History's Sniper show

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by goodgrouper, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

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    Anybody catch the History Channel's Sniper show last night? I thought it was fairly interesting. I had never heard the whole story behind the longest confirmed sniper kill and what I did hear was embellished a bit. But after watching the show, I was somewhat let down by the story. Well, of several of the stories actually.

    For those who didn't see it, there were several stories of history's sniper kills besides the longest recorded kill. There was a story of the famous "one mile" kill, the longest 308 winchester kill, and a story of the "scope" shot Carlos Hathcock made.


    The 308 kill is usually referred to when you tell a serviceman that the 308 is not really a long range cartridge. They say well it was good enough to kill a an insurgent at 1300 plus yards. But in the show, they admitted that the recommended range of the 308 is just a bit over 1000 yards. ANd when the Sniper told the story of the shot, he admitted that he just wanted to put a shot into the insurgent's hideout area to keep him from shooting at the Marines. He had no idea that he would actually connect on the guy. He said it was a one in a million shot and he probably wouldn't be able to do it again.


    Then the Sniper who made the "mile long" supporting shot told his story. He made his kill with the 50 bmg. But he explained that he saw three men go behind a wall and begin to set up a machine gun. He guessed where they were behind the wall because he couldn't see them and simply put a shot through the wall hoping to hit one of them. But it was almost a guarantee that someone was going to get hit because of the round he was shooting and how it "shotguns" bits and pieces through the wall. He never knew how many of the three he hit, where he hit them, or how bad. All he saw was blood on the wall behind their position. Oh yeah, and he admitted that the kill shot was the second shot. The first shot he tried was shot way low because he didn't realize the distance had changed from where he had ranged other insurgents.

    Then when they got to the "longest kill", I had to shake my head. This Sniper was a Canadian who was assigned to an american sortee. The shot was made at an elevation of 9000+' which was an elevation the SNiper never had practiced in. He also said that he made the shot with "american" ammo because he had ran out of Canadian ammo earlier in the day. The "american" ammo is loaded with a more aerodynamic bullet, and heavier bullet to boot at a totally different velocity. He had no experience with this "american" ammo and never sighted in with it either. Then he said he did a "sniper trick" by placing his ammo out in the sun to heat it up and gain some extra velocity. WHAT? I've never heard of any sniper doing this! So he was shooting ammo that wasn't tuned to the gun and then it was even heated up too. Amazing.

    Then the Canadian Sniper went on to say that he bottomed out his scope turret and used his mil-dots for extra elevation and windage. And his first guess of which mil dot to use was wrong. The shot landed low and right. But the dumb Taliban rebels (it was a group of three men) just stood there and watched the dust cloud come up by them! So the Sniper loaded another round and fired again using a different mil-dot. This shot hit one of the rebels in the backpack tearing it from his body. But still, the rebels didn't believe they were being shot at. The next guess of kentucky wind and hold proved to be the kill shot. It hit one of the rebels square and knocked him off his feet. Wow, the greatest shot in history? No, but probably the luckiest given all the unusual circumstances.

    But, the story of Hathcock's shot was a true one shot one kill sniper shot by a guy who knew what he was doing and that sort of redeemed the show in my opinion. Carlos put a bullet straight through the scope of an enemy's rifle just a spit second before Carlos himself was about to be killed. If he had to take two or three shots in a "guessing" manner to kill the enemy, Carlos would have been sent home in a box.

    I guess it just goes to show what a great Sniper Carlos was and he did his feat all those years ago without the gadgets we have today.
     
  2. Oliveralan

    Oliveralan Well-Known Member

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    Hey,

    yeah I caught the show, was also disapoijted about the shots, except Carlos' one. On the other hand, how they tested his shot by shooting through a scope at 30yards was pretty stupid. I imagine the angle at which it enters the scope at 300yards is very different, the bullet probably rickoted inside the scope.

    The canadian sniper shot I found really sad. If you already have no data for a bullet, how the hell is heating it up a sniper trick? Unless I'm completly misinformed, lr shooting is about trying to keep everything consistent. I'm pretty damn sure putting a round in the sun for a few minutes doesn't count... That was a complete potshot, when I first read about the shot I really had some respect for the Canadian snipershide but after seeing this... Anyone could have done that. He didn't even dial in correctly, just cranked his scope till it stopped then held some and dropped a suntanned round in the chamber. Greatest shot in history? Pfft is all I can say. But yes was an interesting show overall, cleared up some stuff. I also thought it was pretty gorey for the history channel... My 12year old brother watches that show and this was discribing people's faces being taken off....
     

  3. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the vids 280 fan. They must have been recorded earlier than the show was. In the show, the Canadian sniper didn't make any mention of his percieved superiority of the Canadian sniper teams like he did in the youtube vids. I guess everybody thinks their own highschool football team is the best too despite the statistics.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Canadians haven't won the Sniper challenge in Fort Benning every year have they. If memory serves, the US and Swedish teams are usually the teams to beat?
     
  4. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    I find it a little discouraging how everyone is taking this, the Canadian put himself out there in defense of our guys and in my mind nothing but respect should be shown him. Sound like to me the guy pulled every trick out of his hat to get a bullet over there to help. I've read guys who have posted in this thread miss shots on elk at half that distance, so what it took him a couple extra to hit a man at that distance.
    Showing any disrespect to this guy over a shot in defense of this country is reprehensible and disgusting.
    I'm sorry if I offended anyone but dang criticizing something a guy did in service I find offensive, and then to critique his shot, I can't believe I read it on this forum.
     
  5. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

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    Bigngreen,

    No need to get bignred over my post. I didn't say I was disappointed in the MAN or his service, I was disappointed in the SHOT(s). I used to admire these shots but I have now learned that all those famed shots were more of flukes than of skill and then to hear the guy say that Canadian snipers are the best rubbed me the wrong way. Hathcock was the only one shot one kill sniper on the show and he was a US soldier but didn't rub it in.
     
  6. Oliveralan

    Oliveralan Well-Known Member

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    +1 goodgrouper same here, I just thought the shot was an absolutely amazing feat by the Canadian sniper. I didn't know just how much luck was involved. I find it really amazing they put their life on the line to help in the offensive. I think you took our intent wrong...
     
  7. CapDog

    CapDog Well-Known Member

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    I never got a chance to watch the History channel version, but I know the Canadian sniper through work. (He's now in law enforcement). I know him to be a very humble guy and you have to press him to get to talk to much about what he did overseas. They made a pact and won't even confirm how many kills they got in that tour. You have remember as well a few days earlier a member of the group made a confirmed 2300M shot so it wasn't total guess work to get out to 2400M. They made a lot of engagements under some heavy heavy fire to help out some severely pinned down members of the 101st

    I think any shots at those distances are a combination of skill, equipment and luck. Wasn't it Hathcock who preached sometimes it's a little bit of SWAG? 1 shot was a miss, quick re-calc and next shot hit the target in the back-pack ripping it off (pretty dam close) and third did the job. Everyone on this board I'm sure could appreciate that the mildest gust of wind down range as you break the shot could cause a miss.

    As far as most of the competitions go there are lots of factors and the scores are usually so close that it may have come down to one shot. Having competed against snipers from all through NATO it usually comes down to who gets back to barracks the earliest and isn't as hung over as the others on as many days. Talking to the Marines from the last one I was at they pointed out that home field advantage can sure help. Not only do the bosses (wives and superiors) keep you on a tight leash at home but shooting so much on the ranges and knowing the terrain sure helps. Basically the top guys from each country are extremely close and anyone would be hard pressed to say who is the best......although those marines sure knew their stuff inside and out.
     
  8. britz

    britz Well-Known Member

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    I for one was impressed with most of the shots presented by the show. They guy in Iraq shooting running targets w/ a 308 was impressive to say the least. To be able to react correctly that fast on shots -wow. The canadian sniper did fill in some blanks. I was always lead to believe that it was all calculated and a first shot hit. but still... that is some pretty darn good shooting! Mcmillin did a terrible job trying to duplicate the shot. Why in the world didn't he dial in to get close! He simply maxed out his scope and tried to see where it hit from 1.5 miles away... classic hollywood.
     
  9. MSU Marksman

    MSU Marksman Well-Known Member

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    I thought it was an interesting watch, but I thought they could have done better.


    I was dissapointed by the "short clips" they made of people dressed in era clothing wandering through the woods. For crying out loud, you're the History Channel! Go dig out some actual footage. Not to mention the whole time they were talking about the M40, they showed some guy wandering around with a bone stock Savage 110.
     
  10. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    The people who make these shots have a base of skills that provides the basis for staying alive while shooting other people at long range. Combat is not getting up for a warm bed and clean sheets with a perfectly zeroed benchrest rilfe and going out for a few hours and then when you get tired going back home and having a warm bowl of chili and a beer or if you happen to bang your rifle hard, stopping of at the range to check your zero.

    A good combat sniper makes do with what he has and he does not have the luxury of going to zero his scope every time a flea lands on his barrel. My snipers were supposed to go and have the armorer pull PM on their rifles and scope and rezero once a month but in reality we ran so many missions back to back that they often went two or three month of full combat without getting a chance to check their zero. This is slogging through rice paddies falling down jungle hills and laying in rain. Lones Wigger and Virgil Umphenour regularly threatened to have me court martialed if I did not let my snipers come in once a month. You can google up both of these people if you wish. You can also google a pdf document call "Americal Snipers in Vietnam"

    If a sniper needs to make a shot beyond the capability of his scope what should he do? Sit down and say too bad and give it up like all of you would or should he run the dial to the top and then try to use his knowledge and skill to compensate for lack of equipment and send a round downrange as best he can figure it out and if he misses just give it some more elevation and try again. Maybe if his PDA battery is dead or if his Kestrel 3500 will not read the humidty he should just call his mama and say he'll be home for dinner.

    Here is an excerpt of the document and this guy is using a M21 with a 3X9 BDC type scope (Leatherwood ART) in a 1 inch tube. Do the math on the drops need ed for a 308 and see if any 1 inch tube scope in the world has enough elevation to get to 1600 meters. These are meters not yards so do the math. Then remember my sniper beat that shot by several hundred meters and it was witnessed by quite a few people many of whom are still living and I am in contact with them. The only way these shots get made is the guy dials to the top and then holds over some more.

    And for all of you guys who kneel and worship at the alter of bullet expansion I will just remind you that these are FMJs.

    Ok, I have ranted and raved and now I feel better. :D

    [​IMG]
     
  11. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

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    Jim,

    Again, I never said anything about the service or the job. I merely stated that the shots were not as much skill as once was thought. They were more along the lines of lucky shots admitted by some who took them. That just detracts from the legend of the "sniper" as a whole.

    But on the other hand, an ounce of luck is harder to get than an ounce of skill!
     
  12. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    I didn't see the show, but from the descriptions provided, I think it would be fair to say it took a lot of skill to be in a position to take advantage of the measure of luck that contributed to these ultra long range kills. Skill got them in the vicinity. Luck, or lack thereof for the bad guys, made the difference between close & lethal.

    I know I wouldn't dilly dally about if one of these guys was shooting at me. I'm sure they'd like to connect on the first shot for a variety of both professional and self-survival reasons. But I'm pretty sure the high-fives follow any kill at these extended ranges, no matter the 1st shot or the 5th. After firing several shots, hit or miss, I'd think the wiser move would be to relocate before the enemy made my location and extracted some revenge.
     
  13. CapDog

    CapDog Well-Known Member

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    It was put to me like this once.

    "Snipers are like race car drivers. They can drive the car with exceptional skill, pushing it to it's very limts. Just don't ask them to change the oil."

    I think the thing that is being missed is that in combat the shot is a very small portion of the event. Everything up to, around during and after also makes sniping in a combat zone so much more different. In that context to me there is nothing lacking in the shots.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009