British World War One SMLE Sniper Rifle

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Shared November 17, 2018

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The British started World War One without a sniper program, but were quick to develop one once faced with the threat of well-trained German snipers. The initial equipment used by the British was a motley collection of commercial hunting rifles, but by 1915 the government was issuing contract to mount mostly 3x and 4x telescopes on SMLE and Pattern 1914 rifles. About 10,000 scoped sniper rifles were issued in total during the war using a variety of scopes and mount types (a standardized pattern would not be adopted until 1918). The example we have here today is the most common type; an SMLE with an offset Periscopic Prism Company scope using a 5-screw mount assembled by the same company. Later in the war the offset mounts would slowly fall out of favor to the center-mounted scopes, which allowed better shooting at the cost of being able to use stripper clips.

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