The M21 Sniper Weapon System (SWS) is the semi-automatic sniper rifle adaptation of the M14 rifle. It is chambered for the 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge.
The United States Army wanted an accurate sniper rifle during the Vietnam War. The M14 was selected because of its accuracy, reliability, and the ability for a quick second shot. As a result, in 1969, the Rock Island Arsenal converted 1,435 National Match (target grade) M14s by adding a Leatherwood 3–9× Adjustable Ranging Telescope and providing National Match grade ammunition. It was designated the M21 in 1975. The M21 remained the Army's primary sniper rifle until 1988, when it was replaced by the M24 Sniper Weapon System; some M21s were later re-issued and used in the Iraq War.
In standard military use, the M21 uses a 20 round box magazine as the other members of the M14 family and weighs 11 pounds (5.27 kg) without the scope. The U.S. military never officially authorized or purchased magazines in any other capacity, although 5- and 10-round magazines are available.
The M21A5 version is built by Smith Enterprise Inc. and is known commercially as the Crazy Horse rifle. The M21A5's metal components are cryogenically treated prior to assembly, which eliminates the need for bedding the stock with fiberglass. Additional upgrades include a completely adjustable trigger system (from 2.5 to 5 lbs) and an extended bolt handle for use in extreme cold environments.
|Weight||5.27 kg (11.6 lb)|
|Length||1118 mm (44 in)|
|Barrel length||560 mm (22 in)|
|Action||Gas-operated, rotating bolt|
|Muzzle velocity||853 m/s (2,800 ft/s)|
|Effective range||822 m (900 yd)|
|Feed system||5, 10 or 20-round detachable box magazine|
|Sights||Front: National Match front blade .062
Rear: Match-grade hooded aperture with one-half minute adjustments for both windage and elevation.
26¾ in sight radius.
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