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July 11, 2005

.50 Cal. Sniper Shots

Have you ever wondered how effective a .50 caliber rifle can be in the hands of an experienced sniper?

See for yourself.

[Hint: Those aren`t rocks flying from the bullets impact.]

- Joatmoaf -

July 11, 2005 at 08:56 PM | Permalink


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OK, if they're not rocks, they're . . .

Posted by: robin at Jul 11, 2005 9:15:51 PM

Unwashed hippy parts?

Posted by: Lur, Ruler of Omicron Persei 8 at Jul 11, 2005 10:10:29 PM

They are parts and pieces of what used to be Brave and Glorious Taliban Warriors.

You probably didn`t REALLY want to know Robin, but I`ll tell you anyway.

All 4 shots are at individual Taliban who appear to have set up what they thought would be an ambush. Since each was alone I`m going to assume they were supposed to be snipers.

The first shot is at a guy laying on a rock, and from the video it looks like an excellent vantage point for a sniper.
The problem for him was that our guy had a better vantage point.

The second shot is of a guy I would not have seen except for the crosshairs from the spotters camera. After the shot you can see something that looks like a leg or arm flying through the air from where the target was hit.

The third shot is hard to notice also until the crosshairs identify the target. Then you can see that it`s a head and shoulder. I can`t tell if he`s facing toward or away from the sniper but the results are obvious in this shot as you can clearly see an arm and what looks like the rest of his head basicaly explode after being hit.

The last one is most impressive to me.
In this shot you can see the target move into position in an attempt to either hide from the sniper or (more likely) set up an ambush.
When the shot was fired all I could see was the targets head and the sniper nailed it dead center.
What`s impressive about that shot is the range at which it was fired from as you can see when the spotter zooms out the camera.
1/2 mile? 3/4?
At any rate that was an excellent shot.

I don`t mean to be morbid or anything, but some people have asked what he was shooting at.
It IS kind of hard to distinguish the target from the landscape, so I broke the video down and checked it out reeeeaaall sllloooowwww and that`s what I got.

Posted by: Joatmoaf at Jul 12, 2005 9:16:59 PM

Yeah, I figured as much, but it's nice to have the (ahem) blow by blow analysis. I'd ask where you GOT this footage, but then you'd have to kill me.

Amazing. Just part of the reason why, despite the opinion of the media, we ARE winning.

Posted by: robin at Jul 12, 2005 9:56:45 PM

Yes we are.
Although I`m not much given to gloating I occasionally indulge in it. Especially where the media is concerned.

Every time one of their house of cards built on lies is knocked down by nasty little things like "truth" or "facts" I feel a little vindicated.
So I indulge, and I gloat, and I never feel guilty about it.

Posted by: Joatmoaf at Jul 12, 2005 11:12:44 PM



Posted by: bahabuddha™ at Jul 13, 2005 12:38:15 AM

Just out of curiosity (since you have the authority of a cool site to back you up) how should Britain handle the problem of homegrown terrorists? And what is the likelihood that we will experience another attack on our soil?

Posted by: robin at Jul 13, 2005 10:16:07 AM

It's getting so you can't even have a nice picnic in the country without being picked off by gun toting jarheads.

Posted by: Liberal Larry at Jul 13, 2005 3:35:14 PM

Wrong LL. These 2 are actually U.S Navy SEALs.

Posted by: Joatmoaf at Jul 13, 2005 4:21:45 PM

I hate to burst your bubble. No, not really. Those aren't human targets, and that's not a .50 cal doing the shooting. Follows the email I sent the first time this was forwarded to me:

Please update your distribution list(s) for this video clip with factual info:

1. Those are prairie dogs being killed, not Taliban or other evildoers.
2. The rifle is not a .50 BMG, but some substantially smaller caliber.
3. The clip originated as promotional material for a guided prairie dog hunt.

There are legitimate images of .50 BMG wounds to humans in circulation on the net, taken at distances that only a forensic pathologist would appreciate. (Well, maybe a few of you, also?) These long-range images are examples of good marksmanship, but not of the lethality of a .50 BMG round.

It isn't that I object to shooting terrorists or other combatant enemies, with a .50 BMG rifle or anything else that promptly ends their capability to do harm. I object to the fact that ignorant people seeing this clip will be influenced to support bans on the .50 caliber rifle due to the "who needs a gun that is designed to do that to people" notion.

Not that the .50 BMG doesn't do horrific damage to human targets - as does any high-powered round. It just doesn't blast bodies apart as depicted here. Even with the best high explosive (HE) ammunition available (RAUFOSS, a product of NAMMO). A human is simply too soft to initiate the detonation of the HE round. The .50 BMG round has been in civilian hands for over 60 years, and hasn't been used in any crime to date.


Mike "

Posted by: BMG Mike at Jul 13, 2005 7:00:22 PM

Not a .50 huh?
Although the range is hard to guess at in the first 3 shots there is no doubt that it`s at least a half a mile if not more in the 4th shot.
No other rifle has an effective range at 1/2 mile or more.
If that last shot was a Prarrie Dog at such a range, then that`s equivalant to shooting a dime at 100 yards with a .22.
I don`t think even Dan`l Boone was that good.
Sorry, your theory don`t wash with me.

Also, keep in mind that unlike the other Special Ops guys SEALs can pick and choose what type of weapons they want to use for any specific mission.
Anything in our arsonal is available to them, and many things that aren`t in our arsonal.

Posted by: Joatmoaf at Jul 13, 2005 8:38:43 PM

Repeat: Not a .50.

My credentials: I've fired thousands of rounds of .50 BMG at ranges over 1/2 mile, and I've put well over 200,000 rounds downrange in my 50 year shooting career. Want to go shooting some time?

"the range is hard to guess". Absolutely! Your estimate of 1/2 mile (880 yards) is a WAG, as is anyone's looking at the video without a known size object in the frame for a reference. That ridge line could be anywhere from 600 yards to 1600 yards away. All you can say for sure is "that looks to be a right fur piece". You are fooling yourself if you think you can judge the range from a video image, without a lot of detailed knowledge about how the photo was taken.

"No other rifle has an effective range at 1/2 mile or more." Actually that depends on your definition of "effective", and on the target, doesn't it?

Lots of people of my acquaintance can put a shot on a dime at 100 yards - nearly every time! I can do it most of the time. I've been able to do so since my late teens.

For human targets there are lots of calibers - mostly 7mm and above - that are effective at 1/2 mile - although that's the outer limit for some of the smaller ones. .50 BMG is not the most effective round available at 1k and beyond. In retained energy, time of flight, bullet drop, and windage, there are a number of rounds in .338 cal and above that are superior.

For Prairie Dog class targets there are lots of even smaller calibers which are effective to 1/2 mile and beyond. Bullets with Ballistic Coefficients nearing that of the .50 BMG projectiles, with muzzle velocities well above that attainable in a .50, lead to less drop and better wind holding capability than the .50 at extreme range.

With ranging shots away from the PD, wind and range can be dialed into the scope and "first-shot" (at the target) kills are not uncommon.

It is true that the special ops community can get most anything they want. I have a friend who sells ammunition into that community. They can't, however, buy ammunition made from 80% Unobtanium alloy. There's not a lot of magic available in the .50 BMG class round

Repeat: Not a .50. Not bad guys. Regardless of what was claimed for the images. Sanity check the dynamics of the bodies against the remaining energy of a .50 BMG at 1/2 mile. Humans ain't going to come apart like that. The motion in the 4th frame is that of a scurrying rodent, not a human.

Methinks you've been taken.



Posted by: BMG Mike at Jul 13, 2005 10:57:02 PM

Maybe that's just prairie dogs glopping up the landscape, but for a few minutes there I really got a nice warm glow from imagining it was some stinky islamofascists assuming room temperature, courtesy of the SEALs.

Posted by: reverse_vampyr at Jul 14, 2005 3:43:39 PM

Yeah, I agree. When you want it to be Islamofascists eating hot lead, that's what you tend to see. There's a bunch of that kind of image on the web, if you must look. Like I said, "up close and personal" camera angles.


Posted by: BMG Mike at Jul 14, 2005 5:25:36 PM

Your videos are from the Rocky Mountain Varmint Hunter site. Here's the url where they downloaded the originals:

Not that the shots aren't impressive but I've never seen varmint hunters use .50 BMG, so I'm with BMG Mike on this one. Looks like someones just added the crosshairs and passed them off as something people are anxious to see.

Posted by: TrustButVerify at Jul 15, 2005 9:06:39 AM

Hey! I was enjoying that!
Spoil sports!

Posted by: spd rdr at Jul 17, 2005 3:24:55 PM

Not enough body mass for a human
But looks good, (wish it were)

Posted by: Dadrulesathome at Jul 19, 2005 12:10:17 PM

To many trees to be afganastan!

Posted by: mike at Jul 19, 2005 9:06:06 PM

I thought prairie dogs lived on grassy prairies? What ever these things were was on rocks!

Posted by: mike 2 at Jul 20, 2005 4:06:33 PM

The video is probably a combination of some prairie dogs (they have rocks out west too) and some "rock chucks". The url I posted above notes each video by type of target - Coyote, Prairie dog, Jack rabbits, Rock chucks... Don't believe me? Check out the url.

Posted by: TrustButVerify at Jul 21, 2005 11:11:55 AM

Prarie dogs, Taliban, what's the difference? It's cool.

Posted by: spd rdr at Jul 21, 2005 4:39:19 PM

Absolutely, both are non-human animals that live underground.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at Jul 22, 2005 12:14:03 PM

Hmmm. What a buzz kill.
And THAT ladies and gents is why the MSN is so afraid of Weblogs. You can`t get fact checking like that at the New York Times.
But since I can`t have this post be completly misleading or disappointing I`ll drag a rabbit out of the hat and throw you a bone.
From the Archives of the MIGHTY I Love Jet Noise Website here is a genuine victim of a .50 cal.

(Graphic, so don`t say I didn`t warn you)


P.S. HTML links in comments have been disabled for some time. I discovered that it is the most effective way of dealing with comment spammers.

Posted by: Joatmoaf at Jul 24, 2005 7:44:24 AM

Didn't see the video, but will take spd's word for it that it was 'enjoyable.'

That said, I have faith in Joat's ability to
post accurate stories.

Why would I take either of them at their word?
Because in the two plus years I have known them on the web, they have been consistent and accurate.

Posted by: Cricket at Jul 26, 2005 9:35:43 PM

TrustButVerify isn't just a net handle, it should become a way of life for anyone who wants to be sure of his facts.

A reputation for correctness is great - but it isn't always enough.

I used to work with a Real_Smart_Guy(tm registered) who knew lots of stuff about lots of stuff. He was truly a fact magnet, with excellent recall. It got real boring checking up on him, 'cause he was always right. Or so it seemed. So, the checking stopped. Later, the boss bought into one of RSG's very few wrong answers - without checking - and cost the company a lot of money.

I think they call it "Due Diligence". If you need something to be true to get the job done, it's up to you to make sure that it is.


Posted by: BMG Mike at Jul 26, 2005 11:17:25 PM