As is known, the British with handguns in most cases have no luck, however there are pleasant exceptions when professional people are allowed to design, and later to test the finished result of work, not from the side with their personal interests. So at the beginning of the 80-s of the last century, Accuracy International began to design its sniper rifle. The work on the weapon was headed not just by the designer, but by the designer with the sporting past in shooting, that is, the person knew exactly what he wanted to get as a result of the work done. The project to create a rifle named Precision Magazine interested not only the British army, but also the Swedish army, even at the design stage. In other words, it is unknown how this was achieved, but the weapon was already given a start in life at the moment of conception. As for the UK, just in time for the competition for a new sniper rifle for the army, the work was completed, and in 1984, this weapon, “making” all its competitors, was recognized as the best and was put into service under the name L96A1.
This rifle was a good, high-quality "bolt" with a non-folding butt, without the possibility of adjustment in the length and height of the cheek support. All the disgrace was collected on a light tire and packed in plastic. Weapons had open sights in case of failure of the optical sight. This sample was fed with NATO 7,62x51 cartridges from a detachable magazine with a capacity of 5 cartridges. The length of the weapon was 1270 millimeters, while the length of the rifle was equal to 660 millimeters. Weighed a sample of 6,8 kilograms without cartridges, although what weight there 5 cartridges will give.
Some time after the adoption by the British Army of a rifle, the company received an order to create similar types of weapons, but with some changes. So, the known samples with a folding butt, as well as with a built-in device for the sound of a shot. There is also a model in which the stock is folded and the CBE is available, but never this version of the weapon has adapted to another cartridge, unless it is only on special order, which is unlikely.
In 1990, the production of weapons was curtailed, during which time only about 2000 rifles were created, and in fact this история L96A1 came to an end, all that was later was already a little different weapon, or more precisely, the continuation of the development of this rifle.
As already mentioned above, even at the design stage of weapons, a rifle became interested in the Swedish army. Since the requirements of the British army and the Swedish army are somewhat different, which is not surprising, since we are talking about high-precision weapons, and even the climate of the countries is different, there is nothing surprising in the fact that L96A1 did not suit the individual moments. It was up to their requirements, namely the reliability of the weapon at low temperatures, that the ArctiWarfare model was created, which, although based on the L96A1, was a new starting point for other weapons, including the large-caliber sniper rifle, about her later.
For the Swedish army, the PM or L96A1 rifle was not suitable to fit the weapon to the requirements of the Swedish army, the designers had to seriously work with their brainchild, and this concerned not only internal changes in weapons, but also external ones. The result of the work was that the weapon was accepted into service by the Swedish army in 1990, and in 1992, the AW sniper rifle also “wounded” the German variations of this weapon, despite the not quite fair competition between the samples. This rifle, despite the fact that it was designed as a weapon for working in conditions of low ambient temperatures, became widespread in Belgium, Ireland, France, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, and so on. And since 1997, this weapon has fallen on the civilian market, of course, with some restrictions that were in the territory where the rifle was sold.
The rifle is not self-loading, with a longitudinal sliding bolt that locks the barrel bore on the 3 combat stop when turning 60 degrees. The stroke of the shutter is about 100 millimeters. It is also interesting that the stroke of the striker is quite small and equal to 6 millimeters. The design of the weapon is such that even icing of the same bolt will not cause the weapon to fail, however this does not mean that the rifle can be poured with water from a bucket at -50, since a piece of ice will not naturally shoot, but a small amount of it will work on the weapon will not affect. The basis of the weapon was a light alloy tire, to which all parts of the rifle are attached. An interesting point is that the receiver is first glued to the tire with something like epoxy resin (it is unlikely that someone will accurately name the composition of this glue) and then only the parts are connected with bolts. This is done in order to distribute the load when firing over the entire area of parts, and not only at the joints with bolts.
The rifle bed consists of two halves, which, in addition to being connected to each other, are also attached to the rifle's tire. These parts are made of lightweight and durable polymer, exactly the same and made the butt of the weapon. Butt has the ability to adjust the height of the cheek support, as well as along the length. For adjusting the length of the weapon there is a replaceable back plate, in addition to them the very basis for the back plate is adjustable in all possible directions, which makes it possible to use the weapon in cramped conditions from uncomfortable positions. The descent force varies from 1,6 to 2 kgf, the manufacturer says that the trigger mechanism is still working even with very strong pollution, but it seems to me that they were a little ill, because the efficiency of any trigger mechanism is maintained when contaminated within reasonable limits, but the quality of its work is that is another question.
Sights rifles often consist of a pillar and front sight, but they are not always present as a backup option sights in case of failure of the optical sight. In some versions of the weapon, the open sights are absent; however, there is no possibility of their installation as such, since there is a short distance between the two attachment bars on the weapon. Although at a distance of 400 meters it is quite possible to fire with sights, between which there is such a small distance, but they are not complete with a weapon. In general, there are two options for open sights, which are divided into Swedish and Belgian. The Swedish version has a drum diopter rear sight with ranges of firing from 200 to 600 meters with the possibility of horizontal adjustment. In the Belgian version, the pillar is folding diopter with a maximum firing distance to 400 meters. In addition, there are other options for open sights.
The standard version of the ArctiS Warfare rifle can be in two versions - for the 5,56x45 and 7,62x51 cartridges. The weapon differs from each other only in the barrel and slightly in the bolt, otherwise it is completely identical to each other. The length of the weapon barrel is 660 millimeters, the total length of the weapon is 1180 millimeters. But the weight of the weapon is not the same, so the option for 7,62x51 cartridges weighs 6,2 kilogram, for 5,56x45 cartridges weighs 5,9 kilogram. It feeds weapons from detachable box magazines with a capacity of 8 and 10 cartridges for cartridges of caliber 7,62 and 5,56 millimeters, respectively.
This rifle has been further developed. So in 1993, a weapon was created that was already focused on the US market, but later became widespread around the world, this is a variant of a rifle with a shorter Arctiс Warfare Police (AWP) rifle. A shorter barrel in this case was set up due to the fact that the police simply do not need a large effective range of fire, but at shorter distances to 200-300 meters, the maximum possible accuracy is needed. As a result, reducing the length of the barrel in the first place reduced the size of the weapon, it became convenient to use them in cramped conditions, as well as use the device silent shooting without increasing the length of the weapon to the limits above reasonable. Reducing the length of the rifle barrel allowed to increase the accuracy of firing at short distances, since with a shorter gun barrel the negative effect of vibrations when fired is much less, which can be read here in this article, for which thanks to Andrei Kulikov, known on this resource under the nickname bunta.
The Arctic Warfare Police sniper rifle can be in two versions chambered for 7,62х51 and cartridge 6х51, since the shells of the ammunition are almost the same on the back side, these variants of rifles differ only in the trunks, and the barrel length is the same and equal to 610 millimeters. The total length of the weapon is 1120 millimeters. The weight of the rifle without ammunition and in the first and second version of about 6,5 kilogram. The device is fed from detachable box stores with a capacity of 10 cartridges. It is impossible not to mention the limited batch of sniper rifles with an even shorter barrel with a length of 508 millimeters. In general, in this case, the company always goes to meet the buyer and is ready in a short time to adapt the weapon under a fairly large list of ammunition, so that there are quite a lot of options for a variety of cartridges.
Considerable distribution of weapon variants for the .300 Win Mag cartridges, as well as the .338 Lapua Mag. These samples are named Arctiс Warfare Magnum, depending on the ammunition used, the length of their barrels may be 660 or 686 millimeters, respectively, the length of the weapon itself will be 1180 millimeters or 1206 millimeters. Weight rifles about 6 kilogram, they are fed from the detachable box magazine capacity 10 cartridges.
There are also sniper rifles with integrated silent shooting equipment, which are designated AWS (Arctiс Warfare Supressed). The standard version of such a rifle has a barrel length of 660 millimeters, the device is silent shooting is located around the barrel of the weapon, that is, dressed in it. The standard ammunition for this rifle is the .308 Win cartridge with a subsonic heavy bullet, however, not everything is unambiguous here either, since the company offers the most varied weapons for different ammunition.
Well, finally, we got to the millimeter 12,7 rifle, namely AW50. Despite the fact that this weapon is based on ArctiWarfare, it has some differences that are associated not only with the more powerful ammunition that is used in it. The fact is that the designers were given the task of creating a rifle that could compete with the best large-caliber models and the designers, in my opinion, fulfilled this task. By and large, the AW50 rifle is a fairly simple model, but something in it is worthy of attention. So, an interesting feature of the weapon is the butt. The fact is that the rifle butt has the ability to adjust both in length and height of the cheek support, but the stop itself moves in the horizontal plane along with the butt plate, that is, it is connected not with the butt itself, but only with its back .
To compensate for recoil when shooting, the weapon has a simple and at the same time effective recoil compensator, although many point out as a drawback that after a shot the shooter may go blind for a while because of the flame. In the front part of the forearm, the folding and height-adjustable bipods are reinforced; under the butt, there is also a height-adjustable “leg”. The length of the weapon is 1420 millimeters with a barrel length of 686 millimeters. The weight of the rifle is about 15 kilogram. The sample is fed from a detachable box magazine with a capacity of 5 cartridges.
Thus, based on the above, we can conclude that L96A1 is a version of the weapon created in the framework of the PM project, and it is the progenitor of a series of Arctiс Warfare sniper rifles. At the same time, it will be clearly incorrect to put an equal sign between a weapon, since, despite its similarity, these are still different samples. For this reason, Arcti Warfare L96A1 cannot be called, as well as vice versa.