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What Rifle Do Marine Scout Snipers Use? [In 2024]

Dakota Potts | Updated February 23, 2024 | Why You Should Trust Us | How We Earn Money
Soldiers aiming sniper rifles

Just from the name, one of the duties of marine scout snipers is to fire at targets from long-range distances. To achieve that, they need quality equipment that will allow them to hit their targets while not revealing their position. Read on to find which rifle this is.

For more reading see our article on the top military grade sniper scopes.

What Rifle Is Popular Among Marine Scout Snipers?

What rifle do marine scout snipers use? Well, they use the M40 Sniper Rifle. The United States Marine Corps (USMC) has used the M40 since the Vietnam War. 

Although the rifle has undergone plenty of modification since it was introduced, it has maintained its position as one of the best sniper rifles used by the army. (Reference 1: Military Sniper Rifles)

Those who have wielded this bolt-action rifle in combat praise it for being effective and almost irreplaceable.

The History of the M40 Sniper Rifle

Since the Marine Corps was founded, they have always conducted training based on individual marksmanship. Such training equips recruits with firing knowledge and confidence. No other group in the Marine Corps emphasizes such training as the scout snipers because these are qualities they need in the field.

The first time scout snipers fought in a battle was in World War II. They didn’t have standard rifles. Instead, they used different types of rifles or whatever was available.

The first M40s were used in the Vietnam War in 1966. They were derived from the Remington 700. Most scout snipers were able to achieve high kill counts because of these rifles.

How the M40 Sniper Rifle Evolved

Although the M40 proved to be quite effective when used by trained shooters, it still had several shortcomings. For instance, the one-piece wooden stock would swell in the rice paddies and wet jungles of Vietnam. As the wood warped due to moisture, the rifle’s accuracy kept reducing.

To rectify this problem, the armorer replaced the wooden stock with fiberglass, leading to the first variation of the M40 called the M40A1. It also has powerful scope.

But soon, the M40 would be upgraded again in 1999, giving birth to a rifle with a more ergonomic stock, a detachable magazine, and an improved scope.

In 2001, the M40A3s were used extensively in the field, particularly in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Soldier in camo lying down in a forest aiming a gun

Where Are the M40s Today?

Today, it’s not easy to come across M4Os. The M40A5s, which were introduced in the market in 2009, replacing the M40A3s, are used in training rather than combat. The barrel is shorter, and it comes with an additional rail to attach a night vision optic.

The Marine Corps introduced another variant in 2016 called the A6. It was an improved version of the A5 with a new stock.

But while the M40s have undergone consistent upgrades, today, we have better precision rifles like the Mk11/12 and the Mk13 Mod 7. 

One of the reasons the army is introducing models such as the MK22 Mod is because they have discovered models that work better. For instance, the MK22 Mod comes with replaceable barrels, allowing snipers to change calibers based on the mission. (Reference 2: Marine Scout Snipers)

Although rifles like the Mk22 are superior to the M40, the latter has been at war and earned its place as an effective rifle in battle.

For more reading see: how sniper scopes work and what is an AO (adjustable objective) scope?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the standard USMC sniper rifle?

The standard USMC sniper rifle is the M4O, although the Marine Corps is slowly moving away from them for better, more precise rifles.

What is the best marine sniper rifle?

The best marine sniper rifle is the AI AXSR. It’s a multi-caliber rifle that blends innovation, toughness, and accuracy.

What caliber is the M40A6 sniper rifle?

The M40A6 sniper rifle fires a 7.62 mm caliber.

What round do scout snipers use?

Scout snipers use .300 caliber rounds.


  1. Caleb Larson, The US military’s 3 most powerful sniper rifles. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/the-us-militarys-three-most-powerful-sniper-rifles-2022-2?r=US&IR=T
  2. Todd South, Marines to field multibarrel sniper rifle to replace to exisitng weapons. Retrieved from https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/modern-day-marine/2022/05/11/marines-to-field-multibarrel-sniper-rifle-to-replace-two-existing-weapons/

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