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Folks: this is off topic, but I'm sure there are people here who can help me a little bit on this.

My son sent me this internet video clip supposedly of snipers taking people out with .50 BMG sniper guns. There was an explanation that went along with it. In part, it said:

Carlos Hathcock, Marine Sniper in Viet Nam, and deadliest American sniper in our history, used a 30-06, and his record for longest kill shot was fired in 1967. Not until current time was his record broken, but with a .50 cal rifle which did not exist until recent years.
When I looked at this, I was immediately aware that in fact, Lt. Col. William Brophy, later a high executive at Marlin and a famous book author too, had done .50 BMG sniper weapon research during the Korean War. My brother told me that there were .50 BMGs used as sniper weapons in Vietnam, too. So I was pretty leery of this information that was being sent out.

My question was with the part about Carlos Hathcock. It was my understanding that Vietnam era sniper rifles were M700 Remingtons in 7.62 x 51 -- the then current Army round, not M70 Winchesters in .30-06.

I searched around the web for an answer, but as is all too often the case regarding military weapons, there was too much conflicting information (indicating the typically high level of pure BS) on sniper rifles that might have been used in 1966 or so.

Can anyone tell me the true skinny on Carlos Hathcock's weapons of choice? Preferably, with a citation from some book or good source that I might be able to pass on?

I appreciate your help!
 

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From here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Hathcock

Hathcock generally used the standard sniper rifle: The Winchester Model 70 .30-06 caliber rifle with the standard Unertl scope. On some occasions, however, he used a different weapon: the M2 Browning Machine Gun, on which he mounted the Unertl scope, using a bracket of his own design. This weapon was accurate to 2500 yards in single-fire mode. At one point, he took careful aim at a courier carrying a load of assault rifles and ammunition on a bicycle. He had second thoughts when he saw a 12-year-old boy in his sights, but after considering the intended use of those weapons, he fired, hitting the bicycle frame. The boy tumbled over the handlebars, grabbed a gun and came up firing. Another shot put him down. (Source Marine Sniper, Chapter 1.)
 

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He is correct. He did use a .50 cal for some long range shooting. The book, Marine Sniper, is excellent. A definate must read for gun guys.

Roger
 

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The very first kill catalogued in Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Kills by Charles Henderson is the Viet Cong pack mule (a boy about 12 years old carrying arms down the Ho Chi Minh Trail) at about 2,500 yards. His longest kill with a .30 was in the ballpark of 1,200 yards, IF memory serves.
 

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I watched Snipers on the History Channel and I think they said that The Winchester Model 70 .30-06 caliber rifle with an Unertl scope was Carlos Hathcock prefered weapon.
 

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The way I understand it, he also used (occasionally) the 300 Mag that he won that big competition with, but I don't remember which competition it was. I read an excerpt about it from his book. Someone posted it on-line. SniperCountry, maybe?
 

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Actually I think Carlos' longest kill was with a browning .50 cal with a scope strapped to the top. Dude was an innovator.
 

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It's detailed in both Marine Sniper and in Silent Warrior. He used a .300 Winchester to take the Wimbeldon Cup in 1965.

It has been said that he preferred the Winchester M70, but he actually wanted to select the right rifle for the job, like a golfer selects his club for the next stroke. The man was The Man when it came to practical marksmanship. The chapters of his hunt for the unnamed NVA general and also of the VC sniper hunting him are very riveting accounts. I'd love to see movies made about him, provided they stayed true to life.
 

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Carlos Norman Hathcock II set the record of the longest shot (2,286 m) in 1967, using a single shot firing Browning M2 .50BMG mounted with a 8x Unertl scope.

In 2002 a new record was set by a Canadian sniper with a shot of 2,430 meters.


I'll post a photo of Hathcock with the Wimbledon cup, and another intresting photo taken in the '80s of Carlos with a MN rifle.

I think that you all know the story of the sniper vs sniper duel, between Carlos and an NVA sniper armed with Mosin Nagant rifle...
 

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I'd love to see movies made about him, provided they stayed true to life.
There is a good interwiew with Carlos Hathcock in "the Ultimate sniper" video by J.Plaster.


Regards.
 

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Carlos Hathckok pics

I hope you'll enjoy these pics.

The first show Carlos with the Wimbledon Cup in 1965

The second show Carlos during the '80s with a Vietnam bringback MN with PU scope.
Carlos's instructor, E.J.Land is behind him.
 

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I served with his son Carlos N. Hathcock III when I was stationed at MCAS Cherry Point N.C. in the early 80's. Very humble people, as his son never mentioned who his father was. I did not realize the relationship until years later when I read the book "One shot, one kill". I found out later that his son was a member of the Marine Corps Rifle Team as well.

Semper Fi!
 

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Thanks for posting the picture with the captured PU, and the other pics as well. Do we know if the rifle was Hungarian, as many were, or Russian made? I can not tell from the picture.
 

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Really I don't know.

Maybe it's soviet,
it seems to be a laminated stocked rifle, I think.


Best regards.
 

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H&MS 14

Hey there, Dev1ldog,
I too served with Carlos at Cherry Point, GSE. Its possible we know one another. Contact me, would love to hear from Former Marine.
Hot-Rod

I served with his son Carlos N. Hathcock III when I was stationed at MCAS Cherry Point N.C. in the early 80's. Very humble people, as his son never mentioned who his father was. I did not realize the relationship until years later when I read the book "One shot, one kill". I found out later that his son was a member of the Marine Corps Rifle Team as well.

Semper Fi!
 

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I recently saw a picture of Carlos with what appeared to be an M-40 with a Redfield accurange. I think it was on the retry of Myth Busters shot through the PU. Obviously he used a number of different rifles but the above information looks good. An M-2 with Unertl for the long shot and an M-70 with Unertl preferred(and apparently to get the Cobra).
 

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For what it's worth, that video is most likely the same one that's been floating around for several years now purporting to be snipers in Afghanistan but it actually is footage of some dudes shooting rock chucks in the mountains out west somewhere with a 6mm. The video is called "Varmint Safari."
 

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I think it was mentioned that the rifles in the sniper inventory in the 1-7 on hill 55 were horribly outdated and a mixed bag of tricks. None of the new M40 Remingtons had made it there at the time of his first tour. The Unertl was a left over from the early WW2 contract. Being his experience using the Unertl scope gave him the ability to use it to it's capability. The extreme care he took of it made it work well. The scope is a wonderful piece of work, but not meant for the rigors of combat or the tropical climate. I have 3 Unertls and they are still wonderful things. The Win 70 in 30-06 was never really an offical sniper weapon. They might of been in USMC inventory, but never an official accepted sniper weapon. Remember it was Jim Lands and his crew of rifle team cronies who inspired the offical sniper program into an offical program. Early USMC and US Army sniper programs came and went as needed. The sniper program {for lack of better words} was relaitively new in VN. The standardization process was in progress and things moved slowly at some places in the USMC. Some of the early USMC units unpacked without some of the basic necessities of combat in an enchanted land.

I forget who it was that told me or a group of us that the M70 in 30-06 that Carlos used a lot was quite worn out and was terribly pitted. It was not a very accurate rifle in the truest sense of the word. Thought someone told me it had about a 3 MOA ability. I do not doubt this for a second. IF this rifle was indeed that worn and could hold a 3 MOA at long ranges, it could still be accurate enough to pull off his achievments. This is a reminder to people that a good shooter can make an poor rifle shoot well, a poor shooter can make an accurate rifle shoot poorly. As things progressed I am sure the rifles in inventory were either rebarreled or replaced, eventally with the newer Remington M700/M40. I believe by his second tour the new M40/M700 Remingtons had arrived, not sure if old inventory was kept as well.

You can give some NRA High Master class shooters a pitted old chunk of sewer pipe and they can dazzle you with there marksmanship skill. No doubt Carlos was one of them. He was very tough on his snipers, but he truely wanted to bring them home alive as well as getting results.

One more thing that history often forgets. Though Carlos Hatcock II is one of the most famous USMC snipers his record was not the hightest in VN. But I would bet his accomplishments and contributions to the USMC, his unit and his men under his command were indeed number one. Truely an inspiring Marine and warrior.

Do not profess any of my rambling to be 100% accurate as I am going off memory here. Cheers, John.
 

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I recently saw a picture of Carlos with what appeared to be an M-40 with a Redfield accurange. I think it was on the retry of Myth Busters shot through the PU. Obviously he used a number of different rifles but the above information looks good. An M-2 with Unertl for the long shot and an M-70 with Unertl preferred(and apparently to get the Cobra).
Geez, you just HAVE to put up that shot of the Win 70 with Unertl, make me feel bad...you know how to make me drool...one day I'll find one for me...
 
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