Specific purpose from factory:
The “modular” 98 B from Barrett is a rifle made for long distance precision shooting. You would think that Barrett, with some 400 confirmed kills on their M107 would have no worry about the implications of slating the 98 B as a sniper rifle, but it is conspicuously absent from their product descriptions. I couldn’t venture a guess the role Barrett has in mind for the .338 Lapua chambered 98 B. It is as much a sniper rifle and anti-material rifle as I have ever seen, and dare I say: looks the part more than most. Don’t call it a sniper rifle though, Barrett wouldn’t have that.
Adaptations that have become the norm for operators:
The 98 B is not officially affiliated with any special groups and has not seen widespread military or law Enforcement action. It is popular in the civilian market and may be entered as a weapon in trials or in competitions for military and law enforcement contracts of note, IF the other Barrett .338 Lapua doesn’t beat it out (the Barrett MRAD)
.338 Lapua Magnum
1500 meters; while the standard range is somewhat indicative of the maximum peak shot range of the round, the rifle and the round are both more capable for distance. In fact a shot with a .338 Lapua was the single longest distance confirmed kill in the history of warfare from a shoulder fired round. In 2009 A CoH named Craig Harrison from the U.K. made a double kill shot from 2,475 meters in Afghanistan. That’s nearly 1,000 meters further than the stated effective range of the round. It certainly makes you wonder how many darts/dartboards are involved when calculating the effective ranges of high powered cartridges.
Because the 98 B has not been picked up as a contract weapon, or even considered for any major new contracts yet, the only accomplishment of note is that it is a completely new design. It has parts and pieces and design cues from other rifles, but it is distinctly Barrett’s own build. It’s so unique in fact that no other rifle before it had any three fo the same build features (noted later); yet, AFTER its introduction, several rifles have attempted to copy it in a host of different ways. That is innovation at its finest.
Engagement History of Note:
There is no documented conflict activity for the Barrett 98 B yet, but I would guess that some law enforcement agency has at some point made an engagement with the rifle. It is rumored that Barrett made the 98 B in anticipation of a Marine Corps contract that was yet to be drawn up, and since modified the newer Barrett release (called the MRAD) for inclusion in the SOCOM (Special Operations Command) Precision (wait for it)SNIPER rifle contract, where is it meeting stiff competition.
If you were to take the coolest looking parts of a FN/FAL and merge them with the best looking features of a monolithic AR-15 and skeletonize everything, while adding the beefiness of the Barrett’s historical designs, you would have the 98 B. Combine that with a bolt action and you are ready for business. The modular 98 B comes with two 10 round detachable magazines, and is available either in a 20” or a 27” barrel with a full 1913 rail for forward mounted night vision and large objective lens optics. Standard from factory a Harris bipod is also included and two high quality sling swivel mounts.
From factory here are few add on items, where the rifle comes with everything if you buy that configuration. There are 4 basic configurations: a 20” or a 27” with a scope and one set without. The rest of the included pieces consist of a hard case and the above mentioned items-Standard.
Basic Information about the Firearm:
The 98 B is a: just shy of 13 lbs. rifle with a 10 shot magazine and a 27” barrel, with a 9 lug rotating bolt design and a full length 1913 rail on it for use with a wide range of optics.
$4,500 USD upwards for larger configurations with optics
¾ M.O.A. at 800 yards.
General information about the 98 B:
A simple bolt action, made even more amazing by the inclusion of a high capacity high powered round, with the nice distinction of having the longest confirmed kill in history attached to it (the cartridge, not the rifle).
The ten round .338 lapua with a less than 16 pound build weight, optics included, is quite a rifle to be lugging around with you in field. That’s a three quarter minute of angle at 800 meters 27” heavy fluted barrel 10 shot virtually maintenance free, intuitive 16 pound .338 Lapua. Impressive: that’s about the only single word to describe the Barrett 98 B, as it is truly a thing of beauty.
Simplicity is at the heart of this long range (don’t call it a sniper rifle) precision rifle. The trigger group is removable and adjustable by the end user, the gun breaks down with a single latch and a tap to the rear of the buttstock; the safety is the singular piece of action outside of the bolt and trigger group, that my friends is simplicity and utility if you ask me.
Nothing on the 98 B is cheaply made; it’s all high quality materials and workmanship, as well as the best fit and finish for a modular concept on the market.
Barrett guarantees sub ¾ M.O.A. at 800 yards with the 98 B, which is plenty accurate for most users, and more than enough for a true military trained marksman to squeeze the most out of it.
The bolt sleeve claims to handle grit and fouling with ease, and offers an almost mechanical lubrication, instead of having to rely on dirt attracting wet lubes. The muzzle brake is substantial and reduces recoil to that of a heavy load out of a 20 gauge.
The break open action allows for ease of cleaning from the bore to the muzzle end, and the parts are simple, well made, and precision mated.
The 98 B is clean, cool and means business, just don’t call it a sniper rifle.
Author’s personal experience with the Firearm:
I shot it once with about 30 rounds of ammunition, and was impressed by its capability and weight considering that most rifles in this caliber and with these features aren’t nearly as intuitive or lightweight. The polymer bolt guide is ingenious, but I haven’t put the 98 B through its paces to determine if it’s good outside of just theory.
I put 10 shots into a ring about the size of a half dollar, which was more than respectable at 600 meters, but this gun can do better than that. There was a slight side wind and there was ever a feeling of pushing the rifle to its limits. I think that’s an incredible feat when you look at the competition. It’s really good looking, and lighter weight than most others in its genre; it’s chambered in an incredible round.
It’s not the best designed magazine, I think they could do better than that, and despite looking good, it does have a bit of a “manufactured” look to it in the back end. The trigger isn’t as nice as I had hoped for a nearly $5k rifle.
There really isn’t anything to hate here; if it wasn’t priced near enough to competitors, I might cringe at the price, but that’s a market factor, not a price gouging scheme.
Final Notes on the 98 B
A final note about the 98 B:
It’s rare that I can’t find something flawed about a rifle, but the 98 B impressed me. I don’t get the catalyst for design, but maybe Barrett was clued in way before the rest of us as to that USSOCOM sniper contract, who knows? The fact is: Barrett in the 98B redesigned the bolt action to take advantage of the modularity of the AR-15 platform, the functional simplicity of the FN/FAL receivers and the best that the .338 Lapua could offer. In short Barrett engineered a win with the 98 B.