The System: The integration of weather, range, ballistics, optics and…

The System: The integration of weather, range, ballistics, optics and a precision firing platform. Clockwise from right: The FN SPR-A1 with Horus Falcon 5-20×50 scope with an H25 reticle, the Vectronix LRF, Horus ATragMX ballistics computer and the Kestrel 4500 pocket weather meter. The author ranges the target with the Vectronix LRF attached via cable to the ATragMX Ballistics Computer.

For precision shooters, the operational challenge of getting a safe and accurate first-round shot grows increasingly complex as defense and law enforcement units are tasked with both expanded missions and an increased sensitivity towards liability. For snipers, success requires more than what one Army instructor referred to as “lying on your stomach and making an accurate shot.” Distances to multiple targets, shot angle—particularly in urban environments—as well as environmental factors all combine to impact ballistic performance and optics adjustment. TW combined the FN SPR rifle and Horus/Vectronix SORD ballistics and ranging system to test two of the industry’s newest precision shooting tools and learn if the combination was greater than the sum of its parts.

Special Police Rifle
FNH USA’s SPR (Special Police Rifle) series was designed with simplicity and reliability in mind. The SPR was awarded an FBI HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) contract in 2004, and according to FN, “The SPR A3 was selected after a 10,000-round endurance test with two rifles resulting in no parts breakage, misfires or malfunctions while exceeding the accuracy requirement of .50 MOA.” TW evaluated the SPR A1 for this article.

The SPR’s pre-’64 Winchester action features a claw extractor and the traditional CRF (controlled round feed) mechanics. While volumes have been written in the debate between CRF and “push feed actions,” the Mauser-inspired claw does reliably control the round via contact with the rim throughout the cycle (as opposed to the push feed which engages the rim only when the bolt handle is turned down and fully locked).

This positive contact eliminates the risk of a mis-feed if the rifle is inverted or on its side. Additionally, the claw extractor allows the modern shooter to control the force with which the round is ejected. Should the shooter find himself in an operational circumstance where brass casings cannot be left on site, a slow cycle of the bolt will lightly drop the casing in his hand. Mechanics, not force, controls the action and the management of the action and the casing.

The SPR also features a three-position safety that functions (from right): safety on, bolt locked, (middle) safety on, bolt can be opened for reloading, (left) ready to fire.


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