The Case for Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifles – Part II

Tactical Gear - A Project of Gun Digest

The changes in use have caused official interest in .308 self-loading sniper rifles. Here is the DPMS REPR getting a workout.

The changes in use have caused official interest in .308 self-loading sniper rifles. Here is the DPMS REPR getting a workout.

Click here to read Part I

AR-15 Disassembly and Maintenance GuideFeatured Offer: Download a FREE AR15 Maintenance eGuide

  • Learn how to keep your AR-15 running like a top
  • Learn how to disassemble your AR-15
  • Learn how to properly clean your AR-15

To download, submit your e-mail below. As an added bonus, we’ll send you the industry’s best e-mail newsletters from Gun Digest and Tactical Gear and the industry-leading companies’ special offers, straight to your inbox. This FREE service is another benefit of being a fan and reader of Gun Digest.


I had the great fortune to have them send me three version of the new, .308 rifle, one in each barrel length. Well, in each barrel length they could send me: 16, 18 and 20 inches. (No SBRs for your favorite scribe, alas.)

The REPR is a scaled-up AR-15 (which was itself a scaled-down AR-10) but there are parts in common, and accessories galore meant for your 5.56 will fit the 7.62 REPR. The controls and exterior features are all instantly recognizable and familiar to the 5.56 shooter. Well, most. Where the 5.56 has a charging handle on the rear of the upper receiver, the REPR has a charging handle on the left side.

It is non-reciprocating, so it won’t move when you shoot. It has a large knob, and if you press in (towards the rifle interior) on the knob, it engages the charging handle, and you can then use it as a forward assist. When you let go, the spring-loaded knob pops back out, ending its short tenure as an assistant.

Also, there are extra levers on the exterior. There are two bolts release levers, one on each side, so you can use either hand to press the button. Of course, those accustomed to slapping the left-side lever with their left hand will never notice the one on the right. Which is a shame, as you can use your trigger finger to drop the bolt. Especially when shooting from the bench, I found it a lot easier to just angle my trigger finger up and press the tab, than to press with the left hand, and then have to re-settle the rifle in the bags.

With a scope, the LWRCI REPRs deliver the goods a lot more easily.

With a scope, the LWRCI REPRs deliver the goods a lot more easily.

For my testing, I did most of my range work with the 20-inch version and my class work with the 16-inch version.

Inside, the 20-inch version has an adjustable Geissele trigger. The other models have either a non-adjustable Geissele, or tuned mil-spec triggers. Geissele has not only designed a fabulous trigger, but they have figured a way for our military to have a match, select-fire trigger. This one, alas, comes semi-only, courtesy the Hughes Amendment to FOPA ’86. Still, the Geissele trigger is clean, crisp, and a joy to use.

On the back end is a Magpul PRS, their sniper stock with adjustments for length of pull, comb height and a special rail on the bottom to attach a monopod.

The handguard is the LWRCI ARM-R™ forearm, a low-profile free-float tube, with regularly spaced drilled and tapped holes on the bottom and sides. If you want a bit or more of rail in some section, you simply bolt on the length rail you need (rails and screws provided) at the location you need.

If you’re handy with tools, you can even measure and cut a longer rail to a shorter length, for just the gear you want on, and no more. It’s not only adaptable and customizable but lighter, too. The smaller-diameter tube that results from not having permanent rails makes the rifle very handy. Had LWRCI not made the forearm this way, the result might well have been something so bulky you’d need NBA-sized hands to grab it.

Inside the forearm is a 20-inch heavy contour, cold rotary-forged, Nicorr treated barrel, chambered in 7.62 NATO. The twist is 1:10, and on the end is a .308-sized A2 flash hider. Backing it all up is an LWRCI-upgraded bolt, and what drives it is the LWRCI short-stroke piston system, proportioned for, and beefed up to withstand, .308 power. The LWRCI piston system has a four-position gas adjustment bolt with which you can set the gas for normal, more (adverse conditions), less (using a suppressor), or none (no-cycle suppressor work) at your discretion.

The LWRCI REPR comes with a Magpul 7.62 magazine, which is one of the competing “AR-10” magazine designs. Derived from, and compatible with, the original AR-10 and the M-110 rifle currently used in some branches of the armed forces, the Magpul holds 20 rounds of big-bore goodness. More, you ask? Let’s get real. I have 30-round .308/7.62NATO magazines for some other rifles. Trust me, you do not want to be schlepping something that big around, unless you’re feeding something select-fire. Twenty is plenty. However, if you must have more, POF makes a 25-round all-steel magazine that also fits the SR-25 pattern.

This article is an excerpt from the Gun Digest Book of the Tactical Rifle. Click here to order your copy.