Army Wants Short M110 SASS for Squad Marksman

Army infantry officials at Fort Benning, Ga., want to replace the M14 Enhanced Battle Rifles squad designated marksman carry with a compact version of the service’s M110 Semi Automatic Sniper System. I posted a story on Military.com about the plan this morning.

Infantrymen give the EBR high marks for its accuracy out to 800 meters, but said its 15-pound unloaded weight is a burden. There’s also a concern that the enemy can easily spot designated marksmen carrying the EBR and target them.

The M110, made by Knight’s Armament Company, is also easy to recognize since it’s 46.5-inches with suppressor, more than 13 inches longer than the M4. But Knight’s also makes a carbine version of the M110 that’s very similar to the M4 and weighs just over eight pounds.

 Issuing a collapsible-stock version of the M110 is part of a larger effort officials at the Fort Benning’s Manuever Center of Excellence have launched to make the nine-man squad more decisive and deadly. Benning officials conducted a Capabilities Based Assessment that identified 22 capability gaps that hinder the squad’s ability to gain overmatch quickly in a gunfight with a similar-size enemy force.

Army officials would not release specifics about the 22 gaps, but said they deal with issues such as force protection, load management, the network and lethality. There’s no guarantees about fielding any new weapons in this fiscal environment, but at least Benning officials are trying to improve the squad with lighter weapons, better load-bearing equipment and increased training. I will be writing more posts about the effort soon.

About the Author

Matthew Cox
Matthew Cox has been a defense reporter since 1998 and is an associate editor for Military.com. He traveled to Afghanistan and Iraq numerous times from 2002 to 2008, covering infantry units in combat. Matthew was an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division.

65 Comments on "Army Wants Short M110 SASS for Squad Marksman"

  1. A bull pup gun like the excellent Keltec design is probably more suitable for this role. A 7.62 marksman gun in a squad will increase the overmatch distance over AK47 from 100m (500m range for M4 vs 400m for AK$&) to 400m (800m range for the 7.62×51 gun)

  2. Nice, but if you really want to reach out and touch someone, try the Anzio Ironworks 20-50 Extended Range Sniper Rifle http://www.biggedefense.com/bigge_50_cal/bigge_50

  3. Mark, that is a cool toy you built, but they want something one man can carry. Even John Rambo couldn't hump that thing around Ramadi or Kandahar. And if you read the article, they want something that isn't easily discernible from a standard service rifle. A one shot bolt action that's taller than the guy carrying it stands out a bit.

  4. @Mark
    …being easily recognized as a designated sniper [because of your tool] can cause a lot of hurt to come your way. Surviving enemies get smarter…and tell tales.

  5. I know this runs contrary to how the Army works, but let's not waste time and money answering a question that's already been answered. New Zealand and the UK Royal Marines have already come up with a solution: http://kitup.military.com/2011/10/new-zealands-nehttp://kitup.military.com/2010/06/uk-royal-marine

  6. It is about time!! I have been saying this for years, I also think there should be at least one 5.56 suppressed weapon per squad.

  7. Overall nice plan doubt it will replace M-14 EBRs A short barrel carbine will have less long range accuracy than a EBR. Overall be better to issue full size M-110s instead of a carbine version. With shortage of money and other budget constraints the M-14 EBR may stay a DMR for some time I doubt the Army has the funds for a full replacement for several years.

  8. This is an idea that's been a longtime coming. I've actually been working with the Army on this project (indirectly) as a consultant for the last few weeks. Some of the guys I work with, including myself, believe that a more advanced DM would be extremely effective and fill a capability gap. What makes the DM more advanced is obviously training but even with training there is still a gap in the current SDM-R and the MK14 EBR. A compact modern sniper rifle is absolutely the way to go. The current KAC EMC and M110"A1" are both fantastic platforms for this role. With a 16in. barrel, the DM will still have the full 800m capability of the M118LR 7.62 cartridge while keeping the rifle non-distinct, easy to carry and most importantly still allow him to shoot, move, and communicate with the rest of the squad.

    My only hope is that the Army does the right thing with the optic choice. The optic setup will determine the DM's versatility and capability with this system. There are some variable power optics making their way to market just this year (that were developed with SOCOM input) that would work nicely on a compact M110. If the Army goes to a more advanced optic solution, they will have a more advanced capability.

  9. FormerSFMedic | April 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Reply

    Good observation TomS. A shorter barrel won't decrease accuracy. It will actually IMPROVE it. Not only that but with the 7.62 specifically a 16in. barrel doesn't really give up any range capability versus the 21in. barrel of the MK14. A 16in. barrel will still take you out to 1000m, as will the MK14 when using 175gr. M118LR ammo. The velocity difference between the two rifles will only be around 50fps.

  10. The purpose of this project is supposed to make the DM not stick out like a sore thumb correct? Unfortunately, there is really no way to do that against the M4 platform. The rail system will be longer (rifle vs carbine), the optics will be different (aimpoint vs leupold), among other things. A guy at 300m cannot tell who is a DM, but a ******* on the other end of command wire 10m away will still be able to. I like the effort but I see it getting cut.

  11. Bullpup…..bottom line it takes out 10" on average of the over all length of a firearm….same range same balistics but 10" shorter package. Trigger isn't such a big deal if it's designed right…but it will be a tad heavier …unless one puts in the cash for materials like titanium receiver ..and aluminum components, and carbon fiber shell….only other down side is the off set for the scope…but this to can be addressed by a special purpose built scope that's optics are right over the barrel but the eye retical is raised …thier is a scope on the market right now that dos this…it can change from QC to LD at a flip of a lever kinda like the elcan.
    …to me this is a no brainier…but I can see the army running circles around this problem just to avoid using the bullpup platform.

  12. We had M14 line launcher on my old sub. The Oceanographic ship also had a cool single shot SW line launcher. It used a blank 12 guage.

  13. A bulpup doesn't look like the M4. If that's the case just stay with the EBR.

  14. About time they got rid of that M14 EBR abortion. The AR is superior platform in all respects. Lighter, shorter, more ergonomic , and superior magazines if the PMAG is used. the Optic that should be selected is the new 1×6 Mk6 Leupold. 7.62 out of a 16inch barrel is fine and the OBR has proven how accurate it is.

  15. In 3 months they will change their minds……………………AGAIN.

  16. if you like a **** trigger.

    ill stick to standard firearms that have match triggers like the Geissele SD combat

  17. please tell me your joking?

  18. Thanks for that I knew the Brits chose the LMT308MWS, but didnt know the NZ's did too

  19. • 5000 meters effective fire

    -really???

  20. RAAFieReservist | April 27, 2012 at 12:06 am | Reply

    Is this product placement?

  21. I've humped the EBR (w/ Sage chassis) around for a while, and had the opportunity to fire a new 110 both suppressed and standard side-by-side with my 14; It's a nice setup. I wouldn't complain if they changed me over.

  22. Didn´t the troops complain about M110 reliability and maintainance issues? A 7,62 Carbine that light might not be able to fire a lot of shots in succession or keep accuracy for a longer time

  23. M-79 gernade launcher w/ beehive.

  24. On the related issue of upgrading the entire infantry squad's "overmatch" firepower, hasn't the M855A1 round already gone a long way towards making that happen regardless of what weapon the designated marksman carries? Not arguing, just asking…..

  25. This is what the Army's small arms manager says about the M855A1. Would be interesting to hear if field experience matches the test performance cited here:
    http://www.aschq.army.mil/ac/aais/ioc/LCAAP/Indus

  26. Except it's a Keltec, a piece of ****, and on and on. Has anything Keltec ever been highly regarded by people that put thousands of rounds through their weapons? I doubt it. They're usually semi-functional after a few hundred. It's a toy, not a weapon of war. I wouldn't even buy one for playing around with.

    The Army should have gone with a 16" barrel and collapsible stock from the outset. That and they should have leaned upon KAC to develop an improved suppressor. KAC is now making much improved 7.62x51mm suppressors, but they're not part of the M110 package.

    As for the trigger, the M110 uses a two-stage match trigger of KAC's own design. I've shot them in 5.56 (SR-15 E3) and they're quite good. I don't know if they're as good as a Geissele, but they're very good none the less.

  27. Hmmmmmm, not sure why the "**********37343750" portion of the link I posted above won't load. It's an interesting presentation……..

  28. Not really. 16" OBRs (7.62) have been shot well past 1000m without any issue. I'd assume people have done with same with the SR-25 EMC. Barrel length isn't really a determining factor in accuracy. A shorter barrel in such weapons usually offers slightly higher accuracy, especially if you have a slightly heavier profile with the shorter barrel (weight would remain the same as a longer one).

    Barrel length equals velocity, not accuracy. Since these weapons are being used out to about the 800m mark, you definitely do not need a 20" barrel. The original weapon should have been specced with a 16" barrel.

  29. This is from another Army article, and so to you is an equally suspect source I imagine, but it indirectly speaks to your concern:

    "There's also a new propellant in the EPR, designed to enhance its performance in the M4 Carbine rifle — what most Soldiers are carrying today in Afghanistan.

    The M4 has a shorter barrel than the M16 rifle, and barrel length is directly related to a bullet's velocity.

    "The M855 leaving an M16 had a higher muzzle velocity than when it left the M4," Woods said. "Because the M16 is the longer barrel, you get the full burn of the powder, pushing a bullet to its maximum velocity before it left the barrel."

    On an M4, however, the M855 bullet might leave the barrel before its powder is completely burned — that means the bullet isn't getting the full benefit of all the powder contained in its shell and an increased muzzle flash.

    "A longer-burning propellant is still burning when the round is leaving the barrel and you are going to get a brighter flash, which is obviously not good for Soldiers," Woods said.

    Both of those issues have been addressed with the M855A1.

    The SMP-842 propellant in the EPR burns quicker, ensuring less muzzle flash in the M4, and also meaning improved muzzle velocity."

  30. Very true, but the basis of that concern is the assumption that the new round's pressure must be maxing out the M4s components. I've read nothing that supports that perspective. Anyway, as several million rounds are headed downrange to Afghanistan, I guess we'll find out one way or the other fairly soon……

  31. Former….I think your lacking greatly in what a bullpup platform can do…it's size and how it's weight is carried is exactly why it's perfect for this job….to have a package that's the size of an M4 but with a 20" barrel….and if it has a can..it's the same size as the M14 with out a can….to me it seems as if all your experiance is making your blind to things out side your experiance..a common trait for " pros"

    I understand the army wanting thier DM to look like everyone else, by using the same platform…but as with everything theirs trade offs.

    But considering training aside in reality the bullpup is a far better platform for this roll ( designated marksman) then any other layout.
    20" barrel from a package 30 to 32" long…..capable of doing CQC to LRE ,it realy can be 2 guns in one…..that just isn't happening in a standard layout…because a great shooter is going to make more constant hits with a 20" barrel at range then with a 16" barrel…and it's not just about getting the lead out to great ranges on target it's also about how much energy it has when it gets their.
    If said platform isn't your thing that's fine, but your comments about bullpups versatility is utterly wrong, and shows you have little to know experiance with them…..now if you want to complain about their triggers, historically they are horrible…heck most shooters first experiance with a bullpup is the ak variety…and that uses a cable to connect the triggers…most now use solid linkage.

  32. SFMedic – Let me expand on what PEO Ammo Reps told/showed me. Don’t doubt your access to better info working for DoD but what we personally see/hear may differ from what we are told by those with an agenda (that goes for me to).
    Chamber Pressure – M855A1 is hotter but had not demonstrated greater stresses or wear than the weapon can handle. No failures have been reported since its intro. BTW, most troops may not be able to ID excessive wear but unless things have changed weapons are inspected by armorers and 10% are supposed to be sent to higher support BN level maintenance which includes chamber gauging, barrel scoping and at least a visual inspection of the bolt and carrier. Has that changed?
    Accuracy – The PEO guys said designated marksman in the countersniper role were engaging and killing at 600m, cold bore. Your MOA stats might be right but that anecdote is a minor contrast.
    Powder – The PEO guys told me the powder is “dirtier” but not as dirty as blank. Yep, guys might not clean their weapons or have poor habits. Sounds like a leadership problem to me.
    Terminal Performance – I was told the performance on soft tissue was much better than M855 and was “classified”. The only thing they would share was that the improved effect on target was due to the yaw of the round after striking tissue which is directly related to its steel core vs. lead which was done to increase lethality not make a “green” round. I was also shown metal plates and video where the M855A1 showed markedly superior performance. You commented that it’s only true at longer ranges but I’m having a tough time understanding why a round wouldn’t penetrate steel at shorter ranges. They did state they had zero “through and through” reports since its introduction and production was increased to meet the increased demand of units in country.
    BTW, does the Mk318 defeat SAPI plates?
    Appreciate your input and look forward to finding the truth.

  33. That was good stuff SF medic

  34. Don't believe he was trying to say it wouldn't shoot through at shorter ranges. I took it to mean it would keep doing so further out than M855.

  35. You stated you didnt want an argument and i gave you fact that bullpups are less than ideal.

    British chose the L85, SAS choose the L119A1. They chose the L129A1 for their DMR.
    The NZ's choose the AUG, their SOF choose a M4 variant, they chose the LMT308MWS for their DMR.

    My list can go on and on, but every country that issues a bullpup to their standard army, their SOF groups choose a standard configured rofle.

    That should say everything.

  36. I have a huge problem with this whole SDM thing, as an infantry squad leader since 2006. I have yet to see a proper SDM…the concept is almost mythological..the only course ive ever seen conducted was the excellent long range marksman course taught by the 197th brigade at Benning…I attended the course and developed a new understanding of the ACOG and M16A4….giving the soldiers a SASS does nothing…he will get no training…NO KD range time…….NO time to prep his scope or get sight dope..none!!!
    the SDM role is half a paragraph in the infantry manual…the army does not take this role serious..as a weapons squad leader..I carried that M14…heavy and useless in south afghanistan…because we did not trust our soldiers were trained on a specialized long range system..the M4/M16 with an ACOG is enough to puch at 500-600 meters….ive seen it done…the M110 is a great weapon..an excellent weaopn, but this SDM thing is not taken seriously in most formations.

    train our men to use this equipment…dont just hand it out.

  37. The reason that the M14 filled that gap so readily is that, with a rigid steel receiver/barrel combination seated within a rigid stock, it has an inherent accuracy advantage over the AR-10/15 layout where, at best, a free-floating barrel is cantilevered off the front of the upper receiver while the lower receiver (with the recoil and feed mechanisms) is attached at 2 points by steel push pins seated in the aluminum receiver. That is why standard off-the-shelf M14 actions manufactured a half-century ago have been turned into rifles capable of 1 MOA accuracy when their wooden stock is replaced by with something more rigid, while the aluminum-receiver ARs age more quickly.

    I doubt that anybody has current numbers on how frequently M16/M4 receivers have problems with elongation of the pin holes, but I remember that being one reason why the operator was not authorized to disassemble the trigger mechanism way back when. I would expect there to be similar issues leading to the M110 requiring a more intensive (and expensive) maintenance regimen than those M14s got.

  38. For those with a sense of history, the Army ordnance-procurement folks ********* any problems caused by a significant increase in pressure and using a "dirtier" powder is both ironic and a bit of deja vu.

    Ironic because I can still see in my mind's eye pictures of the AR10 with a ruptured barrel that Ordnance used to justify rejecting Stoner's original design.

    Deja vu because much of the M16's bad reputation derived from some Ordnance officers' decision to save money by changing the powder in 5.56mm ammunition to one that resulted in a higher pressure at the gas port (increasing the cyclic rate from 7-800 rounds per minute up to 900-1000) along with increased corrosion resulting from the increased fouling in a humid environment.

    Always remember that the folks who are supposed to think through the engineering implications may not have thought it all the way through, while the grunts carrying the weapons almost certainly don't have the knowledge to identify subtle design weaknesses.

    By the way, while it's not directly related to this procurement decision, you might find this old-school 1989 interview with MG Robert Sunnell both interesting and enlightening (the first part deals with how the Army developed and produced the M1/M2/M3 AFVs):
    http://www.history.army.mil/books/Studies/sunell/

  39. Mil surplus was clocking around 1700 FPS if I recall correctly. Thats the Yugo and I think Bulgarian stuff.
    Mostly I run mil surplus and factory hollowpoints, however, I did roll my own, but for a slightly different reason. Eventually I intend to get a multi purpose .30 caliber can and running an AR pistol with a 10" barrel with subsonic "heavies" appealed to me. I experimented both with point forward and base forward using 150 grain FMJBTs and got them consistantly clocking right at 1050 FPS. Never got around to accuracy testing [reasources being what they are] but it ran, it cycled, and it didn't screw up the cartridges. The trick was using a more compact powder, that had the right burn rate. Wound up with something in the neighborhood of 7 grains of 2400. Brass and primers were milspec berden. My dad bought a case of Tok ammo, just to pull the bullets and use them for reloading M1 carbine ammo, as it was actually CHEAPER than buying new .30 cal M1 carbine bullets. Left me with a ******** of already primed cases to play with while I was experimenting.

  40. Your 35" is with stock closed…a horrible ergonomic shooting position. With a 22" barrel…that's same barrel length in a bullpup is 32" with the correct shooters ergonomics all set up to take a shot when you need to from QC to long…and with the right optics that change thats just a lever throw away…now thats not so with a collapsed stock…that takes time in adjust…and time isn't alway on our side.

    I look at this issue very simply…If my son or daughters have to go to war for this country and they have a choice between a 16" barrel weapon that performs like a 16" barrel. Or a 16" barrel that preforms like a 22" barrel…with all things basically the same…the 22" performance wins hands down. the only way right now to get said performance out of a weapon that as compact as possible is bullpup. This trigger shat is bull…I have antique millitary rifles with great triggers and ones with horrible triggers. When they are sighted in they make thier mark…sure the Swiss k31 is hand and feet above an Enfield mkIII but id take the Enfield to war over the K31. 10 rnds over 6 and better ergonomics. But not a better trigger.
    Heck if you want to stick with the M14 just put it in the Bulldog shell….iv heard* it has a great trigger.
    A bullpups layout isn't just that it's short….it's quicker on target and it's weight is carried in such a way its far less taxing on the shooter…in a standing position a shooter has 6 positions to stabilize the weapon.(areas).and the weights over the trigger not in front..standard layouts you have only 3 usable positions, and that's only if you have a foward grip.
    In a ready position ( weapon held flat to the chest ready to acquire targets) a bullpup increases protection of vital organs by 15% over a standard layout, because of we're the mass and magazine is.ie: over heart and lungs.
    Bottom line as a whole package the bullpup out performs a standard platform all things the same in length, caliber,capasity,ergonomics and weight. Because you get better balistics, better balance ,quicker engagements and more protection….a shooter can hit targets further out with less fatigue and quicker close target acquisitions all these equations come down to " time" and everything in combat comes down to " time" it's eather working for you or against you…….I would prefer to make sure our soldiers get all the " time" credits they can get.

  41. Any ideas on what the identified 22 capabilities gaps are, in terms of equipment??? Put differently, what will you change/add in an infantry squad?

  42. @Tomaso:

    Have you actually used a bulpup in combat? If not, I doubt your ability to say whether or not a bulpup would work well in combat. No offense to you, but for the kind of qualifications you are making I'd prefer some actual combat conditions usage to back it up……

  43. M14 is to much work to keep as accurate as a modern AR10 platorm, wish people would just let it freakin die already. Kel-tech? Really? You say that with a straight face?

    Consider bullpups… if you have a high pressure event, guess how much closer that chamber is to your face. So far there haven't been "extreme" advantages to a bullpup as a lot of people seem to think, beyond a shorter package with a longer barrel. SA80 and AUG, two of the most widely used and tested bullpup rifles have and still have had growing pains. The M16 has had the some progression. However, were the M16 has reached a relative point of being reliable and robust the AUG and SA80 still have some room to grow.

    Is it a wonder that SAS/SASR dudes perfer the M4? Its simply a more ergonomic platform and easier to manipulate. I would say the best example of what a modern bullpup could accomplish is the Tavor.

    If they insist on the SDM position being something that stays, then an SPR type platform makes the most sense. Beyond the weapons, training and institutional inertia will be the toughest to overcome.

  44. The very first run of M110's had issues, but that was quickly fixed by KAC and the current rifles are very reliable

  45. M855A1 is an improvement in every way over M855.

    Its accuracy is on par with MK318 and Brown tip rounds
    Its performance in soft tissue is on par with MK318 and Brown tip rounds.
    Its performance through cover is similar to MK318 and Brown tip, while excelling in certain areas.

    the issues with M855A1 is that its more expensive than other rounds since it can only be made on older less effective machines and it runs at a higher pressure which may lead to excessive wear(this has not yet been noticed but who knows in a few years)

  46. FormerSFMedic | April 30, 2012 at 5:35 am | Reply

    @Coolhand77- The M855 comes in two flavors. The original M855 has a STEEL penetrator tip and a LEAD core. The newer M855 uses a TUNGSTEN penetrator tip and a STEEL core. The majority of COTS M855 will have a steel penetrator with lead core like the stuff you get from Federal (American Eagle). Here's where it gets interesting. A friend of mine (someone I highly respect) tells me that the M855 that's been used for the last few years in combat has been the tungsten version. From what I always understood, there was no way to tell the difference between the two unless you had the actual box the cartridges came in. The "newer" tungsten version is commonly referred to as "M855 Lead Free".

    I'm always up for some San Antonio pizza! I visit Fort Sam quite a bit. I'll hit you up when I head that way. Good luck with your .308 rifle build!

    @Majrod- That's exactly what I thought PEO would say. All I can say on the matter is that I stand by my observations. I've had the chance to see some of the issues with my own eyes while other issues are simply my opinion and theories. I'll briefly reply to the points you've posted.

    Chamber pressure- 62,000psi is considered to be the maximum pressure the M4 chambered in 5.56 can handle. At 63,000 psi the A1 will wear out parts and barrels faster. I gaurentee it. The reason I know is because we've already tested some high pressure loads with the M4 with the carbine gas system and the standard buffer/spring combination. With standard M855 the carbine gas system has exhibited excessive bolt speed and excessive pressures at the gas port. Furthermore, with a standard M4 profile barrel, the throat has a very thin profile which leads to excessive throat erosion. That was with M855. We ran some high pressure handloads all the way up to proof loads (in a controlled environment) and the result was exponential (obviously). The A1 takes the system to its limits. I don't care what they're telling themselves, I've seen the tests. Unless they (Army) move to a heavier barrel, a longer gas system, and a heavier buffer/spring assembly there is no way around the increased wear.

    Accuracy- I'll say this. It doesn't matter what the accuracy standard is, skilled shooters are going to find a way to hit their target. A 5.5moa standard doesn't mean that ammo will always shoot 5.5moa. A certain Lot might shoot better. However, if my ammo is going to shoot slightly better than its standard, wouldn't you want that standard to be better than 5.5moa? If the standard is 2.0moa (MK318) then I know that my ammo will never shoot worse than that. I would think that would make sense to most shooters in combat. Also, how many times did guys miss at 600m, or 300m, or 450m? They didn't give you that info, did they? BTW, cold bore doesn't mean much to me. Cold bore is more of a myth than it is a fact. In actuality, cold bore comes down to other variables.

    Powder- It's dirtier, they said it. Not much to say to that. I still stand by what I said on that matter.

    Terminal Performance- They claim better performance on tissue. My belief is that performance IS better. BUT, only marginally so. Not enough to justify the added cost of the new round and certainly not the best we could do. ERonc was correct, I meant the A1 performs on par with Green Tip, but extends the range of that performance. Terminal performance on soft tissue is something we'll have to wait to see. I can tell you that a round that is yaw dependant is never going to give us consistent performance.

    No, the MK318 does not penetrate SAPI plates. However, it is substantially more consistent on soft tissue and it is superior at penetrating light urban barriers like vehicle glass/bodies, wood, and sheetrock, where the M855A1 performs poorly against such barriers.

    Hopefully, we find the truth soon, because I'm not optimistic about the M855A1.

  47. AAAAh, thanks. I had heard of the LF round, but thought it had fallen by the wayside since tungsten is significantly harder to shape than lead or steel, and the 855A1 was supposed to take the lead free. Also, I don't think I've ever SEEN a tungsten core from an 855, but hey, I'm just a stupid civvy. That and none of the literature on the subject mentions it when searched other than passing mention to the 855 Lead Free.
    I would be more concerned with barrier penetration than SAPI anyway. For one thing, Hadji isn't wearing much body armor in general. Add to that the fact that plates only cover certain areas, and soft armor doesn't do jack to stop rifle rounds…yah, barrier penetration means a **** of alot more.
    Not to mention a DM should be able to shoot around the armor…to quote one of my favorite fictional charaters "What about his face…is his face armored?"

  48. When I first saw the FS2000 I thought" man is that thing fat"….. But shouldered it's a dream…I relate it to how the Porsche cayenne is…ugly on the out side…but man are they nice to drive. This feeling of bulk is what a lot of people say when they first pick up a bullpup..it's weight being aft or over the grip…but shouldered it's perfect..and can be shot one handed with acceptable accuracy…of all the bullpups iv shot the FS2000 was the most surprising…I was turned off by the toy like chamber components…but she ran real well. The RFB had a concussion in my right ear that was very discomforting, but it didn't have the cheek rest like the newer ones.
    I have not shot a Trevor yet but that platform has had many developments over the years…and it's coming to the states.

  49. Training on a new system is a huge dilemma ….it's very true…but I perception is that if your starting with new recruiters what's the real difference….it's mostly new to them anyways….now sure the AR platform is a stellar preformed now but it's takin 40 yrs to get here….and it's still a very good design…but take what has been learned from the m16 development and put it in a bullpup ( which is the Trevor ) and it's a smaller more potent package….and with a 20" barrel it's a perfect DM system…my worry is that a SASS is too slotted for the sniper like roll and it's parameters too narrow for use in the DM roll…I believe that roll should overlap basic CQ engagements and long range. This is an area I believe the scopes roll has to be addressed …a contemporary scope just won't cut it…and I have no experiance with the Elcan 1×6 variable scope..but looks good on paper.

  50. Just to touch on this real quick… I'm a Platoon Sergeant of a Sniper Platoon currently deployed to Afghanistan. I have 4 MK-12s, shooting MK262 MOD1 ammo out of them. We are currently using Leupold CQBSS scopes with them, due to their versatility. We have been achieving consistent hits out to 900m on man sized targets. The MK262 MOD1 (DODIC AA53) is a very effective round.

    Within my platoon we are using MK-12s, MK-11s, M110 SASS, M40A5s and M107s. I would love the M110C, and so would my Snipers, trust me, I've asked. So long as they make it in black to blend in with the rest of the weapons. Right now we are using MK-11s more than the M110 due to it looking a little more like an M16A4.

  51. Ian, thanks for the feedback! From the weapons and optics you describe, you appear to be a Marine. That brings up a point that I haven't mentioned here yet. The optic! I feel that even if the Army goes with the M110C, SDM will still have a less than optimal scope to utilize the system. The Marine Corps has some of the best optics available to them. Not only that, but from what I understand, many SDM in the Corps have the knowledge and skills to use those optics. The M8541SSDS makes for a fantastic setup for an SDM-R in 5.56 or 7.62. Furthermore, the Leupold CQBSS is practically MK12 or M110C PERFECTION!

    I can only hope that the Army does the right thing when/if they move forward with this. Honestly, the optic choice is more important than the rifle choice. I would like to see a MK12 in the hands of conventional SDM. It's absolutely one of the best sniper rifles in the inventory and represents the best option for many SDM. For those times when the SDM needs a little more, the M110C will fit that medium range requirement as well. The Leupold CQBSS could be utilized for both systems and could be swapped back and forth depending on which gun the SDM needs for the mission. The CQBSS would allow SDM to be more accurate at longer ranges and make shooting at all distances much faster and easier.

    Without a good MODERN optic, the M110C or MK12 will do little good for closing that SDM-R gap that has been identified!

  52. So not to be overly simplistic, my ammo guru but how do you think the M855A1 bullet do loaded into the MK262 MOD1 primed case with an appropriate charger of that powder?

  53. Ok…enough about this platform or that….I too think the scope choice will make or break this SASS or DM …….what are the choices out their that can do long range and close?
    I should mention I can't honestly see how a system that's slotted more towards sniper will work in a DM roll….but with a platform that can hold 20 to 30 rounds in semi auto package the only issue is what can the scope do to fill in the CQ aspect.
    Are their any range finder scopes in use in the military that would worK for this roll?

  54. FormerSFMedic | May 1, 2012 at 8:14 am | Reply

    Yes, that 77gr bullet makes a big difference. At close range it really likes to tumble and come apart. At longer ranges, it doesn't so much come apart, but it will penetrate soft tissue real nicely even at reduced velocity. The long, slender bullet creates a lot of damage when it tumbles due to its larger sectional density over the M855. Guys really love the MK262 MOD1.

    As far as the comparison to 7.62 M118LR. There really is no comparison. The .308 175gr SMK is worlds more effective when speaking in terms of terminal velocity. However, the 5.56 round has the advantage in the fact that we can much more easily fight AND take precision shots with the MK12 versus the larger M110 or M110C.

    Putting the M855A1 into a MK262 case won't make much difference unless the same company (Black Hills) were to load it. Even then, the MK262 has the advantage of a higher ballistic coefficient and a much more precise manufacturing standard. The MK262 bullet was made to be a match bullet where the M855A1 is not. The case and powder load would likely not make any difference at all in accuracy.

  55. I was wondering about the BC on the 77 grain vs the M855A1. Its one of the reasons I am so fond of the FS2000 [no, not the reason you think all you BP haters, so shut up and read]. I generally don't pick up ANY rifle or barrel that doesn't have a 1 in 8 or 1 in 7 twist to stabilize the heavier rounds, and my group dropped in half going from mil surplus to black hills 77 grain OTM [I was hoping for 1MOA but I'll be satisfied with what I got, especially considering I was rushed and a little off my game that day]
    It boggles the mind that ARs still come with 1 in 9 twist barrels that are at best, iffy with the heavier bullets

  56. Say it was Black Hills doing it, I wasn't looking for the accuracy per say, but to have a cleaner shooting round that penetrates better.

  57. Well, that takes you back to a sane powder/pressure load, but removes the MV increase in the short barreled carbines. Honestly I'd have to see how the projectile actually flies…how consistant the manufacture is, and how it operates under NORMAL pressure loads in various barrel twists and lengths. It might still be acceptable in a 20" barrel, and suck in a carbine barrel, etc.
    From the sounds of things, the manufacturing process isn't consistant enough. 5.5 MOA out of a combat carbine is pretty poor, especially considering I think off the shelf grade is 3 MOA for the the same carbines with M855. That tells me that there is a consistancy issue with powder, bullet, or both.

  58. Old Soldier | May 2, 2012 at 4:51 am | Reply

    Former, one thing I've noticed is that everybody seems to mis-define ergonomics as "what feels comfortable to me".

    For example, the primary force driving the dominance of straight-line stocks and pistol grips in rifle design was the need to cope with repetitive recoil impulses as more weapons made full-auto an option for the soldier. When it comes to aimed rapid (semi-auto) firing, the disadvantages of straight-line configuration (e.g., the raised sight-line leading to increased error when the rifle is canted slightly) start to become significant.

    BTW, I would also note that folding stocks are an ergonomic trade-off — increased portability in confined spaces versus decreased accuracy until the stock is unfolded. Admittedly, unfolding usually takes no longer than a magazine change, but that's still a measurable time which may or may not be available.

    As to the durability of aluminum, the reason that riflemen disassembling the trigger mechanism was a wear issue was that we'd use the steel cleaning rod to drive the pins out (when you have a hammer…), so the steel rod would eventually expand the hole enough that the pressed pin which belonged in there would have some play in it. As to not wanting riflemen to play with the firing mecanism, it wasn't all that complicated and all that was being done was swabbing off the carbon buildup that M16s are renowned for.

    As to the durability of aluminum versus steel, I would hope that your friend takes better care of his rifles than what soldiers have to put them through. I remember seeing some photos a quarter-century back in Soldier of Fortune magazine of captured M16s, shipped to Latin America by Vietnam, with holes worn in front corners of the magazine well (where soldiers typically grasp the weapon while carrying it casually). Hence my concern about the durability of aluminum receivers.

  59. Old Soldier | May 2, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Reply

    One last kick of the horse's carcass regarding worn pin holes: if it's just a "made up problem", then why did TM 9-1005-249-23&P prescribe testing procedures (with specifically designed gauges) to test for worn holes along with testing for play in the pivot pin lugs, all of which were (are?) considered to render the rifle unserviceable?

  60. Old Soldier, I think you pointed out the issue in your previous post. It was improper disassembly and reassembly that was damaging the receivers, NOT normal wear and tear. The installation/removal of the trigger pack is not "grunt proof". Like you said "if all you have is a hammer…"
    Probably the reason you don't see it anymore is that nobody outside an armorer with the proper tools and knowledge is assembling and disassembling the trigger pack. In fact, unless I am mistaken, thats about the ONLY way the stresses required to stretch those holes can be imparted since under normal operation that part of the lower recieves almost NO impact stresses, and the parts that do [receiver extension mounting] are reinforced.

  61. I don't understand this. After 9/11 I did a 4 month and then a 3 month deployment to Afghanistan. In the beginning the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Haqqani Net., etc. were horrible shots. They would have their occasional ambushes also. After invading Iraq I didn't return until the Surge in January 2009 and was discharged in 2010. When I was getting out of the Army the M-14 was being assigned to squads for long range shots that was out of effective range of the M-4. They started using the HK-416, HK-417 in the SOF command. The Ranger Battalion began carrying the Scar 16 and that was aborted for the Scar 17. There was a Scar sniper rifle that was coming into experimental use also that shot beautifully. The M-4 aside from it's jamming issues is far more accurate than the AK, especially when the Army added Optics. The M110 feels just the same as a M-4, this is why it was adopted and with the Ammo of course the weight was going to increase. Out of all my deployments to Afghan very few battles were closer than 200 meters. I thought the upgrade of the M-24 to the .338 model was a great addition to snipers. It gave almost one thousand more yards than the 7.62. I met a few guys that never went to Sniper school, maybe they were on a wait list but were considered Designated Marksman. I can understand a lighter rifle. When you start reducing the Barrel length there will be issues with the Effective range unless the Rifle caliber is larger. I can understand maybe a 6.8 mm. The bull pup concept will cause issues if our military goes that route. The Marksman is normally the hidden/covert member of the fight though. We were always in support our Infantryman. I know it sounds bad but we would hide and use or Soldiers as bait to take out the threat to them.

  62. The Bull pup concept is a lot different from what most soldiers are used to. I said earlier that taking length off the barrel would cause issues in the effective range. I got out in 2010 and actually went through sniper school. I had to go through several actually due to the change in battlefields. When I was getting out they had guys called Designated Marksmen that had not actually gone to Sniper School. I don't know if they were on a Wait list or if they were just good shots handed the M-14, and M 110. I got out in 2010 and I know a lot has changed. Maybe you or someone else can explain this to me.

  63. the answer is already field with SOF. MK17 SCAR. its 7.5 pounds naked and out performs a carbine SASS any day.

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