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Sniper rifles then vs now

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by G26man, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. G26man

    G26man OBEY ME!

    Jul 8, 2004
    I've read several books of WWII and Vietnam sniper exploits and in those wars being a sniper involved lots of sneaking around in the woods, long distance infiltration, fieldcraft, etc. A sniper and his spotter alone on a mission for a week or two by themselves on foot, covering a lot of ground to get to their position and back. I just bought a Remington SPS Tactical and it got me to thinking about the typical "sniper rifle" you see today with the 24" big fat bull barrel and massive heavy duty scope that weighs another couple of pounds at least. Arent these way too heavy for the kind of field work our snipers did back then? I know the wars we fight today are almost all urban or even in the desert the snipers are transported in vehicles and even sometimes deploy themselves directly on top of the same vehicle. I just can't see them humping a 15-20lb gun all over hell and back like they used to do. Have we given up that capability or am I just a wimp for thinking they might be too heavy?
  2. Youre a wimp. :)

    What do you do for a living? What kind of shape are you in?

    The people of prior generations were usually in a lot better physical shape than the people of today.

  3. China boy

    China boy

    Feb 2, 2013
    That was an evil post. Look at your post count.
  4. DonD


    Dec 21, 2001
    Central TX
    Rubbish, ever look at most of the recruits in photos from WWII? They're mostly beanpoles, not muscular at all.

    While the average citizen of WWII might be more lean and trim and physically active, athletic performance constantly improves and that is due to physical strength and fitness.

    And yeah, humping a min 15# sniper gun and enough pack to sustain you remotely for days is work. Having your pulse ramped up isn't conducive to a good firing solution. Don
  5. Hedo1


    Oct 1, 2007
    SE Pennsylvania
    You shoot what you are assigned and trained with. ALL rifles are heavy if you hump them long enough. Vietnam was hot as hell I'm told. Iraq got up to 115F some days.

    I'm sure our current snipers would shoot the WW2 and Vietnam era gear if they had to and shoot the hell out of it. I'd also bet the WW2 Grunts and Gunny Hathcock would have loved to get their hands on a High end sniper rifle or Barret of today.
  6. arclight610


    Dec 2, 2009
    I'd take a 16lb M40 over a 20lb SAW and 1000rds of ammo and body armor any day if we are talking strictly about weight.

    If we are talking about pooping your pants and getting bit by giant bugs while having to lay perfectly still, then I'll take the SAW.
  7. gatorboy


    Jul 26, 2001
    It's pretty nice
    Not sure where to find this info but I'd guess the average sniper is at least 2" taller and 20# heavier than 70 years ago. It's a fact American children are hitting puberty earlier today than then and most believe it's hormones in the animals we eat.

    Also, don't snipers parachute in cases where it's feasable?
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  8. gatorboy


    Jul 26, 2001
    It's pretty nice
    Serious question: do they wear adult diapers?
  9. itstime


    Apr 9, 2006
    A simple comparison between a Garand and M4 should tell you a lot.

    Whenever I shoot a Garand I think about all those "beanpoles" running around Europe and the Pacific.
  10. hogship

    hogship It's MY Island

    When comparing athletes, yes, today's athletes have never been bigger and stronger......

    When it comes to the average person's physical fitness, the WW2 generation leaves our current generation in the dust! We have never had a generation so fat and out of shape than we do now. This is a product of what they physically do with themselves.

    I live only a few blocks away from a neighborhood baseball field with backstop. After living in this home for about 15 years, I can't honestly say I've ever seen any kids actually using that field for baseball, or any other physical sport. I'd say about every fifth house has a basketball hoop......but, almost none of them ever get used.......ever. (There is one kid that throws some hoops quite a kid!)

    When I was a kid, we almost lived on our bicycles., and had a good idea of our surroundings because we went, these kids only go outside to go to a friends to play video games, and a lot of them don't spend five minutes on a bicycle in their lives.

  11. LOL. Yea boy! :rofl:

    You dont have to be muscle bound to be fit and strong. Many of the soldiers in WWII were farm boys, and those who worked physically for a living, who were very fit and strong. Todays lifestyles are considerably different.

    Kids of that era, were more fit than kids of today. Most kids these days, are internet strong, kids back then actually played physically, and were fit. Go back and look at old film clips of all people of the day, and you will rarely see a fat person, let alone a fat kid.

    These days, youre lucky to see a 10 year old under 150 pounds. :)

    The key words here are, "trained with". If you hump one around all the time, its not near as heavy as you develop muscle tone. Its what you become use to.

    How that relates to shooting is, go to your local range, and see how many people actually shoot from a field position. 99% of them shoot off some kind of a bench or rest, and consider themselves to be good shots. Hand them that SPS and ask them to hit a standard IPSC silhouette at 200 yards off hand, and Id be willing to bet, most couldnt.

    I see more wanna bes with tacticool guns that cant shoot, than I do shooters actually plying the trade. Shooting off a bench doesnt make you a rifleman.

    I agree.
  12. 427


    Nov 23, 2009

    I think there were a lot more, for lack of a better word, "natural" shots back then. Generations ago, people were more rural, and depended on skills with a firearm - to some extant fieldcraft- to put food on the table - if they missed, the family didn't eat. Kids grew up shooting at a very young age. Having basic fundamentals down, they were able to work with crude, by the standards of today, sights and be very effective.

    Today, we use and depend on technology for making shots.

    Again, an observation and not a criticism.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  13. DonD


    Dec 21, 2001
    Central TX
    I certainly agree that in general US fitness levels are horrid, certainly the worst since anytime in the 20th century. Having said that, our hard core Marines, Rangers, Delta, SEALs are the best fighting troops in history.

    A similar situation exists in my opinion in education. We're still socially promoting, accepting substandard performance but the best and brightest are simply outstanding. Don
  14. Darkangel1846


    Jul 19, 2004
    Sniping in Vietnam was different then now....Lots of city fighting, a humvee takes you to a spot drops you off, you hike half a mile to you high point then go to work.
    sometimes a chopper takes you to a point and drops you off, you hike 4 or five miles and set up. You have specialized weapons & scopes where you can hit a target 1 shot at a mile.
    Hathcock sometimes would take 3-4 days to slowly move up to a target, the mid east wars you set up and wait for the targets to come to you.
    WWII the Jap snipers gave the marines fits.
    WWI it was trench to trench sniping.
    My Dad was 17 when he was with the marines in WWI, his division did a frontal bayonet charge assault on the Bellow woods. They over ran the germans but lost 10,000 marines doing it. Those men were beanpoles, but brave and strong. Dad didn't talk about that much, but would sometimes cry when he would watch old videos of WWI
  15. There is strong, and then there is farm strong :)

    I joined the NRA, have you yet?
  16. Haldor

    Haldor Retired EE

    Oct 22, 2006
    Central Arizona
    Read about Carlos Hathcock in Vietnam. Hathcock was an early proponent of using the .50 cal for sniping. He used an M2 50 cal machine gun with a 10 power scope to take out a VC at 2500 yards. That record stood for 35 years.
  17. Haldor

    Haldor Retired EE

    Oct 22, 2006
    Central Arizona
    I love the story from one of John Ringo's novels about how a college football coach used to pick linemen. He would drive through farm country until he found a young man plowing. He would stop and ask them directions to a local place. If they pointed with their arm, he thanked them and drove on. The one who pointed with the plow he recruited.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  18. countrygun


    Mar 9, 2012
    From a fixed position, and given the nature of the conflict.

    Humping a Ma Deuce in the bush? I don't think so.

  19. Haldor

    Haldor Retired EE

    Oct 22, 2006
    Central Arizona
    I am very thankful for your fathers service, but it was called the Battle of Belleau Wood. Marine losses totaled 3615 wounded and 1062 killed for both Chateau-Thierry and Belleau Wood combined.

    The Marines attack on Chateau-Thierry was generally considered a shambles that never should have been permitted to happen (marching across open fields into interlocked heavy machine gun fire). It is a tribute to the spirit of the Marines involved that they were able to keep fighting despite suffering a 55% casualty rate in 25 days.

    Just out of curiosity how old are you?
  20. Haldor

    Haldor Retired EE

    Oct 22, 2006
    Central Arizona
    OK, you got me. I made it up.


    Seriously how hard would it have been to spend 10 seconds researching this for yourself?