Problems with the Semi-Automatic M110 Sniper Rifle?

Jack Murphy, former Special Forces Soldier and author, has claimed that many of the special forces community are unhappy with the Knight’s Armament Company M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System. This is the first time I have read or heard of issues with the M110, other than that they were not supplying enough of them!

M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System

Murphy says that the lack of a forward-assist is frustrating for snipers who chamber a round slowly, to prevent noise, and then use the forward assist to ensure the round is in battery. Apparently the SOP is to use a cleaning rod to push the bolt forward. Using a thumb or finger to push the bolt forward would also work.

Another problem, according to Murphy, is that the scope selected for the M110. This is not a problem with the M110 rifle or even the scope itself, just with the specifications. If it was a big enough problem Leupold could retrofit the scopes with zero-able turrets.

Ultimately, a semi-automatic sniper rifle is not going to be as reliable, accurate or light as a bolt action. Conversely, a bolt action is never going to be able to achieve the same rate of fire as a semi-automatic. Murphy wrote

The M110 was developed and fielded for legitimate purposes, but in the rush to field a semi-automatic rifle I think that the Army lost sight of the big picture. In my opinion, replacing bolt-action sniper rifles with a semi-auto is short sighted.

There is a place for both semi-auto and bolt-action sniper rifles. The best possible solution would be to have enough of both so that sniper teams could select the best weapon for their mission.

[ Many thanks to Lance for emailing me the link. ]



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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  • ToadyTwoStep

    Hasn’t the Army had a replacement bid open for a few months now?

  • This is funny!

    Semi auto M110 is replecing bolt action M24 that replaced semi auto M21. Both upgradrd M24 (XM2010) and M110 should be keept in service, both are needed.

  • Aurelien

    Well, many of the feedback i heard from the US Army SF on the M110 was that it was an average-to-bad combat platform.

    The main consideration was the precision, closely followed by the reliability in difficult conditions (like those in Afghanistan).

    Of course the feedbacks are to be taken with the grain of salt, as many SF snipers were comparing it to the M24 SWS. And they were tainted by the USASOCs experience with the SR25 at the start of OIF.

  • Spade

    “Murphy says that the lack of a forward-assist is frustrating for snipers who chamber a round slowly, to prevent noise, and then use the forward assist to ensure the round is in battery. ”

    This is a new issue?

    Because none of the KAC built 7.62mm sniper rifles that have been around since the 90’s have ever had a FA. (I see that was covered over at Kitup)

    “The instructor responded that Colt was the patent holder for the forward assist design and it would have set the entire M110 project back years and millions of dollars to license the design or start from scratch to create something new that performed the same functionality.”

    That instructor apparently didn’t know what he was talking about either.

  • jdun1911

    I was wondering when they will complain about the lack of forward assist. While a vocal minority of AR gun owner don’t like the forward assist it has its purpose.

    BTW almost every military semi-auto loader has a forward assist. It called the charging handle.

  • Lance

    I say go to the M-21 or M-14 again they had fool proof operation and alot more durable than a M-110.

  • root man

    I guess it is not a question of semi or bolt.
    Both have their place.

    The question is…is the semi the right one with the right design?
    Who would leave the forward assist off a sniper rifle that does not have a proper bolt handle?

    Stupid.

  • armed_partisan

    I live right down the street from where these are made, and in the cool morning air, I can frequently hear the sounds of machine gun fire coming from the KAC range. However, having worked for another local arms maker for many years, I consequently know a great many people who used to work for Knight’s and have heard that the M110 is basically hand fitted to the point that most of the parts aren’t even interchangeable. Each rifle is essentially custom made. Everything is super tight, and while this may give very good accuracy, it’s notorious amongst all firearms that tight tolerances do not like anything other than ideal conditions.

  • Jim

    I wasn’t aware of the complaints… It should be interesting to see what happens, if anything.

  • Joe Schmoe

    This is not the first time I’ve heard such complaints. The Israeli special forces have had similar complaints, including:

    – Ejection of cartridge – The darn thing throws the empty shell quite a distance and noisily.

    – Inaccuracy

    – Poor reliability

    – Heavy

    Among others.

  • That’s all they’re concerned about? Sounds like the KAC is still GTG.

  • charles222

    All I can say is that the M14EBR is a hell of a lot more widely fielded than the M110 is, despite probably being the less-accurate rifle.

  • charles222

    Although to be honest the first problem sounds like bull. Who the hell goes outside the wire without a round chambered to begin with?

  • SpudGun

    It’s always difficult to criticize the tools used by ‘authentic ninjas’, but the M110 does appear to have it’s critics.

    As with all of these Internet Speculations, you have to ask yourself ‘if it was me, what would I use?’.

    If I had to shoot someone (and thank Jebus I don’t), what long range .308 sniper weapon would I choose? I doubt I’d pass over a proven bolt gun for a semi-auto conversion of an AR-15.

    I’m not in harm’s way, so my choice is speculative at best.

  • Lance

    @maliki

    Some M-21 are still in service but very few are most are M-14 EBRs now which a accrised version will be much better than a M-110.

  • Deputy B

    “I doubt I’d pass over a proven bolt gun for a semi-auto conversion of an AR-15.”

    I won’t argue with your choice. However, the SR25/M110 are variants of the AR10, which preceeded the AR15/M16 by nearly a decade. The AR15 would be the ‘variant’. The AR10 design is contemporaneous with the T47 (M14).

  • Boggins

    Wow… Talk about a non-story.

    And in other news, water is wet.

  • Jim J

    I remember being on an army base in 2010 watching an Army Guy with a M110 walk around with it slung and the suppressor dragging in the dirt then when he stopped to wait in line for a pizza then a hair cut he would use the m110 like a cane to prop himself up while he waited. I wanted to beat him senseless and take his weapon but Marines were not supposed to mess with them to keep tensions between us low. If thats how the army treats their weapons no wonder they have issue with accuracy.

  • snmp

    French SF have buy the M110 and they found the weapon not enough Rugged. They back to their old HK G3 befor swicth to the HK417.

  • Spade

    “I was wondering when they will complain about the lack of forward assist. While a vocal minority of AR gun owner don’t like the forward assist it has its purpose.”

    And the purpose mostly seems to be to jam a bad round into the chamber making the whole thing even worse.

  • Sid

    Just to be certain we are comparing apples to any other damn fruit someone wants to pull into this comparison….

    The M110 was built to provide sniper fire in urban areas where numerous targets and shorter distances are encountered.

    The users in Afghanistan are out. Wrong environment.

    The users in jungles or open environments are out. Wrong environment.

    Quietly chambering a round? In an urban environment? Why?

    Every weapon has a design envelope. It is better in some situations and has liabilities in others. There is no perfect weapon. “Some special forces community are complaining”. Are they really? If so, is it a realistic complaint? Are there real deficiencies with the weapon? Are they using the weapon as designed and for the purpose it was built for?

    Also, a charging handle is not a forward assist.

  • Riceball

    The thing about the forward assist is that it wasn’t originally a feature of the AR design and, supposedly, Eugene Stoner himself wasn’t a big a fan of them.

  • cy

    On an AR pltaform gun, the charging handle will not function as a forward assist.That is why the forward assist was developed, to push the bolt into battery.

  • A-SHOOTER

    These complaintes seem to be similarly dubious to what a lot of reports have said about the M4. In the field, the overwhelming majority of door kickers and trigger pullers seem to like their weapon systems. They go bang when the trigger is pulled and the rounds travel down range with mixed results based on who is shooting.

    For those of you who would compare it to the M21 / M14, I would add that I would choose the M110 over these options simply because of the superior optics mounting robustness of the M110. You simply cant beat a rail that is part of the receiver when mounting an optic.

  • subase

    Yep it’s for shorter, cleaner and more target rich urban environments. No wonder special forces are loving the HK 417 and SCAR H.

    Ruggedness has to alot to do with training. Seems to me if a marine got his hands on a M110 and was treating it like that then training is to blame. No doubt due to urgent need for sniper-like roles in Iraq and Afghanistan they introduced a shorter training course. Or just as likely the training course for the bolt action rifle is almost identical to the semi-auto. The bolt action rifle would be far more rugged.

  • fmonk

    If the military doesn’t like it, I – as a tax payer – would gladly take one off of their hands. Thank you very much.

  • Vitor

    Let’s see how it compares to the sniper version of the SCAR.

  • Carbine0ne

    Has anyone ever played with an SR-25? The return/action spring on the SR-25’s (or most other .308 AR’s) is so strong I don’t think you could keep the bolt open slightly like you could with an AR-15.

    Unless they’re loading their mags to 20… proper load should be 18.

  • bidou

    Surprise, surprise using AR-design for a sniper rifle and you get a POS.

    Seriously that’s a surprise???

    Be it the M110 or the HK417 both of them are gonna be despised by snipers as heavy, unreliable and not enough accurate (the German army already banned the HK417 as DMR. Do you know how inadequate a gun must be for the Germans to not buy an HK product?).

    Why because they’re not sniper rifles. Simple as that. They’re assault rifles born and breed a little bit modified for sniper duty.

    And an assault rifle is not a sniper rifle.

  • Lance

    The SCAR has its own problems with buttstock and other breaking parts breaking all the time. The fix to this is to add a piston system to the M-110. I don’t hear as many complaints about the M-110 from regular army folks so maybe it should stay a regular infantry sniper rifle while M-14s given back to Spec Ops.

  • jdun1911

    bidou,

    I think you should stop posting on things that you do not understand. The problems has nothing to do with reliability or accuracy. AR can do sub .5 MOA.

    Snipers and regular infantry have different requirements. I do understand the complaint from the sniper community. Other than the forward assist the complaints can be easily fix.

    The short out barrel is due to uses. That can’t be prevented no matter what. Both scope and wore out barrel can be replace.

    Like it was posted the M110 is a variant of the SR-25 that been used successfully in the IDF fighting terrorists for over 25 years IIRC. However the training, requirements, and mission objectives between the IDF and US forces are not necessary the same.

  • bidou

    The Israeli SR-25 is used for another role than DMR in the NATO sense. It’s used for mid-range engagements (600m) in urban environments with a lot of cover, to eliminate several lonely firing position mixed in an extremely dense civilian population.

    For that you need a semi-automatic high powered rifle (being able to pierce concrete cover). You don’t need a bolt action as you might have to fire quickly on multiple targets, neither you need the rifle to be excessively precise (a 1MOA does fine) since the engagement are beyond M-4 effective range but rarely at long distances.

    The Israeli DMR are there to cover a tactical niche of mid-range engagements in specifics conditions.

    But they keep bolt-actions rifles for longer range engagement.

    Massively deploying semi-auto DMR to people trained to use bolt and use to hit at longer range, instead of bolt action long range rifles in Afghanistan were “mid-range” urban combat are rare is not gonna be applauded.

    On the special forces topic deploy a good 7.62 semi auto rifle and I’m sure they’re quite happy with them, since those guys don’t need assault rifles anymore.

    The assault rifles were thought to be used for infantry after a very basic training, the ability of the device to deliver a massive amount of projectiles with correct accuracy compensating for the lack of skill of the soldier.

    Soldiers today, even more SF soldiers spent years in training and half their life on the range. When was the last time they used the full auto mode on their rifles?

  • W

    I agree with jdun, perhaps some people should find more reliable sources for “facts” rather than just posting internet speculation.

    for one, any weapon utilizing eugene stoner’s AR15/AR10 design needs a forward assist. It is a different designed weapon that prohibits its charging handle from being used as a forward assist (like the AK for example), but im sure most already knew that already (apparently not, which is why im posting it). In a nut shell, it would have been proper to fit the M110 with one. enough said.

    The SCAR and HK 417 are fine weapons, though being a skeptic, i would like to see the test results on why a 417 wasn’t adopted with the bundeswehr. Based on internet talk, some say the 417 is at least 1 moa accurate up to 500 yards and on the opposite end, the rifle didn’t pass the Bundeswehr accuracy tests. Looking at a SCAR objectively, FN really did their homework and engineered the weapon well.

  • Thomas

    The M110 suffers from the same problem that every other military weapon system faces, it never lives up to the expectations of the user. This is largely due to the hype that accompanies the acquisition of the weapon, but also due to inherent limitations in the weapon itself. All weapon systems are a compromise, to some extent.

    The M110 is a straightforward design for a long range rifle based upon the AR10/AR15 design. It was designed to allow for the placement of accurate semi-automatic fire on targets at greater range than the M16/M4 family of weapons. It was not designed to produce MOA accuracy at 1000+ yards.

    The Military leadership, in their continual quest for the perfect weapon system that does everything well, decided to tweek the M110 into something that it was never meant to be. In doing so, the weapon has been unable to perform reliably in the role of a long range sniper weapon and changes in tolerances to attempt to allow it to function in that role have caused reliability problems in the role that it was designed for, a DMR.

    The weapon will likely see certain changes made that will increase reliability. Nothing much can be done for its short comings in the sniper role.

  • Lance

    @Tomas

    Word up!!

  • HotelCoralEssex

    My Buddy, who returned from Iraq a little while ago, had nothing but bad things to say about the M110. I trust his opinion as much as anybody’s and certainly more than printed gun “journalism”, which as you all know is about as soft as in-flight travel magazines.

    If what he said was true, and there is no reason for me to doubt that it is, then the M110 is truly a disappointment. We all make mistakes and KAC is no different. I only hope, however, that the mistakes related to the M110 are reversible and do not result in any of our men and women in service getting killed or injured.

    I don’t think that a replacement scheme is a good idea. No particular type of accurate rifle is a panacea, both bolt actions and semi-autos have a place in any modern arsenal.

  • QAZZY 1-9th

    Thing is, while the M110 has its issues, I think the concept is good. It is accurate out to 600 yards, a bit shorter than what most snipers use their M24/40 out to. At ranges significantly over that, you use the Barrett issued to most sniper teams (well, in my experience, Scout Sniper Platoons at least).

    While the M14/21/25 isn’t quite as much as a purpose-built sniper rifle, it’s been proven to work well in a designated marksman role, and that’s what should be used.

  • William C.

    Sounds like all of these problems could be fixed with a M110A1 easily enough.

    Personally I think a mix of XM2010s and improved M110s is rather ideal for our snipers.

  • W

    Its rather discouraging because the Germans could get it right with the
    PSG-1 and the MSG90…and that was back in the 1970’s utilizing a operating system (roller-delayed blowback) that was conceived after world war II. The PSG-1 and MSG90 were still at least 1 moa accurate, so i know it is possible to produce a semi-automatic sniper rifle that is accurate, reliable, and effective.

    I am against utilizing a M14 variant anymore, primarily because it is a obsolete design and is known to have its fair share of problems (not to mention gunsmithing it has largely become a lost art). Perhaps the army should have evaluated other platforms more thoroughly (such as the Mk 20 sniper variant of the SCAR) before deciding to rush with a single one. I also disagree with a semi-automatic rifle replacing a bolt-action one (given that the M24 is still a phenomenally accurate and effective fighting platform).

  • Lance

    @W

    Your wrong the M-14 design is far from obsolete it is far more reliable than the FN MK-20 gas system and the M-110. It has worked in mud sand and salt water environments for years. The SCAR has a nasty tendency to break the stocks easily when banged around and other rifles don’t have that problem.

  • kerrmudgeon

    The article lists three complaints, two of which seem pretty easy to solve.

    1.) add a forward assist. My DPMS TAC-20 has one, and while I’ve never thought about using it, I suppose it could be helpful if I were to slowly ride the bolt carrier forward and wanted to make sure the bolt seated. I wasn’t aware that was standard operating procedure.

    2.) get better scopes with a stable zero set. I’ve seen this problem before, and it boggles me; one additional detente per turret would fix it.

    3.) shot out barrels after 500 rounds. This seems pretty disturbing. Can anyone comment on the expected barrel life of M-14/M-21 DMRs? I’m not really sure what barrel life to expect from an accurized rifle. Also, do we attribute short barrel life to the M110 design or to the particular manufacturing run that produced these barrels?

    It seems like the M110 has great promise for an accurate, semiautomatic .308. Can anyone point us toward some actual studies confirming these reports?

  • That “shot out after 500 rounds” makes no sense to me. 500 rounds to “break in” a 308 semi is more believable to me.

  • Kevin

    Another thing to consider is that the M110s are not all being given to “snipers” Some are being issued to younger soldiers with less training. Also, the M110 is on track to replace the M4 with 203 grenade launcher carried by the spotter. Whatever problems the M110 has it certainly has better accuracy at 350- 600 meters than an M4.

    The barrel shot out at 500 rounds- I think there is more to that. I would guess some other damage to the barrel (like dirt, rocks, etc. from grounding the muzzle) or maybe a bad lot of ammo. KAC is not Bryco arms and I can’t believe that more than a few guns could possibly leave their factory with such flawed barrels.

    And while the M110 could not completely replace a bolt gun in the sniper role today it is not like we threw away the M24s and we also have the Barretts and the M2010s.

  • Andrew

    Re scope
    When USMC got KACs as SASS earlier this year they replaced stupid Leups with $3k fine Premier Heritage’s 3-15s Good choice, grunts.)
    http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2011/03/marine-corps-sniper-rifle-m110-031711w/

  • Lance

    the USMC has several scopes in use its not the scope but the gun is whats the problem.

  • W

    “Your wrong the M-14 design is far from obsolete it is far more reliable than the FN MK-20 gas system and the M-110. It has worked in mud sand and salt water environments for years. The SCAR has a nasty tendency to break the stocks easily when banged around and other rifles don’t have that problem.”

    Sorry, but the M14 design is a modification of the M1 garand, which was originally conceived in the 1920’s. It is a aging design that had flaws that remained unsolved until Smith Enterprises modified the design recently with modern gunsmithing technology and techniques unavailable a generation ago. The M14’s taken out of storage were GI spec, which had issues with “stretched barrels”. M14 “sniper” variants require extensive and skilled gunsmithing…far from the “plug and play” requirements of a 21st century military force.

    There is no doubt the M14 was a fine rifle in its day. It was more accurate than the comparative G3 and FAL (though less reliable and more expensive to produce) and served as a excellent designated marksman weapon. it is far from the capabilities of a precision semi-automatic rifle however. When properly applied, the AR10 design is superior in many aspects (being more accurate, more armorer friendly, and modular without expensive modifications).

    It is hard to say how the Mk 20 performs, as it has recently been conceived (I take claims of the “m14 being more reliable than the Mk 20” with a grain of salt as nothing more than biased, rampant speculation). However, it is conducive to give newer designs with newer technologies a chance to prove themselves; why exchange ingenuity and improvement for a emotional attachment to an aging design? Even the M1 and M14 had some teething issues…new weapons should be given the opportunity to prove themselves as well (given the SCAR’s performance, it has proven itself extraordinarily for a recently fielded rifle). It is fair to say the M14 is obsolete, given current technologies that are available (in another aspect, the US government will remain stuck with older technologies due to budget cuts i assume). Btw, if the stock is the only problem with the SCAR (and the outstanding Mk 17 7.62 variant), then that proves testament of the engineering that went into the weapon.

    The M110 is no exception. Further development and improvement can make it a better weapon. I am interested in the 7.62 variant from Primary Weapons Systems. Perhaps a accuratized variant utilizing the same outstanding gas system can do the job better?

  • Lance

    @ W

    Sorry your wrong you can say the M-14 is way older than a SCAR BUT the M-14 is proven to work in all environments from desert to arctic and work fine. There are reports of SCAR misfiring and breaking from its mainly plastic parts. The design doesn’t have to be new to work. The M-14 has been in service because it works well and its hard hitting its been updated and proven to be a killer accurate and reliable DMR. SOCOM dumped the 5.56mm SCAR because the M-4 was just as capable in there minds

    I know you love you SCAR but other guns can do the job too.

  • W

    Lance, i am not interested in getting into a digital slap match. While I agree that the M14 is indeed a proven, if fine, weapon, it is beginning to show its age and many rifles are simply military surplus, which leads to a new set of problems that require skilled gunsmiths to fix. I believe the reason why the FAL and G3 were immensely more popular than the M14 is because they are simpler and less costly to produce (at the cost of accuracy, though the PSG1 and MSG90, derivatives of the G3, are commendable in their accuracy).

    Yes, SOCOM ditched the Mk 16 because it is not a quantum leap in assault rifle technology that justifies the unit cost compared to the M4. But they are continuing with procuring the Mk 17 variant, which is more controllable and highly desirable as a DMR, not to mention more “plug and play” friendly than the M14 (much like the Glock compared to the 1911).

    And i never said “a design has to be new to work”. I said it is disingenuous (Ill go ahead and say utterly stupid) to dismiss new technology and materials just because older things work because it is. This conservative thinking is the reason why finnicky, obsolete technology continues to be fielded by the military, while the provisions for such older technology continues to fade. Its time to move on and there are plenty of candidates that can get the job done just as good, if not better, than the M14, its just the newer 7.62 and 5.56mm weapons are iterm solutions and completely replacing other designs is pointless if something revolutionary is going to be fielded relatively soon (such as the LSAT program and promising caseless ammunition concept).

    Just like the 1911, the M14 is subject to emotional attachment from the good ‘ol days. Such conservative thinking, in my opinion, teeters on cowardice.

    FYI, yes i do love “my” SCAR. It is a exquisitely designed weapon and FN really did their homework when engineering the thing. I recall sending you a link showing a comprehensive heat dissipation test on its gas system. But to you, just because it is made of polymer, it is plastic junk (which is a fallacy also because by your logic, metal guns are junk because pakistan border guns are also made of metal…absolutely puzzling since “plastics” are made of different hardness and durability than polymers ((the AK74 and its magazines also must be plastic junk by your contention)). I have not heard of your so-called problems associated with the SCAR (from my perspective as a armorer and a gunsmith, former Army with extensive associates from USSOCOM, DOD PMCs, and US federal law enforcement) so any internet speculation i take lightly compared to personal experience with the weapon system. Note: I am not a FN Herstal rep but prefer to look at weapons and their capabilities objectively rather than emotionally 🙂

  • Lance

    Most men I talk to do NOT do plug and play. they stay with most basic mods for there guns. so the MK-17 isn’t superior, its not adopted for DMR but a short barreld .308 assault rifle for CQB NOT long range shooting. Read reports on Kit up the SCAR is breaking too much its stock is bad. DSA tried to make DMR FALs BUT the design isn’t as accurate as the M-14 at long ranges and DSA dropped it. The G-3 is much more fragile than FAL and M-14 both you forget the main reason M-14 weren’t bought by foreigners is because it was made by Government facilities while the government sold at the time M-1s instead of new M-14s. You can say FAL is just as reliable and if you like pistol grips yes.

    Fact is modular isnt every thing and it was solders who did improvement to M-14s and the brass again and again tried to replace it and GI don’t let it happen.

  • W

    “Most men I talk to do NOT do plug and play”

    in case you weren’t aware, the US military is being constantly deployed around the world, with weapons being taken out of their 1990’s era clean store rooms into harsh battlefield conditions, such as dry arid deserts, which have a propensity to increase wear on everything compared to temperate environments (everything from clothing, weapons, helicopter mechanical parts, and electronics). Simplifying logistics by more armorer friendly weapons is a must, since stressful operations tempos take their toll on everyone involved. In case you didn’t know, plug and play firearms are the reason why older designs, such as the 1911 and browning HP, have been largely replaced by more “plug and play” designs like the SIG P226, HK USP, M9 Beretta, and Glock. This a fact. The M14 is no exception. More armorer friendly firearms are essential for efficiency as well, with the US military facing more budget cuts in the near future.

    “so the MK-17 isn’t superior, its not adopted for DMR but a short barreld .308 assault rifle for CQB NOT long range shooting”

    You do know there are three variants of the SCAR MK 17 right? the long barreled variant is intended as a designated marksman rifle and the Mk 20 is undergoing testing by SOCOM as a sniper support weapon (which is an entire different niche on its own from DMRs). Given that the MK 17 is more reliable, modular, easier to repair, not to mention accurate, yes it is superior to the M14, FAL, and G3. The reason why it hasn’t changed the battle rifle world? many countries are reluctant to replace their tried and true designs that exist in storage. The cost to completely replace a niche of rifles is hard to justify, especially with breakthroughs in future small arms technology. Like I said before, completely replacing all M14s with the Mk 17 would simply be an expensive stop gap measure.

    “Read reports on Kit up the SCAR is breaking too much its stock is bad.”

    and defensereview says that these “reports” are rumors, nothing substantiated. My analysis of the SCAR is that its stock could be improved, which is why Vltor released their own ruggedized modification. If the stock is the main teething issue with a rifle, then FN should be lucky right? (imagine if the first M16’s had only issues with the stock!). This comment alone is the reason why i avoid internet speculation and ask former associates for myself, and to get a second opinion, i analyze the system myself. I’ll stay away from the internet speculation. That alone is the reason why I post on firearmsblog because it is objective and non-political. Though rain, wind, or snow, I question and call BS when I see it at all times.

    “DSA tried to make DMR FALs BUT the design isn’t as accurate as the M-14 at long ranges and DSA dropped it.”

    I wasn’t talking about the FAL being used as a DMR, so i don’t know how this is relevant. Besides that point, thousands of M14s were sitting in US government stores, unlike the FAL, which was largely scrapped by Australian, British, and Canadian governments (the british wanted the L1A1 back, though the rifles were scrapped and they had to buy outstanding Lewis Machine and Tool AR10 DMRs). It was availability, nothing more. Since the US doesn’t have large stores of FALs (we never adopted it), it isn’t smart to sell the design as a DMR to the US military.

    “The G-3 is much more fragile than FAL and M-14 both you forget the main reason M-14 weren’t bought by foreigners is because it was made by Government facilities while the government sold at the time M-1s instead of new M-14s.”

    I don’t know where you came up with the idea that the G3 “is more fragile”, but that hasn’t stopped it from being used by many governments and militias around the world…notably in Mogadishu, Somalia with much effectiveness. G3s are produced with simplified stamped receivers, unlike the more expensive M14, which has not affected its durability. Funny how countless G3s are continuing to be dug up in Iraq and used by various irregulars.

    The FAL and G3 were preferred to the M14 because of availability. The G3 and FAL could be produced cheaper, in more quantities in a set time, and served many NATO military forces and was exported to many more. Cost.

    “Fact is modular isnt every thing and it was solders who did improvement to M-14s and the brass again and again tried to replace it and GI don’t let it happen.”

    I never said modularity was everything, though it is important due to overall unit cost and flexibility. The improvements that were made to the M14 were done because it was being rushed to the field from storage, where they had wooden stocks and USGI parts. Aftermarket improvements were made to accommodate the soldiers that were equipped with them. The US military has recently begun integrating designated marksmen into the infantry ranks (finally), so a niche has to be filled in quickly. This is the first time the US military needed a designated marksman rifle to equip front-line forces, so naturally there are shortages of rifles (which is why, for the 20th time, the M14 has been fielded…not because it is some magical hammer of war carving death and destruction in its wake).

    Hopefully I cleared some things up. For your information, I love the M14. I own a Armscorp M1A National Match. it is a very accurate, fun rifle to shoot, not to mention extremely accurate. I also own a SCAR 17S. Both are impressive pieces of machinery. I was vehemently anti-SCAR before playing with it.

  • JamesD

    I have a Remington R-25 and I can understand the desire to have a forward assist.
    When you let the bolt slam shut it is *LOUD* and could definitely give away your position for quite a distance. But how are you going to cover up the sound of beating on the forward assist to get it to rotate the bolt. Mine does not work very well with just a thumb assist.
    Besides, once you fire with even a suppressed rifle, the noise from the action would mean you wouldn’t stay concealed very long.

    The scope issue should be easy enough to fix. Swap out the scopes! How did this not get noticed during trials? Didn’t they let actual snipers use the rifles?

    I have a difficult time believing 500 rounds is going to wear out the barrel of a .308. It isn’t a round known for that kind of issue and that usually requires a lot more rounds. Perhaps the bore/chamber’s chrome lining isn’t holding up which would probably reduce accuracy in a hurry.

    • JamesD

      I checked the forward assist again since the rifle is now broken in and the bolt locks easier now. The forward assist isn’t even needed if you drop the bolt the last inch. But that’s on a clean rifle. I think if you really need the forward assist you’ll probably have to bang on it.

  • Carl

    A sniper keeps his rifle loaded pretty much all the time. There really would not be many situations where a sniper would need to “quietly load his rifle.” After all, once the shooting begins the need for silence becomes a moot point. When I was sniping in Viet Nam or on patrol with an XM-21 NM rifle, it was always loaded unless I was in the perimeter “cleaning it.” By cleaning it I mean dusting it off, oiling the outside of it and so on. We never took our rifles apart because that would ruin the accuracy of the system. Most of the snipers I have talked to in recent years like their M-110 type rifles. They are accurate, sturdy and reliable. I was thinking about getting another M-21 style rifle like a high quality M-1A for me but I am now thinking about maybe getting a good AR-10 and making my own kind of M-110 SASS. Where I live noise suppressors are not allowed by state law so going with a good AR-10 makes more sense than trying to land a true M-110 rifle. A good rifle, good scope, high quality ammo and some range time should set me up right once I have the rifle broken in to my liking.

  • Dennis Crawford

    As to the m110 I know for a fact that this weapon has a small lest of problems one that I do know of is after about 3000 or 4000 Rounds the lower will crack in one of the holes that are there for ambidextrous Mag and bolt release. I know this I was in on the testing of it and others for SF out of FT Bragg NC.