Marine Scout Sniper Rifle

The Marine Scout Sniper Rifle or MSSR is a select fire sniper rifle developed from the Colt M16A1 rifle by the Philippine Marine Corps Scout Snipers due to the lack of a dedicated sniper rifle which is used in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The MSSR was developed due to the need of a sniper rifle system that could effectively use 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition (most other sniper rifles use the larger 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge). This was done mainly for cost-saving and availability reasons since the Armed Forces of the Philippines are actively engaged in counter-insurgency and internal security operations, especially against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Abu Sayyaf Group.

The shorter effective range of the 5.56 mm cartridge compared to the 7.62 mm was less of a factor due to the shorter ranges encountered in jungle combat, where the rifle is primarily used. Its performance during subsequent combat operations proved the effectiveness of the weapon system, and it was adopted as the primary range sniper rifle (for ranges of up to 600 m) of the Philippine Marine Scout Snipers.

The deployment of the MSSR also allowed the Philippine Marine Corps to retire its M1903 Springfield, M1C Garand and M14 rifles from active service.

Marine Scout Sniper Rifle
Class Manportable
Type Rifles
Manufacturer Philippine Marine Corps
Origin Philippines
Country Name Origin Year
Philippines 1996
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Philippines 1996 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Philippine Marine Corps 1996 View
Government arsenals 1996 View

The system was developed in-house under the direction of then Col. Jonathan Martir, PN (M) (GSC), N-6.

The first generation MSSR was deployed in 1996 as an M16A1 with a Tasco variable 3-9 x 40 mm rubber-coated scope on a DPMS Tri-mount atop the carry handle. This required a Delta HBAR cheek piece on the stock to align the operator's eye with the elevated scope position. The standard handguards were replaced with a free-floating aluminum forearm, and a Harris folding bipod was attached to the underside of the forearm. The standard M16A1 barrel was replaced with a free-floated 24" (68 cm) DPMS Heavy Stainless Steel Ultra Match barrel with a 1 in 8.5" right-hand twist, with an M16A1 front sight base. A J&P match trigger was installed.

The second generation MSSR was created by removing the forward portion of the carry handle and attaching the Tri-mount directly to the top of the upper receiver. The Tasco scope and scope rings were attached to the Tri-mount, which provided a lower scope-to-bore height. The Delta HBAR cheek piece was no longer required and was removed. The M16A1 front sight base was removed and replaced with a DPMS gas block. The barrel was changed to a DPMS Ultra Match barrel with a 1 in 8" RH twist, and the M16A1 stock and pistol grip were replaced with A2 versions.

The current third generation rifle retained the second generation features, but replaced the Tasco scope with a Bushnell variable 3-9 x 40mm scope with a Mil-dot reticle, mounted with three scope rings on the receiver-mounted Tri-mount. For the Philippine Marine Corps, barrel length remained the same at 24" with the 1 in 8" DPMS Ultra Match Barrel. A version with a 20" barrel was made available for the Philippine Navy Naval Special Warfare Group (NSWG).

More recently, the Government Arsenal under its present director, Major Gen. Jonathan C. Martir (Ret.), has been developing several further evolutions of the rifle as part of its carbine/rifle manufacturing project. The first of these is an updated model intended to replace the older 3rd generation rifles. Another new version is a designated marksman rifle/special purpose rifle (DMR/SPR) variant intended to "meet the requirement for a 5.56mm rifle to engage targets up to 800 meters with optics." This rifle would replace the older M14s currently in use as designated marksmen rifles in the Philippine Army. The new rifle will feature an 18" free-floating bull barrel with a 1 in 7" twist, a standard A2 flash suppressor, a flattop upper receiver with a Picatinny rail, provisions for a bipod and semi and select fire. The new variant, designated the "Government Arsenal SPR/DMR" is set to go into service in 2015, with the production of new rifles and the upgrading of older MSSRs to the new standard. In addition, 40 units of 16-inch designated marksman rifle variants are planned to be turned over to selected AFP Special Operations Forces (SOF) and the Scout Rangers for testing and evaluation. This carbine model features a railed upper receiver, a mid-length gas system, a Daniel Defense 16-inch cold-hammer forged barrel, a Daniel Defense free-floating railed handguard, a 4x32 Trijicon Advanced Combat Optic, a Magpul STR buttstock, a Hogue grip containing a cleaning kit and a cerakote finish.

The MSSR is the main weapon of choice for the Philippine Marine Scout Snipers alongside the newer Remington 700P Intermediate Range Day-Night Scout Sniper Rifle and the Barrett M95 Heavy Sniper/Anti-Matériel Rifle. Sniper teams usually work in pairs with the operator accompanied by a spotter, usually equipped with an M16A2 rifle with an M203 grenade launcher. Continued development of the rifle ensures its use with the Philippine Marines well into the 21st century.

If funding permits, the MSSRs will be eventually replaced in Scout Sniper service by 7.62 mm bolt-action sniper rifles. The existing 5.56 MSSRs will then be issued to designated marksmen in line Marine units.

Type Sniper rifle
Place of origin  Philippines
Service history
In service 1996–present
Used by Philippine Marines, Naval Special Operations Group
Wars Anti-guerrilla operations inVisayas and Mindanao
Production history
Designer Manuel Sunico,
Colonel Jonathan C. Martir (Philippine Marine Corps)
Designed 1996
Manufacturer Philippine Marine Corps (Initial manufacturer)
Government Arsenal (Modern manufacturer)
Produced 1996
Variants Night Fighting Weapon System (NFWS)
Weight 10 lbs (4.55 kg)
Length 42.25 in. (1073 mm)
Barrel length 24 in. (610 mm)
Crew 1
Cartridge 5.56×45mm NATO
Caliber 5.56 mm (.223 in)
Action Gas-operated (direct impingement), rotating bolt
Muzzle velocity 2,953 ft/s (900 m/s) to 3,750 ft/s (1,140 m/s)
Effective firing range 1000-1200 m
Feed system 20-30 STANAG Magazines.
Sights Any Picatinny rail-compatible scope/sights

End notes