CMP Vintage Sniper Match & the 1941 USMC Sniper Clone

Rock Island Auction Photo 1941 USMC Sniper

The Civilian Marksmanship Program’s Vintage Sniper games match is a fun and rewarding event. This match is shot each year at the National Matches @ Camp Perry, Ohio, CMP travel games and a number of clubs through-out the US. This match is shot as a team with one person shooting and the other spotting / calling the wind and elevation corrections. Each team member takes their turn in both roles and at the end your scores are combined for an overall team score. It is by far one of the most fun of the games matches sanctioned by the CMP.

The Vintage Sniper match is limited to a select few rifles complying with rules for make, model and optic. This chart is found in the CMP Games Rule Book. Rifles legal for use are WWI, WWII and Korean era military sniper rifles or replicas there-of from the US and other countries. These rifles must use specific optics that were original issue type to the rifle, acceptable alternates or modern reproductions. For a list of legal guns and optics see the latest version of the CMP Games rules book.

The Vintage Sniper match is shot at 300 and 600 yards from the prone position. Competitors may use a sling OR the supplied sand bags for supporting the rifle. The butt must remain unsupported except by the shooters shoulder and non-firing hand. The course of fire is such that targets (SR3 @ 300 yards and MR1 @ 600 yards) are exposed for 20 seconds. The team has that amount of time to fire before the targets disappear into the pits for 20 seconds to be scored. During that time the team must reload, call the wind and prepare for the targets to rise. After 10 rounds roles switch. Each team member shoots for a possible 200 – 20X with team score possible of 400 – 40X.

In recent years the model 1903 Springfield with 6X or 8X Unertl has become the rifle used most often to win the CMP Vintage Sniper match. Realistically though it is the Indian, not the Arrow and even the 1903A4 is capable in capable hands. The 1903 USMC Sniper Rifle was a creation by the United States Marine Corp and placed into use early in WWII in the Pacific Theatre. Today it is commonly know as the 1941 USMC Sniper. The optics are the real winner here. Where as the 1903A4 is limited to a 2.5X optic with course adjustment the 1941 has 2-3X the magnification and the Unertl adjustments are 1/4 minute vs 1/2 and 1 minute adjustments of the 330 Weaver (M73) / Weaver K2.5 and Lyman Alaskan (M82) respectively.

Original 1941 USMC snipers are relatively rare and command large sums of money. Something you would rather not bang around Viale or other ranges but rather leave locked in the safe. Thankfully there are companies re-creating these rifles using modern barrels, aftermarket stocks and a mixture of USGI and reproduction parts / hardware. The going price is roughly $2200 when they are in stock and can be purchased from places such as Creedmoor Sports.

Another alternative though, for the mechanically inclined, is to build your own.