Zooming In: A Closer Look at Sniper Rifles & Scopes

Firearms

There is something about sniper rifles that tends to fascinate gun enthusiasts worldwide.

There is something about sniper rifles that tends to fascinate gun enthusiasts worldwide.

Maybe it’s the idea of taking out a target from hundreds of yards away (or miles!) with a single shot. Perhaps it’s the role sniper rifles have played in shaping historical events or the high degree of craftsmanship inherent to their design. Or maybe the high theatrical value in movies like Saving Private Ryan.

Sniper rifles have been used in warfare for centuries, dating back to the Revolutionary War. In the early days of sniper warfare, accuracy was not as important as it is today. The goal was simply to take out as many enemy soldiers as possible from a distance. This changed during World War I, when sniper duels became commonplace and accurate, long-range shooting became a key component of warfare.

Today, sniper rifles are used by military and law enforcement personnel to eliminate targets from long range with pinpoint accuracy. These rifles are also used for hunting and sport shooting. There are many different types of sniper rifles on the market, each with its own distinct features. In this guide, we will take a closer look at some of the best sniper rifles available, including those featured in past CT Firearms auctions, as well as rifle scopes from top manufacturers.

REMINGTON M24 (Army)

US Army M40 SWS

Remington’s M24 is a bolt-action sniper rifle that was introduced in 1988. It is based on the Remington 700 platform and uses the same type of action as the M40A3 albeit a long action vs short action. The M24 is chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge (commonly known as .308 Win or 7.62NATO) and has a detachable box magazine with a capacity of 5 rounds. It has a full-length stock and a 24-inch barrel. The M24 is usually equipped with a Leupold Mark 4 scope or M3 Leupold Ultra M3 10×42mm day/night optics and is fed from a detachable box magazine, making it easier to load in the heat of battle. The stock is adjustable for length of pull and comb height to allow proper eye alignment.

The M24 was designed as a replacement for the M14 rifle, which was deemed to be too heavy and cumbersome for use in the Vietnam War, and was first used by the US Army in the 1991 Gulf War.

Since then, it has been employed by various military and police forces around the world. The Remington M24 features a lighter barrel and a shorter overall length, making it more maneuverable in close quarters combat. M24s can be fitted with suppressors, but this is not common due to the already low muzzle report. The M24 has an effective range of over 600 meters (2,000 ft) when used with M118LR match ammo.

Despite its impressive performance, the M24 was ultimately overshadowed by the M16 rifle, which became the standard issue weapon for the United States military. More recently, M24s are being replaced with M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper Systems. The M24 is accurate, reliable and easy to use, making it one of the most popular sniper rifles currently in use.

REMINGTON M40 (USMC)

The Remington M40 bolt-action sniper rifle is one of the most revered and respected rifles in the history of military sniping. Originally developed by Remington in 1966, this powerful and reliable rifle has been used by snipers in military conflicts all around the world.

The Remington M40’s design is based on Remington’s earlier Model 700 hunting rifle, which had been modified to function as a precision sniper rifle. Featuring an adjustable cheek rest and stock, as well as an oversize magnifying scope, the Remington M40 allowed snipers to take precise shots from long distances. In addition, this weapon used standard .30-06 caliber rounds instead of specialized sniper-specific ammunition, making it easy for soldiers to acquire during combat.

US Marine Corps M40 Rifle

With its precision design and superior range and accuracy, the Remington M40 has enabled snipers to accurately target and destroy enemy targets from long distances. Overall, the Remington M40 has proved to be a crucial tool in military operations, both for taking out enemy targets at long range and for providing cover fire for friendly forces below. The rifle’s rugged construction also makes it exceptionally durable, even in harsh weather conditions, making it a trusted tool for battlefield commanders as well as ordinary soldiers.

Today, many Remington M40 rifles are still in use by various armies across the globe, along with newer models and variations of this legendary weapon. Whether you’re a gun aficionado or simply curious about the history of this famous firearm, the Remington M40 is a must-know addition to any firearm collection or military history library.

HECKLER & KOCH PSG1

HK PSG-1 RIfle

In the early 1970s, Heckler & Koch began development of a semi-automatic precision rifle for law enforcement and military use. The PSG (Prazisions-Schutzen-Gewehr or “high-precision marksman’s rifle”) is mechanically based off the G3 and was designed in response to the September 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, as West German police lacked a reliable precision rifle capable of neutralizing terrorists while keeping hostages safe.

Like other HK military models, it’s rare for a PSG1 to arrive in the U.S., though CT Firearms Auction has been fortunate to list them in the past.

Reinforced receiver sides, an adjustable and removable trigger pack, adjustable palm shelf, adjustable buttstock (cheek and LOP) and a low-noise bolt closing mechanism are a few of PSG1 features, in addition to the match-grade heavy barrel and matched non-rollered bolt. PSG1s do not come equipped with iron sights; original models will include a Hensoldt 6A-42 scope with illuminated reticle mounted on top. Answering calls for a greater range and more modern scope, HK updated the PSG1A1 variant with a Schmidt & Bender 3–12×50 Police Marksman II scope, mounted on 34 mm (1.3 in) rings.

SPRINGFIELD ARMORY M1903

First developed and used during World War I as the standard US service rifle, the M1903 Springfield bolt-action sniper rifle was the primary sniper rifle used by American forces during World War II and the Korean War. Designed and manufactured by the Springfield Armory in 1903 during a time when the need for high-precision firearms was growing rapidly, this powerful firearm came to be considered one of the most reliable sniper rifles of its time.

Remington M1903A3

The M1903 Springfield featured an advanced scope that allowed for exceptional accuracy even at extreme distances, as well as a heavy-duty bolt mechanism that allowed shooters to quickly cycle through multiple rounds of ammunition. The M1903 Springfield was based on the older M1903 infantry rifle, which had been used by American soldiers since the early 1900s. Like the M1903 infantry rifle, it was chambered for the standard military cartridge of its era — a powerful .30-caliber round with long range and considerable knockdown power.

The M1903 Springfield quickly gained a reputation among American snipers as an effective tool both on and off the battlefield, and it remains highly regarded today as a classic piece of military history. Despite being phased out by modern rifles in the 1970s, it is still considered an effective and reliable combat weapon, having seen widespread deployment even as recently as during operations in Afghanistan. In popular culture, the M1903A4 was featured prominently in Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan,” the weapon of choice for Private Daniel Jackson, played by Barry Pepper.

Common variations in name include the 03, 03A4, M1903A4

FN SCAR 20S

FN SCAR Rifle

Produced by FN Herstal, a Belgian firearms manufacturer, the SCAR (Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle) 20S is a commercial variant of the U.S. military’s Mk 20 SSR precision rifle, designed for long-range shooting. The SCAR 20S was the first commercial SCAR release since the 17S launched in 2010. It is chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO, and achieves 1-MOA (minute of angle) accuracy to 100 yards.

The SCAR 20S’s 20-inch, 1:12 twist, heavy profile barrel and barrel extension, and extended, monolithic receiver add the additional rigidity that reduces fluctuation or movement between shots while the extended receiver provides the much-needed rail space for high-powered optics.

The FN SCAR 20S also has a two-stage Geissele Super SCAR match trigger and it is equipped with a fully adjustable MK20 SSR buttstock that can be customized to fit the shooter’s individual needs.

DRAGUNOV

The Dragunov is a Soviet-designed sniper rifle that has been in production since 1963. It was intended to be a capable yet lightweight sniper rifle that could be used by Soviet military personnel, with an effective range of 800 meters and is accurate up to 400 meters. The Dragunov was not designed to compete with larger, more powerful rifles like the American M1 Garand or the German Mauser 98K. Instead, it was meant to be a compact and easily maneuverable weapon that could be used in close quarters combat. The rifle was designed as a replacement for the aging Mosin-Nagant rifles that were used by the Soviet military at the time. Despite its age, the Dragunov remains one of the most popular sniper rifles in use today.

BARRETT M82

The Barrett Model 82 is an American air-cooled, breech-loading, single-shot sniper rifle. The rifle was developed by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing as an anti-material rifle intended to penetrate light armored vehicles and aircraft and soon found use as a long-range sniper rifle due to its high velocity and accuracy. Also called the Light Fifty or simply Barrett, the rifle is used by many units and forces around the world.

Barrett began work on developing a large-caliber, single-shot rifle in early 1982. He was inspired to create the weapon by reports of Soviet snipers using 14.5×114mm Cartridge weapons with great success in Afghanistan. Barrett first conceived of a single-shot bolt-action design, but later decided that a semi-automatic design would be more practical. The Barrett M82 can also be fitted with a suppressor to reduce its signature when firing.

Barrett M82A1 .50 BMG Rifle

The prototype Barrett Model 82A1 rifles were completed in 1986 and those rifles became operational with the U.S. Army Special Forces in 1989–1990 during Operation Just Cause in Panama. By 1992, over 125 M82A1 Barrett sniper rifles were deployed with Armed Forces throughout the world. Barrett continued to develop new variants of the M82, introducing the Improved Rapid Fielding Initiative (Ickes) for military and police applications in 2002, followed by the M107 variant for longer range sniper missions in 2004. Despite its designation as an “anti-materiel” rifle, it has been successfully employed as a precision sniper rifle and used in various combat theaters.

The Barrett M82 is a powerful air-cooled, Barrett breech-loading, single-shot sniper rifle. The Barrett M82 was originally designed by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing in 1982 as an anti-material rifle intended to penetrate light armored vehicles and aircraft. However, the Barrett M82 soon found use as a long-range sniper rifle due to its high velocity and accuracy. Today, the Barrett M82 is used by military and law enforcement forces around the world. The Barrett M82 is chambered for the .50 BMG (12.7x99mm NATO) cartridge, which allows it to penetrate even the heaviest armors. The Barrett M82 can also be fitted with a suppressor to reduce its signature when firing. The Barrett M82 has been used in a variety of conflicts, including the Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War. In recent years, the Barrett M82 has become increasingly popular with civilian shooters as well.

BARRETT M107 (Improvement over the M82)

The Barrett M107 sniper rifle was developed in the early 2000s by the American firearms company Barrett. This powerful long-range rifle is designed for use in military and law enforcement applications, and it has been used extensively in combat operations around the world. With a range of over 2,000 meters, this powerful weapon is capable of delivering accurate, high-impact shots with extreme precision.

Barrett M107A1 .50 BMG Rifle

This long-range, semi-automatic rifle is powered by a high-performance gas piston system and can easily fire up to 10 rounds per minute. The Barrett M107 is typically outfitted with a large, precision scope, allowing snipers to accurately target their targets from great distance

The Barrett M107 is also notable for its large caliber, measuring in at .50 caliber. This translates to a very heavy bullet that has enormous stopping power, making it especially effective at neutralizing targets from afar. The Barrett M107 has become one of the most popular sniper rifles on the market today, prized for its combination of power, accuracy and reliability.

MCMILLAN TAC 338

McMillan TAC-338 Rifle

The McMillan TAC 338 sniper rifle is a high-precision tactical weapon that has been used by military and law enforcement professionals around the world since its introduction in 2006. The rifle was developed in collaboration with Nelson Tactical, and it combines innovative engineering with lightweight materials to create a powerful rifle that is easy to handle and maneuver in challenging environments. This deadly piece of equipment utilizes .338 caliber ammunition, which allows it to hit targets from ranges up to 1500 meters with devastating force.

Noted for its use by legendary American sniper Chris Kyle, the McMillan TAC 338 is built around a durable metal frame, which houses an advanced recoil system that helps to reduce felt recoil by up to 60%. This allows the shooter to accurately fire several shots in succession without losing their aim or requiring extensive rest periods between shots.

The McMillan TAC 338 incorporates many other innovative features as well, including a bipod that can be deployed quickly from underneath the rifle, allowing for incredible stability when firing from long distances. In addition, the McMillan TAC 338 comes equipped with an adjustable muzzle brake that enables the user to adjust the amount of muzzle rise each time they take a shot. Collectively, these features make the McMillan TAC 338 one of the most versatile and effective sniper rifles available today.

KARABINER 98K (Commonly known as K98)

The Karabiner 98 kurz (“carbine 98 short”) and typically said as “K98” is a German bolt-action rifle that was used extensively during World War II. It was developed in 1935 and was based on the earlier Karabiner 98b. The Karabiner 98k was the standard rifle of the German army from 1935 to 1945. It saw action in all theaters of war and was prized for its reliability, accuracy and simplicity. During World War II, Karabiner 98k rifles were used by German snipers to great effect against Allied troops.

Mauser Kar98k Rifle

The Karabiner 98k was equipped with a five-round internal magazine and could be fitted with an optional 10-round detachable magazine. It was chambered for the 7.92x57mm Mauser cartridge and had an effective range of around 500 meters. The rifle could also be fitted with a bayonet for close quarters combat. The Karabiner 98k was replaced by the Gewehr 3 in 1958.

Millions were captured by the Soviets at the conclusion of World War II and were widely distributed as war reparations. The Karabiner 98k therefore continues to appear in conflicts around the world as they are taken out of storage during times of strife. Karabiner 98k rifles thrown away by German soldiers during WWII have been retrieved from rivers, fields and forests decades later and restored to working order. Today, the Karabiner 98k is a popular collectible firearm among history enthusiasts and gun collectors.

SVT-40

The SVT-40 sniper rifle was developed in the late 1930s in the Soviet Union. Early prototypes of the SVT-40 were designed by Fedor Tokarev, and this innovative design went on to become one of the most successful and popular rifles of its time.

Unlike conventional bolt-action rifles, which relied on a mechanism to eject spent rounds and load fresh ones, the SVT-40 employed an advanced gas system that rapidly cycled shell after shell through the weapon. This allowed for greater rates of fire, making it ideal for use as a sniping rifle. The SVT-40 features excellent accuracy thanks to its streamlined design and powerful 7.62mm round. The rifle also used a detachable box magazine, making it easier and faster than other models of this type to reload.

Capable of firing up to 750 rounds a minute at targets up to 1,000 meters away, it quickly became a favorite choice among Soviet snipers during World War II. Despite its versatility and effectiveness, however, only about 160,000 SVT-40s were made during the war, due to increased production costs and a shortage of raw materials. The SVT-40 sniper rifle remains a highly sought after collectible among gun enthusiasts worldwide.

ERMA SR-100

ERMA SR-100 RIfle

The Erma SR-100 is a German bolt-action sniper rifle that was first produced in the early 1970s. It has a detachable magazine and is capable of firing both single shots and short bursts. The SR-100 was designed for use by special forces and police units, and it saw action in a number of conflicts around the world, including the Falklands War and the Bosnian War.

The SR-100 is chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge and has a maximum effective range of 600 meters. The rifle is fitted with a 10-round magazine, and it also features a telescopic sight and bipod as standard equipment. In addition to its military applications, the SR-100 has also been widely used by civilian shooters, particularly in long-range target shooting competitions. In recent years, the SR-100 has been replaced by more modern sniper rifles in German service, but it remains in use with some militaries and police forces.

Now a Look at Scopes

VORTEX

Vortex is a well-known brand when it comes to rifle scopes, offering a wide selection of models, including red dot sights, reflex sights and magnified optics. Vortex scopes are designed for a variety of applications, from long-range shooting to close-quarters combat.

Vortex Crossfire II Scope

For instance, the Vortex Crossfire II is a popular option for hunters and target shooters. It features a dead-hold BDC reticle that makes it easy to compensate for wind and elevation, and the multicoated lenses provide clear images. Vortex offers a wide selection of scopes, including red dot sights, reflex sights and magnified optics. Vortex also offers a number of specialized scopes, such as the Vortex Spitfire 3x Prism Scope, which is optimized for use with AR-style rifles.

Vortex also offers the Viper PST series, which is designed for tactical use. These scopes offer several features that make them well-suited for military and law enforcement applications. Each Vortex rifle scope is built with quality in mind, making them a good choice for anyone looking for a reliable optic.

Whether you’re looking for a scope for your next hunting trip or a sight for your AR-15, Vortex has the right option for you.

UNERTL

Unertl rifle scopes are a popular choice for many shooters and hunters, due to their quality construction and precise optics. Unertal scopes are designed to withstand the most extreme conditions, making them ideal for use in challenging environments such as hunting, target shooting and military operations.

US WWII Unertl Sniper Rifle Scope

Some of the most common Unertl scope types include variable power, fixed power and target scopes. Fixed power scopes provide users with the most reliable zoom level available. These scopes are ideal for hunting applications, as they offer fast target acquisition and uncompromising clarity in even low light conditions.

Variable power Unertl scopes can be adjusted depending on the shooting conditions or range, while fixed power Unertl scopes are great for being mounted on a big-game rifle, allowing the shooter to keep a single magnification setting. The straight Unertl scope has a relatively simple design with minimal moving parts. This makes it rugged and long-lasting. Another popular Unertl rifle scope is the Unertl telescope; this model provides exceptional zoom capabilities for getting up close shots of targets.

ZEISS

Zeiss is a German optics company that produces top-tier rifle scopes for a variety of different applications. Zeiss scopes are available in a wide range of models, from simple red-dot sights to complex long-range optics. Zeiss scopes are known for their clarity and durability, and are used by many professional shooters and hunters.

Zeiss Conquest V4 Scope

The Zeiss Conquest line of scopes is very popular. The Conquest features a first focal plane reticle, which means the reticle remains the same size at any magnification. This is ideal for shots at varying distances, as the shooter can simply adjust the magnification to account for different ranges.

Zeiss also offers a variety of budget-priced scopes, such as the Zeiss Diafragma and Zeiss Terra models. These scopes offer good value for the money, and are a great option for budget-conscious shooters. One of the most basic Zeiss scopes is the Zeiss 1-4×24, a solid option for those who are new to shooting or who don’t need a lot of bells and whistles. Zeiss also makes Zeiss DiaScope, which is ideal for observing wildlife.

HENSOLDT

Hensoldt rifle scopes are precision optics that are designed to improve the accuracy and performance of a firearm. These specialized scopes come in a variety of styles and features, allowing users to choose the scope that best suits their individual needs.

One common type of Hensoldt rifle scope is the variable power scope, which allows users to adjust the magnification range from low to high, depending on their target distance. Variable-zoom Hensoldt scopes are perfect for situations where multiple types of prey may be present, as you can easily adjust magnification to focus on small targets like rabbits or larger targets like deer.

Hensoldt ZF 3.5-26x56 Scope

 Hensoldt’s fixed-zoom model allows you to zero in on your target at a single magnification level. This is an ideal choice for long distance shooting or hunting large game, since it simplifies your aim while still providing optimal clarity and detail.

Other Hensoldt rifle scopes include illuminated reticles for optimal visibility in low-light conditions, as well as ballistic compensators for more accurate aiming when shooting at long ranges. Whatever your preferred usage scenarios, Hensoldt rifle scopes are sure to help you take aim and hit your mark with confidence.

SCHMIDT AND BENDER

Schmidt and Bender are a manufacturer of premium rifle scopes. Some of the most common Schmidt and Bender rifle scope types include tactical, hunting, and rimfire options. The tactical Schmidt and Bender rifle scope is designed for use in challenging conditions, typically by military or law enforcement personnel. This type of scope provides many features that are essential in high-pressure situations, including durable construction, adjustable magnification, a wide field of view and long eye relief.

Schmidt Bender 5-25x56 PM II LP P4LF Scope

Hunting Schmidt and Bender rifle scopes are popular among hunters for their ability to enhance accuracy. These scopes have special reticles calibrated for different types of game, including big game animals like deer or elk. They also feature brightness controls that allow you to see clearly in low-light conditions while preserving your night vision.

Schmidt and Bender rifle scope options include their 4-16x50mm scope, which is ideal for long-range shooting and hunting, their 1-8x24mm scope for close-quarters targeting and their 3-27x56mm scope for extreme long-range shooting at distances of up to several thousand yards.

Schmidt and Bender also offers dedicated rimfire scopes that are compact and lightweight compared to standard riflescopes. These scopes are perfect for short-range shooting on a .22-caliber rifle or pistol. Their parallax-free performance makes them ideal for target shooting or informal competitions like 3-gun matches or action pistol events.

NIGHTFORCE

Nightforce NXS Scope

Nightforce rifle scopes are some of the most popular on the market, and for good reason. Nightforce offers a wide variety of scopes to choose from, each with its own unique set of features. For example, the Nightforce NXS is a popular choice for long-range shooters, thanks to its incredible clarity and light gathering capabilities.

The Nightforce ATACR is another popular option, offering a wider field of view and superior durability. And for those who need the absolute best in terms of performance, Nightforce also offers the Nightforce BEAST, which is designed for extreme conditions.

There are three main types of Nightforce scopes: 1-4x24mm, 2.5-10x42mm and 5-20x56mm. The 1-4x24mm scope is a compact, lightweight scope designed for close-range shooting. The 2.5-10x42mm scope is a versatile all-purpose scope that is suitable for both close-range and long-range shooting. The 5-20x56mm scope is a high-magnification scope designed for long-range shooting. Nightforce scopes are aslo backed by a lifetime warranty, making them an excellent choice for any shooter.

LEUPOLD

Leupold rifle scopes are designed for long-range shooting and feature a type of optical scope that employs a series of mirrors to magnify the image of a target. They are often used by snipers and long-range shooters due to their high level of magnification. Leupold scopes typically have a large objective lens, which allows them to gather more light than other types of scopes. This makes them well suited for use in low-light conditions. Leupold scopes can also be equipped with special features, such as night-vision capabilities and laser rangefinders.

Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Scope

The most popular type of Leupold scope is the 3-9×40 scope, which offers a wide field of view and is ideal for general use. For hunters or marksmen who need to be more precise, there are also 4-12×40 and 6-18×40 scopes available. These offer a higher level of magnification, making it easier to hit small targets at long range. Leupold also offers a range of specialized scopes, such as the 12-36×56 Night Vision Scope, which is perfect for nighttime hunting or surveillance.

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