Occasionally I get to shoot some pretty special rifles. Sometimes I get to shoot some genuine sniper rifles actually used by the the real deal. Today was no exception. This particular rifle started its life in the A3G format working for a particular US agency before being refurbished into the A5M XP format you see here and later retired and sold on the civilian market. It has a pretty interesting history; however, that may be for a future article.

The FN SPR is a series of rifle based on the pre 1964 Winchester Model 70. It is a controlled round feed bolt action with a 90 degree throw and a cold hammer forged chrome lined barrel.

My friend (lets call him Jez) who owns this rifle generally makes replicas of genuine US Military sniper rifles; however, this time he went with an off the shelf option as used by various US LE SWAT agencies including the FBI HRT.

FN SPR Line of rifles.

Overall the build quality of the rifle is excellent. The action is smooth, the lockup is solid and personally i would love to own one myself; however, this particular rifle is proving to have accuracy issues we are investigating.

For the last few months he has owned it he has tried factory match ammo and hand loaded ammo only managing to get around 1.2 MOA with a best of 1 MOA or so. Most groups are generally larger than this. This is not good enough for a SWAT sniper rifle. This has caused Jez to doubt himself and the rifle.

Today I watched him shoot the rifle as a bit of a coach. His fundamentals are pretty spot on and he followed the marksmanship principles we were all taught at basic training in the Australian Army which I still follow to this day.

Marksmanship Principles

The Position and hold must be firm enough to support the weapon

The weapon must point naturally at the target, without any undue physical effort

Sight alignment and aiming must be correct

The shot must be released and followed through without any disturbance to the position of the weapon.

These marksmanship principles are the basis of all my long gun shooting unless in a combat shooting scenario; combat shooting has its own rules.

Time for me to get behind the rifle and see what it can do. I loaded up 5 rounds of my known load that seems to work in most 308 Winchester rifles. 1st round, 2nd round and 3rd round all stacked. 4th round high. 5th round left. What happened? I applied the marksmanship principles, had a consistent amount of load on the bi-pod and released all my shots at the same point in my breathing cycle.

5 shots in the group. 1st, 2nd and 3rd stacked with 4th and 5th going wild

I tried another group and another. Similar results all round. Stack 2 or 3 and have a couple of flyers. I know it isn’t me as I produced this group below with my AI AX308 not 5 mins before.

8 round group I produced not 5 minutes before shooting the SPR with my Accuracy International AX308

What could it be? Action screw torque settings? Bad bedding job?

More to follow.