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Thread: Designated Marksman discussion thread

  1. #1
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    Designated Marksman discussion thread

    The Designated Marksman came into his own during the GWOT; DMs are considered to be regular infantrymen who are tasked to provide precision fire out to 600m. By default, most have been armed with 5.56 AR derivatives, since that was what was available. However, the Army also issued M14s due to the 5.56 rounds' percieved lack of range and striking energy, while the Marines are fully fielding the Mk12. The Army also issues DMs everything from M4s with ACOGs to the latest mod of EBR. Several of our European allies, such as the Brits, have decided that a semi-auto 7.62 is needed for the DM role, and have adopted an AR10 varient for the task.

    So, let's hear your thoughts on what a proper DM rifle should be: caliber, barrel length, optics, etc.
    "The secret to happiness is freedom, and the secret to freedom is courage." - Thucydides, c. 410 BC

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    Talking to the guys in my company who carried the EBR in Afghanistan last year, almost all of them disliked it for one reason or another. I do not know how old/new they were. One problem with an m14 based solution is that they had to keep and maintain two rifles and the m14s rarely were taken on missions because of weight and bulk and a perceived lack of need.

    Our battalion gave ours back (away?) so I'm not sure what we will replace them with, if anything.

    I'd prefer something like the mk12 in an intermediate caliber. With a 1-6 power optic please.

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    I think 1 of 2 options: either an 18" barreled AR with a DD Lite rail, A5 stock and a compact scope (ACOG to Nightforce 2.5X10X36 or something in between).

    Or...

    The LMT MWS with a decent optic.

    I'll not mention any other caliber (besides 5.56 or 7.62) because that just isn't going to happen.
    "The world's a dangerous place we can help." -www.portlandfirearmtraining.com
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    I was my platoon's SDM for my first 2 months or so in-country, before I was "promoted" to SAW gunner. I went to LRM (Long Range Marksmanship) school at Ft Campbell, taught by instructors from Benning, for 3 weeks of instruction covering shooting, range estimation, and target detection. Our issue rifle was an M14 "upgraded" with a Sage EBR chassis and a 7.62 ACOG. Of course I had to use a 5.56 M4 ACOG because someone managed to break our 7.62 model previously. Luckily, when I got overseas I managed to acquire a TPE (Theatre Provided Equipment) 10X fixed Leupold. I had previously privately purchased 6 M14 mags and a Harris Bipod as I was told I'd be the SDM for the entire tour and was only supplied with 3 mags and a Grip-pod. There was no supply of M118LR to be had so I had to delink belted M80 ball. It was still plenty accurate out to 600M or so, and probably could have pushed it further, but had limited range time and I was just glad to get it zeroed. The only thing else that was added was a PEQ-2A. While I loved the M14, after handling another TPE M14 with an original Walnut stock I realized just how much heavier the EBR stock was and would dream on one day having something lighter (my prayers were answered with a M249, FML). To complicate matters, we weren't allowed to take them apart to clean them because they were afraid we'd lose or damage the EBR chassis, so all my cleaning was done with a boresnake, some Q-tips, and a barber brush.

    I think the Brits have it right, the LMT .308 with the right optic and training would be an ideal SDM weapon. It's accurate, reliable, and not too bulky. It is heavy, but you can't have everything, esp in 7.62x51. Plus an ACOG properly calibrated and zeroed can get hits on target fast without having to get all the training on mil-dots and worrying about DOPE, remember SDM's aren't snipers and aren't supposed to be snipers, we're grunts with a little talent and training, that's all.


    Last edited by kaltesherz; 12-31-10 at 20:46.
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    Kalte maybe you mentioned t an I missed it but were you in afganistan or Iraq?

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    There is really no "one" rifle that would meet the requirements for a DM. If you look at the operating envelope for extending the range of the basic assault rifle or battle rifle then I think the optic determines the capability. With a variable power optic either 5.56 or 7.62 with a barrel from 16-18" makes sense. The current offerings of 7.62 rifle is fantastic of late with the SCAR 17, LMT MWS, Knights SR25.

    So a 5.56 with a free floated match barrel of 16-18", a quality variable optic from 1-8+ power, an improved trigger, or a 7.62 caliber weapon equipped the same way would easily fulfill the SDM role, obviously a supply of good OTM ammo would enable the user to get the most out of the weapon.

    It is great to have so many choices.

    Cameron
    Last edited by Cameron; 12-31-10 at 21:13.

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    I like 3rd ID's concept from early OIF and consequently built one just like it. For what's available the M110 SASS seems perfect for the role, maybe with a different optic with less magnification.

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    Since it may be called upon to substitute for a LMG, I vote for the 7.62. Better range and penetration. It should be self-loading, free floated, and with a 2-7X illuminated reticle optic. It must have a bipod, but no shooting sling, only a nice wide simple carrying strap. Maximum weight, 10 pounds loaded.

    The AR10 format in a high quality make would be best. This way if the DM is taken out, the rifle would be most easily used by others without training. I think the Stoner gas system gives the best accuracy.
    Dave

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    An SR-25 or Scar-H with a Leupold CQBSS 1-8x

    You get the familiarity of the AR platform with the punch and distance of the 7.62 round.

    And, unlike an M14 with a 3-9x it can be used in CQB.
    Last edited by 9111B; 12-31-10 at 22:01.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by N.Franklin View Post
    I like 3rd ID's concept from early OIF and consequently built one just like it.
    What are the specs on that?
    "The secret to happiness is freedom, and the secret to freedom is courage." - Thucydides, c. 410 BC

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