USMC fielding new Semi-auto SWS

Diamondback 2/2

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Corps fielding new semi-automatic sniper rifle

By Dan Lamothe - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Mar 17, 2011 7:11:58 EDT

The Marine Corps is rolling out a new, semi-automatic sniper rifle to scout sniper platoons, but holding fire for now on fielding a long-range precision rifle designed to drop targets at 1,500 meters.

The service recently began equipping scout snipers with the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System. Made by Knight’s Armament Company in Titusville, Fla., the rifle allows shooters to rapidly engage targets out to 800 meters with match-grade 7.62mm ammunition, especially in scenarios requiring multiple follow-up shots.

A handful of Marines have used similar weapons downrange before, but the M110 did not receive full fielding approval until the fall, according to an internal memo obtained by Marine Corps Times. It will be fielded to augment the bolt-action 7.62mm M40A5 sniper rifle already in use, and replace two other semi-automatic 7.62mm weapons — the M39 enhanced marksman rifle and the Mark 11 Mod 1 sniper rifle — said Jim Katzaman, a spokesman at Marine Corps Systems Command, out of Quantico, Va.

Marine officials declined to provide more details about the fielding plans, but the memo said fielding will occur in two phases. Deploying units and schools teaching scout sniper and designated marksman skills were scheduled to begin receiving M110s in January, with fielding continuing through the fall. The second phase calls for filling additional requirements in deploying units and replacing the M39 rifle on a one-for-one basis beginning next fall.

The Corps exercised an option on an existing Army contract for the M110 in June, buying 803 for $8.3 million, said retired Lt. Col. David Lutz, vice president for military operations at Knight’s. Scout sniper teams likely will carry both the M40A5 and the M110 on many missions, he said. More weapons could be purchased as the Corps completes fielding.

“It’s probably a toss-up whether they’ll go out with the M40 or the M110 as the primary weapon,” Lutz said. “I think it’ll depend on what they’re facing on a given day. If it’s a one-shot, one-kill scenario, then it’ll probably still be the M40 getting primary use.”

The Corps’ widespread adoption of the M110 comes more than a decade after the military began adopting the SR-25, a commercial model made by Knight’s with many similarities to the M110. In 2007, the Corps issued an urgent-needs statement for 180 semi-automatic sniper rifles with similarities to the SR-25, and fielded the Mark 11 Mod 1. Those weapons are still likely in the Corps’ inventory, and are distinctive because they are black, rather than tan, Lutz said.

The Army began fielding the M110 in Iraq in 2008, after naming it the No. 2 invention for soldiers in 2007. It has a 20-inch barrel, adjustable butt stock and typically carries 10- and 20-round magazines. Its stainless steel sound suppressor also muffles the sound of gunfire so that it is substantially quieter than the bolt-action M24 and M40.

The Corps’ M110 will be nearly identical to the Army’s, but there are a few differences, Lutz said. For one, Marines are unlikely to carry 10-round magazines for the weapon. The optics also will be different. Soldiers typically use a 3.5x10 optic made by Leupold, of Beaverton, Ore., but the Corps will use a scope from Premier Reticles, of Winchester, Va. Premier already makes the Corps’ scout sniper day scope.

The PSR question

The Corps’ plans for another more powerful sniper rifle are less clear, however. Marine officials have been mum as U.S. Special Operations Command pushes forward with a competition to decide which company will provide its Precision Sniper Rifle.

The Corps began considering options for a new long-range sniper rifle at least seven years ago, after Marines in Iraq issued a universal needs statement for a weapon capable of reaching 1,500 meters. In July 2009, Marine Corps Combat Development Command completed a draft capabilities development document for the weapon, calling it the SR-21, short for Sniper Rifle 21st Century. It said the SR-21 could replace the 7.62mm M40A5, the latest version of a weapon that has been fielded since the 1960s.

“The current M40 Series is limited by a caliber not suited for precision fire at distances greater than 914 meters, is extremely heavy relative to its capability and is readily identifiable by its sounds and flash signature,” said the document, obtained by Marine Corps Times through the Freedom of Information Act.

More recently, the Corps has stepped back, as SOCOM launched its PSR competition. Marine officials worked extensively with SOCOM to develop specifications for the rifle, but hadn’t finalized its plans, MARCORSYSCOM officials said last spring.

Marine officials said the Corps is now waiting to see how the PSR competition turns out before deciding what it will do, a common practice for the service when other branches of service are pursuing similar projects.

Several rifles could be in contention. For example, FN Herstal unveiled its Ballista PSR at the 2011 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Convention in Las Vegas in January. The company is relatively new to building precision rifles, but snipers and other combat veterans at SHOT Show said it looked impressive. It features a suppressed .338-caliber system that can be configured for 7.62mm NATO ammo, .308 Winchester ammo and .300 Winchester Magnum.

Another likely contender for the PSR contract is Remington’s Modular Sniper Rifle. It has the same multicaliber capabilities as the Ballista, and came close to meeting SOCOM’s PSR requirements in its first-generation submission, said Joshua Cutlip, who handles technical services for the company.

Remington’s XM2010 — which bears many similarities to a beefed-up M24 or M40 — also may be in play to meet the PSR requirement, some industry analysts said. Sources told Army Times, Marine Corps Times’ sister publication, that some Army snipers have occasionally upped their rounds from 190-grain to 220-grain, and achieved distances and accuracy desired from the PSR. It’s chambered for .300 Winchester Magnum ammo.

The first three XM2010s were delivered to Army Sniper School on Jan. 18. XM2010s were expected to reach Army forces in Afghanistan by the end of February, said Trevor Shaw, Remington’s director of military and government programs.

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2011/03/marine-corps-sniper-rifle-m110-031711w/
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I am not a fan of the M110, I think the design is spot on, but the accuracy and overall package could use some improvement. It needs to be lighter and smaller, 16 to 18 barrel and a M4 style stock would make a good touch. The accuracy when suppressed needs to improve a lot IMO, I was shooting 2.5 to 3 MOA groups at 100 yards with the M110. Not what I would consider a precision rifle.

I hope the USMC is smarter about this then the Army was, I would point them at the LT-OBR system but I am sure there are some even better options out there for 308 semi auto SWS. Once they get a 308 semi auto, I would say dump the M40 bolt guns for a 338 bolt gun (gaining there 1500-1800 yard range).
 

Hitman2/3

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I am not a fan of the M110, I think the design is spot on, but the accuracy and overall package could use some improvement. It needs to be lighter and smaller, 16 to 18 barrel and a M4 style stock would make a good touch. The accuracy when suppressed needs to improve a lot IMO, I was shooting 2.5 to 3 MOA groups at 100 yards with the M110. Not what I would consider a precision rifle.

I hope the USMC is smarter about this then the Army was, I would point them at the LT-OBR system but I am sure there are some even better options out there for 308 semi auto SWS. Once they get a 308 semi auto, I would say dump the M40 bolt guns for a 338 bolt gun (gaining there 1500-1800 yard range).

Couldn't agree with you more. I don't know what the military's facination is with making Sniper Systems heavy and long as hell. For what a semi auto SWS is designed for you don't need a 20 inch barrel. You aren't making rapid shots out at a grand, usualy your looking at 6-700m maybe 800m. I would say for most a 16 inch would work fine. LWRC's SABR/REPR and LT's OBR's are perfect examples. Hell those things hold a minute out to 500m with a 12 inch barrel. Or with the REPR you can role with the 12 inch as your primary and them bust out your 20 inch upper for your long range work.

Don't even get me started on the .308 bolt guns. In the 1960's up until the 90's sure. But when you have rounds that can do at 1200m what the .308 does at 400m with the same or less weapon weight it should be a no brainer. These days a well trained Scout Sniper is only limited by his equipment. A 1000m shot with a .300 or .338 if fairly easy, compared to the same shot with a .308. The round is lighter and slower and is more or less plunging at a grand, versus the laser beam effect of a .300 or .338. The amount of shift from a 10 mph cross wind is significant let alone if you have multiple wind directions. Its damn near an educated guess at that range.

For now if you want to engage past about 11-1200 yards (really pushing it) your stuck with a 35 pound Barret with the 5 pound mags to go with it. At 3 MOA its still a crap shoot past 1500, but then again nobody ever said it was a sniper system. For some reason though that seems to be commanders response when you say the 40 dosen't get out far enough. Hell you hump the gun and ammo and then miss shoots because the impact zone is bigger than the guy your shooting at then tell me the M107 is the answer. Ok I feel better now. :D
 

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For sure. An 800 yard shot with an M110 is a bit of a stretch. Sure, you could hit a target at 800 with it, but is it repeatable and something you could do on the first shot? No.

The Mk13 on the other hand, is pretty much a guaranteed first round hit at 800 given accurate ranging and a decent wind call. As for the need for follow up shots, 300-400 and in I'm probably taking a head shot with the Mk13 given I have a solid firing position and the winds are light- no follow up shot is needed in that case.

Also, follow ups are really only needed in the case of a miss, so making a gun that is well suited for follow up shots is like making an excuse before the fact. At 'sniper ranges', we'll say 200 and beyond, if you poke a hole in someone between the waist and the top of the head they're pretty much out of the game at that point, a guy lying on the ground bleeding out hundreds of meters away doesn't NEED to be shot again. A 175-190 gr Match King to the torso isn't something you're going to bounce back from, you might not be killed immediately but you're going to out of the fight for the time being and probably forever unless you're rendered some of the miracles of modern medicine.

10.5" M4 in hand and a .300 in the pack is a good RX for most nuisance eradication missions, and don't forget to have a belt gun in the patrol- never leave home without it.
 

The91Bravo

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First of all until the M110 has ZERO failures in their trigger system, I think it should be benched DoD wide.

Second, when you pop the suppressor on and have to fire 5 rounds (with 5-10MOA accuracy) just to seat the suppressor, I think that is a problem.

I love the .300WM, but having barrel life of 1500 rds +- is a little weak. I think it is time to move up to the .338, or have someone get the Semi Auto sniper rifle fixed before putting it out there.

Hell, I'd even prefer the SCAR heavy before I humped the M110 around..

just my .02
 

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Yeah I am of the opinion of “why go 300 when we can go 338” but either way would be better than nothing. I would like to see a DMR (5.56), SASSR (7.62) and SWS (338) and drop the M24/M40 and M107…
 

The91Bravo

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But, going back to the title of this thread, I just read an article about the Win Model 70 that the USMC pretty much bucked the system on and bought by themselves for SouthEast Asia. They had a need, they made a purchase, they used the tools. Whatever the Marines need, I am sure they will make sure it is GTG before it is fielded.

I saw this German .50 that has a recoil piston system, and the set up is Bullpup in nature so it is shirt short short. I have to find it.. It was cool.
 

Hitman2/3

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I don't know I would like to think the Marine Corps would get the best tool for the job but over the past 10 years that's not what I've seen as far as Snipers go. Snipers asked for longer range a better scope bipods suppressor and external mag for the M40A1 replacement. People who weren't Scout Snipers picked the final gun without seeing what the Snipers thought and the initial response was a gun that was significantly heavier with the same range no suppressor no external mag and the same scope. They finally got it somewhat right almost 7 years after the fact but in a rush to produce they seem to have sacrificed accuracy. Our A5's with or without the suppressor attached seem to be holding about 1.5 to 1.7 MOA a big jump when you can normally put all three rounds through more or less the same hole. Same with the DMR the initial was good to go (could have been a little shorter), all it really needed was a small rail to mount night optics. Next thing you know Quantico completely changed it made it heavier took away the suppressor and made the whole thing a nice silver color that blends in really well. Not to mention the other problems we've had with them.
Its like they ask the guy on the ground what he needs then some Master Guns or WO who hasn't ever done the job or did it a decade ago say's "no no no they need this not that". It would just be nice if they just gave us what we asked for, just keep it the same from the guy who ask for it until it’s fielded. I like the Royal Marines approach. The guy on the ground in Astan says we need more range less than a year later they go from .308 to .338. US Marines have been saying the same thing for over a decade and their just now "looking" at going to a .300. I think its a conspiracy to keep Marines pissed off, if we were happy we wouldn't want to kill everything we see, :D .

But, going back to the title of this thread, I just read an article about the Win Model 70 that the USMC pretty much bucked the system on and bought by themselves for SouthEast Asia. They had a need, they made a purchase, they used the tools. Whatever the Marines need, I am sure they will make sure it is GTG before it is fielded.

I saw this German .50 that has a recoil piston system, and the set up is Bullpup in nature so it is shirt short short. I have to find it.. It was cool.
 

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The M110 suppressor doesn't need to be seated, that's just on the Mk13- that's why no one in their right mind fires the Mk13 suppressed.

The Army's reason for sticking with the .300 and not going to .338 with the PSR and M2010 is because the next generation of .300 ammo after all the Mk248/A191 is used up is supposed to have a higher BC, something like within .05 of the .338. I can't remember exactly what it is but something like a 205 gr bullet moving at the same velocity, approx 2,990 fps, which I'm guessing puts it somewhere in the mid .6 range.
 

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Hitman2/3 said:
I think its a conspiracy to keep Marines pissed off, if we were happy we wouldn't want to kill everything we see, :D .



And is there anything wrong with that. It is also part of USMC rules of gun fighting.
 
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