The U.S. Special Operations Command is “seeking sources” for a commercial sniper rifle system that can switch between three specific calibers, is suppressor-compatible, and meets certain size, weight, and accuracy requirements. The “sources sought” memo can be seen here, and should not be confused with a request for proposal like the Army’s Modular Handgun System was.

Notable requirements of SOCOM’s desired ASR are as follows:

– Complete system including caliber conversion kits for 7.62mm NATO, .300 Norma Magnum, and .338 Norma Magnum.
– Includes any tools required to convert between calibers.
– Includes a flash and sound suppressor that can be attached to the rifle as needed.
– Total system weight — not including suppressor, and with unloaded magazine — of under 17 lbs (max acceptable ) and under 13 lbs (desired).
– Extended Length under 50″ (max) and 40″ (optimal).
– Fully-collapsed length under 40″ (max) and 36″ (optimal).
– Accuracy at 300 meters must be 1 MOA maximum and 0.5 MOA optimal in both 7.62 NATO and .300 NM. In .338 NM, accuracy must be better than 2.5 MOA max and 1.5 MOA ideal.

What say you, good reader? What rifles come to mind that meet these requirements today?

There’s Desert Tech’s SRS-A1 (given they’ll chamber it in the two Norma calibers), and they even make the required suppressors. The Cadex Defence CDX-MC KRAKEN does. Maybe the Blaser LRS-2? Q’s The Fix would, as founder Kevin Brittingham mentioned he’d consider a long action variant should a military or other contract come along. What else? Anything semi-auto or is the NEMO .300 WM and Petra .300 Norma as close as it’ll come there?

Or is this ASR thing a foregone conclusion?

 

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19 Responses to USSOCOM Seeking 3-Caliber Advanced Sniper Rifle (ASR)

  1. I should know this, but is there a difference between .338 Norma Magnum and .338 Lapua? If so, why would they want the former, not the latter which seems to have become a sniper staple.

    • Yes, the cartridges are very different. The .338 NM sought to improve on the .338 LM – check the Wiki page for either caliber.

    • This caliber selection was posted about 6 months ago a few places online… interesting that it took this long to become common knowledge.

      TFB had it last June.

      • We probably did, too. Some of the rifle details are newer though (the “seeking sources” memo was posted a couple weeks ago).

  2. The 338 Norma can handle the longer sierra Match kings in a shorter action and mag length because of the shorter cartridge length. SOCOM tested 300 win mag, 338 lapua and other calibers vs 300 Norma and 338 Norma. The Norma’s won based on the requirements requested. General Dynamics makes a 338 Norma belt fed. Also someone is developing a semi auto 300 Norma mag sub MOA system based on another contract.

  3. I think it is dumb to specify that the system must have a barrel for both 7.62mm NATO and .300 Winchester Magnum. Both send .30 caliber bullets down range. Just specify a .300 Win Mag barrel and the grunt who has to haul that system around carries only .300 Win Mag ammunition. If someone really wants the lower recoil of 7.62mm NATO, then someone can make reduced recoil .300 Win Mag cartridges. But why bother with reduced recoil cartridges? This thing will have a suppressor on it … that should make recoil quite comfortable even with .300 Win Mag, especially if the shooter opts to use 168 grain bullets rather than heavier offerings.

    • My guess is it’s about range not recoil. They’ll have a plentiful supply of 7.62 NATO, but the others will be more sparse. Having the ability to change to a common caliber in field to save the harder to get ammo could be useful, especially if the target is close enough for 7.62 NATO to accomplish the goal.

    • I also think supply chain will be the ruling factor here. They can’t afford to NOT make it 7.62 NATO compatible.
      Btw, it won’t be .300 Win Mag but .300 Norma Magnum, quite different.

    • For some missions, it is important for the sniper and spotter to share commonality with the semi-auto M-110 / CASS / whatever the new H&K will be called. The M-110 is 7.62 NATO and shoots 175 grain rounds.

      Unless a .50 cal SASR was involved, 7.62 M-40s and M-110 seems like the most common pairing in Afghanistan.

      Better question is: why the .300 Win Mag when the .338 is available for longer range and for defeating walls (neither 7.62 or 300 Win Mag can reliably penetrate walls)?

  4. I’d love to hear an explanation as to why the .338 spec has triple the inaccuracy compared to the other two calibers.

    • I too found that perplexing, especially considering it’s more likely to be used at extended long range where accuracy would make a much bigger difference.

      That said, the government doesn’t exactly have a reputation for doing things that make sense.

    • Because it will probably be used in place of the .50 cal SASR (AKA Barrett 86) against vehicles and to punch through walls in addition to long range stuff. Many allies like the Brits and Canadians have taken to carrying .338 Lapua Magnums for their snipers simply because .50 cals are too heavy but the .338 still had penetration.

  5. Sounds like a job for Sig. They are kings of modular firearms, plus they make ammunition, suppressors, optics, the whole kit 9 yards. I’m sure they can adapt an existing platform or develop a new one if necessary.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  6. I think id want an ar10 in 6.5 creedmoor over that bolt gun in any of those calibers. If i was a part of our war of terror.

  7. Would they need two actions for the weapon system? Having .308 in heavier action that can handle Norma magnums makes little sense.

    Neat caliber selection, though.

  8. I’d recommend that they consider taking a look at the Accuracy International AXMC. That’s one hell of a rifle.

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