History of the Objective Mount Sniper

One of the earliest wartime sniper rifles used by German soldiers is the objective mount sniper (as it is called by collectors). Unfortunately, not a lot is known about these snipers and very few exist today in collections. It is known that commercial mounts and bases were used to assemble these and it is assumed that these were depot built snipers. The majority of wartime pictures show these rifles in the hands of Waffen SS soldiers making it likely that they were an early SS depot creation. However, it is possible that a version was made for the Army as well. At this time it is not known when and where these Army examples were assembled. The SS depot in which they were assembled is not yet known either. Wartime documents refer to them as the “Suhler” mounting system. The only scopes seen to date used on objective mount snipers are the Hensoldt Wetzlar and Ajack.

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The scope had two half rings soldered on, one ring to the scope tube and the other to the front objective. These rings each have two claws that were matched to the bases. The front portion of the base consisted of two parts, a saddle that was attached to the rifle’s receiver and a smaller base that has the slots for the two claws. The saddle had a notch cut into it and the smaller base was then fit to it. The rear base contains a spring load locking bar that allows for a quick detach of the scope. It would appear that the rifle serial number was then stamped on the bottom portion of the rear ring. The fit and finish on Objective Mounts tends to be of high quality and very much resembles the work of WWI Gewehr sniper rifles, another reason why it is likely they were depot assembled as opposed to factory produced in large numbers.

 

As a result of these sniper rifles being so rare, the best way to study them is by observing original war time pictures. One interesting find among these photos is the use of a mono-pod attached to the forward part of the stock. These mono-pods thus far have only been seen on objective mounts and shows the innovative nature of German forces in creating an effective sniper rifle. Authentic objective mount snipers are extremely rare in the collecting market today.

Picture showing two SS soldiers both armed with early Objective mount snipers.

War time pictures of a SS sniper with a Objective mount sniper. A mono pod can be seen attached on the stock of the rifle. A feature seen in other war time pictures but only seen on Objective mounts. 

Example of a Objective Mount

Objective mount snipers are extremely rare. This rifles was built on a 1939 dated bsw rifle.

Close up of front base

Close up of the rear base.

This rifle was fitted with a Hensoldt Dialytan 4 power scope. 

(Above) Pictures showing where the rear ring is numbered to a rifle. This example doesn't match the rifle. It can be seen where a previous rifle number was crossed out and the new rifle number added. It is not uncommon to see recycled scope parts on German snipers. 

(Left) Two wartime pictures showing Objective Mounts fitted with Ajack scopes with focus adjuster. It is possible that these are Army soldiers armed with the Army's variation of the Objective Mount.

(Right) Another wartime picture showing a objective mount with mono-pod attached.

History of the SS Double Claw

Late in the war the Waffen SS would come back to a double claw mounting system, likely due to the failure of a short side rail. This would be the last sniper rifle mounting system used by the SS in WWII. The SS Double Claw was without a doubt built by the SS in the depot SSZZA2. While depot built, there is a pattern to what base rifles were used to assemble them. The most common base rifles are Steyr SS contract rifles and SSZZA4 depot built rifles. The only other two base rifles used are bcd 43 and byf 43, though these are seen less frequently.

 

Despite the 43 dated receivers, double claws were most likely assembled in 1944. When the SSZZA2 depot went to build double claws snipers, rifles in depot stockpiles were pulled to be used. It is unclear if they purposefully selected the more accurate rifles or merely chose rifles at random. However, looking at the methods of the other German sniper makers, it is likely that the most accurate rifles were chosen.

 

Once a rifle was chosen, the receiver was cut to allow for the front base to be inserted. The rear base was fitted and soldered in place. In some instances, the front and rear bases were also staked in place. However, this seems to be the exception. Unlike the objective mount, the spring loaded locking mechanism for locking the scope to the rear base was located on the rear rings, as opposed to the base itself. The scope rings were attached to the scope tube using two methods, full soldering and welding. Once scope/ring assemblies were fitted to a rifle the rifle serial number was engraved on the left side of the scope tube. The nature of claw mounting systems require a large amount of custom fitting of the scope rings and bases to one another. This makes it difficult to attach a scope to a rifle that it was not originally assembled with (i.e., matching). Once assembly of the rifle was complete, SSZZA2 acceptance was stamped on the receiver above the firing proof. This is the only additional stamping found on authentic rifles.

 

There was only one maker of scope used on the SS double claw, the dow scope made by the Czech firm Optikotechna GmbH, Prerau which was a subsidiary of Waffenwerke Brunn AG. There are two variations to this scope. One has a ocular focus adjuster while the other does not. Both have a large knurled center adjuster used for adjusting the elevation of the reticle. Near the rear/top of the scope tube, dow (the war time code) will be stamped along with a blue + which indicates that the scope was filled with grease that is resistant to cold weather. Unlike most other scopes, the dow has no sunshade. The front claw ring will have a e/63 inspection stamp. The rear claw ring will also have a e/63 in addition to a capital ‘A’ and three digit number. Early claw mounts will lack the e/63 stamps and rear numbering. Instead they will have numbers on the spring loaded claws. Often these are low numbers (such as 27). These early style claw rings are far less common then the latter proofed examples.

 

Collecting the Objective and Double Claw Mount

Both Objective mounts and Double Claw mounts are rare sniper rifles in the collecting market. Extreme caution should be used when purchasing one. Since there is so little known about Objective mounts, it is very difficult to authenticate a rifle. An understanding of Steyr SS contract and SSZZA4 built rifles will aid in authenticating a Double claw since these are the most commonly encountered base rifles.

Example of a SS Double Claw Sniper

SS Double claw built on a SSZZA4 depot built rifle.

(Left) Front and rear base. Despite the receiver being a bnz 43 this rifle was most likely assembled in 1944.

(Above) Rifle serial number engraved on scope tube.

dow scope with focus adjuster on ocular

(Right) Rifle serial number on barrel with SSZZA4 stamp. The SS depot stamped these markings when the rifle was being assembled as a regular infantry rifle.

(Left) Once assembled as a sniper, the SSZZA2 inspection stamp was added. A2 was depot that assembled double claw snipers.

Scope and Rings

The only scope use on the SS Double Claw sniper was the dow with center adjustment. There were two versions, one with a focus adjustment on the ocular and one without. The rings were either soldered or spot welded to the scope tube. 

dow scope without focus adjuster on ocular

dow scope with focus adjuster on ocular

(Left) dow (the war time code for Optikotechna) along with a blue + which indicates that the scope was filled with grease that is resistant to cold weather.

(Left) Center elevation adjuster. 

Scope rings with e/63 inspection stamps and captial A with scope serial number on the rear claw ring.

Scope rings with no e/63, number on spring loaded claws and scope serial on underside of the scope tube.

Examples of rifle serial numbers added to the scope tube.

Soldered Rings

Spot Welded Rings

Rilfes Used

While the SSZZA2 depot used what rifles were available to make double claw snipers, there are specific receiver codes and years that appear to be authentic snipers.

bnz 43 SSZZA4

bnz 4 Single Rune

byf 43

bcd 43

Example with bases staked in place

Example of a SS Double Claw Sniper

Once fitted to the receiver, the rifle serial number was engraved on the side of the scope tube. This example has rifle serial number 8398 which does not match.  

This SS Double claw was built on a bnz Single Rune rifle.

SS Double Claws were fitted with dow scopes. Some scope rings were soldered on while others were spot welded.

(Left) above the receiver firing proof the depot inspection stamp can be seen, SSZZA2. 

(Right) Pictures showing the numbered bolt and safety. 

(Left) Picture of the top of the receiver shows  bnz. 4 markings indicating this rifle was a Single Rune rifle assembled by Steyr in 1944 before being converted to a sniper.The front base and method of cutting the receiver to fit the base can be seen.

(Left) Picture showing the rear base attached to the rear section of the receiver. Sometimes the rear and front base are also staked in place.  

Wartime picture showing two SS soldiers in dot 43 camo. A SS Double Claw rifle can clearly been seen in the hands of the soldier on the left. Photo Courtesy of Wolfgang Meyer

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SS Double Claw Scope

Not all double claw scopes have a rifle serial number applied to the scope tube. Below are pictures of such a scope that was likely a spare scope. Perhaps kept for repair purposes or merely left over. The presence of German inspection proofs on the rings and scope serial number being in the middle of known examples would indicate that this is not a post war scope. Other similar examples have been observed.

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