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Marine Corps Continues M40A5 Sniper Rifle Improvement Investigations

The United States Marine Corps is continuing to explore and refine a package of potential improvements for its M40A5 sniper rifle.

The M40A5 Sniper Rifle is a Marine Corps-designed weapon system, with each one custom-built at Precision Weapons Section, Weapons Training Battalion, Quantico, Va. The 7.62 x 51mm bolt-action, magazine-fed M40A5 is employed with the variable-powered M8541 Scout Sniper Day Scope (SSDS), AN/PVS-27 Scout Sniper Medium Range Night Sight (SSMRNS) and quick detach Surefire Suppressor. System Characteristics include a weight of 18.94 pounds for the rifle with scope, bipod, sling & filled 5-round magazine (20.24 pounds with suppressor added) and a length of 44.30 inches without suppressor and 53.37 inches with suppressor. As the main battle weapon of the Marine Corps Scout Sniper, it is employed to engage and destroy targets out to 1,000 yards (914 meters).

In the most recent request for information, the Product Manager for Infantry Weapons (PM IW), Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) announced ongoing market research “on the availability of a Modular Stock for a potential materiel solution as product improvements for the M40A5 Sniper Rifle.”

Draft requirements for the notional “Modular Stock” package include:

  • assembly with the current M40 barreled action (modified Remington 700 right-handed short-action receiver, modified Schneider barrel, recoil lug, and Remington trigger assembly) without requiring bedding compound;
  • no degradation to the precision of the current system;
  • stock weight of less than 6.3 pounds;
  • the ability to fold the stock to decrease overall length to less that 40.5 inches;
  • multiple MIL-STD 1913 mounting rails;
  • sling swivels that facilitate the attachment of the current M40 sling to the stock; and,
  • to include “a reliable 10-round magazine or … be compatible with the current M40 5-round magazines (Manufacturer: Badger Ordnance; part #306-82-05).”

Referencing the folding stock characteristic, the draft requirements specify, “When unfolded, the Modular Stock shall not interfere with the ejection of a spent or unfired round,” and that the “Modular Stock shall not interfere with bolt manipulation when in any unfolded configuration.”

The “unfolded” criterion is interesting in light of some recently-introduced international sniper rifle designs that emphasizes the ability of some systems to function on an emergency basis in a “close quarters” environment with the stock still in the folded position.

Interested firms had until Oct. 12, 2012, to submit their responses to the request for information. MCSC will use those responses “to determine what capabilities exist in the marketplace to fulfill this potential requirement…”

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Scott Gourley is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than 1,500...