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Thread: Unertl Scope Battery Reset

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    Member Sniper1944's Avatar
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    Unertl Scope Battery Reset

    Hi all,

    With the main recoil spring being removed from USMC Unertl 03A1's, obviously the scope has to be pulled back into the battery position after each shot. I have read that Marines came up with various methods achieve this, (either manually by hand or automatically through using the recoil of the rifle I do not know).

    Although, in any period picture I have seen of the rifle and scope, there are no indications of a device to do this. Doe's anyone have any pictures showing examples that could help with my research?








    Thanks,

    Paul.
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    The purpose of the recoil absorber was to return the scope to its normal position after the discharge of a shot. In the mid 30's Townsend Whelen wrote a small book on telescopic sights. In his opinion the recoil springs were only appropriate on small bore rifles or relatively heavy rifles shooting milder center fire cartridges like the the .25-20. His reasoning was that the force of the spring propelling the scope tended to bang up the mounts (when used with heavier cartridges). When the USMC ordered their Unertl scopes in WW2 they specified that the recoli/return springs be omitted. Some sources have speculated that this had something do with a desire to prevent sand "scoring the tube". Possibly but I think the people who were behind the use of the Unertl may have been more influenced by the opinion of Col. Whelen.

    There a number of pictures of this rifle in use in various references. Off the top of my head i don't recall any with any sort of improvised recoil absorber.

    Regards,
    Jim

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    Really Senior Member emmagee1917's Avatar
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    I have read the sand reason , and I've also read that with the 30-06's recoil , the scope would stay in place , compressing the spring while the rifle moved back , then would snap the scope back into the shooter's head. Also , the bolts on these guns were not bent ala 1903A4 . It was no problem firing the shot , working the bolt , then pulling the scope back over the bolt handle. It was also easier to set the safety if wanted . I think a combination of all these reasons lead to the leaving out of the spring.
    And yes , they were pulled back by hand . They rode on a rail to prevent rotation and were just pulled back till they hit the stop .
    Chris

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    Does anyone know of the Unertl being used in combat in WW2, Korea or Nam with any other rifle?

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    Really Senior Member Mike D's Avatar
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    Didn't somebody put one on a fifty cal?

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    Carlos did but one on Ma Duce. He also used one in his famous thru the PU scope shot of the Cobra. Rifle was M70 Winchester. Unlike this US rifle, his had a sporter stock.
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    Member Sniper1944's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    Cheers for the replies so far guys, all interesting.

    I too have read about the sand theory, but it's more plausible that the spring would have caused issues during recoil so was omitted.

    With the scope having to be pulled back into battery, I'd imagine the time to get in a position ready to fire again is a fair amount more protracted than with a hard mounted scope?





    Paul.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sniper1944 View Post
    With the scope having to be pulled back into battery, I'd imagine the time to get in a position ready to fire again is a fair amount more protracted than with a hard mounted scope?
    For a combat sniping rifle a compact scope in a rigid but quick detachable mount is a much better idea than a two foot long target scope.
    It will be interesting to see how the new crop of Chinertls does at this years Vintage Sniper Match. Last year the much maligned M1903A4 (or clones thereof) took most of the honors.

    Regards,
    Jim

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    Mines on a S42/G K98icon And it returns right back to battery. Rarely does it need manually moved with milsurp ammo.
    Last edited by JerryB08; 03-15-2012 at 03:54 PM.

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    Really Senior Member Cosine26's Avatar
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    Unertl Scope Usage
    Having used the Unertl target scope extensively on both a Winchester M&) 300 H&H Bull gun and a M70 Heavy barreled 30-06 I shall venture the following information.
    a. The eye relief on the scope is very short. If the scope were rigidly mounted, during recoil the rifle and scope would recoil enough to hit the shooter in the eye. Hence the scope is free to move so that the rifle will recoil under the scope and the scope will not hit the shooter in the eye.
    b. The Unert l is not a rugged scope. Heavy recoil from the hotter than hell target loads (180 gr and 200 gr BTM bullets, max load of IMR4350 or 4831) would impart severe shock onto the scope. Hence the scope was allowed to slide in the mounts under recoil. The purpose of the spring was to serve as a method of applying successively increasing shock absorbing restraint to gradually buffer the scope motion. The problem is that the spring was too effective. At the end of recoil, the spring would be compressed, the rifle would have recoiled towards the shooter’s eye , and the spring would drive the scope back to battery and possibly hit the shooter in the eye. For small bore work this was no problem, but for big bore work it was.
    Resetting to Battery without the spring.
    This is the method that I used. Both M70’s had low mounted bolt handles so clearance was not a problem, I believe that on some M1903’s the bolt handle was ground to provide clearance. Upon firing, the rifle, with the spring disconnected or removed, would recoil and the scope would be restrained by the stop ring.
    After each shot I pulled the scope back to battery with a right rotational pull and then depressed the scope against the mount plunger to insure that the plunger had not stuck. The technique tended to make each shot with the scope in a consistent position. Even though the mounts were very precise, there was always some “slack” in the adjustments. The adjustment knobs were on the top ad side and were to move the tube, ergo the LOS, in windage and elevation. At a 45 degree angle to the bottom and side of the adjustment knobs, the spring loaded plunger was designed to keep constant pressure on the tube to keep it against the adjustment spools. With only slight adjustments or motion the plunger might “stick” if not exercised.
    For small adjustments, most shooters “holdover or under”. Most used scorebooks that had grids marked in MOA so if one held the edge of the X ring or the ten ring, the light of sight moved and the line of bore moved.
    Just some thoughts from and old Unertl user.

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