16 Feb 2009

New British Sniper Rifle Deployed

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L115A3 Long Range Rifle, chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum (8.59x70mm)

The Daily Mail announces the deployment of Accuracy International‘s Arctic Warfare Magnum (AWM), aka the Arctic Warfare Super Magnum (AWSM), to use in Afghanistan in the hands of British army snipers, which actually occurred last May.

British Army snipers call it ‘the Silent Assassin’ and it is the weapon the Taliban fear the most.

It is the British-made L115A3 Long Range Rifle which, in recent weeks, has killed scores of enemy fighters in Afghanistan.

In a new initiative on the front line, the Army is using sniper platoons to target the Taliban and ‘The Long’, as the snipers call it, can take out insurgents from a mile away. …

The L115A3 Long Range Sniper Rifle – based on a weapon used by the British Olympic shooting team – weighs 15lbs, fires 8.59mm rounds and has a range of 1,100-1,500 yards.

The .338 Lapua, interestingly, was developed by the American ammunition company Lapua as a joint venture with Accuracy International with the goal of producing a long-range cartridge firing a 16.2 gram (250 gr), .338-inch diameter bullet at 914 m/s (3000 ft/s) that would penetrate 5 layers of military body armor at 1000 m (1094 yd). The new cartridge was created simply by necking the illustrious .416 Rigby (introduced in 1911) down to .338 diameter and stiffening up the case to withstand higher pressure.

It’s an excellent cartridge, and the AWM sounds like a nice rifle, but the Taliban have a lot more cause to be afraid of the American Barrett M82, chambered in .50 Browning Machine Gun (12.7x99mm), which will reach out and touch someone even further and make a bigger hole.

3 Feedbacks on "New British Sniper Rifle Deployed"

Dom Hyde

Nice article. You state that “.338 Lapua was developed by the American ammunition company Lapua as a joint venture with Accuracy International”. That’s nearly right – it was initially developed in America, but Lapua are a Finnish company, and it was they who took over the program and redesigned the cartridge, in conjunction with AI, to better withstand the firing pressures necessary to achieve the required velocity.

joe massey

The 50 cal m82 might have more range but it isnt as acurate as the l115a3 and isnt ment to be used on personal (yes i know it is anyway buy you see the point)

Rob O'Gorman

Good article, but I concur with both Dom Hyde and Joe Massey. The L115 is an ideal round for Afghanistan, mainly for anti-personnel (as well as anti-material). The .50 cal is more suited to the latter, although our own Canadian snipers (3 PPCLI/OP Anaconda) used it to great effect!

The Finns & Brits have given us a superb purpose-built sniper round. Now, if I can just save up enough for an AWSM, I’d be happy! ;-)


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