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US Spotting Optics from Revolutionary War to Present Day

This is a discussion on US Spotting Optics from Revolutionary War to Present Day within the Optics forums, part of the Gun Forum category; An excellent display and writeup, cowtownscout, very complete and thorough, commendable. I was a Navy Opticalman from 1983 to 2002, although our rate was officially ...


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Old May 19th, 2020, 04:35 AM   #16
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An excellent display and writeup, cowtownscout, very complete and thorough, commendable. I was a Navy Opticalman from 1983 to 2002, although our rate was officially disestablished in 2000. At that point, I crossrated to Electronics Technician, and with practice and time, I became familiar with spelling it right, see: "Electronics" no spellcheck, (you'll have to take my word for it.)
In the 80's, as an OMSN, and later OM3, I worked in the Small Instruments Shop at NSSF/NLON (Naval Submarine Support Facility, New London), repairing (mostly) Navy Binoculars, which at that time looked most like those MK 17s, a typical 7x50 bino, with manufacturers efforts to make them both repairable and yet resealable against the elements. Since we were in the northeast, we took binos in from nearby Coast Guard units, some outta New York area, and some from Rhode Island CG stations. At that time, they were uniformly Navy Mark/Mod Binoculars, but some were so old, they had prewar dates of manufacture on the coverplates. MK 28s, 32s, 21s, 45s and I'm sure others. We even worked a few 6x30s like your pics show and I'm sure we had a couple M17s come through, maybe from a National Guard outfit. We would log each pair in, do a casualty analysis and a disassemble-clean/repair/replace-reassemble and collimate, giving each pair a new web strap and a paint job. Our casual description was "Shake, Paint & Collimate" I remember going to a DRMO auction while we were in that transition between depot level repairables optics and buying COTS units that were throwaways, and I bid on a box of older binos to bring to the shop for "new guy" practice.
I know several folks that got out and hung their shingle as Optical Instrument Repairmen, one of my ex-Chiefs, Earl Osborn was among the best, I think he works as head of QC for Trijicon now.
In that repair group, we worked on binos, sextants, stadimeters, alidades, compasses, ship's big eyes (20x120s) and old OOD Spy Glasses and such. Towards the mid 90's, we worked on NVGs as well, and Earl got us an instructor to come out for a couple days to show/teach us the newer stuff for Spec Warriors small arms and goggles.

I have a set of those newer (back then) Mark 19s, I can say they were prone to fungus on the glass internally and they were not too robust. My pair is great (another DRMO special), but it doesn't see much use. Truthfully, my favorites are a set of 8x20 Leicas and a pair of (Earl provided) 7x40 Edf E. German military binos, rubber covered, reticle equipped roof prism beauties from Carl Ziess Aus Jena. Just the most beautiful glass I had ever seen by then.
I headed for the big field of Periscope Repair and seldom picked up another bino, but it was an interesting job in a very small rate.


Last edited by OMCHamlin; May 19th, 2020 at 05:32 AM.
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Old May 19th, 2020, 05:00 AM   #17
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Your Missing the military M9 spotting scope that was used from WWII all the way till recently. It was the scope used primarily by snipers.
Made by Argus.

What your presenting is binoculars.

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Old May 19th, 2020, 05:24 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puccini View Post
Your Missing the military M9 spotting scope that was used from WWII all the way till recently. It was the scope used primarily by snipers.
Made by Argus.

What your presenting is binoculars.
And what you are asserting is correct, but perhaps you did not catch this from the OP in his last post; "Next will be the spotting scopes portion, maybe next weekend. Here is a tease photo for it.", which leads me to think there might be more to come.

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Old May 19th, 2020, 09:46 AM   #19
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What have all this binoculars seen on duty?

Thanks a lot for this very interesting thread!

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Old May 19th, 2020, 10:56 AM   #20
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Quote:
In the 80's, as an OMSN, and later OM3, I worked in the Small Instruments Shop at NSSF/NLON (Naval Submarine Support Facility, New London), repairing (mostly) Navy Binoculars, which at that time looked most like those MK 17s, a typical 7x50 bino, with manufacturers efforts to make them both repairable and yet resealable against the elements... We would log each pair in, do a casualty analysis and a disassemble-clean/repair/replace-reassemble and collimate, giving each pair a new web strap and a paint job.
Interesting. Given your unique training and experience, I sent you an email to see if interested in messing with some old binocs...or if you know of any referrals for cleaning and collminating a set of M19s (and maybe repair a nice Navy Mk 28/46). No painting required, just some TLC from someone who knows what they are doing...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg M19_w_case.jpg (2.96 MB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg MK28_3.jpg (166.2 KB, 3 views)

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Last edited by Random Guy; May 19th, 2020 at 11:53 AM.
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Old May 19th, 2020, 07:47 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Random Guy View Post
Interesting. Given your unique training and experience, I sent you an email to see if interested in messing with some old binocs...or if you know of any referrals for cleaning and collminating a set of M19s (and maybe repair a nice Navy Mk 28/46). No painting required, just some TLC from someone who knows what they are doing...
Here are some links discussing specifics about the M19 including repairs

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=134800

https://www.flickr.com/photos/binocwpg/5580654997/

Here is a drawing of its parts.



Good luck with your repairs.

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Old May 19th, 2020, 08:07 PM   #22
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here's some marine 1944 binoculars
https://miami.craigslist.org/pbc/spo...104002832.html

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Old May 19th, 2020, 09:19 PM   #23
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Awesome thread! Thank you for the history lesson and the great pics.

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Old May 20th, 2020, 06:03 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Random Guy View Post
Interesting. Given your unique training and experience, I sent you an email to see if interested in messing with some old binocs...or if you know of any referrals for cleaning and collminating a set of M19s (and maybe repair a nice Navy Mk 28/46). No painting required, just some TLC from someone who knows what they are doing...
Yep, and I pointed you to Dan at Mountain Optics, who I had overhaul my M19s, which are the black Navy variant. He did a great job.

For others, here is that link;

http://mountainoptics.com/

and another one that I found, Suddarth Optics; https://suddarthoptical.com/

Good luck with either of them, I was very happy with Dan's work at Mountain Optics. They both seem to have the tools and equipment necessary to do nice work and finish that off with a good collimation, which really is key to binocular repair. Just so you know, a well collimated pair of binos "looks" the same place exactly with both barrels at any IPD setting, to within a couple seconds of angle. If that's not right, the eye will compensate for that misalignment to an extent, mentally merging the two images together into one, but it will give the user a headache after a while. When they are aligned properly, it's easy to look through them for extended periods of time without strain.

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Old May 20th, 2020, 07:54 AM   #25
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Quote:
Yep, and I pointed you to Dan at Mountain Optics, who I had overhaul my M19s, which are the black Navy variant. He did a great job.
Many thanks for the referral, I'll reach out. (I didn't realize the Navy M19s were black).

Quote:
Good luck with your repairs.
Thanks, the M19 works fine, but it has several small specs on the lens that are in the field of view, and small piece of lint on the right lens that bothers me a little, so its more a cleaning that I need on that one. (attached is a pic that kind-of shows one of the specs, but its hard to photograph).
I'm almost tempted to unscrew the two rear eyepieces and see if some compressed air can clean it, but I don't want to mess-up any seals, etc.

The USMC Mk 46 is a true repair, needing the right rear eyepiece replaced. I have a donor Navy Mk 28 right eyepiece (same B&L binoc from 1944, but has Navy markings). I want some one qualified to do this repair. The USMC marked Mk 46 binoculars are reportedly kind-of rare, so I think its worthwhile to fix this old WWII era 7x50mm binocular (pic attached)
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File Type: jpg M19_left_lens.jpg (1.21 MB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg Mk 46_projectv2.jpg (85.1 KB, 2 views)

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Old May 20th, 2020, 10:11 AM   #26
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contact bausch and lomb

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Old May 21st, 2020, 02:42 PM   #27
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Here's an example of the same late WWII era binocular (M13A1s) - but one is still black, and the other one has been painted green, along with the cases. I think both cases started our brown. I understand the black dye was utilized by the Army in the mid-1950s, and perhaps other case got painted green in the 1960s. (Black case is missing its strap). Just an fyi observation.
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File Type: jpg IMG_4650.jpg (2.35 MB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_4651.jpg (1.74 MB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_4652.jpg (1.89 MB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_4654.jpg (1.73 MB, 2 views)

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Last edited by Random Guy; May 22nd, 2020 at 04:58 AM.
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Old May 21st, 2020, 03:34 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Random Guy View Post
Here's an example of the same late WWII era binocular (M13A1s) - but one is still black, and the other one has been painted green, along with the cases. I don't know if this green paint was done in the 1950s or 1960s, or both. I think both cases started out brown. (Black case is missing its strap). Just an fyi observation.
I just saw where you live in NoVA, if that's still accurate. If so, the next Hampton gun show (someday?), swing down by there and see the dozen + tables that London Bridge Trading Co sets up. They have little web bits and straps, but in particular, they used to work on binos and they have little things like a case, or those eye caps and such, you might pick up a few odd pieces to make your 46 whole, if you're missing stuff still.

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Old May 22nd, 2020, 06:46 AM   #29
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Thanks for the tip. Not sure when I could take a trip down there, but good to know that LBT did that work previously, as I had not heard that.

On edit: Added a neat training pic of US Army M14-EBR's along with a couple of Fujinon M22 binoculars that have the ARD covers installed. (Leupold scope also has an ARD attachment on its objective as well...Hmm, I need to find one of those my same scope.)
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File Type: jpg US Army EBRs training.jpg (224.8 KB, 2 views)

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Last edited by Random Guy; May 22nd, 2020 at 09:50 AM.
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Old May 24th, 2020, 09:07 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puccini View Post
Your Missing the military M9 spotting scope that was used from WWII all the way till recently. It was the scope used primarily by snipers.
Made by Argus.

What your presenting is binoculars.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OMCHamlin View Post
And what you are asserting is correct, but perhaps you did not catch this from the OP in his last post; "Next will be the spotting scopes portion, maybe next weekend. Here is a tease photo for it.", which leads me to think there might be more to come.
OK as promised last week here is the spotting scope portion of the thread. Please bear with me until I get to the end.

In addition to using binoculars Snipers often used a spotting scope. Used to ID targets, spot missed shots and scan the area for targets; the spotting scope was carried whenever the mission justified its use. Often times the lower magnification of the sniper rifle optics was not enough to ID a military target from a civilian. The scope was also used to judge wind, mirage and help judge range so the sniper had the most accurate data possible to make his long range shot. The scope was also used for spotting artillery and many other uses.

Here are the Observation/Spotting scopes and tripods I have. Left to right are M48, M49 WWII era, M49 Vietnam era, M144, and M155 (Mk 4)













M48 case, scope and tripod



M49 case, scope, and tripod, WWII era



M49 case, scope and tripod, Vietnam era



M144 case, scope and tripod



M155 (Mk 5) case, scope and tripod



Here they are set up on the tripods in the same order left to right



M48



M49 WWII era



M49 Vietnam era



M144



M155 (Mk 4)

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