Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Boom! .......................................................... splat!

Everyday, No Days Off has some stuff up about the Accuracy International .338 Lapua rifle that British army sniper Craig Harrison used to smoke some Taliban at a claimed GPS-measured mile-and-a-half.

I've only shot out to 500 yards a handful of times. The idea of hitting something at over five times that distance just boggles the mind and verges on incredible.


Blogger #722346B said...

Yet the Brits can't trust their everyday citizens with butter knives!

theirritablearchitect said...

Verges on incredible?

You, lady, are hard to please. ;)

Well into the term by the time you hit anything at even a third of that distance, by my estimation.

Tam said...

I'm using incredible in the absolutely literal sense. My first reaction was "I think your GPS is busted."

Anonymous said...

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! He made that shot not once, not twice, but THREE times!?! Sorry, Tam, but I think we passed "verges on" about half a mile ago, into full-on incredible territory.


perlhaqr said...

I knew I shoulda bought one of those when I had the money for it. (Not that I'm anywhere near that good.)

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Of course I'm sure the shooter would tell you that it was no big deal :)

Anonymous said...

He just wanted to upstage the Canadian Sniper with the .50 cal.


Seriously, why would anyone take a one-shot at the that distance? I thought that machine guns used with a spotter were the tool of choice of long-distance scrubbing?

Even if you miss with the MG you encourage them to keep their heads down.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I, too, can hit anything I can see with my rifle. In my case, I can see 200 yards. Results may vary with other individuals. Like this Brit guy.

Flight-ER-Doc said...

Back when my eyes were young, I used to compete at 1000 meters.....

These guys? Touched by a greater power than I.

Justthisguy said...

The guy did say that conditions were perfect: absolutely no wind, and crystal-clear visibility. Still, just estimating the hold-over at that range (I've read something like 40 feet) would definitely require some Mad Skillz.

aczarnowski said...

Mr. Huffman has a technical breakdown.

It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to know there are war fighters on our side with this level of skill.

Robert said...

Somewhere, Carlos Hathcock is smiling.

Carteach said...

Hell, *I* can shoot at stuff that far away, easy as can be.

Now... HITTING it, on purpose, and then rinse and repeat? That Brit shooter has a direct line to the marksman upstairs.......

Incredible skill, no two ways about it. Just like our Seals who sniped the Somali pirates off a rocking boat, while firing from a rolling ship deck. That was done from afar, with moving targets AND moving shooters.

Geodkyt said...

Anon @ 11:53, 5 May 2010 --

Dude, that was outside the effective range of heavy machineguns.

We're talking "medium mortars, howitzers, or support fire from a tank platoon" kinda range.

oldsmobile98 said...

"I've only shot out to 500 yards a handful of times. The idea of hitting something at over five times that distance just boggles the mind and verges on incredible."

I'm cutting a corner off your Elite Operator Card.

The first rule of being a mall ninja is: you don't admit you are not a mall ninja.

When you buy an HK MR762, I will tape the corner back on. With elite operator tape.

Joe Huffman said...


Attend Boomershoot and the Precision Rifle Clinic. With the proper gun and ammo you will be tapping silhouettes at 700 yards with every shot.

With excellent conditions even 1000 yard hits on a silhouette should get boring quickly.

With my "Spud Gun" I think I could get reliable silhouette hits out to about 1500 yards if the conditions were near perfect.

Consecutive 2700 yard hits? Uh... yeah. That is going to be "challenging".

Robert Langham said...

I'm always a little puzzled. At 2000 plus yards, no matter WHAT optic you use, you aren't going to see your shot placement. If you have a LOT of magnification, you just see mirage and distortion as you compress the air between you and the target. Even in crystal-clear high's going to be very distorted. I bet he didn't have over 30 power on the rifle...and at 2000+ yards, 30 power isn't going to do it. My Kowa, at 60X power at Camp Perry, at 1000 yards will distort so much you have to back it off to see the shot spotter.
So I'm interested to hear more details. Maybe Afganistan has clearer air by orders of magnitude....but if it's enough to breathe, going to be very distorted through an optic at 2000 plus yards.

monkeyfan said...

100 yards with my pellet gun is like the same thing right?

Anonymous said...

If he did it, he did it: Did anyone else see this all happen? The article said his driver was calling the range (laser?) so presumably he had some sort of visual contact.

Hell of a feat if its all true.


Ed Foster said...

I want it to be true, the range I mean, and not a brainfart committed by the GPS, but Senor Langham has some valid points.

Maybe very early in the morning, with crystal calm and a cool fouled bore zeroed at the same distance but 180 degrees from the target, as determined by laser?

Prone with a sling @ 1,000 yards, folks are pounding out 18 inch groups with regularity, even with iron sights. Hell, I've done within a few inches of that way back when.

Twice plus the range is interesting. Do we know what his spotter was using?

loren said...

From the comments on the original article, somebody figured out the bullet took 6.5 seconds to hit the target which sounds about right. Based on simple physics, the bullet drop would be 676 FEET. In case you're wondering the formula is Distance = 1/2GT squared or D(in ft.)=16x6.5x6.5
I'd say his claim of hitting 3 targets with 3 shots is bullshit.
The Canadian guy hit one guy (of several) with his 3rd shot and has video of it.

amcz said...

This in from the VPC:

.338 Caliber Terror: What Police and Airliners Must Fear

(Oh, it just doesn't have the same ring.)

Joe Huffman said...

The drop, with my assumptions, was 288.28 feet. The time to target was 4.19 seconds.

Bullets, at high velocity, do not obey 1/2 G x t^2. The vertical component of their velocity reaches terminal velocity more quickly than a bullet that is simply dropped.

Ed Foster said...

Joe, drift per meter, both from windage and simple precession, increases as range does too, since the air under the bullet is heavier than the air on top, and the spin rate decays less quickly than velocity. Also, every valley or ridge the projo passed over added or subtracted from it's "float".

Basically, if you don't have a chart with specific drift at the extended ranges, you're guessing.

More and more, I'm considering a statement of polite semi-acceptance, with a bit of Toungue-In-Cheek (please note the British spelling, I'm trying to be polite).

Once, with some luck, O.K. Three times, in succession, hmmm...

More and more, I'm thinking along the lines of Robert Langham.

Joe Huffman said...

I made the assumption that there was zero wind.

I have no idea what you are talking about with:

1) "drift per meter, ... simple precession". Precession doesn't cause any drift.
2) "the air under the bullet is heavier than the air on top". I presume you mean density not weight as is implied with "heavier". But still the density difference between the top side of the bullet and the bottom side is compeltely irrelevant. The density of the air at the peak of the bullet's arc is enough less than at the end points that it should be taken into account for first round hit calculations but I was just simulating the repeatability probabilities, not the probabilities of the first round hit so it doesn't matter.
3) Yes the spin decays slower than the velocity which can over stablize the bullet and cause it to not point into the apparent wind at the extreme end of the trajectory but this can also help stablize the bullet as it goes transonic and then subsonic. I assumed the bullet was properly stablized for the entire flight. Beyond that what is your point about the spin rate?
4) "Float"? In a zero wind environment ridges don't matter unless the bullet comes close enough (a fraction of an inch) that the supersonic shock wave is reflected back onto the bullet. Valley's don't matter at all.

The flight of a projectile through air is probably one of the most well studied and best simulated problems on the planet. The algorithms used by my program are not the absolutely best ones but they are close enough that I can get within 1 MOA on my first shot at 1000 yards with completely new conditions. "A chart with specific drift" is not required and would require tests with the same cartriges and the same gun and would have real world imperfections that would make them almost as imperfect as the simulation. The simulation is far from a guess.

Yes, the odds are very much against the shooter being able to do what is claimed. But sometimes you will roll snake-eyes twice in a row too.

Anonymous said...

Having discussed this with a US Army sniper who served in Afghanistan, I would say its possible, plausible, but not without ALL the cards falling the right way.

3 shots, 3 kills at that range is simply a unique feat.

loren said...

I didn't follow your argument that" Bullets, at high velocity, do not obey 1/2 G x t^2. The vertical component of their velocity reaches terminal velocity more quickly than a bullet that is simply dropped"
as your assumed drop based on 4.19 seconds did follow that formula.
In any event, the claim by the marksman that he "took out" the machine gun with the third round really tears it. Wonder if he was aiming at the hole in the muzzle?

Joe Huffman said...


Wow! You caused me to stumble across something I didn't know about exterior ballistics. At more reasonable ranges, like 1000 yards and under what I said is true.

For example, using the same cartridge and conditions at 1000 yards the time of flight is 1.282 seconds and the drop is 23.8 feet. Using 1/2 x G x T^2 you get 26.4 feet.

But at 2707 yards the equations actually used for exterior ballistics yields 288.3 feet and 1/2 x G x T^2 comes out to 283.2 feet. Essentially the same with the fired bullet now dropping slightly more than an object that is merely released. Perhaps it has turned down so much that some of the initial velocity is contributing to the pull of gravity. This new territory for me so I don't know what to say.

My speculation of the "taking out" of the machine gun is that it was tipped over or something like that that could have happened from bullet fragments or even rock fragments. But it's just that, speculation to make the story plausible.

loren said...

Enjoyed your comments. I was getting real grumbly watching the market tank here in Oz.
I do remember a recent show on TV where an ex special forces guy tried to hit a target set out in the desert at the ranges we're talking about. From memory he was using a 50 cal sniper setup. Neither he nor the spotter could locate where the bullets were hitting and they finally gave it up.
I recall dropping a running mule deer with an 06 at a range nobody believed when I did it. Took a grove out of an antler and knocked it silly. I won't try to justify taking the shot as I can't, but it was spectacular and witnessed. That old left hand Remington 742 has it's problems, but hitting something isn't one of them. If fact I went to a muzzle loader after hunting got too easy.

Anonymous said...

Joe, take a look at the rear sight slide on an old 1903 Springfield. The track runs dramatically to the left to counter the tendency of a bullet fired in a right hand twist to drift in that direction, far more at range than up close.

The comment concerning differing air density between the top and bottom of the bullet came from Julian Hatcher in his book on the Springfield, and the sight slide's drift compensation was determined empirically from the firing of hundreds of thousands of rounds.