If you have a story to add to this thread, please send it to David J. for posting.
Below is a picture of the ABU RTO with the non-military issue sniper rifle. We had a few responses that said they didn’t get a look at it. Anyway it’s an interesting topic. I know that Hannibal humped an M-14 with a totally inadequate scope as a sniper in ’69. When I first got in country my platoon sniper John Ward also had an M-14. It was just an old off the rack job, well used but a sweet shooter. After John was killed the scope was Cowboyed by someone in the rear and the rifle was sent out for my use, with just the iron sites. When I went to sniper school they had a tricked out 14 called a XM14 with a 3X9X40 Leupold with adjustable objective for a scope and quick detach rings for mounting a starlight scope. The ultimate Vietnam Sniper, Marine Carlos Hathcock used a Model 70 Winchester. In his book he also talks about rigging a scope mount on a 50 Cal. for some reach out and touch ’em kills. The Gunny would love the Barrett 50 cal that is deployed with some snipers today. I’d like to shoot that sweetie myself. If you saw the history channel this past week they covered a lot of sniper history but one fact remains the same. Snipers deployed effectively make a difference!
One Shot one Kill!
There were two weapons of this type that I know of. A Model 70 Winchester or a Remington 700 mounted with a Weaver or Redfield 3X9 variable scope. They were chambered in .308 Win and could fire the standard 7.62 Nato round or an infinite variety of “hot” loads.
By looking at the profile of the fore stock and partial picture of the front sight, I am guessing it’s either a Winchester or Remington 30/06. I arrived in country 09/66 and I think I remember seeing a few non G.I. issued scoped long guns.
Looks like standard 30-06. We had a guy in late 66, first of 67 who carried 30-06 sniper rifle. His name was Rogers but never seen him even wound anybody with it let alone get a kill. It takes a real special kind of person to kill someone you feel you could almost touch when looking at them with a sniper rifle. When I first got in country April 66 I could not have done it, but after Trung Luong I could have, But today I think I would have to think about and probably get self kill. Anyway, I’d bet on it being 30-06 Rem.
No Slack 66-67
Hi all this is Mike, he was with ABU as a sniper, its a 308 Springfield. He had his dad send it to him from home, he was very good with it.
Looks like a 30.06 Remington with a Weaver 8x scope to me. I’ll see if I can back that up……….. anybody else ? ………
Didn’t see the picture but we had several 30.06 in the unit may have been one of them.
looks to me like an Iver-Johnson .218 bee or .222…CIA and phoenix guys carried them throughout the war.
hey… it’s most probably a Winchester model 70/30.06…Bushnell 3-9x scope. I had the honor of being one of the first two tigers sent to the 101st sniper school in Saigon mid-1966…both of us were issued the above described weapon…with a .45 sidearm. story was that general Pearson and hack got pissed at the army because they wouldn’t authorize pay for 101st sniper school and weapons…so they created the whole deal out of division funds…don’t know how long it lasted, but I sure had fun. I decided to keep my m-79 also…for exactly the reason shown in the photo…I preferred to carry something more useful and deadly when walking around in strange neighborhoods, thank you very much. the scoped Winchester has an effective killing range of 1000m…great for sitting on hilltops…lousy for crossing rivers.
Still honoring the men who got across tiger field, February, 1966…and the many who got caught trying.
Winchester model 70- look at my photo on web site- you’ll see the same weapon and when I say the same weapon (I mean it is probably the exact same weapon)
Claude A. Frisbie
My name is Carl Mennare, 3rd Plt. C Company 2/327. the guys in my outfit used Winchester 30.6 mo.70 with a floating barrel and a weaver scope and that sure looks like one to me because I used one.
Airborne All The Way
I think that was the standard sniper rifle at that time. Looks like a Remington Model 700 bolt action 30-06 to me.
The model 70, various versions, was used before the xm-21 was adopted by the Army. The xm-21 was a Nat. Match m-14 with ART range finding scope. Israel still uses m-21’s. I don’t know about us. You just zoomed the ART [3-9 zoom] in until a line matched his head and another his waist, this zeroed the scope for that range out to 800 meters [800, I Think].
In “Bolt action Rifles”, by Frank Hass[I’m not sure of the spelling] there is a section about the author’s son who was a Marine sniper in RVN. Real interesting book. Anyhow they have a picture of a gooner sniper rifle captured by his son. A Russian bolt action rife chambered for the Russian rimmed 7.62mm, with a side mounted scope. Some of these were made in the USA by Westinghouse during WW1.I think they were called the Mosin-Nagant or something. American Army soldiers used that same rifle in 1919 when we invaded Russia at Archangel[sp] and other places during the Ruskie revolution. The reason we used the Mosin-Nagant was so we could use the Ruskie ammo. A lot of serious medals were awarded during that fight. And it was very cold. In RVN the gooners used that round in their light machine guns, RPD for example. I have a Chinese version Carbine with no scope. It shoots OK. Good car gun as it will go thru most vests with Ruskie steel jacket ammo. A lot of criminals from down below Key West wear vests, incidentally. The Marines, when Hass’s son was there  used the Remington 700 HB BDL with 3-9 power scope.
I remember seeing that rifle in 1967 as a member of ABU.I am pretty sure it was a30/06 Remington. If my memory is correct I think I saw the word “scavenger” inscribed on the barrel.
ABOVE THE REST
Just returned from Ken and Angie’s and haven’t had time to comment on the sniper rifle issue until today, but here are the facts. About the time that the 1st Bde, was assigned to Task Force Oregon to move from 11 Corps to 1 Corps in late April, early May 1967, all line company commanders were asked to designate members from their unit to attend a newly instituted sniper training school and send them back to Phan Rang. Company Commanders in the field were not informed about the location of the school which may or may not have been in the Bde rear, and may have been at Nha Trang. Shortly after, these personnel were returned to the line units with new Winchester 70s equipped with Bushnell Scopes. A sniper team consisted of a spotter, a security guard (The Winchester 70 was a single shot, manually loaded rifle, which I believe held only three or less rounds) and the sniper. I can’t speak to the issue of how other companies employed their teams, but they were extremely effective for ABU when I was in command of the company from June thru 1/2 of Nov ’67. They came back to the line units from training in late June or mid July of 67. Hope this helps.
The actual Remington BDL Model 700 had a 24 or 26″ heavy #6 barrel. It mounted as a system, the Redfield Accu-Trac 3X9X40 scope with no adjustable objective. Most of us used the “C” turret for the 175 grain match ammo. You had to first remove the turret elevation cap and adjust the zero at 200 yards. Then without moving the setting, place the “C” turret on with the stop pin against the stop. Using the 18 inch ranging lines you powered up or down to bracket the target, then adjusted the turret. Due to the heavier 175 grain, after 650 yards, the max range tape visible scale, adding one minute of angle elevation per each 100 yards normally placed your shot within one and a half inches of your aiming point. The problems with the Accu-Trac was that it got so hot, the initial ranging tapes rolled of the lenses. Later models had the scale etched on the glass. This is a good scope, and few if any ever wind up on the market, even today. I still use it, and there be a Miami based firm that repairs and sells them, and can modify other Redfields in to an Accu-Trac configuration.
The other model, the XM-14, standardized as the XM-21 was an accurized M-14. It was issued with the Leatherwood Scope which used a camming system to raise and lower the scope’s rear. It was based on an 18 inch bracketing system, and remains my honey for this work, even though it is criticized in the accuracy department by the bolt gun users. But, if one turns off the gas valve it is as good as the bolt. Both were issued in 7.62X51. The 21 has been upgraded over the years, and remains regardless of the super rifle groups. It is good enough for government work.
Thank You, Be Safe, Enjoy Life, Live Long, and Prosper, and Good-By:
Henry B. Morton
If you look at the 327 web sight, under 1st battalion photos from Lee Broll, you will see Steve Buchanan firing a sniper rifle. It is a model 70 Winchester 30-06 with 150 grain match loads. This was in the summer of 67. these are what the Brigade used at this time. Lee Broll Photos
C 1/327 66-67
I carried a Model 70 Winchester in 30.06 ( 3×9 Bushnell Scope) as sniper weapon for a short while in RVN. Purchased by the battalion by sending someone back to Okinawa to the PX’s! (with Article 15 fine money, so I was told) One such gun was on display at he USMC Museum at the Navy Yard in DC.
Thanks for the help on the 101st sniper school and Recondo School. I plan to add an exhibit here in the museum about P school, sniper school, etc. So any info you may come across would be helpful.
Hannibal–the 101st sniper patch I have is much different than the one you are wearing on you shoulder. I’ll scan it and send it to you. I’ve never seen another one like it. It comes from a C/2-327 vet, so I’m sure its not a repro.
Here’s an interesting story to add to the recent thread about the 101st’s sniper weapons in Vietnam. I guess anything can be a sniping weapon in the hands of a skilled marksman.
This story appears in the November 22, 1967 Screaming Eagle magazine:
Sniper Changes Rifles
CHU LAI–A sniper in the 101st Airborne who used three rifles to kill eight Viet Cong during Operation Benton and Wheeler has added four to his score with a machine gun.
Spec. 4 Richard V. Vaughn, FT Lauderdale, Fla., a sniper with the Hawks, a recon element of the 2nd Bn (Abn), 327th Inf., is an expert shot with the M-14, M-16 and .30-06 rifles.
“When the Hawks got sniper scopes I asked for one. Since then, I’ve only missed twice.” Vaughn, and PFC Paul Robinson, Balboa, Canal Zone, were directed to set up an observation point on a hill. “They gave me a machine gun instead of my rifle,” said Vaughn. “At first I was mad, but I started thinking of the range of my gun and I decided I’d try sniping with it.”…As the afternoon wore on, Vaughn added three more confirmed kills.
Captain James Page
My name is Jerry Rogers. I was in A Company 2nd 327th 1st Platoon. I was assigned to the Hawk Platoon for about a month and a half, and then went back to my company. Those Hawks are something else, and I salute each and every one of them. You have to be a little crazy to walk around in the jungle and rice patties, with just 5 men.
I was one of the first 12 snipers trained in Vietnam during 1966. We were out in the field on search and destroy missions, when the guy that was going to train the snipers came out and asked for volunteers. Several of us did volunteer and went back to Tuy Hoa for the training. The training lasted two weeks and we were declared Snipers. A few weeks later, we were given Winchester Model 70’s, 30.06 with 3 to 9 variable Bushnell Super Chief scopes, with a post that could be used in the crosshairs. This is a fact, not speculation. I don’t know what the snipers used after that, but the first ones were Winchester model 70’s. I didn’t kill anyone while I was with the Hawk Platoon, and only killed 8 that I can definitely say I shot, while operating with the company. There are 4 more that I could have killed, but there were several of us shooting so who knows for sure or gives a shit? In my opinion, the sniper rifle was not that effective in Vietnam. It was not that it didn’t do what was expected to do, when used correctly, but while walking with the company through jungles and villages, you really needed something with a little more fire power. Single shot bolt action isn’t a jungle weapon. I still have my original sniper patch, that was issued to us when General Pearson gave us our sniper training certificates. This certificate allowed us to wear the patch, while in the republic of Vietnam.