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Join Date: Mar 2008
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I am inclined to lean more towards a compromise between Matt's numbers than BigO's.
It's true - long range shooting has been around forever. But if you follow the history of organized military sniping you will see that it has followed an ebb and flow, based on need, not based on constant training of vigiliance.
30 years ago, 1,000 yards was a LONG way out there. And while people will swear to you up and down about the Marines taking their stone stock M40 and taking it out to 1,000 yards with their stock .308 caliber cartridges, there were not many people performing those shots in the field.
The two most prolific snipers in Marine history, up through Vietnam, were Hathcock, and a guy no one talks about named Mawhinney that most people didn't even believe existed. For those that don't know Chuck Mawhinney actually had 103 confirmed kills ( with another 216 probable ) on his jacket, more confirms than Carlos! But, there wasn't a book written about him and his experiences until MUCH later in life when someone "outed" him in their own personal story about Vietnam.
In the stories of these guys in combat, very rarely will you see them talking about taking incrediably long shots, in excess of 800 or 1,000 yards. It's true, Carlos did hit an arms transporter, across a valley, down angle, at 2286 meters, but he did it with a Browning M2 Machine Gun and a 10x Unertl scope mounted to it, fixed in place behind the sandbags. Neither of these guys discuss taking their rifles, which were .30-06 Winchesters out to a grand plus in combat.
I know all about Ed Kugler and his claims of sapping charlie out at 1600 and 1800 yards. Forget it. Kugler was exposed moons ago for taking some creative license about his time in Vietnam and "distance" shooting.
Ronnie Barrett didn't introduce the M82 until 1982, which was a purpose built sniper application rifle designed to stretch the battlefield beyond 1,000 yards. It wasn't purchased and fielded by any military unit until '89 or '90 I believe. And the first sales went overseas, not to the US military. I think the US Military purchased like a 100 or so in 1990 and used them in the field during the first Gulf War Invasion.
Now, that was less than 20 years ago that a weapon was commonly in place to stretch out to a listed 1500m - according to the first manufacturer which was Barrett.
I will agree that in 18 plus years you can run a lot of people through programs designed to push the maximum range of their sniping abilities, but you will also have a lot of wash outs, you will have a lot of PIGs ( Professionally Instructed Gunmen ) who didn't pass the final tests for whatever reason and you will have HOGs ( Hunters of Gunmen / Snipers ).
Some of those HOGs will immediately be put with units that utilize their potentional, nourish it and keep them properly trained and in tune with what they need to be doing. Then you will get HOGs assigned to REMF led units that have no idea how to utilize them and their skills will slowly deminish over time. Not everyone who receives their HOGs Tooth ( a .308 rifle round on a leather tie to be worn around your neck, presented upon completing a sniper training program in the military ) will continue to be a 1,000 yard or 1,500 yard, one shot killing machine. Some will never even get the chance to employ that skillset, at that range, in combat situations.
So, while you may think that there are ALL these incrediably long range trained killers out there, the fact of the matter is, 1.5 miles is an incrediably long way to shoot someone from. There is a certain amount of luck, a great weapon, and some serious training that goes into making that kind of shot.
That is why you don't see world record shot groups being broken month after month at 1,000 yard shooting events that take place in probably a dozen states every weekend. That is why you don't see new distance records being set in sniping every time you turn on the news. That is why the current longest kill by a sniper, in the field, was set in Afghanistan in 2003 - over 5 years ago.
You can't tell me no other person has had a chance to add their name to that list and didn't take the shot. Every person who enters the S/S program WANTS to be the guy to pull the trigger at a distance everyone else will talk about forever.
As a final thought, we have a Master Sargeant, whom I will not name, but he leads the S/S troop out of Fort Lewis who gets his service rifle and personal rigs worked on in the shop. He has served 2 full tours in Afghanistan and has been redeployed with a new team to Iraq. He has a story of a place in Afghanistan that is called "Sniper's Alley" where members of the enemy forces routinely bring arms, ammo, supplies, etc through a rugged, ugly mountain pass that is a switch back for over three miles. It is not uncommon for our troops to set up looking directly into that "Alley" and get rountine shots beyond 1,000 yards on caravans on a regular basis. He stands by the fact that if his name was ever going to get on that list, it would be shooting at someone in that determined space because the conditions, according to him, are "about as good as it gets".
He is fielding a custom A.I. .338 Lapua that is probably worth $6K easy and his team has ( 2 ) .50 cal purpose built sniper rigs. So far, no luck at cracking that range and getting his longest confirmed.
Last edited by Dillinger; 07-10-2008 at 03:35 PM.