From all the variety of sniper weapons released in the United States, we have selected the most significant specimens in history, which influenced the development of weaponry and outlined trends for further development. Together with you, we will trace how the parameters of sniper rifles have changed over the past four decades.
Sniper rifles of the US army
Barrett Firearms Manufacturing produced this rifle in 1982. The year of release and the name of the company gave the rifle’s name. It is a semi-automatic system designed for long-range combat, destruction of equipment, personnel, strategically essential units, and demining. The Barrett M82 accepts .50 BMG (12.7x99mm). This large caliber quickly penetrates concrete and brick walls of shelters, armor. The rifle is equipped with a muzzle brake that absorbs 70% of the recoil. The magazine is designed for ten rounds. The upper part of the receiver has a Picatinny rail for mounting additional equipment. In case of missing or damaged sight, there is a folding sight. The weapon is equipped with a removable handle and bipod. But due to its large size (1400mm) and weight (14kg), it is most often transported in a case.
This is another creation of Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, created in 1995. The Barrett M95 is an improved version of the Barrett M90. The improved grip makes this model more comfortable. It was designed as a manual alternative to the semi-automatic Barrett M82. The M95 uses the same cartridges as the Barrett M82 and is intended for similar purposes. The rifle has a removable magazine for five rounds. The standard firing range of the M95 is about 900m, but there is evidence of the target hitting at a distance of 2000m. The developers have made a nice bonus in the form of the manual thumb safety. The kit includes a Leupold scope with 10x magnification. But the installed Picatinny rail allows you to hang a night vision scope or something else to choose from. The rifle has no reserve sights. The M95 can be disassembled without any tools in the field within one minute. The Barrett M95 is more compact and lighter than the Barrett M82, making it easier for a sniper to transport. A bipod or monopod is used as support.
The McMillan TAC-50 is a bolt action rifle designed for the .50 BMG projectile (12.7 × 99 mm). It owes its name to the manufacturer McMillan Brothers Rifles, “tactical” and the .50 caliber. The rifle is designed for long distances and has excellent penetrating power. The fact of the registered world record for the range of 3540m in Iraq will tell about the content of the weapon. Rifle accuracy 0.5 MOA. The Picatinny rail allows you to install a telescopic sight, a night vision sight. The TAS-50 is used as an anti-tank weapon, destroys concrete fortifications, participates in demining and inflicting massive damage on enemy personnel. It can be used as a long-range sniper rifle. Of the features of this weapon, we note a thicker muzzle section than that of similar models and an efficient muzzle brake, which facilitates recoil. It is possible to install a silencer. The rifle has a removable magazine for five rounds. The butt of the weapon is made of fiberglass and is adjustable in length. TAK-50 is supplied and used with bipods.
The M24 was based on the Remington Model 700 as the first sniper weapon specially equipped for US snipers. It is supplied as a complete and ready-to-use system. The M24 is a bolt action rifle fitted with a 10×42 Leupold Ultra M3A scope. There are three models designed for different tasks and equipped for different calibers. Standard ammunition 7.62×51 mm NATO is used infrequently, as it requires zeroing. The caliber M118 SB is mainly used. The design of the M24 allows the rifle to be retrofitted to .470 Nitro Express, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .338 Lapua Magnum cartridges. The actual accuracy of the M24 depends on the type of ammunition, but on average, it is close to 1 MOA. The firing range ranges from 800-2300m. The barrel is designed for 5000 rounds. The rifle has two options for fixed magazines: 5 and 10 rounds. The stock is made of composite materials. The butt pad extends two inches. The cheeks are immobile. For transportation, a container for weapons M-1950 is used for airborne operations.
PEO Soldier took into account the experience of snipers who worked in Afghanistan and replaced the outdated M24 with a newer version of the M2010 rifle. Compared to the prototype, the rifle received a 50% increase in range due to the change of ammunition. It has a manual operation, a sliding bolt, and the .300 Winchester Magnum cartridge. The heavier cartridge gave an increase in recoil, an increase in the weight of the ammunition box, and more wear on the barrel. Despite these innovations, the total weight of the rifle is 5.5 kg, giving the sniper the necessary mobility. The overall ergonomics of the weapon have been improved, and the steel stock can be folded down and stowed away in a backpack. The rifle is equipped with a 5-round magazine, Picatinny rail, Titan-QD silencer. We want to highlight the advantages: excellent accuracy ≤ 1 MOA, reasonable hitting distance – up to 1200m and superior optics. The M2010 comes with a 30mm Leupold Mark 4 6.5-20 × 50mm ER / T M5 scope and AN / PVS-30 Clip-on Sniper Night Sight night vision scope. All elements of the rifle have an anti-corrosion coating. In addition to all the obvious advantages, we note that this rifle was produced in a small batch and is in service only with the United States.
Mk 22 (MRAD)
MK22 is the most modern and versatile sniper rifle to date. The US Army has signed a contract with Barrett Firearms Manufacturing for 2800 MK22. The rifle has a longitudinal-trigger mechanism and is designed to operate significantly. She can use .338, .300 Norma Magnum, 7.62 x 51 NATO, Creedmoor 6.5mm, .260 Remington and 7mm Remington Magnum. The sniper will be able to change the barrel using a wrench quickly. The kit contains 3 barrel options and can accept nine types of ammunition. According to the warm assurance of snipers, this rifle surpasses in performance anything that has previously fallen into their hands. It features excellent accuracy (0.5 MOA) and long-range (1.5 km) fire. We liked the innovative ideas: interchangeable barrel, receiver, and bolt; adjustable trigger module; fire selector, comfortable for both driving hands; cheek piece adjustable on the height of the comb, comfortable for right-handers and left-handers; disassembly of the receiver without tools for maintenance; bolt-in closed polymer guide with smooth running. The stock is made of aluminum, folds for convenience, and allows for increased traction to adapt to the shape of the shooter. The total weight of the weapon ranges from 6.3-7 kg. The receiver is machined from aluminum and has a Picatinny rail with an integrated cone. The barrel is equipped with a muzzle brake. The kit includes a magazine for ten rounds. The rifle will be supplied with a Leupold & Stevens Mark 5 HD scope. There is no doubt that the MK22 can replace several rifles in a sniper’s arsenal and will allow him to adapt to changing tasks quickly.
Weaponry trends lean towards a versatile product capable of combining multiple rifles in a single weapon. The new rifles can adapt to all shapes and sizes of shooters, catering to the needs of people with a top right and left hand. The weight and size of the weapon tend to be reduced, giving the fighter more maneuverability. Optics evolve faster than weapon mechanics and have a more significant impact on accuracy and range.