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Marine Corps Seeks M40A5 Sniper Rifle Support

This year’s Year in Defense highlights a broad spectrum of military small arms fielding, upgrade, and enhancement activities taking place across all of the armed services.

Recent public briefings by U.S. Marine Corps representatives have highlighted enhancement activities surrounding that service’s venerable M40A5 sniper rifle.

As an example, recent public briefings by U.S. Marine Corps representatives have highlighted enhancement activities surrounding that service’s venerable M40A5 sniper rifle. The Technical Data Package (TDP) for the M40A5 is owned by the Marine Corps, specifically Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC), and the weapons are manufactured at the Precision Weapons Section (PWS) Weapons Training Battalion, Quantico, Va.

Recent announcements reflect a continuation of those manufacturing and sustainment efforts, as well as additional interest in future weapon performance enhancements.

In one instance, on June 19, 2009, Marine Corps Systems Command announced that it was conducting “a market survey to determine the availability of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) piece parts. The parts are required to build and maintain the M40A5 Sniper Rifles in its inventory.”

The accompanying parts list, which was brand name specific, included 89 each firing pin assemblies, bolt body assemblies, ejector springs, cartridge ejectors, M40A5 trigger assemblies, ejector pins, sear pins, bolt stop pins, bolt stop springs, receivers and extractors.

Remington was identified as the brand name manufacturer for all of the items, with the justification rationale that “The particular brand name, product, or feature is essential to the Government’s requirements, and market research indicates other companies’ similar products or products lacking the particular feature, do not meet, can not be modified to meet, the agency’s needs.”

“The M40A5 is a precision weapon and, as such, requires tight tolerances,” the announcement added. “The M40A5 was developed, tested and certified using specific parts from specific manufacturers. These parts are then modified and assembled in accordance with the TDP to produce a precision weapons system.”

More recently, on June 30, 2009, the Office of Program Manager for Infantry Weapons (PM IW), Marine Corps Systems Command, announced its own market survey “for an improved barrel for the M40A5 Sniper Rifle.”

Design attributes identified for any proposed solutions included: length of less than 24 inches; chambered to fire 7.62 x 51mm NATO standard ammunition; must not degrade the current precision of the M40A5 when using DODIC AA11 (Ctg, 7.62mm NATO Spec Ball M118 Sngl Rd), with current precision defined as 1.0 minutes of angle (MOA), as measured by extreme vertical and horizontal spread, at all ranges out to 914 meters (1000 yards); should be optimized for use with DODIC AB39 (Ctg, Caliber 7.62MM, Special Ball, Long Range); should accept a finish in accordance with Mil-Std 171E.; should be compatible with all parts currently used to build the M40A5, specifically the standard Remington Model 700 Short Action receiver, the Surefire Muzzle Brake and Surefire Suppressor; and should be compatible with DoD-approved petroleum, oils, and lubricants that are authorized for use / cleaning.

Industry responses to the RFI are due no later than July 24, 2009. Upon receipt and review of those responses, PM IW may choose to purchase samples with which to conduct testing during 1st Quarter, Fiscal Year 2010.

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