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U.S. army sniper school

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Unread 02-22-2006, 04:34 AM
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Location: Hermiston, Oregon
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Re: U.S. army sniper school

I guess I'll throw in my 2 cents on this subject. I asked what the standard rifle used now a days was and they said its an accurized Remington in .308. I have never really liked 308 simply because there is so many better calibers out there for longer range shooting. With that said, its obviously a very accurate cartridge. I tend to agree with GG. The 6BR has a lot going for it. I was doing some ballistics comparison and that little cartridge is truly a gem, while only burning 30g of powder. I just dont see why the ARMY doesn't at least use a 30-06. I want to throw in also about the guys that are in the ARMY, or Marines or whatever. They all seem to think that military cartridges are the greatest thing on earth. Obviously they dont know to much about ballistics. I was talking to a guy who was in the marines and I could tell from the get go he was a know it all. I could not tell him anything. Anyways, he went on to say the 308 is just the best thing, I'll keep it simple.
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Unread 02-22-2006, 06:40 AM
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Re: U.S. army sniper school

Remingtonman2506, you are about to enter into a brand new world. Open ears, open minds and closed lips are an asset.
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Unread 02-22-2006, 07:02 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Potomac River
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Re: U.S. army sniper school

Doc Ed got it right on "mouth closed."

A couple of points on gun selection for combat.

pistols first.

I am a very poor shot with a pistol admittedly. I carried a 1911 strapped to my right leg and tied down for my entire tour. I never hit anything with. And I mean never ever hit anything. A few years later I found a Belguim Browning Hipower which was so much better because I could at least put a few holes in stuff I shot at. I do not know the safety issues with the current sidearms but the Army 1911 had a lot of bad sears and we had one or two people who I had to medivac for shooting themselves. The people's courage was not an issue- the sear was the issue.

AS far as hammer size, for close in work in a jungle where you are usually seriously outnumbered there is not much better than the M-16. Almost anybody can handle the recoil (on semi) and the 223 ammo is light enough that when we thought things were going to be really bad on a mission we would go to double basic laod and carry 1,200 to 1,600 rds. Try that with 308.

However for the longer range the retained energy the 308 would win any contest with the 223. Also when you get into an urban environment such as is the case in the middle east you are confronted with a dilemia. Manuverability of the M-16 inside the building versus the ability of the 308 ball to pierce hard targets. I think the soldiers who choose the 308 over the 223 would not be happy with an intermediate round. I am glad I am not fighting that war. These thougfhts are just speculation on my part. I don't keep track of military hardware. I keep track of my old friends and what the special forces are doing. If you go to the pictures of my pervious post and see what the special forces are carrying. These people steal or acquire what ever hardware they want and when you see them carrying the lttle carbines you know they are happy with them.

You will also see a few idiots carrying AKs. Very stupid. The sound of an AK is very distinctive and in combat (as opposed to hunting) you do a lot of shooting at sounds in order to suppress the return fire. Having AKs mixed in with your 16s causes uncertainty in which noise to shoot at.


There are people on the forum who know much more about the 30-06 vs 308 military trials than me, but the tests were done long ago and the 308 won. Same thing with the 308 versus the 223. By the way my first custom gun was a Springfield WWI rifle rebarreled to 25-06. I am a moron for selling that gun.
The Smokin Fur Rifle Club
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Unread 02-22-2006, 09:06 AM
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Re: U.S. army sniper school

I just dont see why the ARMY doesn't at least use a 30-06.

[/ QUOTE ]

The main reason they don't is the accuracy attainable.

In the early 1960's when the .30-06 was the only cartridge used by all highpower rifle competitors in the USA for virtually all matches, the most accurate ones using the best handloads would shoot inside 6 inches at 600 yards and about 15 inches at 1000 yards. Al Hauser worked for Hart Rifle Barrels and made the most accurate tubes used and were favorites amongst the best shooters.

The .308 Win. was first allowed in highpower matches in 1963. And the first thing top-scoring competitors noticed was its better accuracy. Using the same barrels except for chambering reamer, the .308's were shooting inside 3 inches at 600 yards and under 10 inches at 1000 yards. Scores shot with the .308 had so many tie breaking issues the NRA reduced the target ring sizes in 1966 so the top scores would be more spread out. And by then the .30-06 was fading from the scene.

Yes, there were a few .30-06 rifles used by snipers in 'Nam. GSGT Carlos Hathcock used one (old Win. model 70) fed an excellent lot of M72 match ammo from Lake City Arsenal. I chatted with Carlos during the 1971 Interservice Matches while at a senior NCO club at the Quantico Marine Corps Base about his rifle. He said he used that old '06 'cause he liked it, knew the trigger feel and could easily make sight changes for different ranges. He also said the Marine Corps didn't have any rifles that were more accurate. He did say he would like to have one of the US Navy 7.62mm NATO M1 Garands as it would probably shoot better than his Winchester 70.
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Unread 02-22-2006, 09:31 AM
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Re: U.S. army sniper school

I'm not nor have ever been in the military , I have don e alot of work with police and private security teams and the two people I trust most in the world both work contract security and are both deployed right now. Both of these guys were former snipers , one Marine one Soviet Spez-naz and they both prefer the 308 to the 300 Win mag for urban sniping out to 1000yds anything past that they say they would either call in support or use a 50bmg
As for the m-16 question , they both have the same outlook "the only guys not using one are the guys that can't afford one" both guys are carrying 14" M4's shooting 77gr Matchkings. Both have tried the new 6.7 and diden't see any advantage worth the lack of ammo. As for converting the M-16 to shoot the 6mmBR I don't think that it would be anywhere near cost effective and I personaly don't think that it would be feed friendly. If the M-16 is to be rechambered I think necking the 223 up to 6mm would be the way to do it all that would need to be done is changing the barrels.

As for the sniper school , I have met a few Army snipers that say their school is good but nowhere near what it needs to be. They all say that more time should be spent on field craft than shooting !
Si Vis Pacem Parabellum
Molon Labe
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Unread 02-23-2006, 12:08 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
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Re: U.S. army sniper school

borrowed this.
The British Sniper since then has been an on-again/off-again affair. Individuals have been trained in Sniper skills since WW2, but after this basic training little has been done to work on these basic skills. The Balkans rekindled an interest in Sniping and it was as late as 2000 before Bn Commanders were obliged to field Snipers. (Snipers are now an established part of a Bn's Order of Battle.)

The basic Sniper cadre has changed little since WW2; only weapons and optics have changed. A cadre ideally lasts a minimum of six weeks and is conducted at the Bn level. (This method of training dates back to WW1 where, due to the Armies' size, Instructors were trained in the skills of the Sniper in order to go back to units and train their own Snipers). The final week of the cadre is Badge test week, where Snipers must past a test in all of the basic skills taught.

The basic cadre concentrates on what we class as the Seven basic Sniper skills:

Sniper Knowledge

Understanding the tasks of a Sniper, Understanding the weapon system, understanding wind & range calculations, etc.. (Too often instructors concentrate on History instead of knowledge of the job.)

Map reading and Air photography

A Sniper must be able to navigate, pin-point features from a Map, and read, grid and scale Air photographs. This allows him to plan his task and navigate to and from his area of operations.


Snipers are taught to conceal themselves in a short period of time with the ability to engage an enemy without detection. This is in case they encounter an enemy on route to their area of operations.


Snipers are taught how to scan, observe, and log what they see. This is so that they can detect minor details that may aid them in spotting their quarry, and develops their ability to collate information for their Bn.


Snipers are instructed in the art of stalking, route selection, movement, and construction of a fire position. This allows a Sniper to plan his route to a fire position, move to it undetected, eliminate his quarry, and then extract unseen.

Judging Distance

Snipers are instructed in various methods and aids to judging distance. This allows them to correctly judge distance to their target prior to taking the shot.


Snipers are taught and then practice various conventional and unconventional fire positions. This yields a strong probability of a first round kill.

A potential Sniper during the cadre's 1st Range Day.
Note L96 (AI Rifle) with new Schmidt & Bender 3-12 variable
telescopic sight with Mil- Dot reticule & Killflash cover

All stands are conducted as an individual during a basic cadre. This ensures that each potential Sniper has the ability required to operate in the worst-case scenario: alone if his partner becomes a fatality. All potential Snipers must achieve 75% mastery to pass each discipline, and must pass all disciplines.

During the badge test Snipers may fail each stand once and be re-tested. If he fails one of the re-tests, he fails the whole test and must spend a minimum of two weeks re-training before re-attempting the whole badge test.

Sniper knowledge

This is assessed via a written test that includes range and wind problems for the student to solve (and show how he worked the problem).

Navigation (Map & Air Photo)

Must grid & scale an Air photo accurately. He is then taken to an unknown location where he must locate his position from this Air photo. This is followed by 6 problems on the Air photo, then 6 problems on a Map. All bearings must be within 10mils, all grids within 100m, and all distances within 50m.

He must also navigate at night over a distance of 8km carrying 40lbs & weapon in 1hr 30 mins.


The Sniper must conceal himself 150 - 300m from two trained observers and remain undetected after firing a blank round at the observers and having his position pointed out. He must pass this twice in three attempts. (Sniper has 7, 5, & 3 mins to conceal himself.)

For the badge test, he has to remain in position for 20 mins and observe three letter boards as well.

Procedure followed:

Concealment time

20mins Observation

Walker moves within 10m of Sniper

Walker indicates direction of sniper by pointing

Sniper given 10 seconds to fire a shot

Sniper has to correctly identify letter boards

Sniper must have correct range and windage on weapon sight

Sniper must be in a good unobstructed fire position (i.e. No stick shot)
The Sniper must pass all these criteria to pass the stand. He is up against two trained Snipers who are partially concealed (normally waist-down hidden) and armed with 7x binoculars. The observers only have two attempts to direct the walker onto the Sniper.

Example of a Student who failed. He cammed
up his weapon yet failed to cam his headdress
with natural Cam. His scope ring also requires
cam; a draped piece of faceveil pulled taught
at an angle works well.


The Sniper must be able to locate 10 military objects between 5 - 300m in 30 minutes using binos and spotting scope, then plot and describe them on a panoramic sketch drawn to a high standard. The panoramic sketch is drawn in a ten-minute time frame and is scored to a possible 20 points: 10 points for accuracy, neatness, and workability; 5 points for correct use of perspective; and 5 points for including a Left/Right of arc bearing, a North pointer, three key ranges, and a scale.

Left an example of a sketch from a stand Right an example of a sketch on Ops Kosovo 1999

The plotting of objects is scored out of 4 possible points: two points for a correct plot, 1 point for a correct object (e.g. a waterbottle), and 1 point for further description (e.g. Serbian Army, light green box shaped). Students can get points if they draw what they see.

Students have an obs kit room of 40 or so items. Items are of foreign origin.
They need to get to know these items as these are the ones used on the stands.
Only part of these objects will be visible. Criteria: should be visible using Bino's
and identifiable using a Spotting Scope. Students are also given handouts of kit like the one here.

(Left to right, top to bottom:
H&K Double Mag Holder; Serbian FFG LRG Beige; Serbian Marker Torch;
Serbian Respirator; Soviet 7.62 Ammo Box, Sniper Ammo; Serbian Canister for Respirator;
Leather Shotgun Cartridge Belt.)
Binoculars used by students are 7x42mm British GS that are self focusing (not ideal due to eyes adjusting to optics). The spotting scope is the Leupold 12-40 variable with mil-dot reticule.


The Sniper must move undetected over a distance of 1.5-2 km, locate a partially concealed two man OP, move to a position 150-300m from this target, fire two blank rounds while remaining undetected (even after his position is pointed out), and extract from the fire position without being seen.

Sequence of Stalk:

Briefing and planning for 10 mins

Stalk period, time use up to the individual

Sniper moves to fire position and fires first shot when ready

Walker moves within 10m of Sniper

Walker indicates direction of sniper by pointing

Sniper given 10 seconds to fire a second shot

Sniper has to correctly identify a letter board

Sniper must have correct range and windage on weapon sight

Sniper must be in a good unobstructed fire position (i.e. No stick shot)

Sniper must extract undetected from fire position
As with the concealment portion, the Sniper must pass all of these parts of the stalk to obtain a pass. Emphasis is placed upon location of the OP (they only have a rough grid of its location).

The spotting scope is ideal for this task. (This is what eventually gave British snipers the edge in WW1 - a 20x spotting scope as opposed to enemies armed with binoculars)

Left: A good example of a potential Sniper who failed due to the cam on his weapon being the wrong way around. He was 225m from the observers. An addition of a hessian strip over his muzzle would have also helped his concealment. This is done with a loose flap draped over the front, attached by elastic or tape. It lifts on weapon discharge, then re-covers the muzzle. We teach the attachment of a shield of natural cam on the weapon to conceal the Sniper, not ballistically the best option but we are not in the target shooter's realm!

Right: A good example of a Sniper who passed using a combination of natural cam, trapped shadow, and an unconventional fire position: the lie-back position. Unconventional positions present an inhuman shape to the observer.

Judging distance

The Sniper must judge correctly 8 out of 10 unknown distances within 15% of the correct range using his eyes only. During training the same point is ranged three times, and must be within 15% using eyes, 10% using Binos, and 5% using Mil-dots. However, this is yet to be adopted for the badge test. Students must achieve 8 in each of the three areas. Two objects on the stand are man-sized objects and a key range is given to aid students.


The Sniper must achieve a 1st rd kill on a man sized target at 900m: this is the Army's criteria for a Sniper. This is done via an individual firing between 900m and 300m on a badge test shoot. All practices are timed, many with double exposures. Targets are fig 11 - 1155mm x 450mm, fig 12 , fig 20 moving target, and fig 14 "Huns Head" (still named after WW1 Enemy).

Picture showing the British targets used on the badge test
The shoot starts at 900m and works down to 300m. Most candidates feel that the hardest parts are the conventional kneeling and sitting positions, which also hold many of the points. These are emphasised because often on Op's it not possible to get into a prone position to take the shot.

A good example of a student firing from the sitting position at 800yds
The second part of the shoot is done at night using the CWS (Common Weapon Sight, 4x magnification). This can be done using the SA80 to prevent affecting the telescopic sight. Maximum range on the night shoot is 300m due to ambient light effecting quality on the scope. (Its worth noting that using the Simrad on the .338 we obtained hits at 600m with no ambient light.)

Good example of a student using an improvised tripod, which was cut 5 mins prior to use. Note the bean-bag sock used with tripod and the Leupold spotting scope. Range is 800 yds.

A good example of the unconventional sitting position. Butt of rifle is rested on knee, stock is locked against lower leg, Sniper leans back. So long as crosshair is on target and the shadow around the sight picture is even it will produce good results.
(Chuck MaWhinney & Plaster have both seen me shoot this way with successful results.)
It was developed by a WW2 British Sniper

Note candidate's headdress needs work!

This is just a small insight to our way of doing things. I have faith in the end product of these methods. They ensure that we only get the most promising Snipers in the Bn Sniper section.

I do monitor the students throughout the cadre and do not purely rely on the badge test to make my selection for the section (19 strong).

Once the cadre is complete, continuation training begins. This starts the Snipers working in pairs and makes them come to grips with training for operations.

Occupying the British Zone.
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Unread 04-23-2007, 08:38 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: texas
Posts: 16
Re: U.S. army sniper school

I am currently a sniper with the 1st Bat. 75th Ranger Reg.I attended the Army sniper course and learned basic ballistics with a lot of attention to the mil-dot reticle.After Ranger school we atteded the Advanced Target Interdiction course with SF and a few Seal's[DEVGRU].Very technical.Usely the Army's barrels are Lilja and a lot of units are going to the 300win and 338Lapua built by Dakota Arms. Feel free to PM me for more detail.
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