March 15th, 2019

Barrett MRAD Selected as USSOCOM Advanced Sniper Rifle (ASR)

Barrett Mfg MRAD U.S. SOCOM AST Advanced Sniper Rifle .308 Win 7.62x51 .300 Norma Magnum .338 Norma Magnum

Barrett Firearms Manufacturing(Barrett) has been awarded the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) ASR (Advanced Sniper Rifle) contract for with its MRAD (Multi-Role Adaptive Design) rifle system. The SOCOM ASR contract is worth nearly fifty million dollars. The ASR contract was announced by the U.S. Dept. of Defense on March 11, 2019.

Barrett Mfg MRAD U.S. SOCOM AST Advanced Sniper Rifle .308 Win 7.62x51 .300 Norma Magnum .338 Norma Magnum

Guns.com reports: “The $49.9 million five-year, indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price contract announcement is slim on details other than that is for the ASR program. The program itself was identified in SOCOM’s FY19 budget justification book as part of an effort to continue ‘development of enhanced capabilities to improve performance’ of ‘individual sniper weapons to engage out to 1500 meters’.” A key requirement was the ability to shooter multiple calibers and cartridge types.

USSOCOM announced in 2016 it needed a modular, multi-caliber bolt action sniper rifle capable of converting between 7.62x51mm, .300 Norma Magnum (NM) and .338 Norma Magnum (NM). The gun needed to be able to change barrels easily in the field with minimal tools. The Barrett MRAD is designed with precision and modularity in mind. As produced for SOCOM, the MRAD will be designated the Mk21. The new MK21 MRADs will be built at Barrett’s Christiana, Tennessee factory, with production to be completed by March 2024.

Barrett Mfg MRAD U.S. SOCOM AST Advanced Sniper Rifle .308 Win 7.62x51 .300 Norma Magnum .338 Norma Magnum

Interestingly, this is the first time in U.S. history that both a father and son have designed an official military-commissioned rifle system. Father Ronnie Barrett developed the successful .50-Caliber M107 and now son Chris Barrett has succeeded with the Mk21 MRAD.

“This feels like the highest honor I could ever achieve professionally — to have a rifle adopted by the U.S. military, and especially USSOCOM,” said Chris Barrett. Father Ronnie Barrett added: “I remember Chris telling me that ‘this is what all precision rifles will look like one day!’ and he was right. However, aesthetics is not all that makes this rifle. As his development persisted, he was able to achieve more than I ever thought possible. I genuinely believe this is the most accurate [multi-caliber sniper] rifle in the world.”

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January 27th, 2012

Accuracy Int’l Updated AX PSRII Rifle — Tooley Reports

Noted gunsmith Dave Tooley saw our coverage of Accuracy International (AI) “Skins” in the Daily Bulletin, and he wanted to inform our readers about updates to AI’s AX line of rifles.

Updated 2012 AI AX Rifle for PSRII
Dave wrote: “As you know I do AI’s smithing in this country. Attached is a picture of the latest version of the AX rifle. This is what was submitted to SOCOM for PSRII the first of January. AI has incorporated a right-hand hinge to make the rifle more compact when folded. There are some other major improvements. First, the way the rails lock up on the tube now completely eliminates any chance of movement (that’s important for lasers and other things). The buttstock is now considerably lighter than the older version, and it now uses simple knobs on the cheekpiece, the LOP adjustment, and the adjustable recoil pad. I think the knobs are more user-friendly than push-buttons.”

CLICK for FULL-SCREEN Photo
Accuracy International PSRII 2012

New Barrel Swap Kit
The most significant improvement to the AX, according to Tooley, is the ability for the operator to change barrels with minimal tools. Tooley explains: “The complete barrel change tool-kit is one 4mm Allen wrench stored in the cheek piece. If you look at the picture you will see a screw about midway under the receiver. Loosen two captured screws under the forearm and the tube comes off. Then loosen the screw under the receiver and unscrew the barrel. This is dead simple and it works. I’ve tested six rifles with a total of 10 barrels and there were no issues. This is a great precision sniper rifle.”

Accuracy International PSRII 2012

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October 2nd, 2011

Silent Treatment — $23.3 Million in Suppressors for SOCOM

Surefire SuppressorSOCOM, the U.S. Special Operations Command, is going silent in a big way — purchasing $23.3 million worth of suppressors (and adapters) from Surefire, LLC of Fountain Valley, California. The huge contract, for an indefinite quantity of sound suppressors, suppressor adapters, blank firing adapters and training adapters, was awarded by officials of the Naval Surface Warfare Center — the primary solicitation center for U.S. Special Operations Command — as part of the Family of Muzzle Brake Suppressors (FMBS) contract.

This is good news for SureFire, which has expanded its product line from durable, high-output lamps to a wide variety of tactical hardware. It was a major coup for SureFire to secure a large part of the FMBS contract. According to Surefire: “The FMBS solicitation was the most comprehensive modern suppressor evaluation conducted by the U.S. military to date. [Suppressor systems were] subjected to prolonged testing on a variety of firearms platforms. SureFire suppressors were chosen based on test criteria such as: Reliability, Sound Reduction, Accuracy, Point of Impact Shift, Endurance/Durability, and Operational Suitability. While these requirements reflect the suppression needs for firearms including the MK13 sniper rifle, the United States Marine Corps is already employing SureFire’s FA762SS suppressor system on every M40A5 sniper rifle.”

Watch Video to View SureFire Fast-Attach Suppressors in Action

Surefire Suppressor

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July 29th, 2011

Schmidt & Bender Wins $34 Million U.S. Military Scope Contract

There are many quality rivals in the high-end tactical optics market, but it appears that Schmidt & Bender remains “top dog”, at least for the U.S. Special Forces community. Schmidt & Bender, was awarded a $34,209,500 firm-fixed-price contract for precision sniper rifle dayscope, mounting rings, spare parts, repairs and upgrades. The scope will be a special version of S&B’s 5-25x56mm PMII. It’s not clear how many scope units are to be delivered under the contract, which had five bidders. The Naval Surface Warfare Center is the contracting activity (N00164-11-D-JQ31), and the contract is expected to be completed by June 2016. The scopes will be built in Biebertal, Germany.

Schmidt & Bender SOCOM 5-25x56 PMII Dayscope

This is a special military version of the Schmidt & Bender 5-25x56 PMII. It will be provided in two versions, one with click values in centimeters and a Horus reticle, and a second with 1/4 MOA click values and a H2CMR reticle.

S&B Sniper Rifle Dayscopes to Be Used by Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines
The S&B precision sniper rifle dayscopes will be used by Special Forces for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. The precision sniper rifle dayscope consist of several configurations that are required for use on existing and future sniper rifles. The configurations are tailored to the sniper’s training regimen, the weapon system effective range, and the weapon system caliber. The precision sniper rifle dayscope will be used around the world in extreme and adverse conditions including underwater, surf-zone, desert, arctic, jungle and urban environments. One reason S&B PMIIs were selected is this model has passed rigorous immersion testing. The 5-25×56 PM II was certified to show zero leakage after spending 10 hours in sea water at a depth of 25 meters (82 feet).

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January 22nd, 2011

SHOT Show Report: New Tactical Rigs from Surgeon Rifles, G.A. Precision, and Remington

For the past few years, tactical rifles have been a hot item at SHOT Show. While in the past ARs and AR variants grabbed the headlines, this year, tactical bolt-guns enjoyed the spotlight, with many manufacturers showcasing new tactical rigs built on modular stocks. The user-configurable chassis systems on these rifles provide myriad mounting options for scopes and accessories. Here are new offerings from Surgeon Rifles, G.A. Precision, and Remington.

SURGEON RIFLES

Accuracy Int'l AX338At the Surgeon Rifles booth, Preston Pritchett (Surgeon’s owner), displayed an impressive rifle built on the all-new Accuracy International AX folding-stock chassis. The AX is completely different than previous AI chassis designs. Preston told us that only 11 of these AI AX modular stocks have been manufactured so far, and he received this example just two days before SHOT show. He immediately installed a Surgeon action and barrel — but the display rifle has not even been shot — that’s how new this design is. The AX chassis features an adjustable folding stock, and a forearm slotted for rails on all SIX sides.

There is a nice over-molded, polymer gripping piece forward of the magwell. The pistol grip is nicely designed — comfortable to hold. The hexagonal AX forearm, with slots for rail-attachment, is slimmer than the handguards found on some other “black rifles” which have multiple, heavy full-length rails permanently attached to the fore-arm. Having non-removable full-length rails really is overkill. The AI AX chassis lets you mount accessory rails on six surfaces if you really need that capacity. But otherwise, you can leave the rails off. We like that flexibility. When not in use, rails are just extra weight. These new-generation tactical rifles are heavy enough as it is.

April ETA for Complete AX-Chassis Rifles from Surgeon
So when can you get one, and how much will it cost? Preston expects to have chassis units ready for builds in “about two and a half months”. The AI AX chassis system will cost $1299.00 by itself. For a complete AX-equipped Surgeon custom rifle, in addition to the chassis cost, add the price of a Surgeon action ($1295.00 MSRP), a custom barrel, and chambering. That’ll put you close to $3200.00, depending on barrel and action choice.

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AX338 from Accuracy International
If you want to buy a turn-key factory rifle using the new AX chassis, Accuracy Int’l now produces the AX338, shown below. This features an Accuracy Int’l action fitted in the new AX chassis. Right now the AI-built gun is available ONLY in .338 Lapua Magnum. AI’s complete AX338, produced in the UK, will cost thousands more than a rifle built by Surgeon on the AX chassis.

Accuracy Int'l AX338

Download Accuracy Int’l AX338 Brochure PDF

G.A. Precision

G.A. Precision G.A.P.’s New Sabre-Stocked Rifle
Our friend George Gardner of G.A. Precision (G.A.P.) showed off his latest and greatest rifle for tac comps. The gun features a G.A.P. Templar action in the new Ashbury Int’l Sabre Chassis. The Sabre chassis has lots of trick parts to reduce overall weight. For example, the handguard is made from super-light carbon fiber. The central chassis (holding the action), is made from aluminum and there are many ultra-light titanium components.

GAP’s prototype rifle was chambered in .260 Rem, but other chamberings, including .308 Win, will be offered in the future. We were impressed with the Ashbury Int’l design — some smart thinking went into weight reduction. It is not brutally heavy like some other metal-stocked tactical rifles. We like that fact that the Sabre comes in two versions, the simple “Mod 0″ with minimal rails, and the “Mod 1″ for those guys who need to attach a full set of accessories.

Ashbury Int'l Sabre Chassis

George also showed us one of G.A.P.’s semi-automatic AR10s. These have shown outstanding accuracy, frequently delivering 1/2-MOA or smaller three-shot groups with premium factory ammo. While George still recommends that novice tactical shooters employ a bolt-gun, he remarked that a semi-auto can be very effective in timed, “target-rich” tactical matches.

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Remington Police/Military

Remington Shows Off New M24E1
Remington displayed its new XM2010 — the winner of the contract to replace the U.S. Army’s M24 Sniper Rifle. The gun, designated the M24E1, offers all the features the Army wanted… but it is a beast. The Army’s new M24E1 sniper rifle will share the Rem 700 long action (receiver) and trigger from the currently-fielded M24, but little else. (The Army specifically required that the M24E1 be built around the same 700 series long action and fire control system.) The M24E1 is considered a “total conversion upgrade”, by which the barrel, stock, magazines, muzzlebrake, suppressor, and even the optics will be changed. The M24E1 will carry a 6.5-20×50 variable power Leupold scope with a first focal plane (FFP) reticle that includes .300 Win Magnum bullet-drop compensation markings.

Remington m24e1

Accuracy Int'l AX338

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Leupold MK 4 ERT M24E1New Leupold Scope for M24E1
A key component of the M24E1 system is the new 6.5-20x50mm Leupold Mark 4 Extended Range/Tactical (ER/T) M5 riflescope (34mm locking version). This scope features First Focal Plane (FFP) Horus ranging reticles (H27 or H58), side parallax adjustment, and a beefy 34mm maintube.

Other notable features of the new ER/T include M5 windage and elevation adjustment dials with audible, tactile 1/10 (0.1) milrad clicks to match the mil-based Horus reticles. An elevation zero-stop helps prevent under-rotation in high-stress situations. The eyepiece offers long eye relief and it employs a “lockable” fast-focus design to ensure that the reticle remains in sharp focus. The scope has an auto-locking elevation adjustment.

Remington MSR Sniper Rifle on Display
At SHOT Show, Remington also showcased its new Modular Sniper Rifle (MSR), Remington’s entry into the competition for the new SOCOM Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR). Remington’s MSR competes directly with Barrett’s new MRAD, profiled earlier this week in the Daily Bulletin. The MSR features a beefy new titanium receiver with the ability to handle multiple chamberings up to .338 Lapua Magnum. The MSR was designed from the ground up as a switch-barrel rig, with a floating handguard, and folding, adjustable buttstock. The whole system is modular. By exchanging bolt-face, barrel, and magazine, the gun can switch from .308 Win (7.62×51), to 300 Win Mag, to .338 Norma Mag, and to .338 Lapua Mag.

Remington MSR

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February 17th, 2010

USMC Adopts New Open-tip 'SOST' 5.56 Ammo

After learning that M855 NATO ammo does not perform well from short-barreled rifles such as the M4 carbine, the U.S. Marine Corps has started issuing a new type of 5.56×45 ammo to its troops in Afghanistan. The new SOST (Special Operations Science and Technology) ammo, officially designated MK 318 MOD 0 “Cartridge, Caliber 5.56mm Ball, Carbine, Barrier”, features a different open-tip 62mm bullet. The new bullet, with a lead core (in the top half) and solid copper bottom half, is similar to hunting bullets such as Federal’s Trophy Bonded Bear Claw. The SOST bullet was designed by Federal/ATK, which will produce the loaded ammunition.

SOST 5.56 ammo

The new SOST ammo was first developed for use by SOCOM (Special Operations) in the SCAR rifle, which has a short, 13.8″ barrel. Even in short-barreled rifles, the SOST provides impressive ballistics — achieving 2925 fps in a 14″ barrel. Compared to M855 ball ammo, SOST rounds are more lethal when shot from short-barreled rifles. According to the Marine Times, SOST ammunition delivers “consistent, rapid fragmentation which shortens the time required to cause incapacitation of enemy combatants”. Using an open-tip design common with some sniper ammunition, SOST rounds are designed to be “barrier blind”, meaning they stay on target better than existing M855 rounds after penetrating windshields, car doors and other objects. This is important to troops in the Middle Eastern theater who must engage insurgents inside vehicles or hiding behind barriers.

In Afghanistan, the USMC will issue SOST ammo for both the short-barreled M4 carbine as well as the original, full-length M16A4. The Corps purchased a “couple million” SOST rounds as part of a joint $6 million, 10.4-million-round buy in September — enough to last the service several months in Afghanistan.

M855 Criticized by Ground Troops and Pentagon Testers
The standard Marine 5.56 round, the M855, was developed in the 1970s and approved as an official NATO round in 1980. In recent years, however, it has been the subject of widespread criticism from troops, who question whether it has enough punch to stop oncoming enemies.

In 2002, shortcomings in the M855’s performance were detailed in a report by Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, Ind., according to Navy Department documents. Additional testing in 2005 showed shortcomings. The Pentagon issued a request to industry for improved ammunition the following year.

CLICK HERE for Full Report on New SOST MK 318 Ammunition.

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