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

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson
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
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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2 of 26 comments
  • 2805662 2805662 on Oct 31, 2016

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

  • Tyrfing Tyrfing on Nov 05, 2016

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