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GUNS Magazine May 2010 - Page 14
RANGING SHOTS • CLINT SMITH • SoMETHING oLd, SoMETHING NEW… What we really use. oted with interest are recent articles about the latest and N greatest small arms being theoretically adopted by United States military Special Operations Unit. I have had a brief glimpse of the current weapons issue rodeo with in-person, hands-on examples of several dozen weapons issued to small groups of people. At our first meeting, none of the systems had basic working zeros in place. In fairness, that’s because it is new gear or gear sort of issued as it went out the door for testing. So this is stated correctly and understood, the current understaffed, overworked and underfunded military does a great job for which I am grateful. As is often the case, you can issue gear out, but it doesn’t mean the person behind it knows how to run it or—most of all—gets enough training time to bring themselves up with their system. With the rapid rotations and constant train ups as well as the “add new gear Operations Command) is using our gun and our gun is great and everyone in SOCOM worldwide has one.” Actually, they don’t! I recently spent some time with a group who by the time you read this will be scattered all over Afghanistan, and they don’t even have the new SCAR. As a matter of fact they still all don’t even have the M110 semiautomatic sniper system. The M110 was accepted in 2005, tested in Afghanistan in 2007 and by the time you read this it will be 2010. Now versions including the Mk 11 Mod 0 exist with me putting my eyes and hands on a rifle marked USM110—with the “M” in theory making the rifle now officially in place in the system. While the troops wait for the SCAR to arrive I thought I’d tell you about the rifles they are really using right this minute—not what they might get and or what will be issued someday… in theory. to the system,” every time the troops come stateside it is a wonder they do as well as they do with the limited resources they have, and the even more limited command direction and support. Anyway, we got all these guns and the media, especially the gun media, are after a story about the “newest” cool guns. But are they that cool? Beyond a few promo photos, what guns really exist and are being used by more than a few select people? Marketing Marketing. Yeah those guys again… “Everyone in SOCOM (Special The Old The old is the original and real deal Remington M24 bolt-action rifle. This version is a long-action rifle and is mostly chambered for .308, but I have seen people shoot the rifle in .300 Winchester with the vast majority still being of the 7.62x51 breed. Adopted in 1988, the rifle is still around in large numbers in all branches of the military. Looking through data books of the rifles present I found log dates starting from 1998 and yet we were shooting this rifle in November 2009 in Oregon. As usual, for the military there was a hodge-podge of scopes mounted on the rifles, but these scopes were at least all mounted on upgraded modular rail systems allowing for myriad stuff to be attached to the rifles as might be required. All scopes present were Leupold with the variations coming forth in adjustment types with version designators of M3A, M3ALR being present. The M24 rifles we shot during the week using 175-grain SMK CorBon ammunition and M118LR shot well and generally ate the lunch of all the targets out to 1,000 yards without much concern other than the always- thenew“heavy”FNSCArrifle(seetheMarchissueforareviewofthe.223)iscalledheavybecause thecaliberis7.62x51mm.Notethisversionhasasuppressormounted(above).theKnight’sArmament M110SASSrifle(below,left),invariousformsofuseanddress,isanAr-typeriflein.308.theMcCann railsystem(below,right)asmountedontheM24.remingtoncallsthisrailsystemthe“MArS. 14 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • MAY 2010