H&K SL-6 and SL-7 Rifles at RIA

The German firm Heckler & Koch spent several decades building firearms all based on the same basic operating system: roller-delayed blowback (often called roller-locked, although they are not technically locked breech actions). The two best known worldwide are most likely the model 91 (aka the G3, in German Army service) and the MP-5.

However, H&K also released a sporterized version of the HK-91 in an attempt to break into different aspects of the civilian firearms market. In fact, they made two sporting version, and these today are the SL-6 and SL-7, which were more or less “paramilitary” rifles chambered for the 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO cartridges respectively. They feature a mix of civilian and military features…on the civilian side, they have small capacity magazines (3- and 10-round), sporting-style wooden stocks, and very nice triggers. On the military side, the retain the sling attachments and iron sights of the HK-91.

Despite being relatively unknown in the US (where they were not available for very long, and also rather expensive), these H&K products are of excellent quality, and you will rarely find owners who are not very happy with them.

25 Comments

  1. Though seeming very well made, both rifles look like very eager to have a “Benelli Click” with nonclosing breechbolts as softly leaving the cocking handle after an half tracking.

  2. In Germany there were adapters for sale to use G3 or HK33 magazines respectively.

    I once met a hunter on a hunt I attended who had put his SL-7 with G3 magazine in a SVD alike stock to freak out the traditionalists. Did work.

  3. Which would be better to shoot at neighborhood pests, the SL7 or the Holek Automat? By pests, I mean raccoons or deer, not people, unless you count drug dealers.

  4. I have always been intrigued by the idea of roller-locking in several applications, one being a roller (ball) locking transmission that has a straight-slide shifting system. I thing the basic technology could be applied to everything from a lever-action to a full-auto weapon but I think that IF I buy another pistol, .45 cal., of course, it will be a Korth Roller-Locking Semi-Auto .45 ACP Pistol as seen at:
    http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2015/01/korth-roller-locking-semi-auto-45-acp-pistol/ But the answer is, “No, none of my present 1911-A1s will be for sale.

    • “full-auto weapon”
      Swiss Stgw 57 (Strum Gewehr 57) use delayed-blow-back(roller) as principle of operation. It fires 7.5×55 Swiss cartridge (so unlike German Sturmgewehr of WW2 this one is battle rifle not assault rifle). Examples converted to semi-auto only are used in target shooting so I assume it must be quite accurate.

    • I know this comment was left ages ago, nonetheless…If you’re (or rather were 😉 ) looking to buy a Korth, I must say I envy the condition of your wallet. The fact that their homepage (korth-waffen.de) has no prices on it says it all, from what I know the revolvers are sold upwards of 3.000 € (assuming it’s *not* made to customer specifications). Even used .357 revolvers sell for 2.000 € here in Germany, I highly doubt that they come a lot cheaper in the US. I don’t know about the pistols. The last time I was perusing, the pistol model was not in production yet; but I think it would be safe to assume that the price range isn’t that different. As to the roller-delayed mechanism being applicable to everything from handguns to machine guns, it certainly is; HK made both (P9 and P9S pistols and the HK21 LMG).
      If you’re dead set on a roller-delayed blowback .45, finding a HK P9 or P9S would probably come a lot cheaper.

  5. In Germany, thes Sl-7 was used to arm and train reservist troops. At that time, guns which had “assault rifle looks” were not legal in Germany, this was certainly a motivation for HK to give these rifles a wooden stock.
    The SL-7 is not uncommon among German hunter, who use it on driven boar hunts. I once operated a running target, and the shooter had an Sl-7. My operating stand was on the right side of the shooter, and the gun ejected the cases with great force. It was quite unpleasant. The brass was full of fouling on the outside, I guess this came from HKs fluted chamber?

    • “guns which had “assault rifle looks” were not legal in Germany”
      How it is possible to ban look of rifle (rifles of certain look)?
      It is possible to say bay full-auto capable weapons or firing bullet of greater diameter than some size or firing military cartridges (IIRC this was (is?) law in France), but how you want to forbid assault rifle looks? How you can that write in law?

      • It’s a cosmetic issue. If a rifle looks similar to one in active service, some idiots will believe that the former is the latter. Basically a reproduction Thompson M1921 that’s semi-auto only can be mistaken for the original, with all the destructive implications. Similarly, one could be terrified by a robber wielding what turns out later to be an AK-styled pellet gun. Hunting weapons aren’t intimidating but “military style” guns tend to scare the pants off naive liberals.

      • You can. Mel refers to our §37 Waffengesetz, (abolished 2003), which banned all ‘things-that-look-like-a-gun’, that is:

        by their external shape invoke the appearance of a fully-automatic selfloading weapon i.e. a weapon-of-war in the sense of the ‘Law on the Control of Weapons-of-War’.

        “e) ihrer äußeren Form nach den Anschein einer vollautomatischen Selbstladewaffe hervorrufen, die Kriegswaffe im Sinne des Gesetzes über die Kontrolle von Kriegswaffen ist,”

        This was fully applicable to dewats even. It’s referred to as Anscheinsparagraph, the “Appearance Clause”.
        So yes, you can define things as illegal purely on their appearance, judgement will be arbitrary depending on whoever gets to make the call in the end. But that will dissuade everyone from testing the limits of such a law. If the judge doesn’t like you, it’s illegal. And that makes the ban even more effective. Things like SoftAir were unthinkable here not so long ago.

        • “Anscheinsparagraph”
          So even German laws can be inexact or vague. If we follow that “Anscheinsparagraph” we can conduct that FN FAL look-a-like is prohibited, but C1 (Canadian FAL, semi-auto only) is totally legal.

  6. I shot an SL6 a while back. Lovely rifle to shoot, although the cases do fly off into low-earth orbit.

    It was also a long twist, so was keyholing with SS109 (which is all we had available) at 20 yards……

    Another interesting one from the SL series is the SL8, which is absolute junk. Really, it’s terrible. Everything is plastic and flexes including the receiver and scope rail (so we’re talking 4MOA groups at 100m with a scope for the one I shot), the thumbhole stock is uncomfortable, and the thumb safety is even harder to reach with the thumb than it already is on most HK’s.

  7. As a proud owner of a HK630, I watched this episode with great interest. I’ll add a couple of notes.

    First, there are a few additional interesting models in HK’s sporting rifle line, namely the 270 and 300, chambered in .22LR and .22WMR respectively. They were however straight blowback. I’d personally love to own either. I’m not sure a better rimfire semi-auto rifle has been made since. There’s also the SLB2000, which I think is now made by some part of Merkel and was I think well-received, though a little odd in my opinion.

    In addition to the .308 mag being marked as .243/.308, the .223 mags I have are marked .222/.223. I’m not sure either the .243 or .222 were ever produced, even in Europe. I’d be interested to hear otherwise if anyone knows.

    Though any of these models would be great hunting guns, the cost of things like scope mounts ($500+) and magazines ($100+) are prohibitive at best. I think B Square made an aftermarket scope rail but I’ve not heard the best reviews. It’s expensive too. In addition, the early scope rings were somewhat brittle and could break. Look forward to spending hundreds to replace them.

    • “.222 were ever produced, even in Europe. I’d be interested to hear otherwise if anyone knows”
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckler_%26_Koch_SL8#SL8-10 states that .222 variant of H&K SL8 exist and give following description:
      “[SL8-10 is] A new model with short rail chambered for the .222 Remington cartridge to respect laws that prohibit certain countries’ inhabitants from owning weapons in military cartridges. Mostly made for export to Spain, but it is also available in .223 Remington, like previous models, to replace the SL8-4.”

    • Very late reply to this thread. But you asked about the existence of 222 remington chambered HK630s, so I thought you might still be interest. Yes they do exist. I have one that I was lucky enough to purchase new around 1993/1994. I believe from what I have read on line, these are quite rare by comparison to the 223 variant. I have certainly not come across anyone else with the 222 rem chambering. I can’t comment on the 243 version, but I would imagine if the 222 rem exists, then there is every reason to believe the 243 does as well.
      I like you, am most definitely proud of it. It’s one of those rifles that whilst understated, certainly captures attention at the range. Not the least from pounding people with hot brass (I made the mistake the first I shot it, of using the left most stall in an enclosed shooting stand on a 50m range, and put several hot cases down the necks of various other shooters (and observers) jackets. Elicited the generous offer of all other shooters, to rotate one position left so I could have the far right hand bay to myself.
      It is also the only rifle I have every injured someone with. An ejected case bounced off a tree to my front right – about 5m away, tumbling, and struck a friend who was (he thought safely) positioned to my right rear. By fluke, it hit him between eye brows, neck end on, cut a circular ring in his forehead, just enough to allow a small flow of blood down the bridge of his nose. To all intents and purposes it looked like he’d been shot in the head. Since this event, he often advises people of the combat efficiency of H&K rifle being based on their ability to kill both with the projectile and the ejected case.

      • Indeed I have still been interested and I’m glad you replied. I sort of figured the .222 was at least available in Europe, but it’s particularly intriguing to hear they were also imported to the US. The .243 would be a pretty cool rifle to have too.
        I actually stuck a piece of adhesive felt to the receiver cover right behind the ejection port in an effort to both minimize brass damage and possibly keep the brass from flying quite so far. I could totally see how it could wound someone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The ejection is easily on par with my HK93, if not even more dramatic. At least it’s basically predictable.
        I’m currently on a search to find 30mm rings for the HK05 mount I have, but I’ve had no luck, even on hkpro.

  8. I thinks it was somewhere in the early to mid 1980s that I owned an SL7 as a deer rifle. I bought it used and it came with the H&K scope mount. (I think they called it a claw mount.) The H&K scope mount was easy to install and if memory serves, if the scope was removed, reinstalling it on the rifle didn’t change bullet point of impact. The rifle had a good trigger and was more accurate than I could shoot. Unlike your comment regarding the positioning of the safety, Ian, I found operating the safety upon the approach of a game animal to be a pain in the rear. It was nearly impossible to shoulder the rifle, aim at your target, and then operate the safety. I was never comfortable with operating the safety before being on target, so after a short period of time the SL7 found a new home.

    • I also owned an SL-7, took it hunting, but also shot NRA High Power competition with it, out to 1,000 yards! It too shot better than I did…
      Mine broke many times due to the number or rounds shot during competition, and that dime a round import surplus ammo, I am sure.
      The bolt stop is heavy sheet metal backed up with hard rubber, the rubber would decompose and the metal would split. Both available from HK USA at the time.
      Now that I think of it the rubber problem was probably due to cleaning fluids. Now you know what not to do.

  9. Looking at the estimated price of the SL-6 I can’t help but feel sorry for all those poor folks that are buying/building “just another AR” or a Mini-14 for varmint control. I’d much rather add one of these lovely rarities to my gun safe.

  10. Before local laws changed there were a few SL-7’s getting around here, but they were not popular. The main drawback was breaking windscreens when a shot was taken from inside a car or ute. Not drive bys, a common position when spotlighting on large properties.

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