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What accuracy on service rifles?

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  • What accuracy on service rifles?

    In a discussion mentioned in the "sabot" thread, a bunch of us uninformed civilians got together and started expressing opinions at least half of us couldn't justify.

    The main point of contention was this: what level of accuracy can a professional sniper expect from the rifle and ammunition he actually uses in the field--under optimal conditions? Meaning field equipment, but not in the field (expect there might be a difference)?

  • #2
    MOA
    Some place, some where, someone is practicing and if YOUR NOT and YOU meet YOU WILL LOSE.

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    • #3
      1 MOA?
      I was on the wrong side of that discussion, then. Expected a tad better than that. Thanks though!

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      • #4
        I think the overwhelming majority of properly fed and fired SWS's will do 1/2 MOA on an averge day, to a range of about 600 yards. MOA beyond 600 requires considerable experience on the part of the rifleman, but of course is routinely done.

        Dan
        Optimal Charge Weight Load Development... http://home.earthlink.net/~dannewberry/index.html

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        • #5
          1/2 MOA was my uneducated guess, actually. Thanks!

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          • #6
            There is the inherent accuracy of the rifle; what the rifle is capable of. Then, there is the accuracy produced by the shooter + rifle + ammo + conditions. If the builder of the rifle claims .25 MOA at 100 yards, that is the inherent accuracy. That does not mean you will shoot .25 MOA at 100 yards. Snipers should be able to shoot 1 MOA out to 600 yards with match ammo. After 600 yards things get tricky.

            Tom
            T.Bruner

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            • #7
              It was only the accuracy inherent in the weapon I was after, not effective accuracy in the field. Is 1/2 MOA inherent reasonable to expect, then?

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              • #8
                My weapon is capable of MOA at distances at which I may have to shoot. I have a sniper rifle not a bench rest rifle. MOA is good enough for me with the factory ammo I'm forced to shoot. Anything better than MOA is gravy. Nuff said.
                Some place, some where, someone is practicing and if YOUR NOT and YOU meet YOU WILL LOSE.

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                • #9
                  1/2 MOA is a reasonable expectation for a custom SWS using Federal or Blackhills match ammunition . The accuracy expectation for a factory rifle using the same ammo is MOA. MOA is acceptable accuracy for most urban LE agencies due to the fact that most shots are at close range. The same same does not hold true with agencies who's area of operation may dictate a longer shot.
                  "There are three kinds of people in the world. There are Wolves and there are Sheep. And there are those who protect the Sheep from the Wolves..."-Christopher Sheilds
                  My Webpage

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                  • #10
                    There's something I don't understand. I keep reading that the .308 Winchester is the most commonly used cartidge in sniper rifles because it's the only cartridge that is capable of the neccesary level of accuracy. However, I have been reading that most M24 SWS ammunition fires around 1/2 MOA groups. There is .300 Winchester and .338 Lapua Magnum ammunition that shoots 1/2 MOA groups that can be found as well. I know that THE most accurate .308 Winchesters will shoot more accurately than THE most accurate .300 Winchester Magnums at all ranges up until about 800-900 meters or so, except I don't understand what possible advantage the .308 Winchester could have over a big .30 caliber Magnum if both are loaded to the same level of accuracy.

                    If 1/2 MOA is plenty accurate, why is the .308 Winchester used when its only strongpoint is negated by the overwhelming abundance of mass quantities of inexpensive 1/2 MOA ammuntion available in ballistically superior cartridges.

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                    • #11
                      Noob,

                      "I keep reading that the .308 Winchester is the most commonly used cartidge in sniper rifles because it's the only cartridge that is capable of the neccesary level of accuracy."

                      "...why is the .308 Winchester used when its only strongpoint is negated by the overwhelming abundance of mass quantities of inexpensive 1/2 MOA ammuntion available in ballistically superior cartridges."

                      The reason that it is the most commonly used cartridge in sniper rifles is because it is a Nato standard round. As you noted, there are many cartridges out there that can match the .308's accuracy and certainly exceed it's range. However, until the .308 is replaced as a Nato standard cartridge by another cartridge, simple logistics will demand that the .308 remain "the most commonly used cartidge in sniper rifles". Just MHO.

                      Don
                      There aren't many things
                      that can't be fixed,
                      With seven hundred dollars
                      and a thirty aught six...

                      Cooper

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                      • #12
                        This is an extract from:
                        http://www.snipershide.com/guide/sni...on_system.html

                        There are scores of rifle calibers that could be used in a SWS but when the selection criteria are applied the field is narrowed significantly.

                        The caliber selected must fulfill the accuracy and power requirements of the system as well as being readily available at a reasonable cost. The caliber must be conducive to lots of firing. The sniper must train constantly to develop and sustain his marksmanship skills. Any caliber with excessive recoil which will physically punish the sniper during training should not be selected. Likewise any caliber that results in excessive barrel wear requiring the replacement of the barrel after less than 5,000 rounds should be avoided.

                        The best caliber for use in a general purpose SWS is the .308 Winchester (7.62 mm NATO). This caliber is powerful and accurate enough to meet the standards already discussed. Also, the .308 Winchester ammunition is in wide commercial and military distribution. The performance characteristics of this caliber have been studied and documented for years and there is a large body of ballistic information available. The recoil of the .308 Winchester when fired in the typical SWS is moderate and tolerable. The barrel life of a .308 Winchester rifle often approaches 10,000 rounds.

                        Currently the most effective sniper load for the .308 Winchester is the 175 grain Boat Tail Hollow Point (BTHP) match bullet propelled at a velocity of 2,675 feet per second (fps). This load will allow target engagements out to 1,000 yards. This match ammunition type is available from a number of domestic manufacturers. This load can be duplicated by hand loading, a subject which we will discuss in detail later.

                        The consistent nature of the ammunition selected by the sniper will directly influence the accuracy potential of the SWS. Every effort must be made to use ammunition of the highest quality and consistency.
                        *[/b]
                        There are lots of reasons for using the .308 Win.
                        Kevin

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