Precision Rifles for
and Internal Security
In 1982, Accuracy International (AI) was formed in
Portsmouth, England, to manufacture precision rifles
for military, peacekeeping and law enforcement agencies
as well as target shooters around the world. To say
that AI ran counter to the anti-gun trend in the United
Kingdom both then and now would not be an exaggeration.
Nonetheless, it persisted, and today Al has become a
recognized supplier of precision rifles to police
agencies, the armed forces of more than 40 countries
and shooters interested in a robust, accurate long-range
AI began by designing a new rifle from the ground up to incorporate needed or desirable features and accessories. Throughout the prococess, AI worked closely with potential users to make certain to include the performance and features required. The result is a family of five rifle systems covering the entire spectrum of sniper and counter-sniper requirements.
Accuracy Intemational classifies its rifles by application, and all are available to consumers. First are the "green" rifles designed for use by military forces to the maximum supersonic range of the ammunition used. Second are the "black" rifles designed for use by law enforcement and internal security personnel. "Black" rifles include the AWP model in .243 Win. or .308 Win. rated for use to 600 meters and the AWS model in .308 Win. rated for use to 300 meters. AI also offers CismMaster and PalmaMaster target rifles with adjustable wooden stocks and iron sights in .243 Win., 6.5x55mm Swedish, 7.5x55mm Swiss and .308 Win. The NRA Technical Staff received a "black" model AWP rifle in .308 Win. recently for test and evaluation.
A quick survey of the AWP rifle confirms that this is indeed a system designed from the ground up for robust use and accuracy. The complete package includes the rifle, optical sight, scope mount, bipod, five magazines, sling, cleaning kit and tool kit all contained in a fitted transport case. Options at extra cost include a soft carry case, dust covers, a folding stock, night sights, an adjustable cheekpiece and a quick-release sight mount. AWP rifles can be purchased with or without accessories.
The unique AI bolt-action was designed for ruggedness, simplicity and ease of operation. To this end, the heavy-walled, flat-bottomed, flat-sided receiver is a stressed part, machined in-house by AI from a solid piece of forged carbon steel. AWP rifles are offered in two action lengths - standard AW (short) and long SM (magnum). Cartridges are fed through the bottom of the receiver using a detachable, double-column, steel magazine. The test AWP rifle in .308 was built on the 8 7/8"-long, 1/2" diameter standard receiver into which the bolt locks by means of three equally spaced, body-diameter locking lugs on the bolt head. The locking lugs engage a heat-treated, steel locking ring insert pinned inside the front bridge of the action. The ring can be removed and replaced to refresh headspace control on older actions. The action cocks on opening with a short, 60 degree bolt throw and has a non-rotating (fixed) external extractor and an internal ejector. Firing pin travel is 0.26" to keep lock times to a minimum. A three-position, firing pin blocking safety lever on the bolt shroud allows the bolt to be manipulated with the safety on. Generous gas relief holes in the 0.785"-diameter bolt body and front action bridge allow high-pressure gases a channel of escape in the unlikely event of a cartridge case head failure.
The trigger is a multi-adjustable, two-stage unit made entirely by AI and set at the factory for a pull weight of between 3.3 and 4 lbs. The manufacturer does not recommend that users attempt to adjust the trigger themselves. Our test example rifle had a measured trigger pull of 3 1/2 lbs. with smooth take-up and a firm, crisp let-off.
AWP rifles are fitted with 24", heavy, match-grade, stainless steel barrels in a tapered profile ending in a muzzle diameter of 0.915". Each barrel is threaded into the AI action in a conventional manner; however, the front bridge of the action is threaded for fully 1.56" to ensure superior barrel rigidity. The barrel is free-floating in front of the receiver and has a recessed, target-type crown at the muzzle.
All AW rifles are built on a backbone chassis of anodized aluminum alloy to which the receiver body is bolted and bonded at the magazine housing to provide extra-rigid barrel support. This mounting system remains virtually immune to age, rough handling, humidity and temperature, which can cause changes in the point of impact. All other parts fasten to these two, basic components and can be removed quickly and easily. For example, the bipod fastens to the chassis nose with a stud and the optical sight mount fastens to the dedicated, integral rail machined into the top of the receiver body. A moveable hand-stop with 3 1/2" of adjustment is locat-ed along the base of the chassis in front of the magazine well and there are five sling attachment points - three on the forend and two on the buttstock.
The two halves of the fiber-reinforced, black nylon stock body fasten to the chassis with eight Allen-head machine screws. The stock's pull is easily adjustable from 12" to more than 14" by inserting or removing 10 mm or 40 mm thick, black, composite spacers between the rubber buttpad and the stock.
AI manufactures the folding, multi-adjustable, steel bipod inhouse. We found it easy to install, remove and deploy. The two legs measure approximately 6 3/4" retracted and 10" fully extended. Both extension legs are spring-loaded and lock in place in 3/4" incremental notches via spring-loaded levers. The bipod on our test AWP rifle offered 5 degrees of "loll" (cant) to either side although a fixed model is also available.
The scope base and integral, split rings are machined from a single billet of forged aluminum alloy. Each base has a steel roll pin insert that engages a slot milled in the receiver top to prevent shifting under recoil. In addition, the base was secured to the dovetail by three large, Allen-head machine screws. Most AW scope bases have 16 minutes of built-in elevation to minimize elevation changes for long-range shooting.
We fired the AWP rifle fitted with a Schmidt & Bender military specification Mk. II scope with various brands and loads of .308 Win. match ammunition with the results summarized on the accompanying table [below]. Accuracy was excellent with all brands, however our test gun seemed to prefer 175-gr. and 168-gr. bullets to lighter weights. In our tests, functioning proved flawless. We particularly liked the bipod, which was easy to use and provided a solid rest at a comfortable level. Of course, perceived recoil was negligible because of the AWP's weight. Still, the rifle did not prove difficult to carry as the bipod is easily removed and the sling easily attached. We also liked the AWP's crisp, light trigger, the bonded/bolted action mount to the chassis and the Schmidt & Bender rifle scope.
The AWP is a serious tactical rifle easily capable of maintaining the pinpoint accuracy for target shooters or for law enforcement use. AI's rugged AWP rifle should provide many years of reliable service, and AI has a well-earned reputation of backing up its products. For those reasons, we feel the AWP rifle is well worth the asking price.
|Vel. @ 15'
|Black Hills No BH308-175
|Hornady No 8096
|Federal No. GM308M
|Average Extreme Spread||0.61"|
|Measured average velocity for 10 rounds from a 24" barrel. Range temperature: 66° F. Humidity: 56%. Accuracy for five consecutive, five-shot groups at 100 yds. from a rest. Abbreviations: Sd (standard deviation), HPBT (hollow point boat tail).|
First published in the May 2001 edition of American Rifleman
AWP Technical Specifications
|Caliber||.243 Win / .308 Win|
|Barrel length||24" (610mm)|
|Barrel twist||10 (.243)/ 12 (.308)|
|Bolt locking||3 lugs, 60° turn|
|Receiver||Integral sight rail, maximum barrel support, wrought steel|
|Stock||Alloy chassis system with reinforced nylon stock support in black or green|
|Striker fall||.26" (6.5mm)|
|Trigger||Multi-adjustable two stage; weight: 3.3 lb (1.5kg) - 4 lb (1.8kg)|
|Saftey Mechanisms||3-way safety catch locks firing pin and bolt, gas shroud and vents, tight-fitting enclosed bolt|
|Magazine||Detachable box type|
|Stock adjustment||Length (optional cheek piece)|
|Bipod type and weight||Quick-detachable, mulit-adjustable foldable, 1.1 lb (0.5kg)|
|Sight mounting||AI rail, low profile, one-piece mount|
|Optical sights||Mil spec Mk II in 6x, 10x, 3-12V and 4-16V|
|Sling connection points||4 + 1|
|Overall weight||14.3 lb (6.5kg)|
|Overall length||44" (1,120mm)|
|Expected MRBF (excluding barrel)|| 20,000|
|Normal Maximum Range||600m|
length reduction / weight addition
8" (200mm) / .44 lb (0.2kg)