Original U.S. WWI 1st Issue Warner & Swasey M-1908 Sniper Scope Serial 702 with Mounting Bracket for M1903 Springfield in Leather Case

Item Description

Original item: Only One Available. This design was known as THE FIRST "OFFICIAL" SNIPER SCOPE" that was issued to snipers in the First World War. After the introduction of the Mauser-based M1903 Springfield Service Rifle, it was proposed that telescopic sighted rifles be available to selected marksmen. An experimental rifle telescope, designed by Ambrose Swasey, a co-founder of the Cleveland, Ohio firm of Warner & Swasey was selected.

It was an unusual prismatic construction which had the advantage of allowing a wide field of view at the relatively high magnification of 6x. The Model 1908 Warner & Swasey sight was constructed of black painted brass and steel and weighed a hefty 2 1/4 pounds. Warner & Swasey company markings and the serial number of the sight were stamped on the left side of the scope body and two brass plates were fastened to the top of the sight which contained firing and adjustment data.

The telescope was offset to the left side of the receiver so that the ‘03 could be clip-loaded and fired normally. This location also allowed the standard iron sights to be used with the scope in place. The scope performed well, however it did have some issues, particularly problems with keeping the adjustment steady, and the eyepiece “sticking” to the face of soldiers due to suction. The problems encountered with the M1908 sight eventually resulted in the development of a modified design which was intended to improve the situation – The Model of 1913 Warner & Swasey Musket sight.

This fine example of the Model 1908 scope is fully marked, the black finish partly worn showing much of the brass beneath. The mounting bracket is still attached and ready to mount to your M1903 rifle! The range data plate is still attached and legible, and the left side of the sight still has the manufacturer’s markings:

MODEL OF 1908 No.702
PAT. FEB.13-06.MAY 22-06. MAY 22-08

Still providing a good image with built in cross hairs. The lens is needing a good internal cleaning, with speckling visible within the lenses. However, despite this, the optics are still usable as intended. The sight adjusts as it should, with elevation and windage adjustments working properly. The rubber eyecup is missing, which is common for a 100+ year old piece of rubber which becomes extremely fragile with age. Luckily, excellent reproductions are available on the market today if one wishes to replace it.

The scope comes with its sight rail mounting bracket in place, which is intended to be mounted on the left side of the M-1903 Springfield Rifle. The rail itself looks to be in very good to unissued condition. Originally these would have the serial number of the rifle they were issued to marked in the dovetail, however it is worn away on this example, or it is a period replacement.

This unit comes in its original Pre-WWI dated heavy leather case with crisp markings visible on the back. The case is missing its shoulder strap, but the loops for it remain intact. The only detraction is that the M-1910 belt hook is missing from the reverse. The Case is marked:


Exceptionally RARE and hard to find, This first model Warner and SwaseyReady to display!

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