The M40A1 has to be the pioneer of the modern sniper rifle. The USMC has always had a leg up on the US Army when it comes to sniping (Remember, I am US Army, so it takes a lot to say this!) and the USMC realized that they needed a standard sniper rifle that could perform the job up to standard. After testing and reviews the USMC placed the initial order for 700 Remington 700/M40 sniper rifles in 1966. 550 of those had the Redfield 3-9x accurange scope mounted. As time progressed, the weaknesses of the factory M700/40x rifles began to show. The all wood stocks were very prone to shifting in changes in the weather and other weaknesses were noted. So a process began to upgrade the M40 rifles. There is no “official” date (at least that I can tell) when the M40 was replaced by the M40A1, but the process happened in the early 70’s. The wood stocks were replaced by McMillan fiberglass stocks, which are known for their ruggedness. The entire system is built by USMC armorers at Quantico, VA. The Redfield 3-9x scopes were eventually replaced by a specially designed scope built by Unertl to USMC specifications. This happened in the early 80’s and this is was the standard scope being used on the M40A1’s and the A3’s up until 2006 when the Schmidt & Bender PMII 3-12x scopes were adopted to replace the Unertls.

m40a1no2

Thanks to a former OIC of the USMC sniper school

The M40A1 is an outstanding system, very capable of extreme levels of accuracy, though the older M118 ammo tended to hold the rifle back to about 1 MOA, but the new M118LR (designed by the USMC) really unleashed the potential of these rifles with accuracy improving to about .5 MOA. The Max Effective range of the M40A1 is listed at 800 meters by a lot of sources, but the USMC says 1000yards (915 meters) and I would have to go with the USMC on this one, as we routinely shoot past 900 meters with our M24 SWS, and the M40A1 is everybit as accurate.

The USMC has replaced the aging M40A1’s with the new M40A3’s. A rifle that has been in the developement stages for some time now. The M40A1’s have served extremely well for many years (over 30). She’ll be missed, but the A3 is a capable successor.

For those of you who would like to purchase a M40A1 for your own collection, several manufacturers make excellent reproductions of the M40A1, some even built to mil-specs. But you cannot purchase an ORIGINAL M40A1.

M40A1

The last M40A1 built

14 Comments

Greg Miles

I served 6 years in the Marine corps as an O311 following in my uncles and grand fathers footsteps, so this model is near and dear to my heart. I would like to purchase or build one for work.

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Mel Ewing

You cannot buy the originals, but there are a few people that use former USMC armorers that built the real ones to build exact replica’s. Check out GA Precision, Iron Brigade Armory and Texas Brigade Armory. (there are some others as well)

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Joe D

C&H Precision built mine. A veritable tack driver. A CMP purchased Unertl MST 100 sits on it. There is also a group buy of USO MST 100s on snipershide.

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Jon Nelson USMC retired MGy Sgt

I did build one using an Remington 700 ,using a Sendero stock it has the attaching pins for the tripods and the scope isa3-25×56 countersniperscope by countersniper military optical gunsight corp.,,,1500$

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EmilY

I get them from time to time and I sell them on gunbroker. If you contact me I can help with the closest rifle to authentic that you can buy. Latinaincovina at aol dot com

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Ron Harrison

This is for the comment about Sniper MOS, yes I agree that the Sniper has a MOS, but I can tell you as a matter of fact that Marine Corps Snipers can come from almost any MOS, I know, I was 0311 Kilo Co 3/8 1980 -1981 and then I moved to the S- Shops S1, S2, & S3, if you are Marine Corps you know what they are, my MOS stayed as 0311 although I wasn’t with Kilo 3/8 I was HQ Co. 8th Marines S3 and I will just say that if you qualify you can receive Sniper Training and or Scuba and Jump Training! even without being Force or Battalion Recon. Just clearing the air about something that a Army guy ask me one time, question: “Why does every Marine I meet say he was a Sniper”? I told him I don’t know, but I think that most Marines that are 0311 could get through Sniper School, unfortunately, everyone can’t carry a M40A1 Rifle. I was Range high shooter at 247 and was given a lot of opportunities, Praise God for Marines and Semper Fi

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Master Jules

0317 is the CURRENT Scout Sniper MOS (which actually makes sense, being that a PMI MOS is 0316. But prior to 2007, the Scout Sniper MOS was 8541

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Don

I have a twin who was a sniper in the marines and he carried the m40 in the early 70s. I was also a Marine. I was in communications. We did not see any action as Veitnam winding down by then. Semper Fi.

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Karen

How can I tell if I have one of the original USMC 700 Remington 700/M40 sniper rifles of 1966? My uncle was a Marine in the armory during this time and the one I have that he gave me when he died has a red field scope on it but I don’t see any markings on it to indicate it’s authenticity.

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Mel Ewing

The receiver would be clip slotted (meaning there is a notch at the rear of the receiver that was cut out to allow stripper clips to be inserted) and I believe the action should have a 5 (maybe 6?) digit serial number that does NOT start with a letter. From there, the best way would be to call up Remington and give them the serial number of the rifle and they would be able to tell you.

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Ken Davis

Karen, there are some problems with this. There were a finite number of these guns purchased from Remington. None of these guns were ever sold but some have been donated. If your uncle worked in an armory and brought home this gun, chances are good the Marines are still looking for it. MCO 8300.1C is the Marine Corps Serialized Small Arms Accountability Program order. I would recommend you contact MCSYSCOM PM Ground Weapons at Quantico for guidance.

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