When were telescopic scopes first attached to a rifle to aid in accuracy?
#96102. Asked by Hiber. (May 27 08 3:51 PM)
In the American Civil War, Confederate troops equipped with barrel-length three power scopes mounted on the then-premium British Whitworth rifle had been known to kill Union officers at ranges bordering 800 yards, an unheard-of distance at that time.|
There is extensive documentation on the acquisition of a rifle in Georgia along with correspondence regarding the use of these guns during the Civil War. This gun was originally found with the telescopic sight missing, which was later located and put back on the rifle.
From the known Confederate ordnance documents only 250 of these rifles were purchased by the Confederate Government and only twenty or thirty were run through the blockade to the Confederacy in 1862. A recent letter from noted Whitworth Authorities Dr. D. W. Bailey & W. S. Curtis who will soon be publishing an authoritative book on the Whitworth rifles include the following comments regarding this specific gun.
"The telescope mounted Whitworth '2nd Quality' no. C529 Rifle described here conforms to the specification of all the other known surviving examples of the Confederate Purchase Special Arms.
Only from the beginning of World War I did specially adapted sniper rifles come to the fore, with one of the first scoped military sniper rifles being the SMLE Mk III* (HT).
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