Kraig's comments on accuracy in rifles snipers use is credible. More detailed history of the best ones ever used follows.
The United States Marine Corps purchased 373 Model 70 National Match rifles (ones with a clip guide in the receiver bridge) in May, 1942. Although the Marine Corps officially used only the M1 Garand and the 1903 Springfield as sniper rifles during the Second World War, "many Winchester Model 70s showed up at training camps and in actual field use during the Pacific campaign. These rifles had 24-inch sporter barrels chambered for .30-06 Springfield. These rifles had serial numbers in the 41000 to 50000 range and were fitted with leaf sights and checkered stocks with steel butt plates, one-inch sling swivels, and leather slings. It has been reported that some of these rifles were equipped with 8X Unertl telescopic sights for limited unofficial use as sniper weapons on Guadalcanal and during the Korean War.
Many of the surviving rifles, after reconditioning with heavier Douglas barrels and new stocks between 1956 and 1963 at the Marine Corps match rebuild shop in Albany, Georgia, were fitted with 8X Unertl sights from M1903A1 sniper rifles. The reconditioned rifles were used in competitive shooting matches; and the United States Army purchased approximately 200 new Model 70 National Match Rifles with medium heavy barrels for match use between 1954 and 1957. Many of the reconditioned Marine Corps match rifles were used by Marine Corps snipers during the early years of the Vietnam war with M72 match ammunition loaded with 173-grain boat-tailed bullets. A smaller number of the Army's Model 70 rifles also saw combat use by Army snipers; and some were equipped with silencers for covert operations in Southeast Asia. These Model 70 rifles never achieved the status of a standard military weapon; but were used until replaced by the Remington Model 700 series bolt-action rifles which became the basis for the M40 series sniper rifle.
I believe Hathcock's Win. 70 was one of those highlighted above. The ammo was standard M72 match ammo with an accuracy spec at 600 yards of 3.5" mean radius; about 10 inches (1.67 MOA) extreme spread. Some lots of M72 would shoot close to 1 MOA extreme spread at 600 yards in arsenal test barrels. Winchester factory barrels would shoot that ammo almost as accurate. I've heard mixed reports on the Douglas barreled ones accuracy.
I've seen some accuracy specs for sniper rifles and none of them are smaller than 1 MOA at 1000 yards. Without handloading ammo matched dimensionally for a given barrel, I doubt anyone could produce accuracy better than 1.25 MOA at 1000 yards. No sniper I know of uses ammo custom loaded for his rifle; it's all mass produced to be easily interchangeable across several in an organization.
US Navy Distinguished Marksman Badge 153
Former US Navy & Palma Rifle Team Member
NRA High Power Master & Long Range High Master
NRA Smallbore Prone Master
Last edited by Bart B.; March 17, 2013 at 06:54 AM.