This is a LooseRounds.com Q&A session. If you have a firearms related question please email it to QA@LooseRounds.com. We will post the your questions anonymously and give you our answers.
We get a lot of smaller questions sent to us weekly. So today I am going to rapid fire answer a few of the easiest to get the info out to those who want it.
What caliber of ammo was used in the m40 in viet nam? 7.62 NATO M118 special ball
5.56 green tip vs car door? Yes, M855 will go through a car door
What ammo for 1:7 twist? Any ammo is fine for 1/7 despite what you may hear or read otherwise, 1/7 will shoot as low as 40 grain all the way to 90 grain
winchester unertl scope? Winchester did not make Unertl scopes, Unertl is the maker not the model. Winchester did sell scopes but they have another name and were used some in WW1 and 2
Does a colt le6920 have a firing pin spring? No, the colt 6920 is the closest you can get to a military M4 and is milspec other then the barrel length and full auto. The 901 does use a firing pin spring.
colt 901 dry or lube? Lube. all guns need and work better with lube. Always.
does colt rail gun come with night sights? No, the USMC rail gun does, not the current civilian model. The USMC model will be sold in 2013
How are Super Sniper scope? SWFA SS scopes are generally considered good for the money. Their HD line receive excellent reviews. I owned a side focus 10x and thought it was very good for a cheap scope. I also owned a 5-20 and thought highly of it. However SWFA has been criticized for how they have been handling some sales and preorders.
how to modify 25 ammo for better performance? We highly recommend against modifying factory loaded ammunition for self defense. Modified ammo can have various issues from poor feeding to blowing out the center of the projectile when fired, and leaving a ring shaped section of the bullet in the neck of the barrel. As for .25 ACP, often a round that has good penetration is recommended for self defense. A large part of ammo selection for the .25 is finding what will work reliable in your firearm. The various 50gr full metal jacket rounds from the major ammunition manufactures are what is often recommended.
This is a LooseRounds.com Q&A session. If you have a firearms related question please email it to QA@LooseRounds.com. We will post the your questions anonymously and give you our answers.
1. colt le901-16s release date?
Howard: The Colt 901 has already been released and can be purchased. However currently supplies are limited.
2. what finish does the colt rail gun have
Shawn: Stainless steel or Stainless with a black ceracoat coating.
3. winchester model 70 pre 64 iron sights?
Shawn: The target or National Match version came with Lyman or Redfield Olympic iron sights. Sporters came with a simple leaf sight.
4. Just out of curiosity, what’s the average accuracy you’re getting out of ‘regular’ .308 ball ammo out of the Colt? I saw the one line in your write up about German DAG (approx 2.5 inch groups). Is that about what you average with M80/Portuguese/S. African?
Shawn: NMH ball also gave about 2.5 MOA. 150 grain soft point hunting ammo from Federal gave about a 1.5 inch group at 100 yards.
Howard: Surplus can vary greatly, don’t expect match results with surplus, often 2-5 MOA is to be expected with good surplus. Stuff like Wolf will perform worse.
5. What is the coolest MOLLE vest?
Shawn: What do you mean, to wear to the gun prom, or what is the least hot. The coolest (temperature) is probably the SDS MOLLE 2 Fighting Load Carrier (FLC) as issued by the military. Coolest for showing off would maybe be the Eagle Maritime CIRAS or the Marine Corps Scaleable Plate Carrier.
Howard: The FLC is good, but maybe not the coolest in temperature. Something like a basic chest carrier with H harnes like backing might be coolest. As for cool factor, perhaps the CRYE Jumpable Plate Carrier (JPC). *For coolest just look Titleist1, an active poster on AR15.com.
6. How do you make homemade body armor
Shawn: Under no circumstances depend on homemade body armor to save your life. There is no way you can replicate the quality of a properly manufacturer plates of soft armor.
7. is the fn pbr 24inch fluted barrel a heavy barrel
Shawn: I could call it a medium heavy, it tapers down.
8. Do Glocks shoot loose with age?
Howard: Yes, all things wear. Glock triggers will generally get smoother. Some people claim that replacing the Slide Lock in a old Glock that is shooting poorly will tighten up barrel lockup and improve grouping. Some parts like the plastic tubular insert in the striker channel can erode and come loose from wear.
9. do you have to break in a gun with national match barrel
Shawn: Well its a little complicated, but to start off it is important to note that a quality national match barrel will come polished and hand lapped from the maker. So you should not have to break one in.
LooseRounds over years have found that breaking in barrels is a waste of time, regardless if its custom match or factory. Usually you will do more cleaning rod damage to the barrel then any amount of improvement you could have helped.
In the past months I have written a bit about the use of and primary rifles used by the USMC for sniping use in the Vietnam war. Now I would like to talk a little about them again along with some of the supporting (spotter) weapons and equipment used by typical sniper teams during the war. Everything used is of course not included, but its a small general example of the weapons used by the majority and most common.
In a fast review of the main sniper weapons, or at least the most well known, we start off with the Pre-64 Model 70 Winchester rifle. The rifles in use at the time were a mix of factory Winchester national match and “Bull guns”, with the heavy target marksman stock and the sporter stocked Model 70 with factory or custom barrels. The custom work being done by USMC RTE armorers for Competition use at Camp Perry for the national matches and sniping use in asia. The optics were the Unertl 8x USMC contract scope purchases during WW2 for the Marine Corps 1903 sniper rifle. Some other brands of externally adjustable scopes were used but the Unertl was the most common. A few 3x-9x Japanese made scope saw some very limited use on a few M70s but very few.
Ammunition for the Model 70 snipers was the Lake City Match ammo made for for the national matches using a FMJ 173 grain boat tailed bullet. One of the things that kept the model 70 from being selected as the sniper standard in the years to come was the fact that this was not a commonly issued round.
The rifle that replaced the M70 and became sniper standard until this very day in the configuration of the M40A5, was the Remington M700-40x. The 40x was a target action of better quality then a standard M700 of the time. The 40x action came with a receiver slot for stripper clips used in reloading when the rifle was employed with target iron sights in high-power rifle matches like at Perry.
The rifle was tested and found to be the best COTS choice at the time due to the Winchester stopping production of the very high quality and very expensive and time consuming version of the Model 70 now known as the “pre-64”
The rifle was dubbed the M40 by the USMC and came with a medium heavy barrel chambered in 308 NATO with a plain dull oil finish sporter stock. It used the clip slotted 40x action, did not have provisions for iron sights and had a metal butt pad. Remington provided the rifle in an entire package with a Redfield Accur-Trac 3x-9x -40MM scope in matte green in Redfield Junior bases.
The rifle barrel of the M40 was later free-floated and the action bedded by USMC RTE armorers in Vietnam after the tropical climate proved almost too much for the rifle to take.
An interesting point is that the two most famous Snipers of the war , Carlos Hathcock and Chuck MaWhinney used the Model 70 and the M40 respectively. Hathcock having a total of 93 confirmed kills to MaWhinneys 103. Hathcock used the M70 for his fist tour as a sniper when he got most of his kills including his most famous exploits, but did use the M40 some in his second tour before becoming seriously wounded and being sent home. Unfortunately the rifle was destroyed in the action that wounded him and saw him being awarded a silver star. Mawhinney’s rifle was found years later and still in service as an M40A1. It was pulled from use and restored to its original specs and is now on display.
The less glamorous but very important spotter in a scout sniper team carried more common weapons that every rifleman was familiar with. The one that seems the most thought of as the spotters weapon when talking about the USMC sniping teams, is the M14 US rifle caliber .308 NATO.
The M14 is the US Military’s most short-lived issued rifle. Little more then a slightly more modern version of the M1 Garand, the M14 has a detachable 20 round magazine and fired 308 NATO. The rifle was made in select fire ( full and semi ) and was very much like the M1 Garand. The M14 was already obsolete by the time it came out of Springfield. It did and still does have its promoters, but few remember or know that at the time, no one really liked it as much as is thought now. It was soon replaced by the M16 series of rifles. The M14 did see use by sniper teams in the USMC and the US Army. The Army being the heaviest user of the M14 for sniping developing it into the XM21 that used the ART 1 and 2 optics and night vision optics and sound suppressors. The USMC did use it in a limited way ( compared to the Army) for some night work using the starlight night vision optics. The M14 was carried by Carlos Hathcock’s spotter John Burke who used it to great effect when working with Carlos and using match ammo. The US Army struggled to make the XM21 into a reliable sniper weapon for years and sunk a huge amount of money and effort into it before dumping it for the bolt action M24 SWS ( another remington M700). Kills could be made out to 600-800 yards with iron sights depending on skill of the shooter and was used for security of the team. The higher ammo capacity and full auto fire would be useful to break contact when ambushed or lay down cover if things went bad. I have not seen any evidence of it being used to break an ambush in my research but I am sure it happened.
The next rifle is of course, the Colt XM16 and the M16A1. The rifle replaced the M14 as standard infantry rifle in the early 60s. The rifle was ideal for jungle warfare and after early blunders by the DOD using the wrong powder in the M193 ammunition and not chroming the chamber, the M16 went on to be our longest-serving weapon and respected world wide. The M16 lacked the long range potential of the M14 in the spotter’s role, but combat had shown a sniper should not fire many rounds from a position least he be found. Having two people firing was more than the idea of no more then 3 rounds fired by the sniper from one hide. The M16 was more controllable on full-auto fire, was lighter and the spotter could carry more ammo. Later in the war 30 round magazines became available and gave it even more advantage over the M14. The spotter, already burdened with security, the team radio and other mission support equipment, benefited from the smaller lighter M16.
The M16 was officially considered for sniping use, but lacking a fast enough twist rate for heavy match ammo, and no match ammo, made the chance of it being the standard impossible at the time. Since then the M16 has been developed into sniping roles as the US Army’s DMR, the USMCs SAM-R and the special operational forces M12 MoD 0 and MOD 1. Using the 77 gr. MK 262 MOD 1 ammo, the MKI12 has recorded kills as far as 800-900 yards and is one of the most effective weapons in the US military when looking at weapons responsible for enemy kills. The M16 was also used by some in the USMC as a sniping tool before enough sniping rifles were sent to asia. Usually the rifle user purchased the Colt 3x scope and mounted it on the carry handle. Other special scope bases were made by RTE and USAMTU armorers for sniping use. When in the right hands, recorded kills out to 900 yards were made with the M16/scope a few times, though very rarely.
The other often overlooked but very important piece of equipment was the spotting scope. Used to ID targets, spot missed shots and scan the area for targets, the M49 spotting scope was carried whenever the misison justified its use. Often times the lower magnification of the sniper rifle optics was not enough to ID a target over a civilian and a shot could not be taken with out proper ID by the spotter and spotter scope. The scope was also used to judge wind, mirage and help judge range so that sniper had the most accurate data possible to make his long range shot. The scope was also used for spotting artillery and many other uses.
The M49 was a 20x power spotting scope that came with its own plastic carrying case for transport.The M49 is still in use today. The M49 also came with a Tripod for steadying it and for small adjustments to correcting its position so the user would not disturb the scope. The tripod came with its own webbing canvas carrying case that could be hooked to web gear.
The other common items used by the sniper team was the light weight jungle rucksack. The pack originally was intended for mountain troops and had a frame that could be used to carry large heavy loads for mountain and winter operations. It was the common issued jungle pack during the war but was by no means the only ruck used. Some sniper teams used captured NVA rucks or the Indig ARVN packs.
Above an M40 rests across a jungle ruck with the spotters M14 and M49 off to the side.
USMC sniper teams used a wide variety of equipment during the war in asia with this being a small part. The list would have also included radios, binoculars, food, the Colt 1911 as sidearms, maps, hats and camo uniforms and face paint, extra ammo, ponchos, poncho liner, knives etc. These are some of the most well known and famous of the many tools used by the Marines to become the premier sniping experts in the world. Next time I will take a look at some of the uniforms and web gear used during the war and the Army’s XM21 M14 sniper and the M14 and the myth that surrounds it.
This is the second session of LooseRounds.com Q&A. If you have a firearms related question please email it to QA@LooseRounds.com. We will post the your questions anonymously and give you our answers.
Shawn and I thank Catherine Kim for the article she submitted and to thank Duncan Larsen for the articles he has submitted and for his help on our Facebook page. We also appreciate the work CJ does as an editor on LooseRounds.com, he keeps us from looking as illiterate as we are. Thanks also to Adam O’quinn for taking the 901 in action shots.
1. How are the Surefire 60 round mags?
Howard: Both Shawn and I own Surefire 60 round mags and we like them very much. While we haven’t torture tested them, or run them very heavily, they appear to be good mags. We recommend them, but be sure to test each mag before you rely on them.
2. ar15 bolt face ring
Howard: Well that is not much of a question. Normal wear on the bolt face may leave little pits, and a ring corresponding to the primer on the round. If any pits extend into the firing pin channel, replace the bolt.
ARMY TM 9-1005-319-23&P and AIR FORCE TO 11W3-5-5-42 page 3-22 explain:
(a) Bolt faces with a cluster of pits which are touching or tightly grouped, covering an area measuring approximately 1,8 Inch across, will be rejected and replaced.
(b) Bolts which contain individual pits or a scattered pattern will not be cause for rejection.
(c) Bolts that contain pits extending Into the firing pin hole will not be rejected unless firing pin hole gaging check determines excess wear.
(d) Rings on the bolt face (machine tool marks), grooves, or ridges less than approximately 0.010 inch will not be cause for rejection.
3. Winchester Model 70 used in Vietnam?
Shawn: There were two types, one was the heavy barrel national match that had a target stock and a heavy barrel with a sporter stock. The sporter stock model started off as sporters and then the Rifle Team Equipment (RTE) armorers added match heavy barrels. Both were glass bedded and free floated by the RTE armors.
4. Duty holster for 1911 with light
Shawn: LooseRounds uses a Dark Star Gear holster kydex that can be used for IWB or outside carry. Found it to be best of its type tested so far.
5. scar 17 vs sig 716
Howard: Right now you can get more parts and accessories for the Sig, such as cheap quality Magpul mags. However as for company quality control and function out of the box, I would trust FN more then Sig.
6. What cheap asian are good?
Howard: Well, the following are optics and accessories are junk. UTG, NcStar, Leapers, Counter Sniper. Some of Tapco stuff is good, but much of it is junk. ATI is similar with mixed quality items and plenty of junk.
Five years before WW2 kicked off , Winchester started production of their masterpiece the Model 70 rifle. The M70 was known as the rifleman’s rifle and was known as the highest quality factory produced sporting rifle of its time. Little really needs to be said about the quality of the rifle even to this day. It does not take very long to find some one talking about the “pre 64 model70.”
The start of the model 70 finding its way into sniper use starts Nov 12 1942 when Van Orden and Lloyd wrote a study on “equipment for the american sniper.” The testing of the model 70 showed it to be superior to the rifles then in use by the military. Of course the military decided it was unsuitable for combat use because they worried the rifle was not sturdy enough for use by the average infantryman in war. This, however, set the stage for the Model 70 to be remembered when something else was needed in tough times and US military sniping was still in its early days.
The model tested by the equipment board was a .30-06 caliber with heavy barrel of 24 inches and sporter stock. The optic was the commercially produced Unertl 8x scope with target blocks and the provision for target iron sights.
In these early days Winchester delivered 373 rifles with unertl optics to the USMC for testing. After deciding not to use the M70 or the 1903, the Corps decided to go with the 1903a4 rifle for sniping use. Though the M70 was not officially adopted for sniping use, it was reported by 1st-hand accounts that a few did see service against the Japanese in the early days of the US fighting in the pacific.
After the war, the rifles remained in the hands of the USMC for target use or to be loaned out for hunting while on leave and even given away as prizes for winning shooting matches.
After the war Winchester continued to refine and upgrade the M70 for highpower shooters. The model 70 was offered in three versions: the national match, the target grade and the heavy weight “bull gun”. The difference of these models was in the stocks, barrel weight and length.
During the Korean war the model 70 was called up again to be considered for sniper use. One Ord. officer tried very hard to get the military to look closer at the model 70 by showing men in the field what a trained marksman with the M70/Unertl combo could do. Several 1000-yard kills of chi-com troops were confirmed by Captain Brophy. The USMC took another look at the Winchester but judged it the same as before, saying it was not durable enough for standard sniping use.
At this point the USMC had around 1000 Model 70s that are currently known of. Around 1956-1963 the USMC had the existing in-stock Model 70s rebuilt into target rifles . The serial numbers ran from 41,000 to 50,000. These are the rifles that would later go on to see use in the Vietnam war where the model 70 showed what it could do and went on to help make legendary status in the hands of Carlos Hathcock.
The M70s in stock after rebuild by the corps the have receivers slotted at the top. The sporter lightweight barrels were removed and either heavy Winchester target barrels were installed or douglas custom barrels were used all in 30/06 caliber. Existing sporter stocks in good shape were used but relieved to take the heavier target barrels. If the sporter stock was in too rough of shape, the winchester marksman stock was used. The action and barrel was then glass bedded into the stock and 1 1/4 sling swivels were used along with metal buttplates.
At the end of this period, sadly, Winchester stopped making the version of the model 70 that would go on to be so desired. In 1964 the arms maker went on to change the rifle in many ways to make it cheaper and easier and faster to make. I will not list all the changes here, but it was enough to damage the company’s reputation for many years and was something many fans never forgave. It also ended any chance the M70 had of becoming sniper standard in the years to come.
In 1965 the war in Vietnam started to really heat up. The need for snipers and sniper rifles was remembered after casualties from enemy snipers reminded the US military how effective the sniper can be. Very early in the war it become apparent the M14 rifle was in no way useful as a true sniper rifle in current form. In fact the army spent a lot of time and money trying to make the m14 into a sniper system and finally gave up in the 80s before going to a bolt action system.
In the early days of rifles being pressed into service as sniper rifles, the model 70 was the un-official USMC sniper rifle. The first rifles sent to Asia to be used were from the third marine division rifle team. These were the rifles rebuilt for use for highpower competition at Camp Perry. One of the rifles was used by S/SGT Don L Smith to win the 1953 championship.
The rifles were used to great effect by many snipers during the time. One of these was of course Carlos Hathcock to make most of his 93 confirmed kills in his first tour in Vietnam. Hits were recorded out to 1000 plus yards with most kills falling into the 500-700 yard range for the more average sniper.
All Ammo used for the Model 70 snipers was the Lake City, NM ammo. This was a 173-grain boat tailed FMJ match bullet at around 2600 FPS in the 30-06 caliber, the same ammo used at Camp Perry.
Most optics were the original WW2 contract Unertl scopes built for the USMC by John Unertl in 8x. The power was actually closer to 7.8 but was marked as 8x. Other powers were used but 8x was the most common. Other brands were used, such as those made by the Lyman sight company and some other optics companies which are now long defunct. The optics, though of the highest quality for target and sporting use at the time, came up short in the humid jungles of Vietnam. The scopes sometimes fogged in wet weather and had a small field of view. The Unertl scope of the time period is still very sturdy and if you can find one today there is no need to worry about it not working. The elevation and windage adjustment were external and the scope body is one piece steel making it tough.
The scope was a real weak point as far as the USMC was concerned and did not provide enough light-gathering ability and had a small FOV. These are very important things for combat sniping.
As the need for more snipers and rifles became more urgent, the USMC needed more rifles. Parts for the “pre-64 model 70 began to dry up since Winchester had stopped making the older, better rifle in 1963. Because this version was no longer made and the new Model 70 was of decidedly less quality, another rifle was sought. The corps ended up with the Remington M40x, a more refined target version of the M700, with a few changes they speced out themselves and type classified the M40. Also the Unertl was replaced by the Redfield 3x-9x optic with a range finder. Both had their own problems in early use but went on to later become the M40A1. the M40A1 went on to use a more modern Unertl that replaced the problematic Redfield scope and is still in use on some rifles. the M40 is now the M40A5.
The M70 / Unertl was issued again right before the M40 was delivered. Fifty more model 70s with Unertls were ordered and converted to sniper use and sent immediately to vietnam by HQMC.
The model 70 Winchester was never officially issued for sniper use by the USMC or the Army but it saw a lot of service anyway. The gun has since become legemdary. The Army even tried the rifle suppressed for special operations use in Vietnam and fired a version of the .458 magnum round. Many well known snipers during the Vietnam war used the M70 with Hathcock being the most famous by far. When asked about the rifle he used during the war he stated he loved it. It is no wonder. If you have one of these truly fine rifles or get the chance to try one you will see why it was so highly regarded in its time. Even before WW2 it was the most expensive sporting rifle made in the USA and you can see and feel the quality that made it so. For years after ’63 it was a shadow of its former glory until Winchester brought the original action back with a few upgrades to it to make it safer. The M70 is still made with the Winchester name today by FN and the action is used by FN for their sniping rifles.
Link to short M40 history
more vietnam USMC equipment