That slick looking bolt-action rifle in the above photo certainly looks like a somewhat modernized version of the custom worked Remington Model 700 .308 Winchester rifles used by Marine Corps snipers during the Vietnam war. Don’t you think? Well, the rifle is actually one of the Cooper Model 22 rifles, which is also offered in .308 Winchester … or chambered for one of more than two dozen other cartridges. But…this particular Model 22 isn’t even a “cartridge rifle”. It is one of the company’s new Model 22 ML .50 caliber No. 209 primer ignition in-line muzzle-loaded rifles.
Even so, that green anodized scope mounted on the rifle certainly looks right at home. This is the Hi-Lux Optics re-creation of the 3-9x40mm scope that USMC snipers relied on during the Vietnam era. The scope shown here is actually one of only a couple of pre-production scopes built for display at the SHOT Show a few years back, when this scope was being introduced. The features of this scope are true to the original, including a built in ranging system, requiring the shooter to zoom in on a known target of right at 18 inches…frame it between two two cross wires at the top of the reticle … then simply read the yardage on a scale that’s positioned inside the scope, at the bottom right side of the ocular lens. But, Hi-Lux went a bit farther than simply “copying the original exactly” … the company improved it!
The scale of the original scope, built by Redfield during the early to late 1960’s, featured a plastic yardage scale, which tended to be affected by the heat of Vietnam, which caused the scale to curl. Hi-Lux installs a scale that’s made of etched glass. The company also uses higher quality lenses, which are polished to photographic quality then multi-coated for superior brightness and clarity. These modern touches make the Hi-Lux Optics reproduction of this scope far superior to the original 1960’s USMC sniper scope … which now demand a premium price from military collectors. (Note: Redfield has introduced a new M40 Commemorative green anodized scope…but it lacks the ranging system of the original…and it is NOT the same scope used by USMC snipers in Vietnam.)
The Hi-Lux version is very true to the original scope used by the Marine Corps. For years, many tactical shooters have wanted to build a clone of the 1960’s M40 sniper rifles. Remington even came out with an M40 version of the Model 700 center-fire rifle, in .308 Winchester, a few years back … but there simply was not a proper scope in production. The Hi-Lux M40 USMC is the ONLY scope now available that truly copies the scope used by the Marine Corps scout-snipers of 50 years ago.
The Cooper Model 22 ML shown here was originally built for me with a beautiful well figured and nicely hand checkered French walnut stock. For hunting, I’ve also had it fitted with one of the hand-laid composite or synthetic stocks the Montana rifle maker offers for the rifle. When shooting the rifle in all its finery with the exquisite walnut stock, I mount one of the blue-black Hi-Lux TB-ML muzzleloader scopes in the Talley rings. However, I just felt that with the greenish-tan composite stock, the rifle just took on an entirely new persona with the M40 USMC scope aboard.
This rifle is built with a Wilson Arms match grade .50 caliber barrel, and no matter which scope is mounted on top – IT IS CAPABLE OF PUNCHING SUB 1/2-INCH GROUPS AT 100 YARDS. My favored load for the rifle is 110-grains of Blackhorn 209 powder behind a Harvester Muzzleloading saboted .451″ diameter Scorpion PT Gold bullet. At the muzzle, the load is good for 1,959 f.p.s., with 2,557 f.p.e.
This past hunting season (2016), the rifle…the Hi-Lux Optics M40 scope…and that load were my choice when I went after one of the nicest whitetail bucks I have ever seen where I hunt in Montana. While I had several encounters with that buck, which seemed to have a real knack for staying outside of the effective range of the Cooper muzzleloader, I never did get a shot at that deer. However, the great buck shown in this photo did offer me a great shot opportunity at 223 yard – and this rig truly lived up to my expectations. For the story of that great hunt…with a very special friend… go to – http://namlhunt.com/cooper-ml-hunt.html
As you can see … this great scope has a lot more application than ONLY using it on a clone of the 1960’s era USMC M40 sniper rifle. – Toby Bridges, NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING
(For More On The Hi-Lux M40 USMC Scope Go To – http://www.hi-luxoptics.com/m40usmc39x40.html )