M110 SemiAutomatic Sniper System (SASS)
|Calibre:||7.62x51mm NATO (.308 win)|
|Feed:||10 or 20 Round Detachable Magazine|
13.7 lb (6.23 kg) empty with optics & bipod
Suppressor adds 1.96 lbs (0.89 kg)
42" (1066mm) - no suppressor, stock collapsed
46.5" (1181mm) - With suppressor, stock collapsed
48.25" (1226mm) - With suppresor, stock extended
Leupold Mk4 3.5-10x40mm M2 with Illuminated TMR, earth brown
plus detachable emergency iron sights.
|Barrel:||20" length, 1:11" twist, 5 radial land grooves|
|Max Effective Range:||800+ meters (875 yards) depending on snipers ability|
|Expected Accuracy:||.5-1.0 MOA with M118LR, M118SB, M852|
The M24 SWS has been the US Army standard issue Sniper Rifle for over 20 years now and it has done a great job, especially for a quickly developed weapon system. I loved the ones I used during my time and it has had a very successful service life and continues to do so, especially with the recent news that the US Army will be rechambering them in 300 Win Mag. But the recent combat experience in Iraq has changed the operational deployment of snipers within the US Army. The US Army found that their snipers were engaging in much closer and faster paced engagements and many of the sniper teams were getting most of their kills using sound urban sniping tactics combined with their M4 and M16A4 rifles (especially with the 77gr ammo). It became apparent that a new rifle needed to be added to the inventory that would better suit the needs of the modern urban combat zone as well as the traditional sniper role.
The US Army put out a request for proposals and received prototype rifles to be tested for the SemiAutomatic Sniper rifle System (SASS). Knights Armament Company (KAC) has been building the SR25 in various forms, such as the Mk11 Mod 0, for various Special Operations units for a number of years and this experience and history played a role in their rifle being adopted as the XM110 SASS in 2005. The US Army had specific requirements for sound suppressors and other features and the KAC made the required changes to their SR25/Mk11 rifles to meet these requirements. The rifle moved from Experimental (XM110) to standard (M110) a few years after the 2005 adoption date and with it came a few changes including an adjustable buttstock for length of pull only, sling swivel sockets or flush cups, a double sided bolt catch, and a button on the folding front sight to allow it to be locked into position.
After many years of M1C's, M1D'sa>, M21's as the US Army's primary sniper rifle, the M24 SWS was a return to a bolt action sniper rifle for the army. The M110 now brings the Army back into the realm of semiautos. The operation of the M110 is very similar to the M16 which the Army likes to do to reduce required training but there are downsides to a semi-auto. Some of these downsides are that they are not as well suited to the traditional sniper role due to their shape and the fact that they fling brass all over the ground which can compromise your position and potentially leave target identifiers, not to mention getting your ghillie tangled in the action of a semi-auto is never fun. But one of the things the US Army was trying to address was getting more firepower on target with quicker follow up shots which the Semi certainly will do better than a bolt action.
Another new feature with the M110 compared to the M24 is the addition of a suppressor as part of the platform. The combat experience in built up areas (Urban, MOUT) showed the need for suppressors to aide in the protection of the snipers by deception and concealment. The suppressor has developed into an integral part of many sniper teams over the past decade and I feel this is a good move on the part of the Army and the M110 requirements. The M110 suppressor is a stainless steel unit that is 14.25" long and weights 1.96 lbs, is a quick detachable design and is rated at a 30 db reduction. While full power loads do still produce the sonic crack from the bullet, the report of the rifle is greatly reduced and determining the direction of the shooter from just that crack is very difficult. The M110 has a shorter 20" barrel which means that adding the suppressor to the rifle makes it just a few inches longer than the M24 and the weight is very similar. Having that added advantage of the suppressor is nice to have and yet it is also quickly and easily attached, or detached, to the rifle adding additional flexibility to only use it if you need it, though you best keep track of your point of aim change when the suppressor is on vs. when it is not.