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Image courtesy SWORD International

SWORD International will be demonstrating this all-new Mark 18 Mod 0 semi-automatic .338 Lapua at the SHOT Show Media Day At The Range, and we’d like to take an informal poll: should we shoot it? This isn’t a scientific survey, but keep in mind that there is only one correct answer . . .


The Mark 18 Mod 0 is based on the AR-15 platform design, although I’d be surprised if parts commonality extends beyond the buttstock and pistol grip. The immense size and power of the .338 Lapua cartridge require a truly massive operating system; even the buffer spring has to be much stronger than anything you’d ever stuff into an AR-15 or AR-10.

This rifle features a free-floated Lothar Walther barrel, a proprietary piston-driven operating system, and a 10-round double-stack magazine that must be the size of a small telephone book.

338 Lapua

The MSRP hasn’t been announced, but the similar Noreen ‘Bad News’ .338 semi-auto will set you back six grand if that’s any guide. Whatever its MSRP, this is a rifle I probably couldn’t afford even if it were free: .338 Lapua runs three to five dollars per round.

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  1. Nope you should put it in a package and mail it to me. I’ll just say thank you for the gift now.

  2. I’ve heard the Pope wears a funny hat. Until I see him wearing one I will not believe it. Until we see you shoot this .338 Lapua we will not believe it exists. We need a video.

    • I’d pass on this. It’s an insult to the average Joe. Something he could never afford to shoot, let alone hold. And you want to use your status as a popular gun blogger to shoot it for free? Go ahead. This isn’t a gun, it’s a status symbol of wealth. I am all for capitalism but this rifle is just a symbol of excess. Something to flaunt at the show but is really only something the rich can afford. The rest of us will oogle on the sidelines at it but it’s not a realistic firearm. No thanks. This rifle is only an anomaly, like the DeLorean using a stainless steel body, it’s using an exotic cartridge that can’t be found anywhere, unless you have the money.

      There’s a guy who prowls the NOVA gun shows with a .50 Beowulf AR. I’ve seen him at just about every show I’ve gone to for the last two years trying to sell it. He bought one of these super charged exotics and now he’s forever trying to get rid of it. He’ll never sell it for anywhere near what he bought it for but he bought into the hype, like all the DeLorean buyers and now he’s stuck with a pariah. Some calibers aren’t realistic for the average guy, and .338 is one of them. I really don’t want to read about how much fun it is to shoot something that no one normal can afford.

      • I also would not chose to spend my earned dollars on this because it would cost more than I’m willing to spend. That however doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in it. Furthermore, I’m very happy for those who will/can buy it.


      • But what if you are hiking in Kenya and run into a herd of feral elephants? Did you think of THAT!?

        • What if you have a nasty case of “Too many bricks, cinderblocks, and junked cars and trucks”-itis? This would be just the drug of choice!

        • For $1,200 you can buy a Winchester Model 70 Safari Express in .416 Rigby and have more horsepower, ft/lbs, within 100 yards than than the .338 Lapua. But wait, there’s more…the .416 will let you shoot 400 grain brass solids with 700 ft/lbs more energy that the 300 grain Lapua round.

          Since there are no people engaging others at truly long ranges in the US, and SWAT never actual shoots at more than about 70 meters (though they want to train for 1,000), you’re better off with the elephant gun.

          But wait, there’s more. For $2,400 more you can have Griffin & Howe create a custom fit stock in exhibition grade wood…a true heirloom and beauty, for a total weapon cost of $3,600. Honestly, which would you rather have, the .338 Lapua or an elegantly furnished elephant gun that can stop a truck rather quickly?

          Which would you rather pass on to your grandkids? Would you rather tell them you backed up another hunter when he poorly shot a lion, or that you went to play soldier on weekends with a big honking piece of semi-auto factory goods?

        • ropingdown has nailed my point quite well. For all the money you’d pour into this beast, not only to buy it, equip it with optics you’ll never fully use unless you live in the west, the cost of ammo to feed it, etc, you could have a very nice dangerous game rifle built that you can actually take places.

          Most African nations will never allow you into their country to hunt with a semi-auto. It won’t happen, period.

          Further, some African nations set a minimum caliber, and their criteria aren’t based on penetration, kinetic energy, or anything else. The minimum in many countries for the Big Five will be .375 H&H.

          So, here’s my humble suggestion for those who want something that’s (now) fairly unique (if you want a “cool” factor), very well proven, and you can shoot anything on any continent with confidence: A Win70 in .404 Jefferey.

        • Black Hills stock loads for the 300 grain BTHP 338 LM is 2800 FPS for 5200+ FPE. I’ve also heard of talk where handloaders have pushed 250 grain pills to more than 3200 FPS for about 5600 FPE. Not sure what handloaders are doing with the .416.

          Still, point taken.

      • .50 Beowulf is actually pretty cheap to shoot. Even factory ammo is barely over $1.25 a round, but it costs little more than .45 ACP to reload. Not comparable to .338L in the slightest.

      • I’m with you Brad. This looks like something Rob Pincus would take on a yacht with the Kardashians. Perhaps to slay rogue Orca…

        Personally I will be surprised if it runs at all. It just seems like a bad idea given the power of the round, never mind the price.

      • never understood the .50 Beowulf always though I’d be more practical too just get a semi-auto shotgun that runs well with slugs and an extended magazine, if you wanted to hunt engine blocks like feral hogs then get a saiga 12 and load it with slugs.

      • So, I take it that you don’t like watching videos of people shooting machine guns? Because cost of an automatic gun makes this contraption look like a cheap whore on a Tuesday morning….

      • “This isn’t a gun, it’s a status symbol of wealth. I am all for capitalism but this rifle is just a symbol of excess. Something to flaunt at the show but is really only something the rich can afford.”

        Lighten up, hombre. It’s their money – if they want to spend it on a $6k rifle or a $25k Rolex, it is their money and their business. Your comment reminds me of the story about the Russian peasant who killed his neighbor’s pig. Asked why he didn’t steal the pig, he said that he didn’t want a pig for himself, he just wanted to keep his neighbor from having one.

    • MRAPS and freight trains, or a few other things.. maybe ..
      better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it ..
      Robert Seddon

      • Best of all to not have it because there are so many things more useful to you. And besides, once SWAT sees these things, they’re going to want to buy some “because.” So your taxes will go up and your useful stuff won’t grow.

        • I would carry that thing everywhere. I’ll let my SWAT team buy it. The more people that buy it, the more demand, and the more manufacturers to bring down price.

          I’d take this over the elephant gun too. Cause it’s way more fun, and when I Duracoat it, I’ll make Youtube videos with it, and thousands/millions will watch me blow hundreds in ammo, and the ad revenue will allow me to buy hundreds more. And you will get to watch it.

        • Laugh. Sounds like a plan. Actually, it sounds like a copy of somebody else’s plan.
          But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t work….one more time.

  3. 4 words for you:
    Have actually shot the .338 Lapua in the Savage!! Freaking Awesome!!
    Shoulder padding!!

  4. To answer your questions…yes and yes. I do believe you are given ammo so the question is more like, when can we expect a review for that thing.

  5. Don’t be stupid, of COURSE you shouldn’t! It’s obvious that you should let ME do it!

  6. You are a leader of the POTG. Do it for them. Take one for the team. Just remember, “Hurts heal. Glory is forever. And chicks dig scars.”

    • The last time I shot a .338 Lapua, it beat my shoulder like a dirt bike had run over it. And it was so worth it…!

  7. Actually…if the difference is mainly that the action length is longer than a .308, why not one of thse in .300 win mag or 7mm?

    Not to try and hijack the thread.

    • There are four basic “action lengths” out there:

      1. .223/5.56mm, which gunsmiths call a “.223 action” even if you’re shoving a 6.8 SPC through it.

      2. .308/7mm08/.260/.243/.22-250/.250 Savage/.300 Savage/.358 Win/.338 Federal etc, known as a “short” action.

      3. .30-06/.300WM/.338WM/.264 WinMag/.280 Rem/.35 Whelen/.458 WinMag, etc. This is known (at least among gunsmiths) as a “standard length” action, and the OAL of the cartridge is about 3.340″.

      4. “Magnum” or .375 H&H, .338 Lapua, .300 H&H, etc. These cartridges are 3.6″ or longer OAL.

      For what you want, you could use a .30-06 length action.

    you guys need a head adjustment if you don’t want to shoot that rifle..
    where can I GET ONE????
    Robert Seddon

  9. Should we shoot this $gun?

    Why do you have to ask? If you don’t know, then why are you even attending shot show?

  10. bet it has some awesome hydraulics in the butt stock tube, and a spring that would be proud on a Humvee..
    I’ll just buy a 20 round box of brass for it, and spend a week or two at the cornputer to figure out how to set a load for it, then I’ll steal tire weights for a few months to cast bullets, and then I will have at it. You guys shoot .50 BMG’s all day long, so what the heck is so expensive about ammo for this one? There are a few places I can think of where I could use a 5,000 yard shot that will take down a freight train, can’t you? Pink Mist anyone?
    Robert Seddon

    • 200gr Hornady SST bullet data.
      Powder: IMR 4831
      3000fps needs 89.7grs. Reduce by 10% for first loads.
      Bullet B.C. 0.455 C.O.L: 3.565 inches.
      2700fps needs 83.9grs of IMR 4831(again reduce by 10% for initial load testing).
      Have over 200 Rds w/ this loading data ad is dead on!!

        • No problem. This is load we used for friends Savage .338L. He bought one for use on SWAT team just in case. This load @ 1200yds is devastating. Has a Sheperds scope. 6x24x60 I think.
          Nice rifle but still partial to my Rem700 .308 w/24″ Shilen bull barrel and is a left handed model too!! Bought it 10yrs ago with tax refund!! Over 5000 Rds through it. Still 1moa at 750yds.

    • you can load 50BMG for $1.50/rd if you look hard enough.

      now, hornady a max bullets are expensive, but pulled bmg bullets are fairly cheap.

  11. Speedracer has the right idea, bet you can reload this round in the neighborhood of, what, a buck a round? Big deal. Ammo is easy, it’s obtaining the thousands of dollars for the rifle that would be more challenging. Then again, I see lots of poor people with iPhones, driving new cars, it’s all about priorities.

    • With S&H costs actually about $2 a round but still less than half I cost of buying preloaded rounds. Like the personal touch of reloading to my likings.

  12. Shoot it? Hell yes. What else would you do with it?

    Did anyone else notice the angle of the magwell?

  13. It’s a semi-auto .338 Lapua.

    What’s not to love? Just shoot the damn thing so we have some videos to watch, will ya’? Inquiring minds in the Armed Intelligencia are dying to know. 😉

  14. If you don’t shoot it, I will hunt you down and . . . and I don’t know what, but I will hunt you down.

  15. The .338 has a respectable recoil pulse. You need a robust firearm and an efficient muzzle brake to accommodate it. If the Mark 18 Mod 0 doesn’t weigh at least 18 lbs curb weight then, in the immortal words of Samuel Goldwyn, include me out!


    • My .338 WM has a recoil energy of about 33+ ft-lbs in a nine pound rifle (with glass, etc).

      In the same weight rifle, a .338 Lapua would be over 40 ft-lbs. We’re now into serious African game recoil, and if you’re laying prone, it is going to hurt… and then some.

      The saving grace for the brutal African cartridges is that almost no one lights those rifles off at a bench without a recoil bad or sled, and in the field you typically are standing off-hand for shooting. Lighting off even a .375 H&H prone is a situation that’s painful to merely contemplate.

      • There is no way I’d shoot my .375 light rifle prone!
        Every darn shot I took in Africa gave me a scope cut. Chalk it up to ‘buck fever’ and forgetting all else.
        My .50 BMG McMillan, Sure. It weighs 32 pounds and has an efficient muzzle brake.
        The .338 hurts prone. Last time I lit my friends off prone, I managed 5 rounds trying to get his scope zeroed. That was enough.
        And I like big bores. They make me happy.

      • Tom, about the forehead: I can remember being lectured years ago on the virtues of what is, these days, the Leupold VX3 1.5-5 (4.5 really) scope with long eye relief, back when I was first about to scope a .375 H&H. I suspected they just were doubtful of my ability to make longer shots. No. They had another reason. It wasn’t a ruse. Laugh. I learned to love the .375 H&H. That (and 1 3/8 oz slugs in a pump gun) is my lifetime recoil limit, based on ophthalmologist’s recommendations. There’s a retina to be saved. Fortunately. I still get buck fever.

        • One of the guys I met at gunsmithing school in Trinidad was retired from the USA as a CSM. He told a horrifically funny story about two youngsters (corporals) hauling out a big-recoil rifle to a public range near Springs (from Ft. Carson). He warned them they were about to get bit and bit bad. They didn’t know he was a CSM and gave him a ration of crap.

          Long story short: He let the rifle prove him right. As in “down to the bone.”

          Then he told them to add “…CSM” next time they told him to “*&*& off.”

        • Laugh. Typical. “He just says that ’cause he’s old and can’t take recoil anymore!” Nope, there’s another reason. The recoil. Makes me feel guilty for mentioning the .416 Rigby, actually.

  16. Sorry guys, but now your website has crossed the advertising line with popups and “asking me to download my new new flvplayer.exe.” I’m not coming to this site any more.

    • For an entertaining and enjoyable website it has it’s fair share of bullshit advert cancer. Every time I visit on my ipad I get a pop up that freezes my browser which I then have to restart. I get it, you gotta make money. but does it have to piss people off?

  17. Every range in my area either can’t let you or won’t let you use .338 LM. They can’t because the range is cleared for 8mm maximum (assumed to be 8mm Mauser but sometimes 8mm Remington Magnum). Or won’t because the range administrators don’t like the cartridge (but will allow more powerful cartridges such as .404 Chey Tac).

  18. It looks like it would be a lot of fun to shoot . . . once. In the same way that I’d love to drive a 458 Italia, but even if I was a multi-millionaire wouldn’t consider buying one. It’s a toy. It will not serve any practical purpose, and will be more of a pain than it’s worth. The reason is simply the choice of caliber; .338 lapua is designed specifically to be a long range round, beyond the 1000ish yard (for target) limit for .308, and unless you are doing that kind of shooting, there isn’t a real reason to use it. Mating .338 lapua with a semi-auto action makes no sense because it’s not an appropriate choice for extreme range shooting. If you need a powerful semi-auto (at appropriate semi-auto ranges, say up to 600-700 yards if you’re good), there are many cheaper options. In reality, .308 should be just fine for the vast majority of applications, and if not, something like .270 winchester. Or, if you need to stop a truck, go .50 BMG. Any of those options would be cheaper and just as effective for whatever application. This gun just seems like a solution looking for a problem.

    That being said, on someone else’s dime, go nuts and have fun with it.

    • My attitude towards a semi-auto in this caliber is, well, why? It’s really meant to be a super long range bolt action round. As such a semi-auto just seems silly; better things to spend money on. But would I shoot one? Is the pope catholic?

      I do want to get a bolt action in this caliber some day–but first (I tell myself) I have to earn it by mastering long range .308. Meanwhile I drool on Sako TRG-42s whenever I see them.

  19. Bah! Drop the extra 3 and the silly name, show me a reliable feeding carbine, or even 1911, and you have a semi auto with my undivided attention.
    Lapua is cool and all, but its always seemed like a solution in search of a problem….edit: just like Kyle said!

    • I agree with the preceding three. A bolt gun is certainly better for accuracy over time, not to mention safety. But think about it: What sniper fires two or three times from the same location? With a boomer like this only a soon-to-be-dead sniper.

  20. well you found my SWAT teams next toy, they already have an m200 intervention, I’m sure sheiff bubba will find a “use” for this.

    • We are working our best to cut funding to militarize the police so hopefully your team will never get your hands on one.

  21. Just as a heads up, looks like Alexander arms is coming out with there own version. Still ridiculously expensive.

  22. Like was said above, video makes everything better, particularly the slow mo ejection pattern camera angle.

  23. I LOVE 338 Lapua.
    My Savage 110BA in 338 was my first (and only) 338 Lapua and ive always wanted one in an AR pattern rifle. Not that I can afford it right now, but just to see it is awesome.
    Just an awesome round, albeit expensive. I wouldnt have considered it if I didnt load my own.

    • What kind of scope do you have? I’m contemplating the Bushnell 3.5-21x H59 Mil / Mil from LaRue Tactical with QD base for about $1600.

  24. You ask a silly question and get 77 replies in a few hours. I agree with the comment “only if your not paying for the ammo” $100 per 20 round box at Gander
    Great long range cartridge for snipers, I cannot understand why the US military did not adopt it.

    • Because they have plenty of 30 cal options and the .50. While the 338 might be a happy medium I imagine the military didn’t want to add yet another caliber just to get something in between the options they already have.

  25. Practicality and cost be damned. If it’s fun, and it’s free, shoot it! I don’t resent the rich and their ability to buy expensive toys. In this country, one has the opportunity to become rich, if you have the talent and the drive. Does anyone need such a gun? Silly question. “Need” is not the engine that drives our economy; “Want” is.

  26. Here I am contemplating buying a .243. I feel so inadequate now. I better go shoot the mosin nagant m44 so I can keep my man card.

  27. I will gladly shoot anything that anyone offers to me to shoot…just let me put on my PAST Magnum shoulder shield.

  28. Wow. That rifle would be something special. While I see no need for semi-auto in large caliber for long distance shooting if these were available and ammo wasn’t 5+ a round(even reloading 338 is about 3.50 per if you are already set up) I would sell one of my automobiles for this gun. lol The magpul looking ar stock just looks silly on it. But honestly I can’t even find many spots to shoot over 600 yards anymore up here in the midwest, maybe two spots in a 100 mile radius from me where it’s safe and legal, and they are only available maybe once a month in the summer. Definitely a desert caliber. But another honesty, if you are deciding on large caliber why not just step up to .50? Definitely more ammo options.

  29. Is it practical? Nope. Maybe in as a sniper / over watch gun in Afghanistan.

    It is, however, a new an interesting design. So shoot the damn thing. The Herter’s .338 LM is $34.99 / 10 and loaded by Sellier and Bellot. It’s a 250 grain Sierra Matchking at about 2878 FPS from a 27″ barrel. Throw on some optics and have at it. Or send me the gun and I’ll review it.

    I just ordered 338 Lapua dies, so if anyone has the mythical Hornady Lock n Load shell plate #43, come on over and help me break in my press.

  30. About six months ago I purchased a brand new Noreen “Bad News” .338 Lapua Magnum. The gun never ran.
    The fail to feed problems were constant and frustrating. At best one could fire 2, 3 or 4 shots without a fail to feed.
    Sometimes after the first shot there was a fail to feed. It was very frustrating to constantly be required to remove the
    magazine and dig out the jammed brass. Noreen’s customer service is also “Bad News”.
    The gun was returned to Noreen on multiple occasions. Each time the gun was returned to me with a
    statement that the rifle was functioning properly. Each time on the range thereafter the same fail to feed problems
    continued. Noreen aptly named the rifle. In blogs I had read about problems with the Noreen after it was first introduced.
    My gunshop people told me that those problems had been resolved so I was excited to get another large caliber semi auto.
    While one could suggest user error or bad ammunition, I own other large caliber semi autos which function seamlessly.
    Those rifles include a Barrett .50 BMG as well as a Browning .300 Magnum.
    I also have a multitude of Sig and Springfield semi auto .308’s that likewise function seamlessly.
    I used .338 Lapua ammunition manufactured by Lapua, Nosler, Remington and Winchester. All of the ammunition without regard to
    manufacturer had the same results–fail to feed. I was fortunate to have a great gun dealer who was as frustrated with the
    gun as I. He took the gun back and said he was sorry for all of the frustration and the poor response of Noreen’s customer

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