New Sniper Rifle Calibre Compatible With .338 LM
RUAG Ammotec has launched a new sniper rifle calibre which, despite a significantly better performance compared to the .338 Lapua Magnum (LM), is still compatible with commonly-used .338 LM weapons, requiring only a barrel change. The .375 SWISS P will be available with a full metal jacket (FMJ) projectile in April, and is expected to be available with hard core projectiles in late 2021.
The .375 SWISS P fills the gap in ballistic performance between the .338 LM (8.6×70 mm) and the .50 Browning machine gun (12.7×99 mm). Rifle enthusiasts will note that cartridges have already been developed in this calibre, such as the .375 CheyTac (9.5×77 mm), for example. However, this American calibre has not yet become commonplace in Europe. Also, the C.I.P. excluded the .375 CheyTac from certification in Europe last year, meaning that weapons chambered for it are no longer being used here. Most .338 LM weapon systems require only a barrel change to be reconfigured for the .375 SWISS P – magazines and bolts are already compatible.
The external and terminal performance of the .375 SWISS P is up to 40% better than the .338 LM. The 350 gr. (22.7g) FMJ achieves a muzzle energy of 8,500joules from a 76cm barrel at a muzzle velocity of 865m/s, compared to 6,100joules on the .338 LM. This increase in performance, without any change in cartridge envelope, was achieved through an adapted high-performance propellant and a rebated cartridge rim. In this design, case diameter forward of the extractor groove is larger than the diameter of the case head, increasing the volume of the powder chamber. The maximum permissible gas pressure for the .375 SWISS P is 4,200bar.
When optimising projectiles for long range precision, positioning the centre of gravity is key. It is also critically important to design the tip of the projectile for maximum aerodynamic performance, and keep manufacturing tolerances to an absolute minimum. In order to shift the centre of gravity as far towards the rear as possible, the newly-developed .375 SWISS P FMJ features a metal sphere in the tip, which creates an empty volume and also has a lower density than the lead core. As a result, the new projectile has a higher ballistic coefficient than traditional long-range hollow point boat tail projectiles. The .375 SWISS P has a supersonic operational range of more than 1,500m and, at 1,500joules, the FMJ projectile produces more than twice as much energy at this distance than the .338 LM with a 250 gr. (16.3g) FMJ. The .375 SWISS P hard core projectile features a tungsten carbide penetrator in a cobalt alloy core, a closed base, and small open tip. Its efficient structure is designed for maximum penetration, even of hard targets. This loading makes it possible to reliably breach an SK4-class protective vest under standard conditions up to approximately 600 metres.
RUAG Ammotec developed the new .375 SWISS P based on the latest requirements from public authorities. This powerful cartridge allows the user to continue working with familiar weapon system and retain the same handling properties, while benefitting from greatly improved external and terminal ballistics.