08 March 2009

IDF Galil Rifle

تنسيق-الكليات-لعام سكس نيك كس

With the advent of the "all new" Galil Sporter a reader asked me my opinion of the Galil rifle.

I carried the IMI (now IWI) Galil AR and Galil SAR rifles back in the 80's. It was the standard issue rifle for IDF Infantry. We carried the Galil AR with an attached bipod and 8 fully loaded 35 round steel magazines. It was heavy, rusty, and a pain to keep clean. The Galil SAR is lighter, has a shorter barrel, no bipod, and a molded plastic foregrip.

In order to understand the Galil Sporter, you need to first know the original Galils.

The Original Galil Rifle

The Galil rifle was invented by Israel Galili, chief weapons designer for IMI (Israeli Military Industries), and Yaacov Lior, the Galil is a somewhat successful attempt at the "best of all possible worlds."

Dissatisfied with the 7.62mm NATO FN FAL with which the Israeli Army was largely equipped, Galili went directly into the field to investigate the problem (see "Weapons Wizard Israel Galili," SOF, March '82). He was told by everyone that the Kalashnikov was the "tiger of the desert."

Taking what he needed from the AK-47, Galili placed his rifle in competition with the M16A1, the Stoner 63, the AK-47, the HK 33 and a design by Uziel Gal. The test's greatest emphasis revolved around performance under arid-region conditions. The Galil Rifle emerged as the clear winner and won the Israeli Defense Award. It was officially adopted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in 1972.

The selective-fire versions are available to law-enforcement agencies and qualified Class 3 dealers. Although also produced in caliber 7.62mm NATO to increase its sales on the world market, the Galil rifle as issued to the IDF is chambered for the 5.56mm NATO M193 ball ammunition. The Galil's Kalashnikov heritage is apparent, even at first glance. Not so evident are its differences. It fires from the closed-bolt position and is gas-operated without an adjustable regulator. The change in caliber, from 7.62x39mm ComBloc to 5.56mm NATO, required numerous alterations. The AK-47's 4.2mm gas hole was reduced in diameter to 1.8mm. The Galil's most immediate predecessor was the Finnish Valmet M62 rifle and, in fact, early Galil prototypes were fabricated using M62 receivers made in Helsinki. However, as the 52,000 cup SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute) pressure limit specified for the 5.56mm NATO round is far greater than that developed by the 7.62x39mm ComBloc cartridge, Galili abandoned the pinned and riveted, stamped sheet-metal receiver of the Valmet M62/M76 series and went to a heavy milled forging. In addition, the Galil does not utilize the usual Kalashnikov barrel-extension unit for lock-up of the bolt. The bolt lugs lock into recesses milled into the receiver body itself. Thus, heat dispersion occurs more rapidly, the cartridge remains cooler and the possibility of a cook-off, even under the most intensive full-auto conditions, is minimized. While the method of operation is identical to the Kalashnikov, Soviet AK-47 parts most certainly cannot be used in the Galil, contrary to the statements of others. When the trigger is pulled, the hammer drives the firing pin forward to ignite the primer. Kalashnikovs have inertia firing pins without a spring. The initial lot of Galils brought into the USA also had no firing pin springs and are not suitable for use with commercial ammo. This can be modified.

After ignition of the primer, a portion of the propellant gases migrate into the 1.8mm vent, drilled at a 30-degree angle into the gas block which is pinned to the barrel. The gas enters the cylinder (to which a small spring has been attached to secure its retention during reassembly) and drives the piston rearward. The piston is hard-chrome-plated for ease of maintenance. It is also notched to provide a reduced bearing surface and permit excess gas blow-by. The bolt carrier is attached to the piston. After a short amount of free travel, during which time the gas pressure drops to a safe level, the cam slot engages the boit's cam pin and the bolt is rotated and unlocked as the carrier moves rearward.
Primary extraction occurs as the bolt is rotated and thus the massive Kalashnikov-type extractor claw is not required. Empty-case ejection is typically violent. The cases are severely dented by the ejector and thrown to the right and front by as much as 40 feet (a defect with regard to position disclosure). At this time, the recoil spring is compressed and its return energy drives the carrier forward to strip a round from the magazine and chamber it.
The Galil's hammer spring is made of multi-strand cable. The trigger and sear springs are conventional coil types. Like other Kalashnikov-system rifles, the trigger mechanism is that first used in the U.S. M1 Garand rifle.
The Galil's right-side selector lever is the same stamped, sheet-metal bar common to all Kalashnikovs. South African troops often wrap nylon line around this selector bar to quiet the sound of its manipulation. It can also be slightly bent to draw it away from the receiver notches. The top position, marked "S," is safe, where the trigger is locked and the bolt can be retracted only far enough to inspect for a chambered round in this position.
The Galil also features a selector switch on the receiver's left side, intended to be manipulated by the thumb of the trigger hand. On the semiauto version, through use of a two-piece hinged bar inside the receiver, the rearmost position of this selector is safe and pushing forward with the thumb will place the weapon in the firing mode, marked "F." This is as it should be. However, on the selective-fire model the rearmost position is "R" (British terminology for Repetition, or semiauto), the middle position is "A" (full auto) and the forward position is safe. Thus, to come off safe, using the left-side selector, one must pull rearward with the thumb, a most unnatural and awkward maneuver, especially under stress.

On the selective-fire Galil, two sears control the firing mechanism, the trigger sear and a safety sear. In full-auto fire the trigger sear is held back and only the first round of the burst is fired off this rear sear. Subsequently, the bolt carrier moves rearward and rolls the hammer over. The safety sear continues to hold the hammer back until the bolt carrier is fully forward again, at which time it trips the safety sear and the hammer rotates to fire another round. Thus, after the first round the trigger sear is deactivated entirely from control on the hammer. Releasing the trigger will catch the hammer on the trigger sear once more. In semiautomatic fire, no pressure is placed on the trigger sear, which is free to catch the hammer each time it is rolled back by the bolt carrier.

The entire safety sear assembly (sear, spring, cross pin and trip lever) is absent from the semiautomatic-only version of the Galil. In addition, certain receiver mill cuts have not been made, the hammer spring pin protrudes from the right side of the receiver to stop further downward travel of the selector lever and the bolt carrier has been altered to prevent full-auto fire.
There are three basic configurations of the Galil, all available in calibers 5.56mm NATO or 7.62mm NATO: The ARM is equipped with a bipod, wooden handguard and carrying handle. It is intended for use as an assault rifle and squad automatic weapon. The AR is equipped with a high-impact-plastic handguard without a bipod or carrying handle. The barrel length of both, in caliber 5.56mm NATO, is 18.5 inches with the flash suppressor (and 21.0 inches for the 7.62mm NATO models). Both are available in semiauto-only and selective-fire versions. The SAR is a short-barreled version of the AR model. It has a barrel length of only 13.5 inches in 5.56mm (15.8 inches in the 7.62mm version) and, as a consequence, is available in the United States as a selective-fire weapon only. Its gas tube and piston are 1 1/8 inches shorter than the other models. The 5.56mm NATO Galils all have six-groove barrels with a right-hand 1:12-inch twist for the M193 ball projectile. All three are normally issued with a folding stock, although a wooden buttstock is an available option.

At first glance, the folding stock appears to be that of the FN FAL. It is not. The FAL stock is constructed of tubular aluminum. The Galil folding stock is fabricated from tubular steel - stronger, but heavier. More important, the Galil stock has no button latch to confound the operator in opening or closing, no small consideration during high-stress situations.

The ARM's carrying handle is almost identical to the Belgian FAL'S. Located to the rear of the wooden handguard, it is not positioned over the rifle's center of mass. The wooden handguard remains somewhat cooler during sustained full-auto fire than the black plastic handguard. The squared-away shape of the wooden handguard is not entirely comfortable, but necessary to store the bipod. Both the plastic and wooden handguards are attached permanently to the barrel and cannot be removed.
The Galil bipod is a sturdy, rigid affair, certified so by my memory of Israel Galili jumping wildly and theatrically on top of the rifle with its two steel legs extended. When stored in the handguard, the bipod serves as a feed chute to speed insertion of the magazines. The bipod can be used as a wire cutter and to open beer bottles also.

The Galil's gray plastic pistol grip is one of the very best ever put on an assault rifle and seems to be taken from the Hungarian AKM/AMD-65 series. Of more than adequate length, with a sharp bottom flare to prevent the hand from slipping, the grip has been mounted to the receiver at precisely the correct grip-to-frame angle. Somehow, it just feels right.

Gaili offers tough, all-steel magazines in three capacities: The 12-round magazine, color-coded with whith stripes, is blocked to accept only ballistite (blank) cartridges for launching rifle grenades. The standard magazine has a capacity of 35 rounds. A large capacity 50-round is also available. Difficult to load by hand, it is intended for use primarily in the squad automatic role. However, like all bottom-fed magazines of this length, it will "monopod" the weapon when fired with the bipod in the prone position.
An optional magazine adapter allows the use of 20- and 30-round M16 magazines. Unfortunately, the magazine wells of the semiautomatic and selective-fire Galils are of different dimensions and the adapter supplied by IMI can be fitted only to the semiautomatic version. Why this is so I do not know. However, the adapter is well-designed and the magazines can be inserted and released with no greater difficulty than in the M16. Valmet 5.56mm NATO magazines will likewise fit into the semiautomatic Galil, but cannot be used in the selective-fire rifle. South African R4 magazines are identical to their Israeli counterparts and can be inserted into all versions of the Galil. The magazine-release latch is of the flapper type, similar to the Kalashnikov and unlike the SKS, is easy to reach with the index finger of the right hand while hold on the rear pistol grip is maintained.
The retracting handle is attached to the bolt carrier and bent upright to allow ambidextrous use.

The flash suppressor has six ports and is almost identical to the M16 "birdcage" muzzle device. Those who still dream of charging up San Juan Hill will be pleased to note that the Galil accepts the readily available M7 bayonet issued for the M16.

The rear end of the Galil's recoil-spring guide rod, which serves as a retainer for the sheet-metal receiver cover, has been extended to ease disassembly and lock the cover more securely to the receiver body. This is especially important as the rear sight has been mounted on the receiver cover. While no less secure than its attachment to the gas cylinder on the Valmet M71, it does not provide the rigidity offered by the receiver-mounted rear sight of ComBloc Kalashnikovs. The trade-off is a longer sight radius.
Reassembly of the receiver cover on all Kalashnikov-type weapons is simplified if you first place the recoil-spring guide rod slightly below its notch in the receiver onto the rear interior wall of the receiver. Then set the receiver cover in place. Jack the retracting handle smartly to the rear and the guide rod will pop into its notch and the square-cut hole in the receiver cover.
Standard Kalashnikov disassembly and reassembly procedures apply to the Galil. But, a small, though important, correction to the preventive maintenance instructions given in the IMI operator's manual is required. After cleaning, we are instructed to lubricate the gas cylinder and piston. I say no to that. Keep lubricants of all types away from the piston and the interior of the gas system. The intense heat generated in this area of a gas-operated weapon will cause lubricants to bake and varnish these parts.

The rear sight is a flip-up peep type with 300- and 500-meter apertures adjustable for elevation only. The front-post sight is adjustable for elevation and windage zero. Elevation adjustments are by means of the UZI front-sight tool. Windage adjustment is achieved by loosening and tightening the two opposing screws which move the entire front-sight assembly in its dovetail on to the gas block. The diameter of the front-sight hood is such that it forms an additional aiming circle just within the rear aperture to further assist sight alignment and speed target acquisition.

Taking another cue from the Valmet, the Galil is equipped with tritium (betalight) night sights set for 100 meters. To use, at dusk or night, the front betalight is folded up to expose a vertical bar, which is aligned between the two rear luminous dots. When the rear tritium sight is flipped up for use, the rear peep sights must be placed in an offset position midway between the two apertures.
The left side of the receiver is dovetailed for a scope side-mount. Mounting a scope on the receiver body usually results in maximum stability. But the IMI side-mount has exhibited a decided tendency to lose zero after take-down and remounting. After phosphating (Parkerizing), all exterior metal surfaces on the rifle (except for the barrel, gas block and front sight) are finished with semi-gloss black enamel.

The five-inch differential in barrel lengths between the ARM and SAR did provide an excuse to chronograph their respective muzzle velocities. PMC (Pusan Arsenal, Korea) M193 ball ammunition was used throughout this portion of the test and evaluation. The 18.5-inch barrel of the ARM generated an average of 3,087 fps. The stubby 13.5-inch barrel of the SAR dropped the average velocity by only 183 fps. to 2,904 fps. The extreme spread and standard deviation were significantly lower for the SAR. But, the accuracy potential of both rifles was quite high, even with trigger pulls no better than the average Kalashnikov.
In addition to high marks for hit probability and target acquisition, the SAR exhibited phenomenal controllability in the full-auto mode. The cyclic rate is 650 rpm. Muzzle rise is barely perceptible with two- and three-round bursts. In fact, firing in the off-hand position, at 30 meters an entire and continuous 50-round burst can be contained within a standard military silhouette target! Felt recoil was virtually nonexistent with both rifles. But, a heavy price must be paid for all these attributes.
All of the above operating characteristics are a function of the weapon's weight. At almost 9.5 pounds, empty, with bipod and carrying handle, the ARM is quite heavy in comparison with other state-of-the-art assault rifles. The M16 and AKM weigh only 7.0 pounds apiece. The Galil is only a quarter-pound shy of the U.S. M14. The South African troops who must constantly drag this beast through the bush have real cause for complaint.

Write up for the “all new” Galil Sporter currently sold in the US by www.centuryarms.biz
If it looks like a Galil and functions like a Galil, is it a Galil? Nope, it's a Golani Sporter, named after Israel's Golani Brigade instrumental in selecting the Galil after conducting extensive field-testing with it. After a long absence from the surplus pipeline, a Galil clone in 5.56mm is being made by Century International Arms www.centuryarms.biz

Rumbling into the Six Day War of 1967 armed with the FN-FAL, the victorious Israel Defense Force came away from the fray with a great deal more respect for the Arabs' AK-47's. Their adversaries' AK's operated well in the sandy battleground while Israel's FN-FAL proved to be sand sensitive and awkward in a highly mobile environment. The result was a period of study and weapons testing to identify a replacement for the FN-FAL.

Israel's greatest ally and source of foreign aid, the United States, had already adopted the M16 and the 5.56mm cartridge. Attracted to the low impulse 5.56mm cartridge, Israel was still impressed by the reliability of the AK-47 and its gas-piston design. At the conclusion of a series of destructive field tests by the Golani Brigade involving the M16, Stoner 63, HK33, AK-47 and a design by Uziel Gal, the AK-47 was still considered the best of the lot.

Hybrid Design

What emerged was a hybrid design developed by firearms designer, Israel Galil. Galil borrowed freely and blended the best elements of the AK-47, the refined Finish AK, known as the Valmet M62, the M16 and the FN-FAL with some unique ideas of his own. The end product was so successful it was adopted in 1972 and, reportedly, saw action the following year in the Yom Kippur War.

The military Galil was produced by Israel Military Industries (IMI) in a variety of models. There was the Galil ARM with a folding bipod, carrying handle and the FN-style tubular folding stock common to all Galils, a Galil AR (assault rifle) without the bipod or carrying handle, a Galil SAR with a short 15" barrel, a Micro-Galil (MAR) and a heavy-barreled Galil Sniper. Galils were chambered in both 5.56mm NATO and 7.62mm NATO.

IMI exported Galils to a number of South American, African and Asian countries and licensed South Africa to produce the design as models R4 (Galil AR), R5 (Galil SAR) and R6 (Galil MAR). As recently as 2006, Columbia was licensed to manufacture the Galil.

In Israel, the Galil proved to be a short-lived design for general issue and was phased out in favor of the M16 and CAR-15, supplied by the United States in very ample quantities at very low prices.

Century's Golani Sporter is essentially a Galil-type AR with its sturdy folding stock, rigid milled receiver and without the ARM's bipod or carrying handle. Mechanically, it's an improvement over the Soviet AK/AKM in several ways.

The Israeli design is ambidextrous. The fixed operating handle is mounted in a vertical, rather than horizontal position, and can be readily grabbed and operated with the strong hand or the weak hand by either a right- or left-handed shooter.

Ambidextrous Safety

There's a handy, easy-to-operate, side safety (selector switch) located under your thumb at the top of the pistol grip on the left side of the receiver. It is connected to the traditional, sheet metal AK safety (selector switch) on the right side of the receiver, so the safety can be operated from either the right or left side of the rifle. On Century's Golani Sporter model, in the forward position (marked "S'), the safety is "ON" and in the rear position (marked "F"), "OFF" It would be handier if it worked in reverse.

Unlike the AK/AKM, the rear sight of the Golani Sporter is mounted on top of the heavy receiver cover. The protective sight housing contains an excellent "L" shaped, flip-type aperture sight offering either a 300m or 500m zero plus a flip-up, night-sight blade. The Golani aperture sight is a vast improvement over the open, tangent sight of the AK.

The AK-type post front sight is adjustable for elevation by screwing it up-or-down with an SKS/AK sight tool. Windage is easily adjusted by turning two opposing screws in-and-out to move the graduated sight base left-or-right. Hinged to the bottom of the front sight housing is a neat, flip-up, night sight post.

Gas System

The gas tube of the Golani is not locked down like that of the AK/AKM. Rather, the rear of the tube is mated to an integral dovetail at the top of the receiver while the front of the tube slips over a shoulder on the gas block. The tube is secured in place by the receiver cover fitting into a recess at the rear of the tube as it is locked in place. It's a practical design and much easier to disassemble for cleaning and maintenance than an AK's.

The Golani handguard is distinctive and comfortable. It cradles, but does not touch, the medium weight 5.56mm barrel, so there is plenty of cooling air circulation around the barrel. Moreover, the inner surface of the "U" shaped handguard is completely lined with an aluminum heat shield to keep the handguard cool to the touch. It's a great design when you're doing a lot of full-auto work and, not touching the barrel, it enhances accuracy.

The heavy, tubular folding stock of the Golani Sporter leaves nothing to be desired. It is robust and rock solid when locked in place and out-of-the-way, when folded. It is also comfortable when shooting.

The muzzlebrake is effective and combined with the 9-pound, 4-ounce weight of the gun, there is little left upon firing you could call "recoil."

Those distinctive features of the Golani Spotter set it apart from the AK/AKM design. The bolt, bolt carrier, piston, recoil spring and fire control system are pretty much Kalashnikov.

Slings Flat

Like the Galil, the Golani is fitted with side sling swivels on the opposite side from the operating handle so the rifle lies flat and comfortably against your back when slung. When not at sling arms, the Golani is an easy carry if you wrap your hand around the receiver just in front of the magazine.

I've heard some remarks about the nine-pound weight of a Galil-type rifle. Obviously, the critics haven't carried a Garand, FN-FAL, G3, or even combat ready M16's decked out with grenade launchers, flashlights, lasers and optical aiming devices or, if they have, they were in their 20s when a 9-pound-plus rifle felt like a wand and was a comforting friend. Being a bit older now, they just don't remember how easy it used to be.

The two-stage trigger on the sample I tested was remarkably clean and light. There was an initial take-up of about 4 pounds and a crisp release when another 1 1/2 pounds of pressure were applied.

The 35-round Galil magazines are steel, heavy-walled and AK robust. You could drive a truck over them without putting a dent in one. The two, genuine surplus Galil mags I used fed without a hiccup. Do pay attention and keep the end of the long 35-round magazine off the shooting table when you're benching the Golani. It will ruin consistent accuracy.

Before firing the test piece, I did strip it and lubricate the bolt, bolt carrier, rails, and sears with TW25b synthetic grease. AKs and Golani Sporters have to break-in. They improve with firing and when kept properly lubricated.


The most accurate load I fired was a handload right out of the Sierra Manual, consisting of 26.2 grains of 748 and a 52-grain Sierra HP MatchKing. The Golani Sporter would put three of this recipe into 1/2" at 50 yards and 1 1/2" at 100 yards. This load, by the way, has shot exceedingly well in every AR I have tested it in, regardless of barrel twist. I did notice the latest Sierra manual now lists 23.5 grains, of Viht 133 as the accuracy load. These are not the fastest loads, giving about 2,900 fps, just the most accurate.

The next most accurate load was Winchester's 53-grain HP marketed under the Super X label. It delivered 3shot groups of 1 1/4" at 50 yards and 2" at 100 with a velocity of 3,060 fps.

Military ball ammunition didn't fare as well. I tested Israeli, US and Guatemalan M193 ball. Typical groups at 50 yards ran from 1 1/2" to 1 3/4" and grew to 3" at 100 with velocities running consistently around 3,190 fps. Winchester "USA White Box" 55-grain FMJ was a bit better delivering 1 1/2" at 50 and 2" at 100 yards.

The only stoppages I experienced were 4 failures to extract in the first 40 rounds. The extractor was just stiff and had to break-in. After that, it functioned perfectly.

In short, here's the last chance to own a Galil clone. Century got it right with the Golani Sporter. It's an engaging rifle, a classic and historical milsurp. Fed quality ammunition, the Golani Sporter really performs.


Fieldstripping the AK-based Golani Sporter is simple fast and can be accomplished without tools. First remove the magazine take the safety off cycle the action to cock the hammer and check the chamber is unloaded.

Press in on the serrated latch at the rear of the receiver cover and remove the cover up and rearward from the receiver.

Disengage the serrated latch of the recoil spring guide by pushing t forward out of the receiver dovetail. Remove the recoil spring to the rear
Pull the bolt carrier with its attached piston and bolt all the way to the rear of the receiver where there is a cutout section in the receiver rails. Remove the units by pulling the bolt carrier up and to the rear. Pull the gas tube to the rear and remove it

Remove the bolt from the bolt carrier by pushing it to the rear and rotating it counter clockwise to free its operating cam from the carrier

The rifle is now field stripped for routine cleaning

Reassemble in reverse order. Hint: If the Golani receiver cover won't seat fully and the serrated latch is visible and lined up with its retaining slot, give the top of the cover a stiff rap with your hand. That will normally seat it in place.

Maker: Century International Arms www.centuryarms.biz
ACTION: Gas operated, semiautomatic
CALIBER: 5.56mm
OVERALL LENGTH: Extended: 38.5", Folded: 29.25"
BARREL LENGTH: 18" Twist: 1:9"
SIGHTS: Flip-up apertures, 300m and 500m
STOCK: Tubular steel, folding
buttstock. Synthetic
AVERAGE WEIGHT: 9.25 pounds
FINISH: Parkerized

Additional pictures and videos can be found here

More on the Galil Rifle here


Anonymous said...

Thanks DoubleTapper. Just the info I was looking for. Much appreciated.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the good info. Just got a Golani, can't get the bolt to lock back. Will not lock back when mag is empty, this is not normal is it?

dmuder said...

I bought a Galil Golani from JG Sales out of Prescott AZ. Can original IMI magazines fit in the Century receivers?
Great article! Very informative.

Federal Firearms License Class 3 said...

Hi Friends,

The IDF galil rifle is a multi purpose personal weapon, designed to serve as a basic weapon for the infantry. The rifle is lightweight, air cooled, gas operated, shoulder or hip fired weapon. It is very robust with high reliability in difficult and extreme conditions. Thanks a lot...

Alex said...

i bought a golani sporter a few weeks ago and i really love it! i'm glad i found this article too because i wanted to have as much info on my rifle as possible. thank you DoubleTapper :3


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