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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. XI - Page 307« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Sgt. A. Zahm James)

Mr. Specter.
through to date about eight times. This is annually. I won the President's match in 1953 at the national matches and the Leech Cup in 1952, and the Marine Corps Cup in 1957. There are some others.
Mr. Specter.
What experience have you had with telescopic sights, Sergeant Zahm?
Sergeant ZAHM. One of my additional duties at the present time is the non-commissioned officer in Charge of the long-range team. This consists of about 40 members of the Marine Corps Rifle and Pistol Team, and I am charged with training, providing weapons, and hand loading the ammunition for practice and eventual firing at 600 and 1,000 yards in the interservice match.
Mr. Specter.
Are telescopic sights used regularly in those activities?
Sergeant ZAHM. Yes.
Mr. Specter.
Could you characterize for me in some manner your experience then with telescopic sights in the number that you have used or duration of time where You have used telescopic sights?
Sergeant ZAHM. Well, from my own experience, and it is true that the higher powered telescopes are used in the particular type of firing we are doing right now, deliberate slow fire at extreme ranges of 600 and 1,000 yards. We use 12-power to 20-power telescopes. These are unsuitable for moving targets or closer ranges from unsteady positions, because the power of the telescope tends to magnify the shooter's movements and makes a hold more difficult.
In the lower-powered telescope such as four-power telescope at closer ranges ranging from 50 to 200 yards, this is an ideal type of weapon for moving targets or type of telescope for moving targets, and for the closer ranges, things being inherent in the focus of the scopes when you get in too close, the higher power type scopes tend to blur out to a certain degree.
Mr. Specter.
Can you characterize the increased efficiency of a marksman in using a four-power scope as opposed to using only the iron sights?
Sergeant ZAHM. Well, with the iron sights you have more room for error in the fact that you have three variables. You have your targets, your front sight and your rear sight, and you have the possibility of an error in alining the sights, and then you also have the possibility of an error in the sights on the targets, which we refer to as the sight picture. Looking through aperture or even the open buckhorn type sights, when you are concentrating on your sights, your targets tend to become blurred because of the close focus of your eye in alining the sights.
Now this as opposed to telescope of a four-power nature it is a natural characteristic of a telescope when you are looking for your target, it is a natural thing to center your target in the view of your telescope, and in the center view of your telescope is the aiming crosshairs. This is only one point.
If you get this one point, the crosshairs in the proper relationship to your target, this is an aid in locating, finding your target, because you are using the scope in the sense as binoculars. Once you have found your target, your sights are already alined, and then through good trigger manipulation the shot should be well on the target.
Mr. Specter.
With respect to rapid-fire shooting, how does the telescopic sight on a four-power scope work out?
Sergeant ZAHM. Four-power being a reasonably low-power scope, it has a fairly broad field of view. By this we mean it covers a reasonable amount of area out at about 100 yards, about I think probably around 30 feet or so. Using the scope, rapidly working a bolt and using the scope to relocate your target quickly and at the same time when you locate that target you identify it and the crosshairs are in close relationship to the point you want to shoot at, it just takes a minor move in aiming to bring the crosshairs to bear, and then it is a quick squeeze.
Mr. Specter.
Would you characterize it as easy, difficult, or how would you characterize it to use a scope, a four-power scope in rapid fire?
Sergeant ZAHM. A real aid, an extreme aid.
Mr. Specter.
Suppose in focusing in through the four-power scope you do not get a completely circular view, but instead get a partial view with a corner of the view being blacked out because you don't have the scope in direct alinement, but you are still able to see a sufficient amount of daylight through the scope so
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