A Van Orden ( Evaluators LTD.) Model 70


Yes. We are on one of my pet topics again. The Van Orden “Sniper” M70. Which was never a sniper rifle and was never bought from Evaluators LTD by the USMC to be used as sniper rifles in RVN. This is a myth that persists for a variety of reasons and I am going to revisit it later this week. But first, I got a rare treat. One of the specialized facebook groups for serious researchers of such things a lucky SOB posted this up a few days ago.

Above is a legit Van Ordan spec’ed model 70. Sold through his shop for use by the rifle team in the national matches. One of the ways you can tell is a lack of checkering on the stock and the profile itself. Again, I will go into this more later in the week. These guns were ordered up as Van Orden’s ideal configuration of what the USMC should have adopted as the official sniper rifle. He was not wrong either BTW.

The owner bought this at action for a price that makes me cry. This model tracks back to a two time winner of the matches. I won’t name him yet as it is still being confirmed to a certainty. On the left side of the receiver you can see the mount for the match iron sights used for the across the course national matches. I’m sure you noticed the 8X Unertl. This one is very noteworthy since it is a legit USMC contract 8X Unertl ( really a 7.8X) bought for use during WW2 and later used in Vietnam.

The windage and elevation turrets are blacked out and the return to battery spring is removed which is proper for a USMC Unertl. A lot of myth about the spring exists but the truth is USMC armorers wrongly believed sand from pacific beaches would get between the spring and scope and score the tube. That’s the truth and it is that simple. Without the spring a shooter had to manually pull the scope back into position after each shot. Snipers came up with several impromptu solutions to this like using inner tubes cut up.

This is a rare thing to see regular Joe stumble across and buy these days.

Below is some paperwork from Evaluators that came with a different rifle to give you an idea of the attention paid to the details.


  1. I never seem to be able to fall into deals like this.

    Years ago, I saw a similar Win70 with Unertl scope in a shop in Mt. View, CA. I should have bought it on the spot and dealt with the 10 day waiting period, blah, blah.

  2. That’s an awesome piece of history. A small, niche piece of history but still freaking awesome.

    On a slightly off topic note had they not kept .30 cal so watered down for the sake of the Garands still technically in service at the time I’d bet the .30-06 would still be the basic issue sniper cartridge in use today. (Similar could be said for 7.62 and the M14…)


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