Army M24 Build Thread

lockedandloaded

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Here's the end label from my L&S Ultra 10X-M3A shipping carton, 1987 date code. It would be interesting to find other M3A serial numbers close to first run production.

An important distinction among Leupold 10X scopes is the difference between M3 and M3A (alpha) versions. Original US Army contract scopes are engraved with "10X-M3A". Later production rifles came with Mark 4 M3 10X.
 

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lockedandloaded

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This new M24 thread isn't getting much traction after the old 26+ page thread was deleted.

If anyone owns a Leupold & Stevens (L & S Inc.) ULTRA M3A 10X scope, or the 2nd issue Mark 4 M3 10X, it would be interesting to record serial #'s.

Watching the CMP Auction site for Unertl USMC 10X scopes, the earliest issued examples draw the highest bids. All the Marine Corp M40A1 scope serials are documented, along with the receiver #'s.

The M24 scopes require the same recognition. Both versions of Leupold 10X M3 #'s need to be preserved for future reference.

If it is okay with the site moderators, I'd like to begin collecting the data.

I realise that not all of these scopes were originally issued on M24 rifles. That's an issue needing further clarification. But at least we could make an attempt.
 

mjh30

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Here's the end label from my L&S Ultra 10X-M3A shipping carton, 1987 date code. It would be interesting to find other M3A serial numbers close to first run production.

An important distinction among Leupold 10X scopes is the difference between M3 and M3A (alpha) versions. Original US Army contract scopes are engraved with "10X-M3A". Later production rifles came with Mark 4 M3 10X.
The earliest M3a Ultra I'v3 personally seen is 1986, although I remember someone mentioning once the manual was dated 1985. The M24 wasn't approved to July 88 and the first rifles weren't delivered to Oct 1988. As for the scopes, latest I've since was dated 92.
 

mjh30

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This new M24 thread isn't getting much traction after the old 26+ page thread was deleted.

If anyone owns a Leupold & Stevens (L & S Inc.) ULTRA M3A 10X scope, or the 2nd issue Mark 4 M3 10X, it would be interesting to record serial #'s.

Watching the CMP Auction site for Unertl USMC 10X scopes, the earliest issued examples draw the highest bids. All the Marine Corp M40A1 scope serials are documented, along with the receiver #'s.

The M24 scopes require the same recognition. Both versions of Leupold 10X M3 #'s need to be preserved for future reference.

If it is okay with the site moderators, I'd like to begin collecting the data.

I realise that not all of these scopes were originally issued on M24 rifles. That's an issue needing further clarification. But at least we could make an attempt.
As for documenting the scopes, with regards the USMC Unertls only 1800 or so were made and none for the civilian market. The initial order for the M24SWS was somewhere in the region of 2600 rifles. 15000 rifles later theres an awful lot of M3a's and MK4 M3 10x's issued along the way. I've had 3 now, still have 2.
 

lockedandloaded

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The earliest M3a Ultra I'v3 personally seen is 1986, although I remember someone mentioning once the manual was dated 1985. The M24 wasn't approved to July 88 and the first rifles weren't delivered to Oct 1988. As for the scopes, latest I've since was dated 92.
I have a copy of the Leupold LE Products brochure dated 1986. It features "THE NEW ULTRA M3". The brochure also does not include a 1-piece LA scope rail, only the 2-pc version.

But it only lists the M3 version, not the M3A.
 

mjh30

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I have a copy of the Leupold LE Products brochure dated 1986. It features "THE NEW ULTRA M3". The brochure also does not include a 1-piece LA scope rail, only the 2-pc version.

But it only lists the M3 version, not the M3A.
Is there a picture of "the new ultra m3". They were making the m3's from at least 84.
 

lockedandloaded

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mjh30 That catalogue page is dated 1986 and lists 3 different reticle options including a Wire DUPLEX #42549 reticle. While I dont own any catalogues prior to 1986, its understood that a wire reticle is completly different from the laser etched reticle of the M3A.

M3 is different than M3A.
 

mjh30

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mjh30 That catalogue page is dated 1986 and lists 3 different reticle options including a Wire DUPLEX #42549 reticle. While I dont own any catalogues prior to 1986, its understood that a wire reticle is completly different from the laser etched reticle of the M3A.

M3 is different than M3A.
Theres really very little difference between the M3's and M3a's that I can find documented. Visually they are exactly the same, the original m3 Ultras I believe had a wire reticle and 1 moa windage, obviously issued M3a had the laser etched reticle and 1/2moa windage.
 
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mjh30

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Screenshot_20190509-184034_Google.jpg
1984 dated M3 ultra not the best picture in the world. Not sure the exact date the Ultra line was introduced, perhaps 1981. There was the m1 ultra, the m2 ultra and the m3. The odd duck being the m2 ultra with no parralax adjustment and no turrets to speak off.
 
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lockedandloaded

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I havnt found any details specific to the M3A that make it different from M3. But I have heard the lenses are glued in place on the Army version. And that Leupold charges an extra $50 to work on them under their lifetime warranty because they need to be soaked overnight in an acetone bath to loosen the lenses. But I have nothing so far to back that up. Also, development of the M118 dial was specific to the M3A from what I know. There were 3 other dials that came on regular M3's. Thanks mjh30 for the pics of early scopes!
 

mjh30

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I havnt found any details specific to the M3A that make it different from M3. But I have heard the lenses are glued in place on the Army version. And that Leupold charges an extra $50 to work on them under their lifetime warranty because they need to be soaked overnight in an acetone bath to loosen the lenses. But I have nothing so far to back that up. Also, development of the M118 dial was specific to the M3A from what I know. There were 3 other dials that came on regular M3's. Thanks mjh30 for the pics of early scopes!
Yup, glued in lens would be standard on milspec optics, nightforce does the same. As for the m118 dial again probably a requirement for the m24sws. The 168 dial came with the deployment kit, not sure the reasoning behind that. A few years ago at the Snipershide match I did talk with the Leupold guys and they stated they did not have any parts for the ultra series, cleaning the scope, etc was doable, but if they break they simply don't have the pieces to repair them.
 

lockedandloaded

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Premier Reticles used to be the factory authorized repair and reticle replacement center for the Leupolds. I have a picture of a dual-spring turret detent they made to replace the factory single-spring. It allowed more positive feeling and audible clicks. But that business partnership ended when Premier won the USMC S&B contract.

Also, there was an Ultra M3A that sold on the CMP Auction site with a replacement Mark 4 objective ring if I recall.
 

lockedandloaded

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So far there possibly appears to be the following modifications from the Ultra M3 to the Ultra M3A:

- Laser etched MIL Dot (round dots) reticle
- 7.62mm M118 1000 meter range dial
- Lenses glued into place

I have also been in contact with a Leupold product specialist who stated the M3A was only sold directly to government agencies and not commercially available.
 

lockedandloaded

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The 168 grain dial was included in the deployment kit so the sniper could use later issued Lake City MATCH M852 (SMK 168gr) ammunition when the older, less accurate M118 (FA/LC 173gr) was not available
 

m1marty

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As I understand it:
M3- 1moa Elevation AND windage
M3A- 1moa Elevation, .5moa windage
The 168 dial, at least in my kit (and several others I've played with) has rotation opposite of the M118 dial found on the Ultras. It is set for the later Mk4 series that went to CCW rotation.
 

lockedandloaded

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As I understand it:
M3- 1moa Elevation AND windage
M3A- 1moa Elevation, .5moa windage
The 168 dial, at least in my kit (and several others I've played with) has rotation opposite of the M118 dial found on the Ultras. It is set for the later Mk4 series that went to CCW rotation.
These are clockwise (right hand rotation) dials for M3/M3A.

The 308M is for 168 grain M852 MATCH20190505_022725.jpg20190505_022725.jpg
 

lockedandloaded

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Bipod illustrated in the Army Operator's Manual is an early version of the Harris 1A2 Ultralight with hard plastic foot pads. Legs were smooth without notches, and are spring assisted retraction. Non-swiveling, but has an adjustable brass insert plate to compensate for off-center stud location. The mounting claws (side plates) have holes that would allow a QD sling swivel to be attached, but the Harris instruction sheet specifies not to connect a carrying sling to this point on Series 1A2 bipods. This is the reason why 2 swivel studs are mounted on the stock forend. One is for the bipod, the other for a sling. Tightening the bipod setscrew puts tension on the swivel stud, and the additional load of a sling could cause the stud to strip out of the stock.
 

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mjh30

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Bipod illustrated in the Army Operator's Manual is an early version of the Harris 1A2 Ultralight with hard plastic foot pads. Legs were smooth without notches, and are spring assisted retraction. Non-swiveling, but has an adjustable brass insert plate to compensate for off-center stud location. The mounting claws (side plates) have holes that would allow a QD sling swivel to be attached, but the Harris instruction sheet specifies not to connect a carrying sling to this point on Series 1A2 bipods. This is the reason why 2 swivel studs are mounted on the stock forend. One is for the bipod, the other for a sling. Tightening the bipod setscrew puts tension on the swivel stud, and the additional load of a sling could cause the stud to strip out of the stock.
[/QUOTE

Seen a few stripped out studs on stocks
 

lockedandloaded

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M3A scope attachments Sunshade, EMA (External Mount Assembly/Laser Deflector), and ARD (Anti Reflection Device). Revised versions were issued depending on manufacturer.
20190522_190309.jpg20190522_190245.jpg20190522_190218.jpg
 
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lockedandloaded

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This is an older Tactical Intervention Specialists M-24 sling that came on my rifle. I modified it similarly to their current US Army contract (#USZA92-02-M-0008) Quick Cuff Precision Rifle Sling by adding a forearm loop. They use GrovTecUS swivels.15585679109757531369376546721201.jpg
 
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lockedandloaded

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Brownells says the M24 magazine follower spring is not a regular LA, or LA Magnum part #. Thanks to mjh30 for saying that.Screenshot_20190522-200031_Outlook.jpg
 

eodsix

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Such a pity that the M24 Build Thread has gone through so many gyrations and evolutions, and it didn't help when Photobucket changed their posting rules. I had so many photos of so many details of the M24 and its evolution.

A couple of questions were posed to me today. Instead of answering him privately, I want to post them here for general consumption.

Q1: How many years did the M24 have US marked on the receiver?

I can't honestly answer that, I don't really know. I could only make the assumption that it stopped sometime in the early 1990s, some time after the initial order of M24s was finished and issued to the Army.

Q2: Where can I find pictures of the US marked M24"s ?

That I can answer but I have to repost a picture of it since the previous photos and threads are long gone. This is a close up of my personal Sep 1988 production M24 that was delivered to the Army in Oct 1988. This was saved from the Army long before the Army/Remingtion Rebuild Program. Note the roll stamping of the Remington logo isn't as deep as more recent builds.
7108104
 
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mjh30

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eodsix, I was under the impression that only the first contract run of 3600 rifles had the US stamp, that would be I surmise rhe c prefix rifles. I agree about photobucket soo many great pictures lost.
 

eodsix

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eodsix, I was under the impression that only the first contract run of 3600 rifles had the US stamp, that would be I surmise rhe c prefix rifles. I agree about photobucket soo many great pictures lost.
You and I are on the same page. I'm away from my source info this week but can be more specific week after next. Only the first 100 production weapon systems were delivered in October 1988 and 100 more by December 1988. It took a bit longer than one would expect to fill the Army's order. 1990 might be too far off but it's close. The rifles delivered in 1987 were more or less test pieces. Test pieces may not be the correct terminology but you get the jist.
 
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geoff3

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Hello I wanted to thank yo for posting this information I went through the old build pages any the pictures were removed ,geoff3
 

Random Guy

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My 24R stated as the rifle and sling only, but over the past couple of years I bought the deployment case and about 95% of the goodies. (extra M3A optic is shown in the optics deployment box). I really like this rifle, and the character of its stock.

Re 4th picture: The three items I need are the correct T-shaped torque wrench, the sunshade for the pre-2004 Leupold M3A/Mk4 scopes, and the curved brush that came with the original kits...if anybody has a spare of these items that would sell, please let me know.
 

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eodsix

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My 24R stated as the rifle and sling only, but over the past couple of years I bought the deployment case and about 95% of the goodies. (extra M3A optic is shown in the optics deployment box). I really like this rifle, and the character of its stock.

Re 4th picture: The three items I need are the correct T-shaped torque wrench, and sunshade for the pre-2004 Leupold M3A/Mk4 scopes, and the curved brush that came with the original kits...if anybody has a spare of these items that would sell, please let me know.
It's a lot of damn work collecting all the orignal part and pieces. The original torque wrench without the hammer faces on the handle are rare but they show up from time to time. The sunshade for the 42mm M3a that's correct and not threaded on both ends is even more rare. On the bright side, the curved brush you desire is a common item at MidwayUSA.


Get a half dozen when you buy them because if you use them, they won't last long, they're expendable. Good job on collecting the pieces.

As you are a stickler for detail, you need a Pelican 1100 d-kit and not the 1150 you have pictured. There are at least 2 of them on eBay right now. Check them out.
 
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Random Guy

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Thanks for the tip re the brushes, I'll pick those up. Its the sunshade that I really want.

Regarding my tool kit, its a Pelican 1120 and I'm pretty certain its 100% correct for a late M24. Why? Well, a buddy of mine went thru US Army sniper school in 2009 and was issued an M24. He spent time in Afghanistan with it, and retired a few years later. When he turned in his M24, he was told it was to be converted to new XM2010 variant.

When he saw my M24R in 2015, he asked me to give him first right of refusal if I ever sold it, as it reminded him of his old M24...and later offered me his original M24 tool kit as it didn’t need to be turned in, which I gladly accepted. It has basically two of all the little wrenches and items like magazine springs, firing pins, followers. The Pelican 1120 was apparently issued to him in 2009, and we talked about certain items that were updated over the 20 plus years of the M24 when in service (1988-2010).

Iron sights: Redfield (early) vs OK Weber/RPA Trakker (late)
Flash hiders: One style for Redfiield front sight block, and a later style for the OK Weber front sight block.
Scopes: M3A Ultra (most) vs basically identical Mk 4/M3 turrets (replacement scopes during the late 1990s/200Xs)
Bipods: 9-13 non-pivot vs shorter 6-9 BR models with swivel head (late issued rifles)
Optic deployment cases (gray is early) vs black ones (late)
I am probably overlooking some items, but those are the items I recall at the moment.

When I showed him my rifle with the original style Harris 9-13" non-swivel bipod (as seen in all of the 1988 pics and original manual), he told me that I should get rid of that "old school" bipod. He stated that these older models had been replaced by 2009 with the shorter 6-9" BR model with swivel heads, as it allows you get a lower prone position. So I bought one of those for it, but end up using it on my M40A5. He took a job with the Dept of State and moved overseas a couple of years ago, but his knowledge was really useful when I started collecting parts for this rifle.
 
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