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Help the Marine Corps decide on a new caliber for their sniper rifles

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Unread 12-05-2007, 01:15 PM
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Help the Marine Corps decide on a new caliber for their sniper rifles

I have been out of the Marine Corps for over 10 years now but still stay in contact with the sniper community. The last thing I wanted to get accomplished before I left was to get the Marines away from using the .308 for their sniper cartridge. As you can imagine it is only because of the training and weeks on the rifle range that sniper students receive are they able to make long range shots with such a cartridge.

Fast forward to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; and not surprisingly the Marine snipers are having issues making 800 yard+ shots with the .308. This is the first conflict the Marines have been involved in where long range shots are a very common occurrence and data on the .308's long range problems is not surprising

The Marines are considering going to a different cartridge. There is a lot of experience on this board with long range hunting, rifle / caliber combinations that very closely parallel what the Marine Snipers should be using.

I have my own ideas, but am not going to express them, I am really looking for other educated opinions.

Here are the basic parameters for the rifle / caliber combination

Rifle with scope preferably weigh less than 18 pounds, 16 would be better.
Magazine or typical bolt action well feed.
Supersonic to 1500 yards with the ability to shoot accurately on man size targets at that range. Also lethal on people at that range.
In short: man packable, as long range as possible, accurate and lethel

Looking for calibers, barrel length, actions, bullets, etc. What ever you can think of. I plan on building the version of the rifle I have in my head; perhaps some opinions here will sway my thoughts when I build mine and take it to the Marines to shoot and try to pursued them.

USMC Scout Sniper 88-94
Instructor 1st. Mar. Div. SS school 91-94
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Unread 12-05-2007, 02:06 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Central Washington
Posts: 491

It would seem that it would be limited to an available commercial cartridge, right? In that case, the .338 Lapua, which is being used by Canada, Great Britain, and some of the Scandinavian countries, among others, would seem like the obvious choice.

There are lots of GREAT wildcats with similar or even better performance, like the .338 Edge, the Allen Magnums, etc., but selling the military on a non-standardized cartridge seems like an impossibility to me.

Thus the Lapua seems like the best bet.


The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

Thomas Jefferson

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Unread 12-05-2007, 02:59 PM
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Got to agree with the 338 Lapua.
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Unread 12-05-2007, 03:21 PM
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Location: Pennsyltucky
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i'm guessing brass availability would be an issue with the Lapua. of course someone making that brass from here would be a plus.i don't think it is,if not, shouldn't be much of an obstacle. 338Lapua is a great cartridge.

Shawn made the 338 Edge with this in mind. also a great cartridge. american everything. 700 or other common American actions could be used. several barrel makers to choose from. might even go with a 9.3 or 9.5 twist if the 300SMK was used.
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Unread 12-05-2007, 03:48 PM
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I know of a couple Marine snipers that got a little trigger time behind one of Blackwaters Suppressed Sako TGR-42's in 338 lapua and said that if it were allowed that they would buy one with their own money!!!

this would be an easy problem to solve for the Army and their M-24 as its a long action , its a an easy matter of opening the bolt up and mag box to accept the 300 Win mag and rechambering the existing barrel to 300 Win mag, which i believe is the reason they used the long action for the M-24 in the first place

Cobb also makes a realy nice AR type rifle chambered in 338 lapua , that would make for an awsome new rifle for the Marines as in this type combat a semi auto would help out alot with faster follow up shots and engaging mutiple targets
Si Vis Pacem Parabellum
Molon Labe
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Unread 12-05-2007, 05:45 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Gettin lucky in North Kentucky
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I'm gonna spout up for the 300 RUM, or 300 RUM variation of the 338 Edge. Great beltless cartridges.
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Unread 12-05-2007, 06:17 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: OK
Posts: 2,132
7mmWSM, with a 180 gr berger vld at 2800 fps.

elevation sea level; @1500yards; velocity = 1225fps, energy = 600 ft lbs.

Should make your wieght requirement easily, will not need a muzzle brake, and should take a man out of battle. I would assume most targets would be engaged at shorter distances than 1500, but this will get you there if you need it.
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