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.300 Win Mag Options for USSOCOM

In another possible reflection of the emerging Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) program [See DMN: “USSOCOM Outlines Restart for Precision Sniper Rifle,” posted June 7, 2011], United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is conducting a market survey on “the commercial availability of .300 Winchester Magnum cartridges capable of increased performance over current fielded .300 Winchester Magnum variants.”

The goal of the market survey is the procurement of a representative sampling of 2000-2500 rounds from each of the newly identified sources. The test samples will then be evaluated out of the XM2010 weapons system (suppressed and unsuppressed) [See DMN: “New ‘Game Changing’ Army Rifle Starts Bridging Sniper Gap,” posted May 27, 2011]; MK 13 Mod 5 weapon system (suppressed and unsuppressed); and Electronic Pressure, Velocity, and Action Time (EPVAT) system.

Requested technical performance standards for the potential new rounds include: “The overall length of cartridges submitted shall be less than or equal to 3.60 inches.

The average corrected chamber pressure of ammunition supplied conditioned at 70 degrees Fahrenheit (ºF) shall not exceed 68,500 pounds per square inch (psi). When the cartridges are conditioned to 70ºF, neither the chamber pressure of an individual sample test cartridge nor the average chamber pressure plus three standard deviations of chamber pressure shall exceed 72,900 psi. When the cartridges are conditioned at -20ºF, and +165ºF, the average corrected chamber pressure shall not exceed 70,300 psi and neither the chamber pressure of an individual cartridge nor the average chamber pressure plus three standard deviations of chamber pressure shall exceed 76,400 psi.”

By way of comparative technical specs, the March 2009 description for the military’s current “.300 Winchester Magnum Match, MK 248 MOD 1” cartridge include: “nominal overall length of the assembled cartridge shall be 3.500 inches maximum, 3.450 inches minimum” and “corrected average chamber pressure shall not exceed 68,100 pounds per square inch (psi) at 70°F. Neither the chamber pressure of an individual sample test cartridge nor the average chamber pressure plus three standard deviations of chamber pressure shall exceed 78,900 psi.”

The new market survey also identifies both threshold (T) and objective (O) requirements for a range of velocity and accuracy issues.

Velocity goals, for example, include: Muzzle Velocity Standard Deviation at 70 degrees F: 15 fps (T) 10 fps (O); Hot / Cold Muzzle Velocity Extreme Spread (‐20F to 165F): 75 fps (T) 50 fps (O); and Residual Velocity at 1500 meters: 1128 fps at Sea Level at 70 F (T) 1350 fps (O).

In terms of accuracy requirements, the market survey calls for: 300 Meter Extreme Spread 1.11 MOA (T) 0.75 MOA (O); 600 Meter Extreme Spread 1.11 MOA (T) 1 MOA (O); and 1500 Meter Extreme Vertical Spread 1.7 MOA (T) 1.5 MOA (O).

Cautioning that “Procurement of samples from sources identified through the market survey does not serve as a guarantee for future procurements,” USSOCOM representatives identify a potential quantity interest of “3 to 5 million rounds of .300 Winchester Magnum ammunition annually.”

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