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Scope mount / scope as used in M21?

This is a discussion on Scope mount / scope as used in M21? within the The M14 forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; Just curious if the standard GI scope mount and scope as used with the M21 are available for purchase to us mere mortals. I would ...

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Old May 21st, 2008, 05:58 AM   #1
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Scope mount / scope as used in M21?

Just curious if the standard GI scope mount and scope as used with the M21 are available for purchase to us mere mortals. I would like to eventually dress up my M1A Standard like an M21. I have what I believe is a GI bipod (although I'm reluctant to clamp it to the gun - it' scratches the finish)

If the GI mount and scope aren't available, are there better options availble?

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Old May 21st, 2008, 11:17 AM   #2
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Talking M21 Mount

The M21 scope mount, ARTEL, was an one piece unit combined with the rings and scope to allow for it's automatic ranging feature. It resulted in a very low mounting setup. The late model ART II included a second attachment point using a drilled and tapped clip guide to accept the rear mount screw.

The current production Springfield Armory Third Generation Mount is a direct knock off of the ART II system mount with a Weaver style rail to accept a variety of scopes. The only problem with this mount is that it sets the scope much higher than the M21 system and doesn't seem to be made to the higher quality standards of Mil Spec. Most of the problems encountered when fitting the SAI mount to an M1A are the result of the receivers not being in spec.

The high quality mounts made by Sadlak, Smith, and others are a different design which generally allows for variations in commercial receivers giving a much better fit. Many of these mounts are now being used by the military attesting to their quality.

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Old May 21st, 2008, 11:26 AM   #3
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Original USGI scopes for the M21 are basically collector's items now. If you watch ebay, gunbroker, etc they come up for sale fairly often, and they aren't cheap.

There were several different types of scopes used on the M21, with each design attempting to improve on the flaws of the earlier designs. The first serious attempt used the old M82/M84 scopes left over from the Garand days. These were replaced by a series of Leatherwood designs- Realist and ARTEL, then ART I. These are the true VN era setups. After VN the ART I was replaced by the ART II which was used until the M21 was replaced by bolt guns some time in the 1980s.

Do a search here for "Leatherwood" or "M21" and you will find several threads discussing these scopes. There are a number of snipers here that actually used these in service, and it seems that most of them didn't care for the ART scopes much for various reasons.

I have a couple of ART II scopes and I like them just cuz they are so darn cool.

These scopes are covered in some of the M14 collector and history type books. There is also brief coverage in the Army sniper training manual FM 23-10 which can be found online here:


Be aware that the pictures of the ART I and ART II are reversed in this manual.

Here's an ART II on ebay right now:


Here's my M21 clone build in progress:


Also- if you decide to pusue an ART II, be aware that Jim Leatherwood eventually sold the rights to the design to DPMS. DPMS made some scopes and apparently never got it right. They have a bad rep for quality. You will sometimes see a DPMS ART II scope for sale advertised as Leatherwood, which they are not. You will also see modern Leatherwood commercial scopes like the M600, M1000 etc. advertised as USGI ART II, which they are not. Buyer beware.


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Old May 21st, 2008, 11:15 PM   #4
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If you're interested in knowing, I have a current production M1000 A.R.T. scope on my "M21" clone. Having been trained on both the A.R.T. 1 and A.R.T. 2 scopes. Today's M1000 is a nice scope, don't get me wrong. I have to admit, the principle is the same, but the scope sure is different. I have shot mine on a 1000 yard range and it holds it own out to 800 yards very well. You can cover a three shot group with a "standard" coffee cup. 1000 yards? Well, the rifle I'm sure would do it, but I cannot. Lost a lot of finese over the years.

Someday, God willing, I WILL own an original Leatherwood. Once you have used one, and have LEARNED one, you will be surprised how well they work. No guesswork, no "holdover", no nothing. When Jim designed these scopes, he really had his "sh**" together and "built the better mousetrap". If you are willing to "relearn" the scope and how to use one, a Leatherwood scope is fantastic, IMHO.

Good luck to you and your rifle. Hope all works out well for you!


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Old January 30th, 2012, 03:04 AM   #5
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A lot of VC/NVA found out that the AR TEL on the early M21 worked just fine......

I have read military reports from "back in the day" that would indicate the scope could do exactly what it was claimed to be able to do.

A precision built modern version Leatherwood ART, given improvements in ammo consistency, should eliminate the need for range finders, mildots and charts on stocks. Frame the target, hold and fire! The scope's cam does the calculation. CC

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