Marine Corps Confirms Adoption Of Mk 13 Scout Sniper Rifle

BY Herschel Smith
8 months, 2 weeks ago


Back in April TFB reported that the USMC was finally moving to replace the venerable M40 Sniper Rifle. The Corps has confirmed this in a press release announcing the adoption of the Mk 13 Precision Sniper Rifle which will replace the M40A6 currently in service.

The Marine Corps is set to begin fielding the Mk 13 Mod 7 in late 2018, with infantry and recon battalions, as well as scout snipers receiving the weapon. The Mk 13 Mod 7 is already in service with the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC).

[ … ]

The Mk 13 Mod 7 is chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum and features a “long-action receiver, stainless steel barrel, and an extended rail interface system for a mounted scope and night vision optic.” The new rifle and round will bring the Marine Corps capability into alignment with that of the US Army’s snipers and those of Special Operations Command.

[ … ]

While the Corps’ press release does not state how many of the new precision rifles have been purchased as we previously reported the USMC’s FY2019 Budget Estimates Justification Book indicates that 356 rifles will be purchased during the 2018 fiscal year at a projected cost of $4.287 million. This puts the per rifle cost at around $12,000.

Excuse me?  $12,000 per rifle?  I could field three times that many rifles for the cost simply by purchasing parts and doing the build myself.  This is a .300 Win Mag with a tactical chassis, bipod and scope.  Good Lord.  The Marine Corps was taken in this deal.  This is why it’s so costly to arm the U.S. Military.  We make idiotic decisions.

One good note, however.  Heretofore the Marine Corps only shot with the .308, and anything stronger usually involved the deployment of the .50 Sasser.  Deploying the .300 Win Mag is a good intermediary step, one that should have been taken long ago.


  1. On May 9, 2018 at 11:38 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    Re: “Excuse me? $12,000 per rifle? I could field three times that many rifles for the cost simply by purchasing parts and doing the build myself. This is a .300 Win Mag with a tactical chassis, bipod and scope. Good Lord. The Marine Corps was taken in this deal. This is why it’s so costly to arm the U.S. Military. We make idiotic decisions.”

    Well-said. The Marine Corps usually does a good job thinking through problems and arriving at suitable solutions, but in this case, they got taken to the cleaners. Or, should I say – the taxpayers have been taken to the cleaners – since they’ll be the ones footing the bill for each $12,000 rifle.

    Oftentimes, the Marine Corps can teach the Army a few things about riflemanship, but in this case, the GIs are the ones teaching the Jarheads. The Army’s division of precision rifles into classes – light, medium and heavy – based upon caliber, makes a lot of sense. The Corps has long-had a gapping hole in its line-up, relying only upon the .308/7.62×51 NATO and the Browning .50-caliber round for all of its precision rifle needs.

    As U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Jim Gilliland proved in Iraq some years ago, in very skilled hands, the .308 can be stretched out considerably further than its ostensible maximum range of 850-1000 yards (or meters, which is what the army prefers). Gilliland currently holds the record for a sniper kill using 7.62×51 NATO/.308, at roughly 1350 meters.

    However impressive this performance, even Gilliland would probably admit that the .308 isn’t the ideal round for such distances. That’s where the .300 Win-Mag comes in. The late Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle spoke highly of the cartridge, which he used for most of his combat missions as a precision rifleman. Using 190-grain SMK BTHPs, the 300 WM is reliable out to 1300 yards, and when loaded with heavier, sleeker projectiles, such as the 220-grain Sierra Match King BTHP, it is supersonic out to ranges of nearly a mile, 1500 yards or more. That’s nearly .338 Lapua Magnum territory, from a cartridge which is cheaper, more common and has less recoil.

    The Navy terms this round Mk. 248 Mod. 1. It was developed by the Naval Special Warfare Center at Crane, Indiana, working in cooperation with Jeff Hoffman, the owner of Black Hills Ammunition.

    Kyle used a rifle chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum for his longest shots in action, a round which he considered favorably in comparison to the .50 BMG, remarking that the .338 round shot flatter, recoiled less and had superior accuracy to the big .50 – and had nearly equivalent terminal effects.

    The Marine Corps is doing the right thing bringing its equipment into the 21st century; the grunts have been asking for these upgrades for a long time now – and it is long past time to give them the tools they need to do their jobs effectively.

  2. On May 10, 2018 at 8:46 am, Gryphon said:

    While that $12K / Gun is Wildly Overpriced, the Contract most likely includes a Years’ worth (or More) of Technical Support by the Manufacturer, Training for the MC Armorers who will support it, and an Unlimited Warranty.

    At least, I Hope it does…

  3. On May 10, 2018 at 9:28 am, moe mensale said:

    Gryphon pretty much covered it. The unit cost most likely covers the base rifle, day scope, suppressor, cleaning kit, carry case, ancillary parts & supplies. Additional costs for manufacturer support for training, maintenance and warranty costs spanning some predefined number of years.

  4. On May 10, 2018 at 9:34 am, moe mensale said:

    Who’s building these? Remington? Accuracy International?

  5. On May 10, 2018 at 9:46 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Okay, I accept the correction. Let’s assume it includes the suppressor (a can with baffles) and some instruction and maintenance.

    We should still have been able to get two for the price they quoted. It’s feasible to build a modern precision rifle (in 6mm or 6.5mm Creedmoor which is the preferred round these days) for $4500 – $5000. Let’s assume the scope is extra.

    The gun is still overpriced. And what on earth are the MC armorers doing? Are they even involved in this effort to teach, instruct, maintain?

  6. On May 10, 2018 at 9:47 am, Herschel Smith said:

    A lifetime warrantee comes with every gun I purchase. This is customary and assumed, not extra. Any manufacturer who won’t warrantee their gun that way isn’t worthy of the money.

  7. On May 10, 2018 at 10:11 am, Gryphon said:

    Captain- I didn’t mean to Imply there wasn’t Waste, Fraud and Abuse in that Contract, just that it might not be as Bad as it Seems… /S/

  8. On May 10, 2018 at 10:19 am, Herschel Smith said:


    Right. But I over-stated my case. I’m sure it’s a nice rifle, but this seems too pricey, even with support services.

  9. On May 10, 2018 at 2:32 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ Herschel

    Re: “Right. But I over-stated my case. I’m sure it’s a nice rifle, but this seems too pricey, even with support services.”

    You’re right, because this transaction conforms to what some political scientists have termed the iron triangle, or alternatively, the triangle of corruption.

    According to this model, if there are three stake-holders in a given transaction, i.e., in this case the taxpayers, the military (Marine Corps), and the administrative bureaucracy of the Department of Defense, only two of them are actually represented at the bargaining table when the transaction is concluded. The taxpayers being the ones left standing without a seat when the music stops.

    Since neither the Corps nor the DOD-Pentagon has a compelling interest in saving the hard-earned money of the taxpayers, not much effort is made to economize or extract the maximum-possible value per dollar spent in these kinds of procurement programs. Indeed, many would argue – including many present/former members of the military – that there exist multiple perverse incentives which mitigate against saving money where possible.

    Having said that, by the standards of the Five-Sided Puzzle Palace, this deal wasn’t all that bad. Small potatoes, in fact. The truly big procurement bucks aren’t found in deals upgrading small arms; they’re usually to be found in the appropriations for a new attack submarine, aircraft carrier, or the latest generation of jet fighter.

  10. On May 10, 2018 at 6:27 pm, scott s. said:

    I can see commenters have never been through the POM process nor budgeting and the fight for resources. I assume the number quoted given the source, is the program cost, not the specific contract cost for just the hardware. While I’m sure Herschel could build these up in his garage for much less, is he also doing the sparing models, initial buy-in of spares, setting up for repair-of-repairables, defining the maintenance plan and establishing unit, intermediate, and depot maintenance? Initial training?

    I get that hardware engineers view system engineers as “overhead”.

  11. On May 10, 2018 at 7:27 pm, Debbie Downer said:

    As far as a big price tag goes, consider the tradeoff between many of these specialty rifles versus the cost on ONE erroneously targeted Cruise Missle. No contest. We know these individual weapons in well trained hands will be quite effective. Relax, exhale slowly, squeeze….

  12. On May 10, 2018 at 9:38 pm, Herschel Smith said:


    Ha! Very well stated. True enough in all you said, the price tag is still too high.

    Add everything you said to the “system,” and I’m willing to bet that the gunsmiths at Hyatt Gun Shop could handle it.

    They have eight full time smiths on duty seven days a week, so many more than that on staff. Add a few for support and training, and give them the contract. They could come in under $12,000 per rifle. They do custom builds anyway, very nice ones.

    Oh okay, add a dozen smiths for the time it takes to supply this contract, and then cut back a few, while leaving a few for support.

  13. On May 11, 2018 at 3:01 pm, moe mensale said:

    “We should still have been able to get two for the price they quoted.”

    Regardless what scott s. or any of us said, I don’t think anyone anywhere believes for a moment that US military procurement is a well-oiled, efficient, effective process. Hell, it’s not like it’s their money they’re playing with. And those military industrialists who supply them have to maintain a certain lifestyle.

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You are currently reading "Marine Corps Confirms Adoption Of Mk 13 Scout Sniper Rifle", entry #19193 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns,Marine Corps and was published May 9th, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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