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February 15, 2016

Who Says There's No Good News?

ISIS executioner beheaded by SAS sniper’s special bullet as he demonstrated how to decapitate prisoners:
Instead, the first bullet – designed to tumble as it travels, in order to maim – struck him in the back of the head. The source said: ‘One minute he was standing there and the next his head had exploded. ‘The commander remained standing upright for a couple of seconds before collapsing and that’s when panic set in. ‘He was an extremely sadistic and ruthless individual, feared by the locals and the jihadis alike.’

Posted by gerardvanderleun at February 15, 2016 1:21 PM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

Reminds one of the cartoon where Haji is demonstrating how to detonate a suicide vest. He says, "watch this because I'm only going to show it once!"
1333 yards is a phenomenal shot!. SAS is short for bad to the bone.

Posted by: Casey Klahn [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2016 2:39 PM

If you've never hit coffee can sized targets at 600 yds you won't notice the errors in that story.

I'm calling it bullshit, as it is written.

A *tumbling* bullet won't hit anything at 4000 ft, period.

Wind speed here is different than it is there.
There are accurate ways to determine wind speed there but they cannot be used under sniper configurations.

A 4000 ft shot must be made with the weapon fully immobilized at both ends. Heartbeat in the trigger finger tip will effect the shot.

With more detail I could be convinced of a body shot, but not a head shot. No way.

Posted by: ghostsniper [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2016 6:48 PM

I understand. My take is that he walked the round in, possibly on the second shot or third. At that range (apparently he had a silencer - don't ask me how that doesn't effect the accuracy!) it is not only possible but probable that they did not understand they were being fired on.

But you could be correct. If true - it was a phenomenal shot!

BTW, I haven't hit a coffee can at 600, but I have killed game at 550 more than once. First: Whitetail buck / head shot. Second: coyote pup / heart shot. I walked the shots in both times, since it was just a lightweight hunting rifle being used. At these ranges, the game do not know what's happening and if they do, they don't know where the shooting is coming from.

Posted by: Casey Klahn [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2016 7:43 PM

> I'm calling it bullshit, as it is written.

> A *tumbling* bullet won't hit anything at 4000 ft, period.

The thing you have to remember about articles like this is they are written by 'journalists', those poor benighted souls with little skill beyond stringing words together and no knowledge of complex subjects like physics, economics and shooting guns. No offense to their Mums.

The whole idea of bullet design is for it NOT to tumble in flight. It needs to fly in beautiful parabolic perfection and if you can stabilize it with a little spin, so much the better. After it hits, tumbling is good (in the context of shooting jihadis). A tumbling bullet slows rapidly, trading kinetic energy for tissue damage. Ouch.

A bit of googling turns up a number of confirmed sniper shots in the neighborhood of 2,000 yards which is 6,000 feet. IMHO, aside from the journalism which has crept in to the story, I find it believable. And quite cool. Go SAS!

Posted by: SteveS [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2016 8:12 PM

"A *tumbling* bullet won't hit anything at 4000 ft, period."

Exactly right. You'd be lucky to hit the ocean of you were standing on the beach.

What is most likely is that the bullet is designed to tumble after it hits the target. This is in fact easy to design and makes the bullet even more stable in flight. All you do is make the bullet so that its length is a high ratio to its width.

What happens is that the nose of the bullet hits the target and immediately starts decelerating. But the base of the bullet is still at full velocity and its starts to overtake the nose. This makes the whole bullet tumble end over end. Almost instantly, further ballistic stresses set in the often the bullet will fragment.

This was very common with the original 5.56mm round for the M-16 series military rifle. But the Marines screwed it up by adopting a round with more propellant and a shorter, lighter bullet, to get higher muzzle velocity and therefore greater range.

Before, one hit from the bullet was usually incapacitating PDQ, but afterward, the bullet did not tumble and often passed in and out of the enemy fighter. Very ineffective because the energy of wound ballistics is equal to the energy of entrance minus the energy of exit. And if there is no exit, it means all the energy is expended on the target, not some on the air beyond him.

Sorry I got a little verbose here.

Posted by: plus.google.com/104841162830331053592 [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 16, 2016 7:12 AM

Military FMJ rounds are strange to civilians, but the surgeons like them better. Infantry are happy if they exit and hit more enemy.

Cops like expanding rounds so there are fewer pass throughs and less chance of collateral.

I've never been hit by anything larger than a BB, so I can't say with authority what my preference would be. Probably the FMJ, and I always argue in my head for velocity - it is the queen of ballistics in my opinion. I think shock will create compliance best. Note how Mr Finicum, in Oregon, got shot multiple times by police bullets, and his compliance required up to the fifth or sixth hit. Small, slow bullets. Tumbling style.
Nothing, however, replaces placement. I'd rather hit the target with one .22 round than fire off thirty .30 cal rounds and have no hits.
Of course the round tumbled after it hit Haji. That's the way I read it. One thing's for sure: if it did go down this way, he only demonstrated the beheading sequence once.

Posted by: Casey Klahn [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 16, 2016 7:48 AM

That he hit the guy's head could have been just luck. It happens. Happened to me once when I was a young teen. I shot a rooster which my grandmother wanted put down because it was injured or something. I took it's head off from wayyyyyyy away. To this day my cousin thinks I am a good shot. Ha.

Posted by: pbird [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 16, 2016 8:06 AM

Got a new gun last year with a leupold scope installed by the manufacturer to a 100 yd zero.

I took it out and fired it at a 300 yd silhouette and didn't hit it. The backstop was far enough away that even through the spotter scope I had difficulty determining where the bullet went. Took a few more "$5 per bullet* shots to determine I was 10" too high. Right. While at 100yds the bullet was dead on but at 300 yds it was still rising. This .308 bullet didn't reach it's apogee until just over 600 yds. After that the trajectory curve is much shorter.

At 4000 ft a .338 will drop about 150" or more than 12'.

Guess what?
There is no scope on the market that can compensate for that sort of drop.

If the shooter does as Casey suggested and *walked it in* lifting that gun barrel a mere 1/16 of an inch will alter that 150" dimension by 2'.

How do you lift a gun by 1/16"?

If on a mechanical system it is not accurate to do it as there is no reference. If done on sandbags you lift the barrel and slide 2 business cards under it and hope nothing else changed.

Long range shooting is about 20% science, 20% art, and 60% luck. Even if you do finally hit a long range target there is a 90% chance your next shot will not. The sun, cloud coverage, temperature, and wind speed and velocity are constantly changing, effecting the pathway of the bullet.

For more detailed info on this stuff see this:

Posted by: ghostsniper [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 16, 2016 8:53 AM

The reference to a tumbling bullet is probably some journalist's fantasy. Military snipers use the finest blue printed rifles and rounds on the planet and they train for all conditions that they will encounter.

That said, a shot from that range is within the capability of a trained shooter. The longest sniper kill that I'm aware of was by a Brit sniper, Craig Harrison, who made a kill at around 2700 yards and I believe he may have used a .338 Lapua.

I grew up with guns and when I was young I shot all the time. When I was around 13 and my eyes were good, I took the top of the head of a bee martin off with a J. C. Higgins single shot .22 and a .22 short at 186 paces or roughly 372'. My rifle only had iron sights and no peep.

The longest kill shot I ever made was with a .270 on a whitetail. I shot him while standing up, off handed with no support or bipod, etc, with an 8 lb rifle at 236 measured yards. Not incredible but pretty good, just the same.

Posted by: Jack [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 16, 2016 9:04 AM

Ghost, if that supersniper walked those rounds in, that barrel heated up enough to cause his aim point to be worthless. A cold barrel with maybe two rounds is all you'll get. After that, you're chasing dust puffs.

Posted by: Vermont Woodchuck [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 16, 2016 9:49 AM

VW - my lightweight barrel heats up on anything after shot #1, and yet I hit a puppy heart at 550 yds, which is where I aimed. I fully agree about luck, though.
idk if the British sniper's rifle was heavy barreled, but I assume so.
ghost - why zero at 100 yards? We zero here (open country) at 200 yards, and I'd say your climbing bullet, fired from an excellent LR rifle and configured for such, ought to be zeroed for LR shots. My 2 cents - you know what you're doing.
BTW, my group at 550 yards is 9 inches. Browning .270 A Bolt with titanium alloy barrel.
Fear the man who only owns 1 gun.

Posted by: Casey Klahn [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 16, 2016 12:26 PM

Casey: That was Remington's baseline, 100 yds. The entire set up has changed several times since then. I currently have a heavy spiral barrel on back order (as per veedubs mention above). Also have a 2 stage scope on order too. I want the gun zero'd at 200 yds, and with a click of a knob have it sero'd for 600 yds. I'll then create a pocket chart for each 50 yds in between. I've been thru all of this with one of my Winchesters and several of a neighbors guns. Long range shooting has caused us to both joint venture in a Dillon reloading rig. Otherwise it wouldn't be affordable.
DIY bullets are 1/5 the $ cost of brand new.
BTW, take a look at the links on the left side of the website I linked to, lot's of cool info on this stuff by a guy that knows what he's talking about.

Posted by: ghostsniper [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 16, 2016 2:15 PM

I was using a bullet drop compensator that finally just sprang its parts after too many days in the field. Now I rely on a drawing taped to the buttstock with holdovers for the ranges. A coyote is 18 inches off the ground at the top of his back, 12" at the heart, etc.
What do you expect your group to be at 600 yards? I'd be interested to know. Sounds like a sweet set up.
The older I get, the happier I am with the lightweight set up. With Superformance ammo, which controls for temperature (supposedly) I feel happy with what I've got. My only wish is for a stiffer stock, especially at the fore end.
Stay safe.

Posted by: Casey Klahn [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 16, 2016 6:50 PM

Frankly, if I hit a can 3 times out of 10 shots I'm happy. It's tougher than it may seem. Lot's of things come into play that just can't be controlled. We have several neighbors saving their coffee cans and lids for us. We fill them with water than add a couple drops of yellow food coloring to help with the visuals. A coffee can is this big . at 600 yds.

We're probably going to change to man sized 1/4" steel plate targets this summer, I mean, that's what it's all about in the end. (neighbor owns a steel company)

Went to walmart this morning and sauntered over by the gun dept. Damn I get wobbling in them places. I'm wanting a Ruger 10/22 with a polymer stock and stainless hardware and barrel. They had one and the price was right. But my ball n chain was with me and I didn't want to get into long drawn out *discussions*, so I may go back on Sat with a friend. I like the rotary magazines for the 10/22 because you can have a whole pocket of them and reload in seconds. I have 2 other .22's but both are tube feed and take a long time to reload.

Posted by: ghostsniper [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 17, 2016 9:39 AM

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