Having been recently adopted by the British Army, the LMT…

Having been recently adopted by the British Army, the LMT Modular Weapon System in 7.62x51mm NATO is a superbly crafted rifle designed specifically for the mission of the SDM, capable of rapidly engaging multiple targets at close to medium range. Shown equipped with a Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 3.5-10x scope and GG&G Extreme Duty Swivel Bipod.

When I was a young U.S. Marine, the most influential conflict of the time was the Vietnam war. Though I entered the service more than a decade after the conflict ended, most of the senior enlisted and officers at the time were Vietnam vets and took their lessons from that war. In the sniper realm, legends from Vietnam focused on stealthy, almost mythic Marine Corps Snipers. These men could maneuver undetected though enemy territory, take out their target with a single bullet and egress back to friendly lines.

The end-all be-all of sniper rifles when I was a bright-eyed young Devil Dog was the M40, built on the Remington 700 action. A skilled sniper was expected to remain invisible until pressing off that perfect killing shot. Volume of fire or the ability to rapidly reload was not as much a concern as precision and reliability.

Today the ranks of the military sniper are still filled with long-range death-dealers, however, there are just as many if not more Squad Designated Marksmen. These are Expert Riflemen tasked with using precision rifle fire as security or “overwatch” for their fellow troopers. The SDM may be called upon to engage multiple targets per engagement doing so very rapidly at close to medium ranges.

While many M14 rifles were hastily converted to assist Designated Marksmen in carrying out their mission, there were too few and a good number had been on the shelves since the 1960s. The military brass, taking advice from commanders in the field, put out the call for a “semi-automatic sniper system.” The rest, as they say, is history.

lmt-762mm-modular-bThe MWS rifle functions like the classic AR-10, with the massive bolt and bolt carrier at the heart of the gas-operated system.

One of the biggest parameters was that the SASS rifle needed to function in a similar fashion to the U.S. Army’s M4. After all, the Squad Designated Marksmen were being pulled from the ranks to be sent through what amounted to an abbreviated sniper school. They would need to be up to speed and running on any new weapon system rather quickly.

Almost every maker of the “black rifle” submitted their own version of the SASS for review by the Army. Like any contest, there can be only one winner—or is that really true? While the Army’s SASS contract was awarded to a single company, the true winners were shooters worldwide.
The SASS bid request sent firearms manufacturers to their design labs and got the creative juices flowing. Although these companies might not have secured the U.S. Army contract, the gun buying community will benefit from the fruits of their labors for years to come.

Gun Details
Don’t call it a “SASS,” but Lewis Machine & Tool has come up with a rifle that fills the bill for the Squad Designated Marksman — they call it the “Modular Weapon System.” The rifle is built around the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge (or simply the .308). Of course the great irony of the 7.62mm NATO was that prior to the Global War on Terror it had been essentially shelved as a battle-rifle round replaced almost wholesale by the 5.56x45mm NATO. Today that situation has changed dramatically.

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