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Thread: Viewpoint - British Army Contract for L96A1 Sniper Rifle (by Gil Boyd B.E.M)

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  1. #21
    Really Senior Member chosenman's Avatar
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    Nigel mentioned earlier RGJ possibly had the M85. I am ex 3rd battalion, I'm sure we didn't. I'm also lucky enough to own one of my battalions L42's of which I have a copy of the UIN list of which my L42 is listed. It shows my rifle to be 1 of 8 returned to Donnington in 1988 which is when we received the L96. If my memory serves me correctly our 2nd battalion was at that time demonstration battalion in Warminster therefore its highly possible they did.



    Just my two penneth's worth in putting the big jig saw puzzle back together.

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    Peter Laidler's Avatar
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    I wonder exactly who proofed the UKicon Military M-85's. Not Enfield as 'outside interest' equipment such as the Sterling SMG's, XXX's and M-XX's and P-H L81's were proofed at the proofing Establishment at Cold Meece. Civilian proof was not acceptable to the UK Miltary at the time

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  6. #23
    Advisory Panel Nigel's Avatar
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    2 Para and M85

    I got the story from an ex 2 Para guy who was in a competition with me up at Diggle in 2012. We were shooting back to 1,000 yards in a Practical Rifle competition. That is the only time my M85 gets an outing nowadays. As soon as he spotted it he was all over it and then told me the story of how they had been issued them. He also mentioned the Gurkhas but I can't remember which regiment. I picked up some spare 10 round mags recently that were marked RGJ. Hence why I mentioned these three units.

    I've got some pictures somewhere of me shooting in Wales down hill with the M85. We also went back to 1,100 yards and I was getting good hits with 175 grain ammo. However, I was most chuffed when selected to be the first to shoot at a 12" metal gong at 825 yards. No sighters. 3 shots with 30 points for a first shot hit down to 20 if with the 3rd shot. After a bit of head scratching about elevation settings - three loud clangs later I was a happy bunny.

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  8. #24
    Advisory Panel Nigel's Avatar
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    M85 pictures

    Some pics of my M85 rifle and it's user handbooks but these are just Civilian issue. Me on the right in Wales. Target is small white Pepper Popper near junction of bend about 450 yards but less elevation when aiming downhill.
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    GREAT photo! There used to be a small clinometer fitted into the side of the L17 scope bracket that showed angle of dangle etc etc, called by all, a dangleometer! I'm going back a bit but there was a full lesson on the use of the dangleometer but it was a bit complicated and really needed a second follow up or at least an aide memoire/crib card so I think it was quietly dropped. Might be wrong but how complicated do you make a snipers life? And how much kit must he carry?

    Great photo.

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    Senior Member DanL96a1's Avatar
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    I have had the luck to use both L96 and M85, on and off the ranges. I have been even luckier to get my own M85 as time has marched on. I think the M85 is an excellent SWS (sniper weapons system) it ticks many of the boxes, which are a must for the purpose to which it is to perform.

    The M85’s accuracy is very good but it is a heavy weapon, and when you have got to carry it across hostile ground… the L96 seems lighter and more manoeuvrable. I have only seen the M85 with the Gurkhas, I remember a demonstration being given with them using the M85 rifle in the early 1990’s. I seem to remember them in the Falklands armed with the M85 in a book by Mark Spicer Ex PWRR.

    I believe, which I feel Gill eludes to in his excellently written article, that the M85 was a casualty of a “political war”, there is no place for politics in soldering. I think in the end they probable did get it right, weather by luck or judgment the L96 is a worthy replacement for the L42. This is shown in the next generation of SWS, with the AI L115 and L118’s in the front lines today.

  12. #27
    Really Senior Member chosenman's Avatar
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    You wouldn't be biased would you DanL96!! Hhahahaah!

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    Really interesting article Gil and a great debate following so thanks to all who've contributed!

    Was interested in a slightly side issue mentioned in the original piece by Gil - what were the deficiencies of the L42 in the Falklands then? I know that there was the probably apocryphal story of the sniper flinging his rifle into a stream in anger over some failure, but have never really heard any other knocking of that long serving rifle. In any case I'd have thought that any problems with a rifle 40+ years old would have been ironed out by then.

    Or was it just a case of that conflict highlighted the need for a more modern firearm? If so was the performance of the enemy's sniping equipment something which led to this rethink?
    Last edited by PrinzEugen; 01-25-2014 at 06:05 AM.

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    Really Senior Member chosenman's Avatar
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    The Falklands offers great terrain for sniping opportunities of which maybe some were lost. The extreme cold, wet and damp conditions may have highlighted the negative side of using a sniper rifle with a wooden stock.

  17. #30
    Senior Member DanL96a1's Avatar
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    I agree It would be interesting to know why the L42’s where “pensioned off”, due to failings in Falklands. The only mention I can remember was in a book written by Martin Pegler, who has mentioned in his book, about an account where that the rifle was not working well; and the user ditched it for an SLR or FN. I would agree that the rifles track record was a good one, and maybe only needs a replacement optical sight? But in comparison with 700 Remington’s Winchester M70’s was its days numbered?

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