A Sniper Rifle is a firearm designed to engage human targets with high precision individual shots at long range. When compared to assault rifles, they fire higher-powered ammunition, have greater range and accuracy, and tend to mount scopes with higher magnification, although their magazine capacities and rates of fire tend to be lower.
In the Battlefield Series, the term "sniper rifle" also encompasses designated marksman weapons, a class of rifles intended to lay down rapid, accurate fire at longer ranges than those at which the average infantryman armed with the average service rifle or carbine can be effective, but not intended to hit targets at the extreme ranges of which true sniper rifles are capable.
A Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle is a sniper rifle that utilizes bolts that are operated manually by the opening and closing of the action with a small handle, most commonly placed on the right-hand side of the weapon. In the Series, they are immensely powerful and capable of killing an enemy in one shot. Despite this, they tend to have a slower rate-of-fire due to their bolt-action design.
A Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle is a sniper rifle that automatically extract a spent casing and load a new cartridge into the chamber after every pull of the trigger, resulting in a less powerful rifle with a higher rate-of-fire. Despite this, many utilize fire-limiters to balance the weapon.
Sniper Rifles typically have low rates of fire, meaning that each shot much count or the risk of wasting ammuntion is present. When presented with multiple targets, the sniper should also decide the most valuable target and how it should be handeled.
At long ranges, target leading is necessary to compensate for lateral movement by a sniper's target. Like bullet drop, the distance to target affects how much leading the shooter needs to provide.
Scope drift is a gameplay mechanic introduced in Battlefield 2 that replicates a soldier's breathing and the effect it has on aim. This results in the rifle's aim to periodically drift up and down, adding an element of challenge.
Battlefield 3 introduced the scope glint, a gameplay mechanic added to high power scope attachments. A high power scope is defined as a scope with a zoom greater than 4x. This causes a sniper's scope to be visible from a considerable distance as a bright flare. The glare is brightest when seen from the direct line of fire and is less noticeable at off angles. This effect can be mitigated by either aiming away from the enemy (and using peripheral vision), or by unequipping the scope in customization.
Another feature introduced in Battlefield 3 allows the use the iron sights of all sniper rifles by not equipping any optic on it. This feature doesn't remove bullet drop, although it forces players to use the rifle at close to medium range and allows the players to not have to compensate for bullet drop due to the shorter distances.