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To answer the first question, the .223 is NOT suitable for tactical (police or other wise) situations. It does not have the necessary terminal ballistics to insure consistent instant incapacitation for anything but perfect shot placement. They also lack in penetrating power for barricade shots, and are especially suseptible to fragmentation for glass shots. The new heavy weight bullets (70+ grain) do offer better penetration and have better potential, but are still unproven and lack the ability of heavier calibers. Unfortunately, there have been shots on bad guys that were technically correct shot placements for kills in which it did not kill the bad guy. Such in consistent terminal ballistics is not acceptable for snipers/sharpshooters.

That being said, I have a .223 bolt gun (CZ) with a 1:9 twist. My particular rifle does not like the heavier bullets, but it does stabilize them just fine. This rifle tends to love 55gr ammo but that is not because of the rate of twist.

for additional info, check out the .223 section on snipercentral
http://www.snipercentral.com/223.htm

MEL
 

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Actually, for law enforcement sharpshooters, the .223 is out of favor. The AR15 variants are used quite a bit by law enforcement, but more commonly they are squad car guns, not sniper rifles (this can be considered "counter-sniper"). The .223 was very popular for sharpshooters in the 80's and even into the 90's but then statistical data started showing up, and real world experience showed the .223 to not be suitable for sharpshooting. It is still used a lot for entry teams, etc. where it does very well.

When I went through an FBI regional SWAT Sniper school, 100% of the sharpshooters (20+) were using .308. I was the only military sniper in attendence, the rest were law enforcement. They were all (100%) bolt action rifles also. Sharpshooters from the entire northwest USA were there, so it was a good sampling.

MEL
 

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It is a good point, as LE would be the one area that would be "better" suited for semi-autos. But I think the big reason why is cost, reliability, and reputation. Like it or not, LE patterns a lot on the military. Which is pretty much bolt only (for reasons we have discussed before). The cost issue comes into play for most small departments, which is about 95% of them out there. A remington 700P can be purchased for $650. In the school I went to probably 85% of the rifles were 700P's. There were a few varmint 700's, one ruger varmint, and a M24 (I wonder who had the M24? :wink: )

The other big consideration is reliability. I would have to venture to say that it is MORE critical to have a reliable weapon in LE than in the military. Timing is arguably more important in hostage situations than combat. To have a jam in LE can mean hostages lives and missing the ONLY opportunaty to take a shot (or follow up shot, where a jam would most likely occur).

Because of these reasons, semi's are not popular in LE either....

MEL
 

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well cost i can understand bolt guns are more reliable in the field but if your not in the mud which not all law enforcement snipers always find themsleves in then a semi-auto might be a better weapon, they are just as reliable as bolt guns as long as they dont get a bunch of mud or sand in them
Well, I guess that depends on where the agency is! For instance, in montana, a law enforcement sniper will find himself/herself in dirt & mud more than they would in say, So. Cal. Keep in mind MOST agencies are rural across the USA (in terms of percentages of agencies that are rural vs. agencies that are urban), but I will admit that most of the "busy" teams are indeed urban. But even then, blowing wind, trash, gravel from roof tops, etc can cause problems.

Either way, reliability is probably not the number one reason, stopping power IS.

MEL
 
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