Monday, April 07, 2003

A story has appeared in the Sun which tells of two Royal Marines who each made an incredible one shot kill against an Iraqi soldier.

"A ROYAL Marines sniper told yesterday how he felled an Iraqi gunman in a strong wind from more than half a mile with an astonishing shot in a million."

A half mile would be approximately 886 yards. It's a ways out but you must remember that Hi-Power matches are shot at 200, 300 & 600 yard targets. There are also a number of people who shoot 1,000 yard competetions & I believe the current record is under 4 inches for a 3 shot group. So the distance is not that unbelievable although it is not as easy as say a 300 yard shot.

Also my external ballistics program tells me that for a 150 grain BTSP bullet with a ballistic co-efficient of .423 traveling at 2800 fps the amount of drop is roughly 20 feet at 850 yards assuming a 100 yard zero. With a 300 yard zero the drop is 17 feet.

So the following quote seems unreasonable:

"The 7.62 calibre round from Matt’s L96 sniper rifle was aimed 56ft to the left to allow for the wind, and 35ft high to allow for the distance."

In short this was decent, not exceptional marksmanship. There is not excuse for a soldier with a .30 claiber rifle not to be able to hit a man sized target at 600 yards with open sites. Add a scope & I'd say 1,000 yards would not be unreasonable. The two Royal Marines should be commended for their service. But unless the distance mentioned was considerably longer than stated then this should not be seen as an amazing feat of marksmanship. It should mean these two Royal Marines are a little better than average shots.

Of course there is the strong possibility that the article contained more errors of fact than I caught, but I attribute this sensationalized article to a profound lack of knowledge when it comes to firearms. After all, in the country where these two Royal Marines come from, firearms are not to be possessed unless you're in the military or police. I can see how an ignorant person would view a hit on a man sized target at 850 yards as incredible, even miraculous. That just makes it all the more sad to me.

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