As the M40 proves, Tactical Rifles’ attention to detail results…

As the M40 proves, Tactical Rifles’ attention to detail results in superb accuracy and reliability. Shown with a Nightforce 5.5-22×50 NXS scope.

Precision rifle competitions really drive the market these days. Dedicated sniper matches occur all over the country. The need to win has completely altered rifles and their accessories. Tactical precision rifles can be built in any caliber, color, size, shape and configuration. Stocks fold, come apart and can adjust to meet a shooter’s needs. Barrel lengths run as short as 12.5 inches, with suppressors becoming the norm. In many instances, this has been a real plus for those who use these rifles in harm’s way, as the equipment is more rugged and proven. Unfortunately, similar to the pistol competition world, it’s also made things very expensive. The same rifle that cost me $2,000 in the 1980s is close to three times that price today. Very few officers or agencies have that kind of money, and when they do, it is critical they get a solid product.

Tactical Rifles equips the M40 with an enlarged bolt handle so operators can easily manipulate the action with gloved hands. Tactical Rifles flutes the bolt of the M40 for weight reduction. The action was smooth and allowed for fast follow-up shots.

Many of these competitions are adventure races, with rifles ready for long stalks and deployable from concealment. As professional competitors become better, the courses go farther downrange. Needless to say, precision rifles these days are not simple. But few real deployments for officers today require long hikes, 10-hour stalks or shooting from a helicopter.

An officer’s rifle needs to be accurate—not benchrest accurate. Groups are great for testing your consistency as a shooter, but most officers get one shot, not five. LEOs need precision—the ability to place one shot exactly where it needs to go every time the rifle comes out of the bag. Its ability to “group” after that shot is secondary. The more consistent the rifle, the more precise the officer can be.

The stock needs to be strong, impervious to weather and comfortable for the shooter. Adjustments are great, but they aren’t necessary. By the same token, scopes need to be simple. Forget the complex and convoluted reticles. Given that actual deployment distances are closer to 50 yards than 500, you will probably never touch the adjustment knobs except to maintain your cold bore. The scope needs to be simple, rugged, repeatable and mounted in solid rings.

Triggers need to be crisp and completely dependable. Super-light triggers are great when the only target is paper and the only thing lost is a trophy. When someone’s life is on the line, it is a completely different story. Leave the 1.5-pound triggers on your benchrest rifle. Lastly, the rifle needs a bipod or bag for stability, and for those agencies that can afford it, some form of night vision.

There are still a few companies that cater to the law enforcement market. Tactical Rifles recently provided an excellent example that meets all of the aforementioned criteria—the Tactical M40.

Gun Details

Tactical Rifles specializes in building rifles to suit the needs of their customers. The base for a typical M40 from Tactical Rifles is the McMillan M40 stock. It is simple and dependable, making it a great addition for most police deployments. You can also order this rifle with an excellent Manners T4 stock, or the T4A version as tested, which features an adjustable cheekpiece.

It also has a very solid section of Picatinny rail forward of the 20-MOA scope mount, a great place for mounting night-vision gear. Two forward-mounted sling studs are present for a bipod and sling. Flush cups for quick-detach (QD) sling mounts are placed at the front and rear on the left side. This particular M40 also features a box magazine floorplate from Tactical Rifles. This has to be one of the most solid floorplates on the market. The added strength and rigidity allows for better feeding and reliability. A 10-round, AICS-pattern magazine was provided.

The M40 series utilizes a Remington 700-style action that has been completely accurized, blueprinted, ground and lapped. Several chamberings are available, but I elected to go with 7.62mm NATO for the test rifle. This M40’s action is completely smooth and utilizes a fluted bolt with a large tactical knob and oversized extractor. The bolt release is fitted nicely to the side of the action so it can be removed easily for cleaning. The trigger is crisp and predictable—it feels very solid.

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