MANUFACTURER(S): Philippine Marine Corps / Government Arsenal - Philippines
ACTION: Gas-Operated; Rotating Bolt; Direct Impingement System
CALIBER(S)*: 5/56x45mm NATO
SIGHTS: Various supported optics.
Detailing the development and operational history of the GA MSSR (Marine Scout Sniper Rifle) Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle / Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR).
Entry last updated on 8/17/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Requiring a new, semi-automatic platform for the Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) role, the Philippines military adopted an indigenous design developed by several of its own Marine officers. The result became the "Marine Scouting Sniper Rifle" based largely on the American Colt M16A1 assault rifle (detailed elsewhere on this site), offering the tried-and-true gas-operated action with direct-impingement system (rotating bolt) firing the ubiquitous 5.56x45mm NATO intermediate rifle cartridge from existing 20- and 30-round STANAG (AR15/M16-style) magazines.
The developers focused on the 5.56mm cartridge as opposed to the larger 7.62mm full-power rifle cartridge for its proven effectiveness at short-to-medium ranges. As Philippine elements are traditionally expected to fight on home soil, this means close-to-medium quarters battling in jungle and forest settings. As such, the relatively lower penetration-at-range value of the 5.56mm cartridge is acceptable to the Marine service and combat has proven this.
The modern Designated Marksman (DM) operates as part of the infantry squad and lays down precision, ranged firepower for allied units. As such, his weapon must be reliable and robust for frontline service while also having the man-stopping capabilities required for the sniping role. The MSSR fulfills these requirements and comes in several other flavors - the suppressed "Night-Fighting Weapon System" (NFWS), the "Special Purpose Rifle" (SPR) and the "Squad Designated Marksman Rifle' (SDMR).
The NFWS is of particular note for it is specially-arranged for low-level light fighting and comes equipped with a night vision scope and integral suppressor assembly, the latter over the barrel. Perfect for clandestine operations requiring stealth and ambush.
The Special Purpose Rifle has an 18" free-floating barrel (the assembly does not touch the stock at any point along its length) to increase accuracy and is capped by a flash suppressor. A section of Picatinny rail is seated over the receiver to accept various optics fits and a folding bipod is fitted for forward support under the barrel. The trigger group sports a selective-fire option as well.
The Squad Designated Marksman Rifle is of carbine length (and therefore made much more compact) and also has a Picatinny rail section over its receiver for optics. A robust 16" cold-hammer-forged barrel is used instead.
The MSSR weapon is issued to elements of the Philippine Marine Scout detachment. Introduced in 1996, the system has had over two decades of proven service and its use has grown beyond that of the DMR role - it is also fielded in the traditional sniper role to two-man teams in-the-field. The type succeeded the aging lines of World War 1-era Springfield M1903 bolt-action rifles and the World War 2-era M1 "Garand" and Vietnam War-era M14 self-loading rifles then in Philippine Marine service.