[i]What is the difference between the Long Range M118 LR and the M118 Special Ball rounds (apart from the range, of course)?
What is the bullet in the Match M852 cartridge?[/i]
The M118 LR cartridge is the current sniper/match/tactical cartridge being made by ATK Lake City. It is loaded with a 175 grain HP bullet. Neither the bullet nor the primer is crimped.
The M118 was the official 7.62MM National Match cartridge from 1963 to 1980. It was loaded with the 173 grain M1 Type (smooth) bullet. When it was replaced by the M852 with a 168 grain hollow point bullet in 1980 the Army found itself without a sniper cartridge. Lake City introduced the M118 SB (Special Ball) in 1982. It was a tactical version of the M118, loaded with the same 173 grain bullet but with a crimped and sealed primer and ball powder. It was last loaded in the mid 1990s.
The M852 was the National Match cartridge from 1981 until 1996. It was loaded with a 168 grain hollow point bullet.
Trying to sort out all those M118, M118 LR, and M118 SB cartridges can get confusing. ATK Lake City doesn’t help much. Some of their advertising refers to the M118, 7.62mm, Special Ball, Long Range cartridge which is actually the M118 LR.