Barrett engineers began designing the Barrett 98B in 1997, with a goal of developing a precision tactical .338 Lapua rifle not based on any sporting rifles. The initial semi-auto design, the Model 98 was unveiled at the 1998 SHOT Show, but never went into full production. In past years, Ronnie Barrett’s son, Chris, revived the company’s interest in the .338 rifle.
Many of the Model 98B’s features are inspired by Stoner’s AR-15/M16; the hinged aluminum upper and lower receivers, ergonomic pistol grip and thumb operated safety are all borrowed from Stoner’s design. The upper receiver also features a full length (18.125 inches (460.4 mm)) 1913 style Picatinny rail for mounting optics, lasers, etc., and two additional accessory rails are mounted forward of the main rail on each side of the upper.
The Model 98B also features a fluted medium-heavy 27-inch (690 mm) barrel made of 4150 MIL-B-11595 steel. The barrel is rifled in a six groove, 1:10″ right hand twist pattern, and features a two-port muzzle brake threaded on and indexed by a jam nut. The bolt rides in a new “bolt guide” design, consisting of two tubular glass-filled polymer guides which have been infused with Teflon. These guides allow the bolt to travel better, as well as reducing the need for lubrication, and helping to seal the ejection and bolt handle ports from dirt. The bolt head is made of case-hardened 8620 steel, features nine lugs (three sets of three), and is attached to the bolt body with a crosspin. This separate bolt head design allows for simple caliber changes, as well as future pre-headspaced barrel and bolt-head sets.
The lower receiver is forged from 7075 aluminum, can mount any type of AR-15/M-16 pistol grip, and features an ambidextrous magazine latch just forward of the integral trigger guard. Also featured within the lower receiver is the rifle’s trigger assembly. The trigger assembly can be removed from the receiver as a single unit, and features adjustment screws for weight (2 to 4 lbs.) and overtravel, as well as a reversible AR-15/M-16 style thumb safety.
The skeletonized buttstock is also integral to the lower receiver, and features a thick Sorbothane buttpad with spacers for pull adjustment, a polymer cheekpiece with 0.75 inches (19 mm) of variable comb height, and an adjustable monopod. The rifle also comes from the factory with a Harris brand S-BR bipod attached to the fore-end.
The Model 98B was featured both on the cover, and in an article, of the April 2009 issue of American Rifleman magazine.
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NIB Barrett 98B Leupold M5 with BORS Optic System