The Barrett Firearms Company was founded by Ronnie Barrett for the single purpose of building semi-automatic rifles chambered for the hugely powerful .50 BMG ammunition, originally developed for and used in Browning M2 machine guns. Barrett began his work in early 1980s and the first working rifles were available in 1982, hence the designation M82. Barrett continued to develop his rifle through the 1980s, and developed improved M82A1 rifle by 1986. The first real success was the purchase of about 100 M82A1 rifles by the Swedish Army in 1989. Major success followed in 1990, when the US Military purchased significant numbers of the M82A1 during the operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Kuwait and Iraq. About 125 rifles were initially bought by US Marine Corps, orders from US Army and Air Force followed soon. The M82A1 is known for US Military as the SASR - "Special Applications Scoped Rifle", and it was and still is used as an anti-matériel weapon and EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) tool. The long effective range, over 1,500 m, along with high energy and availability of highly effective ammunition such as API and Raufoss M213 allows for effective operations against targets like radar cabins, trucks, parked aircraft and so on. M82 also can be used to defeat human targets from standoff range or when targets are behind cover, but the anti-personnel work is not a major application for Barrett M82 (or any other .50 BMG rifle, for that matter).
Further development led to the M82A2 bullpup rifle in 1987, which was a reduced-recoil design to be fired from the shoulder. It failed to make an impression on the world firearm market, and was soon dropped from production. The M82A2 was intended as a cheap anti-helicopter weapon, suitable for use against highly mobile targets when fired from the shoulder.
The latest derivative of the M82 family is the M82A1M rifle, adopted by USMC as the M82A3 SASR and bought in large numbers. This rifle differs from M82A1 in that it has a full length Picatinny rail that allows a wide variety of scopes and sighting devices to be mounted on the rifle. Other changes are the addition of a rear monopod, slightly lightened mechanism and detachable bipod and muzzle brake.
The Barrett M82 rifles were bought by various military and police forces from at least 30 countries, such as Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK, USA and others. The M82 also is widely used for civilian .50 caliber long range shooting competitions, being fired accurately out to 1000 yards (900 meters) and even further.
As a side note, the Barrett M82A1 rifle was used in 2002 as a platform for the experimental OSW (Objective Sniper Weapon) prototype. The M82A1 rifle was fitted with a shorter barrel of 25mm caliber, and fired low-velocity high explosive shells developed for 25mm OCSW automatic grenade launcher. The experimental OSW showed an increased effectiveness against various targets but the recoil was beyond human limitations. This weapon, also known as the Barrett `Payload Rifle`, has now been designated the XM109.
The weapon has been redesignated in the US Army as the M107. Initially the Army issued a requirement for a bolt-action .50 BMG sniper weapon, and then selected the Barrett M95. However, it was then decided that a bolt-action rifle was in fact not what the US Army was looking for. Unfortunately, money had already been allotted in the budget for an "XM107" rifle, so they decided to redesignate the M82A1M/A3 to M107 and purchase more of those rifles. There is no difference between the M107 and the M82A1M/A3.
The M82 is a recoil operated, short barrel stroke, semi-automatic firearm. When the gun is fired, the barrel initially recoils for a short distance (about an inch - 25 mm) being securely locked by the rotating bolt. After the short travel, a post on the bolt engaged in the curved cam track in the receiver turns the bolt to unlock it from the barrel. As soon as the bolt unlocks, the accelerator arm strikes it back, transferring some part of the recoil energy of the barrel to the bolt to achieve reliable cycling. Then the barrel is stopped and the bolt continues back, to extract and eject a spent case. On its return stroke, the bolt strips the fresh cartridge from the box magazine and feeds it into the chamber and finally locks itself to the barrel. The striker also is cocked on the return stroke of the bolt. The gun is fed from a large detachable box magazine holding up to 10 rounds.
The receiver is made from two parts (upper and lower), stamped from sheet steel and connected by cross-pins. The heavy barrel is fluted to improve heat dissipation and save weight, and fitted with a large and effective reactive muzzle brake. On the earlier models the muzzle brakes had a round cross-section, later M82 rifles are equipped with two chamber brakes of rectangular cross-section.
M82A1 rifles are fitted with scope mount and folding backup iron sights, should the glass scope break. M82 rifles are often equipped with Leupold M series 10X telescope sights. The M82A1M (USMC M82A3) rifles have long Picatinny accessory rails mounted. Every M82 rifle is equipped with a folding carrying handle and a folding bipod (both are detachable on the M82A3). The M82A3 is also fitted with a detachable rear monopod under the butt. The buttpad is fitted with a soft recoil pad to further decrease the felt recoil. M82A1 and M82A3 rifles could be mounted on the M3 or M122 infantry tripods (originally intended for machine guns) or on vehicles using the special Barrett soft-mount. The M82A1 can be fitted with a carry sling but according to those who carried it in the field, the M82 is way too uncomfortable to be carried on sling due to its excessive length and heavy weight. It is usually carried in a special carry soft or hard case.
The M82A2 differed from M82A1 mostly in its configuration - that the pistol grip along with trigger had been placed ahead of the magazine, and the buttpad has been placed below the receiver, just after the magazine. An additional forward grip was added below the receiver, and the scope mount has been moved forward too.
The Barrett M82 has been seen in a number of Hollywood action films, often depicted with grossly exaggerated capabilities. Common misconseptions include being able to shoot down Airliners, while the M82 was designed to disable parked aircraft, it is extremely unlikely that even the most highly trained marksman would be able to bring down a flying airplane firing the entire 10 round magazine, let alone one shot
Automatic Rifle (Sniper)
Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Inc. P.O. Box 1077 Murfreesboro, TN USA 37133 firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (615) 896-2938 FAX: (615) 896-7313
Short Recoil, Semi-Automatic
.50 BMG (12.7 x 99mm)
13.40 kg (M82A1); 12.24 kg (M82A2); 12.90 kg (M82A3/M82A1M/M107)
1549 mm(M82A1); 1409 mm (M82A2); 1448 mm (M82A3/M82A1M/M107)
737 mm (M82A1); 736 mm (M82A2); 737 mm (M82A3/M82A1M/M107)
12 grooves, rh
1983-92 (M82A1); 1990- (M82A2); ?? (M82A3/M82A1M/M107)
854 m/s (M33 Ball)
`BARRETT FIREARMS MANUFACTURING INC MURFREESBORO, TN, USA. CAL.50` and serial number on left side of reciver.