of concerned about trying to use the scope, because it was a traditional scope and
you had to stick your face right up on it. Now historically you would have done that without wearing
eye protection and using this rubber eye cup on the scope, but of course today we prefer to have eye protection,
certainly if … you’re not actually out in the military … where there’s a real problem with it. So the combination
of eye protection and rubber eye cups is a problem. This works really well. Now the scope is also detachable,
so we have two little thumb attachments here. Loosen those up and the
scope comes off as a unit. … When you convert this from 20 to 14.5,
you do have to change the scope, because we have a BDC built into the scope base. So right there you have your primary
elevation adjustment, the BDC, and it’s going to go from 150 metres all the way out to all the way out to 1,500. Because this is … a 20mm, it’s
going to have a fair amount of drop. This is a way that you can just easily dial in the range, and then you still have the actual
scope adjustments to fine-tune it. To fine-tune your zero and, of course, to compensate for
wind or anything else that you want to fine adjust there. But this isn’t a system like a commercial sporting rifle, where
you would be tinkering with exact powder charges and velocities. This is a system based on a very standardised military loading
of a cartridge where the velocity is always going to be the same. So you can build a mechanical BDC like
this, and it can actually be very useful. Right down here, this nut allows you to adjust the
elevation of the scope base independent of the dials. So this is how it’s actually zeroed at the
factory, and can be re-zeroed if it needs to be, but not something you would typically use in the field. And then the attachment point up here
is cut in such a way that this clamps on so that the force on this section is parallel,
… it’s exerted equally between these two screws, so that it does return to zero when you
take it off like this. And there’s no chance of it, you know, being twisted to one side or the other
because you’re not just clamping at the front, you’re actually clamping
at the front and the back. You may have noticed this big, interesting and rather
distinctive handle. This does a couple of things. For one thing it’s like a roll bar or crashguard
around the scope to help protect it. You can pivot it forward to take the scope
off. And then when you take the barrel out, this drops all the way down and it actually gives you a
handle to more easily carry the receiver section of the gun. Kind of cool. Now normally I don’t get
into triggers all that much, but there’s actually a lot of cool stuff
going on in the trigger unit for this gun. So we’re gonna go ahead
and take it off and show you. And that’s pretty easily done, we have a
thumb screw here. It’s got a little slot in it, so you can tighten it pretty much with anything like a
knife, and once you take it out, it just locks in the back. So unscrew it and the whole thing drops out. With the trigger mechanism out, you can see
that it’s actually a pretty simple system here. And it’s one of those really elegant in its simplicity
sorts of systems. So you have a hammer, of course. There’s only one spring in the unit, and
it’s the torsion spring here on the hammer, which also drops over this pin and thus
puts spring tension on the sear here as well. … It’s actually a two-stage trigger pull
(let’s see if I can get the light on this…), So there is a nub, right here, and then there’s an adjustable screw
right here. The nub provides the first stage, this screw determines the length and the
break, basically, of the second stage of the trigger. So, pull that down, … because it has a two-stage trigger that means
you’ve got plenty of engagement surface on the hammer. So there’s no chance of, you
know, of an accidental discharge, which is something that can happen if you
try to get a really light single stage trigger. So, that’s an important safety element. Once you’ve basically gone through the first stage, then you have a nice, actually a remarkably
light and crisp trigger pull for the second stage, releases the hammer, and then as long as you’re holding on
to the trigger, your hand is actually providing the spring tension that counteracts this to re-engage the hammer.
As long as I’m holding the trigger here it’s going to hook on the front, and then
when I release it, it snaps to the back. That’s a pretty standard … system, … well, obviously inspired by the M1 Garand
which was in turn inspired by the French RSC rifles. The safety here is equally simple. When
you snap this back, it comes underneath this little tail right there and simply
prevents the trigger from doing anything. So a really cool, clever system
all done with just a single spring. And easily removable like this for any sort
of maintenance that might need to be done. One last little feature on there is that the
trigger guard actually pivots out of the way. So if you’re using this in a cold climate, you
can pull this just slightly out and it rotates around, and there’s a second little hole, right in there, that it snaps into. And now the trigger is unobstructed
so you can fire it with heavy gloves or mittens. So disassembly of the rest is pretty simple.
We’re going to take this cheek cover and butt plate off. And you do that by depressing the
two little spring-loaded detents here (there’s one on the other side that you can’t see),
and then you actually use the bolt handle to give it a nice tap off the back. The bolt stop is actually built into … this cheek rest.
So once that’s off, the bolt just slides right out the back. … So the bolt has to be fairly long because of
the overall length of the cartridge, and, of course, you want the bolt to remain in the receiver
so it’s nicely controlled and doesn’t get sloppy. However, there is actually a cutout right in
the middle of the bolt for the hammer to swing, you’ve got a spring-loaded firing pin
right there, six locking lugs on the front. Extractor … is actually on the
right, the plunger ejector is on the left. And then we have a plate here, this
ensures that if the bolt isn’t fully in battery, the hammer will hit this and
not be able to hit the firing pin. So once it’s fully locked,
then the firing pin can be struck. This particular rifle we’re shooting
today is one of the very early ones, on the current production guns this plate
is an integral machined part of the bolt. And … when I talked about earlier the
primary extraction, that’s it, right there. The bolt handle is actually spring-loaded
and has that lever arm on its opposite side. Underneath that rear cover back here we
have a big spring-loaded buffer assembly. The whole action, the barrel action, recoils
in the stock to help absorb, well, recoil. We have a rear monopod down here which, you know, there are a lot of little clever details built
into the pieces of this, and this is one of them. So, it’s not uncommon to have a rear monopod
that has a coarse screw thread on it so that you can adjust your elevation. This one,
in particular, can be set to either a 45 degree angle, or I can pop that out and set it at a 90 degree angle. And then … the ball that actually touches
the ground is also on a set of ball bearings. So this remains steady, doesn’t move,
when I screw … the rear monopod up and down. What this means is that you can hold this nice and firm
in position, and adjust your elevation without causing the gun to walk slightly side to side, which means
it’s a lot easier to fine-tune your use of the monopod while you’re actually trying to
hold on a target and make a shot. So in order to remove the barrel, what we
have to do is first loosen this locking collar. And that can be done with either a 20mm
case or a 14.5 that slides right in there, just pop that. You’ll see there are two
14.5 sections, and two 20mm sections. So whichever barrel you’re using, the ammunition
you have on hand can be used to do that. We just loosen that and then
the barrel is going to come out. So once we’ve got this loosened, this
doesn’t actually … physically hold the barrel in. The barrel has locking lugs, this tightens down …
basically to lock the barrel in so you get best accuracy. To remove it once we’ve got that loosened, we push
in this little spring detent, then I can rotate the barrel and slide it out. So there
are the barrel’s locking lugs. And then mechanically the way the rest of
this works is basically you have a stainless steel centre trunnion, into which the barrel locks
from the front and the bolt locks from the rear. So … the receiver here is locked
onto that trunnion by means of this nut, it’s left hand threaded on one side, right on the other. As you tighten this down it locks the two
pieces together – pulls them together, so. The bolt does not actually lock into the barrel,
the bolt locks into this intermediary trunnion, which the barrel also locks into in the front. Then at the front end we have this protrusion
here, this is a hydraulic damper, which helps to counterbalance the impact of the whole assembly
coming forward after it’s recoiled rearward. It’s interesting to point out that … the reason that it’s
got this kind of bulge in it is that there’s actually a little valve in there to allow expansion and contraction
as temperature changes. Because you’re actually talking about a
movement of something like 6mm between typical hot desert and typical cold arctic conditions,
just based on the … volume of the oil in here, so. More complexity to that
system than you might expect. In total what makes this an actually really
remarkably comfortable shooting gun, despite being relatively light, and
despite being a 20mm cartridge, is a combination of the recoil spring in the
stock, the hydraulic damper in the front, and this really big and effective muzzle
brake on the end of the barrel. There is a little bit more disassembly
we can do, and that is to pull the actual receiver out of the chassis. So
the way this works, it actually starts back here. There is a cross pin, right there, that … holds the
recoil spring in place. We’re going to push that out, that is a captive pin, so that goes through to there. Once this is disconnected and the recoil spring is is loose,
then we can push the whole receiver about an inch forward, which allows us to then remove two pins that lock the
receiver into the recoil spring and the hydraulic damper. Those pins are located in this hole and this hole,
and for the sake of brevity I’ve already taken them out. By the way, … again this is an early rifle
and originally the safety was up here. That’s been moved onto the trigger group. But
that’s why you have this additional hole in the action. Now with those pins removed
we can take out the spring buffer, and then this whole assembly slides back, and lifts out. So you’ve got two lugs on this right
here. This one is connected with a through pin (one of these guys), to the
hydraulic damper in the front. This one is connected to the
recoil buffer right here in the back. There is a slot right here
for the hammer to travel through. And one thing I didn’t mention earlier,
that’s kind of cool here, is because this whole receiver recoils backward when you
fire, this actually re-cocks the hammer. So you’re not fighting the hammer
when you operate the bolt, which leads to it having a particularly
nice smooth and easy bolt stroke. Because you’ve got the hammer coming
through, the hammer’s fixed to the frame, this re-cocks it when it cycles. And then
up here … this is really the heart of the gun, this is the main locking piece that connects
the … bolt in the back to the barrel in the front. So one of the cool things about this is while
the cartridge is its own proprietary case, 20×82, the projectiles are actually very standard 20mm projectiles. So what that means is there’s a wide
variety of ammunition that has long ago been developed for this, because the projectiles are all around.
It’s relatively inexpensive from a military perspective, and that just really helps make it an easy weapons
system for a lot of small militaries to get into. So we have an assortment here, a
practice round, … this guy is armour-piercing. If you really want armour-piercing probably
the better option is the 14.5 Soviet cartridge. This is totally standard 14.5 AP. They do also make tracer, and incendiary, and they
even make a high explosive version of the 14.5. But of course, because it’s a smaller projectile it
has a lot less space and it’s not a very effective 14.5. So if you want HE, the way to go is 20mm,
if you want AP the way to go is 14.5. And then in here we have high explosive tracer, we have
plain high explosive, (these are all dummy cartridges). And we have semi-armour-piercing high explosive,
so kind of a compromise combination round. Well that certainly went a little bit longer
than I was expecting for just a bolt-action rifle. There’s actually a lot of really
cool stuff going on in this thing. So, I guess the one thing I didn’t really
quite touch on is the interchangeability. This is available, like I said,
both in 20×82 and 14.5 Soviet, and to interchange between those it’s a
swapping of the barrel, the bolt, and the scope. Because of course the BDC is built into the scope base, and the
BDC is going to be different for those two different cartridges. In addition, a while back there was actually a request for
this rifle in a more standardised cartridge, the 20×110, which apparently one particular government
thought would be easier to source. It isn’t really, but that’s a substantially longer cartridge
and it’s a substantially more powerful cartridge. And so you can also interchange a
20×110 barrel and scope and bolt into this. However, the cartridge is long
enough that it’s not magazine fed. So they make this both as this unit
with a magazine box on it here (if you use it in 20×110 it’s a single-shot rifle, you just
drop a cartridge into the chamber when you want to fire), and … Danel has a dedicated 20×110 version of the gun
which doesn’t have that cut out for the magazine box. Because of course, if that’s all
you’re going to be shooting it in, there’s no reason to have a big open
thing – hole on the side of the action. So they offer it both ways, but it’s
really cool that it’s that convertible. You saw the process for removing the bolt,
for removing the barrel, it’s pretty quick. Now nobody’s going to actually carry this in the field with
two different barrels and two different types of ammunition, that’s an administrative sort of change, but it’s a
very simple and easy administrative change. So, really a pretty cool system. I think we’re gonna go do a little bit more shooting now, or
at least show you some high speed if we haven’t already. But I would very much like to thank Denel
Land Systems for giving me the opportunity to take a look at this cool thing, shoot a bunch
of ammo through it, and bring it to you guys. If you enjoyed this, stay tuned for more
cool Forgotten Weapons. Thanks for watching. Alright, let’s fire a few more rounds here. Good? So, I know I look like a total dork
shooting with these sunglasses inside. But these are actually ballistic sunglasses
and I did not think to bring clear shooting glasses.

100 thoughts on “Denel NTW 20: A Multi-Caliber Anti-Materiel Rifle

  1. South Africa, has enough money to invent a weapon.
    But cannot help their own nation.

    And the amount of white people that they're secretly killing with this weapon isn't surprising.

  2. My second favorite 20x82mm…

    Inkunzi PAW goes for the win, but I think Neophytou designed both, maybe? All I know is, his PAW design is both groundbreaking and yet, remarkably simple.

    The genius of finding solutions to recoil management so that you can not only run a full house 20mm off the human shoulder effectively and accurately, but that was designed to be truly man portable.

    That's the only reason this AT rifle comes second, but it used for different purposes essentially. The two chambering options with spare bolts and barrels standard, is an excellent example of the quality and thought behind each detail of this rifle.

    And it is portable enough, given what it does. Way more than any other rifle in its class, which says something. The whole gun is an effective tool for delivering a potent payload accurately at decent range.

    Remarkably well engineered piece of ordinance that blurs the meaning of the word cannon…

    But the PAW, on the other hand, does this at a squad level, with a weapon more convenient than an LMG to run, and more suited to the purpose of being a high speed grenade launcher with much greater accuracy than 40mm give, albeit with half the payload.

    Where the PAW is cool is in its capability to give squads organic heavy weapons that operate like a DMR, but can suppress to some degree like an LMG by being magazine fed.

    Both weapon systems come from the engineering mind of one man, if I'm not mistaken.

    South African John Browning.

  3. My Wife and I watched "The Girl in the Spiders Web" last night…..this morning Ian pops up with the same Rifle….super random coincidence! This Rifle is THE most Exciting firearms news in YEARS!
    Thank you Ian, please may I have mine in 14.5mm, looks like the perfect Kyhber Pass sorter outerer. (No, not a real word).

  4. Yall talking about the halo sniper (which is a very good comparison) but did you know that the kraber was inspired by this

  5. Are you aware that you are breaking/ignoring a prime safety rule. Keep your finger away from the trigger until you have a sight picture and are ready to fire the weapon! You have your trigger finger in the trigger loop virtually all of the time you are in contact with the weapon! I seriously doubt your authority at this point. The weapons are intriguing but your knowledge of shooting is highly suspect. Sad.

  6. For a sight picture on a rifle like this, why not put on an adjustable chin rest at the back, like on a violin. Wouldn't that speed up target acquisition?

  7. You got knocked back a foot, the poster in the back on the right fell over, the guy a mile away not wearing hearing protection is now deaf, and the target no longer exists. Not actually that bad at all.

  8. 6:35 Accidentally bumps the bolt out of battery "So once the bolt's down, you can't accidentally bump the bolt out of battery."

  9. Denel used to make great stuff but since 94 the new government and its bafoons have run the company down just like everything else.

  10. Imagine having this beast just visible enough in your gun case, for when a cocky, ego doping, hormone crazed high school footballer wants to take your daughter out on a date. "Boy (point his attention to the gun) back by 22:00)". Think you will have any problems?

  11. Watching you shoot, was awesome. Although it made me more interested in hearing about it…. You wouldn't believe the smile on my face.

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