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  #1  
Old 05-15-2018, 1:29 PM
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Default 03A3s in combat - Korea

Re watching a PBS American Experience documentary on Netflicks and noticed two images of Marines with 03A3s at the Chosin reservoir. I'm sure they were not infantry types and with only two seen out of hundreds of images the 03A3s must've been pretty rare up front but still...surprised to still see them in use in a combat zone post WW2.

I've seen lot's of pictures from WW2 in both Europe and the SW Asia theater of support troops up front with A3s which puts to lie the oft repeated story in firearms histories that the A3 was strictly a stateside training weapon. Combat Engineers, Signals, MPs...all were right there within shouting distance of the front.

just something interesting to share.
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Old 05-15-2018, 1:51 PM
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are sure the rifles you saw were A3's? and not M1941 sniper rifles with the scopes dismounted?



they were used in Korea
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Old 05-15-2018, 2:01 PM
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I've heard that the 03 s were preferred over the Garand for rifle-grenade fire
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Old 05-15-2018, 3:19 PM
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they had A3 front bands and no scope on one, couldn't tell on the other. the Marines were shown using M1s with GLs so no 03s being used for that purpose.
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Old 05-15-2018, 8:25 PM
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Watching it now. What is the minute mark where the 03 makes an appearance?
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Old 05-15-2018, 8:36 PM
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I noticed a lot of M1 Carbines being carried. I don't know if it was the support staff at the CP that were defending the hill or the other units at the reservoir. It was an interesting documentary.
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Old 05-15-2018, 9:31 PM
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I've heard that the 03 s were preferred over the Garand for rifle-grenade fire
A guy I worked with was a grenadier in WWII and was issued the O3A3 to launch rifle grenades. He was at Kaserine Pass with the 1st Division.
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Old 05-16-2018, 4:28 AM
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Originally Posted by fal_762x51 View Post
I noticed a lot of M1 Carbines being carried. I don't know if it was the support staff at the CP that were defending the hill or the other units at the reservoir. It was an interesting documentary.
They were surrounded by eight (that's 8!) red Chinese divisions so there was no rear area. Everyone was everywhere.
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Old 05-16-2018, 6:07 AM
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I've read that the carbine didn't operate very well in the extreme cold of the Chosin. Apparently the Garand was much better in that regard
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Old 05-16-2018, 8:40 AM
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I can see how the bolt action rifle would have some advantages in that extreme environment of wintertime Korea, which I can attest is brutal.

But even with a perfectly functioning 03A3 and plenty of ammo, it would be terrifyingly slow against those ceaseless suicidal human wave charges the enemy was known for.
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Old 05-16-2018, 8:58 AM
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If u look at many pictures of troops in Korea, you will see that it was mostly Marines who still had some Springfields. These tended to be support troops, and for the most part, the Garand was still the dominant rifle issued. Until not long ago, maybe Desert Storm era, the Marines always got Army hand me downs. In 1970 when I was still in, we had some ammo from Korea, mostly the WP rounds. Same with some of the tank ammo. I was once tasked with using shoe dye in 1970 to color the .45 holsters black! We were even told, didn't matter if you did the back, just the front had to be black! I served in the Air Force after the Marine Corps, and worked with many retirees getting flights on space A. Nine of ten said, Korea was far worse than Vietnam, or WW2 in fighting conditions for the troops. It is sad so little is known about what many call "the forgotten war".
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Old 05-16-2018, 9:03 AM
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In Vietnam the weather could be very uncomfortable. In Korea the weather will kill you.
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Old 05-16-2018, 12:57 PM
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I watched the same documentary not too long ago. I can't believe what those soldiers went through. The weather was brutal. Guys had toes and feet literally falling off from the cold. I couldn't believe the part where they were retreating in a walking column totally exposed under enemy fire and didn't even care because they were so numb, exhausted and worn from the cold and there was nowhere to hide anyway. The one soldier in the documentary said something to the effect of "we just accepted our fate and tried to put one foot in front of the other and every so often someone would cry out or go down as they got hit"
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Old 05-16-2018, 1:14 PM
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There have been a lot of great books written about the "Frozen Chosin in the freezin' season". Three that I recommend are Breakout by Martin Russ, Chosin by Eric Hammel and The Last Stand of Fox Company by Drury and Clavin.

A great read, although more scholarly than the books above, is Appleman's Escaping the Trap.

A little-told story is that of the US Army 31 RCT ("Task Force Faith"), on the eastern Chosin, which was badly mauled by the Chinese. Appleman devoted a book to the subject, East of Chosin.
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Old 05-16-2018, 3:09 PM
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Watching it now. What is the minute mark where the 03 makes an appearance?
The first time is early on when a 2.5t truck passes by loaded with supplies and Marines. 2nd time is when the GIs make it across the ice and join up at the regimental base, a Marine is shown with one.
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Old 05-16-2018, 3:12 PM
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Originally Posted by fal_762x51 View Post
I noticed a lot of M1 Carbines being carried. I don't know if it was the support staff at the CP that were defending the hill or the other units at the reservoir. It was an interesting documentary.
Anyone who wasn't an infantry MOS most likely had a carbine.
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Old 05-16-2018, 3:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustang View Post
There have been a lot of great books written about the "Frozen Chosin in the freezin' season". Three that I recommend are Breakout by Martin Russ, Chosin by Eric Hammel and The Last Stand of Fox Company by Drury and Clavin.

A great read, although more scholarly than the books above, is Appleman's Escaping the Trap.

A little-told story is that of the US Army 31 RCT ("Task Force Faith"), on the eastern Chosin, which was badly mauled by the Chinese. Appleman devoted a book to the subject, e.East of Chosin.
Those men along with a handful of other positions and men, literally squads and in some cases no more than a pair of men on a Browning, allowed the lot time enough to break through. The Chosin Few is an appropriate name. God rest their souls.
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Old 05-16-2018, 5:49 PM
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My grandfather was in Korea not at Chosin but I think his lasting memory was the cold. Another relative saw combat on the DMZ in 1960's but I never heard about him mentioning the weather must be warmer there.

I thought the Springfield did not see much standard issue usage in the USMC after early Guadalcanal.
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Old 05-16-2018, 6:19 PM
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Imjin_River

A similar fight done by the Brits against the Chinese in Korea.

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Old 05-16-2018, 7:43 PM
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I've read that the carbine didn't operate very well in the extreme cold of the Chosin. Apparently the Garand was much better in that regard
I heard the same from a Gunny last year that recently passed away.
Comment, " he like the M1 Carbine on Bougainville (went ashore as a replacement) and Okinawa (first wave). LOVED the 1903 cuz it was easier to score Expert in Boot Camp and get the 5 bucks a month extra. Loved the Garand especially at the Chosen with Chesty Puller, said the Carbines were too easily frozen and hard to get back into firing condition, usually by peeing on the action to warm it up!
Had to do the same with the Garand but then they could get them to run!
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Old 05-16-2018, 7:50 PM
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Default Many WW2 Marines didn't trust the Garand, ever.

It may have been because their first experience with a Garand was one of malfunction. Remember, the proper grease for a Garand wasn't established at the time of the rifle's release. Apparently salt water would penetrate the already applied lubricate and the rifle would malfunction. American forces in Europe didn't have as many salt water issues as those in the Pacific. The M1 lubrication issue was obviously corrected sometime well before the war ended. But not before some fighting men drew a battle field conclusion for whatever reason known only to him.

A few Korean Combat Veterans that I knew said they preferred the BAR over the Garand due to dependability over the Garand for which they had little faith in and never really explained, not to me anyway.

Then again there are the men who swear by their Garands. That makes sense to me. I love mine, and I wasn't even born 10 years until after the Korean hostilities ended, for now.

Wait a minute. I used to love my Garands, you know, before the boating accident.
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Old 05-17-2018, 7:56 AM
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Little by little more attention is being paid to the Korean War. We really got caught flat footed at the beginning of the war. Most troops there were really admin types, and you see them in pictures still wearing their class B khakis while heading to Pusan. Still in a dress rather than a combat uniform means they had little time for anything. Many of them in the pictures I saw had M1 Carbines over their back, with a rucksack, and not even a cartridge belt. The Army troops in Japan also were basically having a great time with occupation duty, and then in a matter of days were fighting T34 tanks with old WW2 bazookas, with questionable ammo. When in Korea once, I saw a book from China, with pictures of the Korean War from their perspective. It wasn't pretty. Many 8th Army trucks with dead frozen soldiers caught in passes due to Chinese ambushes. The idiot Army general, Ned Almond told the troops, "Are you afraid of a bunch of Chinese laundry men"? Even though we lost more troops in the Vietnam War, we lost more quickly in the Korean War. The laundry men who carried their weapons on mules and horses, and their backs, were a tough bunch. I really hope we never ever have to fight on the Korean peninsula again.
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Old 05-17-2018, 1:41 PM
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Movies aren't the best source of historical accuracy but Pork Chop Hill is pretty close and a good flavor of the later fighting in Korea.
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Old 05-17-2018, 1:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by louie View Post
Little by little more attention is being paid to the Korean War. We really got caught flat footed at the beginning of the war. Most troops there were really admin types, and you see them in pictures still wearing their class B khakis while heading to Pusan. Still in a dress rather than a combat uniform means they had little time for anything. Many of them in the pictures I saw had M1 Carbines over their back, with a rucksack, and not even a cartridge belt. The Army troops in Japan also were basically having a great time with occupation duty, and then in a matter of days were fighting T34 tanks with old WW2 bazookas, with questionable ammo. When in Korea once, I saw a book from China, with pictures of the Korean War from their perspective. It wasn't pretty. Many 8th Army trucks with dead frozen soldiers caught in passes due to Chinese ambushes. The idiot Army general, Ned Almond told the troops, "Are you afraid of a bunch of Chinese laundry men"? Even though we lost more troops in the Vietnam War, we lost more quickly in the Korean War. The laundry men who carried their weapons on mules and horses, and their backs, were a tough bunch. I really hope we never ever have to fight on the Korean peninsula again.
Task Force Smith as sent as a blocking force to the NK forward elements at the beginning of the war with exactly 6 rounds of 105 HEAT for the howitzers in the task force's battery. They didn't last long against the attacking T-34s.

The NK had been acting aggressive for at least a year but no one saw the prudence of preparing for cross border action apparently.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle...sk_Force_Smith
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Old 05-17-2018, 3:35 PM
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I worked with a neurosurgeon that had been a ground pounder in Korean before he went to med school. He loved the Garand and when stationed at Fort Ord did many "inspections before the troops could go on their weekend passes". I took a Garand to his office one day, the next thing I know we were out on his office lawn and he was doing the manual of arms plus all the twirlly things you see the drill teams do. He also told me that when he was in Korea some guys would alter their bayonets by welding on a machete blade. I was very skeptical on that one until in some footage shot in Korea a I see a guy walking past an APA or an AKA(in the back round) with a Garand slung over is shoulder with a huge blade attached to the end of it, that made a believer out of me.
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Old 05-17-2018, 4:01 PM
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My work partner's father was one of the Chosin Few. He is featured prominently in the documentary "Chosin."

He was sent to Korea as a USMCR mortarman... with no basic training. Signed up and shipped out.

Heroes. Not forgotten in this household.
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Old 05-17-2018, 4:28 PM
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I think the last documented use of a stock Springfield in action on land was in the 1960s during the Vietnam War. Larry Thorne, a SF officer assigned to MACV-SOG, used it as his weapon of choice. Apparently his preference is due to the fact that he was used to bolt-action rifles, having primarily used them in two previous wars.

USCG still has some Springfields on board their ships for line throwing. They may still have modified Trapdoor Springfields around for that matter.
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Old 05-17-2018, 4:48 PM
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Sounds like the main character Sam Damon in the fiction book Once An Eagle. He carries an 03 from WW1 to Vietnam in the book.

Last edited by smle-man; 05-17-2018 at 8:05 PM..
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Old 05-17-2018, 5:06 PM
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Quote:
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Task Force Smith as sent as a blocking force to the NK forward elements at the beginning of the war with exactly 6 rounds of 105 HEAT for the howitzers in the task force's battery. They didn't last long against the attacking T-34s.

The NK had been acting aggressive for at least a year but no one saw the prudence of preparing for cross border action apparently.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle...sk_Force_Smith
WHOLE lot of OUR ancestors DIED Due to these... IDIOTS !
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Old 05-17-2018, 5:10 PM
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Default May OUR... GOD..... BLESS them !

Heroes !
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Old 05-18-2018, 7:55 AM
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The Korean WAR should receive more historical attention than it does. My Grandfather served in the USN and his ship was sent there. While they remained at sea, he had some great stories about when they were called to provide Naval bombardment. He also recalled seeing American Jets in aerial combat and several times the ship went to rescue downed pilots from the water.
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Old 05-18-2018, 8:11 AM
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I think the last documented use of a stock Springfield in action on land was in the 1960s during the Vietnam War. Larry Thorne, a SF officer assigned to MACV-SOG, used it as his weapon of choice. Apparently his preference is due to the fact that he was used to bolt-action rifles, having primarily used them in two previous wars.

USCG still has some Springfields on board their ships for line throwing. They may still have modified Trapdoor Springfields around for that matter.
I do not think it is an understatement to say that Lauri Torni AKA Larry Thorne was one of the most interesting and hard core soldiers of the 20th Century, or ever for that matter.

Finnish Army Officer in the Winter War

German Waffen SS Officer

U.S. Army Special Forces Officer (KIA in Vietnam, sadly)
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Old 05-18-2018, 8:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigstick61 View Post
I think the last documented use of a stock Springfield in action on land was in the 1960s during the Vietnam War. Larry Thorne, a SF officer assigned to MACV-SOG, used it as his weapon of choice. Apparently his preference is due to the fact that he was used to bolt-action rifles, having primarily used them in two previous wars.

USCG still has some Springfields on board their ships for line throwing. They may still have modified Trapdoor Springfields around for that matter.
From 2014:

"“The .45-70 cartridge is still used by the U.S. military today, in the form of the CARTRIDGE, CALIBER .45, LINE THROWING, M32, a blank cartridge which is used in a number of models of line throwing guns used by the Navy and Coast Guard. Early models of these line throwing guns were made from modified Trapdoor and Sharps rifles, while later models are built on break-open single-shot rifle actions.”
But it particular firearm we discussed is in fact a line-thrower it should retain trails of means of mount for the box for line. Moreover, so far I know the Trapdoor line-thrower are shortened (sawn-off) firearms – any information about full-length line-thrower?"

2 years ago Cabela's Reno had a "smoothbore" 1903 Line throwing rifle" out on the used rack, it was there for quite a few months I think they had it marked at around $900. I didn't know anything about the 1903's used as line throwers only the 45-70 variations so I never got interested in the 03.
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Old 05-18-2018, 8:38 AM
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I've seen pics of M14s used as line throwing guns
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Old 05-18-2018, 9:01 AM
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I do not think it is an understatement to say that Lauri Torni AKA Larry Thorne was one of the most interesting and hard core soldiers of the 20th Century, or ever for that matter.

Finnish Army Officer in the Winter War

German Waffen SS Officer

U.S. Army Special Forces Officer (KIA in Vietnam, sadly)
Wow, never heard of him till now. Thank you. Amazing sorry. Talk about the enemy of my enemy... You've got to really hate the Soviets to join the SS.
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  #36  
Old 05-18-2018, 4:29 PM
bigstick61 bigstick61 is offline
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The Finnish Army seconded him to the SS. He didn't just sign up. They were allies with Germany against the Soviets.
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  #37  
Old 05-18-2018, 5:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smle-man View Post
I've seen pics of M14s used as line throwing guns
We were using them for that purpose in the 1990's in the USN. I am fairly sure they still are.
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  #38  
Old 05-19-2018, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aghauler View Post
From 2014:

"“The .45-70 cartridge is still used by the U.S. military today, in the form of the CARTRIDGE, CALIBER .45, LINE THROWING, M32, a blank cartridge which is used in a number of models of line throwing guns used by the Navy and Coast Guard. Early models of these line throwing guns were made from modified Trapdoor and Sharps rifles, while later models are built on break-open single-shot rifle actions.”
But it particular firearm we discussed is in fact a line-thrower it should retain trails of means of mount for the box for line. Moreover, so far I know the Trapdoor line-thrower are shortened (sawn-off) firearms – any information about full-length line-thrower?"

2 years ago Cabela's Reno had a "smoothbore" 1903 Line throwing rifle" out on the used rack, it was there for quite a few months I think they had it marked at around $900. I didn't know anything about the 1903's used as line throwers only the 45-70 variations so I never got interested in the 03.
I remember picking that rifle up and thinking it was a cool piece of history but not at the price they wanted for it.
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  #39  
Old 05-19-2018, 4:40 PM
bigstick61 bigstick61 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I Swan View Post
We were using them for that purpose in the 1990's in the USN. I am fairly sure they still are.
The USN still is.

Many Western militaries still use their old 7.62mm service rifles for this purpose despite moving on to 5.56mm firearms as their primary long guns.

Speaking of C&R, Spain still uses some FR-8s for line throwing in addition to CETME Cs.
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  #40  
Old 05-20-2018, 1:51 PM
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aghauler aghauler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by microwaveguy View Post
I remember picking that rifle up and thinking it was a cool piece of history but not at the price they wanted for it.
Yeah I went to Reno every 2-3 months and it was there for at least 3-4 rotations before it finally disappeared.
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