Author with Noveske VIS SPR with Knight Handstop, PWS 556, and Nightforce 2.5x10x32 Optic in a Bobro Precision Optic Mount
As early as the 1958 the Army had a written requirement for Squad Desiganted Marksmen and even had a detailed set of training and material requirements outlined in the field manual: FM 23-5 U. S. RIFLE CALIBER .30, M1, SEPTEMBER 1958. Outlined in Chapther 7 ADVANCED MARKSMANSHIP-SNIPING and described as the following:
"The sniper is first of all a rifleman in the squad. In a great many tactical situations, his firepower is integrated with the squad or team application of fire. In some tactical situations or as time permits, the squad leader or a higher commander will be able to use the sniper's ability to deliver accurate fire at slightly longer ranges by employing him as a mobile sniper or as a member of a sniper team.
As a guide, the standard of shooting demanded of a sniper enables him to hit, with regularity, a man's head at ranges up to 200 yards and a man's trunk at ranges up to 400 yards."
The definition todays FM 3-22-9 Rifle Marksmanship is very similure:
MISSION OF THE SQUAD DESIGNATED MARKSMAN:
"The primary mission of the SDM is to deploy as a member of the rifle squad. The SDM is a vital member of his individual squad and not a squad sniper. He fires and maneuvers with his squad and performs all the duties of the standard rifleman. The SDM has neither the equipment nor training to operate individually or in a small team to engage targets at extended ranges with precision fires.
The secondary mission of the SDM is to engage key targets from 300 to 500 meters with effective, well-aimed fires using the standard weapon system and standard ammunition. He may or may not be equipped with an optic. The SDM must, therefore, possess a thorough understanding and mastery of the fundamentals of rifle marksmanship as well as ballistics, elevation and windage hold-off, sight manipulation, and range estimation."
Using those structure as a baseline guide it is informative to look at the material solutions that each of the services have pursued.
SOLICITATION NO. W15QKN-05-R-0449 OBJECTIVE INDIVIDUAL COMBAT WEAPON – INCREMENT ONE Requirements (Base Line for a DMR?)
The Designated Marksman Rifle is a dynamic rifle that must be at home shooting off hand as well as prone. Here is one of the earliest written requirements released outlining what the Army wanted the Designated Marksman Rifle variant of the OICW to be. The following gives a base line for DMR performance:
L.5.2.d. Designated Marksman (DM): Weapon features shall include an adjustable stock, ambidextrous controls, semi and full automatic firing modes, and accessory attachment points. Weapon accessories shall include Fire Control capabilities, an adjustable bipod, and magazines. The DM shall, at a minimum, be distinguishable from the Carbine by a longer barrel length.
M.9.4.h. Dispersion (DM). The DM weapon variant will be fired in single shot mode. Testing will consist of three 10-round target groups of M855 ball ammunition fired single shot from each test weapon. Dispersion parameters will be calculated for each group and pooled for each variant type. Baseline testing will be evaluated against the Army M16 firing the same M855 ammunition lot.
Selecting a Designated Marksman Rifle: Three Solutions, One Problem:
Army AMU Rifles, aka SAM-R
Army M-14 Enhanced Battle Rifle/USMC M-39/SOCOM MK-14
SOCOM MK-12/USMC MK-12 MOD 1, Special Purpose Rifles
British MOD L129A1
M-14 Enhanced Battle Rifle/ M-39 Enhanced Marksmanship Rifle/MK-14
The M-14 has been modernized in various forms to press it into service as a Designated Marksman Rifle. The Army, USMC and SOCOM have slightly differant varionts mounted in Sage Stocks.
This is the parts list for the USMC's M-39 as posted in FEDBIZOPS:
|MK14 MOD0 STOCK *||SAGE INTERNATIONAL||M14ALCS|
|BIPOD ADAPTER *||KNIGHTS ARMAMENT||1005-01-468-0350/98060|
|BARREL *||KRIEGER BARRELS||1005-01-522-9955/DMR|
|SCOPE MOUNT ASSEMBLY *||SMITH ENTERPRISE||5855-01-506-5750/2006|
|USMC GUN MULTI-TOOL||BONDHUS||05032248|
|BIPOD *||HARRIS ENGINEERING||S-BRM|
|TORQUE WRENCH||SEEKONK MFG||BT-2R|
M-14's Enhanced Battle Rifles major differance from the USMC's M-39 is that the original barrels are not replaced. Basicly they are rack grade M-14s slightly modified to fit into the Sage stocks. In interviews the techs at Rock Island which build the rifle report many MOA and sub-MOA rifles are built in this fashion.