Back in April TFB reported that the USMC was finally moving to replace the venerable M40 Sniper Rifle. The Corps has confirmed this in a press release announcing the adoption of the Mk 13 Precision Sniper Rifle which will replace the M40A6 currently in service.
The Marine Corps is set to begin fielding the Mk 13 Mod 7 in late 2018, with infantry and recon battalions, as well as scout snipers receiving the weapon. The Mk 13 Mod 7 is already in service with the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC).
While the Mk 13 will replace the iconic M40 in the field Lt. Col. Paul Gillikin, Infantry Weapons team lead at Marine Corps Systems Command, confirmed that “the M40A6 will remain in the schoolhouses and operating forces as an alternate sniper rifle primarily used for training. The M110 and M107 will also remain as additional weapons within the scout sniper equipment set.”
The Corps note in their press release that a ‘materiel capability gap’ in the effective range of Marine snipers was identified during exercises and deployments and the Mk 13 was selected following a ‘comparative assessment’. The 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines were the first to deploy with the new sniper rifle and their feedback and MARSOC’s previous operational use led to a service-wide adoption.
The Mk 13 Mod 7 is chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum and features a “long-action receiver, stainless steel barrel, and an extended rail interface system for a mounted scope and night vision optic.” The new rifle and round will bring the Marine Corps capability into alignment with that of the US Army’s snipers and those of Special Operations Command.
Sgt. Randy Robles, Quantico Scout Sniper School instructor and MCSC liaison said:
“This sniper rifle will allow Marines to reengage targets faster with precise long-range fire while staying concealed at all times. The new day optic allows for positive identification of enemies at greater distances, and it has a grid-style reticle that allows for rapid re-engagement without having to dial adjustments or ‘hold’ without a reference point. With this type of weapon in the fleet, we will increase our lethality and be able to conceal our location because we are creating a buffer between us and the enemy.”
While the Corps’ press release does not state how many of the new precision rifles have been purchased as we previously reported the USMC’s FY2019 Budget Estimates Justification Book indicates that 356 rifles will be purchased during the 2018 fiscal year at a projected cost of $4.287 million. This puts the per rifle cost at around $12,000.