Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 35

▲ Machine shop workers at Springfield
Armory showing off the stocks of the
newly designed U.S. Olympic Rifle
team's smallbore rifle.

U.S. team was determined to make a good showing in that event, and a partnership was formed
to develop the most accurate smallbore rifle possible with an additional criterion: to duplicate in
every way (except caliber) the centerfire rifles
used at long-range and in 300 meter competition-
to replicate the dimensions, weight, balance and
feel. A smallbore rifle that looked and felt like a

centerfire match rifle would facilitate both training and competition-switching between the
two should be as effortless as possible.
This quest for replication likely resulted
from an odd sequence of events. In 1924, the
300 meter World Championships were held in
Rheims, France, just a few days before the Olympics. The U.S. was determined to show that our
"win" and record scores in the previous year's
World Championship at Camp Perry, were no
accident; only the U.S. team showed up (for more
background see "The Roaring Twenties", SSUSA,
February 2015). Team selection and training were
devoted to that end, with the Olympic matches
being distinctly a secondary concern. The Olympics included, in addition to the smallbore event,
running deer (in which the U.S. claimed no
expertise) and long-range prone. We knew longrange, so having a smallbore rifle that replicated
the larger caliber rifles would provide a bumpless
transition between centerfire and smallbore.
The rifle that resulted from these efforts is
one of the rarest of competition rifles-a unique
specimen of the gun maker's art, a data point in
the development of smallbore match rifles and
ammunition that allows comparison with the performance of modern equipment and shooters.
The 12 rifles produced were described by
G.L. Wotkyns (the first National Smallbore
Champion, Caldwell, New Jersey, 1919) in The
American Rifleman of June 15, 1924. They were
based on the Model 1922 Springfield action with
barrels, rigorously selected, 30-inches long, sixgroove and 1-in-16 twist. They tapered from one
and a quarter inches in diameter at the action, to
0.9 inch before stepping down, an inch and a half
from the muzzle, to 0.75 inch to accommodate
the Browning Automatic Rifle front sight band
and the Winchester Globe front sight. Additionally a Lyman 48 rear sight completed the setup.
These rifles, like their centerfire counterparts,
weighed 14 pounds.
To decrease lock time, the firing pin's travel
was reduced by one-half. Although Wotkyns
noted that "... in the standard weapon shortly
to appear, this reduced striker time will not
be attempted ..."

SHOOTINGSPORTSUSA.COM | MAY 2015

35


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Shooting Sports USA - May 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA - May 2015

In This Issue
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - Cover1
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - Cover2
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 3
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 4
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 5
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - In This Issue
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 7
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 8
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 9
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 10
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 11
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 12
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 13
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 14
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 15
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 16
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 17
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 18
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 19
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 20
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 21
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 22
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 23
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 24
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 25
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 26
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 27
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 28
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 29
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 30
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 31
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 32
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 33
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 34
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 35
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 36
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 37
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 38
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 39
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 40
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 41
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - 42
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - Cover3
Shooting Sports USA - May 2015 - Cover4
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