September 09, 2016
Military units in the 1980s, especially the newly organized Light Infantry Divisions, found themselves without sniper rifles in their scout platoons. Many units at this time procured Remington Model 700 Varmint Specials chambered in .308, which was then a popular platform for metallic silhouette shooting. It wasn't an "official" arm, but they were used until the M24 arrived post-1987. Many of those Model 700s were turned into TACOM when the M24 was recalled from service for the XM2010 upgrade.
Model 700 SWS (Sniper Weapons System) sniper rifles were developed in 1986 at the request of the U.S. Government. Only 45 days after receiving the request, Remington submitted a test sample, which was accepted and resulted in a contract awarded in 1987. The long-action rifle featured a free-floating 24-inch stainless-steel barrel chambered in 7.62 NATO, reinforced synthetic stock, bipod, and a Leupold Ultra M3A 10X scope with range finding reticle. The rifle, bipod, and scope weighed 13 pounds, 13 ounces.
Remington eventually produced 2,510 Model 700 SWS rifles for the U.S. Army and 1,000 for Egyptian forces. The rifle's accuracy met or exceeded government requirements of 1.30-inch groups AMR (average mean radius) at 200 yards.
The M24 designation was assigned by the U.S. Army after adoption of it as their standard sniper rifle in 1988.
As an interesting side note, the M24 SWS had carried the long-action receiver because it was originally to use the .30-06 M72 Match cartridge. It turned out there was an insufficient quantity of M72 Match rounds in a single lot of manufacture, so the operational requirement changed to use the dimensionally smaller 7.62x51mm NATO M118 Match ammo.
Designed for and used by the U.S. military, the M24's popularity still stretches from SWAT teams nationwide to international military and governmental agencies. The M24 has retained it reputation for precision among the sniper system community, due to the action and heavy, hammer-forged stainless steel powder-coated barrel with 5-R rifling and the H-S Precision aramid-fiber-reinforced fiberglass stock with aluminum bedding block.
The M24 was eventually to be replaced with the M110 semiautomatic sniper system, a contract awarded to Knight Armament. However, the Army still continued to acquire M24s from Remington until February 2010, with the M24 being upgraded to the A2 and M24E1, and it continues to be used.
Although the U.S. Army never officially purchased the M24A2, several units on deployment orders rebuilt weapons from standard M24s to M24A2s. Remington converted rifles for the following units:
- 3rd Infantry Division
- 82nd Airborne Division
- 101st Airborne Division
- 10th Mountain Division
- 1st Infantry Division
- 25th Infantry Division
The Remington Defense team developed the M24A2 in 2004 as product solutions evolved and sniper needs changed. Remington's International defense director and a former sniper instructor, identified the following features as the most needed/desired:
- Adjustable cheekpiece (snipers were actually taping First-Aid packets onto their stocks to serve as cheekpieces)
- Variable power optics (fixed 10X scopes weren't useable for the most part in urban environments)
- Detachable box magazine (internal five-round magazine wasn't conducive to the modern battlefield)
- Ability to mount inline night vision and use lasers and lights (standard M24 required the removal/replacement of the day optic)
- Ability to suppress (demonstrating advantage of the suppressed sniper rifle)
The Remington Defense Team consigned two M24s and sourced the conversion components, had each barrel turned for a suppressor, and tested each. The rifles had the following features:
- H-S Precision stock (retained all attributes of the original stock while adding adjustable cheekpiece)
- Detachable 10-round box magazine
- Leupold Mark IV M3 3.5-10X optic with mil-dot reticle
- Badger Ordnance/Remington MARS rail
- OPS INC 3rd model suppressor
Remington presented the two rifles to officials at Ft. Benning, Georgia, which they range tested. Remington then began to demo and market the program. In summary, used M24s could be returned to Remington, and they could be converted for $3,000 with all the old equipment returned. The 25th Infantry was the first to execute the offer as they were deploying to Iraq. However, issues developed within the military regarding "upgraded" equipment not being allowed, and the M24A2 program dissolved with the development of the XM2010 program.
The XM2010 system differs from the M24 in that it is chambered for .300 Win. Mag., but as previously noted, the M24 was originally designed with the long action so that didn't present a problem. The .300 Win. Mag. offered as much as 50 percent additional effective range versus the .308, and the U.S. Army figured the additional effective range would help snipers in engagements in mountainous and desert terrain in the war in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East.
The XM2010 was designed and developed specifically for the harsh environment of the modern battlefield using state-of-the-art technology, manufacturing processes and corrosion-resistant materials. It featured the new Remington Arms Chassis System (RACS) with folding stock that allowed adjustment for length of pull and cheek height and captured the bolt handle when folded. This allowed the operator to configure the weapon to his personal physical requirements and transport the system more easily.
Additional chassis features included a monolithic rail with removable rail pieces; cable routing guides that maximize rail insert space, co-align electro optics and manage electric cables; five-round detachable box magazine; Leupold optic and Advanced Armament Corp (AAC) TiTan quick-detach suppressor. Combined with the fact that the .300 Win. Mag was capable of accurately and lethally hitting targets at 1,200 meters (1,312 yards), the XM2010 has proven to be an ultra-lethal unit in the battlefield.
The U.S. Army issued three XM2010s to the U.S. Army Sniper School in January 2011, and Army snipers have been using the platform since that point in time.
The Modular Sniper Rifle (MSR) was a bolt-action sniper rifle introduced in 2009 and was designed to meet U.S. Army and SOCOM Precision Sniper Rifle requirements. According to Remington, this rifle was designed by operators for operators. It featured an adjustable folding stock, free-floated handguard and the potential to change barrel lengths and calibers (from .300 Win. Mag. to .338 Lapua Magnum) within minutes. The MSR was mission-adaptable with a simple change of the boltface, barrel and magazine, and the system met the needs of the modern battlefield, designed to meet multiple emerging U.S. Armed Forces requirements.
The rifle has a rotary locking bolt, and to facilitate caliber change, the bolt has removable bolt heads, with boltfaces matched for appropriate calibers. Bolt heads have three radial-locking lugs. The top of the receiver is fitted with a monolithic Picatinny rail, allowing users to install telescopic sights or night vision. Additional features included detachable folding bipod and QD suppressor, which mounts over the muzzle brake.
The MSR won the Precision Rifle Competition (PSR) competition, a program built by the U.S. Special Operations Command, to replace all current bolt-action sniper rifles in use by U.S. special operations snipers. The solicitation was placed on January 2009 and requirements included:
- Provide a confidence factor of 80 percent that the weapon and ammunition combination is capable of holding one MOA extreme vertical spread, calculated from 150 10-round groups fired unsuppressed at 1,500 meters.
- No individual group shall exceed 1.5 MOA extreme vertical spread.
- The rifle must weigh less than 18 pounds loaded, have Picatinny rails and an interchangeable barrel
The contract was ultimately awarded to Remington and its Modular Sniper Rifle.
In 2014, Remington Defense's new Concealable Sniper Rifle (CSR) was introduced, a bolt-action chambered for .308 Win. Built on RACS Lightweight chassis with a carbon-fiber-wrapped barrel, the 16-inch carbon- barreled rifle weighs 9 pounds, has a two-stage trigger and an Advanced Armament Corp. 762-SD suppressor.
Remington Defense took the bolt action it used on its MSR rifle and shortened it to create the Remington CSR Titanium Action with a 60-degree bolt throw. The CSR also has a right-folding, lightweight, fully-adjustable buttstock and modular handguard with removable accessory rails. The rifle employs a detachable magazine and two-position safety.
A unique feature of the CSR is if you pull down on the throw lever under the barrel, the CSR breaks down into five separate components.