Verdun, The Somme, Jutland, on the land and sea 1916 was the year of offensives. Both sides tried to break the stalemate on the Western Front. One of the relics of that time is the British Webley revolver holster shown below. the revolver is from 1918, but the holster is from 1916. Was it at the Somme? it's anyone's guess.
Note the date and broad arrow mark in the middle of the flap.
The club rules 1903 Sniper project is coming along nicely. As you can see I've changed the cheek pad to a higher one which allows a better stock weld. It also has a Velcro place so I can attach a patch or flag. The high cheek pad was also needed because the scope is mounted high over the bore. Thus no modifications to the rifle or stock were needed. The S&K Insta Mount has performed in an excellent manner. with over 100 rounds down range and counting, it has not loosened up at all.
Inexpensive cheek pad with Velcro SOCCENT patch attached.
The accuracy of the rifle is quite pleasing as the five shot group below illustrated. This group was fired prone supported at 300 yards using a 150 gr FMJ simulating a service or "ball" load.
300 yard group.
This rifle is now "good to go" for local competition and could be used for hunting or any other precision rifle needs out to a reasonable range of 600 yards. I thing the 60 year old scope would be a handicap beyond that range. This is also the case with the WW II era scopes; the optics are good but not great for the longer ranges.
The club rules vintage sniper Remington 1903 fires excellent groups at 300 yards. I do find the high scope mount a problem but I used a towel to comfortably position my head. This will be corrected by an improved cheek pad in the future.
The scope performs well for it's 1940s technology, like the Soviet PU and other military scopes of the era, The Weaver K6 does not have a self centering reticle. This means the windage and elevation must be set with the scope rings to keep the reticle in the center of the scope. The scope internal adjustments are for small corrections only.
Happily this is the case and the rifle easily keeps all rounds in the 9 ring of an NRA 300 yard rifle target at the aforementioned 300 yards, with ball ammunition, I expect match loads will work even better.
I shoot our club’s vintage sniper matches. I used an
original M1D, but I found this was too difficult to single load in the prone
position. As a collectable rifle, it just did not seem smart to put match wear
on this rifle. Plus there was always risk of an out of battery ignition. At our
club’s longest distance 300 yard, the 2.2 power, 70 year old, M84 scope was a
challenge. Frankly, the optics are not that good. While wonderfully accurate, the M1D just did
not fit the bill.
So I started with a Frankenstein Remington Model 1903 made
in late 1942. The gun has a matched barrel and receiver, as well as Remington
trigger parts. The rear sight and bolt are USGI replacements. The barrel has
excellent rifling but does contain one patch of minor pitting, this will never
be a collector grade barrel.
The stock is a repaired WW II vintage Keystone “C” stock. It
has a full pistol grip and provides a comfortable platform for this rifle. The
stock was cracked, sanded, and repaired. Its reasonable price and close color
match made it a natural fit. The cheek pad helps with the high rings needed to
ensure the opening and closing of the bolt clears the scope.
The Remington M1903 does shoot very well and the minor
pitting does not affect accuracy.The
S&K Instamount is an excellent product, its every bit as solid as a drilled
and tapped scope mount. I was initially skeptical that any “no drill and tap”scope
mount would actually work. I’m very pleased that this one does work so well. The
instructions don’t have any pictures (important for a visual learner like me)
but they are well written and easy to follow. Of course, the most difficult
part of mounting a scope is aligning the cross hairs. It’s easy to cant the
scope when tightening the ring screws. This job takes some care and mistakes can
be avoided by using a scope mounting kit.
The scope is a 50s vintage Weaver K6, a popular commercial
scope and can be found on auction sites, usually reasonably priced. While the
optics are not perfect it is adequate for our club matches at 300 yards.
One the spring weather arrives this rifle will
be on the firing line with a purpose. We’ll have a further report then.
One of my favorites, the original “Die Hard” with one of my favorite actor Bruce Willis as policeman
John McClain. It’s set at Christmas
during a terrorist attack at a large multinational corporation. Of course the real star is the Beretta 92
pistol. With it Bruce dispatches several
bad guy terrorists.
The pistol became a Hollywood & Television Icon in the 1980s and 1990s.
The Beretta became an icon of the late 80s in that movie,
the same way the S&W Model 29 became an icon of the 1970s in “Dirty Harry”. The Beretta 92 became the archetypical wonder
9 pistol, even equipping the U.S. Military since 1985. The 92 is a great gun, and Die Hard is a great movie.
I never liked the Beretta 92SF (the military M9) since it
replaced one of my favorite handguns, the iconic M1911A1 in US. Military
service. Like many soldiers at the time,
I heard the rumors which stated the adoption of the M9 was a NATO payoff to the
Italians. Or the pistol was inferior to
the other entrants in the trials such as the SIG 226 or the Czech 75. None of
these were true. After three deployments to combat zones with the M9 and
experience with other contemporary 9mm handguns, I think the M9 may be the most
underrated 9mm pistol of all time. The M9 is exceptionally accurate for a
service pistol and is a delight to shoot. It’s often criticized for a large
grip, but the grip is contoured and comfortable for my medium–small hands.
The Beretta with 15 and 20 round Beretta factory magazines.
The Beretta 92FS has the smoothest action and cycle of any
pistol. The slide almost feels like it is ball bearings. The pistol’s feel and performance inspire
confidence. The pistol is roundly criticized for its grip thickness, magazines,
open slide design, locking block design, and finally “weak” 9mm cartridge.
Modern holster and ammunition choices make the M9 and excellent combat pistol.
These are complaints which are really not specific to the
Beretta M9. The M9 grip, like any grip is comfortable to some and uncomfortable
to others. This is a common complaint with widely issued pistols. Some newer
designs have interchangeable back straps, so the user may select the most
comfortable. While this may work in Police departments, I doubt it the
military, beyond Special Operations Forces, will use this feature. The military
has subcontracted for non-Beretta magazines. Some of these are poorly
performing, others are just fine. Aftermarket magazines cannot be blamed on the pistol. The open slide, used in many very successful
designs such as the German P.38, is proven and is not a liability. The same
goes for the locking block, many critics illustrate it as failure point, except
it rarely if ever fails. No more than any other part in competing designs.
The M9/92FS has served with distinction in the harsh conditions of the War on Terror
Finally, the weak 9mm cartridge, while at its best with hollow point bullet
designs, has been successful for over 100 years. The performance of FMJ bullets
in any caliber is a matter of wide and heated debate. The number of shots fired by pistols in modern combat is miniscule. Therefore many of the “reports” made by returning combat veterans really are based on perception and not facts derived by use. FEW Soldiers or Marines fire pistols in combat, when it happens, the Beretta M9 performs to the standard. Obviously, the military thinks the same this, and has delayed trials for an M9 replacement by at least another year.