spotters

Discussion in 'General Rifle Discussion' started by matt g, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. matt g

    matt g New Member Supporter

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    Other than calling the targets and shots and computing BC et al, what exactly does a spotter do for a shooter?

    Is it worth while to get the same quality of spotting scope that you have in your rifle scope? How about a little Kestrel wind meter?

    Can a good spotter see a .308 bullet moving down range in good lighting?
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2009
  2. ccd8541

    ccd8541 New Member

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    What the spotter does really depends on the venue and how the team establishes the roles. I suppose you could loosely break it down into; competitions, hunting and military.

    A good spotting scope is worthwhile. A person really needs to look through several while in the field(outdoors) and see what will work for them. You will probably need to spend around $200-300 minimum(?). I have not priced any in years.

    Kestrel is a great piece of gear. Primarily I use mine for density altitude but I do use it to estimate the wind at my location, and use that information to help estimate the wind down range.

    You will see the bullet 'trace', think of the wake behind a boat but of much shorter duration. Various factors come into play. Sometimes you can see the 'glint' off of a projectile.
     

  3. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    *place holder*

    Too much information to type out this evening before COB.

    More tomorrow - Much more to follow.

    JD
     
  4. matt g

    matt g New Member Supporter

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    I'll hold you to that.
     
  5. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Spent all day in the field on a new job that we just got awarded. Actually got threatened with "Get off my property or I'll let the dogs loose" LOL

    I will try to fill in some more tonight, or tomorrow AM for sure....

    Have you read any of the following books:

    Ultimate Sniper - John Plaster

    Sniper & Sniper II - Mark Lonsdale

    Those have a wealth of knowledge I will be parroting, so if you have read them, you will probably know a lot of it...
     
  6. matt g

    matt g New Member Supporter

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    I don't feel like reading, I want the instant gratification that only the internet can deliver.

    I'll have to pick those books up.
     
  7. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Okay, I got a few minutes to provide some instant gratification..... :D

    The first job of the spotter is that of a BACK UP SHOOTER. Most designated teams are two guys who have BOTH gone through the Scout/Sniper program. The Spotter might be better at range and wind, or the shooter could be world class, but they BOTH had to pass in order to be HOGs ( Hunters of Gunmen ) and be unleashed on the enemy.

    We have a very good friend of the shop, MSgt Kay, who trains S/S and he is "on record" as saying that 20%-30% of the time, a two man team in the field is in opposite positions when the actual shot takes place. Meaning the spotter, or the shooter, needed some shut eye, needed to rest their eyes, was using the radio, whatever, when the opportunity arrived and the "back up shooter" ended up taking the shot. It happens. The bad guys aren't always where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there...

    The Spotter does do the initial field mapping, a fine example of this can be seen, believe it or not, in the opening scene of Shooter. Mark Wahlberg's buddy has a drawn map of the valley they are over-looking with ranges marked out and wind patterns.

    The Shooter ( Sniper ) doesn't spend his whole time glued to the scope. He can't. Eye fatigue is a mother and he needs to rest. The Spotting scope is easier on the eye, and the field of view is greater due to the magnification power of the spotting scope.

    In addition, the Spotter is ALWAYS tasked with backdoor/rear guard, close perimeter defense and for any follow up shots if two targets present themselves. That is why you see a lot of S/S teams with a boltgun and your favorite M14 - in case a second opportunity presents itself. The primary target is handled by the Sniper, and a split second later the Spotter shoots the back up target, even if the back up target was the preliminary target prior to the mission.

    Example: Carlos Hathcock once went on a creep with his Spotter at the time. They were specifically going after a NVA "sniper" who was making life hell for the troops on Hill ( I can't remember the number - I'll have to look it up and get back to you ). In the process of tracking him, they came across a small NVA unit with a female in it. She was known as "The Banshee" because she tortured marines that were captured to scream and break morale on the lines. They broadcast her "work" on the radio and she frequently worked in the field around certain military posts. Anyways, she had SHOOT ON SITE orders and Carlos wanted that trophy, so he took her out and his spotter was tasked with their initial assignment to get the NVA Sniper.

    More later.....
     
  8. matt g

    matt g New Member Supporter

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    I guess I'm asking how a spotter would benefit a long distance sport shooter, rather than a professional marksman.
     
  9. mrm14

    mrm14 Active Member

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    The range I go to has a pit below the targets @ 1000 yards. Guys in the club man these pits and when a round is shot through the target they lower it down to the pit and paste it with a visible round patch. These you can see through your scope. Shooting much past 200 yards I can't see the POI of a .30 cal. bullet through my scope on the paper. This is where a spotter with a good high power spotting scope comes into play. They can see the POI and tell you where you are on the target. Then elevation and windage adjustments can be made for the next round. My brother and I trade off shooting and spotting for each other when we shoot at longer range. We also use a electronic digital wind measuring device and record the data in a book when shooting for our developed loads. We also measure temperature, Barro pressure, and humidity for effects on elevation and record it in our books. So when it comes to shooting in similar weather conditions we have recorded data to adjust our windage and elevation for our developed loads before we take the first shot. It works! Any how, this is how my brother and I use a spotting scope.

    Also, I somehow end up sighting a fair number of my friends, relatively new to shooting, irons and scopes because they struggle with this process. I don't know why but they do. It seems simple to me. So alot of times it's just me the rifle and spotting scope doing their job.
     
  10. matt g

    matt g New Member Supporter

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    Mrm14, do you find that you can see the bullet in flight when shooting a .308?
     
  11. mrm14

    mrm14 Active Member

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    To be totally honest Matt, I can't see the bullet in flight from a .308, but I've never tried to look for it either. Maby it's because my eyes are on target only through the scope I'm spotting with. Or it could be the range I shoot at due to the fact that it is an area of low humidity and temperatures at this area are high in the dry season. Also, the more magnification we use in our scopes causes their own mirage affect. My brother, on the other hand, claims during the late winter and spring months, when the ground is green with growth and the weather is cold, usually in the morning, he can see the air distort somewhat from the bullet flight.

    I've seen this on TV shows about sniper target competitions, but the cameras they use on these shows pick up things the human eye may not be able to see in real time. Also I think they may slow the playback down on these shots of bullets and the air they distort in flight.

    Something I'll have to look for the next time my brother and I go shooting.
     
  12. ccd8541

    ccd8541 New Member

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    They can view the 'trace'/impact and give data corrections.

    Here is what you will see when viewing 'trace' through optics:

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpLAqI1vnZ0"]Video[/ame]

    You will see the disturbance in the air, it is brief but visible, just focus your attention above the targets.
     
  13. matt g

    matt g New Member Supporter

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    I shoot .45 ACP mostly. You can see the slow, massive .45 bullet in direct sunlight, which is why I was asking.
     
  14. Shooter

    Shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    I always bring a spotter to range when shooting non-scoped guns. I lose my focus when I keep going back and forth between shooting and scope. I can get my groupings together faster and my grove going with someone calling out shot placements.
     
  15. Tackleberry

    Tackleberry New Member

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    Dude! That's some funny S**t right there! That's EXACTLY the way I feel!:D
     
  16. tuckinauster

    tuckinauster New Member

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    The easiest way to see bullet trace is to set the spotting scope around 20x and slightly out of focus. In my experience, its easiest to see on shots of 400yds and over.

    As far as a spotter goes, they should position themselves as close to the shooter as possible without making contact, and as directly behind the rifle as possible.

    When I'm shooting with a spotter, I like to have a system for everything that happens before, during, and after the shot. Usually what happens, is we'll get into postion and settled. The spotter then calls out the target and gives the range, I'll repeat the information so there is no misunderstanding.

    Once the target is ranged and the scope has been adjusted accordingly, I'll look to see what the wind is doing. I can usually get a pretty good idea from looking down range with the rifle scope, but I'll always ask for a wind call from the spotter. It's way easier to read wind through a good spotting scope than a rifle scope. Once the wind has been accounted for, I'll settle in and slow my breathing to prepare for the shot. When I'm ready to take the shot, I'll tell the spotter that I'm on target, the spotter will then tell me to either "send it", or to hold if we need to wait for the wind or some other factor. Once I take the shot, I'll make my call as to where I beleive POI was. The spotter will then confirm it a hit or a miss, and what adjustments need to be made. The appropriate adjustments are made, and the the process repeats itself for the next shot.

    I hope this helps :cool: