Category Archives: Scattered Shots

Range Report: S&W M&P15 QC

The S&W M&P15 has become very popular due to its low cost and availability.  My personal experience with owning one was that my M&P15R had an incorrectly cut upper that would not hold the ejection port door closed, the stock was not installed correctly and was crooked, and the fire control group was defective and would double.  S&W replaced the lower on my rifle, and I did not bother to have them work on the upper.

Often at the range I have seen people have minor issues with M&P15s.  The new low cost model (around $700) came with a near useless rear sight.  This cheap copy of the detachable carry handle often would not index correctly.  Last Sunday, I saw this issue.  This new, out of the box, M&P15 came with a broken bolt catch.  While I have no doubt that S&W will fix this, I have been less then impressed by S&W quality control on their rifles.

The USMC M40 Sniper

The USMC decided to replace the Winchester model 70/Unertl combination  in late 1965  due to the recent changes to the M70 from the  pre 64  version and for a lighter  rifle scope combo that made quick first round  hits easier.  The MTU was tasked with coming up with a rifle suitable for the Corps needs for the new sniper program. The MTU conducted tests comparing COTS rifles and  scopes  currently on the market in December 1965 and January  1966. The testing concluded that the Remington 700- 40x target rifle and the Redfield accu-range 3x-9x  rifle scope the best  choice for standard sniping issue at the time.

The urgency for the testing resulted in only COTS rifles and optics to be tested by the MTU.  Due to the  pressure for a fast decision, the MTU worked with the following self imposed assumptions.

The cartridge used would be the the 7.62 NATO.

Most shots would be made at 600 yards or closer.

The scope would be adjustable  to 1000 yards

The rifle/scope should be capable of  2 MOA

The combo should be simple and robust and easily trainable.

After the MTU  finished the report they recommended that the rifle used be the remington m700-40x. The stock have a dull oil finish. Swivels be military type non removable. The rifle finish to be dull non=glare. The rifle barrel should be 1/10 inch twist, free floating and the action be clip slotted. The USMC wanted a 308 caliber rifle with a medium heavy barrel in a sporter stock and remington company made every effort to give them exactly that,

On April 7th 1966 the remington M700 with redfield scope was adopted for sniping use in south east asia. The USMC stated that nothing about the rifle was unique, just the right combination of parts.

The rifle was planned to be in service by June of 1966. the rifle had a expected service life of 10 years and was to manufactured entirely by remington which would furnish all support equipment for the rifle including optics, carry case and ammo.

The amount of M40 rifles produced by remington for the USMC by year is as follows:

1966/700 rifles

1967/62 rifles

1968/87 rifles

1969/137 rifles

1970/8 rifles

1971/ 1 rifle

By 1973 according to official documents, there was only 425 total density of M40 rifles still in service by the USMC.

The M40 was issued to be used with the Lake City M118 special ball match ammo. the USMC was the fist to use specialized match ammo dedicated for sniper use and the US Army followed.

The rifle was well liked upon first issue by personnel in the sniping and marksmanship community. Reports of the rifle easily shooting 2 MOA from bags with match ammo were normal.  Some problems with the redfield scope had already started to surface however, with complaints that it was not easy to adjust for range, would loose focus if turned to 9x and  the range finder in the scope would melt if the sun  was directly on the objective. The rifle can be uncomfortable during recoil with its light weight and metal butt plate. Marine sniper school students often used rubber shower shoes under their Tshirts during practice to damped the recoil and cut down on the pain.

The rifle was sent to Vietnam and was issued to scout snipers  who loved it early on.  A number of  famous snipers used the M40 to great affect. Chuck Mawhinney made his record 109 kills  using the M40 for most of his time and Carlos Hathcock using a M40 for his 2nd tour.

After  being issued and seeing service, the problems with the rifle/scope started to show. The rifle, nor the optic were meant for the tropical climate of asia or combat use but did preform well over all. The problems normal for the rifle was  the stock warping and putting pressure on the barrel, rust, the scope fogging and the ranging scale melting in the sun. To help the situation Marine RTE armorers were assigned to take care of the rifles and optics while the sniper were responsible for standard PM.  The rifle were soon found that they needed to be glass bedded often. The barrel channel had to be constantly check and rasped to keep the barrel free floated and the stock water proofed.  The trigger needed to be checked along with the action. Lube was needed often as it was with everything in asia and special “hot lockers” were made by the RTE personnel to dry out the scopes over night after operations to make sure they did not fog up when needed.

RTE personnel soon traveled to keep a check on the rifles and help keep them working. It was found not all losses were combat related. Sometimes a rifle could be out of action just from a ride in a truck. Most being out of action due to scope failure. Most scopes would be out of focus over 8x so the snipers learned to  focus only as high as 7x or 8x. Another problem was the optics would sometimes freeze in place if left at one power setting too long.  Eventually the snipers learned to watch the optics and glass bedding was authorized for the M40. The stock would warp so badly with  the un bedded actions that armorers would take the gun apart and find the action screws tightened so tight that they would not be making contact to the stock from warping and shrinking in the heat. Once glass bedding was OK to do the barrel was floated with 1/8 inch space between barrel and stock and waterproofed. Much of the problems were controlled with careful PM and use.

After most of the problems were understood the general attitude for the M40 was that accuracy was fine and the gun worked as meant and did well. Most liked it fine and felt the gun was almost the equal of the M70 used by earlier Marines. Few had the time and experience to have used both for sniping during the course of the war but Carlos Hathcock who did have the chance  thought the M70 better at the time but liked one as well as the other.

After the war the M40 was retained as sniper standard for the USMC and upgrades were made to the original rifle. Improvements included at SS match barrel, a Mcmillian fiberglass stock with a woodland camo patter and a 10x Unertl scope to name a few. The rifle was renamed the M40a1 and has remained in service now in the M40A5 form.

The gun used in the pictures in the remington 2006 scout sniper association re issue. A limited number were made to the same specs as the original. The gun came with a letter ot authenticity from Iron Brigade Armory who helped make sure it was correct. IBA has long been THE source for USMC sniper history.  The rifle came correct with the oil finished walnut stock, metal butt plate, barrel parkerized with matching receiver finish. The action is the remington 40x action that has been clipped slotted for stripper clips and has the left side drilled and tapped for rear peep sights. The serial number begins with the SSA ( scout sniper association ) prefix and has the correct U.S. stamped above it.

Standing in for the original redfield accur-range USMC contract scope is a modern redfeild painted green to resemble the original which is very hard to find. The original M40 came with the original redfield JR bases and rings along with the scope.  Badger arms made a limited run of these bases and rings for the M40 limited re issue and Leupold has a small run of green finished 3x-9x scopes for the same rifle. Neither was completely correct in make or type but was close enough for most wanting a clone or the original and a considerable amount cheaper.

Above is a picture of the original SHOT SHOW remington flyer for the M40 signed by 3 famous Vietnam USMC snipers  and members of the SSA, one being the president at the time, for the author. To the left is the gold scout sniper challenge coin that came with the rifle depicting a USMC sniper in the setting position with a winchester M70/Unertl.

The remington M40 re issue is a nice  rifle and a piece of history. They made a very small run  but if you are interested in sniping history  or the history of the M40 in USMC service it is worth your time to track one down. In 2006 the rifle was around 1100 dollars but would be higher today as everything is. But its a fast way to get started on a sniper rifle collection.

A Quick Look At a Few New Products

LooseRounds has some pictures of a few new guns that are not easy to find.

First the Colt 6920 with FDE anodizing.

The carbine comes with Magpul MOE furniture in FDE, mags and the  MBUS. The finish color looks better not under high-powered digital camera flash.

Next a few shots of the Daniel Defense new rail and  Front Sight Base and the DD “MK18” Clone.

No bayonet lug on the DD. I am sure this will rankle some nerves, but we need to move on from worrying about a useless feature for a 16 inch barrel.  Worry about marksmanship, not bayonet lugs and you will live longer.

The new DD  flash hider. Not sure what it does different then a standard A2 hider.

The new rail profile.

The DD MK18 clone.

Also got a look at the colt competition rifle.

The colt competition has a FF smooth tubular rail with cooling vents, and a different barrel fluting and gas block.

The colt rifle pictured came with a surefire brake.

Herd Tactical Huntington WV WHAT A GUNSTORE SHOULD BE

For those who live in the Huntington ,Wv area or within easy driving distance I always like to recommend our good friend at Herd Tactical.

Herd Tactical  is unlike most  gun stores in the tri-state area. For one thing, you can buy high quality AR15s and other EBRs.  To me, it is nice to walk into a shop and not have my choice of anything I want as long as its a hipoint 45 or 9mm with the odd lorcin added. HT also has ther best deal on ammo I have run across. Need a light for your rifle? They have it. Need some magpul coolness? Got it. Anything you want, Herd Tactical has it or will get it for you.  If you have always wanted a suppressor for your evil black rifle you can get  it at Herd Tactical too.  Of course you have to wait, but you can stop in and play with it until paperwork comes through.

HT has a nice selection of some of the most popular  and high quality Ar15s out now and everything you need to keep them running. The owner of Herd Tactical  is not the typical gun shop slob that sets behind the counter acting like he knows everything.  The owner loves what he does and often attends training classes by the best instructors in the country. Big names like Pat Rogers and LAV.  If you do not know those names, then any other 3rd rate gunstore  will probably do fine for you.

Herd Tactical also sports a wide range of targets for you to shoot at with your widowmaker. Some of the nicest steel targets I have ever seen can be purchased there along with  huge selection of the typical IDPA and Q targets.

Looserounds can not say enough good things about Herd Tactical and its owner.  He knows what he is doing and loves  the culture. Always ready to help some one out and will not try to lead you  into buying some cheap el hefe special just to make a sell. If you live in the area or go to college at Marshall University , I have no idea why you are not there already!!

Check out the  Herd Tactical  website if you are too far to drive and get whatever you need sent to the house. Follow Herd tactical on facebook to see weekly specials. Real specials not the  poor excuse of sales most places have.

For Rifles, Handguns, ammo, Class III and training check them out!! I promise you will not regret it.


Range Report

A Keltec PMR-30 with somewhere between 5000-7000 rounds through it with out cleaning was found to have a broken slide retaining pin.  The owner found the headed side of the pin walking out when firing.  The other half of the pin remained captive and the pistol functioned perfectly otherwise.  I would write this up as a fluke, just a bad pin.  I am going to follow up with the owner and see how Keltec treats him and handles this broken part.

While you might not need to clean your firearms, you should at least be checking any serious use firearm regularly for abnormal wear, cracks, and damage.

One shooter had the new XS offset sights.  I found them to be far too low and unusable for me.  The owner of them initially indicated his displeasure of how long he had to wait to get them, and then at their layout.  Later in the day he stated that by using a modified sight picture, he was able to use them to his satisfaction.  Despite his change of heart, I feel that they are way to low, unusable, and I recommend against them.

I find the Thorntail offset Scout light mount to be ideal.  I highly recommend this product and will be buying another for my self.

4Th of July Sales on the Web

Right now if you go to  and use the promo code 1776  on their cart ppage you can get$ 17.76 off orders over 100 bucks.

Its a great company with great customer service. Check them out and see if they got something you need ( want).

Stay here for  updates for  holiday discounts.


Truprep is having a sale this holiday  as well. Some nice stuff and good deal.

Comment from Catherine Kim

Catherine Kim submitted this:

Growing up in a beach city in Southern California, firearms were not a common household item. In school I was taught the NRA was “bad.” I had not seen or touched a gun until my mid-twenties. Because of the media, I associated guns with violence. Why do we need guns? Won’t the police protect me? Aren’t guns for criminals? In an idealistic world of course I want to believe there are no needs for weapons, but as my family members and I were put through dangerous situations I became realistic. I have to be my own protector.

We reach an age where we want to try different things and venture out. I’m a strong believer you can’t be judgmental unless you truly try to understand from both sides of the view. So after celebrating New Years in Las Vegas, I decided to go to the gun range. My first firearm was a M249 SAW… a machine gun. My heart was pumping with anxiety. I had never heard a gunshot before. It was loud and the room was cold. Will I do this right? Will I hurt others or myself? I quickly learned it wasn’t that bad at all. Actually it was exhilarating and fun. From that moment the inner firearm fanatic grew. I’ve learned there’s a whole other world to shooting whether for target practice or hunting. It’s not just for the “bad” people. It’s opened an exciting realm full of adventure.

Today, I have several firearms and although I have expanded my knowledge, I am still constantly learning something new. I love shooting guns and my bow. Sometimes you just need to conquer your fears and then you will realize that it’s not bad at all. You only fear what you don’t know. I encourage my friends (especially females) to try it. Go to the range with someone that is knowledgeable and have a good time. I think what most people will realize is it’s a lot of fun and with the proper training you can make it into a hobby you truly love. Now, I am the protector of my house and a proud member of NRA.