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Thread: Correct Scope for 03A4: Does it Matter?

  1. #1

    Default Correct Scope for 03A4: Does it Matter?

    I have an 03A4 rifle with the Redfield base but, scope and rings are missing. Beautiful rifle. Appears to be all original. Receiver serial: 4997xxx / 03A3
    Barrel: RA /12-43.

    Which scope would have been correct for this rifle? The Weaver 330C or the Alaskan or could it have come with either or even something different? I want to replace with the correct scope or as close as possible.

    Also, I have seen variations of the Weaver 330. Some have knobs with screws in the center, others have click adjust style knobs. Which is correct for the 03A4 or does it matter?

    Thanks and Happy Holidays!

  2. #2
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    an M73B1 would be the correct scope for an A4..and yes, it matters.
    correct scope adds alot to the value, to any sniper rifle.
    most A4,s sold by the DCM had the scopes removed, right after Kennedy was shot..
    you know those bad ol scopes are dangerous around Liberals...

  3. #3
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    Default "correct" or "original"? depends on your time frame

    the rifle with the s/n you listed would have been one of the last to leave the Remington plant. More than likely it would have been equipped with an M73B1 of the 2nd or 3rd variation (in markings mainly).

    Commercial Weaver 330Cs and 330 Scope - m.8's were used in very early A4 production until Weaver good got its production up to speed.

    The Lyman Alaskan, or M73, may well have been the preferred scope for the A4 however, other than a few prototypes for testing and pictures none were fielded on the A4 as Lyman was unable to obtain the necessary lenses from Bausch and Lomb due to that company's other wartime priorities.

    There is no convincing evidence that the 330S, 329, 440 or any other versions of the Weaver were issued on the A4 although many collectors have installed them in order to have something on their rifles.

    After WW2 its a bit of a different story. The A4 soldiered on literally up to the Vietnam war and some keep filtering out of the military's woodwork to this day.

    Some M73's were finally delivered in 1945 for use on the M1C. The M73 was quickly improved by adding a rubber eyeshade and sliding sunshade (M81) and later further modified with a post reticle (M82). Since a few thousand 7/8" Redfield rings were reportedly on hand in anticipation of WW2 M73 deliveries it is poaaible that some M73's, M81's or M82's found their way on to A4's in the post WW2 years.

    By 1956 an order was issued specifically ok'ing the use of the M73, M82 and M82 in order to exhaust their inventory status. Since by that time the A4 was a limited standard rifle the primary scope remained the M73B1 with the M84 as an approved alternate.

    By the early 70's the M84 is the standard issue scope.

    To the above its also worth knowing that in late 1943 a small number of M73B1's were manufactured by Frankford Arsenal. Also in 1945 in occupied France the French company OPL manufactured a few hundred copies of a scope designated the M73B2. This scope was mounted in a modified Redfield Jr. base and had its W&E adjustments on annular rings sort of like the German Zf-41.

    A few rifles with Weaver K4's have been reported in FBI inventories.

    So summing up you can see that over time quite few different scopes can be considered "correct" for an A4. "Original" would have to be one of the Weaver 330C/M73B1 variations.

    Hope this helps.

    Regards,

    Jim
    Last edited by jgaynor; 12-21-2009 at 03:16. Reason: secret

  4. #4
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    Put a 2.5 to 8 Scopechief on mine. Didn't have the $200US original scopes were worth when I bought the rifle. 1" rings for the Redfield base are not hard to get.
    The original scopes are pretty crude for shooting. Having one would be nice though. Mind you, the 3/4" rings aren't exactly easy to find.
    Spelling and grammar count!

  5. #5
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    Default Weaver 330 Scopes

    There appear to be three different configurations of the Weaver 330. One version (I don't know if it is the original configuration, but it is marked Weaver 330) has cylindrical knobs (like a stack of coins) with grooved edges. Between the two knobs is a single piece of L-shaped metal with detents to control the clicks, held by a small screw. A second version, the 330C (although still marked Weaver 330) is the same as the first except it has a small screw on top of each knob that can be tightened to hold the zero. If you read the manuals, this screw was to be staked once the scope was adjusted. The 330C is what became the M73B1. The third variety has conical knobs, with internal mechanisms to control the clicks. This version is sometimes seen with the M8 designation, and I've seen them with a stamped "SN:" followed by an electro-penciled number. As far as I can determine, the 330C/M73B1 (cylindrical knobs with small screws) is the correct WWII version for the M1903A4.

  6. #6
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    I got both a 330c and a lyman alaskan for mine. When comes to shooting and looks I prefere the lyman over the weaver.

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    Default well not exactly..

    Quote Originally Posted by thorin6 View Post
    There appear to be three different configurations of the Weaver 330. One version (I don't know if it is the original configuration, but it is marked Weaver 330) has cylindrical knobs (like a stack of coins) with grooved edges. Between the two knobs is a single piece of L-shaped metal with detents to control the clicks, held by a small screw. A second version, the 330C (although still marked Weaver 330) is the same as the first except it has a small screw on top of each knob that can be tightened to hold the zero. If you read the manuals, this screw was to be staked once the scope was adjusted. The 330C is what became the M73B1. The third variety has conical knobs, with internal mechanisms to control the clicks. This version is sometimes seen with the M8 designation, and I've seen them with a stamped "SN:" followed by an electro-penciled number. As far as I can determine, the 330C/M73B1 (cylindrical knobs with small screws) is the correct WWII version for the M1903A4.
    Weaver 330 was made in two versions the the "330C" with the cylindrical nobs and external click stops and the "330S" (silent) with the screw adjustment and conical lock nut.

    The scope data plates on both versions are just marked "330".

    At some point in the production of the second variation of the M73B1 the knobs were changed so that the scales could be reset to the zero mark after the rifle was zeroed. That's when the tiny screw was added to the center of the knobs.

    The variations of the 330C/M73B1 used on the A4 seem to be as follows:

    Early rifles - (maybe the first couple of thousand)
    330C's w/crosswire reticles
    330 Scope - M.8 w/ tapered post reticle

    From mid 43
    330C/M73B1 1st variation w/ commercial data plate and Electropenciled GI nomenclature and s/n on the side of the tube

    M73B1 2nd variation w/plain knobs and roll stamped GI nomeclature, Weaver name and address, and electropenciled s/n on the side of the tube.

    M73B1 2nd variation w/adjustable scale knobs and roll stamped GI nomeclature, Weaver name and address, and electropenciled s/n on the side of the tube.

    M73B1 3rd variation w/adjustable scale knobs and roll stamped GI nomenclature, No Weaver name or address but GI stock numbers on the scope and major parts. The s/n is electropenciled on the data plate.

    Notes:
    1. The Weaver 330S did not have click stops and thus did not meet the specifications for the A4. There is some evidence that the 330S saw military use on optical instruments (boresights, collimators etc.)

    2. Today 330 Scope - M.8's are seen with both post and cross hair reticles, clickstops and silent adjustments and models are seen with the nomenclature roll stamped in two different places. On some scopes the markings are out near the objective lens and on others its on the tube near the dataplate.
    None have been reported thus far with a serial number as far as i know.
    Its unclear just what the "M.8" was originally intended to be.

    3. I used to have a 3rd variation M73B1 with plain knobs. It doesn't make much sense that they would have switched back having earlier made the change. its possible that the scope was subjected to some postwar tinkering.

    4. Reportedly Weaver made something on the order of 36,000 scopes for the war effort. The several variations reported above fit nicely into this serial number range.

    Hope this helps.

    Regards,

    Jim

  8. #8

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    Thanks guys. This is very helpful.

  9. #9
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    I have tried to find an advertisement for the Weaver M8 to no avail in old magazines and AR's. It appears that Weaver never advertised the M8. That leads me to believe that the M8 was designated for military use only. The only two scopes Weaver never advertised were the M73B1 and the M8 (to my knowledge).

    Jim

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marine A5 Sniper View Post
    I have tried to find an advertisement for the Weaver M8 to no avail in old magazines and AR's. It appears that Weaver never advertised the M8. That leads me to believe that the M8 was designated for military use only. The only two scopes Weaver never advertised were the M73B1 and the M8 (to my knowledge).

    Jim
    Jim,

    You may be right. I am wondering if they may have been a sort of "private label" deal for a firearms manufacturer or sporting goods retailer. The scope packaged with a mount for a particular application. That could explain the lack of adverstising under Weaver's banner.

    There are a whole host of things that don't add up with the 330 scope-M.8.

    If it is military I suspect it was originally procured for some non-sniping application and subsequently diverted to A4 use as a matter of priorities.

    Interesting topic however!

    Merry Christmas !

    Regards,

    Jim

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