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I've seen a couple of these scopes for sale recently. I was surprised that they were in nearly perfect condition. It doesn't seem logical that they would be in this condition. I tried searching for some pictures here, but most were blown away.

I've seen the 1903 book that talks about only 2500 made during WWII, but were others made after? Are scopes marked above a serial number of 2500 fake? I've heard plenty of people say these are "faked all the time," but boy do these scopes look good.

I don't think I can ever afford one unless I can convince the seller USMC stand for United Shoe Manufacturing Corp.;) Any discussion is appreciated.
 

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i haven't really ever seen a fake usmc unertl scope (i do hear that there out there) but i have seen alot of sellers claim that their scope is a sniper scope when it is in fact just a comercial scope without the USMC-SNIPER marking.

as for pictures of the usmc unertls we had a photo thread up here long ago (it had pictures of many snipers and sniper rifles that i can't seem to find anymore) i had put some pics of snipers in vietnam with the winchester m70 and unertl scope. maybe someone here can find them.
 

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I have probably owned about 8 USMC marked Unertls over the past 40 years (think I still have about 4) and looked at a couple dozen more. I have seen totally trashed, poor, refinished to parkerized, refinished, and several excellent - to one I own brand new in the original box documented from a submarine out of Portland/Seattle area. Even though these were not the best available (even during WWII) they were used right up to and during Viet Nam. I believe the reason you see so many nice ones is that John Unertl offered a refurbishing service that was quite inexpensive. You basically got back an as new scope, with very little indication it had been redone. Years ago, I returned one that had been in a fire for a friend. When it came back looked brand new!! I believe the new owners of the Unertl Name are located in California or Las Vegas. As for pricing, fortunately my collecting days were early and I don't believe I ever paid more than $235 for one, and free for the one I took of a Winchester .22 and later sold the rifle for what I paid for both. As far as Fakes or reproductions, I personally am not aware of any, but then at prices hovering around the $3,000 mark, I am sure some enterprising faker will start marking them with the "USMC - Sniper" mark. I understand from my contact with John Unertl there was a small batch run during the Korean war, but most never saw combat, and were supplied to Special Services for use on target rifles. This may also account for the many in very good to excellent condition. The two books mentioned by TheMax, and the 6 volumne Chandler series Death From Afar are all excellent sources. Hope this helps - Skid
 

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First the scope serial numbers started at 1000. Only 1750 were delivered so the highest serial number will be about 2750~.
The contracts for Unertl scopes and the associated carrying cases and accessories were cancelled in February 1944 due to the finding that the combination had "not proven effective in combat". Orders were issued to substitute m1903A4 rifles when depot stocks of the M1903A1 were exhausted.

On 20 April 1945 a summary of the program revealed that 1750 scopes were delivered along with 2565 carrying cases. At that time 975 Scopes remained on hand along with 1790 Carrying cases. So it would appear that during WW2 about 775 M1903A1 snipers were assembled. Some of the excess scopes were undoubtedly used to assemble or maintain sniper rifles duriing the Korean and Vietnam Wars and reportedly some were sold as surplus.

The large number of scopes could account for why some continue to be seen in relatively good condition.

Fortunately most of the original USMC correspondence on the program survived ans has been reproduced in Senich or is availabvle separately.

Regards,

Jim
 

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Thanks for all the info. It looks like I have more books to buy. Here's an ebay fake (I assume):

That has to be the wustest fake lettering I've seen in my life.

In my Sennich book he states that the USMC Unertls were all x8.

The one I saw on a correct Springfield sniping rifle at a Bisley gunshow last year was also genuine - the only thing that put me off was the $14500 price tag.

tac
 

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The Army bought 28,365 M1903A4 rifles w/ a 2.75x Weaver 330c (M73B1) Telescopic Sight. The A4 was based on the M1903A3 and all were manufactured by Remington. In 1944 the USMC requested 1000 A4's from the Army.

Regards,

Jim
 

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Hello Nigel, Unfortunately 3 are attached to Rifles (Springfield and 2 different Winchesters) and of course new in the box. Afraid I have several of the items you mention, so no help there. I am sure you do not want to hear what I have been offered for the brand new in the box. Thanks anyway - Skid
 

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I once had an original 03/Unertl back in the 80's that I bought from a Marine Corps Major friend of mine.Here is the bad news; I sold it ,and I have regretted it ever since.The Unertl was #2356 if I can remember correctly.Here is more bad news.I once visited a top gunsmith in Pa. with a friend of mine years ago who bragged he had made a stamp and jig with the USMC-sniper logo and was stamping out 1-1/4" Unertl combination target scopes.His looked exactly like mine except mine had the black 1/2 moa micrometer click adjuster specially made for the Marine Corps while the standard Unertl had 1/4 moa micrometer .So beware there are fakes out ther as I have seen them.I had my scope totally refinished by Unertl and a new reticle put in .When they were finished it looked like a new scope.I wonder if others had this done
 

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I believe the USMC originally accepted both 1/2 moa and 1/4 moa black anodized adjusters on these scopes. The manual states the reticles were crosshairs with a center dot. Reportedly the crosshairs were frequently damaged and USMC field personnel affected repairs but not necessarily with the dot in place.

Regards,

Jim
 

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Did the USMC sniper ever come in 10X (WWII) vintage. I have to look at one tomorrow serial #1,2XX range.
I had spoken to Gunny Hathcock at LeJeune before he passed and he told me the Marine Corps had actually purchased a small amount of 10x 1-1/4" Unertl Combination target scopes during Viet Nam and he had actually used one on a Model 70 for a while.These scopes were not marked USMC Sniper as the 8x WW2 models were ,but except for the power was the same scope.How and who purchased them I do not know ,but there was one on a Winchester 70 USMC sniper at the OLD Marine Corps Musuem in Washington but I do not know if that rifle was tranfered to the new musuem or not.
 

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I know that they tried a bunch of stuff and all was not marked. They also could up the power which was done. I saw several 03' set up with 10X scopes in the correct serial number range. One of tlhe reference books that I have states in WWII we ordered 6,500. I don't know if that is correct or maybe we only took delivery of 1,700. Also were they all 1 1/2" or were some 1 1/4"
 
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