The Army’s Deadly Sniper Rifle Is Hiding a Big Secret

    Kyle Mizokami

    Security,

    The U.S. Army’s long-serving sniper rifle has its roots in one of the most iconic American hunting rifles ever produced. 

    The selection of .300 Winchester Magnum extended the U.S. Army sniper’s range to 1200 meters—four hundred beyond that of the M24. As a result the M2010 ESR received an improved, longer-range optic, the Leupold Mark 4 M5A2 with variable 6.5- to twenty-power magnification. The Leupold scope can be fitted with the Knight’s Armament AN/PVS-29 or AN/PVS-30 night-vision scopes for night firing. Finally, a suppressor designed by Advanced Armament Company eliminates flash and significantly reduces the noise signature of the rifle, very useful features when a sniper is trying to conceal his or her position.

    The U.S. Army’s long-serving sniper rifle has its roots in one of the most iconic American hunting rifles ever produced. The M-24 Sniper Weapon System, standard issue among the Army’s sniper teams, is based on the fifty-six-year-old Remington 700 hunting rifle. When the U.S. Army decided to field a new, heavier-caliber sniper weapon, it again turned to the Remington 700 to produce the advanced M2010 rifle.

    The Remington 700 is one of the most popular American firearms of the twentieth century. Introduced in 1956 as a affordable, relatively lightweight bolt action hunting rifle, the 700 line of rifles sold more than four million copies. The rifle is available in a more than two dozen calibers, from .17 Remington to .458 Winchester Magnum, and can bag game from squirrels to moose.

    In the mid-1980s the U.S. Army decided it needed to replace the service’s existing sniper rifle, the M21 sniping rifle, with a new weapon. The M21, based on the M14 battle rifle, dated to the Vietnam War. Although semiautomatic, the M21 was less accurate and required more maintenance than most sniper rifles. The Army opened up a competition for a new rifle in November 1986 and picked a winner, Remington Arms, in July 1987.

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