The REAPR-338 machine gun was officially introduced during the annual ShotShow expo in January 2024 by its manufacturer, the Ohio Ordnance Works company from USA. This machine gun is designed to fulfill USSOCOM LMG-M (Light Machine Gun – medium) requirements, which were first issued in 2017. The LMG-M contestants are expected to weight about the same (empty) as the venerable 7.62mm M240 machine gun, but provide much longer effective range by firing a much more powerful .338 Norma Magnum (8.6x63mm) ammunition. As such, the REAPR-338 machine gun is intended to compete with the much more mature SIG SAUER MG-338 machine gun, which also fires the same cartridge.
It must be noted that the US military is already fielding at least two variants of the .338NM ammunition. The M1162 AP cartridge is used by the US Army snipers, while non-DOD classified Multi-Purpose (MP) cartridge is used by the USSOCOM snipers, both in the Mk.22 Mod.0 Advanced Sniper Rifle system, commercially known as the Barret MRAD rifle. However, both these rounds are optimized for long range accuracy and are quite expensive, so we could expect to see more “machine gun oriented” types of ammunition in this caliber, provided that any of the competing machine gun designs in .338 NM would be adopted by a military.
Interestingly enough, the REAPR-338 stands for “Recoil Enhanced Automatic Precision Rifle, 338 caliber”, obviously meaning that this powerful machine gun can be used by a single person in a tactical role similar to the “automatic rifle”, providing highly maneuverable and flexible fire support to small infantry or SF units, operating “on foot”. It also can be installed on a variety of ground or vehicle mounts, to be used as a replacement to a 7.62mm M240 GMPG, or, in some cases, as a replacement to a fifty-caliber (12.7mm) M2HB heavy machine gun.
The REAPR-338 machine gun uses a roller-delayed blowback action, somewhat similar to that used in many famous weapons from Heckler und Koch, such as a HK-21 machine gun or a HK G3 rifle. Major differences are that REAPR-338 fires from an open bolt, and has dual return springs mounted on captive guide rods. Gun can fire both in full automatic mode and in single shots, thanks to a mode selector lever located above the pistol grip.
This weapon is fitted with a quick-removable barrel that also makes possible various caliber conversion, which would, obviously, also require a bolt group and feed unit changes. The one conversion which was already mentioned is to fire a less powerful and less expensive 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition, which can be used for live fire training.
The REAPR-338 machine gun use belt feed system with a patented side-sliding feed tray. This side-sliding feature was introduced to ensure fast and comfortable reloads when some type of large optics (i.e an IR or a Night sight or a combination of a day sign and an IR adapter) is blocking the top of the receiver. In that case, the entire feed tray could be unlocked and slid to the left, before opening its top cover for reload. Once a fresh belt is inserted into the tray and top cover is closed, the loaded tray can be pushed back to the center for firing. Empty cases are ejected straight down.
The REAPR-338 machine gun features a machined steel receiver of rather slim proportions. Standard features include a side-folding, adjustable shoulder stock, ambidextrous controls and integrated Picatinny rails. If required, barrel can be fitted with a proprietary tactical sound and flash suppressor.
REAPR-338 machine gun basic specifications: