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Thread: M40A1 project completed (joins my M40 and M40A5 replica) - 1966 to 2016 USMC snipers

  1. #1
    Rifleman
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    M40A1 project completed (joins my M40 and M40A5 replica) - 1966 to 2016 USMC snipers

    Just completed my M40A1 project. I picked it up on the 4th and mounted the scope on the 5th, so obviously I do not yet have a range report.
    The stock and its camo paint job is a original USMC "return stock" that McMillan sold back to the public when the USMC upgraded to the M40A3 variants with McMillan A4 stocks.
    Here's some pics for anyone interested in a replica of a mid-1990s era M40A1 sniper rifle:

    Right side in case (click image to enlarge):


    Left side in case:


    Correct 'RTE-P' stamp on barrel:


    ...and here's a few pics re build details, including a couple of characteristics that are kind-of unique to the M40A1s:

    Recessed crown (barrel is Schneider USMC contract barrel, 1:12 twist, stainless steel that has treated with a black oxide finish)



    "Lug slotting" on top of receiver. Some call this "clip slotting" but that is not technically correct as the C-prefix Remington receivers were cut for 'lugs' on the Unertl scope mounts. (Note: The original 6-digit M40s from 1966-67 had clip-slots already on them, but the later C-prefix receivers from the early 1990s had to be machined for "lug slots", as did the later receivers used for the M40A3/A5 receivers):



    Here you can see the front and rear lugs on the reproduction Unertl scope mount. The white arrow shows where the USMC match armorers (MOS 2112) would gently file the back side of the rear lug so it had a tight fit into the lug slots on the receiver. So my scope rail fits nice and tight - there is no movement whatsoever. The last 4 digits of the serial # were stamped on the mount since this part was hand-fit to the receiver (some were stamped on bottom of mount like mine, and some were stamped on the side).



    The M40A1 bolts had the last 4 digits stamped on the vertical side of the bolt, whereas the later M40A3/A5s were stamped on that small horizontal surface just above the stamping seen in this picture:


    (Not shown, but the bottom of the recoil lug is also stamped with the last 4 digits of the serial #).

    A retired Marine that I shoot with noted that my return stock had been painted while it sat in the tripod used for the old M49 Observation/Spotting scope....and sure enough, I pulled out my M15 tripod for my spotting scope and the pattern matches. Neat little artifact from its prior service life:



    The retired builder provided the proper stamps in my weapon book:





    He used 15 rds of Federal Gold Metal match to break in the barrel
    (NOTE: before any one asks, please note that the retired builder of this rifle is not taking on any new work).



    Here's what the stock looked like before I 'restored' it with a new improvised cheek pad:


    This type of improvised cheek piece was likely on the rifle originally (a strip of military sleeping mat hard foam, attached with military grade duct tape):


    Vintage case is not quite correct as I think its a little larger than the original cases, but it does a decent job of holding some the accessories I collected for this rifle.


    Anyhow, I hope that one day I might find a good deal on a USMC-issued Unertl scope in good shape and with a patina that matches the return stock's camo paint, and I wouldn't mind a real Unertl scope mount instead of a reproduction part, but in the meantime I'm happy to finally have a nice M40A1 replica for my small collection of sniper rifles.

    Here's the group picture. (I'm not building an M40A3 as its similar enough to the M40A5, at least for me. The A6 variant is too pricey).
    These more or less represent the 3 basic flavors of USMC sniper rifles circa 1966 to 2016 (again, minus the M40A3 circa 2002-2009).



    ..now I need to make it to the range to dial-in the M40A1..
    Last edited by Random Guy; 7th July 2019 at 03:48 PM.

  2. #2
    Sgt Major VanHahner's Avatar
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    Re: M40A1 project completed (joins my M40 and M40A5 replica) - 1966 to 2016 USMC snip

    Nice !
    btw: The M40's (1967-68) we had were issued with web slings.

    U.S.M.C. Scout Sniper 67-68

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    Owner / Administrator Hawk's Avatar
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    Re: M40A1 project completed (joins my M40 and M40A5 replica) - 1966 to 2016 USMC snip

    Nice job!
    Semper-Fi! Hawk
    USMC 71-73

    Life Member 3rd Mar Div Assoc.
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    Sparrowhawkm14dotcom Home of Hawk's M14 Dummy Kits(TM) and more




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    Moderator wrwindsor's Avatar
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    Re: M40A1 project completed (joins my M40 and M40A5 replica) - 1966 to 2016 USMC snip

    Nice work. By coincidence, last night I finally read your earlier (December) post about the Unertl scope.

    (yeah, catching up on some of these)

    Back then, you were still looking for a source for the stock. Good to see you found one.

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  8. #5
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    Re: M40A1 project completed (joins my M40 and M40A5 replica) - 1966 to 2016 USMC snip

    Thanks, it was a neat project....but it took a few years to get a real USMC return stock..

    btw: The M40's (1967-68) we had were issued with web slings.
    Yep, that is my understanding as well. Mine originally came with a green web sling as seen here (Chuck Mawhinney overun rifle)...



    ..but, I kind-of prefer the look of leather sling on these, as some Scout-Snipers used them as well.

    Here's Chuck Mawhinney circa 1968-1969:


    I took this picture at the USMC museum last year of his actual rifle (restored in 1996 by a retired 2112 I met a couple of years ago).



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  10. #6
    Command Sgt Major budster's Avatar
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    Re: M40A1 project completed (joins my M40 and M40A5 replica) - 1966 to 2016 USMC snip

    Very nice toy! I'm impressed!

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