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

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Unread 07-15-2009, 09:20 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wilmington NC
Posts: 4,691
Re: Help the Marine Corps decide on a new caliber for their sniper rifles

It will be the 338 Lapua. Just plain proven and criteria calls for two large ammo mftrs. USMC sniper instructors had the Brit para AI 338 Lapua guns for quite a while and loved them.

That leaves out the RUM, Edge etc

They are already shooting the 300 Win mag and goes to 1200 or so, that means the 300 WSM, 7-08, 7 short mag etc are not even in the running.

As far as cost, it is only 4 smart bombs or one fighter engine for the entire USMC and Army.

Forget a 700 action. They are wanting robust action with long term reliability with multiple barrel lifes. That leaves out an opened 700 that many consider marginal.

It will be a bolt action, simply due to the accuracy over a semi auto at 1500 plus.

My bets are on the AI guns. A super 338 master LR BR smith (who will go unnamed at this time and some here have even used) has been testing different reamer and barrel configurations for them. He will be hand checking the test guns. I am sure by the time they get the test guns for the services, the rifles will be absolutely tack drivers and butter smooth.


Last edited by BountyHunter; 07-16-2009 at 07:02 PM.
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Unread 07-15-2009, 10:09 PM
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Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 284
Re: Help the Marine Corps decide on a new caliber for their sniper rifles

I havn't personally seen anything a 308 wouldn't handle, although my fight was moslty Urban. A suppressed 300 WM was pretty cool but not truely needed. I don't have extensive knowledge of the 338 LM but I would be worried about weight. As long as the rifle itself wasn't heavier than a M24/M40 then I guess, why not. Maybe it'll make 338 LM rounds cheaper.
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Unread 07-16-2009, 04:38 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: british columbia, canada
Posts: 109
Re: Help the Marine Corps decide on a new caliber for their sniper rifles

after reading all 15 pages it sounds to me like this should be solved in several poles one for caliber, cartridge, and action(i say action because Mysticplayer's idea of an it being an upper for a m4 sounds very versatile to me)
that said IMO the 2 that are most likely to be used are the 300wm and the 338lm. now i am only getting started in the world of ballistics and long range shooting comparatively but from what i have seen read and experienced the 300wm would be the best to replace the 308 for several reasons you can push a 210gn bullet at around 2900fps which will give you excellent ballistics, recoil is easily manageable, the ammo is already being made, and several forces around the world already use it. they should also bring in the 338lm as an intermediate to the 408,416, and 50. most of all before changing the system they need to talk to the operators about what they want before doing anything else
there is always something to learn
Russ M
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Unread 07-16-2009, 09:50 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 6,882
Re: Help the Marine Corps decide on a new caliber for their sniper rifles

I know it would be a totally new concept for the military ,But why don't they just ask
or take a poll of the people who need these weapons and what they think the calibre,
weight,Type of action,and any other features nessary to do there job with the least risk
to themselves.

We can make recommendations until we are blue in the face based on real world experience
and it will probably fall on deft ears.

Our Troops should be the best armed in the world not just as good as every one else (Most
of the time they are under gunned like our police and it is not right.

If I were you and still had the connections to contact as many snipers as possible and poll
them. armed with that information then present these specs. to this website for a possible
best fit for there needs I am sure there is enough experts hear to make a recommendation.

When the military goes out for a new fighter they send out a set of performance requirements
and decide (Most of the time) based on the best overall plane.

Why not do this with the sniper rifle.

Just my 2 cents

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Unread 07-16-2009, 09:54 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 59
Re: Help the Marine Corps decide on a new caliber for their sniper rifles

Did the 308 stop killing people in the last 75 years?

A long action cartridge will always have its disadvantages due to longer action cycling times and you simply cant carry as many bullets around. In the field you can hold more 308 in your pockets with smaller magazines than you can 300 WM or 338LM. 308 has predictable and dependable ballistics and enough stopping power for any human sized target.

Now the 223 and 9mm on the other hand, those may need an upgrade with the modern day wars we are fighting. Not near enough stopping power.
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Unread 07-16-2009, 11:05 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 4,155
Re: Help the Marine Corps decide on a new caliber for their sniper rifles

I have been conversing with many snipers in both Law Enforcement and Military. Their favorite caliber of choice is the .308 Winchester. Many of them use other calibers in different variations for different purposes, but they always come back to the .308. Some say they use the 300WM, but for heavier applications, they favor the .338LM. They have to use what is available and taught. The ammunition in circulation is the .223, .308, and .338. For extreme and heavy armor applications, they use the .50 BMG.

The AR platform in .223 has come along way and use it as a means of house to house sniping. The have squad marksmen that use high twist rates and heavier projectiles making them accurate out to 800+ meters. Some snipers are using AR10's in the 7.62X51 configuration because of the urban combat zone allowing for quicker follow up and the extended range they are looking for.

Just my .02.

Matthew 7:13-14
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. [14] But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

If you find your self in a fair fight, your tactics suck!- Marine 1st Sergeant Jim Ryfinger

Friends don't let friends develop canonitis!-chucknbach

arguing over the internet is like the special Olympics....even if you win, you are still...special!
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Unread 07-16-2009, 11:16 AM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
Posts: 6,068
Re: Help the Marine Corps decide on a new caliber for their sniper rifles

The 308's ability to kill hasn't changed over the last 75 yrs but warfare has changed. The starter of this thread, (a Marine Sniper Instructor) ndicated that the 308 was marginal or inadequate for the mission. Hence the title... Help the Marines decide on a *new* caliber for their sniper rifles. One of the requirments he stated was that the bullet needed to remain supersonic to 1500 yds. That leaves the 308 just a little short.

What the 308 can do, the WSM can do better and the cartridges aren't that much larger.

The 338 LM would be a great round, but you could carry a whole lot more WSM ammo and you wouldn't need a muzzle break. More compact and lighter, however you give up range and authority down range.
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