Marine Corps Leans Into New, Longer-Range Sniper Rifle

Marines snipers say they are limited by the relatively short range of the aging M40 sniper system. (Photo: USMC)

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.

See Also: Marines Asking for 50,000 more H&K IAR Support Rifles

The Mk 13 has been in the works since 2010. (Photo: American Special Ops)

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.”

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. His ambition is to follow Thomas Paine, as a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 46 comments… add one }
  • TJ May 18, 2018, 12:04 pm

    To not provide this kind of firepower to our troops would be indefensible. And, by the way, $12,000 for a super high quality rifle with the needed attachments for day/night operations is not over the top at all. Am delighted to see this upgrade and may it save MANY American lives. Welcome to the world of excellence in reading the wind, spin drift and the Coriolis effect. God bless each of our troops and may he shelter each and every one in the palm of his hand.

  • Wayne Reynolds May 4, 2018, 8:18 am

    Give them what they need to do their jobs and help keep them safe!

  • Ron B April 17, 2018, 7:54 pm

    You make it seem like a 300 win kicks a lot try a 470 or a 500 nitro pussy! You arm chair shooters with your non opinions are so unknowledable it’s amazing.

  • T April 14, 2018, 5:09 pm

    Having spent my time in the Corps, I can honestly say I’ve never known a Marine that claims to be a “TopSgt USMC” (John) and can’t get the motto of “Semper fidelis” spelled correctly on paper. I smell a rat. That notwithstanding, my M16A2 served me well in the Sandbox the first time around. Take care of it and it takes care of you. This article is about a new sniper rifle though. Although $12k seems expensive, that’s a decent price for a topnotch rifle with high dollar night and day optics…not to mention an expensive custom case. Has anyone priced top-end Pelicans lately??? “TopSgt” John…go brush up on your Latin if you are going to say you were a Marine. Semper fi to my true Marine brothers.

    • paul bruno May 7, 2018, 1:37 am

      way..way.. to put him on the spot, and knock em down, a true wanna be if you ask me T. you couldnt have said it better.

  • MikeB April 14, 2018, 11:19 am

    Everytime I post I see a “waiting moderation.” After seeing the response to the LCol from the individual whose vocabulary consisted mainly of mf this and mf that, I have to wonder just what you moderate.

  • Glenn61 April 13, 2018, 10:25 pm

    Well it seems that the days of the.308/ 7.62 Nato bolt action are fading…
    A shame, because a real sniper is a mobile sniper, and the Winchester M70 308 sniper rifle along with the Remington 700 has been a staple for snipers for generations now….
    Old school is what it is because it worked,,,, Maybe the young men of the sniper Scout class should learn the fine art of bolt action deadliness first with a .308 before they can expand to the fancy crap that’s all the rage now…..

  • Anthony Ricca April 13, 2018, 10:04 pm

    Hmm…what is the national debt now ? These endless reinventions of the wheel are just more examples of the military industrial complex . Never ending wars for I$rael are not in Americans interest . Want a target rich area of operation using iron and old school optics that IS in Americas interest ? Our southern border needs you .I volunteer !

    • Andrew April 14, 2018, 10:39 pm

      Dude take off the tin foil hat. We aren’t fighting wars for Israel. Afghanistan, Iraq, c’mon, Israel had absolutely nothing to do with either. Take your meds & do some homework for crying out loud.

      • T April 15, 2018, 12:37 pm

        Well said Andrew.

      • Chem trail April 18, 2018, 10:24 am

        Who do you think finances all these excursions?

  • T April 13, 2018, 9:59 pm

    I agree with the Lt Col….even if he is a “zoomie’ (smile Sir, just a little interservice humor). $12k is nothing for good gear…that is REUSEABLE. Touch off a Hellfire, a Sparrow, a Tomahawk and see what the price tag is…and you only get to use it ONCE. Take a jet for a ride and calculate the fuel cost. Can’t reuse that fuel either. JDAMs and 30mm add up the dollars quickly too. The Corps prides itself on it’s ground troops. It innovates for survivability. Digital camo, LAAV’s (before Strykers were even thought ot), V-22’s, AV-8B’s. Close air support, transportation, and gear for ground troops are paramount. 7.62 NATO and 338 Lapua are good for their respective niches (medium/long) but the .300 WM is a good compromise and more of that ammo is out there now to scrounge up. Besides, it’s not done Gunny Hathcock style much anymore. Snipers generally have support personnel around them (maybe even an AC-130 nearby) to mitigate being overwhelmed if compromised.

  • Kilmore April 13, 2018, 9:57 pm

    I have been shooting an Accuracy International Arctic Warfare in .300 win mag since 2006. I was introduced to the rifle by some squadron guys from USASOC that were shooting said rifle. I have since sold off my Surgeon PSR in .338 Lapua and my EDM Windrunner in .408 Cheytac. There is a reason I still kept the .300 won mag: All you really need.

    • Jake April 15, 2018, 12:58 am

      I have read a bit about the new .300 rounds with weights of 210-250 grains. The authors were saying the .300 mag with these new loadings matched the .338 Lapua all the way to 1,500 yards. A very versatile round. With the new bullet designs the .300 will outperform things like the Creedmores in the 1 mile gong ringing sports. Quite a bit more recoil however.

      • markle laws April 15, 2018, 2:27 pm

        I shoot a 300 win mag with 220 eld-x bullets and the recoil does not bother me. Of course my rifle was built using a mod 70 action and weighs 10 pounds has a 26 inch fluted barrel no muzzle brake a 5.5×22 night force scope a 2.5 pound trigger pull and a composite stock. I also shoot a 338-378 Weatherby (stock) with the same power make and model scope 250 grain bullet and the recoil does not bother me. I have been shooting since 1958 so I guess I am use to recoil. The 338 Lapua has a BC of .778 ( Hornady 250 gr. A-MAX ) and the 300 win mag has a BC of ,650 ( Hornady 220 gr. ELD-X ). Either will do the job if the shooter does his/or hers.

  • John D Williams April 13, 2018, 7:16 pm

    I was in Vietnam with 2/26 Marines in early ‘68. My issued M16 performed faultlessly in unbelievable conditions & yes I took extra pains to keep it clean & working. I’m here today,largely, be caused it performed so well. I don’t remember any large scale issues with the M16 in our unit.
    The gentleman that assumed that they were only pretty good shooting paper doesn’t realize that these same marksmen have already been in combat.
    I don’t want to compare this new system with $600.00 toilet seats in large military aircraft, I don’t care what it cost. You easily drop 6K on a Nightforce or equivalent optic system.
    Simper Fideles
    TopSgt USMC

  • TabScrolledandSpaded April 13, 2018, 4:30 pm

    Okay every mission requires a different tool in your toolbox. Remies have worked wonderfully well for me as well as MANY OTHER RIFLES and calibers so I’m good with any of them and very rarely are you dispensing high numbers of rounds on a mission unless you’ve been compromised! 300 Win Mag with 26” Barrel I say SURE why not. Plus this high profile rifle cost shouldn’t be the main point. With the technology of scopes now days $12,000.00 for a rifle and scope is pretty much a standard start point on any rifle used for long distance engagements once you start putting other equipment on the rifle to make it work for you and if it brings you and your group home alive I say “Oh Yeah!” So walk silently and lay down with a 50BMG Rifle under you and a Remington by your side I always” (WINK)
    Sine Pari and OUT!

  • Jerry April 13, 2018, 1:09 pm

    I agree with Mike on recoil w/12lb rifle. I regularly shoot my 300W with 26″ barrel and H.Precision stock, scoped and magna ported.

    30 to 50 rds is not a big deal using 210 gr Berger rds. As to the 12,000 dollar cost, one would have to know what the optics w/night vision would be to appraise the rifle cost.

    BTW, I also shoot my M1A in 7.62 and their is no comparison between the two at 1,000 yds with wind drift or energy.

    Before the flames start, this is just my humble opinion.

  • Mark Barnes April 13, 2018, 11:28 am

    The military rifle teams have been using the 300 win mag for over 50 years in long range competition ! The main problem has been cost, and the fact that the recoil during a 120 shot match will just wear anyone OUT!

  • Jim88 April 13, 2018, 10:52 am

    Since US Marine snipers define “rubber meets the road” criteria … and newer/better equipment moving forward all the time with modern sighting systems, muzzle breaks and supper systems that are being employed, why would the military leadership spend so much time and money to arguably limit some of the best functional marksmen in the world -US Marines Snipers- to 300 win mag ? Seems like a half step rather than a strive forward. With all due respect to the 300 win mag caliber, does it really have the bullet weight to do the reach in current, modern long range shooting as well as say, .338 Lapua that doesn’t wind drift so much?

    • jim88 April 13, 2018, 11:42 am

      Correction, can’t edit my previous but I meant “suppressor”, not supper systems

      • Dave Walker April 13, 2018, 8:50 pm

        Muzzle brake not muzzle break.

  • Will April 13, 2018, 10:38 am

    The army has fielded a .300 win mag for several years using a high pressure 190 grain round, which if I remember correctly is close to .338 Lapua in performance with less recoil and bulk. The Seals have been using them for awhile as well. While I understand the logistical hurdles compared to 7.62×51 I think the ability to launch a heavier, longer projectile faster will give our guys an advantage, especially in places like Afghanistan.

  • Bob April 13, 2018, 10:12 am

    Man, I bet the 6.5Creedmoor FANBOYS are Pissed… They all think it’s the Best thing for Long Range Shooting, actually it is Target & Competition Shooting!!! The ARMY & NAVY SEALS have been using the 300 Win Mag for Years now. In Fact, almost all of Chris Kyles Kills were with the 300 Win Mag. The 300 Win Mag will DROP a 1,100 pound Moose with 1 shot easily at 800 yards(check YouTube) where the 6.5CM would be a Pin Prick….

  • David Armstrong April 13, 2018, 10:00 am

    I shoot long range competitions and while elevation is easy at distance using charts and a range finder, windage at 1300 meters is like aircraft wake turbulence. You can’t see it and it is anyone’s best guess what is going on between you and there. And switching away from the NATO round is not something I can easily understand. I want to scrounge ammo in the field if I have to or borrow it from someone else on my team. Confusing …

  • GuidoFL April 13, 2018, 9:09 am

    ” In development since 2010″ ! Just another example of the useless red tape and over development that that military loves so much. An equiv. rifle could be bought from any number of mass suppliers for 1/3 of this outrageous price !

    • d April 13, 2018, 10:20 am

      Remember the beginnings of the M16’s use in Vietnam and you would appreciate over-engineering to under-engineering. We will never know how many of our men died as a result of fielding the M16 too quickly.

      Civilian equipment rarely has to endure the hard use the military equipment must handle.

      I spent 5.5 years at the AF Flight Test Center watching the development of new aircraft systems and saw things military aircrews would be overjoyed to NOT have encountered, like A10 ammo which entered the desert sand and was deflected up at the back (engine area) of the A10.

    • Lt Col Mark Mayerstein April 13, 2018, 2:02 pm

      You, sir, do not understand the military environment. I was an Operational Test Manager for 5 years at the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center in Albuquerque, NM. My programs included the Predator UAV, two medium-range cruise missiles, a new heavy-stores adapter beam for the F-15, and a portion of the B-2 program. I also assisted with the operational evaluation of the Airborne Laser system, and the Particle Beam Weapon. So I think I can speak with some credibility when it concerns military weapon development.

      First, and almost universally true, people do not understand that if your Winchester, Remington, Ruger, etc. hunting rifle jams or breaks, or fails to fire for some reason, you’ve merely lost a game animal. If a soldier’s rifle experiences these kinds of malfunctions, it could be fatal. Evidence the introduction of the AR-15/M-16 into soldiers’ hands in 1965 in Vietnam. Many died as a result of rushing this rifle into the field. We do the kind of testing and development of these systems not because we want the process (from conception to field delivery) to exceed the current average of 8 years, but because IT HAS TO WORK 99.999% OF THE TIME IN THE FIELD. What this means is that a personal weapon system has to function almost perfectly in the mud, in the rain, in the snow, in the desert heat and blowing sand, in the humidity of the jungle environment, at 15,000 feet, as well as survive a SEAL team ingress underwater. You get the picture? And each of these individual capabilities has to be proven in both Developmental and Operational testing. This is no small task as you might imagine.

      Sure, saying “Let’s just contract with Remington for 10,000 hunting rifles,” seems logical, but in the light of potential combat it is a rather asinine and uninformed position to attempt to defend. Also, remember that the price tag does not just include the rifle, but all the support equipment as well, especially the daytime optics and night vision optics. These also must be as rugged as the rifle. Hence grabbing any old hunting scope will not do. Actually, these optics already exist in an acceptable configuration and would merely need the appropriate mounting hardware. I’m impressed that the system only costs $12,000, when you consider that even cheap night vision equipment that is usable at military range sniping costs upwards of $3,000. Just go on the Sportsman’s Guide website and check it out for yourself. That’s not to mention that serious long-range competition shooters often spend $3,000 to $5,000 on just one scope. That comment is easily vetted by visiting any reputable gun store that specializes in this kind of shooting or by a visit to a regional match.

      So, all things considered, your ill-advised criticisms of over pricing, over developing, and over testing doesn’t hold any water, does it? The rifle itself in this scenario probably is coming in at around $5,000 or so. Checked into pricing for this quality of rifle recently? Maybe next time you’ll think a little more before commenting on something with which you are so very obviously lacking in experience. Don’t believe the liberal news media–they’re equally ill-informed and they have an anti-gun agenda.

      • Freespeechmotherfuckerdoyouspeakit? April 13, 2018, 10:33 pm

        Yeah…you’re exactly the kind of dickhead the guy was talking about. Plenty of systems exist out there that have been around and have been tested to the limits. But the corps went ahead and fucked around for ten years anyway. Way to go SIR 🙄 you’re a complete fuckwad with his head up his ass. Maybe if you came down off of Mount Olympus for a while you’d realize shit exists out there that hasn’t been approved by kickbacks from contracts “vetting” new technologies.

        Oh and I forgot. FUCK you! Fuck you and every other pretentious fuck who wastes years and millions of dollars “testing” equipment. Fuck you and everyone who shits all over great ideas and ends up fielding terrible shit. AND FUCK YOU AND EVERY STUCK UP FUCK WHO THINKS HE KNOWS WHAT A “SOLDIER” NEEDS. YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE YOU CHAIRFORCE RIDING POGIEST OF POG FUCK!

        Go take another kick back for that contract instead.


        • Lou April 14, 2018, 3:44 pm

          At least he had the balls to put his name to his post.

        • harry dunbrack April 16, 2018, 9:53 pm

          wow I know your mom and dad are proud of you hope you never come up my drive way cause you are a real piece of trash who I would be glad to put in the big hole in the ground on the back side of my 55 acres so you wont smell up the place

  • Bill April 13, 2018, 8:50 am

    I worked in a gun shop and let the owner talk me into a Remington 700BDL 300 Win Mag. Even after Magna-Porting, it was never enjoyable to shoot. I have a .50BMG bolt action, and regularly shoot 40-50 rounds at a time, with NO discomfort(very effective muzzle brake). I also own a Rem 40XK in .308. It is a dream to shoot. I found a man who swapped me even, my .300 for his Win. M70 heavy barreled .243 (non Japanese). Personally, I don’t think I could be happy with another ..300 Win Mag.

  • George April 13, 2018, 8:34 am

    Here we go again, buying equipment to fight the last war instead of the next one. The Corps of course must always be different. If there is a need for long range sniper rifles, they should be multi-service to save taxpayers’ dollars.

  • John April 13, 2018, 8:22 am

    Before we blow the money on new rifles, lets see if these guys can really hit any thing at the longer ranges any better than what they have now. Not just at paper targets with a prearranged distance.

    • MikeB April 13, 2018, 3:31 pm

      Go out with them in the field and get back with us. If you get back.

  • Joe April 13, 2018, 7:22 am

    Good write up but You may want to swap the cover photo from a M107 (M82A3 Barrett) over to an actual M40A6

  • Pseudo April 13, 2018, 7:12 am

    I suppose when one cannot obtain any ammunition, this can always be used as a club, since there is not even a bayonet lug. So as a sniper ensure to be sure and hump all the ammunition you can tote. 7.62×51 NATO readily available, but where to find 300 Winmag?

    • Franco April 14, 2018, 8:05 am

      I carried a M14-E2 in both my tours in Vietnam. Sniper Ops is great when the bad guys are 500+ meters away. When they are within 50 feet, it was nice to switch to full auto and be able to defend both myself and my buddies. Having zip-strips of five rounds each that I could reload into the gun’s mag from the top was a plus. I could always de-link some M-60 ammo in case I ran short. You have to be able to not only shoot the distant targets, but shooting the close in ones is a must. They have to consider both situations when they field a sniper weapon. Full auto on an XM-21 with a M-14E2 stock and bipod system was an asset to my whole unit, not just to me as a sniper. However, full auto on an XM-21 was only for emergencies, it wreaks havoc with the National Match Barrel and receiver system. But it was there when it was needed. The sound it made on full auto was also a benefit. It sounded like a RPD machine gun and that confused the enemy for a moment. Enough time to get rounds down range!!

    • Jake April 15, 2018, 1:14 am

      One might assume the sniper has a pistol or M4 in addition to his primary weapon. It is no different than when the mortar or artillery crews have run out. The troops can’t swap M855 for 155mm cannon rounds either.

  • Falphil April 13, 2018, 6:33 am

    \”Leans Into\”? Seriously?Why would you use such an effeminate phrase with leftist-liberal connotations for the title of a firearms article?

    • Slavidnil April 13, 2018, 8:08 am

      How’s middle school treating you?

      • Kem April 13, 2018, 8:45 am

        Better than your kindergarden.

    • Lt Col Mark Mayerstein April 13, 2018, 2:24 pm

      Now children, let’s not bicker. Actually, as usual, context is everything. The phrase “lean into” a shot is a very common instructional phrase in the firearms game. Any decent marksman, rifle or pistol or shotgun, will shift his/her weight onto the forward foot to help manage recoil and increase stability. There isn’t anything effeminate about this at all–in fact, it’s rather macho if you ask me. Only within a certain context (if I’m understanding your insinuation) does this seem to have effeminate or sexual overtones. Did I understand your comment correctly?

  • Mike April 13, 2018, 6:32 am

    I have always been a fan of the .300 Winchester magnum. As heavy as the weapon is (12+ lbs.), there should be minimum recoil felt for those who tend to “flinch” upon firing. If you are going to have a sniper rifle, by all means have one that will get the job done.

    • Mike April 13, 2018, 8:56 am

      Funny, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a real sniper having the urge to “flinch”.

      • Jake April 15, 2018, 1:19 am

        They even miss sometimes.

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