Newest sniper rifle for soldiers, Marines takes on ‘final hurdle’ before fielding

By Todd South Sep 23, 09:27 AM

A Sniper conducts post-drop live-fire test trials of the MK-22 Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) at Range 61, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. (James Finney/Army)

A folding stock, removable suppression system, three caliber options and that sweet, sweet smell of spent rounds — special operators and 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers are testing the Army’s newest sniper rifle.

Troops recently tested the Modular Precision Sniper Rifle, or MK-22, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, according to an Army release.

It also replaces all bolt-action sniper rifles for the Marines.

The MK-22 replaces the Army’s existing M107 sniper rifle and the M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle. Army Times first reported on U.S. Special Operations Command’s decision to go with the weapon in 2019.

A new sniper rifle for the Army, Marines and SOCOM
The new rifle can be converted to three different calibers.

By Todd South

Army and Marine snipers followed suit. The recent tests are the “final hurdle” before fielding, the Army release stated.

The rifle can be changed out to fire the standard 7.62mm or .300 Norma Magnum and .338 Norma Magnum.

“The modular nature of the PSR allows it to be tailored to meet mission requirements and is appealing to airborne Snipers who are typically armed with long-barreled precision rifles of a single caliber offering,” Sgt. 1st Class Marcus Love said in the release.

Love works as a test NCO with the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate under the Army’s Operational Test Command.

Special Operations Snipers participate in new equipment training before starting the MK-22 Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) airdrop test at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. (James Finney/Army)

“With a folding stock and removable suppression system, the PSR will provide airborne Snipers a more compact load during airborne infiltration operations without reducing their lethality while providing a precision rifle platform more conducive to their combat environment,” said MK-22 project NCO Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Copley.

The test team used the mobile weapons boresight collimator after an airborne jump to ensure that the weapon’s zero had not degraded.

That way a sniper can put rounds on target with the first trigger squeeze after hitting the ground from high above.

Special Operations Snipers zero their MK-22 Precision Sniper Rifles (PSR) before military free fall test trials on Range 61, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. (Barry Fischer/Contractor)

“The increased engagement range will keep Snipers safer and increase the options for the local commander employing these combat multipliers,” said Sgt. Austin Stevens, a sniper assigned to the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

The rifle is made by the Barrett Firearms Manufacturing company, which calls their weapon the Multi-Role Adaptive Design rifle, or MRAD.

Technicians assigned to the Base and Test Support Services contractor conduct bore sight collimation on an MK-22 Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) after a paratrooper airdrop. (James Finney/Contractor)

SOCOM has called the PSR the “Advanced Sniper Rifle” in the past.

The search for a new sniper rifle began in 2016 following a SOCOM request, Army Times previously reported.

Originally, the Army was going to buy 536 MRAD rifles.

New plans call for 2,800 rifles for the service over the next five years.About Todd South

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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Where were you on 9-11-2001?

By Mark V. Lonsdale, STTU

“No matter how long it takes, no matter where we have to look, our United States military will patiently and surely hunt down the murderers and killers and terrorists, and bring them, one by one, to justice.”  President George W. Bush – Commander in Chief 

    Monday, September 10, 2001 had been a crisp, clear day at the USMC Mountain Warfare Training Center (MWTC). It was sunset as I watched 5th Platoon, 1st Force Recon Marines, their faces ominously obscured under layers of green camouflage paint, go through last minute equipment checks, preparing to be inserted into the mountains for a five-day recon-patrol exercise. MBITRs (multi-band inter/intra-team radios) frequencies had been set and tested; sat-com radios were safely stowed in already bulging rucksacks; PVS-17 night sights were clamped to M-4 carbines and SAWS (squad automatic weapons); and all loose straps were neatly taped and stowed. 

Mark Lonsdale with Captain Fiscus and Gunny Blakey at MWTC, the night of 10 Sept 2001

     Captain Fiscus and Gunny Blakey moved amongst the group checking equipment, quietly asking questions and giving encouragement. It was essential that every man understood the mission and knew his specific tasks.                 

    The planned airborne parachute insertion had been aborted an hour earlier when the CH-53 troop-carrying helicopters could not make the pre-sunset time-line. With the flexibility typical of any spec-ops unit, the platoon commander opted for a vehicle insertion to the pre-planned DZ at 7,500 feet elevation.

    As the Sierra Nevadas turned purple and faded into total darkness, and before the moon could break through, the Gunny signaled the teams to saddle up and silently move out. It was impressive to see and yet not hear twenty Marines, each burdened with a hundred pounds of weapons, radios and equipment, move off into the inky blackness without so much as a single sound.

    So by midnight I found myself with two choices. The first was to link up with the “opposition force” and try to find these phantoms – but since they had already proven themselves adept at night movement and had the advantage of Gen III night vision devices, there was little to no hope of finding them that night. So I opted for the second choice – to drive back to Los Angeles with the plan of returning to MWTC for their extract in five days.  

The night of 10 Sept 2001

    Arriving home at five-thirty in the morning, and after two days without sleep, I showered and hit the rack. Sleep came quickly but not for long. Sometime before zero seven the phone began an incessant ringing. It was my neighbor babbling something about watching my place while I was away. “While I’m a way?” I asked groggily, “I just got home!”

    She then blurted out that terrorists had attacked New York and the Pentagon and I needed to turn on the television. Flipping to CNN I was just in time to see a passenger airliner hit the World Trade Center. Then there was footage from the Pentagon; then back to New York as the second tower was hit. Confused and half asleep I felt like I was watching a Schwarznegger movie. Was this really the news? I quickly flipped through the local morning news line up – ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox – but all coverage was focused on New York and the Pentagon.

     By mid-morning I had a passing thought about the Marine Force Recon platoon that had just disappeared into the mountains the night before and would be emerging in five days to a very different United States. Having worked in counter terrorism and training for over 20 years, I knew that what we were seeing was a whole new level of terrorist violence and destruction. The news media was already speculating on the potential casualties in New York and it was in the thousands, many times more than Pearl Harbor.

     But now the proverbial “gloves were coming off.” The US military was going to be given the teeth to hunt and kill those who meant us harm. Little did I know at that time, that I would be in and out of Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa a dozen times over the next 10 years.

Iraq 2004

Never Forget 9-11

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The Road to Greatness in Shooting

By Mark V. Lonsdale

While the purpose of sport and athletic activity is to make better people, not just champions, there have been many greats in shooting. As with any endeavor, there is a simple but difficult road to greatness in shooting sports. Simple because there are only a few things the athlete needs to know, but difficult because of the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to truly master these simple truths.

So here is the easy part:

  1. Find inspiration in the achievements of those who have gone before you
  2. Make the commitment to your chosen activity or sport
  3. Set goals that are a series of attainable steps
  4. Study the skill sets required for any given activity
  5. Become brilliant at the basics and work to master the fundamentals
  6. Enjoy your achievements but, more importantly, learn from your losses and mistakes
  7. Work every day to improve your performance, fitness, stamina, and strength

Now the difficult part: Follow the above plan four to six days a week for at least two to four years to enter the world of the elite athlete and the elite shooter.

Your level of performance is directly related to your commitment to training
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6.5 Creedmoor Ammo Part 3

Well worth reading and major thanks to Cal for all his work on this.

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A Rookie Guide to Competitive Shooting

By Mark V. Lonsdale, Training Director

“To compete or not to compete, that is the question…,” to paraphrase Will Shakespeare. But then he wasn’t a competitive shooter.

I can state categorically that competition shooting will make you an all-round better shooter, whether your skills are required for military, law enforcement, or just hunting. But in reality, it’s the preparation for competition where the real heavy lifting takes place.

Once you make the decision to try your hand (and eye) at competition shooting, you will be at the beginning of a long and very satisfying journey. Emerging from the humble beginnings of a recreational plinker, you will rise to the level of “competitor” beginning with quantifying your skills through a series of metrics.

ELR competition grade rifles. Top is a Hill Country .375 Chey Tac. Bottom is a .338 Lapua Magnum built on a Stillers Action. Both have McMillan stocks, Bartlein barrels and Accu Tac bipods.

To aid in this journey, the following is a road map to competition success:

  1. Decide which form of competition you want to shoot. This will often be driven by the types of rifles or pistols that you like shooting, or by the availability of local matches.
  2. Check your budget because competitive shooting is not cheap. First there is the cost of a $2,000 to $6,000 rifle and scope. Then there is the added cost of shooting more than you have ever done before. PRS shooters, for example, shoot 200-300 rounds in every major match. (As a competitive pistol shooter I shot 50,000 rounds of 45 ACP every year. As an ELR rifle competitor, my rounds could cost as much as $10 each.)
  3. Apart from equipment costs, there are also the time and costs involved in traveling to out-of-state matches. Driving 1,000 miles to a match, laying down a $200 entry fee, and spending 4-5 nights in a hotel gets expensive, plus the time away from work.  
  4. Do some research on what the top ranked competitors are using in the way of rifles, scopes, ammunition, and related accessories. Take the time to reach out to some of these folks for sage advice. My personal mantra is, “Buy the best and you will seldom be disappointed.”
  5. Study the match format and learn the rules. For example, if the match specifies a weight limit on rifles, you don’t want to turn up with one that’s 2 pounds over.
  6. Practice the match format, including positions, distances, and time limits on your local or home range. You need to become comfortable with the format to shoot well.
  7. If you have the opportunity, go and observe a match without actually shooting so as to become familiar with the format, range commands, and procedures. This will also be an opportunity to talk to top ranked competitors and collect info on their weapons platforms.
  8. Jump in, but don’t expect to do well in the first match or even first few matches. It usually takes about a year to become a seasoned competitor, so set your sights on doing well the second year.

Now, as Nike says, Just Do It!!


Team Global Precision winning the 2019 King of 2 Miles
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2019 King of 2 Miles – Ko2M

By Mark V. Lonsdale, STTU

As you all know, 2020 was a bust for Ko2M ELR shooting so a quick look back at 2019

Went into 2019 with a .416 Barrett with a BAT action, Bartlein barrel, in a McMillan Beast 2 stock
With Derek and Paul spotting, I was ranked 2nd at the end of Day 1. Keep in mind that 25% of shooters were eliminated on the first target so were not able to progress.
From the 2019-3 FCSA magazine.
Team Global Precision taking 1st, 3rd, and 4th places in the 2019 Ko2M
Honorable mention in the FCSA 2019-3 magazine


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Lessons from a Professional Shooter

Michael Seeklander - Home | Facebook
Michael Seeklander

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Precision & Group Size – Statistics for Shooters

Well worth reading from Cal at Precision Rifle Blog

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Reloading for .375 H&H Magnum – Part 1

By Mark V. Lonsdale

Can a big bore, belted magnum, dangerous game cartridge produce the same accuracy as a precision long range rifle? Absolutely, but the rifle must be built to the same demanding specs as a precision rifle. Where 2″ at 100 yards can be considered acceptable for an off-the-shelf factory hunting rifle, long range precision shooters are looking for not just sub-MOA but 0.5 MOA. In practical terms, 2″ at 100 is 4″ at 200 and 6″ at 300 yards, well within the heart and lung kill zone on a large animal. But once a shooter has been bitten by the precision shooting bug, only super accurate rifles are interesting.

For this project the rifle was built the same way I build my long range and ELR precision rifles. This begins with a Stiller’s Action, Bartlein barrel, McMillan stock, and Bix’N Andy trigger, topped with a Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x scope.

.375 H&H Magnum built on a Stiller’s Predator action, 24″ Bartlein #4 Bull Sporter barrel, McMillan adjustable Tactical Hunter stock, Bix’N Andy Dakota trigger, Leupold Mark 5HD scope, Accu-Tac bipod, and APA Micro brake

Initial break-in with 32 rounds was done with an assortment of ammunition that I had on the shelf from previous .375 H&H rifles and plans to head to Africa. Some loads were over 20 years old and mostly Hornady 270 RN and Speer 270 Spitzer bullets in Remington brass, with Federal magnum primers, and loaded with IMR 4064. None of the components were match grade, the brass was virgin factory RP, the primers were 215s, and the cartridge overall length (COAL) was kept at SAAMI specs or less (<3.600″).

Needless to say, I was not expecting anything great out of the first range session. Groups ran 1.5″ to 2″ which is adequate for hunting at close to medium range, but definitely not in the class for precision long range shooting. However the goal was just to break in the barrel.

After giving the bore a good clean it was time to get serious. I had measured the chamber and knew that loading to SAAMI specs of <3.600″ left a jump of almost 0.200″ to the rifling, depending on bullet ogive. That is two hundred thou as a opposed to the general starting point of twenty thou (0.020″) off the lands. This prompted me to begin with a COAL of 3.650″ and 3.700″ since my magazine box could handle a COAL up to 3.825″

As for bullets, I loaded up Hornady 250 GMXs, Barnes 250 TTSXs, and Hornady 270 RN. I also tried Varget and IMR 4350 in addition to IMR 4064. This was still with virgin factory RP brass and Federal magnum 215 primers – and still not match components.

.375 H&H Magnum with group from the Barnes 250 grain TTSXs. The 5-shot group went 0.7″ with the best 4 shots going 0.5″

The 250 GMXs with 65 grains of Varget, loaded to 3.700″, had an average muzzle velocity of 2,616 fps and produced a 5-shot group of 0.7″

The Barnes 250 TTSXs with 65 grains of Varget, loaded to a COAL of 3.650″, had an average MV of 2,586 fps and produced a 5-shot group of 0.7″ with best 4 going 0.5″

The Hornady 270 Round Nose with 70 grains of IMR 4350, loaded to 3.600″, turned in an MV of 2,366 fps and a 5-shot group of 0.8″ with best 4 going 0.4″

All three of these loads are definitely in the acceptable range for precision shooting, and still without any brass preparation, bullet sorting by weight, or match-grade magnum primers. So stay tuned for Part 2 when I begin doing more brass prep and utilizing match-grade primers.


Running the Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25X with Holland’s bubble float level.
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By Mark V. Lonsdale, STTU

One of the previous TRS blog posts discussed why cheap scopes simply don’t cut it when it comes to long range precision shooting, and especially extreme long range (ELR) shooting at multiple targets positioned at various distances. Similarly, cheap bipods can severely degrade accuracy and speed at longer ranges.

I’ve lost count of how many shooters have turned up to STTU precision rifle classes with cheap, wobbly bipods only to invest in a better unit before the end of the program. For decades, the Harris Bipod has been the standard for most recreational shooters, including military and law enforcement snipers, but unfortunately numerous companies produced cheap knock-offs, usually made in China, that were little more than junk. To this day, the Harris Bipod is still a good choice for hunting rifles and military snipers where weight and cost are an issue.

Multi-purpose .308 Win precision rifle with a McMillan A3-5 stock and Harris Bipod. The standard Harris Bipods are available in 6″-9″ and 9″-12″ versions.

However, in recent years, just as rifle scopes have made huge advancements in quality and precision with models such as the Leupold Mark 5HD and Nightforce ATACR, bipod manufacturers have risen to the demands of precision shooters. Atlas and Accu-Tac are two such manufacturers.

.338 Lapua Magnum with McMillan A5 stock and Accu-Tac WD-4 adjustable bipod

The features that are desirable in a bipod include:

  1. Quality construction and materials
  2. Adjustable legs with positive locking
  3. Quick adjustment of leg length that allow for a comfortable prone position
  4. A solid form of attachment to the rifle – either rail or sling stud
  5. A lockable tilt adjust that allow the rifle to be leveled on uneven terrain
  6. Manufacturer warrantee program an good customer service

Other features may include:

  1. A swivel head to allow tracking of moving targets or transition to other targets without moving the feet
  2. Extra wide footprint to better stabilize large caliber rifles such as 338 WinMag, 338 Lapua Mag, .375 H&H Mag, or 375 Chey Tac
  3. An option of rubber or spiked feet
  4. An option of skid or ski type feet
  5. Extra long legs for field use where scrub and tall grass can be an issue

The width of the bipod footprint is particularly important with calibers that generate considerable torque as the heavier bullets pass down the bore. Following the law of “equal and opposite reaction,” when the bullet slams into the rifling in a right-hand twist barrel, the rifling forces the bullet to spin to the right. Conversely, the bullet is trying to force the barrel and rifle to twist to the left. With a narrow bipod, this toque to the left can cause the rifle to rock onto one leg and the whole rifle to twist to the left. A wide bipod and an effective muzzle brake can go a long way to taming that torque. This is particularly important when engaging multiple targets with multiple shots at varying distances and angles, as found in PRS and ELR matches.

.375 H&H Magnum in a McMillan adjustable Tactical Hunter stock with Accu-Tac WD series bipod.
Accu-Tac bipod with the wide head to better handle heavier calibers

For calibers such as .308 Win and 6.5 Creedmoor, with 168-175 grain and 140-147 grain bullets respectively, do not generate much torque so a standard width bipod will do the job. But when a shooter begins running 250 to 350 grain bullets in .338 and .375 calibers, then the toque needs a little more taming. The Accu-Tac WD series of bipods are particularly effective at this.

PRS 6.5 Creedmoor in a McMillan A6 stock with an Atlas bipod mounted to a 4″ rail
Top – the Accu-Tac HD-50 bipod designed to handle .50 calibers, .416 Barrett, .375 Chey-Tac, and similar ELR calibers
ELR .375 Chey-Tac (top) with Accu-Tac HD-50 bipod with skid type feet
ELR .375 Chey-Tac with F-Class FTR style bipod with ski type feet. This was a popular bipod for ELR shooters until King of 2 Miles changed the rule to require folding bipods with feet no further than 8″ apart when folded. The Accu-Tac HD-50 and WD series bipods meet this requirement.

So is the added cost worth it? You bet. Once you’ve shot a quality, stable bipod, it is hard to go back to anything less.


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