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U.S. army sniper school

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Unread 02-19-2006, 10:08 PM
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U.S. army sniper school

I watched a special on army snipers today while it was cold and snowy and had a few topics I would like more info on if anybody knows.

First, how long are other countries sniper schools? According to the show, ours (US)is only 5 or 6 weeks. This seems very short to absorb all the valuable training and knowledge.

Second, the guys taking the class in the show didn't seem to get any detailed training on ballistics. In fact, most of the guys interviewed seemed like they were still in the "oblivious" mode when it came to knowing even what caliber they were training with. They just didn't seem "into it" like most of us on this forum. Does anyone know what extent the snipers are trained in ballistics?

Next, the issued weapon for the sniper was called an M24. It is just a military designation for the Rem m700. It appeared to have a custom synthetic stock on it with custom teflon camo job. Are these rifles accurized and if so, who does the 'smithing? Custom barrels?

Next, are they using tailored 308 ammo for each specific rifle or are they just firing factory ammo or military factory ammo? If it is custom ammo, who loads it?

Finally, what is the percentage of 338 lapuas, 300 win mags, and 50 bmgs among the 308's? Lately, if you see a sniper in the news, he is shooting a 50 insead of the 308.
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Unread 02-19-2006, 10:35 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: North Idaho
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Re: U.S. army sniper school


Most sniper courses for miltary run 12-14 weeks for full term courses. They have extensive training in ballistics, field craft, field support, recon etc.
If the system was designate an M24 it was probably for the Army. The are produced at Remington to Army specs. The M40 a similar version for the Marines are built in house by Marine armorers. They often come with Kreiger, Snyder or other match barrels. The stocks are usually McMillan camo inpregnated the "teflon appearing coating is possible but most end users spray paint to match the environment they are working that day.
The military uses 2 or 3 different kinds of ammo for sniper rifles most common is a special ball ( I forget the designation ) and various match rounds from Black Hills, Federal and Lake City.
There are a number of 50's in use but are most often used for "hard target" work. The number of Lapuas, ultras etc is very small I am told.
It is unfortunate that the people building the rifles for the operators don't ask their opinion about what they want in the field. This business of a 308 win sniper rifle weighing 18+ lbs is retarded. We all know you can have a serious LR rifle in a serious caliber that tips the scale in the 12-13 lb region. To much input from the marksman unit and not enough from the ground pounders. Typical.
Shawn Carlock

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Unread 02-19-2006, 10:59 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
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Re: U.S. army sniper school

The army/s usually go for something small such as .223 (in assault rifles) to .308 (support and sniper rifles)so they can carry more ammunition into combat.
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Unread 02-19-2006, 11:06 PM
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Re: U.S. army sniper school

GG, the USMC goes through a very extensive sniper school. It is called Scout Sniper School. I don't think the Army has a specific high tech sniper school, just the basic one you saw. I know the Rangers and Special Forces (Green B's) guys get extensive sniper training. Usually one of their members, in the team, is designated a sniper. The Marines Scout Sniper School does train their snipers on ballistics, reading wind, judging and reading elevation, understaning the mildot reticle and camo and stalking techniques. The Marines sniper rifle is pretty high tech from what I understand. I know they use the McMillan A-4 stock and there actions and barrels are highly tuned. I the think they also use Unertle Scopes, I think that's how you spell it. Sorry for the spelling, I don't have spell check. I believe they use the 308, or as they refer to it the 7.62, the 300 Win Mag and the 50 BMG. I don't know if any of are Special ops groups, Seals, Green B's, Rangers, Delta Force, Scout Snipers, are using the 338 Lupas. I do know that the British Royal Marines have a very intensive sniper school and that they have a very specialized group of elite snipers that use the 338 Lupa extensively. There was a show on the Discovery channel that discussed this same topic. It showed that the Marines and Army both have special armories that specialize in customizing the ammo for their sniper rifles such as, weighing each powder charge one at a time, case trimming, cleaning primer pockets and flash holes, neck turning, weighting cases and bullets and checking for run out. I have friends that served in Desert Storm, and one of my friends is currently a memeber of the Marines elite Delta force, and he is currently in Iraq conducting special ops. He is the one that told me about the Marines Sniper school and how hard it is. The Discovery channel dedicated a whole afternoon on snipers. I believe it was on February 13, 2006, when I watched it. I think it started at around 12:00 PM and went to 6:00 PM. They had a show on Military Snipers, Secret Service Snipers, FBI Snipers, Local and State Police Snipers, SWAT Snipers and British and Canadian Military Snipers. Apparently, a Sniper in the Canadian Army holds the cuurent record for the longest kill ever recorded during battle. The shot was taken in Afganastan, at a Talaban Fighter. Any how, this is a great topic.

Thanks, Wildcat
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Unread 02-19-2006, 11:10 PM
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Re: U.S. army sniper school

<font color="blue"> From chewing the fat w/a Bronz Star Viet Nam era SOG at work (this guy has more metal in him than most of us retrieve from game in many years of hunting) </font>

First, how long are other countries sniper schools? According to the show, ours (US)is only 5 or 6 weeks. This seems very short to absorb all the valuable training and knowledge.
<font color="blue">Training is intense and shooting is at the tail end of priorities. Washout rate is very high </font>

Second, the guys taking the class in the show didn't seem to get any detailed training on ballistics. In fact, most of the guys interviewed seemed like they were still in the "oblivious" mode when it came to knowing even what caliber they were training with. They just didn't seem "into it" like most of us on this forum. Does anyone know what extent the snipers are trained in ballistics?
<font color="blue"> I thnk I've watched the same documentary, several times. I reached same conclusions as you. I think that the difference in their targets and our "hunting" conditions are so different than what LRH is that "making the shot" is not the most important, though final objective. You WILL get to make another shot at another objective, next season. What about the military sniper? Also after the shot, you and the fella's are hi-5ing. What is the sniper team doing after the bang-flop? Their job is a cold hard necessary duty. Ours is just plain fun!

I'm thinking that some of LRH members may well be able to make the shot just as well or maybe better than they can, once! (under military conditions) Under police swat conditions the LRH fella could probably collect several more paychecks after the first shot.

An example in attitude is that my friend goes elk hunting with his sons but won't carry a rifle.

Remember, nothing factual or first hand here, just waht I gather from chewing the fat w/a coworker.</font>

[/ QUOTE ]
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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Unread 02-19-2006, 11:41 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
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Re: U.S. army sniper school

I have no first hand knowledge about who's using what, but my smith has quite a few customers rotating in and out of the sandbox, so I get to hear what they're ordering. Having a large training base near where I live also helps. I know my smith ordered 3 Blaser rifles in 338 to ship to caliornia for some gentlman getting ready to take a trip. He's been sending quite A few wilson combat pistols since they powers that be lifted the M9 only restriction. Lots of 20 round baretta mags too. I'm gathering that more elite troops can pick and choose what they want to shoot. As far as ammo, a few guys have told stories about snipers de-linking 308 to use in their sniper rifles when millions of rounds of M118LR got rejected by a civilian contractor. The only good thing to come out of the coalition mentality is that our troops have had a chance to see the quality tools other countries are using- hence the blasers!

At the last base sniper competition guys brought their own rifles because there weren't enough to go around, all it had to do was be a 308 and pass the drop test. Lots of stories coming off base that upset guys like us, things we take for granted over here the troops can't get. Sand and precision rifles don't mix very well anyways.

There's no telling what they showed on tv, could have been a guard refresher coarse! There was a history channel series on sniper school that was very inclusive on the training scenarios and weapons, even showed the handloading process for the marksmanship team. I believe it was marine training.
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Unread 02-20-2006, 12:12 AM
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Re: U.S. army sniper school

As Shawn mentioned there are many different flavors of snipers. Regular Army, special forces, marine corps. There are many different ways of deploying snipers and each has its advantages and disadvantages. In the late 60’s and early 70’s both the regular army and the special forces used what is now known as a national match M-14. This was a glass bedded action with a match barrel and some work done on the trigger (maybe some more stuff). Scopes were relatively low power – maybe 8x or 10 x Bausch and Lomb on quick detachable rings and bases. It was this period of time that US forces were switching from the M-14 (308) to the M-16 (223).

Stateside training was an ongoing thing and the Special Forces snipers would shoot “matches” on a lot of Saturdays and for some reason they liked me(or disliked me) and I would be requested to be Range Officer for them. I think it was probably that I didn’t give a sh1t what they did as long as they let me shoot some. The easiest way to tell a match 14 was the brown glass line all around the action. Once you saw that you knew what the gun was for.

Vietnam was a different story. There was the Chu Lai sniper school. Run by Olympian Major Lones Wigger

and then Virgil Umphenour who is now a guide up in Alaska


Men were selected from the ranks to go to sniper school for 4 weeks after they had been in combat for long enough to determine that they were calm and cool enough to be a sniper. Training was pretty much about shooting. The trainees were not necessarily great riflemen before they went and some were not when they returned to the field. They learned range estimation, wind , drops, leads. Spotting for each other, taking care of their rifle and scope. Supposedly once a month or two months (I forget now) they went back to Chu Lai to have the armorer go over their rifle and scope and to get a refresher. Mostly they got cold beer and clean sheets once a month while the rest of us got muddy rice paddy water and leeches.

The way we worked was in three teams of six or eight men with two of the men of each team being snipers. During the day each team would be in a ”sniper “ mode where we just watched and waited for someone to shoot at just like one would watch and wait for a deer or elk at long range. As evening came we would switch to “ambush” mode and I would assign each team a trail to set upon to ambush anybody moving down it. So at night the snipers would take their scopes off and put them in their cases and rely on iron sights. We would always make sure that a sniper was never assigned to a flank position because the semi auto cyclic rate of fire was not anywhere as good as a 16 and you could not let the NVA break out of the kill zone once you had them in it. In a six man team with two snipers this was obviously a little tricky on judging just how much to bite off in the dark and not bite off more than you could chew. Put another way, sometimes it was wise to just let the NVA go on down the trail if there was too many of them.

But in the daytime a sniper never had to worry if he missed because no NVA in his right mind would attack. With three teams including a M-60 we would smoke anybody stupid enough not to run. Remember each team is on high ground and usually within 600 –1000 meters and the cross fire would be devastating. Plus we could move and circle immediately. One day we held over a hundred NVA pinned in a gully at a distance of 500yds with my snipers and M-60. They had nothing but ankle high grass between them and us and we had the high ground. They only tried to get to us once and broke after only covering 50yds because the snipers got to them so quick and so well. While the 16s opened up and made a lot of noise the NVA never got into 16 range and I got to yelling at my men to quit acting dumb because we might need the bullets once it got dark. The NVA could easily see me running up and down the ridge line but there was nothing they could do about it.

When we would assault a village or camp I would place the snipers in an overlooking spot on each flank and they would provide covering fire while those of us with M-16s would do the actual assault. This worked very well because the snipers would get anybody who tried to run out of the village or camp (at least anybody they could hit – sometimes they would miss).

I had a second tour sniper who set the Division record for distance one day. How good was this man with a gun? The best I have ever seen. In the year I have been on this forum no one has made a shot anywhere close to some of the shots I saw him make. Remember he was shooting a semi- auto 308 with no laser rangefinder no instant weather station and no exbal PDA, no custom loaded bullets (Lake City Match) and he still made the shots.

Anyway, lots of people have read of Hathaway and the way he operated and I just tell this stuff so you understand that there were other ways to operate and other guns used.

Memories are a funny thing. They come and go. here are some other peoples Old war horses

SF in Afgahnistan - Look on the table against the wall- all the pretty toys.

Spec Forces

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