Carlos Hathcock .30-06

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Kiwi Nate, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. Kiwi Nate

    Kiwi Nate Well-Known Member

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    Just in the middle of reading the biography of Carlos Hathcock by Charles Henderson- Marine Sniper. The book certainly has me drawn in, am up to the chapter about the Apache, the man hating female sniper- very frightening.

    Anyway, It is amazing to think what Hatchcock and the lads were able to acheive with the .30-06, loaded with the 173 grain Sierra BT at 2550fps. Henderson states that Hathcock kept his M70 zeroed at 700 yards. I crunched the numbers using the current 168gr SMK and for a 700 yard zero, the bullet would strike around 24" high at 100 yards, 59" high at 375 yards and from there, gradually fall to its zero. I wonder if this was actually the zero he used or if Henderson has not gotten it quite right.

    I have been working on a client's .30-06 today, its a very old Parker Hale/ Mauser action/ English trigger/ English light weight barrel in OK condition for its age. It had a re-stock and I was asked to bed the old girl. Seems to like the Hornady 165 grain BTSP at 2950fps which for an old rifle, is a healthy load. I will probably take it out for a couple of long shots before the rifle goes back to the owner so it will be great to give it a work out.

    I certainly have a lot of respect for how guys like Hathcock and also match shooters, have been able to use the .308 and .30-06 and read the wind at 1000 yards. With my .308 culling rifle, I am absolutely hopeless past 450 yards. Although I should learn to use the .308 out further, the .30-06 is very appealing.

    Have any of you guys become smitten with the old .30 for inexpensive LR work?
     

  2. ba19500

    ba19500 Well-Known Member

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    I've been using a Winchester pre-64 M70 target rifle in 30/06 Springfield for 1000 yard shooting. Had this rifle for 40 years. There is a Unertl Ultra-Varmint 15X on top.

    My Ruger 77ST '06 shoots very small groups with Sierra 125 grain bullets at 250 yards so it is my coyote carry rifle.
     

  3. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    It might shock you even more to know that the sgt's rifle shot about a 2" group at 100 yards and that he had to reset the scope after every shot.

    I have read this book about 3 times its great! Henderson got it right alright. It was writen when Hathcock was still alive and there was alot of input from Maj Land too.

    I love history. My first military rifle was the M14 in 308 win wow what a weapon.

    After your done with that read SHOOTER its about Somila/Iraq a good read to.
     
  4. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    My views of hunting and the world in general are not very mainstream so you can just take note of that fact up front.

    At the moment I have several goals to achieve one of which is getting an elk beyond 100 yards with a bow. That may take me some few years to do. Another is to take a big game animal beyond 500 yards with a pistol and that should be easily accomplished this Fall.

    On my list of potential challenges and things that would make my life varied and interesting is to have Nesikachad put me a set of competition iron sights on my308 in 40X and use them to kill a big game animal beyond 1000 yards with it. It may be that my eyes are no longer up to the challenge and it may be a waste of money but it is in the back of my mind as something interesting to do once my current list of challenges gets thinned out.
     
  5. Bart B

    Bart B Well-Known Member

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    Gunny Hathcock's venerable Winchester could certainly tell a tale or two.

    [​IMG]

    It is a Model 70 National Match version made before 1940. It had a standard weight barrel as well as a clip guide milled into the receiver bridge so 5-round stripper clips could quickly and easily charge the magazine. The stock on his is the original standard one, not the Marksman stock later used. There's clips of the same type of rifle and scope used in WWII on TV sometimes.

    Carrying a Unertl 8X target scope in external mounts, the scope had to be pulled back after each shot. Sliding forward in the mounts from recoil, that was the norm for those older Lyman, Fecker, El Monte and Unertl target scopes favored by competitive shooters.

    His ammo was select lots of M72 30 caliber match ammo with 172-gr. FMJ boattail bullets. They left at near 2700 fps from new barrels. But the Gunny's barrel was worn enough that they left a bit slower. Note that M118 7.62 NATO match ammo wasn't made until 1964.

    I read somewhere that the USMC's Marksmanship Unit at Quantico MCB, VA, checked his rifle out after he retired from active duty. Its barrel was rather worn and readily swallowed a bore erosion gage. It shot about 2 feet at 1000 yards, not nearly as well as it did when new. But Gunny Hathcock was so familiar with its trigger and sight settings for the trajectory its bullets followed, he didn't want to use anything else.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  6. RBetts

    RBetts Well-Known Member

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    One of my uncle's was detached to Hill 55 as a Seabee. He told me that when he was to go on patrol that once a month before she was killed was terrifying .
    If you watch Saving Private Ryan the left handed sniper is using a Unertl. This will give you an idea of what had to be done to reset the scope and take another shot.
     
  7. winmag

    winmag Well-Known Member

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    Gunny Hathcock (aka White feather) had the stuff ledgends are made of. He had a natural skill that Very few have, and Unbelivable Courage, and is an American Hero!

    I read that book years ago, when all my buddies were shooting 300mags and 7 mags and ''poo-pooing'' the ol 30-06. Mr Hathcock was an inspiration, and role model of courage and marksmanship for a young kid (me) with an old M-70 Win 30-06. I pushed my limmits (very meager by current standards) to 380yds under 3'' at 17 yrs old and daydreamed of what I could do with such skill. Hahaha pretty funny now, but grandpa hunted with his dads 30WCF and never saw any reason not to close the distance to under 100yds. And thats how my dad taught me, so 380 was HUGE for me. Now-a-days dad and I are on the same page, pushing our personal best's well past my old milestone of 17yrs ago. Grandpa is gone and so is Gunny Hathcock, but lessons from both are still with me today when I hunt.

    In NO WAY am I comparing myself with a real life hero or even implying that I have EVEN ONE OUNCE of the Gunny's skill or courage. But he was an inspiration to better my marksmanship, just like grandpas inspiration to be stealthy in the woods.
    While I belive there are far more efficient/effective L/R/H calibers out there, Gunny Hathcocks prowise proved to a young kid (me) that there wasnt anything wrong with shooting a so called ''whimpy old -06''. I learned alot.
     
  8. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Nate,
    There were a couple of errors in Henderson's account here, but they're relatively minor and shouldn't detract from the story itself. First, there was no such thing as a Sierra 173 grain FMJBT. The bullet was a match grade M72/M118 bullet produced at Lake City or Frankford arsenal. Good bullets, and they'd stay supersonic out past a thousand yards. Not a fair comparison with the Sierra 168, since the HPBT is considerably more accurate, but won't stay supersonic our that far. They lose it, break the transonic range and usually start tumbling around 900 yards or so. The newer 175 grain HPBT loaded in the current 7.62mm M118LR was the hybrid that resulted to cure both the accuracy issues of the 173s, and the BC deficiencies of the 168 in one bullet. Done pretty well in that, and is still helping Mujihadeed get their promised 72 virgins, one round at a time. In WWII and Korea, snipers usually used 168 grain AP rounds, as they were the heaviest available, and there were no match rounds in production for most of this period. The match rounds came out of some work done by some very competent competitive shooters who wound up serving as snipers (sound familar?) in both WWII and Korea, eventually going to the M72, the M118, the M118 Special Ball and the M852, and finally the M118LR. There's a whole story here about how these rounds evolved, and it's a pretty interesting one.

    Never got the chance to meet GySgt Hathcock, but I've shot with his son on several occasions. He was my coach in Long range Firing School at Camp Perry in 2000, and a genuinely nice guy. Major Land went on the work for the NRA competitions division (and may still be there, I'm not sure). It's his signature on my Distinguished Rifleman's certificate, which I thought was just pretty damned cool. By the way, if you like Henderson's book, check out "Shots Fired In Anger" by Col John George. The story of an NRA competitive shooter who found himself fighting in the Pacific. His detailed knowledge of precison shooting, natural interest in and knowledge of guns made him a fascinating commentator on the fighting.

    Kevin thomas
    Lapua USA
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  9. Kiwi Nate

    Kiwi Nate Well-Known Member

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    Shooting with Hathcock's son and shooting at camp Perry would certainly be a humbling experience.

    Would I be right in guessing that the Unertyl scope slid forwards as a means to avoid scope cuts? In the book, Henderson states that they had to assemble whatever was on hand to supply the guys, Redfield scopes, M70 rifles, M700 rifles, M14's for the spotter's (guess these weren't scoped) and also M1 Garand sniper rifles from WW11. He mentions Hathcock having to re-set the Unertyl with each shot.

    The 2MOA groupings don't sound fantastic by todays standards- was this at the beginning or later, when the bore was worn?

    Here in NZ, we had the Lee Enfield SMLE as our sniper/ police tactical rifle. Some grouped OK but you never knew from rifle to rifle how things might turn out. I remember shooting one from the police arsenal that wouldn't do better than 3MOA off the bench. I have a History channel doco/DVD of the English using the SMLE for sniping. Average range for 'hunting' was around 300 yards which you can clearly see in the doco. In Hendersons book, Land didn't like his guys being inside 600 yards and 1000 yards was all the better for survival of the precious few men he started out with. Of course, this was the downfall of the Japanese, shooting a little too close and then sitting tight rather than moving off after contact, for the sake of an idealogical view of honour.

    All very interesting responeses here on the boards. I will definitely have a read of the books you guys have mentioned. I liked the post about taking a shot at 380 yards as a young fella and being over the moon about it. I think everyone here who was raised with rudimentary factory rifles has been through the same experience.

    I still wonder about the 700 yard zero. I guess Hathcock must have had to refer to his notebook (tables) or memorize his notebook to keep that zero. I also wonder why Winchester never really lifted their game when it came to competing against Remington regarding sniper rifles.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
  10. Lank

    Lank Active Member

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    That apache woman was certainly one crazy, demented individual, glad I wasn't married to her~

    Recently picked up an old Enfield chambered in 30-338 that I am wanting to play with at some extended ranges. Anybody with any thoughts let me know.
     
  11. Kiwi Nate

    Kiwi Nate Well-Known Member

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    Did it come with a bayonet LOL. :D

    The best way to set up this rifle is with a good back drop behind it as when you shoot at it, even from long range, the bullet might still bounce off the action. Ok Ok, sorry, just fooling around.

    I have several Lee enfields, one is in .45-70 and having a No.4 Mk1 action, handles the Ruger No.1 loads with ease.
     
  12. Lank

    Lank Active Member

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    In other words you don't think a 2000 yard coyote is gonna happen then eh?

    Ahhh, the bitter truth gets ahold~
     
  13. Bart B

    Bart B Well-Known Member

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    Kiwi Nate comments:
    If one typically has targets somewhere between 500 and 1000 yards, keeping the sights set for 700 yards is a good starting point.

    Back in the late 1960's when the US Army and Marine Corps was running out of accurate Winchesters for snipers to use, they decided to get a new one. Winchester was in financial straights at the time and the officers wearing stars didn't think a company that might fold would be a good one to use as a supplier. Despite the desires of their cometitive shooting teams' knowing the Winchester action was a better platform to build an accurate and much more reliable sniper rifle on (just as it was better for high power match rifles), and many snipers also shot on these teams, the decision to go with Remington was cast in stone. I think Gale McMillan was instrumental in convincing the brass that the Remington 700 was the better platform. And he ended up supplying his barrels for them.

    Why the powers at hand chose Redfield's 3-9X variable as the standard scope dumbfounds me. It was one of the least repeatable rifle scopes on the market at the time. In the late '70's or early '80's, the services finally shifted to a Unertl 8 or 10 power scope with improved optics and internal adjustments as good as Weaver's Micro Track system.

    Speaking or scopes, yes the old Unertl had to be pulled back after each shot. The picture I posted shows one with two clamping rings, one in front of and the other in back of the front mount. The front one was used as a stop for pulling the scope back to the same place for each shot so its short, 2-inch eye relief would be set, the back one was the stop to prevent the scope from sliding too far forward in recoil making it harder to get back on target to see the results of the shot. Those scopes were pulled back with a twisting motion in the same direction so they returned to battery at exactly the same place for each shot preloading them at the same points with the same pressure each time.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
  14. RBetts

    RBetts Well-Known Member

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    Why the powers at hand chose Redfield's 3-9X variable as the standard scope dumbfounds me. It was one of the least repeatable rifle scopes on the market at the time. In the late '70's or early '80's, the services finally shifted to a Unertl 8 or 10 power scope with improved optics and internal adjustments as good as Weaver's Micro Track system.

    In 1983 the Army had Redfields still in service in some units. 2/75th had the Unertls on the M24. I didn't handle a single M21 while there so I cannot say for certain. I was transfered to another unit which issued me a Redfield scoped M24. The Redfield was super glued to 8X so it wouldn't move for ranging. The M21's in that unit were all Redields. By the time I E.T.S.ed all the M24's had been upgraded with the 10x unertl. Here's another tidbit about 1/3 of the M24's were 300 win mag in that unit 3/41
    I was under the impression that Remington because of previous contracts with the Military won that contract. Learn something knew everyday
    Thanks