New sharpshooter rifle(US Made) for British Army

Crusader74

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UK selects 7.62 mm Sharpshooter weapon for Afghan ops
Andrew White Jane's Land Reporter
London

UK forces are to receive a semi-automatic 7.62 mm x 51 mm 'sharpshooter' weapon to combat Taliban forces engaging beyond the maximum effective range of the 5.56 mm L85A2 assault rifle.

In a USD2.5 million deal the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has contracted Law Enforcement International (LEI) to supply 440 LM7 semi-automatic rifles.

The urgent operational requirement follows calls from troops on the ground for a weapon that can be comfortably patrolled with, can be rapidly initiated and provide an increased range for contacts out to 800 m.

To be redesignated the L129A1, the gas-operated weapon carries a 20-round magazine, is 945 mm long and weighs 5 kg. It will be manufactured by Lewis Machine & Tool Company in the United States, with deliveries expected to begin in early 2010.

Features of the weapon include a single-piece upper receiver and free-floating, quick-change barrels available in 305 mm, 406 mm and 508 mm. It has four Picatinny rails with a 540 mm top rail for night vision, thermal and image intensifying optics. Stock options include fixed or retractable versions.

Industry sources told Jane's that LEI beat competition including Heckler & Koch's HK417 (already supplied to specialist units within the MoD), FN Herstal's SCAR (Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle) and an offering from Sabre Defence Industries.

To date UK soldiers must complete a marksmanship course to become qualified as 'sharpshooters' and are regarded as being a grade below that of a sniper. Following the introduction of Accuracy International's (AI's) .338-cal L115A3 sniper rifle, sharpshooters have been armed with AI's outgoing 7.62 mm L96 rifle. However, the latter's bolt action does not make it a suitable option for a patrolling soldier.

With the majority of contacts occurring at either very close range or at ranges out to between 500 m and 900 m, the "only organic asset" available to responding UK forces in a small-arms capacity is the 7.62 mm General-Purpose Machine Gun, with MoD sources saying that "5.56 mm weapons lack the reach to engage the enemy at those ranges".

"The 5.56 mm is sufficiently lethal at the right range, but troops need 7.62 mm for longer ranges. We should be looking at higher performance rounds with higher lethality at longer range. Research is going to filter into user requirements for the soldier system lethality programme," one MoD source told Jane's .




2h6ej2a.jpg
 

koz

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I think this was the one SAWMAN was saying was sub MOA and an all around badass peice... But I agree with you on the M110SWS being a POS...

I believe SAWMAN was talking about the POF 308 (I dug up that thread).

I'm in agreement with Cric - The M110 is a POS. There (were) are some good SR-25's but it took about 70 mods to make them work well. The POF is a nice piece, but I know there have been some QC issues. A couple mil units were looking pretty hard at the POF to be their 7.62 piece.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I believe SAWMAN was talking about the POF 308 (I dug up that thread).

Okay, I remember him talking about a 308 that looked the same, but I did'nt take the time to look up the thread... Thanks for clearing it up! ;)

Can't edit my previous post. So apparently you have to change or clean the barrel every 100 rounds to maintain full accuracy... the mil said they'd provide replacement barrels, but that still sounds bullshit. Sure you can get a bit done with 100 rounds, since it's a DM rifle, but still...

So what’s the data on the rifle, is it a gas piston or impingement? What’s the accuracy diminishment after 100 rounds? Is it requiring a full cleaning or just a few barrel swipes?

It’s kind of boggling to me b/c every DMR/SWS I have owned or shot has been at its best in accuracy between 150 to 750 rounds and normally goes to shit after 1000 rounds. Especially my match rifles, I normally only clean the bolt and functioning parts and then only swipe the barrel 4 times between shooting until I see the accuracy is starting to diminish.

A lot of times it takes a few hundred rounds to get enough carbon in the barrel to get consistent groups and accuracy…
 

Diamondback 2/2

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Not being a piston gas system is a good thing for a DMR IMHO. I have tested the HK416 and was not thrilled with its accuarcy and would not look to a piston system as a SDMR/DMR.
 

Rapid

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I dunno, bro. I was discussing this earlier with an acquaintance, and I sort of agree with what he said. I'm just going to post it here; that being that the military doesn't *really* need a sub-MOA DM rifle for operations for a few reasons. The first is maintenance and the second is ammunition. Sure, you could build a sub-MOA gun that could last for longer. But, it's doubtful you'd get reliable ammunition that came-in under sub-MOA as well, so it'd negate the effectiveness (and value) of the sub-MOA gun. Even the most well-equipped units aren't using sub-MOA weapons a lot. They're looking for more powerful weapons rather than more accurate and precise right now. TTPs for CT situations don't need super long-range weapons, but the enemy we're facing now we need more range rather than balls-on accuracy.

Of course there are always specifics situations, etc, that can call on more specific weaponry, especially in CT -- so the ultra precise weapons still need to be kept around just in case. Anyway, that's just my perspective from the UK -- if you have a different opinion for the US Mil, that's cool.
 
8

8'Duece

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It looks like just about any of 1,000 .308 AR style rifles that I've seen in the hands of non-military or prior service guy's at the range.

Magpul PRS stock.

Stainless 410 barrel, low pro gas block, rail system, trigger, upper and lower receiver, fancy BI-POD and a big ass piece of glass running on top.

I can build that rifle, if you give me the componets, in about an hour. Assuming I don't do it near the sink. :D
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I dunno, bro. I was discussing this earlier with an acquaintance, and I sort of agree with what he said. I'm just going to post it here; that being that the military doesn't *really* need a sub-MOA DM rifle for operations for a few reasons. The first is maintenance and the second is ammunition. Sure, you could build a sub-MOA gun that could last for longer. But, it's doubtful you'd get reliable ammunition that came-in under sub-MOA as well, so it'd negate the effectiveness (and value) of the sub-MOA gun. Even the most well-equipped units aren't using sub-MOA weapons a lot. They're looking for more powerful weapons rather than more accurate and precise right now. TTPs for CT situations don't need super long-range weapons, but the enemy we're facing now we need more range rather than balls-on accuracy.

Of course there are always specifics situations, etc, that can call on more specific weaponry, especially in CT -- so the ultra precise weapons still need to be kept around just in case. Anyway, that's just my perspective from the UK -- if you have a different opinion for the US Mil, that's cool.

I can understand that and I have taught many SDM classes with rack grade M16’s rifles and M855 ammo roughly a 3MOA weapon system (the standard SDM rifle for most solders). Is it effective at 100 to 600? Sure! Will it be under a high amount of stress? More then likely not…

I am 110% accuracy driven, I want it to shoot better then I can. Why? Because it allows me a greater margin of error when it counts. Larry Vickers has an article where he talks about accuracy of a “combat pistol/rifle” and basically says in needs to be able to shoot a head shot (2.5” group) at “pistol 25yd” and “rifle 100yd”.

I think he is 100% right, but this applies to your battle rifle and sidearm, not a DMR. The standard M4/M16 with M855 will barely perform to this standard.

Now for a SDMR/DMR you are basically using it to shoot a very accurate shot at distance. When we get zeros and dope, we are doing this under the best conditions (range, sand bag or bipod with and nobody shooting at you).

Under stress you can expect your groups/ dope to be increased by 50% so if you are using a 1MOA weapons system you are now under stress shooting 2MOA. This means that if your SDMR/DMR is 1MOA and you are under stress at 500yd you are shooting a 10inch group pattern.

Now if you fuck up a little on your doping the wind or elevation at that distance, you have greatly reduced your hit ratio (ball park of 25% hit rate). To me this is not acceptable.

If we go and use the standard SDMR for the Army soldier M16 with M855 that holds 3MOA, we have literally taken our SDM’s and set them up for failure.

This is why the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) developed the AMU-SDMR that was subMOA with standard MK262 ammo. I believe during testing it held a 2-inch group “consistently” at 300yd and stayed subMOA out to 600yd. That is the rifle we should and are starting to arm the regular line dog SDM with now.

As for reliability… If it’s reliable but can’t perform to the level of accuracy I need its useless. A subMOA SDMR/DMR is more then reliable enough when properly maintained.

As for the distance issue… If the bullet can kill at 2000yd that is great, but if you can’t accurately and consistently hit with it at that range. Who cares?

And this is where a draw my opinion from.
 

Rapid

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Space rifles with incredible sub-MOA accuracy and M16s using M855 are two different extremes though. I'm just saying there's a middle ground, and that those space rifles aren't necessarily an absolute must. I think range and firepower are the most important factors for a place like the 'Stan right now; naturally accuracy is very important too, but not to the point where it has to be sub-MOA in my opinion (again, without going to the other extreme either). SMUs have access to nearly anything they want, but they aren't using sub-MOA DM weapons a lot of the time either (info from a valid source).

For instance, the HK417 works quite well for UKSF, and it's not sub-MOA (unless you use a specialized barrel and ammo), but it comes very close to it. UKSF picked it for the DM role, and I think that says something. After all, if you're shooting at 2000 yards, then you've got actual sniper rifles you can use, which will be sub-MOA most likely and will be more suited for that kind of engagement. DM rifles for me are about a more intermediate range. Sure it's great if they can hit out to very long ranges too, but at those distances I'd prefer something in a calibre with a little more 'oomph'.

But anyway, everyone's gonna have their own personal preferences. :)
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I agree that a DMR does not have to be a “space rifle” or a subMOA rifle, but if it’s available or the ability to obtain this level of accuracy, it will give the DM an advantage. There for an effort should be made to test and allocate such rifles for DM’s.

My SDM on my last deployment was using a M16A4 (Optic TA31F) with MK262 ammo and was consistently achieving 1MOA groups. I feel it was a good match up for his skill level in marksmanship and the tools we had available to arm him. If I could have given or was able to get him better, I would have though…
 

Diamondback 2/2

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You are right and most cases we have to make do with what ever is available. Little things like knowing how to match the right “standard ammo” with the rifle you have available will go along way. And then as always continued training will always shine through.

One of the big things that I hate is about how the Infantry uses a SDM, I think squad and team leaders should have a course that cover the SDM employment side. They need to know the boundaries, abilities and how the SDM is a force multiplier. Not view them as just the “long shot” guy, or attempt to use them in a Sniper role…
 

Crusader74

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Copied from Mp.net.


Gentlemen,

It is rare that we comment on internet forums, but there is so much dis-information and mis-information that it is necessary to set the record straight. Many of the posts are opinions based on this incorrect information. It is therefore understandable that there is some bias based against the L129A1.

Clearly, there are details that we cannot, or will not, discuss. But here are some corrections and also information that can be revealed.

1. The picture in the post shows the commercial specification model LM308MWS. This picture was taken at the 2009 SHOT Show. The L129A1 has a retractable stock and 16” black stainless barrel.

2. Cleaning and barrel change at 100 rds ??? Absolute rubbish. I have no idea where this came from and it is certainly NOT correct. LMT fired thousands of rounds through development weapons in 2008/2009 without cleaning to test longer term reliability and accuracy. There were no issues with reliability or a degradation in accuracy.

It is NOT necessary to change or remove the barrel at all. The ABILITY to change barrels is present in the weapon as a design feature (It was not a requirement for this tender).

This design allows for barrels of different lengths (e.g. very short CQB barrel or full length heavy sniper barrel) to be easily fitted. It also allows for future calibre change to cartridges of similar dimension. The L129A1 is the “big brother” of LMT’s current 5.56mm CQB/MRP, which has barrels available from 10.5” to 18” length in 5.56mm, and can be quickly calibre changed to 6.8mm (12.5” & 16” barrels are available).

3. It is neither new nor uncommon to produce barrels in stainless steel. If you look at the current British Army Accuracy International .338 sniper rifle, you will find the barrel is stainless steel…………….

The public tender specification called for a weapon offering high accuracy at 800 metres, and indeed the L129A1 is exceptionally accurate, as was proven in the trials. It is indeed a match grade barrel. The use of stainless steels keeps corrosion issues to a minimum; The barrel will have a black finish externally.

4. If you refer to official press release, contract award was “on the basis of overall performance and price”. i.e. the LMT weapon both performed better in the trials and also happened to be cheaper.

5. Military products ?? “Pappy” is quite correct. LMT are set up for military production, and just happen to make weapons for the US commercial market – not the other way round. It is on public record that they supply the US Government and various Federal agencies. It is also on public record that they have had numerous contracts to make and supply the M203A1 40mm launcher to the US Army. Furthermore, LMT products are in use with several UK police forces as well as military forces in various countries around the world. Indeed, one “Coalition members” SF have used LMT weapons operationally for several years in Afghanistan and are very happy with them

6. The .308 version, LM308MWS, will be available for commercial sale in the USA in 2010. Suggest you visit the SHOT Show in Las Vegas in 3 weeks time and place your order.

7. The L129A1 uses a forged ONE piece aluminium upper receiver. This acts as a massive heatsink. Consequently, a higher rate of fire can be achieved, with a lower temperature rise than with comparable 7.62mm weapons.

8. The weapons is designed to function reliably with commercial ammunition, M80 military ball, and match grade military or commercial ammunition. Clearer, the better quality ammunition gives tighter groups.

9. The system is direct gas impingement, and the barrel is fully free floating. By that, it is meant that nothing rests against the barrel beyond the area that it is clamped into the receiver. I exclude the gas tube in this, since it is part of the barrel assembly. In early development work, direct gas was found to be more accurate at longer ranges than a piston system (note: LMT make both direct gas and also piston systems in 5.56mm)


LMT is not the same “household” name as Colt, FN, Beretta, SIG or HK. But, it is a manufacturer of high quality products, and has been in the business for 30 years.

MOD deemed LMT’s offering to have the best overall performance. That is not to say that any of the other weapons submitted for the trials were bad. In fact, far from it. We just met the tender criteria better than our competitors.

We hope this sets the record straight and that people will view this exciting new weapon system with an open mind.

Greg Felton/LEI


The New DMR
 
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