The Light Tactical Rifle

By Shooter, Jan 16, 2012 | |
  1. Shooter
    Considered the SUV of the rifle world, the LTR (Light Tactical Rifle) is designed to plug the gap between carbine caliber platforms (.i.e.5.56mm/223Rem) and a larger heavy rifle, such as a 308, .338 etc. The ideal engagement envelope for a LTR is 150-450 meters.

    The basic concept, very similar to a scout rifle, is to develop a lightweight yet accurate high-powered rifle capable of making and taking very accurate shots out to 300-meters. These can range from very slightly modified hunting rifles to specialized heavy Stoner-type heavy ARs. An added bonus of the LTR is that it can be utilized as a good brush gun for hunting purposes.

    Another attractive feature of the LTR is that itblends and does not stand out on the range or in your drag bag. For shootists who prefer not to be a walking fireworks show, and adopt more of a Grey-Man approach to life, the LTR is ideal long arm. It's a lot easier to explain away a LTR in a zipper bag in a SHTF situation than it is to have to show off a drag bagfilled with an M4 tricked out with a hundred accessories and 20-magazines.

    --- A cutdown Mauser in 6.5mm, very handy with a 20-inch barrel, just over 8 pounds with scope, ring and mounts. About as basic an idea for a LTR there is

    Price considerations

    Over-the-counter options for the LTR are easy to find and research. Most major centerfire rifle manufacturers make lightweight, composite-stocked versions of their entry level hunting rifles. The most popular of these include the Remington 700/770, Winchester model 70, and Ruger 77. Some of these can be acquired in big-box stores for as low as $300-$350. These can often be had in 24-inch variants weighing in at just under 8-pounds. While not ideal, they are a good start.

    If you can add a few more dollars to the amount, the manufacturers have some better bolt-action options. For instance, the Mountain LSS series of Remington 700s includes a 270 Win caliber beauty that tips the scales at 6.625-pounds with a 22 barrel. Ruger's similar offering, the Hawkeye Compact M77, can be had in .243 and 7.62x39mm at just 5.75-pounds with a 16.5-inch barrel. These MSRP for about $800 and are ideal platforms for maneuverable LTR.

    In autoloaders an interesting choice would be Remington's model 750 black synthetic stocked .308 carbine, at only 39-inches overall with its 18.5-inch barrel and 7.25-pound weight. This hard-hitting and handy rifle just screams LTR with the addition of a proper scope, and its 308 caliber round is big medicine. Keeping with the smaller caliber typically seen in LTRs, the sameversion in 243 is ideal.

    --Remington 750 carbine scoped, a nice, effective LTR

    Caliber choice

    The foundation of your LTR is your caliber. The light tactical rifle would be more of a mid rifle-caliber weapon (i.e. between 5.56mm/223 and 7.62x51 NATO/308 Winchester). This enables aimed shots out to the 300-500 meter range. The 6.8 mm Remington SPC (or 6.8x43mm) and 6.5mm Grendel have been alternatively called the perfect mid-caliber rounds in this spectrum. They typically deliver 40 50% more energy than the 5.56 with less felt recoil and over penetration than the full size 7.62NATO. Another good set of more commonly available rounds in this performance block is the .243 Winchester and .270 Remington, which, if considered, opens up several commercial designs.

    Stay away from adding too many bells and whistles

    This is the LIGHT part of a LTR! The LTR is a greyhound. It is a light and svelte instrument of streamlined power, not an over-accessorized black rifle. Stick to the premise of keeping it simple and limit the already light and handy rifle to optics and sling. Even the temptation of a Harris bipod or buttstock shell holder is walking a thin line. If you can have a scoped, high-powered rifle weighing in at under 10-pounds, leave it that way.


    Bring enough scope to get the most out of your LTR's ballistics. For close in tactical shooting (under 100-meters), you can use a good quality reflex scopes such as a Trijicon or Aimpoint. When contemplating shooting out to your expected engagement envelope, 300-500meters, a minimum would be an optic with no less than 4x magnification married to a 40mm objective lens. Higher end optics such as a Leupold Mark 4 4.5-14x50mm LR/T M1 Long Range Tactical Rifle Scopes, can set you back upwards of $900. Many entry level tactical products such as Nikon's Prostaff and Monarch series and the Bushnell Tactical 10X40 which can be had for as little as $200.

    No matter what the flavor, an LTR can be an essential part of your long-arm inventory and fill that gap between a carbine and a heavy-barreled, large caliber, precision marksman rifle, while still being able to put some meat on the table if needed.

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