New Zealand to Adopt .50 Caliber Barrett M82 and Sako TRG M10 in .338 Lapua

SAKO TRG M-10 Rifle

A source has told TFB that the New Zealand Defense Force will soon be announcing the adoption of the Barrett M82 for use as an anti-material rifle and the Sako TRG M10, chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum, as a long range sniper rifle. Our source, who has not led us astray in the past, did not specify if these rifles were replacing existing firearms in the NZDF inventory, or if they would be used alongside their current sniper rifles.

According to Jane’s, the New Zealand Army currently uses the .50 BMG Accuracy International AW50 bolt action rifle. The advantage of the semi-automatic Barrett M82, for an anti-material role, are obvious: a much higher rate of fire without a significant difference in weight (most publications list the Barrett as being lighter weight, but the AI weight includes the bi-pod and I suspect the Barrett weight does not). The advantage that the AW50 has is accuracy. The AW50 has been reported as having sub-MOA accuracy, while the Barrett’s are, at best, 1.5 MOA.

Again according to Jane’s (and I have not seen any photographic evidence of this), the New Zealand Army also uses the AI Arctic Warfare Sniper Rifle chambered in 7.62x51mm. The Sako TRG M10 in .338 Lapua Magnum could be used alongside it, but the trend internationally is to replace shorter range 7.62mm NATO sniper rifles in favor of long range cartridge like the .338 LM or .300 Win Mag,

A few years ago the NZ Army adopted the LMT 308 MWS AR-10-style rifle as their new designated marksman 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.


  • Christopher Wallace

    mmmm dAT SAKO

  • Joshua

    The NZDF is killing it with their weapons procurements.

    First the LMT308MWS.
    Then the LMT MARS-L
    Now these!

    I commend them on selecting excellent weapons to modernize their military.

    • nadnerbus

      Didn’t they also adopt he Glock 17 as their sidearm?

      Must be nice to be able to procure weapons without having to please 500+ politicians and their lobbyists.

      • Joshua

        Small countries can afford to have the best.

        They have less than 7,500 soldiers in their military.

        Procuring 5,000 of the best rifles money can buy is easy compared to 1,000,000+ to cover front line soldiers across all the branches of a military.

        Larger militaries usually settle for the 90% solution because they have 2-3 of the 90% guns vs 1 of the 100% gun.

        • jono102

          Its one of the few advantages to being a small military. Its also a disadvantage because you bring very little buying power to the table. As a result NZ normally has to try an tack on to larger military’s buys to keep costs down.

  • tiger

    America’s Cup getting rough? They bringing out sniper rifles to beat us?

    • Rory

      Just because we play by the rules and refuse to cheat

    • Tassiebush

      No need, they’ll send Jake the Muss around

  • Black Dots

    Did somebody increase New Zealand’s allowance recently? First the LMT carbines and now this.

    • Patriot Gunner

      When your entire infantry consists of 7,500 people you can buy really cool stuff!

      • jono102

        You mean when your entire Army consists of less than 7500 people. Less than a quarter of that will be regular Infantry

        • Patriot Gunner

          Dang that small?…I always thought it was just 7500 infantrymen, well I guess you can buy some REALLY nice stuff if your entire army is 7500 people lol.

          • jono102

            Mind you we only have a population of just over 4mil so it probably averages out as a bit more normal than it sounds.

        • Harry’s Holsters

          Crazy to think the average county in the united states processes more small arms than the NZ Military.

  • 40mmCattleDog

    Gotta say, the Kiwis are just delivering win after win with their small arms choices this year.

    • nadnerbus

      In the mean time, the US military can’t adopt a hand gun without the whole thing blowing up in politics.

      We look more like India.

      • 40mmCattleDog

        Eh, handgun issues aside, between the M4A1, new HK CSASS, M240L, M2010 and M107 we are sitting pretty good. I’d say the U.S. military has a lot of other areas that need improving over small arms.

        • nadnerbus

          I’m not dogging the gear, but the process to procure it.

    • Harry’s Holsters

      That definitely should get the award for military with the highest quality standard issue guns!

  • RocketScientist

    FYI, its “anti-materiEl” not “anti-materiAl”. Materiel with an ‘e’ refers specifically to military supplies used to further a mission/objective. “Anti-materiel” weapons are specified as such to distinguish them from anti-personnel weapons. There is obviously some overlap between those two 🙂

    • Gary Kirk

      You just aim at the enemies belt buckle, canteen, etc…

  • Gus Butts


  • 2805662

    When the numbers of each are in the forties, you’d hope they’d buy quality.

  • Those tenders are just a formality. The tender for the new machine gun was rigged from the get go. When they cut and paste the suppliers specs word for word it is a real give away. So is cancelling the tender when alternate suppliers bid…then announce the results of an unpublished tender 9 months later with the original supplier winning…

    • jono102

      The LSW /LMG replacement was a 2 gun race and they came out pretty even. Are you going to select a totally different platform with different drills and support requirements or the platform that is pretty much the same apart from calibre and require minimal retraining or introduction changes.
      Tenders aren’t a formality especially in NZDF’s case because any issue with the tender or following trials can provide legal opportunities for Vendors to challenge findings. A tender/Trial needs to be able to stand up to scrutiny/audit or it could become very financially and politically expensive especially when your dealing with some pretty big companies.

      • It wasn’t a totally different platform, it was the same platform. But boy did the bombs drop on my head for daring to bid. The local agent got FN Herstal to threaten me legally even though I pointed out our parallel importing laws. NZDF colluded to cancel the tender then re-issue it secretly. OIA documents prove this. The end result is the NZDF paid 40% more than they needed to so a boutique vineyard owner could enjoy a nice capital top-up courtesy of the NZ taxpayer.

        • Joshua

          So New Zealands number one blogger is also a firearms manufacturer of GPMG’s?

          • Nope. Not a manufacturer. But I am building a custom 300 Norma Magnum at the moment.

          • Joshua

            So how did you manage to manufacture a rifle for a military procurement tender?

          • Where did I say I was manufacturing? Nowhere have I claimed that or said it. Perhaps you need to take remedial comprehension courses.

          • Joshua

            Your words “But boy did the bombs drop on my head for daring to bid”

            If you intended to bid a tender you must have a product to offer.

          • Yeah, but where did I say I was manufacturing it? Again check your comprehension. I bid, two types of gun actually, one was the same as that selected…for a much better price. Taxpayers ripped off for a rort protecting a local agent…when such agencies are rendered moot by parallel importing laws. Strings were pulled, rules broken and taxpayers paid.

  • Tassiebush

    Hehe well he’d definitely put them off their game! We could loan you guys Rolf Harris too if the Brits would give him back… Erm actually they can keep him.

  • dave741966

    Trial was internal to NZ Army only these weapons are not NZDF wide but very specific to the Army ie School of Infantry, 2 x Infantry Battalions and NZSAS MARS-L & 7.62mm Minimi are used in all three services.

    • jono102

      7.62 Minimi was passed over by the Navy.

      • dave741966

        For now

  • Tyrfing

    My sources tell me that the tender isn’t due until next year. So pretty tough for a decision to have been made already.