M40 rifle

M40 rifle

The M40 sniper rifle
Type Sniper rifle
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1966–present
Used by United States
Wars Vietnam War
Multinational Force in Lebanon
Invasion of Grenada
Gulf War
Operation Restore Hope
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War[1]
Production history
Manufacturer United States Marine Corps
U.S. Ordnance
Weight M40A1: 6.57 kg (14.48 lb)
M40A3: 7.5 kg (16.5 lb)
Length M40A1: 1,117 mm (43.97 in)
M40A3: 1,124 mm (44.25 in)
Barrel length 610 mm (24 in) (1:12 right hand twist)
M40A1: Hart (6 lands and grooves)
M40A3: Schneider Match Grade SS No. 7 (6 lands and grooves)

Cartridge 7.62×51mm NATO
Action Bolt action
Muzzle velocity 777 m/s (2,550 ft/s) (w/175 gr. M118LR)
Effective firing range 900 meters
Feed system 5-round integral box magazine (M40, M40A1, M40A3)
10-round removable box magazine (M40A5)
Sights Scout Sniper Day Scope (SSDS)— Schmidt and Bender PM II 3-12x50.

The M40 rifle is a bolt-action sniper rifle used by the United States Marine Corps.[2] It has had four variants—the M40, M40A1, M40A3, and M40A5.[3] The M40 was introduced in 1966. The changeover to the A1 model was completed in the 1970s, the A3 in the 2000s, and the A5 in 2009.[4]

Each M40 is built from a Remington 700 bolt-action rifle, and is modified by USMC armorers at Marine Corps Base Quantico, using components from a number of suppliers.[2] New M40A5s are being built, and A1s are upgraded to A3s and A5s as they rotate into the armory for service and repair. The rifles have had many sub-variations in telescopic sights, and smaller user modifications. The M40A5 incorporates a detachable magazine and a threaded barrel to allow for the use of a sound suppressor or other muzzle device.

The original M40 was a military type-classified version of the Remington 700; it was factory-made, and had a one-piece wooden stock.[2] The M40A1 and A3 switched to fiberglass stocks made by McMillan, with new scopes.[2][5] The trigger pull on both models (M40A1/A3) is 3–5 lb (1.4–2.3 kg).[2]


  • History 1
  • M40A3 2
  • M40A5 3
  • Comparison 4
  • M40A6 5
  • Differences between M40 and M24 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The M40A3

During the Vietnam War, the Marine Corps decided they needed a standard sniper rifle.[2] After testing several possibilities, they ordered seven hundred Remington Model 40x rifles (target/varmint version of the Model 700 bolt-action rifle), and gave them the M40 designation.[2] Most had a Redfield 3–9 power Accurange variable scope mounted. With time, certain weaknesses, primarily warping of the all-wood stock, became apparent.[2]

Sometime in the early 1970s, the USMC armorers at MCB Quantico began rebuilding the original M40s into M40A1s.[2] The process involved, among other improvements, replacing the original wood stocks with McMillan A1 fiberglass stocks, as well as replacing the original 3-9x Redfield variable-power scopes with 10x Unertl fixed-power scopes.[2] The M40 was originally designed by Jack Cuddy and Neill Goddard.[2] The stock featured Wichita sling swivels and a Pachmayr buttpad.[2]

The Corps began looking at a replacement for the M40 series in 2004, but did not draft requirements until 2009. The Sniper Rifle 21st century is paused while the Corps waits for the results of SOCOM's Precision Sniper Rifle program.[6]


Development of the M40A3 began in 1996 and concluded in 2001,[5] when it was placed into service during Operation Enduring Freedom. It served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and other subsequent conflicts. Though its designation would remain M40A3 until 2009, its exact configuration varied with time. Listed here is a description of the components used in the M40A3.

Action: The M40 has always been based on the Remington 700 Short Action with .308 bolt face, and this is no different in the M40A3.[7] These actions are tuned by Marine armorers; the trigger guard assembly is manufactured by the DD Ross Company, though several M40A3s use Badger Ordnance trigger guards.[5] In 2007, the Marine Corps began replacing the DD Ross trigger guard assemblies with the M5 detachable magazine trigger guard manufactured by Badger Ordnance.[7]

Barrel: The barrel is a Schneider 610; 24-inch, 6-groove, 1:12" match-grade heavy barrel.[7][8]

Stock: All service M40A3s are based upon the A4 Tactical Riflestock, a benchrest-style fiberglass riflestock made by McMillan Fiberglass Stocks and cast molded in an OD Green color.[5][8] The action is glass bedded into the stock with aluminum pillars, while the barrel is allowed to "float" (it is attached only to the action), ensuring it is stress free during operation. The stock has adjustable length-of-pull (through a buttstock spacer system) and a Marine manufactured adjustable saddle-type cheekpiece.[8] The stock also has six mount flush cups, two on each side front and back and one each on the front and rear underside.[5] One bipod stud is located on the underside of the foreend.[8]

Sling: The Model 1907 sling that has been historically used on M40A3s has been replaced with the Quick Cuff Model Two sling manufactured by Tactical Intervention Specialists.

Snipers utilize a M40A5 with tripod and suppressor while training at the Mountain Warfare Training Center

Bipod: The M40A3s use a 6–9" Harris notched swivel type bipod with a KMW podlock.[8]

Dayscope: The M8541 Scout Sniper Day Scope is a Schmidt and Bender Police Marksman II LP 3-12x50 modified by Premier Reticles.[9] Starting in 2007, this model replaced the Unertl MST-100 10× fixed day scope.[8] This dayscope is mounted with Badger Ordnance USMC M40A3 34mm scope rings, which use a standard ring in the rear and a wider MAX-50 ring in front.[5] The standard front ring cap is replaced with a SPA-Defense B634 34mm Male Dovetail, as a mounting platform for the Simrad KN200 Night Vision Weapon Sight. The scope and rings are mounted on a DD Ross 30-minute-of-angle lugged Picatinny rail.[5][7]


The M40A5 designation superseded the M40A3 in 2009, though the evolution between the two systems occurred gradually over a longer period.[10] The primary difference between the M40A5 and the M40A3 is the barrel: The A3's target crown has been replaced with a threaded muzzle and straight tapered barrel to allow the installation of a Surefire muzzle brake and sound suppressor. All M40A5s are fitted with a Badger Ordnance detachable magazine system and a forward rail mount for the AN/PVS-22 night vision optic.[11]


  M40A1 M40A3 M40A5
Weight (w/scope) 6.57 kg (14.45 lb) 7.5 kg (16.56 lb) 7.5 kg (16.56 lb)
Overall Length 1.117 m (44.0 in) 1.124 m (44.25 in) 1.124 m (44.25 in)
Barrel Length (24 in) (24 in) (24 in)
Barrel Hart Schneider Match Grade Stainless-Steel USMC Barrel Schneider Stainless-Steel
Lands and Grooves 6 6 6
Rifling RH 1:304.8 mm (1–12") RH 1:304.8 mm (1–12") RH 1:304.8 mm (1–12")
Stock McMillan HTG McMillan Tactical A4 McMillan Tactical A4
Scope Redfield 3-9x scope then Unertl 10x Unertl 10x with US Optics upgrade Schmidt & Bender 3-12x50 M9541 Schmidt & Bender 3–12× 50mm Police Marksman II LP scope


On 25 July 2013, the Marine Corps released a solicitation for the M40 Modular Stock Program. Upgraded features are to include a foldable stock to make the rifle more compact for transportation inside confined spaces like vehicles and a full-length rail to accommodate optics and accessories. The resulting weapon from the program will be re-designated the M40A6. The M40A5 only has a few inches of rail space beyond the scope for a night vision optic. Extending the rail length would allow more accessories to be attached, enabling snipers to put rounds on target under any conditions. The stock must be compatible with current M40 actions and barrels. A contract was expected to be awarded between September 2014 and February 2015 with deliveries beginning three months after being awarded. 1,100 stocks will be purchased to upgraded the entire M40A5 inventory.[12] Remington was awarded the contract in November 2014.[13]

Differences between M40 and M24

The U.S. Army also uses the Remington 700/40x action as the basis for its M24 Sniper Weapon System.[2] The primary difference between the Army and the USMC rifles is that while the USMC M40/A1/A3 uses the short action version of the Remington 700/40x (designed for shorter cartridges, such as 5.56, 7 mm/08 Remington, .243 Winchester), the Army M24 uses the long action version of the same rifle.[2] The long-action of the M24 can use the .308 Winchester (7.62×51mm NATO) but is mainly designed for full-length cartridges, such as the .30-06 Springfield, and magnum cartridges, such as the 7 mm Remington Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum.[2] The U.S. Army's use of the long action was the result of an original intention to chamber the M24 for .300 Winchester Magnum;[14] despite the change to .308 (7.62×51mm NATO), retaining the longer action allows them to reconfigure the rifle in the larger, longer-range calibers if necessary.

See also


  1. ^ Sasser, Charles and Craig Roberts (1990). One Shot, One Kill. New York: Pocket Books. p. 208.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Senich, Peter R. (1988). Complete Book of U.S. Sniping. Boulder, CO:  
  3. ^ Keene, R.R. (April 2009). "Precision Weapons Handmade by Marines, for Marines". Leatherneck Magazine: 37. Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  4. ^ "M40A1 Sniper Rifle". USMC Fact File. U.S. Marine corps. Archived from the original on 25 February 2007. Retrieved 23 May 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "M40A3 Sniper Rifle". M40A3. United States Marine Corps Scout Sniper Association. Retrieved 23 May 2009. 
  6. ^ Lamothe, Dan (17 March 2011). "Corps fielding new semi-automatic sniper rifle".  
  7. ^ a b c d "M40A3 7.62 mm sniper rifle (United States), Sniper and special purpose rifles". Jane's Infantry Weapons. Jane's. Retrieved 23 May 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f "WTBN, MCB, CLNC, M40A3 Sniper Rifle". USMC Fact File. Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune. Retrieved 23 May 2009. 
  9. ^ http://www.marcorsyscom.marines.mil/Portals/105/Counsel/Contracts/M67854-05-D-1043~Premier%20Reticles.pdf
  10. ^ http://www.i-mef.usmc.mil/external/15thmeu/news/news_2010_07_19.jsp
  11. ^ The document you are looking for cannot be found. Leatherneckmagazine-digital.com. Retrieved on 6 January 2014.
  12. ^ Corps seeks modular stock for sniper rifle - MarineCorpstimes.com, 11 August 2013
  13. ^ Remington Awarded Contract for the Marine’s M40 Sniper Rifle Program - Thefirearmblog.com, 7 November 2014
  14. ^ U.S. Army M24 Sniper Weapon System. Snipercentral.com. Retrieved on 6 January 2014.

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • M40A1 Sniper Rifle on About.com
  • M40 Magazine reviews
  • M40A5