The M24 Sniper Weapon System was fielded in 1988, replacing the M21 Sniper Rifle.
The M24 was prototyped and tested by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Custom Firearms Shop, Ft. Benning, GA. "Sniper" is Army terminology for the role, also called called Sharpshooter by the Air Force and Designated Marksman by the Navy.
Spc. Chantha Bun with tripod-mounted M24 sniper rifle, on roof of Iraqi police station in Mosul, Iraq, 17 November 2004. Snipers assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Stryker Brigade Combat Team.
Today in WW II: 19 Mar 1941 99th Pursuit Squadron activated at Chanute Field in Rantoul, IL, the unit that became the Tuskegee Airmen. More↓
The M-24 Sniper Weapon System (SWS) rifle is a 7.62mm, 6-shot (one round in the chamber and five rounds in the magazine) bolt action rifle. The entire system consists of the rifle, optics, cleaning kit, cases, operator's manual and support equipment. Snipers must attend and pass special training before being assigned the role and being issued an M24 SWS rifle. The United States Army Sniper School is located at Camp Robinson in Arkansas, attended by individuals from all the services. Sniper training has been held in Iraq, Korea and other locations where U.S. troops are deployed.
The M24 Sniper Weapon System, fielded in 1988, represents a return to bolt-action sniper rifles by the U.S. Army from the semi-automatic M21. As in the U.S. Marine Corps M40A1, the M24 uses the Remington 700 receiver group which has been modified to use the cal. .300 (7.62mm) Winchester Magnum round. The stock is made of a composite of Kevlar, graphite and fiberglass synthetic with an aluminum bedding block and adjustable butt plate. It is issued in black and camo patterns. A detachable bipod can be attached to the stock's fore-end.
The M24's stock butt plate can be adjusted by up to two inches. The operator may adjust the trigger pull force from a minimum of 2 pounds to a maximum of 8 pounds. The manual is TM 9-1005-306-10, Operator's Manual for 7.62 mm M24 Sniper Weapon System (SWS), 23 June 1989.
The M24 can fire NATO 7.62mm ammunition including long-range ball, ball/tracer and armor piercing (AP) ammunition. Long-range ammunition is produced to stringent tolerances to ensure superior accuracy. AP ammunition enables snipers to penetrate hard cover, such as urban terrain and light armor. The AP (black tip) round can penetrate 20mm of hardened steel at 100 meters.
The long-range ball ammunition uses the M118 bullet, a special 173 grain boat-tailed ball bullet consisting of a lead slug with a gilding metal jacket. The tip of the bullet is not colored. The base of the cartridge is stamped with the year of manufacture and a circle that has vertical and horizontal lines, sectioning it into quarters. Its spread for a 10-shot group is no more than 12 inches at 550 meters (fired from an accuracy barrel in a test cradle). Army snipers are trained to hit targets at distances ranging from 100 meters to 800 meters, and to attempt targets at 1000 yards under ideal conditions.
Scopes and Optics Used with the M24 Sniper Rifle
The M24 standard equipment is a 10x42 fixed Leupold M3A Ultra telescope day sight (plus removable emergency iron sights) and optional night vision system. The M3A day optic sight is an optical instrument that presents the target at an increased size, with 10x magnification. It has three adjustment dials: elevation, focus and wind ranges. The M3A's bullet drop compensator is designed for M118 special ball and will not be accurate with regular ammunition.
The versitile AN/PVS-10 Sniper Night Sight (SNS) can be used as a day/night sight for the M24. The SNS mounts on the standard M24 rail and uses the same mil-dot reticle as the M3A sight. The SNS incorporates advanced night vision system features of variable tube gain and reticle
illumination. This allows the sniper to maximize image contrast in the difficult lighting conditions encountered during dawn/dusk or MOUT missions. 8.5X and 12.2X versions of the AN/PVS-10 are available (M24 in top photo has 8.5X installed).
The M144 spotting scope is issued with the M24 SWS (photo above).
Sniper Accessory Kit for the M24 Sniper Weapon System
M24 Sniper Weapon System Accessory Kit.
2010 Upgrades for the M24 Sniper Weapon System
2010 M24 Sniper Weapon System, with Col. Douglas A. Tamilio, project manager, Soldier Weapons in background, Pentagon, 2 March 2010.
In late 2010, troops in Afghanistan began receiving an upgrade to the Remington M24 Sniper Rifle. The main improvements to the weapon include:
Chambering for .300 Win Mag ammunition (1200m range)
Detachable box magazines
Accessory-rail equipped chassis
Configurable cheek welds
Variable power optic (3x to 25x), adjustable reticle
Combination flash and noise suppressor
With the 2010 changes, the M24 transitions from the 7.62mm NATO standard ammunition to .300 Winchester Magnum (Win Mag). The revised weapon, called M24E1 during development, is Type Classified as TC-Limited Production. An Urgent Materiel Release packages was generated by PM Soldier Weapons and the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, to define the changes and speed the M24 upgrade through the acquisition process.
By October 2010, the M24E1 development program and an open competition resulted in a contract awarded to Remington Arms Company for the "M24 Reconfigured Sniper Weapon System" renamed the XM2010. Under the contract, up to 3,600 M24 Sniper Weapon Systems will be upgraded with a near term fielding of 250 XM2010 weapon systems.
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