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Old 05-21-2010, 12:51 AM
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Default The EXACTO Sniper Rifle Program

http://www.time.com/time/nation/arti...891348,00.html
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:57 AM
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Cool weapon, though I don't much like their underlying thinking that "training is hard, we need to fix it with technology" . . . since that's the kind of logic that gave us the three round burst instead of auto on the M16A2.
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Old 05-21-2010, 03:12 AM
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Btw the piece is wrong.

British Army CoH Craig Harrison of the Household Cavalry successfully engaged two Taliban machine gunners south of Musa Qala in Helmand Province in Afghanistan in November 2009 at a range of 2,475 m (2,707 yd), using a L115A3 Long Range Rifle rifle chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum. These are the longest recorded and confirmed sniper kills in history. (wiki ftw).


But the idea of really long range sniper weapons has been around for years. The only problem I see being the power of current ammo being able to reach out to 3km and still being able to kill someone.

Now I know it sounds like sci-fi but wasn't the US Army working on gauss technology afew years back as a replacement for the current design of ammo and small arms.

Now that would have the range and the stopping power needed to be a long range sniper weapon (if they ever get it off the drawing board).
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Old 05-21-2010, 07:24 AM
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Cool weapon, though I don't much like their underlying thinking that "training is hard, we need to fix it with technology" . . . since that's the kind of logic that gave us the three round burst instead of auto on the M16A2.
Yeah, but the full auto M16 also contributed to 50,000 rounds spent per every enemy killed in Vietnam. That's the logic that gave us the 3-round burst limiter. Automatic fire really is only necessary for machineguns.
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Old 05-21-2010, 07:26 AM
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Btw the piece is wrong.

British Army CoH Craig Harrison of the Household Cavalry successfully engaged two Taliban machine gunners south of Musa Qala in Helmand Province in Afghanistan in November 2009 at a range of 2,475 m (2,707 yd), using a L115A3 Long Range Rifle rifle chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum. These are the longest recorded and confirmed sniper kills in history. (wiki ftw).
Pardon the writer. He wrote it 15 APR and the article about Harrison was released 02 MAY.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:20 AM
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I love the title, Soon Rifles That Kill From a Mile Away, I remember the safety warning on packets of .22LR bullets saying that the round can be dangerous for a distance of up to one mile...
The writer still slipped up somewhat, he says Cpl Furlong's first two shots missed but that's not correct. The first missed and the second hit the target's backpack and was thus prevented from killing him. The third shot was a killing hit
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:00 AM
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You are so correct Eddie.

I looked at the date on the article and swear we were still in April.

Where has the year gone?
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:22 AM
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Yeah, but the full auto M16 also contributed to 50,000 rounds spent per every enemy killed in Vietnam. That's the logic that gave us the 3-round burst limiter. Automatic fire really is only necessary for machineguns.
must say I love the full auto option on my NG HK 416 - but I admit its more fun than practical.

Steady flow of single shots with either accuracy or speed is more effecient.I think the V.2.0 rules takes this into account .Bursts are only really efficient when firing at multiple targets in specific situations or if rifle skill is :1.
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Old 05-21-2010, 03:35 PM
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Yeah, but the full auto M16 also contributed to 50,000 rounds spent per every enemy killed in Vietnam. That's the logic that gave us the 3-round burst limiter. Automatic fire really is only necessary for machineguns.
Poor training gave us the Vietnam kill ratios.

Automatic capability on an infantry carbine/rifle is rarely necessary, but when it is applicable not having that tool in the tool box because some genius decided a technical fix to a training issue was the way to go is a gross disservice to the troops.
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Old 05-21-2010, 04:00 PM
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Poor training gave us the Vietnam kill ratios.
That was also a contributor.

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Automatic capability on an infantry carbine/rifle is rarely necessary, but when it is applicable not having that tool in the tool box because some genius decided a technical fix to a training issue was the way to go is a gross disservice to the troops.
I'll agree with this to a point. But I also put forth that anything you need to do with automatic fire can be just as effective with aimed fire save elements of machinegun theory such as grazing fire.

An Infantry Carbine and a machinegun are two different tools. Similar to a flat-head screwdriver and a Phillips-head screwdriver. They look alike. They both put screws in things. They both do it by turning. But one is much more precise than the other one.
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Old 05-21-2010, 07:40 PM
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I agree -- I never saw much firsthand utility in burst with either the M16A2s and M4s or with auto on the M4A1 I've been issued down through the years. But, if you're going to add one option or the other to a weapon, the burst capability as implemented on the M16 series is an unnecessary mechanical complication and potential failure point that was only adopted because senior leadership lacked the will to implement meaningful combat marksmanship training.
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Old 05-21-2010, 08:59 PM
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If I remember correctly there was a (somewhat but not exactly) similar situation in the British Army when they changed over from the .303 SMLE to the 7.62mm L1A1. The higher-ups, expressed the belief that the squaddies could not be trusted with a weapon that could fire full-auto so the design of the FAL was modified to allow only semi-auto fire. Their belief was that the troops would simply use 'spray & pray' instead of using single, well-aimed shots.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:21 PM
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I agree -- I never saw much firsthand utility in burst with either the M16A2s and M4s or with auto on the M4A1 I've been issued down through the years. But, if you're going to add one option or the other to a weapon, the burst capability as implemented on the M16 series is an unnecessary mechanical complication and potential failure point that was only adopted because senior leadership lacked the will to implement meaningful combat marksmanship training.
We were issued M4A1s in Ranger Regiment. And on more than one occasion I saw Ranger NCOs flip to full auto and waste ammo. Even disciplined soldiers will screw around. You're most definitely entitled to your opinion, but I disagree with it.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:57 PM
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I love the title, Soon Rifles That Kill From a Mile Away, I remember the safety warning on packets of .22LR bullets saying that the round can be dangerous for a distance of up to one mile...
The writer still slipped up somewhat, he says Cpl Furlong's first two shots missed but that's not correct. The first missed and the second hit the target's backpack and was thus prevented from killing him. The third shot was a killing hit
I've been reading about this for years and I still wonder why the "target" didn't get behind some serious cover after the first miss. My impression is that the terrain on which which this engagement took place was rocky and mountainous, with ample cover and concealment. Was it on a narrow trail on a steep mountainside or something? Anyone know the details?
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:20 PM
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If I remember correctly there was a (somewhat but not exactly) similar situation in the British Army when they changed over from the .303 SMLE to the 7.62mm L1A1. The higher-ups, expressed the belief that the squaddies could not be trusted with a weapon that could fire full-auto so the design of the FAL was modified to allow only semi-auto fire. Their belief was that the troops would simply use 'spray & pray' instead of using single, well-aimed shots.
The L85, on the other hand, does have a full automatic mode. Of course, the change lever is cunningly positioned to be rather difficult to switch to auto in a hurry, and even in my four years of involvement with the military, the situations in which automatic fire has been recommended have virtually vanished. Originally it was to be used when clearing buildings, when clearing trenches, and when under attack from a superior enemy force (think human wave). Now the training is to use rapid single for pretty much everything.
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:21 PM
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I think the British (and US) MOUT/FIBUA doctrine both moved away from auto for room/bunker clearing at about the same time they both moved away from grenading rooms as SOP and such. None of that works real well on a civilian clogged battlefield (unless you don't mind the bad press . . . and in that case, why not just clear most buildings with JDAMs and 120mm tank gun rounds?).
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:30 PM
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Really all the training in world wouldn't help, no one can predict how a person will respond to any given situation. I myself have no qualms of anyone burning through ammo if they have a believe to fear for their life. I wasn't in their position, and you may have witness it, but you didn't have their perspective of their narrow view of the situation. On the other hand, you look silly after expending all your ammo as NCO while other troops are still firing.

One has to understand when the full-auto option was added to Assault Rifles/Carbines it was shortly after WWII and Korea. Both for separate reason led people who were making the decisions and obvious above our pay grade, decide it was needed. Either way there are time when full auto or burst comes in handy, but nothing beat a well aim shot.
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Old 05-22-2010, 01:26 AM
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Assault rifles were designed from the outset with a full-auto option, it wasn't something that was added later and the earliest designs date from 1913 with the most well know early example being the German StG44 from the 1940s while the German FG42 was a close parallel but suffered from being chambered for a full-power round.
In the case of the Federov Avtomat of 1913 and the StG44, both rifles included a full-auto selector due to the thinking of the designers, not because it was asked for by the military brass.
The philosophy behind the assault rifle being that it was meant to replace the standard rifle as well as the sub-machinegun with either single or auto fire being used depending on the role it was taking over (i.e. the rifle role or the SMG role). It owes its existence to the belief that it would replace both the rifle and the SMG (which it obviously has in most cases)
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Old 05-22-2010, 01:49 AM
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I've been reading about this for years and I still wonder why the "target" didn't get behind some serious cover after the first miss. My impression is that the terrain on which which this engagement took place was rocky and mountainous, with ample cover and concealment. Was it on a narrow trail on a steep mountainside or something? Anyone know the details?
My guess would be that at the distance involved the target didn't hear the rifle being fired or see any muzzle flash so he probably didn't realise in time that he was being fired upon.
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Old 05-22-2010, 09:06 AM
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I think the British (and US) MOUT/FIBUA doctrine both moved away from auto for room/bunker clearing at about the same time they both moved away from grenading rooms as SOP and such. None of that works real well on a civilian clogged battlefield (unless you don't mind the bad press . . . and in that case, why not just clear most buildings with JDAMs and 120mm tank gun rounds?).
Actually, in the High-Intensity-Conflict range of what doctrine now calls Full Spectrum Operations, FM 3-21.8 still lists an 120mm tank main gun round as the preferred method of room clearing. Doctrine hasn't changed that much.

We just now acknowledged the Tennessee diagram of combat and realize that very few times/places are we going to be in that range of the spectrum anytime soon (maybe Korea if it flares off again, that's about the only HIC mission presently).
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Old 05-22-2010, 09:08 AM
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My guess would be that at the distance involved the target didn't hear the rifle being fired or see any muzzle flash so he probably didn't realise in time that he was being fired upon.
That .50 cal. round would have a hell of a crack though. Even at that range. He should have heard that.

Maybe the guy was deaf? ::shrug::
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Old 05-22-2010, 09:48 AM
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At what range does .50 cal become subsonic? I don't remember but I guess you are right.
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Old 05-22-2010, 10:44 AM
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At what range does .50 cal become subsonic? I don't remember but I guess you are right.
By the JBM ballistics calculator, for M33 (650 grains, .34 G7, .51" dia, 2800 ft/s at the muzzle, 10000 ft altitude) you're looking at about 2.1 km.
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Old 05-22-2010, 01:28 PM
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At what range does .50 cal become subsonic? I don't remember but I guess you are right.
Could be. But wouldn't he hear and/or feel the impact of at least the second miss (the one that hit his ruck)?
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Old 05-23-2010, 03:15 AM
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Could be. But wouldn't he hear and/or feel the impact of at least the second miss (the one that hit his ruck)?
Sure, but in the time that it took him to work out what that impact on his ruck might have been, further thought processes would have been severely disrupted by an acute case of death. I guess what I'm trying to say is, in hindsight it might seem strange that he didn't react but I suspect he was suffering from what psychologists nowdays refer to as "cognitive dissonance". In the absence of easy to recognise clues, no discernable targets in front of him, possibly no bang or crack or flash, his brain may not have had enough information to reach the correct conclusion about what was happening (at least not in time to react appropriately anyway).

Edit: And now that I think on it further, at what altitude did this engagement take place? The speed of sound is different at altitude compared to at sea level. Up in the mountains would the round still be travelling fast enough to break the sound barrier? Is the speed of sound higher or lower at higher altitudes? (Embarassing, I should know this off the top of my head but I've just finished a very tough day at work and my brain is completely fried).
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:09 AM
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The speed of sound gets lower as you go higher, because the air gets less dense. (For that matter, the speed of sound is much higher in water, since water is a lot more dense than air.) Off the top of my head, (and this is very rough and dimly-remembered), the speed of sound is about 760 mph (about 1223 kmh) at sea level, but falls to about 666 mph (about 1072 kmh) at 20,000 feet (about 6096 meters) above sea level.
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Old 05-23-2010, 11:51 AM
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The speed of sound gets lower as you go higher, because the air gets less dense.
Yep. This is why I used 10,000 ft altitude above; the actual record-breaking shots may have been taken even higher. Note, though, while it's true at any altitude that's going to matter to most people your generalization is true, the speed of sound actually increases with altitude in the stratosphere and thermosphere.

As far as the exterior ballistics go, the distance to a round going subsonic is affected by altitude in two ways:
1) The speed of sound decreases, so a bullet has to slow more
2) The air is less dense, so the bullet retains velocity better

Last edited by Spoe; 05-23-2010 at 02:06 PM. Reason: General grammatical clean-up.
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Old 05-23-2010, 01:27 PM
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And if you want to get even more complicated, relative air pressure also affects the speed of sound -- heat (high pressure) makes the speed of sound higher, and cold (low pressure) makes it lower. Wind also affects the speed of sound, for the same reason.
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Old 05-23-2010, 04:51 PM
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Sure, but in the time that it took him to work out what that impact on his ruck might have been, further thought processes would have been severely disrupted by an acute case of death. I guess what I'm trying to say is, in hindsight it might seem strange that he didn't react but I suspect he was suffering from what psychologists nowdays refer to as "cognitive dissonance". In the absence of easy to recognise clues, no discernable targets in front of him, possibly no bang or crack or flash, his brain may not have had enough information to reach the correct conclusion about what was happening (at least not in time to react appropriately anyway).

Edit: And now that I think on it further, at what altitude did this engagement take place? The speed of sound is different at altitude compared to at sea level. Up in the mountains would the round still be travelling fast enough to break the sound barrier? Is the speed of sound higher or lower at higher altitudes? (Embarassing, I should know this off the top of my head but I've just finished a very tough day at work and my brain is completely fried).
That makes sense. I still wonder what was going through that poor sod's head, though. I figure he must have been on a mountainside trail with a steep wall of rock on one side and a sheer drop-off on the other (i.e. no cover).

I would also imagine that even at a mile or so away, the sound of a .50 firing would be audible, especially at high altitude. The atmosphere would be thinner and air pressure lower up there- wouldn't make the bullet and/or sound waves travel further and faster? It's been quite a while since I took physics.
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Old 05-23-2010, 06:57 PM
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I would also imagine that even at a mile or so away, the sound of a .50 firing would be audible, especially at high altitude. The atmosphere would be thinner and air pressure lower up there- wouldn't make the bullet and/or sound waves travel further and faster? It's been quite a while since I took physics.
The bullet would retain velocity for a longer period, but the sound would propagate less well -- sound needs a medium to travel through. It's why "in space, no one can hear you scream" -- there's virtually nothing up there for sound waves to propagate through. Or conversely, why whalesong can travel for thousands of miles -- the water is a denser medium and allows sound waves to propagate faster and further.
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