The QBU-88 is a Chinese designated marksman rifle.
The first of a new generation of Chinese weapons chambered for the then-new proprietary 5.8×42mm round, the QBU-88, while it looks like one, isn't truly a sniper rifle as it is chambered for a much lower-powered cartridge, and was meant for taking out targets at a much longer range than what a standard infantry weapon is capable of. It is currently in service with the People's Liberation Army.
The QBU-88 is a bullpup designated marksman rifle made of polymer operated via a short-stroke gas piston system enclosed in a steel housing. This piston is located just above the barrel, and the bolt has three locking lugs. The weapon's barrel is a hammer-forged, match-grade barrel with a 1:8.1" twist to help stabilize the heavier rounds it uses. A birdcage-type flash hider is affixed to the end of the barrel to help reduce the muzzle flash and firing signature. If required, a quick-detach bipod can be clamped to the barrel.
Intended to be used primarily with optics, the QBU-88 comes standard with a Chinese 3-9×40 telescopic sight with a quick release mount. It is also able to accept other Chinese scopes due to a rail on top; this rail, however, is a proprietary rail and accessories meant for use on a Picatinny rail may not work on it. In 2008, the 24×44 optic was introduced for counter-terrorism and special operations. If no scopes are attached, the QBU-88 comes with folding diopter-styled sights.
The QBU-88 is chambered for the 5.8×42mm bullet, albeit a special loading of said bullet. The dedicated sniper load of the 5.8×42mm has a longer streamlined bullet and a steel core. Interestingly, the QBU-88 is able to fire the standard DBP87 loads as chambered by the QBZ-95 with no problems.
Original Chinese version.
Export version chambered for 5.56×45mm NATO. Magazines used by the KBU-97A are a modified version of the QBU-88's, meant to chamber the 5.56 NATO rounds. STANAG magazines will not work in the rifle without modification to the magazine or the rifle's magazine well.