Neophytou Gas-Operated .22 Rimfire Conversion for the R4/Galil

Today we are looking at – and shooting – a one of a kind .22 rimfire conversion kit for the Galil developed by South African designer Tony Neophytou (better known for the Neostead shotgun, Neopup grenade launcher, and NTW-20 anti-material rifle). The idea here is to convert a standard R4 Galil service rifle to .22 Long Rifle for reduced training cost and easy use at small or indoor ranges. Most conversions like this are either simple blowback or a take on the Williams floating chamber idea, but Neophytou chose to use a little gas piston system instead.

The advantage of this design of conversion kit is that it retains the exact same handling as the parent rifle. The hammer and trigger are unchanged, so the trigger pull is identical. The original mainspring is used, and while the bolt carrier is replaced, the .22 version has a charging handle identical to the standard pattern. The magazines in .22 is simply a 10-round insert fitted into a regular Galil magazine.

What is particularly remarkable is looking at the frankly terrible design of .22 conversion that was ultimately adopted by the South African army…this design was rejected for political and bureaucratic reasons, and the one shown here is the only example ever made.

14 Comments

  1. Good piece of work by T.Neophytou and as usual excellent presentation by Ian. Guessing from what I see, I’d expect this version to be standard for SA military.

    It seems to me that reason why designer used gas assist was existence of standard reoil spring (and therefor same feel when charging rifle). Spent shells are flying out of breech like mad bees which seem o suggest there is plenty of energy left. This may be the only odd case when gas pressure is used on .22 caliber.

      • The gas operated ESG Ermas are only in .22 magnum however, not in .22lr.

        They work rather well as a .22 magnum, a fairly reliable and robust little semiauto carbine. The biggest drama with them these days is procuring spare magazines is rather expensive. I ended up spending nearly as much on a magazine as I did on my ESG itself.

      • Remember the Williams floating chamber design seeks to do the same thing in .22 rimfire i.e. 1911 .45 handgun , that is to increase the power needed to operate . I did try that for the subcalibre device for the R4 rifle but it fouled very quickly. The one I ended up using is SELFCLEANING to some extent .All of these systems I describe as augmented blowback. Hope this is of some help.

    • Actually, I have been slightly inaccurate (partly to provoke a reaction), with “gas pressure used on .22 caliber” statement.

      There is a gas-pressure already present – on the base of casing. In one of previous numbers (as I hope you remember) we have run thru what is happening in early stage of blowback. It is the function of gas-pressure, acting on base of cartridge which sets breech into motion. Such is the case here, but with added gas assist.

  2. Okay, that’s danged impressive. I could see a viable market in America for that conversion kit, for use with .223 caliber Kalashnikovs.

  3. There is already a .22 LR conversion kit by Ciener.

    The never-mentioned issue : how do you clean the gas port in the barrel for the regular 5,56 x 45 ammo from the fouling accumulated by the .22 LR ammo ?

    • Be willing to bet a magazine of M193 ball, after firing the usual amount you’d see run through one of these adapters per year, would blow the gas port clean right quick. The R4 is, after all, a Kalashnikov…

  4. Terrific to see the two systems in quick succession. I’m no expert, but this seems to be the first .22 conversion that really seems to justify the notion. There may be dozens more, but I haven’t seen ’em.

  5. This was a an excellent design especially compared to the adopted system . Ian’s interview with Tony Neophytou was among my favourite videoson Forgotten Weapons . The guy seemed extremely knowledgeable, gracious and was a pleasure to listen to

  6. I like the idea.

    As Ian says, it needs more work, the ejection is still a bit erratic, even compared to the adopted open bolt conversion; but that can be cured.

    I do like the seperate gas piston for the gas assisted blowback

    And the use of the left locking lugs seat in the trunion to lock the chamber adapters for both conversions in place.

    A tiny locked breech AK inspired action, for the hot .17 rim fires would be really cool.

    The .17 rim fires are ok in locked breech guns, but attempts to produce blowback semi autos chambered for them, seem to have produced too many popped case heads to be acceptable commercial products, even when the parent rifle was originally designed around the. 22 Winchester rim fire magnum

    Rather than based on a 22 long rifle semi auto fitted with a magazine to take the longer rounds, and with a .22lr bolt, weighted with tungsten inserts.

    • All those micro-bores look “cool”, no doubt. So far I had been studiously avoiding them.
      The reason is practical one – bore cleaning. I find anything around 7.62 super-easy to clean, .22 not so much. I have my own method too. Instead of using steel rod made from screw-in sections (which produce sharp edges damaging bore), I have one continuous aluminum push rod. First brush and then several paper towel plugs – until clean. Last one of them soaked in oil.

      And after that, once a month (thru winter) checkups 🙂

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