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  1. #1
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    Default WWI sniper rifles with offset scopes...

    Has anyone else noticed how the majority of WWI-era sniper rifles have offset scope mounts? I find it a little perplexing...I know it was a necessity with the M91 Carcano and the M95 Mannlicher rifles due to the enbloc clips, and I know the British logic behind the offset mount on the SMLE was to permit the use of stripper clips (yet most of the WWI SMLE snipers I've seen retained the magazine cutoff?), but the US rifles with the Warner-Swasey scopes (there were a few produced during WWI with over bore Winchester A5 scopes), the Canadian Ross Mark III with the same Warner-Swasey scopes, the French Lebels with the APX scopes (understandable with the few scoped Berthier rifle, again due to enblocs), and even some of the early German Gew.98 snipers, anyone know the reasoning behind the offset scope mounts? It seems to me the flaws outweigh the benefits, and it seems many of the combatant nations realized that as well, IE the overbore placement on the later Gew.98's, the 1903's with the overbore A5's, and the British P14 (T), but why go with the offset scopes in the first place?
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  2. #2

    Default

    The reason scopes were offset was also so that you had a lower profile.

  3. #3
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    Default

    They were trying things as they went, and gittin 'er figured. Whats being used today isn't that far off from the German's Scoped Mausers in the trenches.

    Better optics and bullets for sure, but still the same basic package.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Also, many rifles of the time didn't have receivers that took scopes easily and naturally -the whole optics thing was pretty new and the rifles were pretty old designs being kitted out with scopes for the first time.
    .
    Quote Originally Posted by Caribou View Post
    They were trying things as they went, and gittin 'er figured. Whats being used today isn't that far off from the German's Scoped Mausers in the trenches.

    Better optics and bullets for sure, but still the same basic package.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Jeez louise guys. Enough reading will give you the main reason....simply most countries wanted the ability to fast load with issue chargers hence the offset scopes on many early great war optically sighted rifles. Note you do not see such offset optics on prewar period hunting rifles ( excepting those sporters using gew88 actions ) .
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  6. #6
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    Dec 1969
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    Default

    Yes, have to agree there, Great B!
    The W^D decision makers said the troops wanted charger loading, so they got charger loading! The art of sniping (with a repeating rifle) was still in it's infancy, so there was nobody of any substance to tell the boffins snipers didn't need to repel hoards of charging enemy with rapid fire strings- the abillity to load with chargers was seen to outweigh the need for over-bore optics.

  7. #7
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    Default

    The development of the employment tactics of snipers also helped to fuel the need to be able to charger-load the rifles. Many countries employed their snipers along with their infantry during assaults and mixed among the front line soldiers in the defense. They were expected to function both as snipers and as infantry necessitating the need to rapid load and even to use the iron sights for close combat. Of course, positioning was, in some respects, driven by the optics at that point. Limited magnification meant that the snipers had to be in the front lines to be able to see targets at any depth.
    Mark V.



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  8. #8
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    Default

    I'm thinking the sniper was not in such a hurry that would necessitate rapid loading.
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  9. #9
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    Dec 1969
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mondragon View Post
    I'm thinking the sniper was not in such a hurry that would necessitate rapid loading.
    You would be right. The experience of snipers in WW1 generally led to a conventional wisdom that the sniper should take one or two shots then change position. If he missed the smart thing to do was find a new target and start over. Also if a sniper made too much of a nuisance of himself (in those days of relatively static trenches) he was likely to bring down an artillery barrage from the opposing side. This would not endear him to his own people.

    Clip loading and large capacity magazines sounded like good ideas but were not really necessary.

    Herbert McBrides "A Rifleman Went to War" and the "Emma Gees" make excellent reading. Also E.C. Crossman's Book of the Springfield has an excellent section on the use and selection entitled "Telescopic Sights for War".

    Regards ,

    Jim

  10. #10
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    Dec 1969
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    Default

    Probably the same thinking that though parchutes were available in WW1, the idiots in the war office only issued them to baloon observers because
    "the pilot might bail out instead of fighting his aircraft" Of course fabric covered aircraft tended to burn easily and the petrol tank was often right above your head or in front of you!
    Oh by the way, the german snipers were not worried about being able to charge the magazine quickly., and they were not in the business of charging across no mans land

  11. #11
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    Default

    So, I've never shouldered and fired a side mounted scoped rifle before. What would be the downsides to this sort of setup, per the OP?
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