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RVM45
July 2, 2007, 01:38 PM
.....I remember reading an article by Jeff Cooper years ago. He argued that really long range shots- in the 500- 600 yard range are very rarely both possible and desireable under combat- or hunting; for that matter.

.....That being the case, he argued, most military snipers are uneccesarily burdened by high power (as much as 18x) scopes; that are expensive; and can also be a bit fragile. He also thought some of the heavy bench-rest style sniper weapons were a mistake.

.....Now I know that any number of people will want to vociferously disagree. That's okay. But does anyone remember Cooper's stated maximum distance that the vast majority of field sniping shots will be inside?

.....Anyway, I'd just like to remember the Colonel's precise argument.

.....RVM45 :cool:

tINY
July 2, 2007, 02:23 PM
I imagine that he probably changed opinions over time given realistic battlegrounds and available technology.....



-tINY

Jimro
July 2, 2007, 02:44 PM
Shooting Master Louis Awerbuck reports that in his wanderings he has discovered that public sector "snipers" seem much concerned about extremely fine increments in rifle sights to reach optimum efficiency for very long shots. If you study the matter you will find that most sniping, and practically all police sniping, is a short-range proposition. In the law enforcement arena, it takes place at night and across the street. You do not need a moonscope for that. I think the recent sniper movie "Enemy at the Gates" painted a pretty good picture of the sniping effort in a city. The primary requirement was patience, rather than "minute of moose."




There seems to be something fascinating about the range of 1200 yards in regard to a sniper kill. This is a long, long way, and not much is to be gained by quarreling with it. It is interesting, nevertheless, to see how many 1200 yard kills are now being reported back from the sand box. I think this figure is gained by simply setting the sights on the sniper rifle to that distance. If you deck somebody a long way out, you look at your sights and see that you shot this guy at 1200 yards. I am certainly not qualified to judge, but I think the long shooters deserve full praise regardless of statistics. The late revered Townsend Whelen opined that anything over 300 yards should not be responsibly attempted by a sportsman. This figure, of course, is not properly applied to a soldier. I guess we all know about Billy Dixon at the Battle of Adobe Walls, but I have never seen a long shot brought off properly with the rifle in the field. That certainly does not mean such things do not happen, but I do use Colonel Whelen's index with regard to my own adventures. On game animals 300 may be the maximum responsible shot. On Jihadists we deal with a different set of considerations.

But best not brag about long shots. Shooters are not impressed, and non-shooters do not know the difference.



Jimro

45Marlin carbine
July 2, 2007, 04:10 PM
Can't help with the quote, just bear in mind that sniper technology and calibers have come aways since the scoped '03 and Garand. 1000 yd shots aren't uncommon now.

44 AMP
July 2, 2007, 04:29 PM
But I do remember what he said about hunting game animals. It went something like this, (not an exact quote)

"If you ever take a shot beyond 300 yards you should sit down and write yourself a letter, in triplicate, as to why you had to do it."

His opinion was that while there might be a valid reason for a long shot, it was rare that you couldn't get in closer, and writing, in triplicate (something distasteful) was penance for not getting closer before taking the shot.

Likely he had a similar opinion about sniping, but I don't have any reference for that. High power scopes are great on the range, and work ok under certain field conditions, but a lower powered scope would be more generally useful. For a combat environment, I would want field of view over high magnification. Even target shooting and varmint shooting, I shoot better at 9x or below than I do at 18x. And mirage and heat shimmer is less with lower powers as well. that's why I like variables. On the other hand, I don't subject my rifles to the rigors of combat, so I don't have any idea about how well a variable would hold up. Fixed power scopes (with fewer parts) are more rugged/durable. A scope failure for a hunter is a disappointment, for a sniper, it is something else entirely.

JohnKSa
July 2, 2007, 11:08 PM
Marksmanship skill aside, when you get out to 300 yards the bullet is going to take a significant fraction of a second to make the trip. Living things move and when you add your reaction time to the time of flight, it gives the animal plenty of time to move sufficiently to turn a good shot into a gut shot.

Rimrod
July 2, 2007, 11:32 PM
His argument that I remember most was that a .22 pistol was better for a self defense weapon than a .380 because, while they were both too weak to hurt anyone, the .22 was more accurate and you could shoot the attackers eyes out with it.

What he wrote after that I can't tell you.;)

Zak Smith
July 3, 2007, 01:11 AM
A 500-yard shot with a scoped 308 on a man-sized target is a "gimme."

-z

Art Eatman
July 3, 2007, 07:44 AM
For hunting, Cooper often commented against shots beyond 300 yards. Many of us who tend to agree with that. However, I'd bet that if your only possible shot was beyond that distance, and you were confident you could indeed make the shot--you'd take it. I would, and I have.

Combat shooting with as-issue rifles is far different from sniping. With standard military sights, I'd doubt that one's "confidence distance" is all that far. Consider how many people here have said they'd not take a shot at a running deer, for instance...

Art

RsqVet
July 3, 2007, 08:08 AM
When one speaks of military rifle use and Mr. Cooper, lets remember that the engagements we are in today are very diffirent than those of his time.

Honestly I suspect that the only reason we are seeing longer range shots becoming more common is because of the unconventional nature of the engarements we are in... on a traditional battlefield with a demarkated front and uniformed, defined combatants, I simply do not think that we would be seeing the utility for long range sniping to the extent or degree that we do today.

Jim Watson
July 3, 2007, 08:52 AM
Let us also remember human nature.

A long shot by a hunter or sniper will be remembered and boasted of. A long miss will be dismissed with ample excuses. Target shooters are disagreeable people, they keep score.


A friend has the advantage of a private range, laser surveyed target stands at ranges to 600 yards. He took some hunters out and found that they were pretty much out of range at anything beyond 300.

Desert01
July 3, 2007, 09:38 AM
Most of what I have seen or experianced in the sand boxes was most engagements are inside of 300 meters. Almost every rifle carbine is using either a ACOG or the Aimpoint M-68 "as issue" so shooting is differant then the old days. We do have folks that are confident and competent with their rack grade M-16A4's and M-4's out to 5-600 meters with ACOG's and 300 with M-68's. Although I know a few that can get you that far with the 68, they now what the hold off's are.

Our snipers have reported engagements from 100 out to over 1200 with the M-24 and now the XM-110. The longest night shot....on second thought.

The terrian and experiance between the two theaters are very differant. The hardest part about for both the snipers and line dogs is determining the if the target is shootable. The farther away they are the harder it is to tell if they are carring a big stick or a AK. More then a few soldiers swear by their ACOG's not becuase of how it helps them shoot, but because the magnification has kept them from shooting more then one kid playing on the roof.

Maybe that last thought has something to do with Mr. Cooper's thoughts.

ZeroJunk
July 3, 2007, 02:18 PM
We once had a well known sports writer in camp who had the locals spot light him a nice buck and then commenced to write an article on how he had taken it.So,forgive me if I don't think any of these firearm pundits can walk on water.I, for one, am not very good at 300 yard distances in hunting situations.Marginal rests,wicked wind,wrong distance estimation make it quite different from bench shooting.But,anybody who says you can't get into situations where 300 yards is as good as it is going to get has never hunted the mountains.

44 AMP
July 3, 2007, 11:08 PM
From a bench, 4-450yds I can do fairly easy. 600+ much harder, but possible, although currently I do not practice that far, I used to.

In the field, tired, shaky from climbing a hill, cold, wet, etc. etc., my accurate range goes down. Some times way down.

And in the mountains, no matter what you do, sometimes you can't get 300 or less. BUT, you can always decide not to shoot. Your personal interpretation of sport hunting is the deciding factor. It's the chase, not the kill, for some people. For others, the trophy is worth the risks of a long shot.
Still others will take a long shot just because they can. Even if they shouldn't.

There are even folks who decline a shot that they probably could make, because they feel they shouldn't take it. Heading back to camp empty handed because you were not certain of a clean kill is one definition of sport hunting.

Meat hunting is a whole 'nother thing. Not sport, serious business, hungry is no fun.

Art Eatman
July 4, 2007, 11:07 AM
With Bambi, I'm concerned about the hunting ethic and a quick, clean kill.

While I like any shot to be a one-time event, if the target is a Bad Guy, I have no ethics. I'll take any old hit I can get.

Art

Mike U.
July 4, 2007, 02:37 PM
While I like any shot to be a one-time event, if the target is a Bad Guy, I have no ethics. I'll take any old hit I can get.

Art

HERE!HERE!!

Deaf Smith
July 4, 2007, 04:41 PM
Didn't Gen. Grant say sniping was to not be done past 200 yards back in the Civil War? Was he wrong? Did not technology change? Or Gen. Washington way way back in 1776?

There are lots of things Jeff Cooper said that for his time period were right. Some have been made obsolete by technology changes, but the vast majority, especially his views on human nature, just never change or go out of date.

Redneckrepairs
July 4, 2007, 04:55 PM
imho many folks set in a computer chair and speak to 1200 or whatever yards , few shoot it . in my area a 4 to 500 yard shot is not unreasonable , its the plains . I do have some training as a marksman , but ill tell ya right now i consider a 1/4 mile headshot as a rare to non doable in the field . Now a lot will chime in with ninja stuff , and go ahead .. but ill bet ya beer for beer when ya come out here and shoot in the real world . we will drink after the shoot .

Old Time Hunter
July 4, 2007, 05:25 PM
Grant actually said 300 yards....that was the range you could detirmine whether it was friend or foe with the naked eye. Probably still holds water today.

For hunting, if you can not get within 100-150 yards, you probably should not be allowed to hunt. Unless of course you have a disability. There is not a place in the lower 48 that patience and perserverance can not get you there. Heck, before the bow and arrow, you had to chuck spears. Wonder how many could chuck a spear over 100 yards?

Took me most of an evening, all night, and a couple of hours in a morning crawling on my belly through mud and water to get my Bull Elk with a .44 from 40 yards.

STLRN
July 4, 2007, 06:30 PM
The hardest part about for both the snipers and line dogs is determining the if the target is shootable. The farther away they are the harder it is to tell if they are carring a big stick or a AK. More then a few soldiers swear by their ACOG's not becuase of how it helps them shoot, but because the magnification has kept them from shooting more then one kid playing on the roof.
Very, very true. The limit to the range I could shoot or attack a target with fire was not our (my) ability or the ability of our weapons, but the ability to PID the target.

TPAW
July 4, 2007, 07:28 PM
From Zak Smith

A 500-yard shot with a scoped 308 on a man-sized target is a "gimme."

Back in the mid 60's I trained with the M-14 (.308). Even without a scope, I hit man sized shiloettes (from the chest up), at 500 yards 29 out of 30 times. The one I missed was a squib round that lodged in the barrell. Since then, I was very impressed with what the .308 could do. If I remember correctly, my windage was 11 and my elevation was 13 on the rear sight. Funny how I can remember those two numbers from many, many moons ago, but cannot remember what I just had for dinner.............:confused:

Ruger4570
July 4, 2007, 09:40 PM
I have a custom built 35-284 that I have shot consistantly into 1 1/4 to 1 3/8 inches at 200 yards. I just feel MY range limit is 200 yards or possibly slightly more. I am sure I could connect with a deer at 300 yards with no problem. I just feel, if it is that far out, I doubt I couldn't get a lot closer if I wanted too.

Blue Duck
July 4, 2007, 10:20 PM
This thread reminds me of another gun writer, Jack O'Conor who once wrote, regarding taking a running shot at game, "It depends on my blood pressure at the time" For me at least that is probably true. I grew up shooting at running deer, and have killed a good many running, but today, I am probably more conservative, but it really does depend on my blood pressure, the size of the deer, how far off he is, and how fast he is running or trotting, and maybe on just how bad I want to kill a deer on that given day. But I won't take a shot unless I believe I have a pretty certain chance of making the shot.

The same on standing shots at long range. I won't take a stupid shot, with a low precentage of a kill. 300 yards is about right for a sure kill, past that I will probably pass up the shot, and I would prefer the range to be a lot closer. I am not going to take a meat shot at that range on a doe, but a good head, well once again it depends on my blood pressure at the time.

Gbro
July 4, 2007, 10:26 PM
One can get a big boost of confidence shooting silhouettes out to 500yds, only problem is, a steel hit & tip isn't anything like hunting.
BTY I remember most of my misses were through the curl!
How do i know? spotter, he has to fear you.

HorseSoldier
July 5, 2007, 11:56 AM
I'm kind of surprised Cooper would suggest that snipers limit themselves to under 600 meters or so. For most combat shooting he's right about 500 or 600 meter shots being rare and low probability shots, but specially trained and equipped snipers are the guys you go to (in a perfect world) for those times when you do need a shot taken at ranges where the standard infantryman can't acquire, ID, or effectively engage the target with his issue weapon and optics.

Jimro
July 5, 2007, 01:00 PM
I don't mean to sound as though I know the mind of Cooper, but I have always noticed that he considered "police sniping" and "military sniping" separate jobs.

Cooper also noted that the open terrain of Iraq/Afghanistan made longer shots more normal than the more enclosed terrain of more forested regions. It didn't stop snipers from reaching out past 1K in Vietnam.

But no matter who you are, the longer the range the harder it is to get a first time hit. Wind sucks, and there aren't a whole lot of range flags in the field. The shorter the range the higher the hit probability. British snipers are taught to set up their hide in the "sweet spot" between 400 and 600 meters from the target, close enough for very high hit probability but far enough away to avoid detection.

There are a lot of tactical considerations that the Colonel took into consideration when he stated his opinion, but unfortunately we don't have the benefit of hearing his internal monologue...

Jimro

TPAW
July 5, 2007, 01:39 PM
Gbro writes

One can get a big boost of confidence shooting silhouettes out to 500yds, only problem is, a steel hit & tip isn't anything like hunting.

I agree with you. I keep my hunting down to 100 or 150 yards max. That's just me. Where I hunt, 150 yards is about the max range you'll find, and that's not very often. Most are 75 to 100 yards. Even then, I use a 3x9x40 scope for a clean kill.

RVM45
July 6, 2007, 02:41 PM
.....Well the reason that I ask; I was seriously considering one of the Savage-Stevens .223 Bolt Actions- with ghost-ring aperature sights for my bug-out rifle. I know what Cooper thought about the .223. However the round and the rifles that fire it are much lighter than .308. And I've never been one of the world's great long-range Riflemen.

.....I could hit the jolly green giant silhouttes they had at 300 or 350 meters in army basic- though I have no idea where I was hitting them; or what kind of groups that I would have gotten.Since then, I rarely have the opportunity to shoot beyond 100 yards.

.....I can get my shots into about a 3 inch group with my 03 Springfield- but feel having some decent aperature sights would cut my groups in half; or less.

.....I was looking to rationalize the idea that since I was- at best, a 300 yard shooter; I wouldn't be handicapping myself too much with a 300 yard rifle.

.....In fact; if I had a good 300 yard Rifle; it might inspire me to do some serious shooting for groups at 300.

.....Yes I know the 03 is potentially a 1000 yard rifle- but its heavy; tired; and needs better sights for me even to begin doing goo long range work with it.

.....RVM45 :cool:

Jimro
July 6, 2007, 04:47 PM
Dude, you don't need a reason to buy a rifle other than, "I want it". Altho nice sights on a bolt action 223 would be a really fun rifle to train with.

But if you want a much more serious long range rig get a Savage/Stevens in 308, pull off and sell the 308 barrel and put on a 260 Rem barrel.

Jimro

44 AMP
July 6, 2007, 10:07 PM
Have you not even considered the basic scout rifle idea? I don't mean the whole forward mounted scope and everything, I just mean a short handy reasonably accurate bolt action rifle in a "serious" caliber.

And by serious, I mean the .308 Winchester. You said Bug Out Rifle, and as you can really only effectively use one rifle at a time, there are only two basic choices. Bolt or semi auto. Both have drawbacks, and both define potential tactics.

The .223 is a varmint round. Only a handful of states allow it for deer hunting. It works in the military battlefield well enough to keep from being replaced (so far), but the level of firepower and the level of logistic support the military uses will NOT be available in any situation where you might envision yourself using a "Bug-out" gun.

A .223 semi is a fine rifle for a running gunfight to the mountains as you escape from the hurricane surviving plague addled mutant zombie bikers. Blasting everthing in your path (because they are trying to kill you) makes for a great entertainement movie, but it isn't a completely realsitic scenario.

Under 300 yards, which is most likely where you would actually need defense, you can either go the firepower route, or the aimed shot hitting as hard as practical. There is no question of the fact that the .308 is a superior round if you actually have to hunt for food. And against humans (for defense), you as a civilian are not restricted to GI FMJ ammo.

Bug-out as a last resort just in case rifle, I plan on not even being seen, let alone shooting, but it would be stupid not to have a rifle alone just in case, then a bolt gun in carbine length is quite reasonable. So is a Winchester .30-30, if that's what you have. Or an old SMLE .303 British. A couple of boxes of ammo and you'll be covered for a long time. Unless you have a really bad day. And if you are having a really, really bad day, nothing you can carry by yourself will be enough. It's a comfort to have trusted friends/family.:D
If you can get them.

RVM45
July 6, 2007, 10:54 PM
Yeah, I've even thought of the .308 in a singleshot H&R . I have plenty of time to make up my mind before I'll have saved enough to buy another rifle. A couple years ago, I saw an Arisaka that someone had done a real pretty job of sporterizing- which I generally oppose- and converting it to .257Roberts.

.....The Gunstore only wanted $60 for it. Couldn't have went too wrong. I've let a many a .303Enfield and 7x57 Mauser get past me for less than $200 over the years.

.....Anyway, thanx for giving me plenty to think about.

.....RVM45 :cool:

hldhard
August 4, 2007, 11:29 PM
I'm kind of surprised Cooper would suggest that snipers limit themselves to under 600 meters or so. For most combat shooting he's right about 500 or 600 meter shots being rare and low probability shots, but specially trained and equipped snipers are the guys you go to (in a perfect world) for those times when you do need a shot taken at ranges where the standard infantryman can't acquire, ID, or effectively engage the target with his issue weapon and optics.

I don't know where you get this opinion. In the real world your not going to go to anybody for a shot. You ID a threat you take the shot. In the real world you will be lucky if the threat is still exposed by the time you set yourself to pull the trigger.
No special training is going to make you see farther and better. No matter who the person is, or his level of training. He is limited in how far out he can ID a threat by his optics.