The blogs are abuzz over the Army’s new contract for rebuilds of the venerable, bolt-action M24 sniper rifle after PEO Soldier requested radical changes last year.

Our friends at Soldier Systems and The Firearms Blog had the details first, but we want to make sure to reacquaint our readers with the debate and the requirements as put forth by the PEO for Soldier Weapons, Lt. Col. Dough Tamilio, when we spoke with him back in March.

Indeed the new “rebuild” — which basically looks like a whole new rifle — puts on an AR-style forearm, an EBR-like adjustable stock, a Mk-25-esque lower (but with a collapsable bolt handle) and a new “reach out and touch you” caliber of the .300 WinMag.

The Army signed a $28 million contract on Sept. 20 for Remington to rebuild 3,600 M24s into the new M24E1 standard.

Our good friends at Tactical-Life.com have some inside gouge on why the Army made its shift.

The need for the M24E1 was first identified by in 2006 by 10th Mountain Division soldiers serving in Afghanistan. Once the military identified the need, Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Michael Arcuri led the effort in Congress to ensure that the program received crucial funding in 09 and 10.

Trials for award of the contract began with an open competition in January of this year and lasted nine months. With Remington winning the award, the upgrading process will now begin in earnest.

Tamilio said back in March that the range of the 7.62/308 M24 was a concern in the Afghan fight, and that the service had decided on the .300 WinMag after some close evaluations. That’ll raise the hackles of .338 Lapua fans (and their British allies) who say that’s the record-shot holding round, after all…

But Remington has preempted that debate by allowing the “Modular Sniper Rifle” to transform easily from a .300 WinMag to a .338 Lapua or a 7.62 shooter.

And I’m sure we’ll hear lots of “what’s wrong with the good ‘ole M-14″ banter as well.

But what’s done is done. Now, we’d love to hear from one-shot-killers out there who’ve seen or used the M24E1. What do you think?

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