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Immortal Tombat

Ellipsis guys...

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Wednesday, September 26th 2012, 7:00pm

The L96. A hipster's Sniper Rifle.



Dubbed in game as the British Military’s designation for it and otherwise known by its manufacturer name, the Accuracy International Arctic Warfare, the L96 is a bolt action rifle of British origin and design and is the forefront of a very large family of similar (and rather awesome) rifles.

First available to Battlefield 3 players in December as part of the Back to Karkand expansion pack, it was available for use after completing the assignments “Specops” and “Creeping Death”, the former unlocking the QBU-88 and thereby making the latter assignment available for completion. The objectives of the two assignments are as follows:

Specops
- 20 Kills with sniper rifles.
- 5 Laser designations.

Creeping Death
- 50 Headshots.
- 50 Spot assists.
- 5 Knife takedowns.

When first released, the L96 was arguably the best bolt action rifle available, with the joint fastest bolt time (1.1s) and the then second highest bullet velocity (540m/s), it was quite simply the best of both worlds, speed and distance rolled into one sexy package. However, it was also adorned with 2 glitches. Firstly, it had no scope glint and secondly, the straight pull bolt did not function as intended.
Now however, after a single change and the addition of a rival, the gun is a husk of its former self. But that will be explained later.

Overall, the L96 behaves as a very typical bolt action, with the standard 10+1 round box magazine, 5.0 hip spread and slow reload comparative to ARs/Carbines.
Arguably the most important point of a review is the pros and cons of a weapon, what sets it apart from the other bolt actions, quickly summarised below.

Pros


Cons
- Slowest bolt time (1.37s) results in an awfully slow ROF of 43.5 RPM, even slower than the M98B
- Second slowest reload when averaged.
- Joint slowest empty reload.

Now that may seem odd. But there’s a reason this is a hipster gun. It has the standard damage model of 80 hit points up to 15m, dropping off to 59 hit points at 100m. Although that may beat the SV98, it is still only on par with the M40 and JNG.
It has an average bullet velocity among the bolt actions, although once second best, with the addition of the JNG (firing at 560m/s) the L96 has been pushed down to third among the bolt actions.
It fires from a 10+1 box magazine; again, this may beat the M98B, but is still only on par with the SV98, M40 and JNG.
Put simply, if the L96 isn’t sucking at something (reload and bolt speed); it’s being average at it (everything fucking else). It has no pros, unless you count the bloody camouflages DICE seem to think are so valuable.

However, saying a gun is outclassed is not the same as saying a gun is a pile of steaming turd, thus the L96 is still useable, especially given my loyalty to the weapon after 1,500+ kills. Below is my preferred set up for the L96.

- PSO-1 (4x).
- Straight Pull Bolt.
- Laser Sight.

Weapon characteristics:

Damage & Drop Off:

With 80 hit points of damage being dealt up to 15m, and the 1.25x chest multiplier, the L96 is capable of one shot kills to the chest within said distance, which is on par with the likes of the M40 and JNG but 5m lower than that of the SV98. However, its advantage over the SV98 comes in its higher minimum damage, at 59 hit points; the L96 is capable of 2 shot kills to the leg at any range whereas the SV98 is only capable of this at a maximum of approximately 68m. The minimum damage of 59 also means that when the L96 is capable of a one shot kill to the head at any range. However, once again this ability is not above average as this is the case for all Bolt Actions.

Rate of Fire:

Firing at 43.5 rounds per minute, the L96 is the slowest firer among the Bolt Actions, even slower than the heavy hitter M98B. Bolting 0.07 seconds slower to be precise, this isn’t much of a difference, but bolting over a quarter of a second slower than the M40 is quite noticeable. However, the most annoying thing to note about its rate of fire is that it is of course slower than its direct competitor; the JNG, which also bests the L96 in both reload times (tactical and empty) and also bullet velocity. The one change I would implement regarding the L96 would be to buff its bolt time from 1.37s to 1.2s; therefore quickening its Rate of Fire from 43.5 to 50 rounds per minute.

Other:

At 540m/s, the bullet velocity is pretty much bang in the middle, third best, but also third worst. It is also slightly lower than the average muzzle velocity of 552m/s. However, this is largely due to the highly extrapolated nature of the M98Bs muzzle velocity (650m/s), being a massive 90m/s higher than that of the next in line, the JNG.
Needless to say, the base spread of the L96, like all bolt actions, is 0.0. This means that the bullet is affected only by gravity and not by random spread. However, the more important spread figure is the L96s hip spread, at 5.0; it is the highest base hip spread in the game, and only the L86 with Heavy Barrel and JNG with suppressor are worse than it, both courtesy of faulty hip spread multipliers.

Where does the L96 stand?

Despite the lack of any proficiencies or extraordinary stats, I feel the L96 DOES have a place in the game. With such average stats, and the fact that the L96 is unlocked via assignment rather than tens of thousands of Recon points; I feel the L96 would perform very well as a beginner’s sniper rifle. With average bullet velocity, it is clearly no M98B and should not be used at extreme ranges. Similarly, with the slowest bolt time it should not be used in too much of an aggressive manner, as the margin for error is nearly non-existent. You miss, you die. It’s that simple.
But with the mild bullet drop but standard 10+1 round magazine, and the fact that Back to Karkand has been out much longer than Close Quarters, it’s no wonder that the L96 is so common with rookie players. Rookie players who have neither unlocked nor mastered the required play style of the M40A5 and SV98.

Attachments:

Sights:

- Reflex/Kobra. This is not recommended. At 1.44x zoom, this is obviously meant for close range engagements. Put simply however, the L96 is not. If you want to be so aggressive, a shotgun, PDW or fast firing AR/Carbine is more fitting. Even if you are up for such aggressive sniping with the reflex or any other low power optic, the SV98 or M40 are more fitting.

- Holo/PKA-S. Read above.

- M145/PK-A (3.4x). Although a moderate level optic is generally my preferred scope for snipers, these two are not. Granted they offer higher peripheral vision than the ACOG/PSO-1 but they offer less zoom and more importantly; they offer a less accurate way to gauge bullet drop.

- ACOG/PSO-1 (4x). These are my preferred scopes, as you read above. Personally, I need no more zoom than this; they are accurate and perfectly usable up to approximately 250m, which I would say is the maximum engagement distance. Engaging at distances higher generally means you’re being less useful than you could be. More importantly, they offer a sufficient level of zoom without having scope glint or completely sacrificing peripheral vision. Between 100-200m (my ideal sniping range) the 4x is more than enough to target heads and torsos. My choice of the PSO-1 is merely an aesthetic one; I prefer the chevron reticule for gauging bullet drop.

- Rifle Scope (7/8x). These are my recommended scope for sniping. I’m no Craig Harrison when it comes to sniping, but I think I am above average. For the average Joe however these are a more proficient scope. Simply because the extra zoom makes it much easier to gauge bullet drop and to hit the headshot that means the difference between using one bullet or two.

- Ballistic Scope (12x). Don’t use this. There’s nothing that the 12x can do that the 8x can’t. Like I said, engaging outside of 250m generally means that you’re being nigh useless for your team, 4x is proficient at those ranges, 7/8x is more than proficient. The 12x is just useless. If I had my way, the first rule of every server in BF3 would be “PTFO or GTFO”.

Primary Attachment:

- Straight Pull Bolt. This is the best primary option for all snipers in my opinion. It offers the advantage of being able to track your target whilst bolting, just in case you miss that all important headshot and need to follow it up to finish your opponent. An invaluable asset to pretty much anybody, we’re all human, Bipods belong on LMGs guarding certain areas. The only use for a bipod in sniping is if you’re far away. I’ve already said; PTFO or GTFO.

Secondary Attachments:

- Laser Sight. Anything that can reduce that atrocious hip spread is welcome. It allows you to hit those cheeky no scopes in those tight situations. It’s not entirely recommended as a primary play style, but it will definitely help you get out of tricky situations, and it can always be turned off. So there’s no point not using it.

- Suppressor. No. Using an attachment that reduces range, on a ranged weapon? Generally, that’s not awesome. When sniping, you shouldn’t be on the front line anyway, so keeping off the radar is less of an issue. You just end up nearly halving your bullet velocity. However (according to the charts), the suppressor does not reduce the drop off of bolt actions, nor does it increase your hip-spread. I personally cannot forgive the drop in bullet spread though.
But for those who enjoy using all bolt actions, the suppressor may be for you, as it UNIFORMLY reduces the bullet velocity of ALL bolt actions to 310m/s. This means by using one bolt action, you effectively familiarise yourself with the bullet drop of all bolt actions. Pretty nifty, eh?

- Tactical Light. Blinding somebody at close range is not much when you still have 5.0 hip-spread, it’s just less of an advantage than being 4 times as likely to hit a no scope, and it’s also more likely to give away your position compared to the laser sight and is just generally looked down upon.

Set ups.

Unfortunately, given its mediocre nature, I cannot recommend any “out of the box” super different setups that play on its quirky stats, because it just doesn’t have any quirky or brilliant stats it can be played to. It has not got a fast bolt time, doesn’t have better than average hip-spread nor does it fire mega .338 Lapua magnum rounds. Therefore, all I can suggest are ordinary class setups. One thing worth noting here is the choice of sidearm. This is generally personal opinion, but I tend to go for the pistol that can cover the L96s shortcomings; close range. The two best pistols at close range are the 93R and MP412 REX, my recommendation and choice being the 93R. This is because of its vastly superior magazine capacity (21 as opposed to a 6 round cylinder) and its much speedier reload time. The two advantages provide a much much higher margin of error.

The “general” class:
8x rifle scope
Straight Pull Bolt
Laser Sight
93R

The slightly more aggressive “general” class: (My preferred setup)
PSO-1 4x scope
Straight Pull Bolt
Laser Sight
93R

Overall, the L96 behaves best as a starter’s sniper rifle, and behaves solely as such; it has no perks to push it into any niche role. It is simply a go to sniper rifle. If the M98 is the Bowser of Recon, and the M40 is the Toad, or Diddy Kong of recon, then this ought to be the Mario, right? No. That little red cap belongs to the JNG. As the JNG slightly outclasses it in every way (reload time, bolt time and bullet velocity) the L96 is certainly the Luigi of the Recon class, useable, but just left slightly in the shadow.

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Wednesday, September 26th 2012, 9:06pm

An honest and objective view that covers pretty much all that's needed. Nice job.

One thing I find bizarre about the L96's camoflauges is that the front iron sight recieves the camoflauge too. This is especially noticable on the green woodland camo.
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Lennox 203

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Wednesday, September 26th 2012, 9:22pm

The L96 is sadly completely outclassed by the JNG now. It used to be the slowest firing fastest muzzle velocity sniper rifle that is not the M98b, now its just meh. You do raise the good point that it is a good beginners sniper rifle due to being unlock via assignment instead of point grindage. It is quite a bit easier to unlock than the JNG, and the L96 is definitely strong than the SV98 in terms of ROF, Muzzle Velocity and Damage.

The JNG does sound more badass, but the L96 is sleaker. And if youre a British enthusiast, the L96 is for you.

I use ACOG, Bipod, Suppressor as a good EMR in cities. in HC of course.

Good review of a gun that has been neutered
"Ain't nothin' soft or sweet, I lift you off your feet
When I cock back the heat, whole crews retreat"


This post has been edited 2 times, last edit by "rainkloud" (Sep 27th 2012, 7:14pm) with the following reason: Altered potentially offensive term


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Wednesday, September 26th 2012, 11:08pm

I'm sorry but your format is a bit too similar to mine *copyright*

just joking, but I really hate the fact that you said 'Where does the L96 stand?" Everything else is pretty much acceptable in my view but that subheading... man, come on.

I like it overall with some slightly humorous phrases, and it's informative, but I don't understand why the title has the word 'hipster'... Not only do you talk nothing about being a 'hipster', the weapon also has an atrocious HIP spread.

Sort of evident that you're only 14 :P -giggles- I'm only 15, though
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Athemoe

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Wednesday, September 26th 2012, 11:35pm

Great review.
I still use this gun for killing people at long range.
However, I use the JNG with a 3.4x scope for short to mid range.

Failure117

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Thursday, September 27th 2012, 1:25am

I like it overall with some slightly humorous phrases, and it's informative, but I don't understand why the title has the word 'hipster'... Not only do you talk nothing about being a 'hipster', the weapon also has an atrocious HIP spread.
I can't tell if this is supposed to be funny or you're just being a fool lol.

Good review. L96 used to be my favorite sniper until the JNG came along... (andthentheM40causebolttime)
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Thursday, September 27th 2012, 5:44am

Nice job. The L96 is my best sniper rifle

Immortal Tombat

Ellipsis guys...

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Thursday, September 27th 2012, 11:51am

I'm sorry but your format is a bit too similar to mine *copyright*

Pros, cons, attachments and pretty colours? Don't bloody flatter yourself, it's the general format of any informative review. And what's wrong with saying "Where does the L96 stand?" It's a valid question that I think every reviewer should have compartmentalised into their reviews, especially of one focusing on a gun so outclassed as the L96. If I wanted to really commit to plagiarism, I could have pasted a tonne of JPEGs and excessively highlighted phrases that don't need it.
And it's hipster because it's completely outclassed by the JNG, I thought that was obvious.

And if youre a British enthusiast, the L96 is for you.

Errrm, joke or genuinely very anti-transatlantic?

This post has been edited 2 times, last edit by "rainkloud" (Sep 27th 2012, 7:13pm)


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Thursday, September 27th 2012, 11:58am

This gun is hipster? I still see it all over the place.
Or have we taken poetic licenses with the definition?

Oh one more thing. Sniper + headshot = endgame.


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hunturk

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Thursday, September 27th 2012, 12:56pm

im pretty sure that a gun is hipster if its not commonly used and not as good as other choices and therefore you are "hipster" for using it.
Personally, i don't take a stance on whether or not there is a creating entity because i'm humble enough to realize, in my fucking insignificance, the concept escapes my comprehension with a lead of 9001 light years.
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