The Gibbs Rifle Company is giving shooters and collectors a reproduction of two WWII marksmanship rifles in an affordable package. And they can shoot, too!
If you like tactical rifles and gear, then wandering around the SHOT Show is like being a child lost in a candy store. But when I moseyed by the Gibbs Rifle Company booth, what stopped me dead in my tracks was a rack full of Springfield 1903A4 sniper rifles. Next to them was a M1D Garand Sniper.
I'd discovered the reproduction WWII rifles of the Gibbs Rifle Company — hoo rah!
M1D Sniper Scopes
The Garand M1D sniper rifle is one that any WWII arms collector wants, but they aren't cheap. Good samples of authentic scopes are hard to come by. Complete units — M1Cs and M1Ds — are selling online anywhere from $3000 on up.
But now Gibbs is making a replica of the M84 scope and “D” mount, allowing you to transform your Garand into the sniper version and not break the bank.
However, one difference between the original and the Gibbs reproduction will be the use of modern coated glass, plus an improved design to the dust cover latches and sunshade retention rings.
The Gibbs 84 scope is available in two versions: a replica with “D” mount for the Garand, and one with 7/8″ rings so you can mount it on an M1903 Springfield.
M1903 A4 Springfield Sniper
The Gibbs 1903 A4 snipers come in two variations: a Standard 1903 A4 version with an early Weaver-style scope, the 1903 A4 “82” and “84” which both feature an improved replica U.S. Military M82 rifle scope and 7/8″ rings. In talking with Val Forgett III, President of Gibbs, the company is exploring other replica scopes from the period.
I put my two cents in to lobby for a replica of the Unertl sniper scope, which I believe to be among the most attractive optics of the period. I wouldn't be too surprised to see the company offer this variation in the near future. And if (when?) they do, expect gun owners to line up with open wallets for one. With current models featuring an MSRP of $995, these guns are within reach.
But how do they shoot? According to Forgett, Camp Perry is adding a scoped rifle aspect to its competition based largely on the availability of the reproduction 1903 rifles.
Here are a few more details on the Gibbs M82 and M84 1903A4 reproductions from their website:
The Gibbs M1903-A4 is built using original Remington-made World War II M1903-A3 actions and turned-down bolts, which Gibbs obtained large quantities of when it purchase the rifle division of Parker-Hale in the 1990's. Gibbs then utilizes new-made 4-groove barrels made identical to the originals. Each receiver is carefully drilled and tapped using replicas of the original “Redfield” rings and mounts and an exact copy of the M73B1 scope, used on the 1st model M1903-A4's. Each barreled action has the original military parkerized finish with polished blue stock furniture, again, identical to the originals. The stocks are new-made “C” configuration with a linseed oil finish.
Each gun comes with a replica of the M1907 U.S. issued leather sling and OD Green canvas carrying case. The result is a firearm that comes out of the box in brand-new condition, ready for shooting, display, reenacting and field use. Not just exceptional in looks and finish, each gun is made to hold to the accuracy standards of the U.S. Government during World War II. “We want our customers to know that they can achieve the same accuracy as World War II snipers with these guns” stated Val Forgett, President of Forgett Militaria, LLC.
Like all replicas and historic remakes, the Gibbs M1903-A4 has a number of features that intentionally distinguish it from originals, even by the casual observer. For instance, the barrels are marked with the modern dates of manufacture, unlike original barrels that would have had 1940's manufacturing dates. Gibbs also does not remove the receiver markings, another telling feature to distinguish this historic remake. Finally, the scopes are marked with the Gibbs name and address, unlike the originals, which were marked with Weaver's manufacturer's marks.
Each gun comes packaged in a new hardside gun case with a replica M1907 U.S. issued leather sling and OD green canvas carrying case as seen below.