Barrett M90: A successor of legendary Barrett M82

Ian Hogg

Barrett M90 is a simpler weapon than the Barrett M82, a bolt-action magazine rifle. This change in mechanism has been accompanied by other modifications, resulting in a shorter and lighter weapon than the semi-automatic M82 (Light Fifty). It was designed in 1990 and produced until 1995, when it was replaced with Barrett M95.

Design

It is in bullpup form, with the action well back in the stock; the chamber is under the firer’s cheek to accommodate the maximum length of the barrel within the minimum overall length. A very efficient muzzle brake is fitted with a special absorbent butt pad, reducing the felt recoil to a manageable level.

Barrett M90 sniper rifle appeared in 1990 as a successor of the M82A1 sniper rifle produced by Barrett Firearms Inc.
Barrett M90 sniper rifle appeared in 1990 as a successor of the M82A1 sniper rifle produced by Barrett Firearms Inc. (Photo: XY)

There are no iron sights on the M90, nor is any sight provided as standard, but the top of the receiver is dovetailed to accept most types of sighting telescope or night vision sight (Picatinny Rail). In general terms, the M90 will do anything the Light Fifty will do but is a more convenient load to carry for long distances.

Barrett Firearms initially created the M90 to attract consumers who were seeking to find a bolt-action .50 caliber. It’s easier to make a bolt-action rifle to handle larger calibers, hence why the Barrett M90 series of bolt action .50s are not only lighter but relatively inexpensive in comparison to the M82s and M107s.

The Barrett M90 uses a 10x Leupold M series sight for a stock scope. Several countries used it as their primary sniper rifle in .50 BMG caliber.

Weapon operation

The Barrett M90 is not meant to be a shoulder-fired weapon. When preparing to fire the M90, it is first set up by folding down the attached bipod on the weapon and setting on whatever space is used to fire it. The gun is first inspected to see any debris that might cause the weapon to malfunction. There is typically little cause for error as a bolt-action rifle, whereas a semi-automatic rifle could jam, or the round might have problems ejecting after firing.

After the gun is set up in the desired firing space, the five-round magazine is loaded, and the gun is ready to be fired after proper safety precautions are followed. The gun is rested on the bipod, with the user holding the rifle’s handle firmly to prevent the gun from sliding back. The design that has gone into the M90 allows it to be fired in this manner without being pressed against the shoulder.

The gun can reduce recoil through the muzzle brakes and bipod usage. If the Barrett M90 did not have any muzzle brake, then the gun’s recoil would be considerably more extensive and would need a different design incorporating the shoulder being pressed to the gun.

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Technical specifications

Manufacturer: Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc., Murfreesboro, Tennessee, United States
Type: Bolt-action repeating rifle
Caliber: .50 BMG (12.7×99mm NATO)
Barrel: 29 in (736 mm)
Weight (empty): 22 lbs (9.98 kg)
Magazine capacity: 5-round detachable box magazine

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