A few years ago. Remington released and exact replica of the Vietnam War era USMC issued M40 sniper rifle. The rifles were a limited run and came with a unique serial number along with the prefix “SSA” for the Scout Sniper Association ” and a SSA challenge coin. The rifles are as close as could be made to the originals of the time but it was a very limited run. As great as they are, the problem was, the M40 was a system, like all other sniper rifles, and the system included a set of Redfield Junior rings and base made and fitted for the rifle and a Redfield variable Accu-Tack 3x-9x optic anodized in a green finish with a ranging capability. I don’t suppose I need to explain the rarity and value of these original very limited USMC spec optics. They were made for the Marines and very, very few survived the Vietnam war. The truth is, those scopes were not that good and they had a very high attrition rate in the humid jungle war of VN. The survivors ( marked USMC) are few and far between and cost more then most could or would pay. That is not even taking into account the base and rings. This left a crappy void for the new made excellent M40s Remington had just sold. Sure some people got some vintage 3x-9x Redfields in black or satin and either painted them or what have you, and some slapped on whatever was close to looking like the original optics. Some even managed to find green optics. But it was not the same.
Now that the new M40s are not being made and the mad dash to get one has faded, Leupold has stepped up to fill the want. I find it odd they have done this after so much time has passed since the repro’s came out. I think it is partly due to some many people making clones of the early M40s. A long running thread on snipershide.com shows the amount of desire to have a clone of the USMC first general issue standard sniper rifle. SInce Leupold now owns the name Redfield and all its older product rights ( I assume) Leupold has put out a scope that does a fine job filling in for the original for those who would never be able to get one.
The scope is a 3x-9x just like the original, and it says Redfield on it. The scope is anodized in a nice green that while not exact to the original, is very close. Of course there are some changes. One big one is, the new scope has a Mildot cross hair. To this, I say.. ugh.. But , its not really bad. Most people would get more use out of the Mildot over the older Accu Track range finding ladder that was actually a joke. It is certainly not authentic, but, it is useful. There are companies that can swap the reticle to the original for you if you want it bad enough, but I would not bother. Another big change is the elevation and windage adjustments. The new optic has the same adjustments as every other Leupold in the VarX 1 or 2 line. The friction plate that I personally find to be a real pain and had to use if you need a repeatable adjustment. So its more of a zero and leave it, then just hold off affair. I doubt many who will buy this scope for the limited SSA M40 or a clone will be shooting it that much anyway even If I would use it a lot.
Other then all that its very sweet. It looks great and it sure beats the alternatives for scoping a authentic M40 or clone etc. The lines are almost the same and it even has the little nub to make turning the power ring easy.
The color really sets it off and makes me personally feel like there is finally a way to have a correct looking M40 from the time period.
Sadly, it does not come marked “USMC” or any such thing, but I doubt few can not live with that little detail. Though who knows? Some people would complain about anything. The optic is a Leupold, and that means quality, clarity, durability and a lifetime unconditional warranty that is good even if you are not the original owner. the optic zeroed with little trouble and held it zero. This is not as simple as you would think, because few know the M40 kicks like a pissed off mule. Its light weight and wood stock with metal butt pad are not a pleasant combination for long term shooting of full power 308 loads.
The next important addition is the base and rings. A person with a desire for the real thing wants and needs more then the gun and optic. The devil is in the details. To this, Badger Ordnance has made a repro base and rings for the M40. The base/rings are a copy of the original Redfield junior base and rings. The originals were numbered to the gun they were to go on, and fitted precisely to the top of the action. Obviously these are not made that way and to expect that is crazy. But they are a faithful copy and they are made by the superb Badger. Badger’s quality is second to none and always highest quality. The hardware made by Badger has never failed me. The base and rings complete and otherwise virtually impossible to complete system.
Together, these parts make up a copy of the USMC Sniper rifle general issued during the VN war, provided complete by Remington Arms to the USMC for standard adoption for the war and future use. It was not the best of its day and it showed that the system needed serious development in thew years to come, but it was really the first and it served its purpose of the time. Having these three companies making the items to allow people to have a piece of history is a great thing.
Above shows the rifle with the base, rings and optics along with boxes the parts come in. It is a very handsome system and satisfies the nostalgia for such things.
For a short over view of the M40s history, you can read about it in the link below.