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Questions about Military Snipers


mark2000
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I was wondering what are the more common practices that snipers/spotters do in the field these days when preparing for their shots.

Do they carry range cards, memorize it all from the get-go, or are portable ballistics calculators more common in the field these days?

Mil-dot ranging, scopes with ranging reticules, or laser rangefinders?

Portable weather monitoring instruments, or the age old practice of personally getting in sync with mother nature?

Calculators or mental number crunching? <-- (I just realized that this part alone is worth having an extra person around. :wall::rofl: )

Edited by mark2000
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There are a LOT of books to be found on Precision Shooting - from a civilian and tactical standpoint. Take a look around, and a quick google search will give you volumes of information.

Realize that many of the questions you asked about will vary based on branch and unit.

I can only tell you some of what the Snipers in my platoon did.

Our guys had cards with various information on it that they carried on them, in a buttstock pack or whatever. They did carry calculators (lots of trig) and the section leader did have an instrument for measuring windspeed, temperature etc. GPS is a must. They had both MilDot scopes with built in range-finding marks (forgive me for not knowing the proper terminology on this... I'm just a Scout, not a Sniper ;) ) and they had Laser Range Finders also. They had lots of cool whizz-bang gear to help them get their job done... and we're so glad they did.

Hope this helps...

Like I said though, a lot more detailed manuals and descriptions are available in print and online. I keep meaning to pick some up just to help my Civvie shooting skillz. :D

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Thank you for the replies.

I've been running my own little exercises using simulators these past few days and while I'm already used to the brute force number crunching, I'm slowly coming to realize that there's just no comparing to weather/ballistics software when it comes to pinpoint precision. Seriously... even just 50 feet of altitude difference can really screw up a good adjustment. Even mil-dot range estimating can be a real killer since I've had A LOT of experiences where I get errors by about 60 yards just because I screwed up my readings by 1/20th of an inch. 1/20th!! :wall:

*sigh* All of that is just part of the job, I guess. I'm just worried that with all the extra ballistics software I've been adding to my exercises lately, I may already be relying way too much on technology without even realizing it so I just had to ask about this. I'm actually glad to hear that the extra gear is really worth carrying out in the field.

Edited by mark2000
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In regards to current operations, not much of this is done. You are talking about a modern war. The snipers in Iraq, and sometimes in Afghanistan are taking semi-auto rifles to provide over-watch for assaulting elements. Afghanistan slightly different due to the terrain, however, a lot of the operations I witnessed in Afghanistan still called for some type of semi auto rifle. On rare occasion, our guys would bring the heavy hitters.

The assassinate missions are few and far between, and sniping positions are METT-TC.

Do they carry range cards, memorize it all from the get-go, or are portable ballistics calculators more common in the field these days?

I read somewhere snipers were using an iPhone App for this.

There is an iphone app for BDC and the likes, however, we didn't carry our 400 dollar iphones into combat. Maybe if the government bought em for us :P

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I was trying to address that. The modern snipers, have no need for these long range shots, hence the semi auto rifles.

EDIT: They dont ALWAYS need long range shots.

Thus, there's not need for rangefinders and range cards and the likes. Asking what snipers carry, is asking what they do these days, as they carry what the mission calls for.

METT-TC Mission Enemy Terrain Troops Time Civilian considerations.

That one acronym will answer any and every question in regards to military equipment, think rhetorically about the situation, and you can gather equipment used.

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Cinko, were your guys using the M110? our snipers hated then. Couldn't get a really good group at range time. They carried primarily M24s and Barretts for most missions. Curious what you all were doing. PM if you want.

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I was trying to address that. The modern snipers, have no need for these long range shots, hence the semi auto rifles.

EDIT: They dont ALWAYS need long range shots.

Thus, there's not need for rangefinders and range cards and the likes. Asking what snipers carry, is asking what they do these days, as they carry what the mission calls for.

METT-TC Mission Enemy Terrain Troops Time Civilian considerations.

That one acronym will answer any and every question in regards to military equipment, think rhetorically about the situation, and you can gather equipment used.

At what ranges are we talking about here approximately? 600-800 yards or closer?

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Most shots in Iraq are less than 25m, Afghanistan wasn't much further, for us anyways. Our mission is different, and others may find this not to be true. Our snipers would reach out there at the 300+ range in Stan, very rare though.

Again, that's not to say there aren't further shots being made, even for rifleman.

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Most shots in Iraq are less than 25m, Afghanistan wasn't much further, for us anyways. Our mission is different, and others may find this not to be true. Our snipers would reach out there at the 300+ range in Stan, very rare though.

Again, that's not to say there aren't further shots being made, even for rifleman.

Maybe it's just me bro, but 25 meters sounds scary close.

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Never took a shot that close in afghan firefights at distance are weird. Have no idea where their rounds are going. Id say they never tried distant shots though unless they were trying to ambush. everything was 100-200meters.

Im just a mortarman though lol... getting spray and pray from them ill still be on the cannon.

Edited by pz3
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Lol ... 60mm and me is the GR equivelant of oicw spam. Id love to be in a ranger bat humping one and laying down some hot rounds.

I like the 60 though, if all my fire for effect rounds land in the back of a pickup truck at 1250 meters id say im pretty good at direct lay too. ;)

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Calling for fire has to be some of the most fun I've ever had. I got to call in live fire once (me personally) and it was bad ass. Loved it.

Prozac... that's damn fine fire. I wish our guys were that good. They were too busy observing our own dismounts and thinking we were being ambushed (stupid UAV pilots). I was targeted by my own arty more often than we dialed in on anyone... it's sad.

As for our snipers... we were in a slightly suburban, more rural area. The majority of ranges for our guys were well over 300m. More like the 600-800m range. Some times we were up close and personal, but not too frequently. Distance is a Scout's friend. :)

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Lol, just noticing how many old gr guys and stuff are deployed or have been now. Shooting the ###### could get wild lol.

Seems like yesterday me and marcinko were only worried about modding. Although granted i still think. About just making a very sick [GR] mod.

@ruin, Called in arty or mortars? Lol our guys trusted our indirect a lot. The bat wanted to test our reaction times one day on the fob so they had a squad called it up... immidiate surpression.. yelling and popping off rounds... danger close.

Well it was actually danger close lol... 120s under 400meters, id rather be at the tube lol.

Never fired at baddies from the fob though so we got excited that day, was a bad joke lol.

Edited by pz3
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Cinko, you guys get that privilege. :) We were just a good old fashioned Combined Arms BN.

Prozac, I got to call in both. It was part of mobilization training. The FOs were setup on a hill. Mortars were a couple Ks away, and Arty set up even further. We had a hill that started at about 700M away and went up and back another 3K. That was our target zone. We did some joint training with the FOs and I was picked to do the actual Call. Got on the radio and everything. Loads of fun.

There's a few other members who joined up too. Daywanderer did years ago, Sart did a few years ago too (11B if I remember right). A few others did, but my memory escapes me.

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