As the name would suggest, it is intended for use by law enforcement agencies, and was one of two rifles (along with one from H-S Precision) approved in 2004 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for use of by their SWAT teams. This FBI variant has the model name FNH SPR-USG (USG – US Government).
Several years ago the FNH USA, the US-based subsidiary to famous Belgian arms maker FN Herstal, decided to develop the new sniper rifle for Law Enforcement use. Designated as a Special Police Rifle (SPR), new bolt action rifle was based on the Winchester model 70 Classic (also known as pre-64) action with Mauser-style bolt and extractor with controlled feed. The heavy barrels were made from M240/FN MAG machine gun barrel blanks, with chrome plated bores. Barreled actions were mounted into H-S Precision polymer rifle stocks. Soon after introduction the production had been stopped, as some defects were found in the design. Most notably, some rifles shot not as well as they were supposed to. FN designers analyzed the faults, and re-started the SPR design in the much improved and better form. At the present time these FN SPR rifles are manufactured at the US Repeating Arms Co (USRAC), the subsidiary of the FN Herstal and the manufacturer of the famous Winchester brand rifles.
At the present time, US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officially adopted the FN SPR rifle for its sniper teams.
All FN SPR rifles are based on the same so-called pre-64 Winchester 70 actions. These actions feature round receivers and a rotating bolts with dual front lugs. Non-rotating Mauser-type claw extractor and fixed blade ejector provide controlled and reliable feeding, extraction and ejection. Specially made match-grade barrels have chromium-plated bores. Standard barrel length is 24" (610mm), but there are two minor modifications with shorter 20" barrels, A1a and A5a. For LE and Military use SPR rifles are available with threaded barrels which can accept tactical suppressors (silencers). Rifles are fed using either detachable box magazines or integral magazines with swing-out floorplates (.300WSM versions available only with integral magazines). Three positions Winchester 70 type safety allows the bolt to be operated with safety on.
The key difference between versions is in the type of the stock and in the accessories, provided in the standard package. All rifles use polymer stocks made by McMillan. Accuracy for all SPR rifles is claimed to be sub-MOA with proper choice of ammunition. The 7.62NATO/.308 versions have effective range of about 700-800 meters, while .300WSM versions stretch the margin up to (and maybe beyond) 1000 meters.