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Snipers are often equipped with various rifles to use in different situations. But when a mission evolves quickly, they have to choose which ones to lug onto a helicopter. Even narrowing them down to the simplest options — one rifle for long distance, one for shorter — each rifle still has its own magazines, ammo and spare parts. U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCom) is working to address that concern. The command is looking for gunmakers who can produce a single sniper weapon that can fire three different rounds.
SOCom, which is responsible for providing special operations goods and services to military troops, has put out a call to small businesses for what it has dubbed the “Advanced Sniper Rifle.” The command is looking for a bolt-action gun that fires a 7.62×51 NATO round, a .300 Norma Magnum and a .338 Norma Magnum by using three different barrels that can be changed by commandos in the field, according to tampabay.com.
A gun that fires three different rounds means less weight for a sniper to drag around. The 7.62 rounds are better for shorter distances and are in much greater supply, while the two Magnum rounds have more energy and are better at longer distances. Even though the barrels are the heaviest part of the gun, each gun requires magazines and spare parts that can weigh even more, said Ryan Cleckner, a former Army Ranger sniper and an instructor at present. He is a former vice president at Remington Defense, which produced the XM2010, a sniper rifle used by commandos.
Having three barrels in one gun also helps snipers become more proficient, Cleckner said, enabling them to spend more time training on a single weapon with a single action instead of having to get used to the action on different weapons. “I had nine guns issued to me as a sniper when I was in, and that was one of my bigger complaints,” Cleckner said.
Commando snipers serve a number of roles for a commander in the field, firing directly at targets, gathering intelligence and keeping an eye on friendly forces, Cleckner said.