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Army's XM2010 sniper rifle gets full fielding

Apr. 25, 2011 - 06:11AM   |   Last Updated: Apr. 25, 2011 - 06:11AM  |  
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The XM2010 sniper rifle is making a name for itself in Afghanistan. Officials won't say how many are there or where they are. But at the time of the Sept. 20 contract, officials said the first 250 rifles would be ready by early December and sent directly to Afghanistan.

No matter how many are there, this is clear: The weapon's performance has been strong enough to warrant full fielding.

"The question is whether to ‘pure fleet,' and that is the direction we're going in," said Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller, Program Executive Office Soldier.

To "pure fleet" means the Army would upgrade its 2,500 M24 sniper rifle chassis to XM2010s. The $28 million contract included the funds to allow manufacturer Remington to upgrade or produce 3,600 rifles over five years.

A pure inventory would give sniper teams a big boost. While the XM2010 is technically an upgraded M24 sniper rifle, the upgrades are so significant that the weapon warranted a new designator. Notably, the XM2010 transitioned from the 7.62mm NATO caliber (.308 Winchester) to a .300 Winchester Magnum. This increased a sniper's effective range from 800 to 1,200 meters.

Improvements to lethality and standoff distance were in response to feedback from Afghanistan, where snipers needed long-range capabilities. The .50-caliber M107 has a range beyond 2,000 meters, but its 2.5 minutes of angle means the round will impact anywhere within a 25-inch area at 1,000 meters. That is acceptable for a material target, but the average human torso is 22 inches.

Snipers wanted a weapon with the accuracy of the M24, which has one minute of angle, but with greater range. The XM2010 was the Army's answer.

In addition to greater reach, the rifle comes with the Advanced Armament Corp. Titan-QD Fast-Attach suppressor. The 10-inch suppressor eliminates 98 percent of muzzle flash and 60 percent of recoil and reduces sound by 32 decibels, according to AAC, which recently was acquired by Remington.

Rails are built into the M1925 chassis. This, and a free-floating barrel, gives it tight accuracy.

Its improved 6.5-20x50 variable-power Leupold scope has an enhanced reticle within the first focal plane. That means the reticle power will scale with the zoom up to 20 power. Snipers will have to make fewer calculations as target distances change.

Shooters in the testing phase also found no degradation at night when using the A/N PVS 29 night sight.

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