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Derived from the Remington Model 700 rifle, the M24 SWS (Sniper Weapon System) is the primary sniper rifle of the US Army. It was developed in the 1980s to replace the Springfield Armory M21, and was first fielded in 1988. The M24 was effectively the Army's first weapon developed specially for sniping. It is designated as a "weapon system" rather than simply a weapon, because a detachable telescopic sight and a variety of tools and accessories are issued along with it as part of a single package.

The M24 is a bolt action rifle, feeding from a detachable box magazine holding either 5 or 10 rounds, depending on the model. Iron sights are fitted as well, as backup for the scope.

The M24 is chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO round. It is able to fire machine gun grade ammunition, but this practice is usually avoided, as the lackluster quality of these rounds results in poor accuracy. The "long action" design of the M24 also allows it to be reconfigured to fire larger rounds, and variants chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum have been developed to exploit this capability.

The effective range of the M24 is 800 m, though shots have successfully been made at beyond 1 000 m. As with its accuracy, the range of the M24 also varies slightly with the ammunition used.