By now it is well known that the U.S. Army established a need to standardize a sniper rifle in 7.62x51mm NATO caliber. This was necessary in order to field one such rifle for precision sniping and to replace the literal myriad of sniper rifles currently in the system. For the record, these sniper rifles include the venerable M14 semi-automatic rifle and the M24 Remington bolt action rifle, the Mk 11 and others, which have been purchased by individual SOCOM units.
In the wake of 9/11 and America's entry into the Global War On Terrorism (G-WOT), most of the remaining 40,000 M14 rifles in the U.S. military's inventory (mostly the U.S. Navy) have been taken out of storage in order to be re-built as precision semi-automatic rifles for sniping use. Many of these rifles that weren't destroyed during the Clinton Era were given to "friendly" countries and there has also begun a move to "buy" some of them back.
The M14's popularity as a sniper rifle dates back to its development as a National Match competition rifle during the 1960's, its evolution into the M21 Sniper Rifle used in the Vietnam War, and its evolution into the XM25 Sniper Rifle by the U.S. Army and Navy in the years that followed. Properly fitted, the M14 is capable of extremely good accuracy and is highly reliable, but it has had less than optimum results from being used with a sound suppressor. Still, the M14 has made the transition into a 21st Century Sniper Rifle as the DMR (Designated Marksman Rifle) by the United States Marine Corps and its more recent transformation by the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).
Being a highly modified Model 700 Remington bolt-action repeating rifle, the M24 is capable of great precision accuracy. However, lessons were relearned in Somalia and in target-rich environments encountered in the G-WOT that a self-loading rifle can be fired in succession 4 to 5 times faster than a bolt action rifle. Thus, the Army was determined to standardize a semi-automatic sniper rifle.
The third rifle mentioned is the Mk 11, a refined version of the SR- 25 (Stoner Rifle-25) rifle, which is made by Knight's Armament Company, of Titusville, Florida. Like the others, the Mk 11 is chambered for the 7.6x51mm NATO cartridge, but it contains modifications dictated by the U.S. Navy SEALS, which is a member of the SOCOM. However, using the Mk 11 identified issues that the Army found desirable in an AR10-style sniper rifle...