A question that keeps coming up in the preparedness circles is whether or not there is a role for the “sniper”. Due to the variations in why people choose to be prepared, I'll leave that up to you. What I will do is give you a brief definition of a few terms. A simple definition of a sniper is skilled military shooter or spotter/shooter team that is tasked to engage targets from concealment, usually at distances that exceed the enemy's standard weapons and detection capabilities. Often they act forward of enemy lines and more often than not, simply conduct surveillance and report information back to higher headquarters. The role has been popularized by Hollywood which often portrays some very unrealistic events.
- A Minute of Angle is a measurement of about 1/60th of a degree. At 100m it is 1 inch, at 200 it's 2 inches, 1000m it's 10 inches and so on. That means if you remove all human factors and environmental factors from shooting a gun that can shoot all it's shots within an inch (a 1 MOA gun), the best it could do at 1000m is a 10 inch group. If you don't do your part, the most accurate gun in the world cannot compensate for you. If the target is a 10 inch vital area and you are shooting at 1000 meters with a 1 MOA capable gun, you have no room for shooter error. A gun capable of 1/4 MOA will cost you SUBSTANTIALLY more than 1 MOA gun.
- Environmental factors play a HUGE role in what the bullet does once it leaves the barrel. Winds blow lightweight bullets around like feathers. Temperature affects the trajectory of the bullet, the temperature of the barrel, the ammo and, your performance. Some argue that high humidity effects how “thick” the air is and changes the trajectory. Elevation and barometric pressure also play a significant role in external ballistics.
- Shooter skill is just as important. If you can't shoot a 1 inch group at 100 yards with the most accurate rifle in the world, how do you expect it to hit a 10 inch vital area at 1000 meters? Shoot 10K rounds of 22LR if you must to perfect your fundamentals.
- Optics matter. If your scope has poor quality glass you won't be able to see your target clearly at distance. The scope must have high quality mechanisms that move the reticle around within the scope. They must be reliable and repeatable. If you add 25 clicks of elevation and then return to zero, it should return to zero every time and should not track diagonally. Ideally, your scope should have a modern reticle that allows for range estimation with markings to “hold” for different distances or wind. This negates the need to turn knobs and wear out the innards of the scope, and makes adjusting for targets at varying distances and winds extremely fast. Additionally, the scope should have a parallax adjustment if it has adjustable magnification. I could write an entire article just on scopes, first focal plane, fixed power, second focal plane, variable power, lighted and unlighted reticles, mildot and tactical milling reticles.....it can get overwhelming. [gallery ids="1991,1990,1988"]
- Range estimation is paramount to shooting at virtually any distance. Contrary to what a lot of people think, bullets don't exit the barrel and go like a laser beam straight to the target. Gravity immediately affects them as soon as they exit. As a matter of fact, if two projectiles, one fired from a gun, the other dropped at the exact same time, both will hit the ground the exact same time if the run is fired dead level. To compensate for gravity, we aim higher, that means the bullet goes up to it's “max ordinance” then comes back down to meet the point of aim. The scope is zeroed for a specific distance. This actually corresponds with another point along the flight path. For example, the Army zeros the M4 at 25 meters which results in a 300m zero. This allows you to use ranges with much shorter distances to zero for longer distance. Range estimation becomes very important because, if you don't know the range to the target, you can't compensate for the bullet's trajectory. For example, if you have a 600m zero on a 308 rifle, depending on bullet type and environmental factors, it could drop 250 inches at 1000m. Imagine the drop with a 100m zero! Again, regardless of how expensive and tacticool your rifle is, if you do not understand this you will miss a 10” steel plate at 1000 yards, not to mention a 19.5” x 39” torso taget. You MUST know the distance to compensate for gravity...unless you are shooting a laser beam.
Last modified onThursday, 20 April 2017 06:31
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