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Thread: Vintage scope for sporterized M1903 Springfield

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy 4given's Avatar
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    Vintage scope for sporterized M1903 Springfield

    My Dad is getting up there in years and he just gave me his old hunting rifle. It is a sporterized M1903 Springfield done sometime in the 1960's. The story goes that this rifle was used in competition at Camp Perry prior to it's conversion into a hunting rifle so it may have been a M1903 NM but who knows

    Anyway ... it has an old beat up Bushnell Scope Chief on it and I would like to replace it with a decent period correct scope. Not just a scope that is in decent shape cosmetically, but one that is also usable with decent glass, durability and etc. I know that vintage scopes don't hold a candle to new models but I'm sure that some are better than others.

    I obtained a first generation Weaver K4 that would look really good on this rifle but it is just so primitive that it is almost unusable. Any suggestions on what to get? Maybe some sort of Leopold?
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  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Is the tube one inch or 3/4?? I have an old straight tube 2.5 scope that is very clear. Has a post and horizontal line setup. German reticule?

    Update- The scope is a 7/8 inch tube. Marked Leupold Instrument 2 1/4 X.
    Last edited by chill45100; 09-16-2021 at 12:17 PM.

  3. #3
    I have an old Leupold Plainsman in a 7/8ths tube which has seen duty on a few rifles I have owned for years . They are good scopes if you can find one in decent shape, and the turn up from time to time on some of the auction sites etc. Pretty darned clear for a scope of the era and they hold zero well .
    Sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes the bar eats you.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy 4given's Avatar
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    I think it is a 1" tube but I will have to measure it to be sure.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    It might have a star( star gauged) stamp on the muzzle if you look. Worth a look.
    Search vintage hunting scopes on eBay- you may find what you are looking for.

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  6. #6
    Boolit Master 444ttd's Avatar
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    i don't know know nuthin' about old vintage scopes. but heres someone.

    https://www.vintagegunscopes.com/
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  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    Redfield scopes of that period had very clear optics and would be a top choice for me. The Lyman All American scopes of that period were also quite good.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have a Weaver K3 on my Model 70 30/06. Dad bought scope and rifle new from Bob Wards in Missoula when he came back from active duty in 1954. In 1969 he went to a .300 Win./Model 700 and I at the ripe old age of 15 glommed onto the M70. The rifle and I became "one". I badly cracked the ocular lense in a fall on a rockslide in 1974. But it still shot to aim. Early '80's it got badly tromped by a horse ( never leave a rifle in the scabbard while a horse is tied to a tree). So after putting a used stock on it I had to make about a 3" adjustment @ 100 yard to re-zero. Late '80's another horse rolled on a side hill and broke that stock. Another used stock, a couple inch adjustment to zero @ 100 yards. Now it is 2021 and hot or cold, wet or dry that gun will still shoot 2" high @ 100. dead on at 200. That is 2 sight corrections in 66 years. And the cracked lense is still there, never fogged. I would recommend an old Weaver.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    The old Lyman All American scopes were also longer in the tube length making it easier to mount without stock crawling due to the more modern scopes developed for the shorter actions. I have a All American perma-center in 6x as well as a 10x with adjustable objective. I would hate to guess at a date of when these scopes were available. My 10x while nice and clear does show some delaminating on the front lenses. Back in those days they used I believe some type of balsam type pine resin to cement the lenses together. And have one old Weaver K4 with clear lenses. Frank

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I have my dad's sporterized Sedgley Springfield in 30-06 and it has a Redfield 2 3/4 X post cross hair scope mounted on the one piece Redfield scope mount. From what I've been able to find out it's pretty much the way the rifle came from the Sedgley factory and the scope is from the mid 60's.

  11. #11
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    You should definitely stick with a single power scope. Optics weren’t as good as today and the more glass you have to look through, the more the clarity goes down. I would go with a 4X.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy 4given's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kootne View Post
    I have a Weaver K3 on my Model 70 30/06. Dad bought scope and rifle new from Bob Wards in Missoula when he came back from active duty in 1954. In 1969 he went to a .300 Win./Model 700 and I at the ripe old age of 15 glommed onto the M70. The rifle and I became "one". I badly cracked the ocular lense in a fall on a rockslide in 1974. But it still shot to aim. Early '80's it got badly tromped by a horse ( never leave a rifle in the scabbard while a horse is tied to a tree). So after putting a used stock on it I had to make about a 3" adjustment @ 100 yard to re-zero. Late '80's another horse rolled on a side hill and broke that stock. Another used stock, a couple inch adjustment to zero @ 100 yards. Now it is 2021 and hot or cold, wet or dry that gun will still shoot 2" high @ 100. dead on at 200. That is 2 sight corrections in 66 years. And the cracked lense is still there, never fogged. I would recommend an old Weaver.
    What a great story! I have my eye on a Weaver K4 60B and a Leupold M8 4X. Not sure yet. I'm still open to other possibilities!
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  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I like the later steel tubed Weaver K-4's, but I think the Leupold M8 4X is a lot better scope.

    Robert

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    If it were mine and I wanted to put a good "period correct" scope on it, I would look no further than a Unertl hunting scope. They were made with 1" steel tubes and utilized absolutely top notch glass. A Unertl Hawk 4x (very similar looking to a Weaver 4x) from the 50's-60's-70's will run these days about the the same cost as a nice used Leupold 3-9. As good as a top notch modern scope? No, but by golly not far from it. Waaaaay better, IMO, than period Weavers, Lymans, and Redfields. They cost a heckuva lot more than Weavers, etal, back in the day- that's why they're uncommon today. There's always some on eBay it seems.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    There are Weavers scopes and then their are Weaver scope. The early ones had dim and cloudy optics. However later they had clear, bright and sharp optics If the Weaver has "Microtrac" adjustments, buy it. If not pass on it.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  16. #16
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    Optically, the old -B Weavers and later were very good when new and even today in mint condition they are surprisingly good by todays standards. The issue is many of these older scopes suffer from lenses separation and or cement degradation that greatly effects clarity coupled with the lens coating becoming cloudy. The lens are a two piece design that is flat on the inside and glued together. I purchased two K-4's in 1972. One went cloudy within 10 years and one is still very clear.
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    There used to be an old Weaver technician in El Paso who would rebuild scopes, including new lenses and modern sealants. I saw some of them and they were equal in clarity to modern stuff. Sounds like the Vintage Scope person linked above ended up with that stockpile of parts and is continuing the work. Kudos to him for his work.

    A quick search turned up this site for vintage Unertl scopes
    http://unertl.alexweb.net/


    And Hi-Lux makes reproduction Unertl and Malcolm scopes
    https://hi-luxoptics.com/collections...c-sniper-scope

  18. #18
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    Weaver K4, lots of them out there and they are good hunting scopes.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    Stith-Kollmorgen Bear Cub maybe?
    WWJMBD?

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  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    A lot of noise is made over how much better modern rifle scopes are than the old ones. I say okay but how much difference does a 50's scope make and the answer is a lot less than many people think.

    > We now have better lens grinders that provide a flat field of view from edge to edge BUT we aim through the center and the edges only affect our view of empty leaves and trees anyway; is that a big deal?

    > Better lens coatings now allow better light transmission but it takes electronic test instruments to measure the average differences.

    > Len's color corrections are better today but the worst old scopes I ever looked through showed deer and groundhogs quite well.

    > Resolution is technically better now but I aim at the critters, not their individual whiskers. And few people's eyes actually have any better resolution than the older lenses provided anyway.

    I have a modest collection of scopes, old and new. I use and like 'em all. Especially the 1" tube 2.5-5x Baush & Lomb on my Marlin 336 in .35 Rem; the Unertl 12x 1.5" Target on my Browning Safari in .22-250; the 24x Remington BR w/Unertl rings sitting on my Rem. 40XB in 6mm International; the 4x Redfield Sportster on my Marlin 39A; the all steel Weaver K4 on my sporter 91 Mauser in 7.65 Argentine.

    My newer scopes are just common newer stock. All of them are okay but who cares, there's nothing special about any of them.

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