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Sword International 338, c Nick Leghorn

First and foremost I apologize — we could not, in fact, shoot it. The guys running the booth had no ammo for it, or so they claimed. However, we did get a chance to heft it about and fondle the rifle, and it feels pretty damned good. For a semi-auto .338 Lapua rifle, that is . . .


There’s no doubt that the rifle is lightweight. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the scope is the heaviest component on the gun. Everything else is slick and trim, including the receiver.


There’s a spot for the forward assist — because all military guns need a forward assist — but for consumers it’s optional. Yes, they really did slice off the forward assist to save a hair of weight.

We are, however, left to question whether the lack of .338 Lapua ammunition was strategic. Could they really have underestimated how much gun food to bring to Media Day? Was Federal Premium unwilling to sell them more? Does the gun actually run? We simply don’t know. We’ll get one to test, though, and let you know as soon as we try it ourselves.

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  1. Nick, I think we’d all feel a lot better if you didn’t look quite so smug in all these pictures handling exotic firearms. Fer God’s sake, give us a break!

  2. What features does it have to mitigate recoil?
    If the answer is “none,” maybe that’s the reason they didn’t bring any ammo to the show…

    • There’s a pretty healthy brake down on the end of that barrel. (Click on the photo, then click again for very high-res.)

  3. There may be a technical reason for this, but I’ll go out on a limb and ask anyway –

    The AR platform rifles generally use a buffer behind the bolt to absorb some of the recoil. Why is there never a buffer/shock absorber mechanism built into the butt-stock itself (other than the recoil pads on some shotguns)?

    • I have a stock on my 870 that reduces recoil a great deal. I forget who made it. There’s no markings on it. Inside it are several heavy-duty springs, but I have no idea how it actually works. Just that it actually does, and quite well.

    • The AR buffer tube is not for reducing recoil, it houses the main action spring. Any semi-auto rifle will have some equivalent but they’re generally placed differently. The AR’s recoil characteristics have more to do with the force with which it cycles the action as well as the alignment of the stock with the bore.

    • Mako makes one for regular ARs, not sure how it works but it has a recoil reducing setup in the stock itself

  4. I’d love to see it in action, Although, I’d REALLY love to see a head-to-head comparo between the Sword .338 semi-auto, the Noreen “Bad News” .338 and even the Alexander Arms Ulfberht .338 semi-auto, once all three of them are out.

  5. Honestly I kind of do not see the point of this. The design implies that it is designed to be fired from the shoulder. At the risk of sounding stupid, is that smart?

    If you want to clear rooms with this I am sure it would perform the task…but probably not without dislocation of your rotary cuff or loss of hearing in one ear. Plus, they should redesign the muzzle brake into a dragon head. I can’t imagine the fire that thing will spit if fired anywhere near rapidly.

  6. First of all, I would love to see this in action. I’m not sure how “light” it is, but I’d test fire the thing in a hot minute. A .338 Lapua semi auto makes perfect sense to me, as long as it is accurate. I’m not sure what I’d use it for, other than blowing up milk jugs or long range hunting, but it would sure be cool to try it.

  7. Where’s the charging handle? It’s not the traditional “T” style so I’m assuming its a side charging non reciprocating design on reverse of the ejection port Like the LWRC REPR?

    • Charging handle is on the left side where it should be. It folds flat against the gun when not in use, but has an angled section to make it easier to grab with gloved hands when its folded. Non reciprocating as well.

      Traditional AR T-handle is grabbed at the rear of the upper Receiver. The SWORD MK18 (and MK17 in 308) charging handle is grabbed right where the rail meets the upper, so its easier (more ergo) than traditional AR.

  8. Want.
    A 338 Lapua AR platform rifle has been on my wish list for a while.
    Saw this and the Alexander, and know of the Noreen. Just too rich for my blood though. Even the Nemo Omen in 300wm is out of my range at 5 grand

  9. Perhaps the marketing budget didn’t extend to $4 per round after the other sundry expenses in Vegas.

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