Walther WA-2000 (Video)

The Walther WA-2000 has a reputation of being the ultimate German sniper rifle, with no expense spared in its design and construction. Designed in the aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, the WA2000 was intended to be a police sniper rifle, not a military arm. It is a bullpup layout and semiautomatic action, chambered for either 7.62mm NATO or .300 Winchester Magnum. Manufactured until 1988, less than 200 were made in total, as its incredible cost ($9000 list price in 1988) prevented it from being adopted by anyone outside the West German police.

We will discuss the history of the gun, and the various elements of its design. Is it really the best sniper rifle ever? Well…it is a really magnificent gun, but exhibits a number of antiquated features by today’s standards – like not having a free floated barrel. We will disassemble it (no simple task!) and then take it out to the range.

Also, make sure to check out the InRange video where we put the WA2000 to the test against an SVD Dragunov:

28 Comments

  1. Looks like you found out what the West German police learned in the 1980’s: The gun looks cool but performance as a sniper rifle sucked. It was notorious for at least a 2 MOA climb between the first and second round on a cold barrel, something not really acceptable for a police rifle that was expected to “solve the problem” with one shot.

      • @R. Aballe
        If used and handed properly, not so flimsy. Those i seen when i was in the army were worn out by about 15 years of maltreatments inflicted by conscripts.
        The guys never pull fully the feet before folding the legs, causing premature wear.
        I guess that for a law enforcement purpose it was correct, in 1972?

        • I guess you are right. On a second though, that bipod arrangement makes some sense. And you reasoning in what regards the Walther WA-2000 rifle too: after all, it was designed from the start as a law enforcement/civilian arm, not a military one.

          Thanks for your first-hand insight on the FAMAS (I guess). Do you think the French rifle would have been off w/o the said bipod?

          • You’re welcome.
            Even wobbling it was still useful (not to leave the rifle on the ground for example). As a conscript (without any combat experience)i only shot it at the range (Bernauer Strasse) and it was common to take support on a sandbag 😀
            I did’nt have the need of perfect condition bipod. Logically the equipments in best condition were reserved for active units.

            Anyway, despite some flaws, the Wa 2000 is absolutly beautyfull.

        • What did you mean by “maltreatments inflicted by conscripts”? It was never adopted by any military. The Bundeswehr already adopted the H&K PSG1 in 1972.

  2. This rifle resembles “proof of concept” more than real production gun. For some strange reason, it was in many publications touted as “futuristic” and with other unfit superlatives. Oh well, is it not German? Maybe that is the reason so many want to drive BMW.

  3. Left handed shooter using SVD… of course he got those results; PSO-1 is actually slightly offset to the left side so he has jerk his head over the cheeckrest just to be able to see into the scope.

  4. The action of the WA-2000 reminds me of the FN hunting rifle, the BAR. Could it be that Walther tried to make a bullpup sniper rifle out of the BAR?

    • The trigger on the WA also looks a lot like the BAR trigger but in a bullpup version with the hammer acting as the disconnector. Also same principle was used in their GSP olympic pistol trigger mechanism.

    • Honestly, I learned more about this über-high-tech Walther sniper rifle from Ian than I’d never known before… And with all those “slot together” parts, allen/hex key parts and screws it sure seems like the kind of sniper rifle Ikea might sell in a flat box at their warehouse–if Ikea marketed firearms.

      I’d assumed–entirely incorrectly–that the upper bar holding the bipod and the lower with the stock furniture formed a “frame” around the free-floated barrel… No so! I have learned. I’d be interested in how the trigger pull was managed what with that being the bane of bull-pup designs?

  5. The Wa2000 was not adopted in the 1970s. It was first unveiled to the German authorities at the 1984 IWA Show in Nuremberg, and it lasted only a few years thereafter; to the end it remained a work in progress. It proved to be a technical nightmare and a financial disaster for Walther.

    Actually, the best part of the gun was the idea of mounting the bipod above the CG, so that the gun hung under the pivot point, which greatly improved its stability. Unfortunately the bipod, like many of the internal mechanical parts, was flimsy and under-designed. Much of its construction more resembled a small steam engine or a .22 rimfire rifle than a .300 Mag sniper rifle.

    M

    • Whoever at Walther authorized full-scale production of the Walther PPS without all of the very many bugs worked out, with pistol-crazy North American consumers as the “R&D” guinea pigs deserved to join the Wa2k developers in the unemployment line or whatever.

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