TACTICAL WEAPONS •
XM408 is manufactured almost entirely of steel and aluminum alloy. The steel receiverand bolt are CNC and EDM machined andhardened to 42 Rockwell.
The XM408’s stock assembly is fullyadjustable for length of pull and cheek-rest height. The XM408’s only non-metalliccomponents are the pistol grip, borrowedfrom AR-15 type rifles, and the buttstock pad. The XM408 comes complete with anM60-machine-gun style bipod and a fold-ing adjustable monopod in the buttstock assembly. Like the EDM Windrunner, fromwhich it is derived, the XM408 can be bro-ken down into a compact package fortransportation or airborne operations inless than a minute. The stock is fully col-lapsible and the barrel is removed by sim-ply twisting off the large retaining nut thatautomatically sets proper headspace whentightened into place. No tools are necessaryto disassemble or reassemble the XM408.The barrel slides into place and is automati-cally indexed via a notch in the receiver.There is no torque requirement for the bar-rel nut; all that is required is to firmly hand-tighten it into place. The fluted XM408 bar-rel is, of course, free floated along its entirelength as a part of the overall design.The XM408 is a conventional bolt actionrifle in the sense that it has a manually oper-ated bolt with two forward locking lugs anda safety lug that is integrated into the oper-ating handle, but the design is otherwiseunconventional. The XM408 has a “float-ing”bolt head that flexes slightly to ensureproper lockup and headspace. The extrac-tor is integral to the right locking lug andthe ejector is of the plunger type, positivelyejecting spent casings. During testing, ourXM408 placed every spent casing in a smallpile about 6 inches from the right front of the ejection port. Unlike most bolt-actionrifles, the XM408 receiver body surroundsthe bolt, adding strength and rigidity andalso protecting the rifle’s action from dustand foreign matter.The receiver’s top surface is fitted witha MIL-STD-1913 rail for mounting optics.There are no open sights. The safety is asmall lever at the right rear of the receiverthat is applied when moved to the rearand released when pressed forward, likethat of a Remington 700. The safety physi-cally blocks the trigger, although the boltcan still be manipulated. The “single stack”
EXTREME RANGE TESTFIRE
detachable box magazine holds fivecartridges. The magazine is retainedat the rear by a latch that engages anotched plate spot-welded to the rearface of the magazine. The attachmentis positive, although there is someintentional play at the forward end of the magazine. Feeding was absolutelyreliable and was butter smooth.Our XM408’s bolt operation wasinitially somewhat “gritty,”but after wip-ing it clean and applying a light coat of Mil-Comm’s TW-25B PTFE spray to thebolt and the receiver interior, the actionsmoothed considerably. The owner’s man-ual states that the action might seemrough at first due to the phosphate finishand that it would become smoother aftersome usage and lubrication, but TW-25Binstantly smoothed the bolt’s operation.For high-shear applications such as lockinglugs, a tiny amount of TW-25B PTFE greaseenhances operation and reliability.
We set our XM408 up with a LeupoldMark 4 6.5-20x 50mm scope with optionalHorus Vision H25 tactical reticle which wasrecently adopted by the U.S. Marine Corpsas its standard scope sight.In use, the shooter generates “come-up”data using the handheld Trimble TDS Reconcomputer with Horus Vision ballistic soft-ware installed. This data is transferred to awaterproof, adhesive-backed paper cardthat is used to determine precise holdoversfor elevation and windage. If time is avail-able and exact precision is desired, the TDSComputer can be used to generate specifictargeting data, to include elevation andwindage holds for the target to beengaged. Once the rifle is zeroed withone load, the hand-held computercan be used to generate come-upcards for other loads. The ballistic data forother loads is entered into the TDS and aseparate “come-up”card generated. All thatis necessary is to generate a come-up cardfor any load desired and confirm zero.Another recent Leupold product isthe company’s RX series of digital laserrangefinders (LRF) that deliver the exactballistic distance to the target, regardless of slope. Most rifle shooters know that as theangle up or down increases, the true bal-listic distance decreases. Previous devicesmeasured the cosine and read out a factorby which the shooter multiplied to obtainthe true ballistic distance. This took pre-cious time, during which the target mightgo behind cover and disappear. Of course,there were “whiz wheels”and slide rulesto speed obtaining the true distance, but
Extended 54.5", 138.4cmCollapsed 48", 121.9cm
26 lbs, 11.79kg
5 round standard7 round optional
aMMo high loW average extreMe std. averageveloCity veloCity veloCity spread deviation group
Chey Tac 2845 fps 2795 fps 2820 fps 50 fps 15 0.65 in419-gr.FMJBT
Testing conducted at 100 yards. Velocity data taken from 5 shots, Chronographed on Oehler 35 Chrono-graph, temperature 35 deg, F. Group size average of two, three shot groups fired from sandbag rest.
Global Defense THOR XM408
“The .408 gives The preci-sion TacTical marksman arange advanTage over any .308 or .338 caliber rifle,while adding liTTle moreTo The weighT burden.”
— Continued on page 91
The sturdy steel detachable boxmagazine of the Thor is a single-stack unit. The standard unit holdsfive rounds, although an optionalseven rounder is also available.Sniper ready XM408 not only looksthe part, but it shoots the part, too!
D o u gR i c h a r d s onP h o t o s