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

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Marine sniper, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. Marine sniper

    Marine sniper Well-Known Member

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    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.

    Thanks,
    John
     
  2. bwaites

    bwaites Well-Known Member

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    John,

    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.

    Bill
     

  3. Takman

    Takman Well-Known Member

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    Got to agree with the 338 Lapua.
     
  4. davewilson

    davewilson Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  5. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

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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
     
  6. tsmiller4

    tsmiller4 Well-Known Member

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    I'm gonna spout up for the 300 RUM, or 300 RUM variation of the 338 Edge. Great beltless cartridges.
     
  7. Coyboy

    Coyboy Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  8. Wild_Bill

    Wild_Bill Well-Known Member

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    7mm Rem SAUM

    Hi I would go with the 7mm Rem Saum because it is superior to the 308 buy a long margin but has the advantage of being available in an AR10 aswell as being able to rechamber their 308's with boltface mods or another bolt.
    I would load them with H1000 and 175gr Sierra's.

    The 338 Edge would also be great for long range but it realy is not needed and the cost of practice with a 338 will reduce the amount of ammo they will have to use.

    The WSM will not fit in the AR10 so it is out in my opinion as the availibility of using diferent shooting platforms is a huge advantage.

    Cheers Bill
    Australia
     
  9. Wild_Bill

    Wild_Bill Well-Known Member

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    Forget the 300 Win Mag

    hi I would not even look at the 300 Win Mag at 1500yards the 300Win Mag with 190gr MatchKings at 2900fps is 7MOA lower than the 7mm with the 175gr MatchKings @ 2900fps. That's over 10'.

    That is why the US feds use 7mm Rem Mags.

    Cheers Bill
    Australia
     
  10. mudslgr

    mudslgr New Member

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    What about a Rem. in comp. stock chambered in 30-06 using hot, heavy match bullets. This round has moore than prooven it's self on large game much heavier than a human.
     
  11. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

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    What US feds are using 7mm Rem mags??
    I've trained with alot of them and have never seen a 7mmRem.
     
  12. long450

    long450 Well-Known Member

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    I would say the 338 Lapua for all the reasons already stated. Makes the most sense to me, if you want to go with a portable sniper rifle.

    If you go back to why the 308 was chosen in the first place was because ammo was being carried by most of the soldiers at the start. Then when the 223 came along, there was not as many reasons to stick with the 308. I know there where still some MG's using 308. I am not so sure that if today I where in a sniper team that I wouldn't want the rest of the team carrying 223 because of the ease of carrying larger quantity of ammo. Point is, the reason for carrying 308 "ammo availability" doesn't hold water any longer.
     
  13. X-man

    X-man Well-Known Member

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    I would think a 338 Lapua makes a bunch of sense.

    And though it won't make weight, a suppressed (signature) semi auto 50BMG (like the new AI) would work very well in support of the 338.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2007
  14. Shawn Carlock

    Shawn Carlock Sponsor

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    I of course designed the 338 Edge in it's first form as a HTIR ( Hard Target Interdiction Rifle : Pronounced "Hitter" ). My initial version was built to be a rifle capable light hard target work (penetrating 1/4" mild steel @1000 yds was my standard) and anti-personel work out to 1760 yards. What eventually happened was it's success in the long range hunting world and the evolution into what is now the "standard 338 Edge hunting rifle". In this platform it weighs under 15 lbs field ready bipod included. The Edge holds one more round than a Lapua Mag and feeds much better than the LM. The LM version requires a "super mag " boltface upping the LM cost. So far as ammunition is concerned when I first built the first HTIR I contacted 2 different custom loaders and both assured me that since they already had military contracts loading the "Edge" would not be an issue as long as a certain minimum quanity was purchased. The 300 gr SMK load @ 2800 fps is a consistant load, brutaly accurate and performs all of the tasks I originally outlined for it. The big bonus is it is lighter than most current issue military 308 sniper rifles. The 18 lb 308 version fielded by a certain branch of the military is stupid. Knowing several of the end users and all agree that it was obviously not designed by the guys in the field nor was much input considered from them. Much like revamping the M40 series (on a long action ) to 300 Win Mag they could just as easly be revamped to 338 Edge. I believe that they just need new rifles designed for the job and not for the marksmanship units competition division. There are a couple of items I would do different to the standard hunting version to make it with stand the hardships of combat but only a couple. I would absolutely run a positive bolt stop, Sako or M16 extractor, fixed blade ejector to ditch the spring loaded plunger assy, and a robust detachable box mag assy. This is just my version based on long range shooting / hunting more than my Law Enforcement background. I believe that if you want a precision long range tactical rifle build one if you wabt a rifle to engage under 800 yards they have explored much better options than a 16+ lb 308 bolt rifle already. If it seems like I am opinionated on this I am, I am tired of our guys being saddeled with equipment that just is not up to the task. If they need 1500+ yard capability I say we do what we can to give it to them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2007