By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
January 5, 2012
Last updated on 1/07/12.
DefenseReview (DR) has received the following article-format history on the Remington M24 Sniper Weapon System sniper rifle, the XM2010 sniper rifle program, and the Remington M24 Commercial Recapitalization/25th Anniversary Sales Program to Honor Military Veterans. It’s DR’s understanding that the document/content below was composed by Trevor Shaw, Director of Defense Programs at Remington Military.
It’s a good read and, in Defense Review’s opinion, the M24 rebuild/recapitalization program is a pretty darn good idea. Remington Arms is of course, at its core, a bolt-action rifle company, so this program will play to that core strength. DR thinks its great that the M24 rifle rebuild program will give purchasers the opportunity to own a piece of military history that also happens to be a great firearm. And, the M24 he/she gets will maintain the original camouflage pattern or paint scheme the military operator/sniper applied to it for combat use. Pretty cool.
DR is expecting to receive some photos of one or several of the M24 rifles being rebuilt for non-military/commercial sale, including the one that’s going to be raffled off, soon. More details about this are below towards the bottom of this piece. The raffle gun’s stock is supposed to have an interesting combat camouflage pattern on it that was created by its military operator/sniper owner for martial use overseas.
DR’s been instructed to direct people to the company’s website in order to learn more about the Remington M24 sniper rifle raffle and commercial availability. So, here:
Remington Military Products Division: http://www.remingtonmilitary.com
Remington Arms Commercial Products Division: http://www.remington.com
Here’s the Remington Defense article/history on it (all written content below provided by Remington Defense, but slightly edited/modified by DR for readability):
“The United States military sniper community is more robust than it has ever been in the history of American arms. There are dedicated sniper billets in every service’s combat organizations and at least five primary dedicated sniper weapons to equip those snipers for any number of tactical situations [the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has even more sniper weapons]. To ensure the marksmanship and employment skills of sniper personnel, each service has their own sniper training program within their conventional and/or special operations formations. In past conflicts, from the Civil War to the Vietnam War, U.S. sniper employment was implemented in the short-term using ad hoc training regimens and slightly modified versions of standard service weapons for the task at hand. The concept of sniper teams was then left to wither away upon the termination of the conflict. Now sniping is hardwired into our ground forces’ capability set – codified in doctrine, tactics, training, and equipment. Given the current health and effectiveness of U.S. sniper programs and operations over the last decade it is hard to imagine virtually none of them existed thirty years ago. The key enabler to the growth and success of U.S. snipers was the fielding of what had previously been the major missing link: a standardized, maintainable, precision sniper rifle available in significant quantities. This rifle was the Remington Arms M24 Sniper Weapon System– the first purposely-built sniper rifle for the U.S. Army.
Remington Arms Company, LLC, currently the world’s leading producer of sniper rifles (outside of the former-Soviet states), had all but forsaken Government business following their World War II production contracts. However, in March 1985, the U.S. Army issued a survey requesting proposed specifications for a new sniper rifle. Remington’s cooperation with the US Marine Corps on the M40 Sniper Rifle in the 60s (procured in limited quantities)-and their conversion to the M40A1 in the 70s convinced Remington (then a division of Dupont™ that it could indeed be a contender in such a competition. They formed a project team with Fred Martin as the principle designer and T.C. Douglas as the program manager. The Army issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) on October 1st 1986 and forty-five hectic and work-intensive days later the Remington Arms team, truly amateurs in responding to Government solicitations, submitted their proposal to the Army. Despite competition from Winchester and Steyr, Remington was awarded the contract on 22 July 1987.
In retrospect it is fair to say that the Marine Corps had a significant influence on the Remington design team. Marine Corps armorers had reconfigured their Remington M40 rifles to the M40A1 variant during the 1970s by adding a modern McMillan fiberglass stock and a Unertl 10x fixed-power scope (variable powered optics of the day had not yet achieved the expected level of reliability for a combat optic). It seems both the M24’s H-S Precision Kevlar-graphite stock with its aluminum bedding block and the Leupold Stevens M3A fixed-10x day-optic with the mil-dot ranging/aiming system were a direct result of these earlier choices. Interestingly, the USMC and Army mil values differed for their respective scopes – providing endless pro/con fodder for sniper aficionados ever since. Although there is no question the M24’s stock was an evolutionary improvement over the M40A1’s older kit, it is very likely Remington selected the Leupold Stevens optic over the proven Unertl scope primarily because of the larger Army requirement and Leupold-Stevens’ much larger production capacity. Regardless, the M3A Ultra with its crystal-clear lenses, mil-dot ranging reticle and bullet drop compensator is one of the most rugged and capable scopes ever manufactured and it has served the military exceedingly well as the primary day optic for this system.
Also of interest during the proposal preparation were four primary technical challenges encountered by the Remington Team. The first was ammunition availability. Remington found there was no commercial source for the Government’s M118 Special Ball 7.62mm ammunition, but as Remington was in a unique position of being both a firearms and an ammunition manufacturing company, it was able to replicate the Government ammunition for the required extensive testing to justify any performance claims in the proposal. However, once the shooting began Remington discovered another issue, their traditional .30 caliber rifling twist was inadequate for stabilizing the long 173 grain bullet (since replaced by a 175 grain bullet) of the military M118 round at extended ranges. Consequently, Remington moved to a barrel with a 1 in 11.25 inch twist which reportedly was recommended by Special Operations Target Interdiction Course (SOTIC) cadre in concert with the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) in order to provide optimum accuracy for both the older M852 (168 grain bullet) round as well as the M118 Special Ball. Additionally they selected an innovative 5R rifling configuration which features slightly rounded edges of the rifling lands to reduce friction and provide more consistent muzzle velocity.
Original M24 Sniper Weapon System Configuration:
· Action – M700 Long Action Receiver
· Trigger – 40X externally adjustable from 2-8 pounds of pull
· Barrel – 24” 416-R Stainless Barrel with 5R rifling with 1-11.25” twist
· Stock – H-S Precision Kevlar Graphite composite stock with a full-length aluminum bedding block, adjustable length of pull, ambidextrous palm swell on grip, and a beavertail-type fore-end. Stock was made from a pattern submitted by Remington)
· External Finish – Matte-black “Rem-Tuff” powder coat
· Scope – Leupold-Stevens M3 Ultra fixed at 10X with a range-finding mil-dot reticle and bullet drop compensator
· Bipod – Harris short bipod
· Open Sights – Detachable Redfield Palma Match rear sight with a Redfield Olympic big-bore open front sight (for emergency use)
· Length – 43 Inches
· Weight – Rifle, Optic, and Bipod – 13lbs/13oz. The entire system including hard carrying case – 56lbs
· Manufacturer – Remington Arms Company, Ilion, NY,
· Original Gov’t Price – $3,980
One of the more contentious issues of M24 lore involves Remington’s choice of the long action for the firearm. Although affordability is generally attributed to the Army retaining the 7.62mm NATO round as their primary sniping cartridge, less is known as to why they built in the capability to chamber a more powerful cartridge. Remington documents indicate that the Army solicitation called for the rifle to “be easily converted to a yet to be developed magnum cartridge.” Although there has been speculation that suggests the long action was intended to accommodate surplus quantities of 30-06 match rounds, it appears that is not the case. It also appears that the AMU was competing in 1000 yard matches during this period with the .300 Winchester Magnum round with great effect. Perhaps consequently, a Special Operations Letter Requirement for a Sniper Weapons System dated 1982 mandated that their system must accommodate “calibers up to and including the .300 Winchester Magnum.” It is believed this requirement was used as a key reference document for the Army’s M24 solicitation. Regardless of the origin of the magnum cartridge requirement, to meet it the Remington team selected their long action design despite the 7.62mm round being more suited to a short action length. To maximize feeding reliability in this situation, Army snipers were trained to load their rounds with the base of the short cartridges touching the rear of the internal magazine. Ultimately, the choice of the long action firing 7.62mm NATO rounds was never problematic, although it would take over 23 years before the Army would actually utilize the full potential of the action length.
The last problematic requirement was describes as “nearly fatal” for the program. The system had to have a protective case and it appears Remington’s original choice was inadequate for the task – primarily because a case that could meet the Army’s requirements (air droppable and swimmable without damage to the weapon system) did not exist. The undisclosed poor performance of the submitted case nearly cost the Remington team the award, but Remington was able to satisfy the Army during negotiations with a substitute. A case by Hardigg was ultimately developed and included as part of the system and due to its size has universally been referred to as the “coffin case.” Although this case protected the rifle and optics exceptionally well, it was a poor choice for operational use due to its bulk, weight, and lack of transport wheels. Additionally, it initially added over $800 to the system cost; yet despite the cost (currently around $500) and unwieldiness, it remains the system’s case to this day.
Once the contract was awarded to Remington on 22 July 1987, it would take over a year for the completion of the First Article Testing (FAT), and the first delivery of 100 systems finally took place in October of 1988. In just over a year the system would see its first combat action in Operation Just Cause in Panama in the hands of U.S. Army Rangers as well as Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne division.
The system would continue to serve in every major operation through the present day – reliably providing precision fires to 800 meters – and well beyond that range in the hands of a highly skilled sniper. Nearly 15,000 M24s have been produced for the Army, Air Force, and Special Operations Command as well as various other allied countries under the Foreign Military Sales program. Additionally, Remington provided contractor logistic support for the system starting in August 1992 and has conducted all depot maintenance procedures for the system to the present day, overhauling nearly 3000 of the systems – many having had over 10,000 round fired through them.
The M24 was originally planned to be phased out of the inventory and replaced by the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System (SASS) beginning sometime after 2006. However, due to the slow fielding of the M110 as well as a few ”teething” issues expected of most new systems, units resisted turning in their rock solid reliable bolt action M24 systems as Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom raged on. The Army eventually authorized the retention of the M24 system so that units could use an “arms room” concept and select the most appropriate system for the task at hand.
However, in the autumn of 2011, the Army announced it would stop all sustainment of the M24 and that all systems were to be turned in to Anniston Army Depot in preparation for their conversion to the XM2010 configuration. The U.S. Air Force has thus far retained the M24 in their inventory for the foreseeable future.
The XM2010 Supersedes Its Parent
The XM2010 sniper rifle program began life under the name, “The Reconfigured M24E1” program and was intended to meet an Operational Needs Statement (ONS) submitted by the 10th Mountain Division on 14 March 2006, as they served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The basic capability gap the system addressed was providing a sniper rifle able to engage targets beyond 800 meters (where the Taliban had come accustomed to a comfort zone) and which was easily man portable over the rugged terrain of Afghanistan. The basis of this sniper rifle would be the existing M24 action and it would finally be chambered in a caliber for which it was originally designed for – a long action magnum caliber – the .300 Winchester Magnum. Funding was procured for the program under the ONS in both FY09 and FY10 and a full and open competitive Request for Proposal was released on 13 January 2010. Remington’s newly formed Defense Division undertook the task to assemble a proposal team. The Remington Defense sales team provided user input to the design, a program management team from the corporate headquarters at Madison, NC wrote the proposal, Remington’s R&D facility at Elizabethtown, KY provided key design and test support as needed, and an engineering team in concert with the skilled M24 sniper rifle assemblers at Ilion, NY built the bid samples and prepared the production facility for execution. Following a 30 day extension from the original submission date, the Remington team submitted their proposal on 9 March 2010, two days ahead of the proposal submission deadline.
the United States Army’s Joint Munitions and Lethality Contracting Center awarded Remington a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) Indefinite Delivery/ Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contract (W15QKN-10-R-0403) on 20 September 2010 for the upgrade of up to 3,600 M24 Sniper Weapon Systems (SWS) from 7.62mm NATO (.308 Winchester) to .300 Winchester Magnum to provide soldier’s with additional precision engagement capability and range. The contract was for a five (5) year period and had guaranteed minimum value of $192,000 with a potential value of up to $28.2 million.
Remington’s winning submission featured the following enhancements in addition to the caliber conversion:
· A completely new chassis (stock) assembly, which maximizes the amount of physical adjustments for the sniper to provide a true customized fit. The chassis features a folding buttstock that radically shortens the system for easier transport and greater concealment during movement. The forearm is highly modular with removable Mil Std 1913 Picatinny rail pieces able to mount accessories on six different planes. The top rail is able to handle the longest night-vision sighting systems in concert with the day optic.
· An improved 6.5-20×50 variable power Leupold® riflescope with an enhanced reticle within the first focal plane. This scope has a bullet-drop compensator (BDC) to accommodate both the existing SOCOM .300 Winchester Magnum Rounds: the Mk 248 Mod 0 with 190 grain bullet and the Mk 248 Mod 1 with a 220 grain bullet.
· A quick-attach/detach Advanced Armament Corp.® suppressor with muzzle brake.
· A 5-round detachable box magazine.
· Advanced corrosion resistant coatings throughout the system that also aid in significantly increasing barrel bore life.
· A padded soft-case/drag-bag for operational use encased within a slim, hard-sided Pelican/Hardigg case with transport wheels.
At the contract post-award conference on 29 September, the Army announced to Remington that the rifle would change its nomenclature from M24E1 to XM2010. Following the completion of type-classification efforts in 2012, the system will be known as the M2010. Although only 250 were procured for the Afghanistan theater of operations, the Army made the decision to reconfigure its entire M24 fleet to XM2010s/M2010s in the fall of 2011.
M24 Commercial Recapitalization/Rebuild/Refurbishment Program
During M24E1/XM2010 proposal preparation, the Remington proposal team realized that essentially almost all of the parts of the M24 were going to be removed and discarded. In the past when Remington conducted M24 overhauls they were required to de-militarize (destroy) all the unserviceable system components removed. However, during the reconfiguration to the XM2010 most of the M24 parts removed would be serviceable but would still have to be de-militarized. The proposal team recognized an opportunity and decided to offer the Government a contract price reduction for a complete set of serviceable parts if Remington would be allowed to resell these parts in the form of complete sniper systems for the commercial firearms collector market. Remington was unsure if the Army could overcome the institutional and regulatory hurdles to agree to this part of their proposal. However, after many months of work by the PM Soldier Weapons program office, in coordination with their legal counsel and the Army Materiel Command, approval was granted for the transfer of all serviceable M24 parts to Remington Arms in exchange for a reduced contract price on respective XM2010s.
M24 25th Anniversary Sales Honor Military Veterans
Despite the long history and dedicated service of the M24 Sniper Weapon System, its end-of-service life has created an opportunity for the dedicated military collector and/or long range shooting enthusiast. Remington has begun to convert these surplus parts into nearly new rifles. Each rifle will have a new barrel, M24 action (marked with the original M24 designation and drilled and topped for the receiver mounted open sights), and trigger. Aside from these critical parts, all other system parts will be 100% serviceable surplus if at all possible (new parts may be substituted where needed). Additionally, Remington will retain the original Soldier-painted camouflage on those guns where it has been applied. Thus, these guns will be offered in an amazing spectrum of paint schemes from basic black to the most imaginative camouflage patterns available – created by the mind of a U.S. Army sniper. Purchasers will not be able to request a particular color-scheme when ordering their M24.
In celebrating the 25th Anniversary of this successful system, as well as the dedication and sacrifice of U.S. military snipers and military members over the last decade, Remington will be offering an exclusive military purchase program through 2012. Instructions for purchasing one of these M24s can be found at www.remingtondefense.com starting in mid-January 2012. Remington will initially limit sales of these complete systems to three distinct groups prioritized in the order below:
1. Military Snipers – Any current or former U.S. military sniper. All priority purchasers must provide a photocopy of a graduation certificate from a certified U.S. military sniper school (e.g. U.S. Army Sniper School, Special Operations Target Interdiction Course, etc). This group is not required to have a current U.S. military affiliation.
2. Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve Military Personnel – Any member of any service currently serving in the U.S. military. Must provide proof of military eligibility. Inactive Ready Reserve members are not eligible for a purchase in 2012.
3. Retired Military Personnel – Any retired military member of any service holding a retiree identification card, whether through time in service or medical retirement.
If demand from these three groups does not consume the available quantities by mid-summer, the systems will next be offered to Federal agents and then to State and local law enforcement officers.
System price will be $3,500 – about half the current Government price for a new system. Remington expects to offer less than 2,000 of these systems for sale over the next 2 years so supplies are limited. Delivery time may be up to 9 months from time of order as these rifles will be made on the same production line as XM2010s and FMS M24s and those orders take priority.
Remington is extremely proud to have played such a pivotal role in advancing the art of sniping in the U.S. military, and we hope our customers will aspire to own one of these living pieces of U.S. history. “
Company Contact Info:
Remington Military Products Division
Remington Arms Commercial Products Division
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