Army Speaks to M110 Performance/Upgrade

The Army’s office that purchases Soldier weapons contacted Kit Up! to flesh out the details on news that the service was looking for a replacement or rebuild of the current M110, which is based off the Knights Armament SR-25 rifle.

Industry (and other field and user sources) have told Kit Up! in the past that the M110 had some problems with reliability, parts, bolts, tolerances, quality control and accuracy. But the Army called to tell us that at least since an earlier trigger problem was solved, the service has had no major issues with the M110 and that reliability is high, no bolts are cracking and there isn’t a cannibalization problem.

During a recent trip to Afghanistan to train Army snipers on the new XM2010, PM Soldier Weapons officials said they heard no complaints about the M110.

We heard no major complaints about the 110. Matter of fact, that’s why it was no surprise when we saw the 173rd had a 100 percent approval of the M110.  To get a group of snipers together and have such high ratings for a weapon system — that’s almost unheard of because snipers are very individualistic. That’s telling us we’re doing a pretty good job and the weapon’s doing a pretty good job.

Program Manager Lt. Col. Chris Lehner went on to say that the sources sought notice is the service’s attempt to keep pace with the latest technology and capabilities of current SR-25-like weapons.

We’ve seen over the years industry’s ability to make weapons shorter and lighter and keep the accuracy. And heck, why would we not go for something like that?

He also said that Benning was leaning toward equipping the shorter, lighter M110 to the spotter in a sniper team, assuming his compadre is wielding the new XM2010.

Where right now sniper team’s got the spotter and the shooter, and the spotter will simply carry an M4. So now you’re going to have a bolt action for the primary shooter, but instead of carrying an M4, the spotter will have an urban sniper support weapon which will be the M110. … Now you’ve increased the lethality of the team…

It is still unclear what the timeline is for the M110 replacement/rebuild. Lehner said the product team is set to meet at the end of April to decide a schedule and scope. Army officials said so far 13 companies have expressed interest in the program, but Lehner declined (as per acquisition policy) to name any of them.

  • Jerome

    Lethality increase good.

  • Lance

    The weapon works why bother with it the USMC just announced they will adopt it to replace SR-25s in service now the Army wants there own versions again. If this is all over getting a short barreled and collapsing but stock on one than smack the idiot who made these new ideas. Its a sniper rifle NOT a rapid fire assault rifle enough with this crap.

    If they want a more reliable back up rifle get some more M-14EBRs they work in all conditions.

    • FormerSFMedic

      It makes perfectly good sense that snipers in the field are asking for a shorter M110. They have seen the success of the original and have realized that if the system was even more compact that it would be a huge asset. With a 16 in. barrel, and a collapsing stock, the M110 gives the sniper the ability to clear rooms, shoot from vehicles, move quickly with his team, and still engage out to 800 meters. A spotter would be at no disadvantage with a 16in. barrel, but would still be able to provide security. I think that it is an idea that has been along time coming, in a system that has outstanding performance.
      Iam a longtime kitup! reader, but I was admitingly upset about the previous article about the performance of the M110. Every operator I know loves the weapon system and has had no problems with it. There has been great success with the M110A1 as well. Kudos to kitup! for continuing the research of the article!

      • Moondog

        I question the use of a 16″ barrel and 800 meter range. The 7.62 looses a lot of velocity when you cut 6-8 inches off the barrel. It is marginal at 800 meters with a full length barrel. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

        • FormerSFMedic

          Moondog I understand your concerns and certainly years ago I had the same issues with a 16 in. barrel on a 7.62. However I can tell you from experience that the 7.62 m118LR only loses about 50 fps going from a 20in. to a 16in. barrel. With that said there will be very little change in the capability from the original m110 and a shorter version. That’s why it makes so much sense.

          • Lance

            You forget this is a sniper rifle its not ment to go urban assault rifle just made to make persiscion long range shots.

  • Either way, it looks like the big “Army” needs a battle rifle or a DMR that will “fill” the performance gap between a M4/M16 and an actual sniper rifle (XM2010). Unfortunately, they tried one-size fit approach with the 5.56mm NATO M16/M4 platform, but no single system will fulfill all their needs. Hence, it looks like 7.62 mm system is needed. I know a lot of people are clamoring for the M14 system, but I think US services will most likely go to the M110 system for logistical reasons, such as commonality of parts, training, etc.

    • Lance

      Most say the Army will go with both M-14 and AR-10 systems. Therese alot of parts and equipment for M-14s and there more reliable than M-110s are. But snipers will use M-110s too since they ae adopted for sniper and spotters with them but M-14s will be in Army and Navy will use them for years if not decades to come.

  • Stormcharger

    I’m kind of still on the fence, even after hearing some of the thinking about the cahnged being considered. Giving the spotter the ability to shoot longer distances is great, but then who is spotting? If you need two snipers, well, why not just send two snipers? Lets face it, an M4 is a better weapon for room clearing than a short sniper rifle, with a lighter ammo load to boot. If this is all to enhance the evolutiion of the snipers role and capability, that’s fine. But I do question the additianal amount of training involved in maintaining both the ability to engage targets at long ranges and participate in every other task not normally in the snipers perview. A one size fit’s all soldier for all occasions is a nice fantasy, but the reason there are Army Rangers, Navy SEALS, Green Berets, Infantry Marines, and AirForce Forward Air Controllers is that it’s immpossible to train a soldier in every task possible.

  • Jeff

    Wait wait. I thought the MK 20 was in the production pipeline. If so, what is the true practical tactical difference between the M110 and MK 20? Yeah one is of domestic manufacturing and one is of foreign, but does that make a real difference on effect on target?
    I’m just thinking of supply chain and support issues.$$$$ Got to keep the MIC fat with funds I guess.

    • FormerSFMedic

      That’s a good point,but unfortunately what belongs to SOCOM stays with SOCOM until the system has proven itself. Even after that the big Army is a different entity and with that open competition for the requirements still have to be held. What the Army is asking for is more than a battle rifle. The MK 20 is a very close match to what they are looking for, but I think that snipers specifically want the M110 platform in a carbine version because of its familiarity. This speaks volumes about the great performance snipers have seen with the system. I’m just not sure why they didn’t implement these changes when they developed the M110A1.

  • Steven R

    This is really Great. I’m glad the army is innovating in every aspect all the time. I hope the M110 will succeed in the battle of time, lets just sit back and watch. I’m also glad the reliability issues with the sr-25 have at least or i hope so, been taken care of. Our marines deserve the best, hope they make the right move.

  • Guest

    I had a lot of buddies in the sniper section on my last deployment and they all loved the 110, and I never heard of reliability issues. The issue they had was the shooter had to pick between carrying the 110 or the 107 – if they could make the 110 the issue weapon for the spotter it now gives you the flexability to flip flop your team while they are out for multiple days. The 107 works great for vehicles, but that’s all I remember them engaging with it – they loved the 110 for urban engagements…

  • Stefan

    This isn’t a 30+ y.o. system. They just bought this rifle and now they have issues with it? Seems those ass-hat officers really need to get their colleective heads out of their fourth point of contact!

    • FormerSFMedic

      They are not having problems with the system. They are simply looking for a shorter more compact setup for the system along with some upgrades while they are at it. The M110 is one of the best things that happened to the Army sniper.

  • CavScout62

    I’ll go you one further SFMEDIC and say that the M110 is THE BEST thing to happen to the Army sniper period! i’ll also put to you that the carbine (16″) version should be the standard issue rifle of the big Army. (Armalite AR-10C) It’s time for all to admit that the 556X45 round is NOT a viable round for a real army. If a soldier can’t hump and fire a 7.62X51 (.308Win) he has no buisness in the uniform of the U.S. Military.

  • ostergard

    Do you have a high res of that pic?

    • Steven R

      that pic make me want to join the army lol

  • cloggmann

    M110 carbine…. sounds good to me!

  • Guest

    Wonder if Russia would be willing to export Dragunovs to the United States. Considering how accurate the newer Dragunovs are without compromising on their reliability, a Dragunov with American scopes would be perfect for this role.

  • Mike

    Check out this possible solution.