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Thread: Overbore A5 mounting during WW1

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    Member Mecharius's Avatar
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    Overbore A5 mounting during WW1

    With the mention of the mounting bracket having been developed during WWI on the advertisement for the Parker Hale Easyfix Telescope Sight Bracket for Service Rifles I am curious if there are any known examples, or at least mentions of the Winchester A5 scope being mounted over bore for sniper rifles?



    I was under the impression that all british service rifles fitted with telescopic sights had the off set mounts to allow continued use of iron sights and stripper clips for reloading. This raises questions.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=smle+winchester+a5+parker+hale&client=ms-android-att-us&source=android-browser&prmd=sivn&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjG_rypk_fTAhXjsFQKHfrADbUQ_AUICigC&biw=412&bih=604&dpr=3.5#imgrc=a6g-GfqkL4OBlM:
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    AFAIK there is reference to two different mount types used with the A5, but I have never seen an example of the easyfix type rail in use during WW1, nor do I know of anyone else who has seen such a beast, although I am aware of what it says in the old P-H catalogue.

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    Their is the whitehead bros. mount I am becoming near intimately familiar with, what other mounting solution was there?

    ---------- Post added at 06:58 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:57 AM ----------

    Well, the add does say designed during. No real mention of use.

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    I don't think anyone really knows for sure - that's the problem with WW1 stuff - it is nowhere near as well documented as the No 4 (T) production history of WW2, for example. It may be that the other mount referred to (IIRC it's in the notes that accompanied the Pattern Room Collection of WW1 snipers which disappeared early in WW2) is indeed the easyfix mount, but we just don't really know. There are still many unexplained questions about WW1 sniping rifles & scopes. It is frustrating but at the same time makes collecting & researching them so fascinating.

    Incidentally, there was an over bore claw mounted SMLE sniper produced late in WW1. It was produced by the Periscopic Prism Co contemporaneously with the No3 (T)'s, & it is quite obviously a modification of the No3 (T) claw mounts to fit a SMLE receiver. The WW2 era Lithgowicon No1 Mk3* (H) T snipers are also essentially this, but they mount the rear base on the charger bridge whereas the WW1 type had it mounted on the receiver side wall in an equivalent location to a No4 (T) rear pad.
    Last edited by Roger Payne; 05-17-2017 at 01:46 PM.

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    Advisory Panel Surpmil's Avatar
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    And considering the relative accuracy of the two rifles Roger, you'd wonder why they bothered to fit overbores or anything else to the SMLE after the P14 was available.

    The base you mention Mecharius was probably either designed too late in WWI to have a chance of acceptance, or Parker Hale did not have the connections to get it considered by the authorities. The latter case is less likely I think as IIRC at least one of the Parkers was a noted marksmen who was involved with sniping in WWI.
    Last edited by Surpmil; 05-23-2017 at 11:09 AM.
    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." W.L.S.C..

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    Hi,
    The base you mention was made by Parker Hale. As I understand it, Hale was ex-military a Sgt, and quite the shot. In their ad for the" base" post war, which you can find, just Google it, or it's at the Rifleman.UK.Org, and look in the old catalogues. They state or allude too at least, it's as used on WW1 snipers, I believe I've seen it on a used Smle sniper rifle 1916+ but how often? Other's would know better than I, about this I'm sure. Nice mount as it doesn't damage the rifle and it's relatively easy to reproduce.
    Other Smle overhead mounts that I'm aware of :- are a Canadianicon Smle with an Aldis scope on it, in The Canadian War Museum. It use's solid block type mounts, or so I've been told. That's as used on the Ross, P-14, and Canadian Smle snipers, mounting the A5 Scope, but in pictures only no #'s.
    There was also a smle OH mount installed, based on the french APX system, which screw's on the side of the receiver, a few of them were made up in the early war, 1915+ as I understand it from books only, it also used the Frenchicon low power scope, then Aldis scopes retro-fitted later, again only as I understand it from books and some pic's.
    I'll just mention this just out of interest, the Evan's Bros designed and fitted, a cast Aluminium one piece side mounted base. It fits an offset scope with a sliding rail Ring-set. The nice thing is, no damage is done to the rifle again, as It uses 3 available fixing points.
    It would be easy to make up a ring-set assembly to fit whatever OH scope, if only for a repop.
    That's my 2cents worth, I hope that's of some help, I'm doing the same thing but finding out facts is hard. Skennertonicon's Britishicon and Commonwealth sniper is worthwhile, I haven't found an affordable The British Sniper, and I haven't won the Library lottery yet. Other books mention bits here and there, Robert Spiclauer Germanicon Scopes and Mounts 1914-1939, is on Kindle for about $2.00 and has a section in it. Most other stuff is either on this site, or a good Google search for pic's, and bits in other books on Kindle.

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    The advert said the Parker Hale mount was "designed by us...", but did not refer to any actual use in WWI. I posted that advert here a few years back, from my 1933 copy of their catalogue. I haven't seen it referenced in any of the books on the subject of WWI scopes and mounts, but perhaps because it was apparently not used, beyond some possible private purchases(?)

    The Ross in the CWM that resembles an A5 fitting is a fake: it is a cheap Lyman or some such scope from about 1930. Not even the rings are correct. The rifle might have had 3/8 dovetail blocks fitted in WWI, but the fact that the barrel is uncut suggest otherwise as all the A5 fittings we have photos of show the barrel cut back 2-3 inches.

    The Evans mount was featured here recently, but being mounted on the trigger guard it was subject to the wood "moving" like the Whitehead Bros. system.
    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." W.L.S.C..

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    On a Ross Mk III set up for a Winchester A5, where exactly is the rear dovetail block fitted?

    If on the receiver ring, is it entirely on the larger rear part (nom. 1.5" dia), or partially on that rear part and partially on the smaller front part (nom.1.4" dia) with the dovetail block having a stepped base?

    Or is it partially on the front part of the receiver ring and partially on the cylindrical rear part of the barrel reinforce (nom. 1.3" dia), again using a dovetail block with a stepped base?

    Or is it partially on the cylindrical part of the barrel reinforce and partially on the tapered part, using a dovetail block with a base with a flat and a taper?

    None of the contemporaneous photos that I've found are sufficiently detailed, but I get the impression that the rear block is mounted in front of the larger diameter part of the receiver ring.
    Hope someone can help.
    Last edited by Marksman; 03-20-2020 at 11:51 AM.

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    Well if you get an answer to your question please do share it! I've been wanting to set up a sympathetic Ross/A5 sniping rifle for years (accepting the chance of turning up something totally original is pretty much nil). I have a suitable rifle & scope but need the correct height dovetail blocks & the information on their correct positioning....

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    Well, the spacing is anyway only two possibilities from factory. I assume there is not an answer to this question, unless someone knows of an original sniper rifle anywhere?

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