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Of the ones shown, I would take the PU. In preference to that, I would take a No.4Mk.1(T)

The 03A4 (I have one) is a non-starter because of the weak optics, I have no experience with the 98 or the 99.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Of the ones shown, I would take the PU. In preference to that, I would take a No.4Mk.1(T)

The 03A4 (I have one) is a non-starter because of the weak optics, I have no experience with the 98 or the 99.
I thought the same but there’s something about the Springfield optic. It’s very clear and comfortable, just underpowered
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My ranking order would be.

# 1 K98 High Turret (superior optics)
# 2 1903A4 (ergonomic perfection)
# 3 91/30 PU (robust construction)
# 4 Type 99 (excellent penetration)

I would also be perfectly happy with a SMLE No.4T.
The 03a4 is by far the most comfy to handle. I would still pick the PU just because it’s so user friendly and the optic platform is monkey proof. That, and it’s basically indestructible
 

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f I need to amplify my choice of the PU any, The darn things are virtually bulletproof, and those barrels are much more accurate than they seem to have any right to be

Ergonomically, the high centerline of the scope on the PU IS a problem, but I have devised a very functional cheekpiece for mine that resolves that issue.

My first sniper was a No.4 Mk.1(T), (I bought it back when I was 20 (in 1970)) and I just fell in love with it ergonomically. I now own two of them.

I inherited the 03A4 from my late brother (along with one of the No.4(T)'s), and it just hasn't impressed me the few times I have had it out.
 

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I have direct experience shooting 100 to 1000 yds with some of these if that matters ...shooting results over opinions. Type 99 very limited and no experience with 98K sniper. First the 99...ergonomics to shoot this is terrible, optics terrible and I put the antique down. I'll let Wolfman school me on them if he ever shows up at the range again, he's been AWOL . Now to the rifle we've shot a ton of ammo with and perform. Best in all regard is the No.4 T sniper for accuracy and operation, optic adjustments rather crude but effective. Second to it comes a Tie ...PU sniper and 03a4 with Lyman Alaskan scope. Why a tie ...accuracy of both rifles is the same 100 to 1000 yds and both rifle are limited by different issues. The PU stock drop makes 800 to 1000 yds a chin weld on stock and accuracy suffers, it can be mitigated by a riser of some sorts and come in close to No.4 T accuracy at this range. Its optics at 3.5x are more than competitive with the No.4 T optics but you work a bit harder. The o3A4 is as accurate as the No.4T and PU Sniper, one can get a great stock weld on it but its optics being 2.5 power are anemic and this severely limits its performance , it really tough to use it at 800/1000 and certainly its a DMR best performing at 600 yd line where it is the equal of No.4T and PU Sniper on accuracy at that distance ....its optics don't limit you at 600 yds at all.

Toughness...I think PU sniper has it by a country mile over all sniper weapons of WWII , although the No.4T comes close. I quit using the PU sniper in vintage sniper matches as that chin weld was costing me too many points , took up the 03A4 and with proper stock weld shoot higher scores even though its optics are anemic and no where as good as PU scope.

Now put that 98K sniper optics low mounted on a 1903a3 and you'd have the best of all worlds for WWII sniping...but that is fantasy and opinion ...those two factors if of interest....kindly go to AR15.com where they prevail.
 

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Here is opinion, I think all sniper rifles of WWII are really DMR in todays view of longer range military shooting and are effective 100 to 600 yds and more than likely that is the real envelope designed to fill. Sure, one can push the distance out but I think 100 to 600 yds is the space these weapons dominated in WWII. I think most snipers worked the 100 to 600 yd space and the few , if any, shots beyond that are few but certainly interesting.

Pushing envelope...Wolfman shows up with SVD and goes 800 and 1000 yds with it. Its a DMR rifle but has the "legs" for longer range shooting. Is such use common and was such use envisioned for this DMR, most likely not and I'd submit the SVD is a 100 to 600 yd platform. That said, its the exception when its used at 800 /1000 yds as is the PU Sniper rifle when used at that distance. Can it be done...sure but "generally not".
 

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PU if the rifle was a Finnish Mosin-Nagant. Finnish rifles were among the most accurate. The PU scope worked well in sub freezing temperatures; something the others can't do. The M-N with PU also allowed for clip feeding. Something the scoped Springfield and K98k wouldn't do (however, one GI in the 99th Div. loaded with six (five in magazine, one in chamber), had the magazine cut off engaged and two in his left hand. As he shot, he loaded with the two in the left hand and when they were gone, disengaged the magazine cut-off - thus giving him eight shots instead of five). Finland was handicapped by insufficient rifles and even captured ones weren't guaranteed to reach the hands of the best marksmen.

The Springfield is a good rifle, but the care with which they were assembled were not on par with the practice of other nations. Germany, Russia & the UK took the best shooting rifles and scoped them. Remington took the best barrels and set them aside. For me it's a sum total of all parts and a good shiny barrel does not necessaily equate into a good shooter. The Lyman Alaskan was a good scope, but weren't used until post-war. 100 of them were sent to Canuckistan who adopted a G&H style scope mount for it. The Canuckistanis liked it better than their own version of the No. 32 (see Without Warning). Side topic: Per Bruce Canfield both Weaver and Lyman relied on B&L for grinding their lens. B&L also had to grind lends for binoculars, bombsights, spotting scopes (naval and artillery), optics for tanks. Sniper scope lens weren't high priority and even Weaver could not deliver scopes fast enough for Remington and Remington had 03A4s that couldn't be delivered to the army b/c they had no scopes.

IMO, the Japanese reticle is the most advanced. As noted, it had a neat rangefinder built it (not that you can't do that to certain extent with post/crosswire). National Museum of the Infantry at Fort Benning has some excellent examples and will be putting together an exhibit on WW II sniping (and they'll be using my sniping book to help them). I didn't really look at the picture but the advantage of the weaker 6.5 mm Arisaka is the smaller flash and less smoke than the 7.7 Arisaka. Tradeoff is less penetration. Another issue with any Arisaka is the offset (non-centerline over the bore) scope mount (like on the M-1 Garand). At greater distances the sniper had to accomodate for it.

Germans had very good optics (clear), but didn't work so well (adjustment wise) in sub-freezing. You had to leave it alone and kentucky windage it. Also, as Sepp Allerberger noted, he had to get sighting in ammunition for the best results. Not a criticism against the K98k and that problem was also shared by the UK snipers who had to ID an ammo lot that worked well for their rifle and then get as much as possible.

Only the Brits were smart enough to put a cheek piece on their rifle and avoided the "chin weld" common with the K98k.
 

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Since the query posed to the Forum was to rank only the four rifles pictured, would go with Kar98k, M91/30, M1903A3 and Jap T99. Of the four cartridges represented in the rifles, I think most would agree the .30-06 to be the overall best one. However, the OP also stated ..."which you’d prefer in combat.". Well, combat with whom, when and where would also a big factor. So, for practical purposes let us consider to be in the here and now just after the SHTF. Had the M1903A3 a superior M82 or M84 optic, it would have been a tougher choice between it and the M91/30. However, since the Springfield is also the only rifle where you are out of luck in having no irons to revert to if the need arose, this forces me to rank it third (along with the weak optic).The T99 comes in last primarily because of the difficulty in sourcing ammunition.
 
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