The Beretta Model 501 Sniper bolt-action sniper rifle did little to separate itself from competitors when it was introduced in the mid-1980s.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The Beretta Model 501 "Sniper" was a thoroughly conventional bolt-action sniper rifle appearing in 1985. Though soundly -made, it did not prove a commercial success in a field where there were many options. Chambering was for the ubiquitous 7.62x51mm NATO rifle cartridge and the primary user of the gun became the Italian Army (if only for a short while).
Internally, the Model 501 was given a "free-floating" barrel in which no part of the barrel touched the stock along its length - resulting in inherently improved accuracy. The wooden stock ran from the forend to the shoulder to which there resided an adjustable recoil / shoulder pad and accompanying cheekpiece. At the forend was a short extending tube which seated the folding bipod assembly, the assembly hinged to collapse when not needed. The forend also housed a counterweight to help reduce inherent vibrations in the gun when fired. The trigger unit sat in its traditional place under the receiver and a thumb hole was built-in as part of the grip area. A short magazine was inserted into a well ahead of the trigger unit and held five rounds of 7.62x51mm. Target-style iron sights were standard for sighting the gun but the system was always primed to feature a scope of some kind. The bolt handle lay over the right side of the rifle and was operated in the usual fashion.
The Model 501 was intended to serve at the military and police levels but found little interest in a crowded rifle market during its production run. Even the Italian Army used it for only a short period as they eventually switched over to the Accuracy International "Arctic Warfare" line in time.
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