Posted 6 years ago
This post (and a few in the future) is a follow up to comments and interest from @Windwalker asking about rifle scopes I am photographing. As background, for the past several years I have been photographing a variety of early M40 rifles and historically interesting parts for my son who was a Marine. Although he is no longer active (having deployed in Fallujah as a sniper squad member and returned unharmed), as with anyone who has served in the USMC, he will always be a Marine. Anyhow, my son is an expert on M40 rifles and has been doing extensive research cataloging parts (scopes, mounts, stocks, barrels, etc.).
Presented here is a truly special and exceptionally rare original OPL M73B2 rifle scope. The following information is an excerpt from my son’s post on the m40rifle.com forum.
While doing the photography, and my son explaining the background and history, I came to see a subtle industrial beauty and personality that you wouldn’t expect. Anyhow, I hope some of you find this as interesting as I do.
This scope was manufactured in 1945 by the French firm Optique & Précision de Levallois (OPL) for the US Army. Even though it shares an "M73" moniker, this scope has nothing in common with the Weaver M73B1.
The B2 is unique in many aspects, the first of which are its annular elevation and windage adjustment rings. This style of adjustment ring is similar to the German Zf-41 and Swedish Aga m/42 scopes; however, the M73B2 relies on external adjustments (think Unertl). Unlike these European scopes, the M73B2 doesn't move anything internally, the scope body moves in the mounting rings.
What is very unique about the scope is a small glass window on the right hand side of the front ring. Its purpose is to let light into the scope to illuminate the reticle! The reticle is a standard post type and it has some sort of range finder in the upper left quadrant. When shining a light into the glass window located on the right side of the front scope ring, the reticle turns from black to a mesmerizing silvery-white! It is believed this feature was added to take advantage of full moon nights, where the ambient light could penetrate the scope and illuminate the reticle. This would allow the reticle to stand out against a dark target in the dead of night.