Skip to comments.Growing Popularity of 8.6mm Sniper Round
Posted on 10/09/2007 4:37:41 AM PDT by Renfield
October 9, 2007: The British Army is replacing most of its 3,000 7.62mm L96A1 sniper rifles with one modified to use the .338 (8.6mm) Lapua Magnum caliber round. The Accuracy International "Super Magnum" rifle is basically a L96A1 "Arctic Warfare" rifle modified to handle the larger, 8.6mm Lapua Magnum round. The new rifle (the L118A1) weighs 15 pounds (without a scope), is fifty inches long and has a 27 inch barrel and a five round magazine.
Snipers in Iraq, and especially Afghanistan, have been calling for a longer range round, but find the 12.7mm (.50 caliber) weapons too heavy. The .338 (8.6mm) Lapua Magnum round has an effective range (about 1,500 meters) about 50 percent greater than the 7.62mm standard NATO round. The 8.6mm round entered use in the early 1990s, and became increasingly popular with police and military snipers. Dutch snipers have used this round in Afghanistan with much success, and have a decade of experience with these larger caliber rifles. British snipers in Afghanistan are also using the new round.
Recognizing the popularity of the 8.6mm round, Barrett, the pioneer in 12.7mm sniper rifles, came out with a 15.5 pound version of its rifle, chambered for the 8.6mm.
“The .338 (8.6mm) Lapua Magnum round has an effective range (about 1,500 meters) about 50 percent greater than the 7.62mm standard NATO round.”
One of the most accurate rifles I ever owned was a BAR in .338. I would practice on ground squirrels with it and it was as accurate as my eyes could use the iron sights...about 150 yards on a ground squirrel sticking up out of its hole.
You must have good eyes.
Time was, when I was a good shot with iron sights. However, a couple of recent misses (easy shots at whitetails at ~50 yards) have brought home the message that my eyes are too old to do it anymore. Bought Leupold scope, no deer is safe now, freezer is full of venison.
Threads like this are always more enjoyable with a bit of gun porn. Here’s a place to start:
Has anyone else got some good ones?
Buddy of mine has an Armalite AR-30M in .338. I’ve fired it about a dozen times, It’s a kickass round, specially on woodchucks at 1000m, a bit of overkill, but a lot of fun.
.338 RUM baby! If I could just find a rifle chambered in it. Lapua cartridges are as expensive as .50 BMG! Here's a 950 yard shot w/ .338 Edge - RUM is supposed to be a bit better, but talk about splitting hairs. .338Edge
target is a white smudge in roughly the center of the frame.
Unfortunately, there's a cost. My understanding is a sniper rifle chambered for the .338 Lapua is only good for about 1500 rounds before requiring a new barrel, whereas a .308 can maintain sniper level accuracy in excess of 5000 rounds.
Come on Lizard, get serious. Ya want half the Army up all night handloading so 100 snipers can each have their box of 20? I also hope you ain't talking to one of the SWAT Team members that are infesting the countryside (Like the Maine Mental Hospital Swat Team, or the Girl Guides Swat Team) They see something like this in print, they start ordering it from the back of those magazines they read. We can barely afford all the black SWAT Team fashion accessories as it is.
The military don’t have to worry about costs. I couldn’t afford it in the first place.
I think my cousin leads the Girls Guides Swat Team. Don’t they operate out of Biddeford? Or were you referring to the inland Team out of Millinocket?
I guess if you have to have a factory load, Lapua is fine... tho’ I don’t think Gooch’s stocks them either.
The well dressed Alaskan carries the 338 for most critters as well as a 44 mag on their hip!
My story takes place back in ‘71. I was just out of the service and was a damned good shot. The years have taken their toll. I can use a hologram still because they’re able to get my vision back to almost 20/15 with contacts.
The future is clear however and I’ll probably be going to a scope within a few years myself.
can you spare an eye bro?
In the initial buy of the .338 AW the Royal Marines bought 44, and the regular army 73, the Brits being tired of breaking firing pins on .50 M82 Barretts, whether that was a design or materials problem or was related to the primers used in the British RG .50 x 99mm ammunition.
The .338 *Super Magnum* versions of the AW are known as the L115A1 in British service, and the most recent series of telescopic sights to be fitted have been the Schmidt & Bender 3-12x50 PM II, also used by the Dutch, though the Germans use a 3-12x56 SSG telescopic sight made by Zeiss.
You can get a pretty fair substitute by starting with a surplus Pattern 14 Enfield action. My first .338 LM had a barrel rechambered from a .338 Winchester and cost me less than $100 for the action and another $100 for the barrel.
Stocks were a problem, as I broke three before finally going with a fiberglass synthetic. Recoil is sporty, about twice that of a .30-06 or 8x57mm Mauser, but with a properly designed stock, is reasonable.
I expect to be back in bear country in another year or so, and a .30-06 with the right ammo will suit me fine, until I can poick up or put together another .338. At that point, I'll be less concerned about what ammo's in the rifle.
Which is why the AW design incorporates simple barrel removal and replacement as a design feature. It's not exactly a *quick change* M60 or MG42 machinegun barrel changeout, but it's operator do-able.
When it's a .338 involved, I think the discriptive term is a tad more than just a *ping*.
My hat's off to anyone who can hit anything in the Afghanistan hills. 1500 meters in the field is a far different experience from 1500 meters at the range. And you still gotta get there first.
Better rethink your position. You never know when the Penn State mascot might get loose again.
)....but I think I might get a rifle in that new .338 Federal caliber, if I can find one in left-hand configuration (Tikka/Sako makes one, but the stock dimensions are terrible)
If I were in your southpaw condition [I have been, for extended periods a few times, from injury] I think I'd be thinking about a .338 double rifle....
That’s interesting, but I probably wouldn’t know enough to put one together.
Recoil being twice a .30-06 is pretty stout. I own a Garand and that kicks enough forf me. Neat stuff though!
I love the posed photo where the sniper isn’t using any rest (except his left elbow).
Not unusual in the rocks. It looks like he's got his elbow on his thigh, so he's probably got bone support all the way.
For a middlin-good shot, it'd probably do. But for a really long one, he needs to be resting it on his Bergen.
Right here you go!
At least to what I can see in the rest of the pic...
Worth a look as a GP hunting cartridge, IMO.
You are correct on the barrel life with one exception. I use Mike Rock barrels on my long range guns. I know of more than a dozen .308 rifles with 5R barrels with more than 100,000 rounds and still shooting sub 1/2 MOA.
We’ve been testing the .338 and one person has put over 9000 rounds through his and is still maintaining sub 1/2 MOA.
The key is to not run the gun with projectiles over 3000 fps. I use 300 grain Matchkings running around 2800 fps. Very accurate (past 1800 yards) and the barrel life is prolonged greatly.
If you shoot a lot, get a Mike Rock barrel or have Mike barrel your gun for you. You won’t be sorry.
google Rock Creek Barrels for contact info. Tell him Mike in West Virginia sent you.
Looks like .338 Lapua Magnum factory ammo runs between $85 - $95 per box of 20. I think I’ll stick with what I got. A 20 round box of .300 Win. Mag starts at about $18.
Governments must be buying it all. They’re the only ones who don’t get concerned about the price as long as you’re the low bidder.
If I still had a 24 year old eye I’d give you one.
The .300 WM is nothing to sneeze at. US Navy rifle match competitors have used it for decades for Wimbledon Cup shoots and other long range work, and the Germans chose to have their AW snipers rifles, designated Scharfschützengewehr 22, SSG22, equipped with a folding stock and Zeiss scope and chambered for the .300 WM cartridge.
Of course, you can do what I had to and begin with .416 Rigby cases....
At least to what I can see in the rest of the pic...
See #31. It can be difficult picking spottydots to match terrain in the rocks, desert camo isn't quite right, and scrub brush abounds below the treelines. And in the AO where the Royal Marines have been working, it's cold, so the Temperate Jacket With Liner is likely to be a real popular choice.
I don't need that kind of life, but it sure is nice to think my grandkids could get old with that rifle.
Sniper demonstration or game warden tag?
I'll be thinking about a double rifle in any caliber if (and only if) I win the lottery....
My cold shot rig is a old (now) Dakota Longbow in .338 lapua mag..... I’d love to have one of Malcolm Coopers designs but now that Uncle Sugar ain’t buying my toys for me any more I have to use restraint .......:o)
That Dakota Longbow has been rebuilt and re-barrelled 6 times in 12 years due the amount of ammo I put through it.....about 7000-14000 rnds a year when ammo was free. Tried Hart, Shilen and some weird German brand that an old GS weenie that worked for a S&W school talked me into that has held up the best.
BTW what is this new and improved from Ronnie Barrets little boy ....416 sumthin ???
With the climate changing so much every day the moose could show up at any time. Be ready.
.416 Barrett, cold bore hits @ 2500 meters.
You kept it in your truck, or you used it ON trucks...?
Ah, if we can only get Raufoss to build something like their Mark 211 Mod 0 .50 BMG projectile for the 8.58 x 70 mm rifles....
Barrett's Model 99-416, the cartridge wearing the Metric System designation 10.5x83mm- Though it has the same cartridge base dimensions, it's NOT just a cut-off and necked-down .50x99 BMG case, but there's still room for 200 grains of powder or so inside.
With 400-grain bullets, circa 3,300 fps from a 29-inch barrel, 1/2 MOA groups, and supersonic beyond 1.3 Miles with a BC of .989. Similar to and competition for the 408 Chey-Tac.
I don't have one, and *probably* don't need one. But I've got access to brass and a pal's handloads, as well as his rifle and a couple of test fixtures, so I may do some playing around with the thing in the future. Just the thing if you have an infestation of pesky water buffaloes in the back yard!
That’s almost 10,000 footpounds of energy!!!
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