L42A1 Sniper Rifle

Calibre:7.62mm Muzzle Velocity:838m/s
Weight:4.42kg Length:1.18m
Magazine Capacity:10 rounds Rate of Fire:N/A
Effective Range:750m Date in Service:1970

The L42A1 was the last military Lee-Enfield rifle approved by the British government, certainly a fitting end to the Enfield as a service rifle. By the late 1960’s the need for a 7.62mm NATO chambered replacement for the tired .303 British No4 MkI(T) sniper rifle was apparent to the British government, perhaps overdue. This task fell to RSAF Enfield who, using existing stocks of No4 MkI(T) rifles, designed a modified rifle, based on the earlier L39A1 Military Target rifles. This conversion consisted of: Re-barreling the receivers with a heavy free floated 7.62mm barrel, milling out the receiver to accommodate a 10 round 7.62mm magazine, replacing the bolthead with a stronger one proofed to 19 tons, replacing the extractor on the rifles bolthead for the rimless cartridge, fitting the completed barreled action with a new shortened fore-end and handguard design, and proof testing for the 7.62mm round.
In addition to the conversion work done to the rifle the No32 Mk3 scope was also converted to reflect the different trajectory of the 7.62mm round. These No32 Mk3 scopes were renamed L1A1 scopes. In total there were approximately 1000 manufactured during the rifles service and production ceased in 1985, when it was replaced in military service by Accuracy International L96A1 rifle.

Model 82 Parker Hale Sniper Rifle

The 7.62mm NATO, Parker-Hale Model 82, also known as the Parker-Hale 1200TX, went into service in 1982, with Australian, New Zealand and Canadian forces. A number of Model 82’s were also in service with British forces, although a “L” Designation was never issued.
The Model 82 uses a manual bolt action, allied to a heavy free-floating barrel; the barrel weighs 1.98 kg (4.365 lb) and is manufactured from chrome molybdenum steel. An integral four-round magazine is provided. The trigger mechanism is an entirely self-contained unit that can be adjusted as required, and the butt length can be altered with additional pads.

L96A1 Sniper Rifle

Calibre:7.62mm Muzzle Velocity:858m/s
Weight:6.5kg Length:1.128m
Magazine Capacity:10 rounds Rate of Fire:N/A
Effective Range:1000m Date in Service:1985

The L96A1 is the British Army designation of the Accuracy International PM ("Precision Marksman") rifle, and is currently the sniper rifle of choice for the British Army. The L96 features an adjustable butt, integrated adjustable bipod and static iron sights (though a 6x42 Schmidt & Bender scope was issued standard in original production models). The L96 originally competed successfully against the Parker-Hale Model 85 rifle (an updated Model 82), the Heckler & Koch PSG1, SIG-Sauer SSG 2000, and Remington 700, in the mid-1980's to become the standard British Army sniper rifle, replacing the aged Lee-Enfield L42A1 series. The engineering process incorporated light alloys, plastic and metal into the design. This melding allowed for greater field abuse (the weapon could take a good deal of external punishment but still keep the internal components in good working order). Designed to achieve first-round hit at 600 metres and "harassing fire" out to 1,100 total metres, the Accuracy International L96 sniper rifle has been upgraded with a new variable 3x12 x50 scope. The L96A1 is chambered to fire the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge from a 10-round detachable box magazine. An adjustable bipod is fitted forward under the barrel. The weapon features a muzzle velocity of 2,790 feet per second. The L96A1 can also be issued with a variety of scope mounts, collapsible stock and silencer.

Some years later, the Swedish military were also on the hunt for a new rifle, and in the early 1990, Accuracy International entered an upgraded version of the PM, now known as the AW or Arctic Warfare. This was the start of the Arctic Warfare name, which became the primary name of the rifle family despite its earlier names.

Special de-icing features allowing it to be used effectively at temperatures as low as -40 °C (-40 °F). For that the AW rifle featured a modified bolt with milled slots to prevent freezing and problems caused by penetrating water, dirt or similar disturbances. Further the stockhole, bolt handle, magazine release and trigger guard on the AW were enlarged to allow use with heavy Arctic mittens. This version was accepted into use by the Swedish Army in 1991 as the Prickskyttegevär 90 (Psg 90).

The modifications to the original PM or L96A1 made the British Army decide to adopt the "improved" AW version as well, designated L118A1. The rifles were fitted with Schmidt & Bender MILITARY MK II 3-12x50 telescopic sights offering the operator more flexibility to shoot at varying ranges, or in situations when a wide field of view is required. This rifle has seen service in recent conflicts such as Operation Granby and Operation Telic.

Accuracy International Sniper Rifle Family

L115A3 Sniper Rifle

Calibre:8.58mm Muzzle Velocity:850m/s
Weight:6.9kg Length:1.2m
Magazine Capacity:5 rounds Rate of Fire:N/A
Effective Range:1800m Date in Service:1996

The L115 designation in British Service indicates the Accuracy International AWSM (Arctic Warfare Super Magnum) rifle in .338 Lapua Magnum calibre. The first rifles purchased were known as L115A1 LRR (Long Range Rifle) and saw extended usage in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003, fitted with Schmidt & Bender 3-12x50 PM II optics. The L115A2 followed, and introduced several improvements, such as Tan colored body, Harris bipod, fluted barrel and suppressor. It was effectively a prototype for the further enhanced L115A3.

L115A2 rifles are similar enough to the final A3 configuration that they were converted to A3 standard, but the legacy L115A1 LRR (Long Range Rifle) was not modified.

In 2007, finally, the Sniper System Improvement Program kicked in, and in November 2007 the MOD announced the selection of a new standard sniper rifle for Army, Royal Marines and RAF Regiment, with the placement of a £11 million order in March 2008 to Accuracy International for 580 of the new, improved AWSM variant, the L115A3.

The new rifle came with a more powerful optic (with twice the magnification, at x25 against x12), the Schmidt & Bender 5-25x56 PM II. Other improvements include a suppressor to reduce the flash and noise signature, folding stocks for improved ease of carriage, an adjustable cheek pieces assembly for more comfort and better eye alignment with the telescopic sight, a new adjustable bipod and 5 round box magazine.

The L115A3 will finally entirely replace the L96 family (L96A1, L96A2, L118A1) in 7.62x51 mm, increasing range and lethality with the adoption of the more powerful Lapua Magnum round.

L121A1 AF50 Sniper Rifle

Calibre:12.7mm Muzzle Velocity:825m/s
Weight:15kg Length:1.42m
Magazine Capacity:5 rounds Rate of Fire:N/A
Effective Range:1500m Date in Service:2000

The AW50 is a .50 BMG (12.7x99mm), anti-materiel rifle designed by Accuracy International. It is a re-engineered version of the Accuracy International Arctic Warfare L96 sniper rifle (the standard issue sniper rifle in the British military).

The AW50 is intended to engage a variety of targets including radar installations, light vehicles (including light armoured vehicles), field fortifications, boats and ammunition dumps. The standard ammunition combines a penetrator, high explosive and incendiary effect in a single round.

The weight of the weapon (15 kg), combined with a muzzle brake and a hydraulic buffer system in the butt, gives the AW50F relatively low recoil and enhances accuracy.

The MIL STD 1913 sight rail can hold a variety of equipment; the normal sight for the AW50 is the Schmidt & Bender 3-12x50 PM II with Al Mil Dot reticle, 0.2 MRad clicks and elevation to 1500m and laser protection. Night vision device sights such as the Simrad KN series or Hensoldt NSV 80 can also be fitted.

The AW50F is a folding stock variant which fires the multi-purpose Raufoss Mk 211 cartridge and other rounds. Most of the rifle is made in the United Kingdom; The barrels are sourced from three different manufacturers: Loather Walther, Boarder and Maddco. The weapon's stock folds for portability. It has a fully adjustable bipod and buttstock heel rest. Four sling loops allow shoulder and hand carrying of the rifle.

Weighing 15 kilograms, the AW50F rifle is approximately four times the weight of a typical assault rifle. The heavy NM140 .50 calibre ammunition, the weight of the weapon, combined with a muzzle brake on the front end and a hydraulic buffer system in the butt stock, gives the AW50F, relatively low recoil and enhances accuracy.

L129A1 Designated Marksman Rifle

Calibre:7.62mm Muzzle Velocity:783m/s
Weight:4.5kg Length:0.99m
Magazine Capacity:20 rounds Rate of Fire:N/A
Effective Range:822m Date in Service:2009

The L129A1 is categorised as a "Designated Marksman Rifle" (DMR), which places it between an assault rifle, and a dedicated sniper rifle. As such, the designated marksman himself offers up, to an extent, the inherent benefits of both types of war-fighters - able to supply self-loading, repeating fire to the enemy at ranges that go beyond that of the standard assault rifle. The designated marksmen is, however, not trained in the finer points of a sniper element and, instead, carries battlefield skills more akin to the regular fighting soldier.

These rifles are intended for use on the squad and platoon levels, to support small units operating 'on foot', and away from fire support bases and armoured vehicles. Basically, it's the same concept, which during the last 50 years was employed by Soviet and is still employed by Russian army, which issues 7.62x54R SVD marksmen/sharpshooter rifles to every infantry squad.

The new weapon, which is now officially issued to British troops as L129A1 Sharpshooter rifle, was selected through competitive trials, which included four 7.62mm semi-automatic weapons - HK 417 from Germany, FN SCAR-H Mk.17 from Belgium, Sabre Defence XR-10 from US/UK and LMT LW308MWS (also known as LM7) from USA. The latter weapon, built in USA by Lewis Machine & Tool Co and distributed in UK by LEI Ltd, won the competition. Initial order was for some 440 rifles, and many of these weapons are already in use by British army in Afghanistan.

The United States developed their "Designated Marksman" component through its unfolding experiences in the Afghanistan and Iraq theatre and was able to properly develop complementary weaponry through its well-established programs and facilities for use by the Army and Marine. When the British Army attempted to follow suit, it realised that, it lacked the proper weaponry for the role - their smaller calibre standard-issue L85 assault rifles were not up to the task particularly when attempting to counter enemies at distance armed with light machine guns - or the proper in-house facilities to make the proper weapon a reality.

It was, therefore, decided that a new weapon system chambered for the larger 7.62 x 51mm cartridge be acquired, a weapon that also exhibited several other qualities the MoD required including ease of maintenance, ease of operation requiring only basic gunnery training, a compact profile for transportation or scouting sorties and - of course - repeat accuracy against human-sized targets at range.

L129A1 Designated Marksman Rifle

The standard-issue scope for the British Army L129A1 is the Trijicon 6x48mm ACOG with a BDC reticule. Additionally, accessory rails are present along the forend sides and underside, the latter allowing the installation of a basic forward grip for improved support. The SOPMOD-style stock is supported by a tubular base and extends to a fully-moulded shoulder support - the stock being adjustable to six preset positions.

L135A1 Long Range Precision Anti Structure rifle (LRPS)

Calibre:12.7mm Muzzle Velocity:853m/s
Weight:13.5kg Length:1.4m
Magazine Capacity:10 rounds Rate of Fire:N/A
Effective Range:1800m Date in Service:1989

The L135A1 Long Range Precision Anti Structure rifle (LRPS), is the British Army version of the Barrett M82A1, a recoil-operated, semi-automatic anti-materiel rifle developed by the American Barrett Firearms Manufacturing company. A heavy SASR (Special Application Scoped Rifle), it is used by many units and armies around the world. It is also called the "Light Fifty" for its .50 BMG (12.7×99mm NATO) chambering.

The M82A1 is known by the US military as the SASR "Special Applications Scoped Rifle", and it was and still is used as an anti-materiel rifle and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) tool. The long effective range, over 1,800 metres (5,900 ft) (1.1 miles), along with high energy and availability of highly effective ammunition such as API and Raufoss Mk 211, allows for effective operations against targets like radar cabins, trucks, parked aircraft and the like. The M82 can also be used to defeat human targets from standoff range or against targets behind cover. However, anti-personnel use is not a major application for the M82.

The longest recorded sniper kill

The longest range recorded for a sniper kill currently stands at 2,475 m (2,707 yd) and was achieved by Corporal of Horse, Craig Harrison, a sniper from the Household Cavalry of the British Army. It was accomplished in an engagement in November 2009 in which two stationary Taliban machine gunners were killed south of Musa Qala in Helmand Province in Afghanistan with three consecutive shots by CoH Harrison using an Accuracy International L115A3 Long Range Rifle chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum.