Although the Barrett M82A1 and the M107 have served with distinction for years, a facelift was inevitable. These changes look to be not only interesting but also practical, as most seem to go towards lowering the weight, meanwhile taking the needs of the operator into account. For instance, within the bolt group there are some parts removed for simplicity while the internals are coated or chromed for ease of cleaning. Most importantly, it is designed to accept what would be a new suppressor. A new muzzle brake made of steel not only allows for the mounting of the suppressor, but also sheds even more weight. All in all it looks to be some practical changes that will make a difference.
The rifle I had the pleasure of testing was the latest-generation M107A1, with the CQ or Close Quarters Barrel. It is a 20-inch version of the M107A1 rifle designed to accept the suppressor as well. The M107A1 has a lower that is coated in brown to match the anodized aluminum upper with an integrated rail. A really nice addition to the upper is the Thermal Guard cheekpiece, which is not only a bit more comfortable, but it keeps the shooter from dealing with the heat or cold. This rifle was topped with a Leupold 4.5–14x50mm scope and the BORS (Barrett Optical Ranging System). The magazine was coated to match the color of the rest of the rifle. Most of the changes seem to be about weight and usability—not only the use of aluminum where possible, but titanium as well. The titanium components of this rifle are as follows: barrel key, bipod yoke, bipod legs (internal), and monopod screw.
The changes that would really be put to the test in this class though were in the bolt and the chamber. The fully chrome-lined bore and chamber should add to durability and ease of cleaning. The bolt group was changed a bit to accommodate the suppressor. Truly suppressing a .50 BMG has always been problematic, especially the semi-auto. Some suppressors work, sort of, but they tend to make the rifle a bear to shoot. This system was designed to alleviate that. The coating on the bolt and the bolt carrier components is a Nickel-Teflon, or NP3, a very durable and self-lubricating coating. The bolt carrier body is PVD, as well as the other steel and titanium parts not included in the bolt carrier group.