Sniper Rifles


February 14, 2009, 08:38 AM
When it comes to rifles, nothing fascinates me more than a sniper rifle!

I personally own a Savage 10FCPXP HS Precision (.308). The Savage Law Enforcement Series is now the official precision (sniper) rifle of the New York State Police Mobile Response Team. My rifle is fixed with a Leupold Mark 4 Long Range/Tactical riflescope (with an illuminated reticle), which was chosen as the primary day optic for the U.S. Army's M-24 Sniper System. The rifle's reliable range has been noted at about 800 yards with an effective range of over 1,000 yards.

If you have or had a true sniper rifle, what kind is it and what do or did you like about it?

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Rifleman 173
February 14, 2009, 08:46 AM
I used and was trained as a sniper in Viet Nam on a semi-automatic XM-21 rifle that I loved. No brainer here for me.

February 14, 2009, 08:54 AM
Nice, neat photos of the XM-21 on Google. Yeah, I suppose if there were a lot of Charlie around you'd want more shots faster! Ever run into Carlos Hathcock?

February 14, 2009, 09:18 AM
well thats tough....having no combat experience or training, it seems like there would be situations where each would have its is one of each an option? Say a scoped AR for 'close in' rapid fire needs, and a nice bolt (Rem 700 in .308 maybe) for the reach way out and touch em shots. Also benefit of a bolt is no flying brass.

February 14, 2009, 12:03 PM
I'd guess that 99% of "sniper rifles" sold are actually long range target rifles in practice. That's what mine are. That said, if they ever had to be used as fighting tools, they would be a real damned threat to the enemy. I most admire the efficiency of the sniper.

Semi-autos which qualify as precision rifles are less common and quite a bit pricier than a bolt gun. They also have more parts to malfunction. There are scenarios where a semi-auto could offer an advantage but IMHO they would be uncommon. Actually using that capacity would almost surely disclose the shooter's location.

Something like a DPMS Panther has a lot of appeal but at about twice the price of an equal bolt action, I can't justify it. The issue of price is more important to the recreational shooter (like me) than to a professional precision marksman. Still, even the gov't has a budget (in theory) and cost is an issue.

In the end you have to weigh the positive and negative as they apply to the job at hand. It seems like a military sniper would have more use for a semi than would a police sniper but would also be more susceptable to return fire if he is spotted.

I vote bolt action. But then again I'm no sniper.

Boba Fett
February 14, 2009, 01:50 PM
I'm getting a Savage 10FP LE1 - 20" heavy barrel in 308Win.

Why did I choose it? Primarily because I've held both Remington and Savage and I didn't care for the Remington equivalent to the 10FP.

Plus, after reading the reviews of both AND this site (not specifically about Savage, rather it is about barrel length),

I had a greater leaning toward the Savage.

The primary advantage I can see with a semi-auto is the ability to defend yourself in a closer range situation, against one or multiple targets, that would normally be best suited to an AR-15.

However, that slim advantage can pretty well be made up by a sidearm or a secondary weapon like an AR-15, IMO.

That said, I still really want to get one of these :D

February 14, 2009, 01:51 PM
as an ex sniper not a lot of two way range experience but a lot of lurking :D.
its more the sniper than the tool.
on more than one occasion completely ruined an exercise using a light support weapon with the british cheap version of MILES gear nothing like watching Officers panic as everything goes to hell.
why did'nt you shoot the officers?
did'nt feel like showing them any mercy:evil:
you use what you get issued choose your ground appropiate to what you have for close in urban work something like the sr25 saves having to carry another rifle. Though does'nt give you the excuse if captured your just another grunt. (though we no longer fight an enemy that takes prisoners) snipers don't get to go to POW camps anyway.
a mosin with a scope a decent ghillie suit and choice of ground will ruin any number of people with super rifles:D
its seeing with out being seen shooting and skulking off to shoot again from somewhere else

February 14, 2009, 02:18 PM
Plus, after reading the reviews of both AND this site (not specifically about Savage, rather it is about barrel length),

Despite the numerous threads here about barrel length, and the all the "experts" out there that run shooting schools and the like, I'm still left wondering why military units around the world don't use 20" barrels on their long-ranger "sniper" rifles. Wouldn't you think that barrel length, specifically a shorter barrel, would be beneficial to the military in terms of transportation in/out of vehicles and aircraft, weight reduction, concealment etc. So why are they still using 26" or longer barrels? :confused: It makes me think that there's a whole world of difference between winning long-range shooting matches and warfare.

I've heard all the arguments in favor of shorter barrels such as less barrel deflection with an "insignificant" reduction in velocity which can be compensated for by dialing in a few extra mils to compensate for the increased bullet drop. However, target shooting is one thing, putting real targets down is another and given that the bullet's energy is a function of the square of the velocity, and given that real targets wear protective coverings or conceal themselves behind various structures, bullet energy AND sufficient accuracy, particularly at long range are paramount. Until I learn otherwise, I think this is why military units are sticking with their longer barrels.

If someone here knows why the military uses long barrels for their sniper rifles I'd sure be interested in hearing it.


February 14, 2009, 02:23 PM
to properly answer this question i'd have to know your definition of a "True Sniper Rifle". to some of us "sniper" better describes the well trained weilder of the weapon than the weapon itself, and the criteria of what makes a "sniper rifle" has changed over the years. sorry i'll stop there, I understand how the phrase is understood in the shooting public, even though i disagree with some of that definition.

I don't own and have never owned a "Sniper Rifle", but like plinky i've owned "target rifles" that, with a little work (a more rugged stock) could have been pressed into that duty. what i have owned is Two Savages, a 110FP and a 12FV both were in .223, the 110FP with worked up handloads was nigh on a laser out to about 300yrds had numerous 1" center to center groups at 300, with the load it liked it'd make bugholes at 100 and i loved it. unfortunately i was forced to choose between continuing to own it and eating one month... few years later i bought the 12FV, have to say i wasn't as pleased with it, in the 2 years i kept it i never found a load it really liked. Both of those savages had one problem the stocks were a little too flexible.

while i can see the utility of a SA rifle for sniper duty in certain enviroments, such as the current mostly urban engagements our troops are facing. I like others buy my guns with a heavy bias toward most bang for my buck. And for the aproximate cost of a semi-auto rifle that can "probably" perform to the level I want from a target rifle (ex. AR-10 Super SASS from armalite), i could

A. be most of the way to a Surgeon Laser F-class ( or Scalpel tactical rifle ( either of which is one of my dream guns at the moment.

B. buy 2 savage F-T/R rifles and scope them fairly well

C. start with a remington or savage base gun/action and build a rifle that shoots better than me by a considerable margin, scope it appropriately, and have money left for my next purchase.

In addition to all this i just flat like bolt actions better than Semi-autos. Don't know if anyone else is this way but, when i shoot a bolt gun i feel it causes me to be a little more deliberate and meticulous in taking my shots. I think my way through my string, i'm somehow calmer, to be honest i'm just more comfortable behind a bolt gun. with a semi it's like there's this little devil next to my ear saying "it's already reloaded, quick! line the sights back up and let the next one off, come on you can be done with this, FASTER FASTER!!" well not quite that bad. but i DO find the short forced pause of working the bolt to be helpful to me.

February 14, 2009, 02:31 PM
Bolt.. because skimping on accuracy as a sniper isnt an option.

February 14, 2009, 02:43 PM
I like my PSL.

Refitted with the 8x Russian SVD scope.

February 14, 2009, 02:58 PM
Bolt = Sniper
Semi-Auto = Counter Sniper

Bailey Guns
February 14, 2009, 03:01 PM
I've never had any formal "sniper" training...though I've had lots of rifle training in general.

I have a Savage 10FP .308 that was originally equipped with a McMillan A2 stock. I've since had McMillan convert it to an adjustable cheekpiece model. It has the AccuTrigger and a 26" barrel. The scope is a Burris Xtreme Tactical 6-24. I'd rather have a nice Leupold M4 but I got a deal through Burris that I couldn't pass up. It's got a Farrell base and rings on it...they're very nice.

My skills are average to perhaps slightly above average. I can shoot 1/2" to 3/4" 5-shot groups pretty consistently with this gun at 200 yds with Federal GMM 168gr ammo from a rest.

Personally, for the money, I think Savage rifles are pretty hard to beat in the accuracy department.

I like it.

February 14, 2009, 03:07 PM
I forgot to vote ... BOLT ... but I wish you had a "BOTH" option since they both have their merits but I 100% agree with Detritus that there's something psychologically and aesthetically more pleasing about a bolt rifle that lends itself to taking more "precise" shots.


February 14, 2009, 04:59 PM
M21A5 Crazy Horse SASS

February 14, 2009, 05:33 PM
Old school :cool::

Would like to add a more modern bolt gun to collection. But at the moment, my mind is set on something I can turn into a counter sniper/DMR.

February 14, 2009, 05:40 PM
I saw a Dagunov for $805. I thought about getting one just to play with but I would have to sneek that into the house somehow. :uhoh:
I think the "oh honey I've had that rifle for a long time" phrase is starting to wear a little thin. :rolleyes:

February 14, 2009, 05:44 PM
I have seen autoloaders that can rival the best bolt-actions, but for simplicity, and nostalgia, I still am fascinated with a slick bolt-action.

February 14, 2009, 05:48 PM
M25 white feather

February 14, 2009, 06:30 PM
I can tell you what I did after my experience and research, I went out and bought a SAKO TRG22 for starters. So, you can pretty much guess my opinion of this. A semi-auto is nice and would have its benefits in some cases, but very few, as the whole point of a sniper rifle is to do maximum damage with little support from a long way away, generally from a hidden position. The key here is that normally if you are sniping then you are going to be at such a distance that a semi-auto fire rifle would not benefit you really unless someone stumbled upon your position and you needed to fire rather quickly. However, with that said if you are familiar enough with your bolt action and can work it smoothly enough you are not going to be that much slower than someone with a semi-auto as far as rate of fire goes. The only real advantage IMO is a great latitude of magazine capacity in a semi- auto, but most of your heavy hitting guns of this type are limited in capacity anyways so...!

To me having a semi-auto rifle for sniping kind of defeats the entire purpose of being a sniper out in the field. I mean it really depends on the circumstances but for the most part a sniper does the most damage with little support from a very great distance, and their greatest asset is doing this from a hidden position. If people start coming your way, then take them out from a distance and move, shoot again and move. Once somebody closes in on you within a hundred yards with an assault rifle then you are pretty much screwed unless you still remain hidden. You would find it difficult to quickly wield around a 26" + barreled rifle, acquire a target through the scope, and fire in the heat of battle at that type of range. At that point in time a semi-auto sniper rifle might do you some good but the sheer size of the weapon would make it difficult to use in this situation. It would be best at that point to get the heck out of dodge or use a back-up weapon if you had one.

There are also other benefits to a bolt action rifle IMO. Research them and you will find several opinions on why people find them superior to semi-autos for long range shooting. Then again, most of this is all an opinion more or less, but bolt actions generally are more reliable, some say much more accurate, easier to maintain, etc. etc. I have both, but if I was a sniper I would go for the bolt action rifle for long range duty and have a semi-auto SBR as a closer duty back-up and then when all else fails have my pistol and a good knife handy just in case. The downside to that is that is a lot of gear, but again it depends on the situation, if you were in some urban area as a police sniper where your target is more or less 500 yards away or closer and you have plenty of back-up then it would not matter much which one you chose?

February 14, 2009, 06:38 PM
It seems that bolt-actions are usually sturdier/more reliable, more accurate, less expensive, and lighter for the same mission. Once upon a time, I tried really hard to find a rifle that could do it all- multiple quick targets at close range, useful for hunting, and very long range tack driver. You really need at least two weapons to do all that- perhaps something like a FN-FAL and a Remington 700...

And welcome to THR!


Coal Dragger
February 14, 2009, 06:50 PM
For a rifle that needs to be really accurate, and also able to put up with rough use I'll take a bolt gun. Less parts to break and take care of, and not nearly as sensitive to being dirty as a precision semi-auto will be.

The bolt gun also has the advantage of being smaller and lighter when a more powerful cartridge is desired. How much would a semi-auto in .338 Lapua weigh? Quite a bit is my guess.

February 14, 2009, 06:58 PM
Bolt - quieter.

February 14, 2009, 07:41 PM
^^^Hmm...I do agree with most of the others opinions about bolt actions but two I disagree with are: 1) them being cheaper and 2) them being lighter than their SA TRG bone stock without a bipod, scope mounts, or a scope and minus the bolt weighs in at 14.7 pounds. That is a pretty heavy rifle, granted the barrel is pretty heavy duty but it is still nothing I would want to run around with a lot. Then again my older Bushmaster AR weighs about 10 pounds which is also relatively heavy considering my FAL only weighs 6 loaded, but it is also made of a little different materials.

Anyways I would not say that bolt action rifles are necessarily cheaper as you can spend some money in a real good bolt action rifle, nor would I say they are necessarily lighter, maybe on average. However, I would definitely say that they are more rugged because even though the two weapons I listed are heavy, they can take some abuse with no issues.

Coal Dragger
February 14, 2009, 07:47 PM
Your TRG is chambered in .308 or is it one of the magnums? Either way you compare it to a Bushmaster chambered in .223?

What does a precision semi-auto AR10 in .308 weigh in at fully outfitted vs your TRG? Which one is more reliable and durable?

Now up the caliber to a .338 Lapua or .300 Winchester, how much would that semi-auto end up weighing?

February 14, 2009, 09:03 PM
My thoughts.

1. What "working" sniper works alone?
Me and my buddies plan is for him to use his bolt gun for "sniping" and me to do the cover/follow-up/secondary target work. Ideally I would get something like the mini sass, 18'' barrel ar with a quick change scope to put a red dot on.
Ofcorse this was just some talking, why would we need to be sniping anyway?

2. Getting noticed.
I think manually working the bolt will get you noticed quicker than some brass, especially if you are covering your upper body and the rifle with camo netting.

February 14, 2009, 09:16 PM

My DPMS AP4 .308 with custom steel upper receiver weighed right around 19 pounds. It was 0.25 MOA (center-to-center) accurate at 100 yards, but was also so, so, so tight that I had to allow the bolt to slam shut or it would not chamber the rounds. So much for quiet. I really like Remington 700V myself. Then again, I never trained up as a sniper, but I have stayed at a Holiday Inn before. :o


February 14, 2009, 09:35 PM
Had two custom built:

One, a FN SPR in .308.

And, two, a Winchester wearing a Krieger barrel in .30-06.

Precision LR autoloaders are difficult and expensive to obtain and maintain.


February 14, 2009, 09:38 PM
As a civilian shooter with no combat experience, I prefer a bolt action, but I understand our troops in the field prefer semi's and they seem to have good reasons for that. It appears that the sniping done in Iraq and Afghanistan is aimed mostly at whatever insurgents happen to appear, rather than an assassination of a particular HVT. So it's perfectly rational for them to want quick followup shots to deal with additional insurgents. I've also heard that the profile of a bolt action sniper rifle tends to attract too much attention and the bad guys get alerted to the fact that snipers are in the neighborhood when they see one and that a semi-auto can be used effectively for CQB in a pinch while a bolt action can't.

Those are all darn good reasons IMO for our military to field semi-auto sniper rifles, but myself, I still prefer a bolt action.

February 14, 2009, 09:44 PM
I understand our troops in the field prefer semi's and they seem to have good reasons for that.

Huh. This is the old "Army vs. Marine" sniper mentality, with the Army stereotypically wanting quick additional shots, and the Marines valuing greater accuracy.


Gun Slinger
February 14, 2009, 10:17 PM
The only "sniping" that I have ever done is against deer when I go deer hunting. They are by far "more gifted of the senses" than any human could ever hope to be as many here could attest and are as much of a test of sniping skill (provided long ranges are established) as anything else outside of actual combat.

I intentionally set myself up for long shots of at least two hundred yards, sometimes more, by setting myself back deeply into the woodline and far away from the open spot (corner of a field) at which they always seem to appear. This makes for a less "pressured" shot since your positon is not "on top" of the animal.

My rifle of choice is a Tikka T3 Stainless in .30-06 loaded with 180 gr. Federal (Barnes) Triple Shoks. If you take your time all you need is one shot. S'pose that I subscribe to the "Marine mentality" when it comes to rifles, although I have never been one.

There is, in my humble opinion, no discernable difference in hunting rifles and sniper's rifles, save for the actual target application.

February 14, 2009, 10:47 PM
and the Marines valuing greater accuracy.

dunno, but the Marines over at LRI sure do seem to love the SR-25s they used.

February 14, 2009, 11:03 PM
I don't have any Sniper rifles since I am no longer in the military and not an LEO. But I have precision rifles in bolt action and semi-auto. Horses for courses as they say, my bolt is a 28" barrelled .243, it's really heavy, 6.5-20 scope and very accurate out to 600 yards. I have semi's in .223 and 6x45, both work fine out to 300 yards for me with 3-9 and 2.5-10 scopes.

February 14, 2009, 11:14 PM
"...a scoped AR..." Adding a scope doesn't make it a sniper's rifle. Neither does putting a scope on any rifle.
"...M25 white feather..." That isn't either. It's a marketing gimmick.

Travis Bickle
February 14, 2009, 11:33 PM
In a sniper rifle, accuracy is a lot more important than a high rate of fire. Bolt guns are generally more accurate than semiautos, and cheaper to boot. In my mind, the choice is clear.

February 14, 2009, 11:43 PM
There was a highly decorated Marine sniper that hung out here some last summer and fall, and he wrote a really nice review comparing the M40A3 and the SR-25. His strong conclusion was that the semi-auto was preferable for real world sniper work. You can read his write-up at

A little about the guy who wrote the article.

-5 years experience as Marine Scout Sniper.

-2 combat deployments as a Marine Scout Sniper

-graduated Scout Sniper School on Camp Pendleton

-graduated Advanced Scout Sniper course at Quantico.

-SERE graduate

-DEST graduate

Here are some excerpts from a write-up where he was recommended for a medal.

Summary Action: Corporal Shep8541 deployed as a Team Leader, Sniper Platoon, 3d Battalion, 1st Marines in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM II from 19 June 2004 to 11 January 2005. His technical and tactical knowledge of all facets of sniping far outpaced that of his peers. Corporal Shep8541 has truly mastered his military occupational specialty and serves as the example of a Marine Scout Sniper to be emulated.

On 9 November, the Battalion commenced offensive combat operations into the enemy stronghold City of Fallujah. Corporal Shep8541 and his two-man Scout Sniper Team were attached in support of 2d Platoon, Company I, as they cleared south through their assigned sector. Occupying a rooftop in order to provide overwatch and supportive precision fires, Corporal Shep8541's team observed a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) team maneuvering 450 yards down an adjacent alleyway. The Scout Sniper Team also observed a M1A1 tank 200 yards down the same alleyway, but with its turret oriented away from the maneuvering RPG team. Corporal Shep8541 immediately engaged and eliminated two of the three enemy insurgents in the RPG team. Corporal Shep8541's actions directly contributed to a weakened enemy and potentially prevented loss of friendly personnel and equipment.

Later that day, Corporal Shep8541 occupied an overwatch position from which he could support the Company with precision fires and achieve a commanding position from which to coordinate, direct, control, and adjust supporting indirect fires. As the Company reached Main Supply Route (MSR) Elizabeth, they were ambushed and pinned down by enemy RPG, sniper, and mortar fire. Despite being under direct RPG, and small arms fire, and proximity mortar fire, Corporal Shep8541 identified an enemy sniper firing from a mosque 450 meters from his position. With a skillfully placed shot to the head from his SR-25 sniper rifle, Corporal Shep8541 eliminated the sniper threat, directly contributing to the platoon's ability to medically evacuate casualties, reorganize, and continue its offensive clearing operations south.

On 10 November, Corporal Shep8541 positioned his two-man Scout Sniper Team to cover the exposed eastern flank of Company I as they pushed south through Fallujah. Occupying the roof of a building to establish an overwatch position for the advancing Company, they began to take heavy small arms fire, temporarily pinning down the Scout Sniper Team. As rounds impacted all around them, the two-man team returned fire. While the team's squad automatic weapon (SAW) gunner suppressed an insurgent firing at them with an RPK machine gun, Corporal Shep8541 skillfully eliminated another target firing an AK-47 rifle at them with a single, well-placed shot to the chest. With rounds from the RPK continuing to impact around their position, the two Marines repositioned themselves on the roof and coordinated suppression from the SAW, coupled with precision fires from Corporal Shep8541's sniper rifle. Despite having a round ricochet off his helmet, Corporal Shep8541, with great skill and presence of mind, eliminated the insurgent with a single, well-placed shot, effectively eliminating the threat to the two-man team and advancing Company I.

On 13 November, while supporting 2d Platoon, Company I, in its assault south through Fallujah, Corporal Shep8541 occupied a rooftop overwatch position to provide precision fires for each of the two squads moving through the block of houses on either side of his position. From his position, Corporal Shep8541 observed a five-man RPG team moving from a house and into a back alley, attempting to maneuver on the advancing platoon. Simultaneously, Corporal Shep8541 heard radio traffic from one of the squads stating that the area Corporal Shep8541 had just observed activity in was secure. Recognizing the situation's potential danger, Corporal Shep8541 contacted the platoon commander, reported the insurgent activity, and then tactically guided the squad to attack the house the insurgents had occupied while continuing to provide supporting overwatch. As a result of Corporal Shep8541's presence of mind, six insurgents - two with RPG launchers - were eliminated. Corporal Shep8541's actions undoubtedly prevented the platoon from bypassing the alley, which would have left the Company's rear exposed to RPG attacks.

While occupying an observation post forward of Company I's defense on 14 November, Corporal Shep8541 identified an insurgent rally point in the southwestern corner of Queens. Corporal Shep8541 maneuvered his Scout Sniper Team into a position from which they could engage the insurgents. At 550 yards, Corporal Shep8541 eliminated three of the four insurgents with well-placed shots to the head. Utilizing available indirect fire assets, Corporal Shep8541 directed and adjusted mortar fires onto the target, destroying the bunkered position and killing the fourth insurgent.

On 1 December, Company I was tasked with establishing a screenline along Phase Line Henry in southern Queens in order to identify and eliminate enemy insurgents attempting to infiltrate from 1st Battalion, 8th Marines' sector into Company I's sector. After two days of observation, Corporal Shep8541 and his team observed a friendly logistics train broken down along Phase Line Henry. After an hour of providing overwatch for the halted convoy, Corporal Shep8541 observed two armed insurgents attempting to maneuver into an ambush position to engage the Marines. After multiple attempts to contact the logistics train via radio and inform them of the situation, Corporal Shep8541 engaged and killed both insurgents, eliminating the threat. Corporal Shep8541's initiative in the absence of specific direction undoubtedly prevented the enemy from inflicting casualties on friendly forces.

During the Battalion's final push south through Queens, Corporal Shep8541 observed five armed insurgents attempting to occupy a fighting position in a courtyard. With little more than inches available as a shooting lane, Corporal Shep8541 engaged and killed three of the five insurgents at a distance of more than 300 meters, as they ran past the narrow opening. Shortly thereafter, the platoon Corporal Shep8541 was supporting radioed him reporting that they had seen an insurgent run into a house and asked if he had positive observation. Carefully searching, Corporal Shep8541 was able to acquire the enemy through a three-inch crack in the wall. With one skillfully placed shot, Corporal Shep8541 eliminated the insurgent with a single round to the head. Later inspection revealed that the insurgent had barricaded himself inside the house and was preparing to fight any Marines entering the building to the death. Corporal Shep8541's proficiency undoubtedly again prevented the enemy from inflicting casualties on friendly forces.

Although wounded early during combat operations, Corporal Shep8541's enduring combat leadership, relentless offensive spirit, effectiveness under fire, and dedication to duty directly contributed 18 confirmed dead enemy combatants. He is extremely deserving and enthusiastically recommended for the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat "V".

February 15, 2009, 12:05 AM
Semi, it’s good enough for long range and you can still shoot quickly at closer range if necessary.

And IMO the term “Sniper Rifle” should no longer be used it gives the pinkos too much of a propaganda factor and should be replaced with the term “Precision Rifle.”

Just think about it a sniper kills people (bad), and then there’s precision (good or neutral), which doesn’t scare anyone. :rolleyes:

February 15, 2009, 01:31 AM
I voted "semi-auto".

I am like JShirley (mod) back on his #21 post: I wish I could have one rifle that would do everything. But then it wouldn't be a sniper rifle.

I am a 53 year-old civilian. My age means I am not going to be the one running up stairs, kicking in doors and assaulting. Being a civilian, I am not going to snipe (humans).

What mission and rifles lay in between those two extremes? Not many. But the one I like the rifles of is the Squad Designated Marksman using a Designated Marksman's Rifle. Wikipedia is pretty good sometimes, and I think it is better here: .

THR members these days seem to hate web links and prefer cut-and-paste of an article, but I thought I might run afoul of copyright law if I did the whole article. So here's a snip from Wikipedia:
The Designated Marksman (DM) is a military marksman role in a U.S. infantry squad. The term sniper is used in Soviet and Russian doctrine. The analogous role in the Israeli army is "squad sniper."
The DM's role is to supply rapid accurate fire on enemy targets at ranges up to 800 meters (875 yd) with a highly-accurate semiautomatic rifle equipped with a telescopic sight. Like snipers, DM's are trained in quick and precise shooting, but unlike the more specialised "true" sniper, they are also intended to lay down accurate rapid fire.

The key here is rapid accurate fire Probably the main difference between a military DM and a police sharpshooter is number of shots fired. A police sharpshooter is more like a "true" sniper: Wants 'one shot, one kill', knowing that all hell is going to break loose after that one shot, hit or miss.

But I like the military DM role, where hell is already loose and the bad guys are multiple and are/will be shooting back. And I like the guns suitable for this role (whether any were actually designed for it is another matter...). I like them so much (whether fully militarized or not) that I accidentally bought two of the same type. One is for sale. Search for "FNAR" over in the rifle section of the THR Trading Post.

Don't get me wrong. I love snipers and love to look at their rifles and TV documentaries about them. But I no more want to own a REAL sniper rifle than I want to have a Caterpillar 963C Track Loader in my garage. I love heavy equipment and love to watch their operators work - those operators can tie their shoelaces (or yours) with a 30-ton track hoe. I might want to test drive and mess around with some of that heavy equipment, but I don't want to own any. Likewise, I'd love to shoot a sniper rifle for fun once or twice, but I think I'd be done after that. I certainly don't want to own a serious sniper rifle. To each his own I guess.

BTW, Well Done, OP !!. For a new member, you started a very good thread!

February 15, 2009, 03:02 AM
In my experience:
Bolt Action = Sniper
Semi Auto = Sharp Shooter

Coal Dragger
February 15, 2009, 03:19 AM
Both action types have their uses. In a platform firing .308/7.62 NATO on down to .223/5.56 NATO either one will do, although the bolt gun would more than likely be more durable and easier to maintain. The trade off in quick follow up shots makes up for this in a target rich environment be it in a hunting situation, or more serious applications.

I will stand by my assertion that if a larger more powerful cartridge is desired and the rifle still needs to be reasonably man portable and still be tough enough to stand up to hard use go with the bolt action.

February 15, 2009, 04:20 AM
I currently have 2 sniper rifles. Well, I use them anyway, the department OWNS them. My older one is a Remington 700 .308 BA. Has a Leopold Mk4 3.5X10 scope. Tac driver, shoots very accurate and very little maintenance. Has at least a few thousand rounds through the barrel and seems to just get more accurate in time. Probably me just getting more practice with it. I have never had a malfunction or major problem with it.

My new sniper rifle. Still up in the air with this one. I wrote a message on the DPMS accuracy post earlier. This is a DPMS AR 308 SASS. Has a Leopold 4.5X14 scope, way better than the one above. I love to shoot this gun. Having problems still with the reliability with feeding rounds, and with the consitent accuracy. Feeding problems may be two bad magazines. One day, I'm all over and can't stay under MOA. After some recommendations from you guys, I went to the range and after getting it warmed up and re-sighted, I put 9 rounds in the bullseye at 100 yards, all under MOA. Can't figure out if it's me or the gun. Never had this problem with my bolt rifle, so I just assume it's my new gun.

My opinion is this. I think the bolt guns are way less maintenace, much more simple, and have less working parts that can break or cause problems. They are much lighter too, if you plan to pack them around much. There is always the issue of wanting faster followup shots, in that case the semi-auto is awesome. That is, if it works every time. When I think of a sniper and the job of a sniper rifle, it's one shot is all you should need. Now I know that isn't always the case unfortunately, but I still feel that the old saying of KISS, keep it simple stupid, is a great idea. I would go with a bolt action, and the 308 is a great all around round for a sniper rifle. As far as brands go, there are many out there that have great reviews, but I'm not an expert on any of them.

Thanks again to you guys for the recommendations on my DPMS. I'm still working with it and trying some things out. I'm happy with it after my last shoot, but I'll see what it brings next range day.

February 15, 2009, 05:15 AM
Bolt hands down. Trained with and trusted M24.

February 15, 2009, 06:59 AM

The DPMS rifles seem to be picky regarding their barrel break-in. In the paperwork that came with mine, the company recommended fire 1 shot, break it down completely and clean the barrel, pushing the crud all from chamber to muzzle. This was recommended for the first 200ish rounds fired!

While mine was extremely accurate, it was not a "stock" AP4. It went back to DPMS for a defect, and I had them install the custom steel upper, which itself added 3 pounds, and the gunsmith installed the barrel to extraordinarily tight fashion. That was by all due intent, not accident.

As the smith said, on a DPMS, the barrel weight should not effect the accuracy, the chambering and barrel quality was the key. My own AP4 held true enough to that.


February 15, 2009, 08:36 AM

I like your idea about using the term "precision rifle". However, as you can see from this thread, there are many different precision roles and rifles to fill them that are relatively precise. To avoid another mile-long thread on sorting that out, we need more "precise" language amongst ourselves to specify what type of "precision rifle" we are talking about. (yes, play-on-words intended.)

In that regard, don't forget about the term "varmint rifle". To hit most varmints (humanely), you need to keep your bullet within a 2" dia. circle. Probably more like 1-1/2" circle. At any distance over 100-200 yards, that requirement definitely puts us into the "precision rifle" catagory and edging into true sniper territory. Yeh, yeh, I know. A varmint rifle would throw a smaller caliber round relative to a true sniper rifle. But you could take a .308 Win and create a load with a light bullet, maybe 125 grain and below, and make a varmint rifle out of it. Anyway, the antis might not be sophisticated enough to realize the irony of calling a larger caliber rifle a varmint rifle. In any case, the propaganda potential is pretty much gone against something called a "varmint rifle".

February 15, 2009, 09:52 AM
Until we are deployed in a combat zone there are no sniper rifles. But in that context I would prefer a bolt gun. And a observer with a semi like a m14 or such

February 15, 2009, 12:36 PM
From JShirley:
Huh. This is the old "Army vs. Marine" sniper mentality, with the Army stereotypically wanting quick additional shots, and the Marines valuing greater accuracy.

From Kentucky:
There was a highly decorated Marine sniper that hung out here some last summer and fall, and he wrote a really nice review comparing the M40A3 and the SR-25. His strong conclusion was that the semi-auto was preferable for real world sniper work. You can read his write-up at

That sniper and his write ups was where I heard most of this from. I replied to some of his posts and he answered. That, and my nephew is a Lieutenant with the Stryker brigade and he tells me that the bolt actions are out of favor nowadays with the military. Now there are probably thousands of active duty troops who will disagree with both of them, but you can't deny that there is strong demand from the military for a semi-auto sniper rifle.

And as I said before, I personally still prefer a bolt action.

February 15, 2009, 02:26 PM
Please note I said old- stereotypical, historical- preferences. I cannot speak as to whether this is changing in the Corps.

February 15, 2009, 03:15 PM
I think that if there is a shift going on it's probably mostly due to the nature of urban combat and fighting guerrilla forces without real command structures. When sniping is about shooting anonymous insurgents at 500 yards or less, there isn't the same need for accuracy as when they were shooting officers at long range.

Kind of Blued
February 15, 2009, 03:36 PM
I do agree with most of the others opinions about bolt actions but two I disagree with are: 1) them being cheaper and 2) them being lighter than their SA TRG bone stock without a bipod, scope mounts, or a scope and minus the bolt weighs in at 14.7 pounds. That is a pretty heavy rifle, granted the barrel is pretty heavy duty but it is still nothing I would want to run around with a lot. Then again my older Bushmaster AR weighs about 10 pounds which is also relatively heavy considering my FAL only weighs 6 loaded, but it is also made of a little different materials.

Were you exaggerating or just making incorrect guesses as to how much these rifles weigh? I'd really like to see this FAL of yours that weighs under six pounds.

February 15, 2009, 04:50 PM
And IMO the term “Sniper Rifle” should no longer be used it gives the pinkos too much of a propaganda factor and should be replaced with the term “Precision Rifle.”

A "Precision Rifle" is not necessarily a "Sniper Rifle". While a benchrest rifle or varmint rifle can be called a precision rifle, they lack the built-in "toughness" that is inherent with a true sniper or tactical rifle. Don't get all hung up over the semantics; we're all big boys here.


February 16, 2009, 12:17 PM
personally, my favorite sniper rifle is the Barrett 92B :D with a Leupold Mark4 LRT 8.5-25 LRM1 mil-dot scope.

February 16, 2009, 01:25 PM
If I had to make a choice just based on semi auto VS. a bolt action rifle I would choose a semi for faster follow up shots. This is assuming that the rifles are equally accurate.

February 16, 2009, 07:16 PM
If I had to make a choice just based on semi auto VS. a bolt action rifle I would choose a semi for faster follow up shots. This is assuming that the rifles are equally accurate.

That is an assumption that is seldom seen.


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