Sunday, March 17, 2013

Long Distance - the next best thing to being there...

Front to back - PSL-54, M-21, M-24 and M-40A1
Last year Remington announced that as part of the replacement program for the M-24 sniper rifle, they would be rebuilding the turn ins using new and turn in parts for a reconditioned rifle, which then would be sold to qualified buyers.  The first group was for graduates of military sniper courses only.  The current group is for active duty, reserve and National Guard.  Yeah, that would be me, among others.  The group opened up in September of last year, and my rifle arrived yesterday (though a proper FFL transfer process, thank you.)  To celebrate I decided a group picture would be in order.  While I have nowhere near the collection that the Castle has, I'm proud of what I have managed to piece together.

More after the break

So what did Remington send me?
The M-24R kit as received from Remington
The picture doesn't do the size of the shipping case justice.  It's about the same size as the case the M-2HB .50 cal machine gun with it's two barrels and accessories is shipped in.  Along with the rifle was a new TM, sling, Harris bipod, soft case and deployment kit with tools, spare parts and cleaning supplies.  Also included is a separate case for the scope. For those who like the gory details, here's the contents of the deployment kit.

Tools, spares and cleaning supplies.

 I can hardly wait to get to the range, but unfortunately I have some National Guard travel coming up this week so it will have to wait.

Since I put a group shot up to open the post, I guess I'll talk a little bit about each rifle. First up, the PSL-54C a Romanian precision rifle in 7.62X54.  It looks similar to the Soviet SVD, but is actually more closely related to the AK series of weapons.  The rifle is a bit front heavy to me, but not a bad shooter.  I was surprised to find that the butt plate is actually spring loaded to reduce felt recoil.
The PSO-1 scope reticle with a simulated 300 m target
 The scope, pictured above has range finding reticle visible in the lower left.  A 1.7 meter (about 5' 7") tall person placed in the range finder allows you to determine the range, and the scope has a bullet drop compensator that can be dialed from 100 to 1000 meters in 50m increments.  The three chevrons allow for holding off for 1100, 1200 and 1300 meter.  The hash marks along the horizontal axis are 1 millradian (mil) apart which allows the marksman to further refine ranging as well as hold off for windage.  I would assume that the Warsaw Pact forces had 7.62x54 match ammo - the regular issue surplus stuff is probably only good for area fire at 1000 meters.

Next up is the M-21, which is nothing more than an M-14 built up to National Match specifications and scoped with an autoranging rifle telescope (ART).  The National Match conversion included a match barrel, receiver glass bedded into a stabilized stock, trigger work and replacement or modification of several internal components.  The scope design has an interesting history.  It was invented by Lt. James Leatherwood during the Viet Nam years when the sniper program was being set up by the Marksmanship Training Unit.  (Oddly enough the Army has had a long history of eliminating the sniper MOS during peacetime. Nothing like starting from scratch every time you need some marksman.)  He took a 3X9 power scope and by attaching a cam to the power ring changed the elevation set on the rifle.  If 3 power was zeroed for 300m, then 9 power would be zeroed for 900m for the M118 Match round. 

The ART II reticle with a simulated 300m target

 My rifle has the ART II scope pictured above.  The posts would indicate 1 meter width, while the two dots in the horizontal wire show 30 inches on either side of the cross hair.  A mechanical cam is prone to some repeatability issues, but by all accounts the system worked well enough.  The M-21 was also employed with the PVS-2 or PVS-4 night vision scope in Viet Nam, although more recent doctrine is for the spotter to use the NVG equipment on his M-16/M-4.

The M-24 was developed from the Remington 700 action.  Like the M-14 it is chambered in 7.62mm NATO.  It's equipped with a heavy barrel, a stock adjustable for length of pull and a 10 power Leupold M-3 scope with the Mil Dot reticle.

The Mil Dot reticle used on the M24 and M-40 rifles with a simulated 300m target
 The mil dot ranging system is in common use in the US military, and is starting to become popular with law enforcement.  Each dot is separated by an angle of 1 mil and the posts are one mil wide, so at 1000 yards the space between two dots indicates 1 meter.  Using a little math we can see that 1 meter would require two spaces at 500 meters, and roughly three spaces at 300 m as can be seen in the photo above.

Finally we come to my M-40A1 in the desert camo.  The M-40 was developed by the Marines from the Remington 700 and was equipped with a 10 power Unertl scope.  It's still in use and is a fine rifle.  My example was built in 1987 by Gale McMillan & Co. during a run of M86's being built for the Navy.  The M-86 was built on a McMillan receiver in either 7.62mm NATO or .338 Lapua, where the M-40A1 was built on the Reminton 700 in 7.62mm only.  Both rifles were scoped with a 10 power Leupold M-1 Ultra, again with the Mil Dot reticle.  They are both very accurate.

No simulated targets were injured in the making of this blog post.


OldAFSarge said...

A very nice collection!

Pogue said...

Thanks, Sarge. I've got a few more shooters but as you can no doubt tell I'm in awe of the Castles collection.

John of Argghhh! said...

Nice. Now to get them to open it up to half-pay types!

Pogue said...

It should be soon I would think. There are apparently only a couple of people working the program, and they seem to be swamped. It took about 7 months before mine showed up.

Homefront Six said...


I'd be happy if I could get my hands on some decently-priced ammo for the guns I have.

Pogue said...

Hi, HFS! I hear you, people have been going nuts around here. Even .22LR seems to be in short supply.