I was standing on the 600-yard ready line of Camp Perry’s Viale Range. It was June 1994. I was beginning to develop a thousand yard stare as I tried to figure out what the wind drift flags on the range were trying to tell me. I did not trust them. They had snookered me many times before.
Then an interesting man stepped up be side me. He wore G.I. six pocket pants, just like me, and his G.I. “T” shirt was stained with dirt, sweat, and gun oil, just like mine. I knew him from his reputation, but had never met him. His name was Jeb, and he was a Southerner. He was also one of the smartest armorers in the business. It was his job to fine tune service rifles for Southerners so they were always ahead of Yankees.
As he looked down range and read the flags, he quietly said, “Read your article in Precision Shooting about adding springs to the M1 sight to take the play out.” About a minute went by in silence as we both studied the flags. He with a small smile, while I figured I would save the last shot of a lousy score and shoot one of the lying flags.
“Where’s your rifle” he asked. “Behind the ready line”, I told him. “Show me”, he said. I led him back to where my M1 Garand lay on my shooting mat, with it’s safety on, and the action locked open. With out a word, he reached down and picked it up, then stood it muzzle down on the shooting mat. From his left wrist, he removed one of about four, plain, ordinary rubber bands.
He slipped one end of it’s loop under the sight’s elevation knob, then the other end around the sights eye aperture, gave it a quick twist to double it, then did the same thing again. He pushed the rifle’s stock over to me, and at the same time said, “If you use a gum rubber band, it takes all of the slack out of the threads, one way.” “A lot better then springs, pulls the aperture down, and to one side at the same time. Now it is repeatable.”
I was instantly reminded of the years when I raced motorcycles on the Grand Prix circuits of Canada. Some of my best friends were side car racers from Europe. I always felt that they should have round shoulders, and flat fore heads, because if you asked them a question, and they did not understand you, they just shrugged their shoulders. Then, if you told them the answer, they hit their forehead with the heel of their hand.
I now felt the same way. I had been beating my brains out on that sight, and Jeb’s answer was so simple, I had completely missed it. It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. As a warning, when I sent this article into ” Precision Shooting Magazine” in 1994, the girls in the office adopted this method of communication for a week or so, to keep things from getting too dull.
For more information on the M1, M-14 sights, see page 50 of the Mr. Baumgardner’s book, Precision Shooting with the M1 Garand. If you do not have a copy, don’t just shrug your shoulders, call 330-773-8104, and for $15.00 plus $3.00 shipping, he will send you one.