Long range shooting

shooting at targets placed at very long distances from the shooter

Long range shooting is a relative term generally meaning accurate shooting at distances ordinary shooters with ordinary rifles could not hit. For example, Daniel Boone, using a flintlock rifle could probably hit a target at up to 100 yards (91 m). Today, expert marksmen are hitting targets well over 1 mile (1.6 km) away. Modern long range shooting is more than just using modern machined actions and precision gun barrels.[1] These produce a rifle that a decent shooter can hit targets at about 250 yards, ranges that were unheard of by black powder shooters.

Calculations

The ability to hit a target at 1,000 yards (910 m) (or 10 football fields away) requires the shooter to become an expert in ballistics.[2] First, the shooter has to know exactly how far away target is. They have to be able to compensate for windage (the effects of wind on a bullet). Next, the shooter has to compute the "elevation". This is how far above the target the shooter must aim to compensate for the force of gravity on the bullet at a given distance.[3] Shooters have to compensate also for shots uphill or downhill from their position.[3]

Other factors include "bullet Drift".[3] This means a bullet that fired out of the barrel with a muzzle velocity (speed at the muzzle) of 2800 FPS that exits a barrel with 1:12 rifling is spinning at 168,000 RPMs.[3] At just 1,000 yards (910 m) the bullet will drift about 10 inches (250 mm) in the direction it was spinning.[3] If the rifle has a right-hand twist, the bullet will go to the right of the target.[3]

Spotter

Long range shooters, and especially snipers, operate as a team.[4] As difficult as long range shooting is, it would be even harder without a spotter. Spotters are also trained snipers or long range shooters.[4] The spotter has a number of jobs. He helps locate the target. He does most of the calculations for elevation, windage, and hitting a moving target.[4] With several targets, the spotter decides which to hit first. Spotters also measure the humidity, temperature, and the angle of the shot.[4] He then tells the sniper/shooter what adjustments to make to the rifle scope.[4] Finally, the spotter tells the shooter where the round hit—on target or a miss—and what adjustments to make to get back on-target.[4]

References

1. Wayne van Zwoll, Mastering the Art of Long-Range Shooting (Cincinnati: F+W Media, 2013), pp. 83–85
2. Robert Valdes. "How Military Snipers Work". HowStuffWorks. Infospace, LLC. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
3. "Shooting Tips; Making a 2700-Yard shot". Millett Tactical. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
4. "The Importance of the Sniper's Spotter/Observer". Central Virginia Tactical. Archived from the original on 12 August 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2016.