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    Really Senior Member RCS's Avatar
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    photos of USMC sights on Model 1903 rifle

    I finally got some better photos of the USMC front sight which is thicker and taller with a different profile and the rear sight #10 on the sight leaf. It has been said that the US Army also used this sight too. Most were replaced by the USMC before WW2.

    With the sight leaf down as in my photo, most rifles are on target at 200 yards rather than the 547 yards of the issue sight.


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    Quote Originally Posted by RCS View Post
    I finally got some better photos of the USMC front sight which is thicker and taller with a different profile and the rear sight #10 on the sight leaf. It has been said that the US Army also used this sight too. Most were replaced by the USMC before WW2.

    With the sight leaf down as in my photo, most rifles are on target at 200 yards rather than the 547 yards of the issue sight.Attachment 116086Attachment 116087
    The Springfield rifle, Model of 1903 was initially adapted to cartridge caliber .30, Model of 1903. The cartridge used the same 220 grain round nose bullet that had been used in the Kragicon and could be viewed as a rimless, "improved" version of the earlier cartridge. Indeed, it was some times known as the .30-45 as well as the .30-03. Partly in response to the Germans loading pointy bullets (Spitzgeschoss) the .30-06 cartridge was developed and existing rifles reworked. Old military target shooter lore has it the sight's "ladder" was calibrated for the new cartridge, but the battlesight was left unchanged and that caused the rifle to be zeroed for 547 yards with the leaf down.

    The tale goes on the lay the Marine's development of their sight to inter-service rivalry at the National Matches. The rules at the time required the 200 yard off hand stage to be fired using the "battlesight." The Marines standard rifle, equipped with "their" sight would be on target with the leaf down, while Army shooters had to aim well under the target to score. Bragging rights at Camp Perry involved initiative, or skulduggery, depending on how your service did...or so goes the folklore.

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    Really Senior Member RCS's Avatar
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    Thread Starter

    special cartridges for match shooting

    After WW1 there was alot of match shooting and many special match cartridges were developed, here are just a few of them with their unique head stamps. The 30-06 was improved to become the 30M1 then changed back to the 30M2 by 1937-38.

    Note Frankfort Arsenal even had an International & Palma loading while Remington-UMC had a special 300 yard loading.

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    Contributing Member Tom in N.J.'s Avatar
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    I do believe that the round marked F A 25 R is a special round for the U.S. version of the Frenchicon VB rifle grenade. In this system a live bullet goes through a hollow center rifle grenade, in a cup type discharger, igniting a time delay fuse as it exits. With the rifle held a 45 deg. to fire the grenade, the projectile would travel to its maximum range, often out of the boundaries of the training area. A special round was made up for use with VB type training using a light weight bullet to keep them within the range boundary. The "R" is for Rifle Grenade.

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    Actually even though the #10 sights were credited to the Marines, they weren't created or even used by the Marines first.

    They actually were invented by a civilian gunsmith who used them in rifle completions pre WWI. There is a little discrepancy if the Marines saw them first in these pre WWI civilian rifle competitions from this gunsmith, or they saw them on Army rifles in the 1919 NM's. In the Marine docs they state they saw the #10 sights first on Army rifles in the 1919 NM's.

    But there are articles in the Arms and the Man magazine that predate 1919 that state the Marines were using them on team rifles and they copied them off this commercial gunsmith. The gunsmith that created them, I can't remember his name, but he was somewhat famous in the day. I could go back and find his name if needed.

    In fact this was sort of a scandal for the Marines, as you see the Marines sort of imply they had invented them, but then this Civilian gunsmith got offended and wrote a strongly worded letter to the Arms and the Man magazine which they published. His article stated that the Marines basically stole his idea.

    Which the Marines replied (I think it was Capt McDougal, who was the rockstar Marine team shooter of the day) replied that it was true, that the Marines didn't create them and only started to use them after they saw them at civilian rifle competitions.

    Most likely the scenario where they saw them from this Civilian gunmith is actually what happened and it more correct than the official Marine Corps headquarters stance that they were first seen on the 1919 Army NM rifles. Just because those articles to the Arms and the Man magazine were by the actual guys who did it, and not from desk jockeys at headquarters.

    Either way the Marines did start to adopt the #10 sights about 1920. The first ones they ordered were actually made by Springfield Armory. The Marines ordered I believe 35,000 sets of #10 sights off SA. I didn't go back and look but I think 35,000 is correct. After that first initial shipment they were made by several others too, including the Marines themselves at the Philly Depot.

    By the 1920's, even after the scandal that the Marines had stolen the idea. Which it honestly was a big story of it's day. The sights still became known as the Marine #10 sights. It's amazing how fast people forgot the scandal of it and just rewrote the history of them.

    So in short, the Marines didn't create them. They were created by a Civilian. Springfield Armory actually made the first shipments for the Marines. But even today they still are known as Marine #10 sights.

    The Marines used the #10 sights to 1936. In 1936 the Marines switched to the Army #6. So for all purposes if you see number 10 sights on a Marine rifle that served in the Marines after 1936 they were probably put on in the civilian world and not installed by the Marines.
    Last edited by cplstevennorton; 03-28-2021 at 12:33 PM.

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