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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Thought I'd post up a couple of photos of my WWII USMC Unertl sniper. Rifle is real and is in the current database of known/validated rifles started by Larry Reynolds.



 

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Hmmm. I wonder how that scope would feel if the gun got dropped in the field....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the kind comments guys! I found the rifle several years ago at a central Florida gunshow minus the scope. When I spotted the handguard modification, I knew something was up! Got home, disassembled it, photographed/cataloged everything and sent it all to Mr. Reynolds. Couple of days later he confirmed it, that was indeed a WWII USMC Sniper. I had the scope in my collection already. Its an original USMC Unertl-Sniper #1562. Now they both have a proper home again.
 

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That's a sweet 03 sniper rifle!
 
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Thats awesome. Do you ever shoot it? I have been looking for that Unertl scope USMC Sniper marked for a while but then I see them they are too damn expensive for me. I have a M70 that is slowly coming together and want the scope to go with it. Thanks for sharing.
 
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Greetings,

Hi Trac2142, very nice rifle and scope! I'd not seen one just like this before. Did these precede the A4s? I didn't know there was a "sniper" version in WW2 other than the A4. So did yours start as an A3 or something else; what manufacture? Any further info on this type? This is a very interesting topic...........Thanks!

Regards, Jim
 

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The USMC didn't like the A4, or the A3 for that matter so they made their own sniper rifles for use in WWII. They were selected from NM receivers, and built by Marine armorers.
It can be very difficult to authenticate actual Marine (1941) 1903A1 snipers without paper documentation. But experts can usually determine that one is real from a preponderance of evidence of certain characteristics of NM punch marks, serial numbers, and star gage barrels. All of which can be faked, so nothing beats documentation. I have heard of people faking the scopes too but I have never seen one. The scopes are made by J Unertl scope company and are 8X 1.25 inch with adj. objective, and came with black anodized standard mounts and no recoil spring. Because this was a special contract for the USMC, the scopes had their own serial number range, and "USMC Sniper" roll marked on the scopes.
Other than the blackened mounts and marking, there is no indication that the USMC scope is any different than the non USMC 8X offered at the time.
A documented, or determined real USMC sniper is worth what a serious collector will pay for one. I would venture to guess that a complete rifle would go for over $10,000.
USMC 8X scopes have sold recently for over $3,500.
Many people (including myself) have created tribute rifles for use in CMP Vinatge Sniper matches offered at the Eastern/Western Games, and National Matches at Camp Perry. They are worth the sum of the selected parts, and are of no interest to collectors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Greetings,

Hi Trac2142, very nice rifle and scope! I'd not seen one just like this before. Did these precede the A4s? I didn't know there was a "sniper" version in WW2 other than the A4. So did yours start as an A3 or something else; what manufacture? Any further info on this type? This is a very interesting topic...........Thanks!

Regards, Jim
Thanks for the comment! These did precede the A4, however, the A4 was not USMC issue. The Corps built their own rifles using existing Rifle Team National Match weapons, having their own armorers inspect/modify them into sniper weapons. The previous post is correct, there are quite a few unique characteristics of these rifles which set them apart from other M1903's. Once you've held/studied one, you will know that faking one accurately would be very difficult and you'd know pretty quickly if its real or not. One can build a rifle which appears/shoots like one, but duplicating all the characteristics would be tough without one to go by, not to mention you'd have to start out with a national match rifle preferably.

From what I've learned, once those Rifle Team weapons were exhausted, they chose selected M1903's to continue re-supply. Once the war ended, the rifles and scopes were mothballed and re-issued during Korea. If I remember right, it was 1954 (c?) when the rifles were sold off as surplus to officers/senior enlisted men with no scopes. The scopes were retained and re-issued again during Vietnam on the Winchester Model 70's. I might have gotten a minor detail wrong from memory, but this kind of gives you an idea of how they came to be.

My own rifle ended up in the hands of an Army Air Corps officer and handed down in the family. I tried to find out how he came by it, but the knowledge was long gone. Probably did some horse-trading or maybe payment for a favor/good job.
 
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