The M1C and M1D .30 cal. Sniper Rifles were specially adapted for sniper use from the M1 Garand service rifle. The M1C and M1D sniper rifles served the U.S. Army and Marine Corps from late in WW II through the mid-1960s.
Marine sniper sighting his target. The rifle appears to be the Marine version of the M1C Garand but not with the standard Kollmorgen-Stith scope. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, April-May 1965.
The M1C and M1D Sniper Rifles were the sniper version of the semi-automatic "US Rifle, Cal. .30, M1", or M1 Garand, the standard U.S. service rifle in World War II. The formal nomenclature was U.S. Rifle, .30 Cal., M1C (Sniper's) and M1D (Sniper's).
The M1 Garand became the standard U.S. service rifle in 1936, but the former standard M1903 Springfield continued in use. The M1903A4 model Springfield was a bolt action sniper rifle that remained in use for years due to its superior performance.
The U.S. rifle M1C or M1D (Sniper's) is the standard U.S. rifle M1 with telescope M81, M82, or M84 mounted on the receiver and a cheek pad laced to the stock. The cone shaped flash hider M2 or prong flash hider T37 is furnished as an accessory with the M1C and M1D models. The 1952 Marine version of the M1C had a different scope and flash hider.
The M1C and M1D sniper versions of the M1 Garand were standardized in 1944. The M1C was used late in World War II and was the main sniper weapon for the U.S. Army in Korea. Few M1D models were produced before the end of World War II. Many standard M1s were converted to M1D during the Korean War, but few made it to that war. During the early years of the Vietnam War, the M1D was the official U.S. Army sniper rifle until it was replaced in the mid-1960s by the M-21 7.62mm Sniper Rifle.
M1C and M1D Sniper Rifles Development History
The demand for sniper rifles for Army infantry units led to tests of versions of the M1 equipped for the job. In June 1944, the test version M1E7, equipped with the M81 telescope, was standardized as U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1C (Sniper's). A second version, using the M82 scope and designated M1E8 in testing, was adopted a few months later in September 1944, standardized as U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1D (Sniper's). The M1C and M1D were different only in the telescope mounting system, as can be seen in the images above. The M1C scope mount required drilling and tapping of the reciever for the mounting screws, a process that had to be done in a shop.
The last design, the M1D with M84 scope, could be assembled without machine tools, a job that could be done in the field by a division armorer. The M1D barrel is fitted with a mounting block at the factory which serves as the base for the scope mount which is attached by a large knurled knob. This improved design was the main reason why the M1D eventually predominated, remaining in service through the 1970s.
The cheek pad is a leather cover with a pocket containing three felt inserts. It is laced together and attached to the stock with two screws, forming a cheek rest. It can be adjusted to the individual comfort of the sniper.
The technical manual is TM9-1275, "U.S. Rifles, Cal. .30 - M1, M1C (Sniper's) and M1D (Sniper's)" widely available on the Internet.
M1C Sniper Rifle 1952 USMC Version
Early in World War II, the Marine Corps adopted the USMC Model 1941 Sniper Rifle based on the M1903A1 with Unertl scope. The performance of the Model 1941 was excellent except for problems with the Unertl in humid climates such as the Pacific Theater. Basic satisfaction with the performance of that rifle and a shortage of the M1C, kept the Model 1941 in use during World War II and the early days of the Korean War.
Initially the USMC used M1C rifles transferred from the Army in Korea. In 1952, the Marines replaced the Model 1941 with modified M1C rifles mounting a Stith-Kollmorgen telescopic sight. That rifle was called the "USMC 1952" or "MC-52", although collectors sometimes incorrectly call it MC-1, a designation which properly refers only to the scope and mount.
The USMC 1952 sniper rifle was produced by Springfield Armory. Standard M1C rifles were each given a barrel, a Griffin & Howe mount, and the Kollmorgen scope. A bell shaped flash hider, different from the Army M2 flash hider, was produced to the USMC design for these rifles. Few if any of the USMC 1952 rifles made it to Korea before the armistice ending the conflict on 27 July 1953.
In 1966, during the Vietnam War, the USMC 1952 sniper rifle was replaced by the M40 sniper rifle, based on the Remington Model 700 bolt action rifle.
Characteristics of the M1C and M1D Sniper Rifles
Length of rifle without flash hider
Length of rifle with flash hider mounted
Weight of rifle complete with telescope, flash hider, web sling, and cheek pad
Weight of rifle, M1C or M1D without accessories but including permanently mounted bracket
6.5 lb max; 4.5 lb min
Maximum effective range
M1C and M1D Sniper Rifles Ammunition
Both M1C and M1D Sniper Rifles used the standard Army .30-06 cartridge loaded manually, or in eight-round en-bloc clips. Accuracy was improved by using M72 .30-06 Match ammunition produced by Frankfort and Lake City Arsenals.
M1C and M1D Sniper Rifles Scopes and Optics
The M1C mounted a model M81 2.5X telescope while the M1D an M82 2.5X telescope. Both the M81 and M82 were mil-spec Lyman Alaskan scopes, identical except for a cross-wre reticle on the M81 vs. a tapered post on the M82. Specs were:
Weight of scope
Maximum useful range
800 to 1,000 yards
Zero setting range
Field of vision at 100 yards
Approx. 5 inches
The M84 scope, produced by Libby-Owens-Ford, replaced the M81 and M82 on all Army rifles (M1C, M1D and Springfield M1903A4) as standard issue in April 1945 but was not available in quantity until the Korean War. The M84 is a 2.2x scope with 27 foot field of view at 100 yards. The sight is sealed and can be immersed in water without damage. The Ordnance Maintenance Technical Manual for the "Telescope M84" is TM 9-6131 (June 1954).
The scope used with the USMC 1952 sniper rifle was the Stith-Kollmorgen Model 4XD-USMC. It was based on the Stith Bear Cub, produced by Kollmorgen Optical, a precision optics company best known for submarine periscopes. A modified Griffin & Howe mount was used with the M1C rifle and this scope, as explained in the section on the U.S. Marine Corps 1952 Version of the M1C Sniper Rifle.
M1C and M1D Sniper Rifles Accessories
M1C sniper rifle with M84 telescope, flash hider and cheek pad.
Some of the accessories associated with the M1C and M1D Sniper Rifles were:
Case, Carrying M65. OD web canvas case with snap flap and M1910 belt hook on back. Used with M1903A4 and M1C or M1D sniper rifles with M81 and M82 scope.
Case, Carrying 7631596. OD canvas case with snap flap and M1910 belt hook on back. Used with M84 scope.
Flash Hider, M2. Cone shaped flash hider for M1C and M1D. USMC 1952 had a cone shaped flash hider of different design.
Flash Hider, T37. Prong flash hider for M1C and M1D (see M1D image near top of page).
Other accessories, such as the M10 Cleaning Rod, were identical to the standard M1 rifle accessories.
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