The U.S. Marine Corps is moving to a newer, bigger sniper rifle system. The new gun, the Mk 13 Mod 7, is a semi-custom bolt-action rifle chambered for .300 Winchester Magnum.
Compared to the older rifle, the Mk 13 has 50 percent more reach than the older M40. The Mk 13 has an effective range of over 1,300 meters as opposed to just 800 for the M40.
In recent conflicts Marine snipers have struggled with the limited range of M40 rifles. The Mk 13 was “a long time coming,” writes the Marine Corps Times. The Mk 13 has been in development as early as 2010.
According to reports the Corps is buying around 350 sniper systems at a total cost of $4.2 million. That puts the per unit cost for Mk 13 Mod 7 rifles at around $12,000. This includes the rifle and accessories such as scopes and night vision systems.
For over 50 years the Marines have largely fielded the M40 sniper system, based on Remington’s 700 action. Despite seeing service since the Vietnam War, the Marines kept the M40 relevant and effective with constant updates and upgrades.
The last major update to the M40 was in 2009 when the Marines started the M40A5 overhaul program. The A5 incorporated a tapered, suppressor-ready barrel, detachable magazine system and forward rail for night vision. These features are standard for the Mk 13 series.
But there is no way to improve the rifle’s action without replacing the entire system. When the Marines decided to switch from 7.62x51mm NATO to .300 Win Mag, they needed to turn to a new gun.
Details about the Mk 13 Mod 7 may vary but it looks like the Marines are building the M13s on custom long-action Remington 700-pattern Stiller receivers at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Indiana.
It sports a full set of modern features including a modular Accuracy Internation adjustable stock and detachable magazines and has a 26-inch barrel. It weighs just under 12 pounds dry without accessories and is intended to work with a Knights Armament suppressor.
“How and when the service plans on fielding its new suite of precision weapons, like every other new piece of gear in the U.S. armed forces, remains to be seen,” said Task and Purpose editor Jared Keller. “But no matter when it reaches Marine scout snipers, the new rifle represents a major, long-awaited breakthrough for the Corps — and certain doom for their adversaries downrange.”