US Army buying .300 Winchester magnum


Strategy Page reports:

June 18, 2009: The U.S. Army has ordered 38.4 million rounds of .300 Winchester magnum ammunition for its newly modified M-24 sniper rifles, as well as similar SOCOMs Mk13 models. The new ammo will cost about $1.30 per round. The .300 Winchester magnum will be ordered in minimum lots of 56,160 rounds (117 boxes of 480 rounds each). The entire 38.4 million rounds will last a while.

$1.30 a round! I would have thought they could get it cheaper than that!

There is a discussion at SaysUncle about the pro’s and con’s of the cartridge.

Thanks to David for the link.

UPDATE:

A more factually correct article is at Defense Industry Daily, and it quotes regular TFB commenter Daniel Watters.

D.E. Watters of The Gun Zone adds that .300 Win Mag is used in the Mk13 sniper rifle, another Remington 700 long receiver derivative that’s assembled from parts at NSWC Crane. The most recent version is the Mk13 MOD 5, which allows the use of the same sound suppressor as the Knight’s Armament Company SR-25/MK11 sniper rifle.





Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • solomon

    38 million rounds should last for more than a little while. What gives here? I can understand war stocks but this is enough for Iraq, Afghanistan and something somewhere else. I think there is a connection between the shortage and the buying by the military and police departments. Don’t get me wrong if its necessary, its necessary but why so much?

  • Cheaper?
    Why do they care. The gov’t can just take more from us productive people.

  • hga

    solomon: Given the mention of a minimum lot size (and one that’s pretty small), this is probably an indefinite quantity/indefinite delivery sort of contract.

    I.e. it sounds like this contract has been pushed through the rather involved procurement process, past any protests, etc. so that they will now order what they need when they need it. If things heat up beyond expectations, they get rifles converted faster than they expect, etc., or the reverse, they’ll be set. And I’ll bet they’re not committed to buying 38.4 million rounds.

  • solomon

    hga…thanks for clearing that up! It sounded like an insane amount of ammo being bought (at least on the surface). Question though…if you’re wrong and I have no reason to believe that you are, is there any other reason for that big a purchase?

  • hga

    solomon: None that I can think of.

    The government is making a serious and hard to reverse commitment to .300 WM by changing the rifles. They’d be insane to do this without also locking down a supply of fodder for them. And they really need an IDIQ sort of contract because their future quantity requirements are impossible to know beyond a minimum for training, which I’m sure is specified in the ammo contract (the contract will almost certainly have a minimum annual purchase for all the usual reasons including lowering the price).

  • fred

    Bah!
    Nice but this is what they need..

    http://www.cheytac.com/MilChSniperRiflePlay.asp

  • jdun1911

    Solomon, this is normal because war can happen anytime. You don’t want to be caught with your pants down and be empty handed.

    Since WWII the US military is design to fight two major simultaneous war. Go do a google search on ammo depot.

    $1.30 for 300WM match ammo is cheap I think.

  • hga

    An example of IDIQ ammo contracts let to one of my favorite merchants of death ^_^: “ATK Receives $31 Million in Medium-Caliber Ammunition Contracts for U.S. Navy Phalanx and U.S. Air Force A-10 Warthog“. (ATK is Federal/CCI/a whole lot of other brands/operator of Lake City etc. etc. etc.)

    Go to the bottom and you’ll find the mandatory SEC disclosure paragraph about “forward-looking statements” with this relevant bit:

    Forward-looking information is subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Among those factors are: assumptions related to the volume of ammunition delivered under the IDIQ contract; changes in governmental spending, budgetary policies and product sourcing strategies….

    The use of Warthog and Phalanx ammo is going to be rather unpredictable I suspect, there’s planned testing and training, always subject to spending cuts, and no one can say today how much they’ll be used in anger in the next few years.

    The DoD and ATK will make estimates, but they could turn out to be wildly inaccurate. What if Iran goes really sour and tries to interdict the Persian Gulf with all those missiles they’ve bought? How much CAS will Warthogs need to provide in Afghanistan or, God forbid, Pakistan (e.g. to try to extract their nukes)? What if the PRC decides it would like Taiwan tomorrow? Etc. etc.

  • solomon

    hga…thanks…that clears it up nicely. i wasn’t aware that the military was still making purchases that large with the drawdown in Iraq….the increase in Afghanistan isn’t that dramatic…

    jdun1911…thanks too…but the US is moving away from the two war concept to a hybrid war model. add that the military had at one time been moving toward the business model of just in time logistics and the orders just confused me.

  • jdun1911

    No the US military isn’t moving away from two wars. We are fighting two wars, two asymmetric wars. We are moving away from conventional wars to asymmetric but then again no two wars are the same. Our next war(s) might be conventional.

    I do not know who told you about “just in time procurement” but that’s not correct. It takes a long time to convert civilian factories to military needs. It takes a long time to mobilize for war. No enemy will give you the time for that.

    No nation can predict when war will come. So it is best to stockpile for a rainy day. This has been done since the invention of war.

    The 300WM is a good caliber. I own a Savage 110.

    The longest confirmed kill IIRC was around 2400m and I think that’s just pure luck. There are only a handful of shooters that have confirmed kills over 2000m.

    Shooting past 1000m takes a lot of skills and luck. You have to be a master at figuring out windage and elevation.

  • The Strategy Page article is riddled with errors. 1) The recent .300 Win Mag contract was handled by Naval Surface Warfare Center – Crane. 2) A M24 only needs to be rebarreled, and have its bolt and magazine assembly swapped out in order to be converted from 7.62mm NATO to .300 WM. After all, that was the whole point of the Army adopting a long action receiver for the M24, in contrast to the short action received used by the USMC’s M40-series.

    For a better account of the .300 WM contract, solicitation, and final product, go to Defense Industry Daily. (Note who is quoted in the article.)

    http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/USA-Orders-499M-in-300-Winchester-Magnum-Ammo-05493/

    • Daniel, awesome, well done! I have updated the post.

  • hga

    Yes, that Defense Industry Daily article is vastly better. WRT to our discussion of procurement, it confirms that it is a “firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract”. They must buy 56K rounds and can buy as many as the 34.4 million cited. This ammo will also be used by the Navy in matches.

    This is also not entirely standard ammo, it came from a Product Improvement Program (PIP) to decrease the flash signature and to try to make it useful out to 1,500 yards. Search on MK248 Mod 1 for various interesting hits, including this which says it replaces the Mod 0 190gr Sierra MatchKing with a 220gr, and “It is loaded to 2,850 ± 50 fps. As you might imagine, that’s loaded pretty hot. The maximum average chamber pressure is pegged at 68,100 psi at 70°F. Individual rounds must not exceed 78,900 psi.“. (That’s confirmed in the last link below.)

    LOTS of interesting info in the above link, engineering drawings (looks like a great BC bullet) and someone noting that it appears only ATK bid on it. Black Hills is the only other likely company, having supplied Mod 0 and PIP rounds in the past.

    My, you can find all sorts of interesting things with Google, e.g. this post claims that the last two lots of Mk248 Mod 0 had serious problems, one with contaminated powder causing hang fires, which required dumping of 17,000 rounds, the other lot was 100-150 fps over spec, shaking rails off of rifles.

    And I’ll finish with a link to the “DETAIL SPECIFICATION, CARTRIDGE, .300 WINCHESTER MAGNUM MATCH, MK 248 MOD 1…“, which goes into massive and fascinating detail in specifying the cartridge and how it must be manufactured and tested. E.g. a lot must be a lot (use the same lots of primers, powder, etc.), primer lots must be of at least 200K and no more than 750K, etc. etc. etc.

  • hga

    Yes, that Defense Industry Daily article is vastly better. WRT to our discussion of procurement, it confirms that it is a “firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract”. They must buy 56K rounds and can buy as many as the 34.4 million cited. This ammo will also be used by the Navy in matches.

    This is also not entirely standard ammo, it came from a Product Improvement Program (PIP) to decrease the flash signature and to try to make it useful out to 1,500 yards. Search on MK248 Mod 1 for various interesting hits, including this which says it replaces the Mod 0 190gr Sierra MatchKing with a 220gr, and “It is loaded to 2,850 ± 50 fps. As you might imagine, that’s loaded pretty hot. The maximum average chamber pressure is pegged at 68,100 psi at 70°F. Individual rounds must not exceed 78,900 psi.“. (That’s confirmed in the last link below.)

    LOTS of interesting info in the above link, engineering drawings (looks like a great BC bullet) and someone noting that it appears only ATK bid on it. Black Hills is the only other likely company, having supplied Mod 0 and PIP rounds in the past.

    My, you can find all sorts of interesting things with Google, e.g. this post claims that the last two lots of Mk248 Mod 0 had serious problems, one with contaminated powder causing hang fires, which required dumping of 17,000 rounds, the other lot was 100-150 fps over spec, shaking rails off of rifles.

    And I’ll finish with a link to the “DETAIL SPECIFICATION, CARTRIDGE, .300 WINCHESTER MAGNUM MATCH, MK 248 MOD 1…“, which goes into massive and fascinating detail in specifying the cartridge and how it must be manufactured and tested. E.g. a lot must be a lot (use the same lots of primers, powder, etc.), primer lots must be of at least 200K and no more than 750K, etc. etc. etc.

  • Here is the link to the DefenseLink contract award announcement:

    http://www.defenselink.mil/contracts/contract.aspx?contractid=4043

  • Of course, you’ll note who started that thread on the IAA Forum.

    As I wrote elsewhere, there isn’t going to be a “.300 Win Mag Timeline”. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention to other military small arms ammunition developments.

    No one seems to have picked up on the other ammunition developments listed in the same NDIA presentation discussing the Mk 248 Mod 1. There a couple of interesting new rounds coming online for 5.56mm and 7.62mm as well.

    You have to remember that NSWC-Crane conducts small arms development work for USSOCOM as well as the US Navy.

  • Rick

    The bad part is, the Government will probably dispose of most of that amunition. I was in the Marines from 91 to 95, I went to Somalia, and was part of the evacuation of the UN.
    We had Cases and Cases, of .308 and .223 that we dumped into the ocean on our way back to the United States. I hated to be a part of it, but that was orders. There was nothing wrong with the amunition, it was mostly new in box. Should have gone back in storage, or been sold cheaply as surplus ammo. Our Tax dollars at work.