Pentagon’s Top Tester Gives Sniper Round Passing Grade

sniper rifle 2The Defense Department released it’s annual testing report and unlike other weapons programs, the MK248 Mod 0 Sniper Round got a passing grade.

Used with the M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle, the Mk248-Mod0 (A191) .300 WinMag ammunition, is utilized to hit targets up to 1,200 meters out. The sniper system was built to improve the range and accuracy of other comparative systems.

In March 2013, the Army completed a successful live fire with the MD248 Mod ¬†as service officials tested it against gelatin targets to obtain data inputs. It was also fired against “light material barriers and other targets to determine the projectile’s ability to perforate the target,” according to the Pentagon’s Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) annual report.

The testers determined that the sniper round “demonstrated adequate performance and lethality” when frired from the M2010. However, more details weren’t made available, as the report referenced the 2013 classified Mk 248 Mod 0 lethality report.

This is the first time that DOT&E has tested the sniper round, but plans to continue to do so. Their recommendation for the Army is to “improve the complex computer models it uses to model small caliber ammunition performance.”

  • moondawg

    Does this mean that the U.S. Army, all on its own has figured out what constitutes an accurate 300WinMag round. Amazing.

    • seans

      Well probably having over a decades worth of data from NSW who has been using this round probably helps.

  • Popsiq

    The Defense Department conducts actual tests on ammunition to help the Army tune-up ‘computer simulations’ to ‘model’ what ammunition does? That just begs the ‘field shooters’ to make complaints and cause a ‘re-cycling’ of the ‘evaluation process’.

    Must be one of them oxy-morons at work!

    • DBM

      No, Just Morans at work. Saying that I should point out its the bosses that demand testing. Results from said testing will be ignored if it does agree with said bosses biases.

  • bulldurham48

    It is absolutely amazing that the military has again spent millions of dollars on what has been proven on alot of new rounds by the worlds best ammo makes already. Who is responsible for this waste of money.? If Winchester, Hornaday and others like them say a bullet is lethal, then you can bet you butt it is. They develop ammo that kills 400 to 1000 pound animals so they should sure know what kills a man. Stupid waste of time, effort and money. But of course some lobbyist and congressman made a bundle on the wasted time so I guess that means its ok.

    • DBM

      Never ever take the word of a material supplier. Its gotten a few million service members killed through the years. What they deliver is often not what you looked at and to maximize profits they cut corners in military procurement that they would never do to a civilian.

    • RattedHalo

      Let me get this straight. You actually trust the manufacturers of weapons and munitions and believe what they say, despite 50 years of lies, exaggerations and corruption as shown in countless weapons and munitions programs? The only explanation is that you are very silly or work for the NRA or their PR company. The US armed forces should just take the word of the manufacturers, no testing eh? Either schoolboy naivety or something more sinister at work on this post.

    • SKD

      While I often trust the word of my ammunition manufacturers on the performance of their products for my own use hunting game I would much rather have the weapons and ammunition used by or soldiers be fully tested by those soldiers before their lives depend on it.
      All I have on the line when shooting is dinner, a soldier places his life on the line and must be able to trust his weapon.

    • straps

      Um nope. The best testing is done NOT by the vendor, NOT by the purchaser but by a disinterested third party. And I’ve been in the area when a vendor or purchaser tried to “re-calibrate” a tester or the process that everyone agreed upon when the third party was tasked, so even THAT has issues.

      As others have said, I’ve gotten COMPLETELY BOGUS information from vendors. And I’ve gotten high-school cartoonist-type physics lessons from purchasers SURE that the BOGUS VENDOR INFO was legit.

      Hunting men isn’t anything like hunting 4-legged prey. Men are agile like deer and stout like boar.

      This report could be a validation of the testing process or simply an undiscovered flaw in it. Godspeed to the men who find out for the rest of us.

  • CaptainDoc

    The army has been shooting the .300 wm for several years for matches, even the reserves have been using it for matches. The accuracy is very good and the range is excellent, much better than the .308 win. and the 7.62X39, the enemy will be greatly surprised, so much so that the surprise will kill them. We will now have to listen to all the know- it- alls from the bench(arm chair warriors, etc.) that look at ballistic reports and have no knowledge of downrange performance. This is an excellent cartridge, with weapon that is designed to make it work, if people will actually go out and fire it before making an opinion. Looking to see automatic weapons at squad levels in the future, I sure am glad I’m not going to hump that stuff, belted magnum squad weapons would take on a new meaning and take on a new concept of back pain from humping the ammo not to mention the expense BUT, not as expensive as the .50 ammo nor as heavy.

    • seans

      The enemy is going to be surprised? The military has been using 300 winmag for a long time now. You realize SOCOM has been using .300winmag for over a decade in the Stan. Not to mention even some of the better rounds that have came up. 300 winmag is over a 30 year old design. The Army Special Forces wanted the M24 chambered in that decades ago but were told no. No big Army is finally getting it right when the new and much better rounds that have already been proven in combat are available.

      • DBM

        They should have skipped the .300Mag and proceeded directly to the .338. 1200m vs 1600m which would you pick?

  • Davey

    OK guys – give them a little slack.
    Point one – the ammunition needs to behave nearly identically at arctic temperatures, in hot deserts and jungles. It has to perform the same after long-term storage in cold, high temperatures, and humidity. If you’re shooting a target at 1,200 yards, the bullet drop at that range has to be exactly the same every time under every condition. Verifying perfect behavior means shooting an enormous amount of ammo in order to ensure that your statistical analysis is correct.

    Here’s a little tidbit – Mk 268 is a high pressure load, even for a 300 Win Mag. There might have been a serious question whether real-world conditions could provoke dangerously high chamber pressures.

    Same questions have to be answered about lethality. Does the Sierra Matchking fragment the same way at -50 F as it does when your rifle and ammo have been sitting under an Iraqi sun all day? Does it have the same lethality when the target is lightly clothed as when it is wearing heavy winter clothing? How does it actually work against foreign body armor? When you use it in an anti-materiel role, is it consistent under a variety of conditions? How does the Pentagon answer these questions? Shoot people under a variety of conditions and have the snipers record the results of all their shots.

    Regarding computer predictions, they’re talking about long range ballistic calculations. Frankly, ballistic programs for calculating bullet drop and wind drift aren’t all that accurate. They’re based on formulas written in the 19th Century for iron cannon shells. Again, at 1200 yards, you’re measuring bullet drop in feet. A very small difference between the computer program and the actual bullet drop of Mark 268 ammo means the difference between hitting a human and missing him entirely. The “improve the complex ballistic models” quote means that current bullet drop and bullet drift calculations may not be accurate enough for a sniper to dial them into their scopes at long ranges and get a reliable first round hit. That’s a problem.

  • DBM

    Nice comment but just as helo’s don’t fly the same at high and low altitudes neither do bullets. Cold weather affects the barrels different than warm barrels. That’s why they shoot a lot of rounds to develop ballistic tables for it. None of this is relevant to your average shooter and most especially to one east of the Mississippi River since 200 yards will be a long shot.

  • CaptainDoc

    MK268 ammo is very hot. I reload for the .300 and get around 5 reloads for the standard case. I used some of the MK268 cases and they could only be used for 2 reloading’s without seeing signs of case fatigue and making me nervous about the case life. No. 1 I just don’t use the cases from that MK268 for reloading No. 2 backing off a few grains improves accuracy when I reload other cases. No. 3 a few feet per second does not matter if the bullet is placed consistently in the exact same place, you adjust for it. this is just for information, my rules for me only and that way I can enjoy shooting without any problems, and I don’t have problems. if you like the .338 then you should buy one and shoot it, then you can state what a great product it is, you will return to the .300.

    • DBM

      There is nothing East of the Mississippi that needs a .300 or .338 for knock down or range. In afghanistan the extreme ranges have made the 7.62 close to useless because at 800 meters (and are rated to out to 100 meters) the round just isnt reliably killing the bad guys or even taking them out of the fight. The insergents like to engage our guys at 1200 meters and beyond with heavy MG fire and the infantry just does’nt have a weapon available to return fire effectively. With the .300 you’ve only incrementally increased capabilities of the snipers while the .338 bridges the gap between 7.62 and .50. BTW soldier bitch about the .50 cal rifles because the army is to cheap to buy match grade ammo for them. They are forced to use standard issue ammo.

      • VTGunner

        Didn’t realize “need” was a requirement for owning a particular caliber. I don’t “need” .380, 9mm and .357SIG for pistol calibers so does that mean I shouldn’t have them.

        By the way, some of the moose up here in Northern Vermont are monsters that .308’s have struggled with to knock down.

      • CaptainDoc

        I do not hunt east of the miss. only in the west and Alaska. I owned a pack and guide service and had to put finishing rounds, into customer shot animals, at extreme ranges a .280 imp. did a fine job for years and I switched to the .300. used the .338 & .300. I prefer the .300. In astan I saw the .300 & .50 being used by sof & usn personnel. it performed very well by well trained personnel. if you like the .50 just try it. the ammo & rifle are very heavy and require the spotter to run back for ammo regularly. the time waiting was not wasted as the rifle needed to cool down. the .300 is the best round, in my opinion, for the long range shooting. if you attend the 1000 meter matches you will see lots of .300 and very few if any .338. if you want to see some real damage pop a coyote w/ the ,300 that has a 125 grn. bullet. w/ the match grade .50 it apparently does not make much difference, except in handloads, at 1000 meters. the last I heard was that .50 are $8.50 per round give or take a few $$. I don’t know what the military ,300 rounds cost.

        • seans

          If you attend 1000 yard matches the .300 is more than adequate, it is a laser out to that range. But the .338 still trumps it for ranges up to and past 1600. The .50 isn’t that great. Even the match ammo isn’t capable of 1MOA accuracy, and god forbid you are forced to shoot that thing out of a Barrett, that is a 3 minute gun if you are lucky. The army is over 3 decades to late adopting this round, and especially when there are better rounds available.

          • CaptainDoc

            like I said before; buy one and shoot it. the 338 only looks better on paper. the 300 does just fine at extended ranges, the 338 does not perform well at those ranges, yes I know the brit.’s shot some very fine rounds but they even stated everything was perfect. try a 3 round group in 6 minutes at 100 meters. at 90 degree’s F. and then think about that spread at excessive ranges. when you get to those ranges heat sets in the optics and distortion of the target appears making luck a big factor on warm days. I would not want to bet on someone making a consistent hit at 1600 meters day in and day out. the 338 is the same case necked up and just does not have it and never will that is why the army passed on it and it is not likely that they will adopt anything else in the near future. there are “some” people that make choices for the military that are experienced in that field of endeavor. like I said “buy one” and shoot it, buying a book with tables on it just does not cut it. there is no better round in the world than the .300

          • seans

            I have, I also have attended sniper school in two different branches. I have got to shoot the .338 and have been issued .300 winmag, I would much prefer the .338 for the Stan.

          • CaptainDoc

            I won’t be going anywhere like astan again. I doubt that I would have fired, unless I was shooting at someone on the large weapons in the pickups, at a target 1600 meters away in the heat, maybe first light, but doubtful. I will not shoot at game over 600 meters. I am lucky to shoot 60-80(shot 3-4 times that amount a day on active duty) rounds in a range environment in one day. so now I enjoy being a has been. good luck on the 1600 meter shots. bye

          • DBM

            Won’t be long before no one will be going back but things are heating up in Africa and Iran is an ongoing problem. Lots of wide open country and hillsides a good sniper will have to cover..

          • DBM

            Guns are extremely subject to opinion. That’s not a slam BTW because you shoot very well with the .300. However what works well for you may not be the overall best rifle for the job for everyone else. I have weapons I love and worth ever penny I paid for them and I constantly hear how worthless they are by others. I do the same of course. I hate the model 92 Berettas the army uses and the 9mm round but I know people that would never consider owning anything else . The .300, in a lot of places, will do the job the military needs it to do. However the army is still buying combat equipment to fight a European war. We knew back before the first gulf war that most of our future conflicts would be in the middle east and Africa where combat would be conducted at extended ranges and not so much in urban and close combat situations yet they continue to buy weapons for a European conflict and at best try to buy something that kinda sorta bridges the range gap.

            I have been associated with the army for over 35 years and I have seen the army F up all kinds of weapons procurements . From missiles to pistols to commo equipment to Hummers and tanks and I can tell you test results are meaningless as to whether or not the army buys a weapons system. It has more to do with some key persons’ personal unsubstantiated opinion. That person usually has never actually been in a position where his life or others around him lives depended on the equipment actually doing its job. In fact they often field equipment that doesn’t meet full requirements because they are afraid they might loose funding and “fix it” after its fielded.

          • CaptainDoc

            YOU are absolutely correct. We knew that after RVN that the .223 wouldn’t be suitable for the next conflict. It is interesting to note that the Army never did let go of the M14. It is used today in astan, even the MTU’s(active, guard, reserve) use it for matches.

          • eagle2758

            Yep, used the Garand and M-14 in matches many times.

      • eagle2758

        We have some big bears in NC.

  • DBM

    VT “Need” was a poor choice of words. .Practical might have been better Except for the Moose you reminded me of there is very little game east of the river needing such a large caliber weapon. Too much damage to the game but if that’s what you want to shoot a .300 God bless you and may your hunts go well.

    Captain, Long range accuracy is a good thing but retaining lethality is just as important. I couldn’t tell you what the military .300 costs but it is much more than the civilian version. It will have to meet mi spec for moisture resistance and long term storage. The primer will be lacquered and the bullet will have the tar coating. The cost of all of the testing and data collection will be added in. And since it will be a low number production the costs can’t be spread out much. And the army has been known to screw up things badly so expect that to add to the costs. The first of the new rifles went to the sniper school and the barrels were shot out in less than 500 rounds. So I expect them to screw this procurement up again. The .50 starts showing its problems with accuracy well beyond 1000 meters. It was designed to be used in an area dispersion weapon so pinpoint accuracy wasn’t even an issue.

  • Rock

    I’m not the world’s expert on ballistics, but I tried for a number of years to get a .300 WM dialed in for the ranges I needed. I was elk hunting in Wyoming. The result was that the accuracy was never where I wanted it because the 300 WM headspaces on the belt near the rim. Given manufacturing tolerances, this can vary the distance from the bullet to the rifling (throat). Ammunition that headspaces on the rim (ie the 338 Lapua Magnum) has a much more consistent headspace.

    Barrel wear and erosion at the muzzle are also problems for the 300 WM. I replaced the barrel on my rifle at 600 rounds. Replacing the old barrel with an expensive Hart match grade barrel did very little to improve the accuracy. Maybe the rate of twist for the round was wrong, or perhaps the gunsmith didn’t ream the chamber properly.

    One thing is a known fact: Weapons and ammunition for the 300 WM are a lot cheaper than the 338 Lapua Magnum.

  • CaptainDoc

    I have heard that phrase before” barrel shot out “. it is simply not true for that cartridge, the 220 swift washed out barrels due to +4000 fps muzzle. they changed the composition of the metal and that changed but they still lasted for at least 3-5000 rounds with the old metal. I have a .300 that has more than 10,000 rounds fired out of it and it still has a .75 moa. and I am using light bullets with much higher velocity than mil. spec. that statement is simply not correct. I would have to actually see the barrel wash out at 500 rds. even letting the barrel get a little hot.

    • DBM

      Captain. Those words I used were correct. They had to replace the rifles because the barrels were toast by 500 rds. Why? I don’t no and the reason they wore out so quickly was never made public knowledge. The replacement rifles with barrels made by a different manufacturer have not had that problem.

      • CaptainDoc

        I was a member of a U.S. Army MTU (marksmanship training unit) for 5 years. Not one person can confirm the barrel problem, I have said it before : SHOW ME. Saw lots of barrels that were “shot out” after changing shooters they worked quite well. My wife is making me correct a previous statement, she shot an Alaskan brown bear with the .338 one shot one dead bear at 200 meters. Now she is making me keep the rifle.

        • DBM

          Your wifes a Keeper:-)
          I will have to see if I still have the information on the rifles barrel problems

  • walt

    As I recall the M1 Garand was not good at first; the M14 was finicky, the M15 was, well at first questionable. All tested and approved by manufacturer and government. Nothing changes. Use what you can hit with not what someone is pushing. Remember military has to consider weight, supply, environment and training among others. Fun to read the comparisons and comments though.

  • Mr. Twitch

    Question: In the above image of the sniper team…what suppressor is that? Looks like a ‘DIY’ paper towel roll special or something. Is the real suppressor under that cardboard covering? Anyone?

    • seans

      Its a cover to help with mirage prevention from heat coming off the suppressor.

  • Dick Richie

    I have been using a 300 win mag for 9 years as my competition rifle. I also shoot for pleasure at extreme distances, and from 1500yds or closer this is better for a lot of reason.. 308 is weak at that range and the 50cal is too damn heavy. Not to mention you can still shoot a mile with the win mag.. Reason I know is I DO IT!!!. Get away form this military mentality and see what real shooters are doing. Any rifle that shoots better then 1/2moa can kill out to 1500yds ALL DAY LONG. If you want a system… use Norma brass, H4831SC and a Berger 210 and match primers. deadly accurate. bunch of nonsense I ve read so far. Former Marine.

  • DBM

    I’m glad there are people like you who can shoot that far accurately. I never personally had the oppertunity to shoot long range back when my skills were still good enought to attempt it. However, when you talk about shooting that far in the “military mindset” you have to ask yourself does the round still have sufficient lethality at 1500 yards to reliably kill the target and second is the ammo issed as high a quality as what you use. If the answer is no for either question then shouldnt you use something else?

  • guest

    you can’t beat the long range shooting of a weathebee .270 MarkV. it’s a magumn load with appox 20% more powder. it’s the flattest shooting rifle I’ve ever shot. I took down a huge deer at 800 yds, chest shot, knocked it completely down. got up, made it 20 ft and was done.