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Finally got an AR TEL scope to complete an early M21 replica rifle

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  • Finally got an AR TEL scope to complete an early M21 replica rifle

    Well, I've been wanting to add an XM21 or "early M21" to my small collection for a year or so, but never had much luck finding an AR TEL scope at the right time and at the right price. (got outbid on eBay twice for an AR TEL set-up). This year I did acquire a NOS mount, but it wasn't until this month that I finally got the scope to go with it. Thanks to a tip from macethetemplar, I was able to buy at AR TEL scope only (no mount) with original reticle (w/ correct stadia marks) at a decent price, and in what is basically good, service grade condition. (Note: Some of the AR TELs sold by the CMP 20 years ago have had the reticles repaired/replaced with a fine cross hair, but I prefer an AR TEL scope with the original reticle that hadstwo small stadia marks on the horizontal and vertical cross hairs).

    (Pics 1-3): Thought I would share some pics of this project. Circa 1989 SAI NM with ART II (top) and another 1989 SAI NM with AR TEL (bottom) (Serial #s are only 800 digits apart. Since both are from the Glen Nelson era re SAI NM rifles, I thought it would be neat to use them as M21 replicas. Both have standard weight "NM" marked barrels, unitized gas cylinders, bedded stocks, etc)

    Historically speaking, for those who might not know the timelines, the bottom rifle w/ AR TEL scope represents a Vietnam era "early M21" circa 1969 to the approximately early 1980s, and the top rifle with ART II scope represents a "late M21" circa early 1980s to the early 1990s (as some were still used by NG units in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, although at that point most of them had been replaced within active US Army units with the M24 SWS bolt-action sniper rifle). So those two vintage M21s tribute rifles finally fill the hole in my small collection of military sniper rifles and replicas.

    (Picture 4 and 5) Coincidentally, my first M1A was/is an SAI "M21 Tactical Match" with optional Kreiger SS barrel (shown on top). While SAI advertises this rifle as an "M21" given that it is optic-friendly with the adjustable cheek piece stock, and comes fully accurized in Super Match configuration, its not really the same rifle as the two replicas of the "original military M21." (That said, I still very much enjoy my SAI M21 as its a tack driver, and has performed really well over the past 8 years)

    Last picture (pic 7 - I redacted the name on this plaque): One other kind-of neat thing about my AR TEL scope is that the prior owner was a US Army sniper, who used an M21 during the mid-1980s while in the service. He even won an award with his M21 back in 1986. Note: This AR TEL was not his actual service scope, but I think its still kind-of neat buying it from a guy who was issued one, and I enjoyed listening to his experiences from his prior service life 30 years ago...

    So, the only two things I will likely change on XM21 and M21 rifles is the additional of a faux M14 selector switch (from Hawk), which might involve replacing the two SAI commercial stocks with some nice USGI wood stocks that can accommodate the fake M14 selector switch. On the downside, that will mean glass-bedding the actions (time and $$). Also need to find a vintage 1970ish and mid-1980s 1907 leather slings for these two projects. (If anyone has a spare leather sling from this era, please let me know). Anyhow, Happy Friday.
    Last edited by Random Guy; 10-14-2017, 05:51 PM.

  • #2
    Pretty. Nice collection.

    Any reason the AR TEL scope rotated 90*?

    If I didn't have so many bolts on the list Id do these as well. Love em.



    • #3
      Beautiful rifles! Thanks for sharing


      • #4
        "Any reason the AR TEL scope rotated 90*

        Yea, I was in too much of a hurry to see what it looked like last night and to take some pics (scope was just hand tightened to rifle). I then discovered my error and rotated the scope so I could see the S/N, but didn't bother to set-up new pics. UPDATE: I took new pics with the scope in the proper orientation, so hopefully that looks a little better. Anyhow, another box checked off...
        Last edited by Random Guy; 10-13-2017, 08:58 PM.


        • #5
          If you are handy with a drill press, you can create a jig in order to put the necessary cutouts in the stocks. I did this to a commercial SAI T44E4 stock so I could install my dummy kit.

          I had a couple of junk stocks to practice on. Just fill the holes with steel putty and drill them out. Sorry, but, I no longer have the jig I made.


          • #6
            The M14's all look good thank you for the pictures ,geoff3


            • #7
              Hawk, I don't have a wood working shop and tools to make clean cuts on the stock for the faux selector switch, so I am leaning towards using nice USGI "big red" walnut stocks, as that is probably more or less correct, but the time and expense of someone professional bedding them is the drawback. The current SAI stocks are nice and the bedding is very well its a dilemma.


              • #8
                Great group, thanks for sharing!