US Army, Marines and Special Operations fighters receive a new MRAD sniper rifle. The American press writes about this in early February 2021. Thus, the story with a long process of purchasing new sniper rifles, which began in the early 2010s, is coming to an end.
The American publication We Are The Mighty, dedicated to military topics and materials on various military equipment and history, reports that the US military has begun to receive the first batches of new MRAD sniper rifles, which are produced by Barrett.
MRAD stands for Multi-Role Adaptive Design in the model name. The name fully reflects the essence of the sniper system – a multipurpose rifle adaptable for various tasks, which will be available to the military in three main calibers.
MRAD should replace all old sniper rifles
The new sniper rifle, developed by engineers at Barrett, will replace obsolete sniper systems in the US military.
In particular, in the American army, it will replace the M107 and M2010 sniper rifles.
The M107 is the army index for the Barrett M82 large bore sniper rifle. This rifle for the NATO cartridge 12.7×99 mm at one time, in fact, revived the entire niche of anti-material rifles.
The second rifle chambered for the new cartridge 7.62×67 mm (.300 Winchester Magnum) was created relatively recently as part of the M24 sniper rifle modernization program.
MRAD Mk22 chambered for 7.62×51 mm with a silencer
In the US Marine Corps, the new MRAD sniper rifle is to replace all bolt action sniper rifles, including the M40. The latter has been in service for more than half a century, its first modifications appeared in the army during the Vietnam War.
The military designation of the MRAD rifle is Mk22.
According to previously submitted documents, the US Marine Corps will acquire at least 250 new MRAD sniper rifles in 2021. The total amount of the deal is estimated at $ 4 million. The US Army plans to receive at least 536 new MRAD rifles in the Mk22 performance, for a deal worth $ 10.13 million.
Over time, purchase numbers are likely to rise as older sniper systems are phased out. So, the needs of the US Army are estimated by American experts at least 2,500-3,000 new sniper rifles.
At the same time, in addition to the Mk22 rifle to replace the M110 semi-automatic sniper rifles, the US Army expects to purchase CSASS rifles from Heckler & Koch. This model received the M110A1 index.
At the same time, the Marine Corps previously considered the Mk13 Mod 7 rifle, created by Accuracy International, as a replacement for the M40. The replacement of the M40 with this model was announced back in April 2018. However, now the new MRAD Mk22 sniper rifle will be able to replace this rifle for the Marines.
Initially, the modular multi-caliber sniper system was developed in the United States in the interests of the Special Operations Command as part of the PSR (Precision Sniper Rifle) competition.
The first specification for the competition was issued back in 2009. In 2013, the Remington Modular Sniper Rifle Mk21 model was declared the winner of the competition.
Barrett MRAD Mk22
However, already in 2018, without explanation, it was announced that this sniper rifle did not meet the requirements of the Special Operations Command.
And the competition was again resumed under the new Advanced Sniper Rifle Mk22 program. The winner of this competition was the development of MRAD by Barrett.
At the same time, in addition to the special operations forces, representatives of the US Army and the ILC joined the program, who expect to adopt the new rifle into service as the main sniper system.
In total, the US Special Operations Command has invested $ 50 million in the Advanced Sniper Rifle Mk22 program.
The first copies of the new ASR Mk22 rifle were received by the military in 2019. And in November 2020, a contract was signed for the supply of a large batch of new rifles with Barrett Firearms Manufacturing. In general, in the budget for 2021, the US Department of Defense has allocated about $ 20 million for the purchase of new Mk22 sniper rifles.
The rifle is very expensive for American taxpayers. The cost of one model is about 16 thousand dollars. At the same time, the delivery set includes three interchangeable barrels, a high-performance sniper scope, a device for silent and flameless shooting, and other useful accessories.
Sniper rifle MRAD Mk22
The new American sniper rifle was developed by gunsmiths of the well-known company Barrett Firearms. Despite the fact that this is a young company by the standards of the arms world (was founded in 1982), Barrett has already made a name for itself manufacturers of quality small arms, optical devices and ammunition.
The company is headquartered in the state of Tennessee in Murfreesboro.
The main focus of the company for many years was large-caliber sniper rifles.
The company’s engineers created a new MRAD sniper rifle based on the Barrett 98B chambered for .338 Lapua Magnum (8.6×70 mm), modernizing the rifle and making a number of changes to its design.
The resulting model originally appeared on the civilian market. So, in 2012, representatives of the National Rifle Association (NRA) recognized the Barrett MRAD rifle as the best sniper rifle of the year.
Distinctive features of the Barrett MRAD rifle are easy barrel and caliber change, as well as a right-folding buttstock with numerous adjustment options.
The main feature of the entire MRAD line is the ability to change the barrel / caliber of weapons in the field. To replace the shooter, you need one Torx wrench.
Torx is a six-pointed star tool that fits into a corresponding recess on a fastener (screw or bolt). On a Barrett MRAD rifle, to remove the barrel, the shooter only needs to unscrew two of these screws. The caliber of the rifle is changed by replacing the barrel, bolt and, if necessary, the magazine receiver.
The version for the military, which received the Mk22 index, is presented in three main calibers: .338 Norma Magnum (8.6×64 mm), .300 Norma Magnum (7.62×64) and the classic 7.62×51 NATO, which has been proven over the years. The most interesting of these is the .300 Norma Magnum cartridge, which was chosen by the Special Operations Command for new sniper rifles back in 2016.
With a smaller caliber, this cartridge provides snipers with capabilities comparable to shooting with .338 Norma Magnum or .338 Lapua Magnum cartridges. The bullet of this cartridge maintains a supersonic flight speed even at a distance of 1.5 kilometers, providing high firing accuracy with a lower level of recoil.
According to the developer, the solid construction, modularity and new ammunition make the MRAD the unrivaled long-range rifle.
Right-folding stock with multiple adjustment options
The barrel length of the MRAD Mk22 rifle chambered for .338 Norma Magnum is 686 mm, chambered for .300 Norma Magnum – 660 mm, chambered for 7.62×51 mm – 508 mm. The rifling pitch of the barrel for 8.6 mm cartridges is 239 mm, for 7.62 mm – 203 mm. The total length of the model in the military version is in the range from 1107 to 1270 mm, the weight of the rifle is from 6.3 to 7 kg.
All MRAD sniper rifles are equipped with box-shaped polymer magazines, designed for 10 rounds. And also a Picatinny rail, which is located on top of the receiver. The total length of the bar allows you to install any modern sighting systems on it.
The modularity and multi-caliber nature of the system allows fighters to easily adapt the rifle for solving various tactical tasks on the battlefield.
This gives military personnel more options.
The rifle is suitable for a wide variety of scenarios: from fighting improvised explosive devices on vehicles (moving bombs) to hitting critical targets of enemy personnel (command personnel, crews of grenade launchers / machine guns).