Accuracy International AWM (Arctic Warfare Magnum)
Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle
Introduced in 1996, the Accuracy International AWM is a proven favorite for special police and military forces the world over.
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The British concern of Accuracy International added the AWM ("Arctic Warfare Magnum") bolt-action sniper rifle to its lineup in 1996 and the series went on to find considerable military value in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars that followed. As a manually-actuated bolt-action system, the AWM is a true sniper rifle in every sense of the word and able to engage targets (effectively) out to 1,640 yards. The weapon is marketed in two primary chamberings: .300 Winchester Magnum and the more popular .338 Lapua Magnum.
The .338 Lapua Magnum is a high-performance, high-energy cartridge capable of anti-personnel function and (limited) anti-material function. This gives the cartridge a multi-role use over the battlefield in that the sniper can engage both enemy personnel and light-armored vehicles at range with success. The AWM is fielded with a scope over the receiver for accurized ranged fire and feeds from a five-round detachable box magazine fitted ahead of the trigger group. At its core, the AWM is based on the earlier "Arctic Warfare" (AW) line of rifles put out by Accuracy International and thus follows its tried and proven design qualities. However, to contend with the more powerful and longer cartridge, some internal changes to the firing and feed mechanisms were made.
As in most military sniper rifles, the AWM sports some adjustability to better serve the firer - the stock has an adjustable cheekpiece and shoulder pad while a monopod support can be fitted under the stock and adjusted form height. A folding bipod installed under the forend serves a similar support function. There is also a section of rail over the receiver for the mounting of various optics which, themselves, are inherently adjustable.
Operators of the AWM globally are plenty and currently range from Armenia and Bangladesh to Russia and the United States. These see service with both special police units and special forces groups and are mainly chambered in .388 Lapua Magnum.
The AWM also makes up the "L115A1" Sniper Rifle in the British military inventory. These are fielded with Schmidt & bender 3-12x50 scopes, flash and noise suppressors, folding (adjustable) stocks for increased transportability, monopod supports, and five-round box magazines. The longest confirmed sniper kill in recorded history belongs to British Army sniper CoH Craig Harrison who managed two successive kills of Taliban infantry from 2,707 yards away using his L115A1 rifle.