Truvelo is back with a bang

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Firearms manufacturer Truvelo is finding its feet again under the direction of its new owner, African Defence Group.

The company was exhibiting its full range of rifles at the Africa Aerospace and Defence 2022 exhibition in Pretoria, with more to come. It last exhibited at AAD in 2018, but two years later found itself in business rescue. South African based entrepreneur Heine van Niekerk then stepped in to buy the company in December 2020 on behalf of his own Africa Defence Group, renaming it Truvelo Specialised Manufacturing.

Truvelo, which began by making speed cameras almost 50 years ago, began forging its name as a designer and manufacturer of high precision and highly accurate rifle barrels as a passion project of its founding CEO Joe Gebert. This developed into the manufacturing of high accuracy custom rifles, initially for hunters and ultimately countermeasure sniper (CMS) rifles all the way through to 20mm anti-materiel rifles capable of firing SAPHEI (semi-armour piercing high explosive incendiary) rounds into vehicles and infrastructure targets.

It was this kind of typical South African innovation and excellence that Van Niekerk could not see lost, said Truvelo spokesperson Tandy Botha. “Heine had a vision of trying to save this proud heritage and indeed the last authentic South African small arms manufacturer.”

Through Van Niekerk’s intervention, Truvelo managed to honour its pre-existing contract to supply sniper rifles to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) through Armscor, for which Truvelo remains a preferred supplier. The final consignment of these rifles is about to be handed over.

Truvelo offers a range of large calibre weapons, including in 14.5×114 mm, 20×42 mm; 20×82 mm; and, 20×110 mm. The company also produces a complete range of assault rifles from a 9 mm machine pistol all the way past 5.56 mm to 7.62 mm, as well as 60 mm patrol mortars and the 81 mm support mortar.

Growing firearms range

Truvelo is currently working on its eponymous Truvelo 700 range, said engineer and project manager Chris Naude, inspired by the Remington 700 series, but greatly improved.

“We kept the Remington 700 footprint with its incredible variety of triggers and butts, but improved the extractor and the bolt, making the entire rifle stronger and resistant to pressure. It comes chambered in 6 mm, 6.5 mm or .308 fully machined and fitted, included picatinny rails, with no need for any customisation by the end user, they can just drop on optics onto the rail and go into the veld.

“The way we machine it, means it’s already blueprinted; everything is 100% accurate, true and square from the word go, which is the Truvelo DNA: precision accuracy.”

The first ten Truvelo 700 series have been pre-ordered. The company has also developed a bespoke ranger rifle, based on the Truvelo 700 receiver to very constrained specifications: weight less than 3.5 kg, overall length less than 1 metre, with a collapsible butt for ease of carry, yet adjustable for small or tall users. It is constructed on an aluminium chassis with a ten-round detachable magazine. It is chambered for .308 Winchester or 7.62×51 mm.

“It was designed specifically for game rangers,” Naude said. “There is no wood that can buckle under intense periods of exposure to wet weather; it can be carried for days without discomfort and it can fire and reload rapidly. It’s made to withstand the kind of hard use that you would expect for game rangers patrolling in the wild.

“We have covered a lot of ground since Heine acquired the company and there’s a lot more in the pipeline,” said Botha.