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GUNS Magazine Digital May 2011 - Page 8
• C L I N T S M I T H • P H O T O S : H E I d I S M I T H • Don’t worry about long-range rifle skills until you are master of the first 300 yards before you. orldwide but especially in America, the current rage is W long-range rifle shooting. There are of course people who have been shooting rifles at long range for some time, but some of the newer people are going bonkers trying to address what rifle, caliber, ammo and scope to choose. Some of these folks armed with theoretical information not limited to or about spin-drifted-Coriolisaffected-cosine-angled shooting are creating a magnitude of silliness never before seen by the likes of the shooting community—ever. With no disrespect intended or implied, I can tell you personally one aspect of this entire current rifle and long-range shooting gig is that some of these new shooters are creating the largest list of excuses ever composed since the inception of firearms prefaced by, “I didn’t hit the target because….” In reality, there are a couple of defensive rifle skills that could be useful and require minimum excuses. So instead of spin-drifted-Coriolis- danGer CLose cosine stuff, try this: One thing I would do if I had one of these fancy rifles for defense is to understand and be able to apply the rifle to a man-size threat under duress, without a bunch of knob twisting at the danger-close range. The danger-close distance equates to a nominal 300 yards, because most calibers including the more prolific 5.56, 7.62x39, .308 and the like, all have reasonably consistent patterns in This target shows nominal points of impact for a sight hold when zeroed at 100 yards. Calibers like the 5.56, 7.62x39 and .308 are very consistent to this placement of projectiles as a general rule. examples of rifles and calibers that only require a basic 100-yard zero for hits to stay on a torso target out to 300 yards include (from left to right) the M14/M1A .308, AR-15/M4 5.56 and AK-47 type in 7.62x39. 8 relationship to bullet drop. This noted, the 300-yard range is important because if the threat’s muzzle was just pointed in your direction and fired a nominal 300-yards away, the projectile doesn’t fall off more than about 14" off the line of sight. The threat doesn’t have to be good if they just point and pull the trigger and the possibility of hitting you is pretty good. An average measurement from crotch to head is 36" so the target dimensions fall well inside the 14" range. By simply moving back to 400 yards, the projectile’s trajectory then falls a nominal 30" or more. In addition, add in the wind issue and the shooter might require a little more knowledge to stay on target. First off, with a baseline .308 as an example, if the rifle is zeroed at 100 yards and fired, the bullet will drop a nominal 4" at 200 yards and 14" at 300. It is critical and we need to know that held on a fully exposed man-size threat the projectile will strike the torso— someplace. However, wind alone at 400 yards can carry a projectile clear of the target WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • MAY 2011