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What makes the .308 the sniper gun of choice?

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What makes the .308 the sniper gun of choice?

Old 11-18-2002, 04:47 PM
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Default RE: What makes the .308 the sniper gun of choice?

hoghunter51, thanks for serving the country and your insight, and we promise not to tell about the ammo thing

save the world, reload your brass

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Old 11-19-2002, 10:53 AM
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Default RE: What makes the .308 the sniper gun of choice?

Thanks Propmahn, Norma at the time was the best for each load and bullet to be the same weight and grains on each round.
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Old 11-19-2002, 08:11 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Default RE: What makes the .308 the sniper gun of choice?

The Marine Corps scout/snipers use the M40A2 rifle (7.62x51 NATO)with a 10x Unertl ballistically matched mil-dot scope and match grade FMJ-BT. The M40 is a custom gun built by USMC armorers at Quantico, Va, and is based on the Remington M700 action. The rifle is equipped with a McMillan bedded stock, custom match-grade heavy barrel, Pachmeyer recoil pad, and Winchester floorplate. The rifle weighs 14.5lbs. All M40's must group sub-MOA.



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Old 11-20-2002, 09:28 AM
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Default RE: What makes the .308 the sniper gun of choice?

At the same time I understand that the Israeli military has and does successfully use 22lr for some sniper operations. Go figure.
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Old 11-20-2002, 10:11 AM
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Default RE: What makes the .308 the sniper gun of choice?

At the start of the Viet-Nam mess the U.S. didnt have any sniper training schools. They did however have sniper rifles, Most snipers were picked for there on range shooting. They then seen a need for them and started the school at Benning Ga.They used the Nam snipers that didnt get killed as instructors. They didnt start building special sniper guns untill almost the end of Nam I belive. We use what we had at the time, the Army did however tell us we could pick our gun from any free country. At the start of the U.S. snipers we were in with a company and that was like hand cuffing us, soom they figured out we could do better if we were turned out in two man teams. The kills got a lot higher after they did this. The Marines started one of the best training schools ever and trained some of the best snipers we have today.The corps started building guns that met the needs of todays snipers, we had to use the ,50 cal. in the tri-pod mounted form and set the selector for single shot, didnt have the one man guns of today.All and all the U.S. Marines have produced the best snipers in the world today in my book. They have come a very long way in 35 years.
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Old 11-20-2002, 10:51 AM
Typical Buck
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Default RE: What makes the .308 the sniper gun of choice?

I went thru a US Army sniper school back in 1986, when we were still shooting M-21's. Then switched to the M-24 SWS in 1989. The USMC has been shooting the M-40 (currently M-40A3) since the early 1970's.

In the 20th century, the round of choice for US sniper was the 30/06. That was because it was basically the only round avaliable to snipers, period. Yes, you had the .50cal and the .30 carbine round, but the .50cal was not a viable sniper round yet, the 30 carbine round was just to weak, and neither round had a weapon desiganted for sniping use. The 30/06 was the only round for sniping, because it was what every battle rifle was chambered in, the 1903, M-1, BAR, and M1919 machine guns. This applied from WWI to Korea.

In Vietnam you had a different situation, the 30/06 had given way to the 7.62mm Nato, which had given way to the 5.56mm Nato, as the main battle rifle cartridge. The BAR's and M1919 MG's had given way to the M-60 MG, using the 7.62mm Nato. The M-1 had given way to the M-14, then the M-14 had given way to the M-16. As far as sniper weapons went, there basically weren't any sniper weapons at the onset of the Vietnam war. The USMC, who started their sniper program in Vietnam eailer than the Army, begged, borrowed, or stole every USMC Match rifle they could get their hands on at the time. These rifles just happened to be chambered in 30/06. Optics varied, but the two optics of choice were the 10x Unertl and the 3-9 Redfield. In these rifles they prefered to use the M-72 .30 cal Match Ball ammo (DODAC # A247), but would use M-2 30 cal Ball ammo (DODAC # A212) if they had to. The US Army got a slow start in sniping in Vietnam. The opted to use accurized M-14's, fitted with a unique scope and mounting system. When the accurized M-14 was fitted with the ART-II scope, it was designated the XM-21. It was of chambered in 7.62mm Nato.

Later on in the Vietnam, the USMC opted to standardize their sniping equipment. They opted for the Rem. M-700 chambered in 7.62 Nato. They preferred th Unertl 10x scope, but due to short supply, also used the Redfield 3-9 as well. The US Army still chugged along with thier XM-21's.

Now lets fast forward 25 years. The USMC had their M-40's since the early 1970's, M-40A1's since the late 1970's, and the Us Army still had the M-21. All chambered in 7.62 Nato. In 1988 the US Army finally adopts a bolt gun, the M-24 SWS. I won't get into the specifics of the M-24 SWS, but it is built on a Rem. M-700 long action. The reason being, is that the US Army toyed with the idea of a switch barrel sniper rifle, chambered in 7.62 Nato and .300 Win. Mag. They got smart and dropped the .300 Win Mag idea, but kept the long action for some reason. Both the USMC M-40's and the Army M-24 SWS are designed to shoot the M118 7.62mm Special Ball (DODAC # A136) ammo or as we call it Special Trash. There is nothing special about it. Out of a good shooting M-40 or M-24 you can get 1MOA accuracy, but most of the time 1.25MOA or 1.5MOA is the norm. White box M852 7.62 Match (DODAC # A171) ammo shoots so much better than M118 Special trash. Out of a good shooting M-40 or M-24 sub 1MOA are the norm. But M852 is loaded with a match hollowpoint boattail, and is not approved for combat use. But at Lake City, they have been working with a new M118 7.62 Nato round, called the M118 7.62mm Special Ball LR (Long Range). This ammo appears to be much better than the standard M118 ammo and is approved for combat use.

Now as to why the US military opts for the 7.62mm Nato over other avaliabe rounds? There are several reasons for this:
1. It works, if it ain't broke don't fix it.
2. It is inherently accurate, it don't matter how fast you miss a target.
3. It is effective out to just beyond 1,000m. Has enough velocity, energy, and accuracy to engage the enemy out to about 1,100m. And that, my friends is a long ways!!!!
4. Signature!!! Lower muzzle blast and lower report, means the sniper stands a better chance of not being detected after the shot, which means he stands a better chance of living long enough to get another shot off or move to another hide.
5. M-40 & M24 rifles weigh approx. 11-12 pounds. The Barret .50cal weighs approx. 30 pounds. Try dragging that .50cal around on a sweep or patrol 24/7 and you'll throw it in a ditch at the first opportunity and pick your M-40 or M-24 up. The .50cal is great in a fixed sniper position, but it is not very mobile.
6. Logistics! The 7.62mm Nato round is currently in stock and in production. Something like the .270 Win, .300 Win Mag, .338 Laupa, and such would have to be made to MIL-SPEC's and then tested extensively, and then stocked. This would create another logistical problem.
7. Military stocks of M-72 .30cal Ball Match (National Match) ammo have been used up and no more has been made in probably 30 years at least.
8. As if a military sniper doesn't have enough to think of and worry about, if you throw another round in the equation, you have to memorize another set of velocities, trajectories, and have to keep up with additional gear and rounds.
9. SIMPLICITY!!! M-40 and M-24 using M118 7.62mm Special Ball for combat sweeps, patrols, and defensive positions. Use the .50cal for defensive positions or to deny the enemy use of territory, in fixed positions only.
10. Standardization!!! No matter where in the world the US military and it's allies are deployed, approved 7.62mm ammo for sniper use will be avaliable.
11. For police sniping, the vast majority of shots are under 100yds. At that range it does not matter if the perp is shot with a .50cal, a 300 Win mag, a .270 Win, a .243 Win., a .223 Rem., or a .308 Win. HE IS GOING TO BE JUST AS DEAD! Police snipers are allowed to use any ammo their department approves, FMJ, match hollwpoints, hollowpoints, softpoints, ballistic tips, etc, as long as it is from reputable ammo manufacture.

Edited by - 1SHOT_1KILL on 11/20/2002 20:18:33
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Old 11-21-2002, 08:06 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Location: Waynesboro Georgia USA
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Default RE: What makes the .308 the sniper gun of choice?

One of my gunsmithing instructors at Trinidad State gunsmithing school was named Harold Thomason, he retired from the Army. He was based at Ft. Benning's Army Markmanship Unit during Nam (I think). He used to tell me, it was the case design that made it the most superior round. The case's internal dimentions and angle of the shoulder, provided the best enviroment for the powder to burn consistantly.

I have a book Ive read about four times called "The Ultimate Sniper, An Advanced Training Manual For Military & Police Snipers" by Maj. John Plaster, USAR(Ret.) He says the 308 has the "Ballistic Advantage" Compared to other rounds. This round is powerful enough to penetrate most media a police or military marksman would encounter, yet it's not a heavy magnum round that generates punishing recoil. The 308 preforms better then the 223 in everything but trajectory. And then its only a bit better. When compared to the 223, the 308 has more energy, holds up better in crosswinds, and retains superior velocity at long distance. Plus because of its extensive use, theres an adequate variety of match grade ammo .

The best factory ammo by far is the Federal 168gr. Match load.

My main deer gun is a Savage 110E in 308. Looks like crap but shoots like a dream. I started building a Muaser 1909 Argentine action with a Shilen 30. cal match barrel. I need to finish up with some polishing. Its been test fired twice. Maybe I'll find a stock for it and get it scoped one day<img src=icon_smile_big.gif border=0 align=middle> Or maybe it will stay in the closet for another eight years<img src=icon_smile_shock.gif border=0 align=middle>

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Edited by - mike bell on 11/21/2002 20:09:11
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Old 11-23-2002, 11:12 PM
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Location: Camp Pendelton,CA USA
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Default RE: What makes the .308 the sniper gun of choice?

Well thanks Hog and One Shot for all the trouble of trying to explain why we use the 7.62x .51.
It has been a while since I came back on here been at sea and it is good to hear true snipers speak the truth. Thanks Hog for the kind words for us USMC devil dogs coming from an Army veteran.

I am still currently with the 1st Force Recon and we really do not like the 50 caliber because it has only one function..to take out heavy mobile and walls. Better to have the 7.62 and we indeed do shoot to 600 meters being our average. (That is our sight in range)
One Shot we have spoke before and you spoke the truth , it was the Marines who officially had a full time sniper training program started in 1977 with the Army coming in 1987. Hog..the Army is just as good as the Marines. they have beaten us a couple of times in the All Military Sniper Courses.
The latest rumor is that the Corp is thinking about changing our caliber again (sigh) They do this every 3 years.
Thanks again because I get tired of people saying things they do not know anything about but you two save me much time from typing.
I am sure the Armorers in Quantico are loving this kind of talk.
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Old 11-23-2002, 11:34 PM
Typical Buck
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Default RE: What makes the .308 the sniper gun of choice?

Hey MSGT Ghillieman, it is good to hear from you again. I was wondering if I was going to hear from you again. How is everything out in Pendelton. With all the crazy stuff that may hit the fan in the next month(s) or so, things are pretty busy I am sure. They are here, it is almost at a feverish pace, as far as training operations goes. If the poop is going to hit the fan, the sooner the better. I am approved to start terminal leave in FEB 03 and have applied to a local police department here. The academy starts in JUN 03. If they wait till after the first of the year, it could screw my plans up big time.

But if the poop does hit the fan, I'll be there. Along with my trusty M-21, that I have on hand reciept. Sure will be a sad day when I have to turn it in. I have been signed for that old rifle for 10 years now. Won several competitions with it. It's on it 3rd barrel just since I been signed for it. MSGT Ghilliemans, you keep them in the X ring and echoing the dongs of the iron maidens. Talk to you later.

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Old 11-25-2002, 05:18 AM
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Default RE: What makes the .308 the sniper gun of choice?

sky guy

i thought it was ( 7.62X51 )

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