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Western Martial Artistry "One Shot-One Kill"

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 12:03 pm


Both in connection with suggestions and requests, especially the ones from Dale and Stryke, I started right out with the pictures of 1st Lt.James Fees,, a self trained Marine Sniper Scout.

Both the picture and the painting (gracing the cover of American Rifleman to which all simply must subscribe) are and will remain famous in Marine History.

Sniper training in the past has been an "On Again off Again" thing with the Marines and the Army.

Now, I think the sniper schools are here for good and for examlmple, a the student must be able to judge range accurately without hi tech assistance beyond the range finding reticles of a typical sniper scope with the naked eye, (although It could be done with a $29.95 Tasco laser monocular.)

The snipers also must remain invisible from two hundred yards or less , while guaging the effect of the wind, temperature and weather, and estimate range and doing trig at the same time.

Hatchcock used the angle of "mirage' to estimated wind speed. Since there was rarely a time when there was no mirage in Vietnam in the daytime,

I doubt he needed the often used and disguised "Sniper tell tales" (strips of fabric between himslelf and his target area that he could use to judge defelction by the wind..

Imagine the joy a trainee feels when he cannot be spotted when the trainor/spotters are looking for them and know what to look for, and are searching the terrain with binoculars from less than two hundred yards .

In the new course, the Army took a page from British Sniper Training and require each trainee to manufacture and update (depending on the local foliage) their own "Ghillie Suits". (Invented by Scottish poacher or Gamekeepers, not sure, maybe both??)

A Ghillie suit is a fabric framework which the trainee must turn into an "Elvish Invisibility cloak" . If a trainee gets spotted too many times, or can't register the range too many times or cannot master the ballitics of his weapon and the effect of the wind on it too many times---and he is gone.

Fees liberated the weapon from the NKA and the present owner of the rifk=le is Major Edward Land whos secretary of the NRA (It always confuses me when people trash the NRA becasue of such men because they had to do with 'GUNS!!!!'. Horrors.

The Rifle is a M1903 Springfield fitted with a Unertl 8 or 10X (I would guess) scope. So, in terms of the best battle rifle post know a reader can point out that the M1903 was used for sniper work in the field from 1917 until 1975.

In its converted version is was know as the USMC M1941 for reason not known to me and the use of the standard infantry rifle contiued through WWII, mostly in M1903A3 guise. But many wanted Springfields during WWII, especially in the pacific, for reasons we may discuss.

Land later "hooked up" with the Famous Gunny Hathcock in Vietnam.

Carlos preferred the M70 (now disgracefully to be made in Japan) with the same scope and accumulated 90 'kills'.

He used also the M40 Remington, I beleive, haven't read "Marine Sniper" is a while, so I can't remember whether or not he liked that weapon.

His rifle (the M70 with Unetl scope) never lost zero even in the hellish climate of Vietnam when M1D's warped and woofed this way and that as did the M-21's.

He also loaded his own ammo, which could not legally be done now as no US Arsenal Manufactures a "Match"non hollow point bullet such as was used in 7.62 ammo from Lake City Arsenal in the VN era.

Now snipers generally must resort to using fairly old ammo or pulling the bullets therfrom (and risk damaging them) or using Commercial Match Hollow pont bullets.

I assume CH used the military 172 gr. projectile eloaded the case and perhaps,changed powders. I use IMR 4064. Du Pont a clean burn.

Eventually the 7.62mm chambered Reminigton M700 (M40) became the favorite of the Marine snipers.

Although the soringfields would hild their zero (no mean feat) in the extreme heat even the M1941 often fell victin to broken extractors as did many many M16s'.

To do that to Springfield, when the environment the sniper 'worked in"it HAD to be hotter that we can understand.

Extreme Heat increases the chamber pressure, and can over expand the brass case which might then "cling" to the walls of the chamber with considerable strength.

When one of those gets stuck in an M1941, at least you can get the stuck case out if you have a VERY strong cleanng rod on you, or, if you weree lucky enough to get back to base, the stuck case could be "drilled and tapped" and augured out.

But a broken extractor can ruin your day.

The scene in the grade B movie "Snipoer" with tom Berenger sho shoots a Dragunov oponent right through the scope was based of Carlos Hatcock shot while he was traking down a particularly annoying NVA sniper shooting into the Marine base with a sniper modified M1891 Moisin with a 3.5x "PU" soviet scope.

He tracked the NVA sniper throgh the pucker brush an razor grass when he saw a mini second's flash of light reflected from a lens (The PU soviet scope does not have anything in the was of a sunshade.)he and his spotter dropped.

At the next flash of light, Carlos fired immediately at aprroximately 300 meters and , in fact, did put a 172 grain projectile through the PU sciope into the NVA Snipers right eye.

His spotter said :"You know gunny, if your bullet took that course at that time it--------"

"Yeah, I know-he had us pegged and I fired as fast as I could"

But Carlos NEVER fired at a target less than 200 meters away-because the source of the (single) shot could not be found at any distance past that range.

Keep that in mind fellow Walter Mitty Snipers.

Now Dale asked for more western Martial Artists and Fees, Land, Hatchcock, Alvin York and the revolutionary War de facto sniper Tom Murphy, under the definitions we use, fit into the category.

Dales point was well taken and I am going to peruse materials on Floyd Paterson and John L, Sullivan soon. (I beleive they both wrote books-I had pattersons but lost in, a perfect technical fighter.)

In the meantime, martial artists produced by and in the Military will remain the majority of Westerrn martial Artists according to the definitions set forth in a prior thread..

Enjoy the pictures and choosing your own "fav' Battle Rifle that you would use to protect your life in the field-don't go further back than 1896 at this time around as my real knowledge of "smoke poles"(other than the cal. .58 Springfield Minie Rifle) is rather limited.

Tom Murphy's double barreled Golcsher Flintlock Rifle I have not even been able to find a Picture of.

Of course the Rifle in the pictures has a bit of a story to it, Lt. Fees captured it from a North Korean meaning that the NK got the weapon through the Chinese warehouse full of American weapons given by the US ti Chiang Kai Shek before the KMT debacle of 1949, or, it could have been taken from a dead Marine after the Chinese Intervention.

I don't know if Fees or Land had any 'Kills to his credit" in Korea.

That Springfielg M1941 probably would have had a National Match "Star Guaged" barrel, the star guage being the mechanical tool to test land and groove uniformity in the days before lasers.

Note, a 1200 meter shot by Hathcock with his M70 or M40 was not unusual.

For Stryke, the book for the Marines in Korea tht i recommend is from a surprising source.

James Brady, the aide crippled when Reagan was shot, wrote a great read: "The Marines Of Autumn" .

So called because so many serviceman after discharge at the end of WWI were pulled back into the Green Machine when the NKPRA headed south and they were thus pulled from the carreers and families they had started.

One simply must read this. A springfield Rifle figures in the tale, but I wil not tell you how.