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Barrett M90

Bolt-Action Bullpup Anti-Material Rifle (AMR) [ 1990 ]

The Barrett M90 reworked the classic M82 model to become a bullpup weapon of lighter weight.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/03/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

With the arrival of the combat tank on the battlefields of World War 1 (1914-1918), the Germans hastily developed the Mauser T-Gewehr heavy rifle as a counter. This weapon became the first anti-tank rifle to serve with any military anywhere in the world. From then on, the anti-tank rifle - better recognized now as "anti-material rifle" - evolved to become a fixture of many national armories around the globe.

In 1984, the Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Company introduced their classic anti-material rifle product through the M82 - one of the first American-originated 50-caliber anti-material weapons. This large rifle, designed by Ronnie Barrett, fired the massive .50 BMG cartridge through a semi-automatic action at ranges out to 2,000 yards from a 10-round detachable box magazine feed. The weapon went on to find considerable interest in the military and special forces markets ranging from Australia to the United States. The success of this weapon, and continued development of the line, produced the M82A2, a less popular version featured in a "bullpup" configuration which resulted in a lighter weight design. The bullpup arrangement moved the magazine and its feed system aft of the pistol grip and trigger unit, concentrating the weapon's mass at the rear.

The idea of a bullpup-configured M82 continued when, in 1990, the Barrett M90 was unveiled. This weapon did away with the semi-automatic function of the M82/A2 models and introduced a manually-operated bolt-action system to the mix as many shooting purists preferred (and continue to do so today) a manually-operated system of chambering and ejecting cartridges. The shift in action forced a redesign of the breech action among other changes.

The rifle was arranged in a bullpup format as in the A2 but featured a cleaner look with an established receiver area, frontal bipod support (the A2 replaced this with a foregrip), and more useful shoulder stock. Sighting was still through an optics fit (Leupold M-series 10x or other) and feeding from a five-round detachable box magazine. The feed system was located aft of the pistol grip unit. A massive twin-chambered muzzle brake was fitted over the barrel in the usual way ad chambering remained .50 BMG.

The result was a slightly lighter and more transport-friendly weapon still retaining the ranged penetration power of the original. Recoil forces remained relatively violent but acceptable for a weapon of this class considering the power of the cartridge at work. Production of the M90 rifle spanned from 1990 to 1995 to which the M95 (detailed elsewhere on this site) was then introduced to take over the line and this product brought along with it some minor improvements and changes.

Along with the Barrett M82, the M90 was featured in the Provisional IRA's arsenal during the South Armagh Sniper Campaign targeting British security elements during 1990-1997 (The Troubles). The M95 model went on to find far more official operators than the M90 did.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

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United States


Bolt-Action Bullpup Anti-Material Rifle (AMR)

Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Company - USA
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of the United States Provisional Irish Republican Army; United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Accuracy / Precision
Long-range accuracy / precision capable; suitable for sniping, particularly when equipped with sighting aids.
Anti-Armor / Anti-Tank / Anti-Material
Designed to engage and defeat armor / enemy tanks at range.

Overall Length
1,345 mm
52.95 in
Barrel Length
737 mm
29.02 in
Empty Wgt
20.99 lb
9.52 kg



Manually-Actuated Bolt-Action

Manually-actuated process of managing the bolt lever to eject spent cartridge case, clearing the breech, to introduce fresh catridge into the chamber.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


.50 BMG

Sample Visuals**

Graphical image of a 12.7mm / .50BMG machine gun / rifle round
Rounds / Feed

5-round detachable box magazine
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
5,900 ft
(1,798 m | 1,967 yd)
Muzzle Velocity
2,800 ft/sec
(853 m/sec)

M90 - Base Series Designation

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