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The Barrett L82A1 (military designation XM107) .50-caliber long range rifle is semi-automatic and is fielded to infantry soldiers and special operations personnel. It can engage targets to 2,000 meters with precision. At 29 inches long, the frame mounted, bolt-action XM107 weighs 28.5 pounds with optics. It is manufactured by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Inc. The XM107 is a rapid-fire; man portable, shoulder-fired, recoil operated semi-automatic system utilizing military standard .50 caliber ammunition. The primary components of the system consist of a rifle, day optical sighting system and hard carrying case(s).

The M107 .50 caliber long range sniper rifle is a new Category I weapon being fielded to infantry snipers, with 700 in service in FY2003. The Category II M82A1 remains in service. The Army's new .50 caliber sniper rifle design was initially designated the XM-107. At least two manufacturers of .50 caliber sniper rifles were in competition for the contract -- Barrett and EDM Arms -- and Barrett won the contract.

The M107 is the Barrett Model 95, a smaller, lightweight .50 caliber rifle with emphasis on accuracy and durability. The bullpup design results in a compact rifle with no sacrifice on accuracy or velocity thanks to its cryogenically treated 29-inch (73.7 cm) barrel, the same length as the Model 82A1. Recoil is reduced by the dual-chamber muzzle brake and specially designed recoil pad.

The 3-lug bolt of the M107 locks rigidly into the barrel extension, to accommodate the widest variety of factory ammunition loads. The adjustable bipod may be detached by removing a single quick-release pin. The M107 is set up to mount a variety of telescopic sights and with good ammunition this combination usually produces minute of Angle (MOA) accuracy. The M107 may be disassembled for cleaning without tools. 10 round magazines are available.

Barrett .50 caliber rifles are in service world-wide for EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) use. Users have found that mounting the Barretts on vehicles is a rapid and cost-effective method of clearing military airport runways from unexploded ordnance. Others have found the Barrett as an effective means of detonating land mines once they have been detected.

The XM107 Long Range Sniper Rifle (LRSR) candidate weapon was DA approved for Urgent Requirement procurement (without night sight capability) in October 2001. The night sight capability for the XM107 LRSR was TBD. With an armorer- level modification, the Rail Quick Release System would allow the AN/ PVS- 10 Sniper Day/ Night sight currently used with the M24 Sniper Weapon System to be used with the XM107 LSRS. The cost: $1,180 per set, with a BOIP of: One Sniper Team Set: Weapon base (2); Scope Rings/ base (2); PVS-10 base (1) per XM 107 LRSR / M24 SWS.

In January 2003 the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (TACOM-ARDEC), Picatinny Arsenal, NJ announced an interest in acquiring information on commercially available or non-developmental item (NDI) suppressors that will reduce the baseline muzzle flash, blast and sound signatures of the Army's XM107 Caliber .50 rifle system (also commercially available as the Barrett M82A1-M). Potential contractors must be able to produce a minimum of 60 systems per month, with a production surge capability to 90 systems per month. The suppressor must be able to reduce the baseline signatures of the XM107 without adversely affecting or degrading weapon performance/accuracy, functionality, recoil, safety and reliability. It must also be modular enough to be quickly and easily installed and removed by the operator without requiring the use of special tools not readily available to the operator.

The .50 caliber Barrett Model 82A1/XM107 produces modest recoil energy. The weapon operating mechanism combined with an efficient muzzle brake reduce recoil energy to about 36 foot-pounds. The 25mm XM109 fires ammunition with essentially the same impulse as .50 caliber ammunition. However, the 25mm launches a much heavier projectile and uses much less propellant. The small amount of propellant limits the muzzle brake effects. The recoil energy of the XM109 exceeds 60 foot pounds. The suppressed version of the Model 82A1/XM107 produces significantly greater recoil energy than the muzzle brake variant of the 82A1/XM107, and is also a good candidate for recoil reduction efforts.

According to Operation Iraqi Freedom PEO Soldier Lessons Learned [LTC Jim Smith 15 May 2003] "The Barrett 50 cal Sniper Rifle may have been the most useful piece of equipment for the urban fight - especially for our light fighters. The XM107 was used to engage both vehicular and personnel targets out to 1400 meters. Soldiers not only appreciated the range and accuracy but also the target effect. Leaders and scouts viewed the effect of the 50 cal round as a combat multiplier due to the psychological impact on other combatants that viewed the destruction of the target.

"My spotter positively identified a target at 1400 meters carrying an RPG on a water tower. I engaged the target. The top half of the torso fell forward out of the tower and the lower portion remained in the tower." 325th PIR Sniper

"There were other personal anecdotes of one round destroying two targets and another of the target "disintegrating."

"The most pervasive negative comment was that snipers felt the Leopold Sight was inadequate for the weapon - that it was not ballistically matched. It the sight was zeroed for 500, 1000 and 1500 meters, soldiers did not feel confident in their ability to engage targets at the "between" distances (e.g. 1300 m). Snipers felt there were better sights available for this weapon such as the Swarovski. Sniper team spotters felt the tripod for the Leopold Spotter Scope could be better designed. COL Bray, Commander, 2d BCT, 82d Airborne Division supported an Operational Needs Statement for a Sniper Sight that would allow the sniper to identify targets as combatants or non-combatants out to 2000 meters."

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Copyright 2008 Tony Rogers