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Thread: Vietnam Snipers

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    Vietnam Snipers

    Guys,

    Im not sure if this is where it goes by since it has to do with vintage rifles I thought I would put it here. I've been reading and researching and had a few questions, maybe y'all can answer them.

    Back in vietnam snipers such as Hathcock and Mawhinney did not have ballistic calculators and all this fancy equipment. How exactly did they shoot at such far ranges? Im not talking about there rifle, since both the m40 and m70 were great rifles. Im talking about there holds, reading the wind, and using scopes that don't have mils.

    Just looking for some insight to there way of shooting.

    Thanks guys!

    Will
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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    they had rifle dopes.just did'nt have all the fancy electronics to do it for them.they actually had to shoot in their dopes.some of them southern sharpshooter boys had some pretty impressive long range kills(300-400YDS.)back in the civil war.it's called knowing your rifle,and they did.

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Thanks Johnnydl. I understand they used kentucky windage and dopes and what not but was it just the fact that they spent lots of time behind their rifles?

    I mean they were able to range, figure out wind, and then send the round down range at some great distances. Just trying to figure out how it was done back then. I prefer the old school method than the new all electronic way of shooting. Just trying to learn
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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    SWAG Scientific wild ass guess, rounds down range lots of rounds down range. Experience, learning how to read the wind and knowing where to hold on the reticle they had. And you have to remember they were shooting minute of man, plus they worked at getting in positions that gave them the best opportunity to make the shot at a relatively short distance compared to the 1500 yard .338 or 300 shots being made now. Even with all the gadgets dodads and tacticool stuff out there on the market today you can't compensate for quality range time.
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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    platypus,

    Thanks for your input! I just saw the Swag thing while I was reading "93 confirmed kills". I guess it is just having a lot of time behind your rifle and knowing your conditions.

    I hope that maybe a few vietnam snipers can chime in as well to get there input
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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    I can provide some insight on the equipment side for the USA XM21s and USMC M40s...

    I've talked to several Vietnam (Army) snipers when researching my project rifles. Though they didn't have the gadgets, they knew their dopes. Also, the Army guys had a decent selection/training regime in-country. The platforms/ammo allowed good probability for a first-round hit within the normal engagement range (usually dictated by terrain and visibility) that was usually well within 600Y.

    The 308/30-06 rounds were more than sufficient for engagement to 800Y, and the rifles (when they were in good condition) were as accurate and fast to use as some of today's systems.

    The challenge was in the optics and their bases. I've shot the AR-TEL, M84, and Redfield greenie scopes. The auto-ranging function on the AR-TEL and the ranging line on the Redfield greenie made engagement relatively easy to 600Y. On the M84, the fat post makes shooting past 500Y really, really hard (its easier to shoot iron sights past that range than with the scope). Adjusting windage on any of these scopes isn't very easy, and I'd suspect many just held for wind.

    The critical flaw on the XM21 was the scope mount. The XM21's ART-TEL mount was made out of anodized aluminum and had one screw and an slot on the side mount to mate with the receiver. The slot on the side mount was usually a little too big for the receiver's slot. Contact area was lower than it could have been, so most of the pressure went into the single screw. The mount had a nasty tendency of loosening under fire and would eventually become so loose that it had to be discarded or welded to the receiver. (I was so disgusted with mine that I asked Mike Sadlak to modify it to make it fit better.) Most of the other metal fasteners/screws in the ART-TEL base are low grade steel. Also, the AR-TEL scope sits really high on the rifle relative the comb of the stock. None of the Army snipers I talked to remember building up the stock with a pad--they said they learned to shoot with their chin high up on the stock.

    The M84/M14 mount was more durable because it was a lot simpler (based on the M1C mount). It was fielded in limited quantities and with little support. The M84/M14 combination wasn't successful because the scope offered a lot more complexity with few advantages compared to the M14's iron sights.

    The critical flaw of the M40 was its stock. Unlike the resin impregnated wooden stock of the XM21, the untreated wood stock of the M40 tended to warp under the high-humidity and heat in Vietnam. The guts of the greenie scope were also susceptible to shocks and heat. The rifle just wasn't that durable--as to be expected since it was an improvisation. Senich's book states that Marines would paint their M40s in order to seal them a little.

    Skill and experience with the platforms could extend the engagement range well beyond 600Y if other situational factors permit. With my M40 replica (real M40 barrel, real M40 mount, real greenie scope), I can't elevate past 850 and have to hold the rest. (Nothing radically different from a 1990s-2000s era M3-Ultra Lupy equipped M24.) On my XM21 replica (SAK NM barrel, ART-TEL scope/mount), I can use the bottom of the stadia box to hold to 1K, but the thickness of the lines makes precise shot placement (F-Class 10 ring) hard. On my M40/XM21 replicas, I'm shooting M118LR, so I even have a slightly hotter round than the Vietnam shooters.

    This doesn't answer the skill side of the equation, but the challenges our Vietnam snipers overcame makes their efforts even more impressive.

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    It must have been lots of time behind the gun and even more recording because doubt there was a lot of knowledge about bc's and chronographs. Im so spoiled with my iphone app's
    pray for peace, but prepare for war

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Cubewarrior,

    Thanks for all that! Wow thats a lot of great information! I have the book "The one-round War" and I read it front to back or at least look at it daily.

    Anymore information would be great! I would like to hear more about your shooting of your m40 replica and you shooting it.

    What all would they write down with dopes and what not? I have read that Hathcock used a "little green book" in the field to write down notes. I always wondered what he wrote down.

    The turrets on the Redfield scopes aren't like the turrets in todays rifles so I wonder how exactly they were used each time.

    I agree the fact of what they used and how they used it so well is what makes the Vietnam snipers so amazing! The way they went through there missions really reminds me of how we hunt down here in the south. You watch and wait and make sure your shots are placed as good as they can be.

    I guess im just trying to figure out how to hold for wind and use the turrets on the redfields so quickly, or atleast what to put in my own "little green book".

    Keep the info coming guys!
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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Just like anyhing we do the more you do it the better you become. Like the M79 man a few months into his tour he has almost stopped useing his sights and can loob a Nad right on the stop. The snipers in Nam was the same way you know the drop at different ranges and the rifle become an extention of you. As long as you have a good range on the target you can make the dope change and get that round on target. As you start to shoot more and more in real world enviroments you know your rifle and if your good you just know what that round is going to do and what dope to input on your scope for that first shot kill.
    505Gibbs

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Originally Posted By: CubeWarrior
    I can provide some insight on the equipment side for the USA XM21s and USMC M40s...

    I've talked to several Vietnam (Army) snipers when researching my project rifles. Though they didn't have the gadgets, they knew their dopes. Also, the Army guys had a decent selection/training regime in-country. The platforms/ammo allowed good probability for a first-round hit within the normal engagement range (usually dictated by terrain and visibility) that was usually well within 600Y.

    The 308/30-06 rounds were more than sufficient for engagement to 800Y, and the rifles (when they were in good condition) were as accurate and fast to use as some of today's systems.

    The challenge was in the optics and their bases. I've shot the AR-TEL, M84, and Redfield greenie scopes. The auto-ranging function on the AR-TEL and the ranging line on the Redfield greenie made engagement relatively easy to 600Y. On the M84, the fat post makes shooting past 500Y really, really hard (its easier to shoot iron sights past that range than with the scope). Adjusting windage on any of these scopes isn't very easy, and I'd suspect many just held for wind.

    The critical flaw on the XM21 was the scope mount. The XM21's ART-TEL mount was made out of anodized aluminum and had one screw and an slot on the side mount to mate with the receiver. The slot on the side mount was usually a little too big for the receiver's slot. Contact area was lower than it could have been, so most of the pressure went into the single screw. The mount had a nasty tendency of loosening under fire and would eventually become so loose that it had to be discarded or welded to the receiver. (I was so disgusted with mine that I asked Mike Sadlak to modify it to make it fit better.) Most of the other metal fasteners/screws in the ART-TEL base are low grade steel. Also, the AR-TEL scope sits really high on the rifle relative the comb of the stock. None of the Army snipers I talked to remember building up the stock with a pad--they said they learned to shoot with their chin high up on the stock.

    The M84/M14 mount was more durable because it was a lot simpler (based on the M1C mount). It was fielded in limited quantities and with little support. The M84/M14 combination wasn't successful because the scope offered a lot more complexity with few advantages compared to the M14's iron sights.

    The critical flaw of the M40 was its stock. Unlike the resin impregnated wooden stock of the XM21, the untreated wood stock of the M40 tended to warp under the high-humidity and heat in Vietnam. The guts of the greenie scope were also susceptible to shocks and heat. The rifle just wasn't that durable--as to be expected since it was an improvisation. Senich's book states that Marines would paint their M40s in order to seal them a little.

    Skill and experience with the platforms could extend the engagement range well beyond 600Y if other situational factors permit. With my M40 replica (real M40 barrel, real M40 mount, real greenie scope), I can't elevate past 850 and have to hold the rest. (Nothing radically different from a 1990s-2000s era M3-Ultra Lupy equipped M24.) On my XM21 replica (SAK NM barrel, ART-TEL scope/mount), I can use the bottom of the stadia box to hold to 1K, but the thickness of the lines makes precise shot placement (F-Class 10 ring) hard. On my M40/XM21 replicas, I'm shooting M118LR, so I even have a slightly hotter round than the Vietnam shooters.

    This doesn't answer the skill side of the equation, but the challenges our Vietnam snipers overcame makes their efforts even more impressive.


    I have a question then on your AR-TEL. Mine is two screws that attach to the receiver and they are both anodized(?)/parkerized(?) steel. Definitely not aluminum. As is the crossbars and base-plate. The weakness in mine, as I see and as I was told, is a little bit of dust getting between the cam and baseplate. That will throw off the simultaneous elevation/power increase as you range.

    I was told when I bought this it was an 'original Leatherwood'. So far as the way I see it made, it's pretty good quality.

    As you noted though, unless someone got custom knobs made there is no windage adjustment.
    Every shot serves a purpose, whether accurate or inaccurate. It will always tell you what you did, and did not do, right. Even if all you have is a fraction of a second to make it, learn from it. So the next one is even better.

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    The M21 ART scope and base was flawed but a very simple and fast design.

    The mount (being aluminum) was plain just not durable against the M21's steel receiver. You needed to check and tighten the mount's single screw daily. Even during the sniper course we confirmed zero the first shot every morning at 300 Meters on a steel E-type. The moment arm and inertia of the scope, soft aluminum mount, and 7.62 recoil could shake the scope loose at unexpected times.

    The return spring often wore out and there are photos where snipers tied heavy rubber bands or elastic blousing bands around the rear of the ART to hold it tight to the base so it would ride the ranging cam.

    In the days before gadgets sniper cadre shot a lot on KD ranges, often coming from the service competition rifle teams (Carlos Hathcock being a Marine Camp Perry Wimbledon champion, and the AMU team members coming from the service rifle and international shooting teams). They were familiar with range estimation having seen their targets at 200, 300, 500, and 600 yards on a daily basis.

    The trick was imparting the knowledge earned over a two or three-year hitch on a shooting team at Camp Perry and the World Cup or Olympics to new (young) shooters -- in the Army's case in-country. In the AMU course (into the early 80s) we did not shoot past 600 yards with the M21.

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Quote:
    I have a question then on your AR-TEL. Mine is two screws that attach to the receiver and they are both anodized(?)/parkerized(?) steel. Definitely not aluminum. As is the crossbars and base-plate. ...

    I was told when I bought this it was an 'original Leatherwood'. So far as the way I see it made, it's pretty good quality.


    Yours sounds like an ART-II, or second generation mount with a screw for the receiver mounting hole and a second in a drilled and tapped stripper clip guide.

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    505gibbs,

    I understand completely what your saying! I've been shooting and hunting for over 15 years now and have made pretty good shots I feel so far.

    I've been trying to figure out the workings of some of these guys and what they did so that I can try to use the same techniques. Although I wont be hunting the NVA or anything there techniques can still be used.

    Anyone else got some more info?
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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Sinister,

    From how you write Im assuming you were a vietnam sniper?

    Got anymore knowledge. I see that it is just getting behind the rifle a lot but I mean these guys were just all crack shots? If you have bad technique and form even all the practice by yourself is still bad form. So what exactly made them get behind the rifle and be proficient? What were there tricks?

    I know the sniping school and also in Hathcock's case the shooting team and championship helped him a lot.
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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    if you would like to 'learn' from and talk to a vietnam sniper with over 60 kills, Steve Suttles teaches at Badlands Tactical training facility in Oklahoma...

    having been there many times, and talked to Steve at length, and had the privlege to hear some of his stories, it is a very unique opportunity to gain insight on 'how' they did what they did.

    and I will tell you, he is NOT big on tech gear, but solid fundamentals, and truly KNOWING your rifle and ammo.

    they/he were doing things in country, that has recently been drummed back up by some folks, and spun as 'new' . . . to make a buck, or promote self.

    they did it , to save fellow Marines lives

    like what you ask ?

    shooting an totally obscured target at distance
    shooting a target through a small 8" opening, hitting the target 10 feet back from the opening at 600 yds

    using point blank zero and other 'voodoo' techniques to engage targets quickly , from the gun out to 500 yds

    and you have the 'one round war' , they m ention some of this in that book. zeroing the m70 out to 12-1500yds, in 100 yd increments , is what allowed alot of infamous shooting.

    and opportunity to use their skills .

    Steve is a cool dude and a heck of a shot; probably no better spotter, that i know of, around than Steve.

    if you want to hear 'old school' and learn 'old school' that is the place to cut your teeth, and pay your dues.

    brillance in the basics is what they preach/teach
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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    banshee sws,

    Wow thanks! I'll look up Steve sometime and try to get out there. Im on the other side of the u.s. in florida but I sure would like to try to make time to see his techniques and learn.

    Is there any way you would care to share some of what you have learned with Steve until I can make it out there? I saw what you said about the "voodoo" techniques and what not. Thanks for the insight so far though
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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    There was a member here who was my neighbor...not sure if comes onto the HIDE much anymore but he ran the M21 with the ART scopes while in the army.

    He said bracketing targets using the crosshair setup and holding for wind was fast and easy. Almost like cheating...

    I was curious as how many rounds a day they'd fire while training as well as how long a barrel would last. He told me "when you fire up to 350 rounds a day some days...you get real good...or sent down the road." Then replied barrels would last about 3 months...then back for refit.

    He also used a 300 Win Mag I guess...he's 10th Group retired. And very much still a good shooter.

    The other big piece of advice he gave which I don't know if I should just take it for what it is or not, but he once said to me.

    "There's a big difference in what YOU DO and what I DID. I was paid to shoot. You pay to shoot. Big difference... [img]<>/wink.gif[/img]
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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Originally Posted By: sinister
    Quote:
    I have a question then on your AR-TEL. Mine is two screws that attach to the receiver and they are both anodized(?)/parkerized(?) steel. Definitely not aluminum. As is the crossbars and base-plate. ...

    I was told when I bought this it was an 'original Leatherwood'. So far as the way I see it made, it's pretty good quality.


    Yours sounds like an ART-II, or second generation mount with a screw for the receiver mounting hole and a second in a drilled and tapped stripper clip guide.


    Sinister,

    I may be giving you two different pieces with the same nomenclature. When I refer to the 'baseplate, it's actually split into two pieces. The upper and lower. They pivot towards the front, between them. The upper is what the rings of the scope are attached to. The upper is coupled with the lower by a spring tensioned pin. The 'camputer' rotates off the lower and swivels the upper based up and down.
    The lower baseplate has the "Weaver style" two cross bars that are supposed to lock into the bases on the receiver. From what I understand they are supposed to fit into grooves cut in the M14/21. I never got to play with an M21 enough to know. So, I don't know. Suffice it to say they do not fit standard Weaver bsess on Remington 722's, or Rem 700's. They'll fit the base, just not the spacing between the two.

    Sorry, forgot to mention the scope. 3-9x with two horizontal crosshairs, but you are always supposed to use the upper one.s. By zooming out eye focus, you would, by automatic virtue of the system, by focusing on Focusing on this country
    Every shot serves a purpose, whether accurate or inaccurate. It will always tell you what you did, and did not do, right. Even if all you have is a fraction of a second to make it, learn from it. So the next one is even better.

    The pen is only mighty when it is backed by the sword.

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    One of the most informative sites on the web I have found for information on the scopes used on the M14 and XM21, can be found at image events under USSpringfieldxm21sniper. Not sure if I can post the actual link but its by far one of the best I have found.

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    In the middle of the 80'ies I competed against and trained for a few days with shooters from from the US Shooting team from Ft. Benning. One of the shooters had served in Vietnam and I also served in a airport protection military unit as a designated marksman at the time. I talked a lot with this shooter. He claimed he had used his private R700 in 25-06 in some instanses in Vietnam.

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    When I went through the 101st's sniper school in the late 80's, I used a well-used M21 with an ArTel 1 on it. The chief instructor was Joe White, who was a sniper in VN. He was a humble and religious man--he did not share many war stories with us during the training. He dedicated himself to imparting the lessons that we would need to be effective. We used both the white box and brown box M118 ammunition (the white box was much more consistent lot to lot). We confirmed zeros on steel at 300 meters, and shot all the way back to 900 meters (990 yards). Mr. White would only give us "credit" for a hit if the impact on steel was in the upper chest. He called gut shots (low hits on the E-type) misses. Lessons learned from VN...

    I noted that my class mates using the ART-II had more shifting zero issues, despite the two screw mounting system. I had no problems with my M21/ArTel 1. Mr. White taught us to read the wind by watching the trees, grass, etc, and holding off. Our spotter would direct a follow on shot if we missed, which was easy to do with the semi-auto rifle. In a month's time, we put a lot of rounds down-range. That was the key to our learning curve--lots of well-directed and documented rounds down-range.

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    I may be way off base but I bet a lot of those boys come from a time when, you killed what you eat. Dad told you to go out and get some meat for supper and you learned a lot basics from hunting. They developed good shooting habits by providing food for the family.
    Some people are alive simply because it is illegal to kill them.

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Sandwarrior,

    If you have two medium-sized knob/screws on the side of the mount, then you have an ART-II. If you have one big knob at the base, then its probably an ART-TEL. Also, the ART-TEL's are all black whereas the ART-IIs have a grey-green rear objective. Both are auto-ranging scopes, but the ART-II wasn't made until after we left Vietnam.


    Sinister,

    Thanks for the tip on the rubber bands around the rear ring. My scope bounces a bit due to that old leaf spring. Question for you--did the guys you talked to build up the stock on their rifles or did they just chin-weld? I'd have to think they would have preferred a p___ pad and duct-tape solution to get a consistent position behind the scope.



    Former AMU armorers said that the service life of the XM21 was in excess of 9K rounds because the original barrels were selected for their already tight tolerances. Barrels would be swapped in theater with a reserve of selected NM barrels for the program (at least in 9ID). I'd be interested to hear if heavy use of the Sionics suppressor shortened service life.

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    It has ART/MPC on the left side, under the vertical adjustment knob. serial no. 000190. It comes with a manila colored instruction booklet. That tells me in the forward that the ART/MPC is the most advanced of all the adjustable ranging telescopes. It's a 3x-9x and compensates for bullet drop from 200-600 meters. According to the inspection certificate inside the booklet it has parallax set to 200 meters. It has dual crosshairs and pointed duplex thick crosshairs on the main crosshair. 38" between main horizontal crosshair and point of lower duplex crosshair. 18" between horizontal crosshairs. 14" between duplex and lower crosshairs. 20" between lower crosshair and bottom duplex. And the width of the duplex's is 8". I'm assuming that is @ 200 meters where the certificate says the scope is set for parallax.

    I'm assuming the base is for an M14/M21 as this thing fits nothing I have in Weaver or Picatinny. Meaning Weaver type bases mounted on Rem short, long, Win short, long, pre/post64, Mauser. And it's kind of matte looking grey/black.

    Sorry, forgot to add that the 'camputer' on this is adjustable to allow for different trajectories. Set the power on 3x and adjust the cam ring to your caliber/velocity noted in the back of the booklet.
    Every shot serves a purpose, whether accurate or inaccurate. It will always tell you what you did, and did not do, right. Even if all you have is a fraction of a second to make it, learn from it. So the next one is even better.

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Wow this is turning out to be a lot of good information!

    rdl65, I completely understand what you mean by you learned to hunt to eat. Thats actually what my family did when I was younger. My grandfather would have to go out and get a deer or what not so we could eat. He was and still is the best shot I've ever seen.

    longbow,
    What were some rules for holding for wind? What was your step processes when you did things like holding off for wind, or while a target was on the move?
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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    [quote=banshee sws]if you would like to 'learn' from and talk to a vietnam sniper with over 60 kills, Steve Suttles teaches at Badlands Tactical training facility in Oklahoma...

    +1,000 on Steve Suttles. Amazing man with a rifle....excellent teacher.

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    The ART MPC was the post-war follow-on to the Redfield -- I believe it was made in Stephenville, Texas. I don't know what the quality was like but it was designed so it wasn't specifically mated to the M21/M14.

    My fading memory says you're correct in that the base was fitted to Weaver bases (the brochures showed on Remington 700 and FAL).

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    The averange sniper shot in Vietnam was just north of 400 yards.

    What we used was Starlight scopes mounted on M16a1s. They were most effective after we got re-supplied. As we all know, GIs throw a lot of stuff away. Left in position was discarded C-rats, (no one wanted to carry ham and lima beans), entrenching tools were also left, (ou can dig just as fast with a bayonet).

    Anyway we got re-supplied once every 5-7 days, when we left the re-supply point we would leave guys behind with the '16/starlight set up and pick off the bandits who went through our trash.

    A team with M16/Starlights were great at trail junctions also. Badits used trails at night.

    It was simple to use a map and protractor to measure the range and the starlight scopes were pretty good at 300-400 yards. Also the front sight of a rifle can be used as a range finder. I taught that in my sniper schools. Example, the average width of a soldier's soulders is 19 inches. The M1/M14's front sight is .076. You divide 19 by .076 you get 250 yards. If the target (shoulders) is the same size as the front sight, its 250 yards away. If the target is half the size of the front sight, its 500 yards. With practice you can get pretty good. It works the same way as mil dots. You just have to learn your rifle.

    The M21s didn't really start showing up until after I left, we used what we had. We didn't pack a desgnated rifle, no one wanted the additional weight of a bolt gun target rifle when the M16 worked.

    The first snipers in Vietnam, both army and marines were from the respective rifle teams. After years of shooting High Power and long range matches you "just know". You know your hold overs and favors. You have the fundamentals down or you don't stay on the rifle team.

    The AMU sent their high power shooters to Vietnam as snipers and to conduct sniper training. I believe the marines did the same thing. In fact it was a couple of those, Wayne Young and Shelly Lamb who sold me on my M1A in 1977 and got me lined up for the USAMU Sniper School in '79.

    After Vietnam, and the downsizing of the military the AMU still kept up their sniper program, they started the USAMU Sniper School and the cadre were for the most part the AMU snipers from Vietnam. They provided the training for cadre for future sniper schools, the Infantry Center's Army School, the Marines, and FBI and other civilian LE sniper schools.

    They used the M21s in those schools. I went to the AMU Sniper school and later taught sniper schools using the M21. I found it to be an excellent system. Contrary to some of the post I see here, the mount held up. We zeroed the scopes and they held their zero while taking the scope off and putting it back on. It held. They were pretty good at range estimation also.

    The best advantage I found with the M21 is the lack of muzzle flash. We did a lot of night firing using the Starlight. Using nothing but the M14 flash suppressor and M118, there was no detectable muzzle flash when fired.

    If you got your face next to the shooter, you might see a spark coming out of the action but that's it.

    If I was to go back in time, and was to go back to Vietnam as a sniper, knowing what I did then, and what I know now. Even the thousands of rounds I fired out of the M14/M21, I'd still pick the M16a1.

    Reason being, you didn't have the extended range you had in Korea or have in Afgahn. 300 - 400 yards the 'A1 with M193s is effective, even at night with the Starlight scope.

    In the jungles, I would much rather do my fighting at night. Contrary to popular belief, the Vietnamese can't see any better then we can, in fact, because of our diets, I believe we can see better.

    The little shits thought they owned the night, that wasn't the case. Night fighting doesn't require the long range you get with todays fancy rifles.

    I shot a lot of Combat Matches with the M16a1, like any other rifle, you get to know it. You learn the hold over/unders and favors.

    In short, its not the rifle, its the fundamentals and tactics. I'm lazy, I like the light weight of the M16a1.

    I was impressed with the M21, but it's heavy.
    Kraig Stuart
    Distinguished Rifle Badge #1071
    USAMU Sniper School, Oct '78


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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    My post-Vietnam experience mirrors Kraig's.

    Our M21s had AN/PVS-2 and later PVS-4 Starlights. My snipers would confirm zero every other day.

    My AMU M21 was impeccable with a hand-fitted barrel, AMU bedding in a McMillan, and clear scope. I taped a foam volleyball pad on the stock to raise the comb.

    At the ass-end of the US Army maintenance and supply system in Korea a sniper might have his rifle for anywhere between a month and a year. Maintenance was either not done, done shitty, or the rifle was coded out or sent back to the states. ART II Scopes often looked like fish aquariums with water on the INSIDE.

    For the ranges we shot a free-floated M16A1 would have done just as well and lighter. We had a larger TVS-5 (originally for .50 cals) that 2nd Division had modified for M16s that had much better magnification and clarity for positive identification.

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    This picture was taken during the USAMU Sniper School, it shows the "foam" check pad that gives you the proper check weld when using a scope on the M21.

    Funny thing for me, I seem to do as well or better with the iron sights then the scope on the targets we shot except for favors for wind.

    Kraig Stuart
    Distinguished Rifle Badge #1071
    USAMU Sniper School, Oct '78


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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    This is interesting to hear. I was in '81-'85. We had some pretty nice NVG's for special ops stuff, but most of the time it was just us and the night. The snipers, I was not one of them, couldn't seem to get a decent night scope for the life of them. In fact, one of the failed training missions I spoken of, our guys used day scopes (ART II's) at night. Most of what we had were AN-PVS-2's or -5's. They usually died pretty quickly.

    Anyhow, this scope of mine is about 1/2 a crossbar too much distance to fit a 1913 picatinny. I don't remember by how much it was off for any of the Weaver bases on my bolt actions.

    Edit:

    Thanks for the pic Kraig. Boy does that ever bring back memories of Ft. Beginning GA.
    Every shot serves a purpose, whether accurate or inaccurate. It will always tell you what you did, and did not do, right. Even if all you have is a fraction of a second to make it, learn from it. So the next one is even better.

    The pen is only mighty when it is backed by the sword.

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    " The turrents on the Redfield scopes aren't like the turrents in todays rifles so I wonder how exactly they were used each time."


    The word is TURRET, OR TURRETS.
    Mike

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Originally Posted By: fish2keel

    Back in vietnam snipers such as Hathcock and Mawhinney did not have ballistic calculators and all this fancy equipment. How exactly did they shoot at such far ranges?


    I have spent a lot of time reading history and a some time sipping suds and swapping stories with a legend.

    I can tell you that it basically came down to maximizing what they had at the time. Kentucky windage and elevation holds were the method used for the M40 with the Redfield. Turrets were useless for dialing dope. They were used for zero only. Zero range was based on the mission.

    The main part of the "how" was the amount of experience on the rifle. Not all of the kills were long range. You don't need a whole lot of markings for wind holds at intermediate ranges. SWAG it and press the trigger. Run that bolt and prepare for the followup shot.
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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Im surprised to see that alot of yall during vietnam used the m21 or m16 instead of a bolt gun. I understand why you would since you could put more lead down range and what not, I've just always heard of a bolt gun being used(such as carlos's m70).

    Kraigwy,

    Awesome picture! It never get's old seeing pictures from other conflicts and from the passed!

    Thats pretty cool with the calculation you gave for range estimation. I have never heard of that before. Can this calculation be used with the cross hairs of a scope? Not with the tombstone reticle but with just a basic fine hair scope?

    Also you say the fundamentals, although I've hunting and shooting most of my life, what are some of these fundamentals? I would like to hear from you what y'all went over since its different hearing it from someone with the knowledge to give good information.

    Keep it all coming guys this is a great thread so far!
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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    lonewolf,

    Thanks for that! I can understand now more what all is going on. I guess you just have to know your conditions and your rifle and go for it.

    Mike,

    I went back and fixed the post. Sorry about the typing error
    http://youtu.be/ckhaJa0xsEA -The greatest story left untold from the iraq war!

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Quote:
    Thats pretty cool with the calculation you gave for range estimation. I have never heard of that before. Can this calculation be used with the cross hairs of a scope


    Yeap, you just need to know the width of your cross hairs in MOA.

    An example, when I first started teaching sniper schools we used the M1C/Ds. The cross hair of the M84 is 3 MOA. That would cover the 19 inch shoulder at 633 yards.

    Simply divide the width of the target by the width of the cross hairs or front sight.

    Most of the time you buy a scope, the paper work tells you the width of the crosshairs.
    Kraig Stuart
    Distinguished Rifle Badge #1071
    USAMU Sniper School, Oct '78


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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    On the same thread as Kraig, when I got my first duplex reticle scope I actually took some poster board and marked it off with a magic marker, set it up at 100 yards and checked the widths of my reticles and MOA of the small hairs for windage and elevation.
    Real pilots don't bail out, they autorotate. University of Georgia Varsity and ROTC rifle team. 294 "career" avg. out of 300 possible: 3 pos. small bore.

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Originally Posted By: fish2keel
    lonewolf,

    Thanks for that! I can understand now more what all is going on. I guess you just have to know your conditions and your rifle and go for it.

    Mike,

    I went back and fixed the post. Sorry about the typing error


    No problem. It just seems that that wretched word crops up from time to time and others take it for fact, and in no time at all, everyone starts using it.
    Mike

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Kraigwy,

    Thanks! I'll have to figure out what my MOA is on my Redfield scope. Im sure it says it in the "One Round War". Im going to give that a try and see how it works.

    When you are writing in your range books or data logs(no the commercial ones), do you just range certain spots when you get to your final firing position? So when you reach your hide do you just pick certain spots and write down the yardage and then if a shot happens to be in that general area you know your distances?
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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Data books are nice, but I personally have only used them in training or competition.

    What I actually used was what ever I could find. C-rat boxes were the most common.

    This is just me, others may have other, or better ideals.

    We'd do a range card before we went. I'm big on maps and map reading I like to plot grid cord just incase I needed help.

    Never put the grid cord of you're partol base on your range card.

    When I get to my spot, I add to the home made range card as night comes, Things look different at night. I'd try to get all the distances to any possible location for a target. But remember, night limits your range, don't need to plot something that you can't see at night.

    This works with Machine Guns also. I was always big on range cards, stress them in the Sniper and MG schools I've taught.

    Most all this can be found in FM 21-75, individual soldier and patroling. It's something every infantryman needs to know, not just snipers and machine gunners.

    This works in hunting too. I often hunt in the mountains where there are a bunch of ATVs running around scattering elk. I'd find a saddle where there are a lot of game trails crossing. Also where ATVs couldn't get to. I use horses. I'd set up, make a range card and plot all possible locations where the elk might cross. Then just set back, drink coffee and wait. It works. I'm old and lazy, not into humping all over the place.

    Personall I think too many people now days put too much faith in electronics. Guess I'm old fashion.
    Kraig Stuart
    Distinguished Rifle Badge #1071
    USAMU Sniper School, Oct '78


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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    kraigwy,

    You should put together a book! This is the best information I've found yet. I was always taught by my grandfather to use maps, and writing things down. He never used any piece of electronics and he always got more game than I ever did.

    Got anymore information for us? I could read and listen to this all day!
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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Quote:
    You should put together a book!


    Except I can't write. If I were it would be about my experiences in Western Alaska when I was a company comander of an Eskimo Scout Company. Those were some interesting days. One of my villages was Little Diomede, a small island just across the ice from a Russin Navy base, that was during the height of the cold war. That's when I learned to shoot from a little boat in rolling water and the heads of seals (fury ones).

    But this is getting a bit off topic.
    Kraig Stuart
    Distinguished Rifle Badge #1071
    USAMU Sniper School, Oct '78


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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Kraigwy,

    I know exactly where little Diomede is! Small town for sure! I moved to the bush of alaska about 5 years ago. I live in a town just south of Tok, its called Slana. We only have 60 people total with less than that full time residents. I sure do love alaska! Great hunting and some long range shots for sure!

    Back on topic though! I see that you put that yall used the m16a1 and the m21, was there just not enough snipers using bolt guns? I was reading in "93 confirmed kills" of Carlos using his m70 but I don't remember reading about him using a semi auto. Was the choice of bolt or auto up to the sniper?
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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Quote:
    Was the choice of bolt or auto up to the sniper?


    I can't speak for other units, with ours (Recon Plt, 2/502nd Inf, 101st Abn Div) we spent extended periods in the field. Weight was a huge factor. If the M16a1 worked for our missions, there was no reason to pack another 9 lb rifle, especially since bolt guns normally required you carry a M16 anyway for the firepower.

    Not saying the M16 is the best sniper rifle, but the way we used it it was as good as any.

    Never was one to believe a sniper rifle had to be this or that, its how its used.

    We had a Model 70 in '06 for a while, but it proved not to be worth the effert to pack it. I'm sure if we were shooting from mountain top to mountain top in day light it would have been handy. That's just not the way we worked.

    We used what we had, if it worked there was no reason to ask for something else. So I can't really answer your question.

    We also didn't have desinated snipers, we had riflemen who could shoot and knew what they were doing in the jungles. The rest of "sniper craft" is nothing more then the information you got from FM 21-75, Individual Soldier and Patroling.
    Kraig Stuart
    Distinguished Rifle Badge #1071
    USAMU Sniper School, Oct '78


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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Originally Posted By: fish2keel

    longbow,
    What were some rules for holding for wind? What was your step processes when you did things like holding off for wind, or while a target was on the move?


    The "rules" that we used was to adjust hold-off for wind by the appearance of the mirage (the height of the mirage waves were "tall to flat" with tall mirage being slower and needing less hold off than the flat mirage needing more). Windage holdoffs: "favor," "pocket," inside edge of the E-type, edge of E-type, outside of edge, half width, and full width.

    It should be noted that the ArTel 1 was a 3-9 variable, and the ranging reticle changed in size, with the horizontal hash marks (above and below the cross hair intersection) subtending 30 inches (top of head to the beltline). This was probably the first FIRST FOCAL PLANE sniper telescope adopted and used by a major power!

    For shots under 300 meters, we held off (did not need much).

    As far as adapting the stock to scope use, we built up cheekpieces made of green foam from our sleeping pads and 100 MPH tape. Mr. White was adamant that we built it up to fit us for a proper stock/cheek weld. He was big on being "relaxed" when behind the rifle, and used to remind us that shooting a rifle "should be a pleasantry..." [img]<>/smile.gif[/img]

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Originally Posted By: kraigWY
    Quote:
    You should put together a book!


    Except I can't write.


    Write it down. You can write.

    I was a member of a support group for the National Defence Museum in Norway. Around 1990 we got WW2 veterans, who could not write, to write. Most important at the time was the then taboo history of Norwegians who served in the Waffen SS and other axis units. A lot of these writings are now being put together by historians. Some of the stories are an important part of history. Among them are several different stories of defending Hitler's bunker in Berlin that can be cross checked for accuracy. This would have been lost if we did not get them to write.

    Write down your history. It might not seem too important to you. It can be vital reference material in the future for others. Write it!!

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Originally Posted By: TorF
    Originally Posted By: kraigWY
    Quote:
    You should put together a book!


    Except I can't write.


    Write it down. You can write.

    I was a member of a support group for the National Defence Museum in Norway. Around 1990 we got WW2 veterans, who could not write, to write. Most important at the time was the then taboo history of Norwegians who served in the Waffen SS and other axis units. A lot of these writings are now being put together by historians. Some of the stories are an important part of history. Among them are several different stories of defending Hitler's bunker in Berlin that can be cross checked for accuracy. This would have been lost if we did not get them to write.

    Write down your history. It might not seem too important to you. It can be vital reference material in the future for others. Write it!!


    +1000 My father-in-law served from 1942 through to 1947 including Normandy and The Bulge. Amazing experiences but he never wrote down anything!!

    Now...personal anecdotes and photos aside...it is lost forever - he passed away 3 years ago!

    Kraig...please make the time and effort to record your experiences. It is history and a part of your nation's heritage.


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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    TorF

    I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I wasnít a sniper in Vietnam, I was just a grunt, Iím sure there are many (thousands) more interesting stories then mine.

    I might write down something for my grandkids, but Iíll probably leave out most of my Vietnam experience.
    Kraig Stuart
    Distinguished Rifle Badge #1071
    USAMU Sniper School, Oct '78


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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Originally Posted By: kraigWY
    I was just a grunt


    Kraig - try looking up the "Forgotten Voices of WW1/WW2" books published in the UK with the Imperial War Museum......the ordinary people's stories are as poignant as any you will read.

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    Re: Vietnam Snipers

    Originally Posted By: kraigWY "I was just a grunt"


    Geeeshhhh!!! What a master of understatement!!!
    Real pilots don't bail out, they autorotate. University of Georgia Varsity and ROTC rifle team. 294 "career" avg. out of 300 possible: 3 pos. small bore.

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