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    Member Doug Bowser's Avatar
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    The M1 Rifle at Camp Perry

    M1 shooting in the 60's and the eventual passing of the M1 as a service rifle

    by Doug Bowser

    I was just given 24 American Rifleman Magazines for the years 1963-64. Unlike the present day Rifleman, there are technical articles by the best firearms experts of the time. Each magazine is a wealth of knowledge for any gun owner.

    Even the cover photograph on the cover is explained in technical terms. IE: Rolleiflex Camera with F2.8 Zeiss Planar Lens used by Rifleman Editor John Grubar. Shown are competitors firing from the sitting position at Camp Perry during the NRA HP Championships in August 1963. Taken on 2-1/4 x 2-1/4 Professional Ektachrome exposed for 1/50 second at F/16.

    The photograph above was taken 1/3 of the way down the line from firing position 1 at Vaile Range. The fence line was not visible when I was there in the 80's. There are trees there now and the place is known as the tunnel. This was because there were errant winds that caused swirling gusts and they could give a shooter fits at the longer ranges.

    As you see, in '63, the M1 was king. There must have been a few 1903-A3 rifles there because they were not discontinued as a Service Rifle until 1966. The 03-A3 was kept in the matches because many ROTC units in College had the 03-A3's and they wanted them to be able to shoot them in "LEG" Matches. They actually made a Match rifle version of the 1903-A3, with target receiver sights and globe front sight.

    The .30 M72 of the 1963 National Matches was made by Frankford Arsenal. We got 29,000 rounds of FA 63 .30 M72 ammo at Camp Perry in 1984. The cardboard ammo boxes were unusually numbered. Not only did the boxes have a LOT number, each box had a can number matching the .50 can it was packed in. IE: FA 1963, .30 M72 in Boxes, Lot #116 can # could be from 1 upward.

    I never went to Camp Perry in the 1960's or 70's. I did compete in NY State on reduced targets and 500 yard Mid-Range. The targets used at 500 yard Mid-Range were the Army "A" and "B" 5V targets. The 5V "B" target as I remember it had a 20" - 5 ring (maximum score is 5). It was not that difficult to shoot 5's at 500 yards with a 1903-A3 and a good lot of .30 M2 Ball ammo. Add to the mix, NM M1 rifles and FA 63 .30 M72 ammo and the shooting of perfect scores (many with all V-S) became common. It was difficult to break the ties of the perfect scores and they introduced the decimal targets "A" and "B". The "A" target is the same as the SR and the "B" target is the same as the MR-1, except the black extended only to the 8 ring. The decimal SR was used at 200 & 300 and the Decimal MR was used at 500 & 600 yards.

    The photo reminded me of the progression in the passing of previously used service rifles from the National and State Matches. The small number of 1903-A3 rifles used at Ft. Smith and Camp Perry in the 1960's then the drastic lowering of the number of M1 rifles in the late 80's. The M1Aicon was king in 1990 and no AR-15 rifles were at the matches, that year. Now the AR-15 is the centerpiece in Service Rifle Competition. Who knows what will replace it.

    Say what you will, a properly accurized M1 will perform as well as the M14-M1A. The .30 M1 has a niche. At 1000 yards the .30 173 gr M72 round is not subsonic. Subsonic bullets at long range tend to be more unstable than those bullets that are supersonic. One of our SW Gun Club members won the 1000 yard Farr Trophy at Camp Perry in 1974 with a NM M1 .30 rifle. His name is Charles Schroeder and he was a premier shot. He was the first man I ever saw who won a "LEG" match with the AR-15 Rifle.

    The big advantage in favor of the M1A over the M1 is in the "Rattle Battle". As slow as I was the M1A would let me shoot 26-29 aimed shots in 50 seconds. My best time with the M1 from loaded to time's up was 19 shots and 19 hits at 600 yards. I have never observed a rattle battle fired with the M16 rifle. The most amazing thing about the rattle battle is the noise it generates. The Britishicon call it the Rattle of Musketry. The report of single rifles starts after the targets appear and the shooting builds up to a crescendo of rifle reports.

    One thing I know about Riflemen, when the rifle they have become attached to is replaced, they lament it's passing. Whether it is on a rifle range or a South Pacific Island named Guadalcanal during World War 2.

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Bowser View Post
    One thing I know about Riflemen, when the rifle they have become attached to is replaced, they lament it's passing. Whether it is on a rifle range or a South Pacific Island
    That's a fact...
    Regards, Jim

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    Really Senior Member Cosine26's Avatar
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    According to an article in the American Rifleman Magazine dated September 1969 the ammunition used at the 1963 National matches was LC 63 NM. I quote:"By 1963 production capacity at Frankford Arsenal had been so reduced that it could no longer satisfy the National Match requirement. Hence match production was all shifted to Lake City Arsenal (now Lake City Army Ammunition Plant). Starting with new tooling their National Match lots gave excellent results. The Lake City M72 National Match produced in the years 1962 to 1966 gave 2.1",2.3",2.1" 2,0" an 2.2" mean radius at 600 yrds" The last FA M72 (3006) Ammo is listed as FA 61.
    Frankfort Arsenal did produce NM ammo for the 1963 Nationals in 7.62mm M118 ammo. I still have a couple of cans of FA 65 M118 Match ammo. by 1964 all 7.62 NM M118 ammo was produced at Lake City. There was no LC 67 M72 National Match ammo produced because the M14icon had replaced ( for army use) the M1 and the left over 1966 NM M72 ammo was .sufficient use in 1967. After 1967 the US Army withdrew support for the national matches and no more National Match ammo was produced Production of Match 7.62 M118 ammo continued for I have several cases of LC 68 Match (Not NM marked) ammo.There is another article in the August 1962 issue of he AR that gives the specifications for the 1962 NM Ammo as follows:
    1962 National Match Ammunition
    Type: M72 Match Lot LC 12125
    Primer: Remington 84 M
    Powder: IMR 4895 Lot 29500
    Powder Weight: 48.1 grains
    Bullet: Full jacketed boattail math type
    Bullet Weight: 173.3 rains
    Velocity: 2640 at 789 feet
    Pressure: 40,800 p.s.i in pressure acceptance testing

    National Match ammo was selected lots of Match ammo. It was reported that some later Match ammo was better than the NM ammo.

    Last edited by Cosine26; 07-14-2019 at 02:52 PM.

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