Sniper rifles – history and interesting facts

There are questions that are forbidden to ask when it comes to talking with a sniper. For example: “how it is, to kill someone?” or “how many people did you killed?”. There are also questions, which will make him talk endlessly. Amongst them – question about a gun. For the sniper, it’s something more than mere tool of job. It is one of it’s fundamentals. Favourite rifle, cared for, every inch of it recognised simply by the touch, known by heart. Long conversations about technical parameters, aiming, optics. Yes, sniper rifle stands for a fascinating subject, not only for the soldiers themselves. Where it begins?

Initially, there was no special category for a sniper rifles. Marksmen were equipped with standard rifles, only carefully picked in the special selection. They would receive perfect ones, representing greatest quality modified with additional optical sights. For example, Soviet Mosin-Nagant or German Kar98k were used for long-range shooting. Efficiency of such weapons was relatively smaller than nowadays, and had to rely solely on marksman’s skills. During World War Two, M1903 with optical sight was standing for a common choice and was called Sprienfield.

What was the weapon of choice for the best snipers in history?
Nowadays, Simo Häyhä, Finnish marksman is a legend. His shooting skills were developed mainly during hunts, which he attended since childhood. When he was called to army, he was quickly recognized as a talented soldier. He was not only shooting perfectly, but was also patient and perceptive, which resulted in finding his targets, even in harsh conditions. During the Soviet-Finnish war in 1939-1940 he was recognized as “White Death”. He was always wearing a white camo suit and he was also camouflaging his barrel with gauze, to hide his position. For most of the time he was using M/28-30 Rifle, which was a Finnish variant of Soviet Mosin-Nagant Rifle. Although it is hard to believe, his rifle was not equipped with optical sight. Häyhä was a master at aiming with mechanical equipment on his weapon. 

Lyudmila Pavlichenko was much better equipped. Soviet sniper is considered one of the most dangerous woman of Second World War by some and a myth created by Soviet propaganda by others. It is known that she was using Mosin-Nagant 91/30 Rifle with optical sight. Lyudmila was 24 when in 1941 she decided to join the army. At this point she was already a good sporting shooter and was able to perform parachute landings. That’s why desperate army of USSR decided to give a chance to that elegant woman, even though it was hard to imagine her in uniform and with rifle pointed at the enemy. According to USSR official data, Pavlichenko had three hundred and nine confirmed hits. Considering the fact, that she was often alone on her missions it is more than likely that she killed much more people. Sometimes we can hear about around five hundred people, eliminated by this Soviet sniper.

Those two histories prove, that a good sniper may be extremely efficient, no matter what weapon she or she wields. It is worth nothing that nowadays, sniper rifles are ultra-precise military tools, equipped with great optics and reliable mechanism. Chris Kyle had a McMillian Tac-338 which optical sight could enlarge his view twenty times.