The Army adopted a longstanding and notable small arm into its ranks in 1988. It was a simple design, reminiscent of older versions, but innovative and high tech in its own way. It is still amongst the Army’s standard rifles, because it has proven itself to be beyond reproach.
It will likely always command attention, as it has probably been the single most influential sniper rifle in history. That’s a big claim, but the M24, the name the Army gave to the Remington 700 rifle that it chose to outfit its specialty marksmen with, is a rifle that knows how to answer to big claims.
In 2010 it was rumored to be at the end of its life cycle, with a changing warfare scene pushing it out of the limelight and paving the way for more versatile rifles like the M110 SASS made by Knight’s Armament, but the contract still got filled in 2010, and Army Snipers still picked up their beloved M24 and went to warzones with it, confident that they had everything they needed to make the difference they were trained to make.
Again in the next year or so, it is rumored that the Army will swap out their 2,600 or so M24 sniper rifles to the modular and more advanced XM2010 Enhanced sniper. That’s a per year number: the total in circulation remains above 15,000 M24 rifles.
So whether this is in memoriam to the M24 or a tribute to the still potent M24 sniper system, it doesn’t much matter, as no one can knock the incredible contribution the M24 sniper has made to the free world.
Specific purpose from factory:
This rifle is made for one reason: anti personnel. It has also been used for a variety of other tasks including EOD (explosive ordnance disposal), and light anti-material purposes. The M24 sniper is just that: a Sniper rifle.
Adaptations that have become the norm for operators:
This rifle has been used for everything in the most recent conflicts in the Middle East and Northern Africa. The M24 has become one of the most versatile shoulder fired rifles on all time, with its success across the sniper matrix from the Marines to the Navy to the Army, with many kills racked up in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has been used as an anti material rifle, especially when trying to disable vehicles moving away from a placed IED, or other concerns.
7.62 x 51mm (.308 NATO) is standard, but the many variants of the M24 sniper include chambering in the .300 Winchester Magnum and the .338 Lapua cartridges
Approximately 875 meters. The .308 cartridge is generally not shot past 1,000 meters, but shots have been taken effectively up to 1,250 meters.
In September, 2005, Staff Sergeant Jim Gilliland, of the 2nd Battalion of the 3rd Infantry took an insurgent out in Ramadi with an M24 at 1,250 meters, well beyond many armchair sniper’s effective range calculations. Staff Sergeant Justin Morales recorded 27 kills in a yearlong tour in Iraq with the M24.
Engagement History of Note:
Obviously the above mentioned accomplishments of Staff Sergeant Morales and Gilliland are of note. Additionally, the M24 sniper has been used for countless other kills in the Middle East conflicts, and is used by several allied nations for the same purpose, including Israel, a country known for its incredibly competent special forces.
H-S Precision Kevlar reinforced fiberglass stock; .308 with a Leupold MK4 Optic; Harris Bipod; 24” barrel 5 round internal magazine.
Variants include the M24 A1: A .300 Winchester Magnum version; M24 A3 .338 Lapua version.
Several build types exist from factory, as a rifle only or as a complete system.
Basic Information about the Firearm:
MSRP of rifle only is right at USD $4,750; the kit is MSRP of USD $9,100 Generally speaking you can save $1-2k on these prices NIB, but a used variant, if documented, or modified by a well known Military Gunsmith can command a premium of 2-4K additionally above the MSRP.
3” groups at 1,000 meters is the goal. That equates to ½ M.O.A. The Army expects 300 yard 1.9” groups with Ball Match Mil-spec ammunition; the M24 Sniper exceeds that level of accuracy easily.
General information about the M24:
In what can only be called one of the best values in the ultra high precision field, the M24 sniper rifle is a stalwart contender for the rifle of the last 25 years. It is amongst the most recognizable and revered rifles in modern history. With thousands of confirmed kills in just the last two major conflicts, the M24 is perhaps the most decorated taker of life in the history of open conflict.
The M24 has a long Action receiver made in the standard Remington style but it is mated to an unusual barrel: a 416 stainless blank, precision made to be unlike any other. The Remington barrel features a unique 1 twist in 11.25 inches with a shoulder angle of 65 degrees on the Lands in the rifling setup. As a result, the break in period requires a “1 shot 1 clean” requirement for at least the first box of ammunition to properly “tune” the rifling. The resulting accuracy and fouling are noticeably improved. The engineering of the barrel encompasses the projectile in a perfectly symmetrical helical blanket, and the 5 RH twist mated lands and grooves optimize the flight of the projectile.
The M24 uses a tried and true H-S Precision Fiberglass stock, reinforced with Kevlar fabric and threads and a precision machined Aluminum solid bedding black instead of glass bedding. The stock has been the subject of some dismay amongst precision riflemen in harsh conditions, and is one of the deciding factors for the trend towards the newer XM2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle from Remington.
Iron sights don’t some fixed, but rather through the emergency setup: a mated detachable pair of Redfields with the Palma Designation, which fit into the precision machined attachment points on the M24. Standard optic is the Leupold MK4 fixed 1 power x 40mm Objective lens.
Author’s personal experience with the Firearm:
The Good: If you haven’t shot this weapon, you are missing out. It’s perhaps most normal people’s biggest chance to shoot a bona fide sniper rifle. The accuracy of the system delivers what can only be called “exceptional” accuracy out of the box. To achieve this kind of accuracy, it takes much more time than I care to admit, as well as a lot of fine tuning and accurizing. With the M24, you can get a factory gun at benchrest standards for a “reasonable price. It’s smooth looking, battle proven, tougher than most Bolt actions, not the least bit finicky, and built with such high tolerances that I challenge you to find a standard factory rifle approaching it in feel or capability.
The Bad: It’s still fairly heavy, not particularly well suited to CQB, and hard to get off more than 10 really well placed shots on a man sized target within a minute, for anyone without specialized training.
The Ugly: The stock is the subject of several concerns, which actually provided a catalyst for the M24 sniper rifle’s replacement. The obvious replacement seems ready to outdo the M24 sniper with ease. It’s maybe a testament to Remington’s learning experience and capability, or maybe a settling for things which weren’t quite the top tier for the last few years. The H-S Precision stock is a bit less reliable in the wet environments than it needs to be.
A Final note on the M24
Final notes on the M24 Sniper system:
Snipers in the Army receive training most civilians will never be able to comprehend. The system is so selective and brutal on these men that only the absolute most hardened, collected and talented men can survive, let alone thrive. The idea that these men choose willingly to take a bolt action over a proven semiauto (M110 SASS) into a war zone where having a 24” bolt action slung over your shoulder puts an instant target on your back speaks to its capabilities and the vast amount of respect these men have for the M24.