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Sniper Rifles

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by dschutte, Feb 14, 2009.

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Do you prefer a bolt or semi-auto rifle action?

  1. Semi-auto

    47 vote(s)
    25.3%
  2. Bolt

    139 vote(s)
    74.7%
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  1. dschutte

    dschutte Member

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    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?
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2009
  2. Rifleman 173

    Rifleman 173 Member

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    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.
     
  3. dschutte

    dschutte Member

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    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?
     
  4. cat_IT_guy

    cat_IT_guy Member

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    well thats tough....having no combat experience or training, it seems like there would be situations where each would have its advantage.....so 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.
     
  5. plinky

    plinky Member

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    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.
     
  6. Boba Fett

    Boba Fett Member

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    Bolt Action

    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),
    http://www.sniperschool.com/sniper-rifle-barrel-length/
    http://www.sniperschool.com/barrel-length-revisited/

    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
    [​IMG]
     
  7. woodybrighton

    woodybrighton member

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    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
     
  8. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    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.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2009
  9. Detritus

    Detritus Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2009
  10. JimmAr

    JimmAr Member

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    Bolt.. because skimping on accuracy as a sniper isnt an option.
     
  11. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    I like my PSL.

    [​IMG]

    Refitted with the 8x Russian SVD scope.
     
  12. hinton03

    hinton03 Member

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    Bolt = Sniper
    Semi-Auto = Counter Sniper
     
  13. Bailey Guns

    Bailey Guns Member

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    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.
     

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  14. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    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.

    :)
     
  15. H2O MAN

    H2O MAN member

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    M21A5 Crazy Horse SASS
     
  16. sharkhunter2018

    sharkhunter2018 Member

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    Old school :cool:: [​IMG]

    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.
     
  17. C5Cruiser

    C5Cruiser Member

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    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:
     
  18. Geno
    • Contributing Member

    Geno Member

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    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.
     
  19. natescout

    natescout Member

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    M25 white feather
     
  20. SilentStalker

    SilentStalker Member

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    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?
     
  21. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    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!

    John
     
  22. Coal Dragger

    Coal Dragger Member

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    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.
     
  23. krs

    krs Member

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    Bolt - quieter.
     
  24. SilentStalker

    SilentStalker Member

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    ^^^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 counterparts...my 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.
     
  25. Coal Dragger

    Coal Dragger Member

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    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?
     
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