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Leatherwood Automatic Ranging Trajectory (ART) Rifle Scopes


Development of the ART System


The ART scope technology was born out of necessity in the early years of the Vietnam War. Enemy snipers were killing American servicemen, but the US Army was not adequately equipped to deal with the problem.

The solution was to send newly trained snipers into battlefield service as soon as possible. However, sniper training at that time was a lengthy process that required long hours on the range teaching recruits to estimate distance and to use the proper amount of “hold-over” (aiming high to compensate for bullet drop) in order to make successful first round hits.

In the late 1960s, Second Lieutenant James M. Leatherwood entered the Army, and brought his recently patented design for a ranging scope that would raise and lower the rear of the scope similar to an open sight. 

Shortly after, the Army equipped their snipers with Leatherwood System scopes. The use of the new scope system had dramatic effects.  

The ART scope technology was born out of necessity in the early years of the Vietnam War. Enemy snipers were killing American servicemen, but the US Army was not adequately equipped to deal with the problem.

The solution was to send newly trained snipers into battlefield service as soon as possible. However, sniper training at that time was a lengthy process that required long hours on the range teaching recruits to estimate distance and to use the proper amount of “hold-over” (aiming high to compensate for bullet drop) in order to make successful first round hits.

In the late 1960s, Second Lieutenant James M. Leatherwood entered the Army, and brought his recently patented design for a ranging scope that would raise and lower the rear of the scope similar to an open sight. 

Shortly after, the Army equipped their snipers with Leatherwood System scopes. The use of the new scope system had dramatic effects.  

Now it was possible to rapidly train snipers to get first round hits out to 900 meters without having to devote precious time on distance estimation or “hold-over.” American snipers were now dominating the field in Vietnam, and the ART scope system became a legend.

ART technology raises and lowers the rear of the scope similar to an open sight, allowing shooters to get first round hits of up to 1000 yards without complex distance estimation.

Over the past 50 years, the ART scope system has been steadily improved under the discerning control of James Leatherwood. An unrelenting insistence on durability and quality resulted in the acceptance of the ART II scope as a standard issue item by the US Army.

Civilian and law enforcement versions were created by Hi-Lux, based on the technology pioneered James Leatherwood, bringing a new dimension and approach to long range shooting.

 

Now it was possible to rapidly train snipers to get first round hits out to 900 meters without having to devote precious time on distance estimation or “hold-over.” American snipers were now dominating the field in Vietnam, and the ART scope system became a legend.

ART technology raises and lowers the rear of the scope similar to an open sight, allowing shooters to get first round hits of up to 1000 yards without complex distance estimation.

Over the past 50 years, the ART scope system has been steadily improved under the discerning control of James Leatherwood. An unrelenting insistence on durability and quality resulted in the acceptance of the ART II scope as a standard issue item by the US Army.

Civilian and law enforcement versions were created by Hi-Lux, based on the technology pioneered James Leatherwood, bringing a new dimension and approach to long range shooting.

 


Leatherwood Sniper Profiles


Leatherwood/Hi-Lux has had the privilege of talking to a number of U.S. Army Snipers who used the ART system. We are grateful for their service and their willingness to share their stories with us.

Do you know anyone who has used the ART scope in the Vietnam War? We’d love to tell their story! Contact us at sniperprofiles@hi-luxoptics.com

Rene MaCare - 173d Airborne

With the ART scope, snipers did not need to know the exact distance to the target for bullet drop compensation. Rather, snipers improved first round hit percentages by framing the target within the reticle. Once the target was framed within the reticle, the Leatherwood Auto Ranging Telescope had already compensated for the bullet drop. This lead to the phrase “Frame, Aim, Fire!”   Throughout the Vietnam War, several legendary snipers used the Leatherwood ART to great success in combating the guerrilla warfare tactics employed by the Viet Cong.

Watch Part 1 of Rene MaCare's story below:

The Sniper School in Cha Rang Valley, Vietnam implemented a 3 week program to get prospective snipers familiarized with the XM-21 platform with optics. Every trainee here was assigned the Leatherwood Automatic Ranging Telescope for daytime optic and an AN/PVS-2 also known as the "Starlight" scope for night time use.

Watch Part 2 of Rene MaCare's story below:

Rick Bernardi - 101st Airborne

Rick Bernardi (101st Airborne) attended sniper school at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He trained using the original Automatic Ranging Telescope on the XM-21 rifle.

ART Scope Resources


ART Scope Caliber Guide

ART Scope Quick Start Tutorial


Leatherwood ART Rifle Scopes


Hi-Lux ART M1200

The 6-24 x 50 ART M12000 rifle scope automatically compensates for bullet trajectory from distances of 300 to 1200 meters for calibers from .223 Remington up to .50 BMG.

Hi-Lux ART M1000-PRO

Designed with hunters in mind, the 2-10 x 42 ART M1000-PRO rifle scope automatically compensates for bullet trajectory from distances of 200 to 1000 yards - eliminating the need for elevation holdovers.

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