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Rifleman exercise: target detection

This link will take you to a picture displaying a set of targets at a range of 300 yards. The targets are 20″ steel plates. Time yourself from when the picture loads to when you pick out the targets.

Of course, there is a handicap to take into account, since you’re viewing a picture on a computer with varying resolutions, image sizes, etc. etc.

But the next time it snows in your AO (or tomorrow, if there’s still white stuff on the ground), go out and put a coat on such a target at such a distance. Better yet, have someone else do it for you and repeat the exercise in real life.

Now answer this: what sight adjustment would you have to make to hit your target, when adjusting from your rifle’s normal sight setting?

What do you mean, “I don’t know!”?

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  1. David
    20 January 2011 at 21:42

    I would flip to my night aperture for a larger sight picture.

  2. Bo
    20 January 2011 at 21:57

    I wouldn’t have to adjust mine at all, because my sights are already zeroed at 275 meters. (What, you don’t know your battle sight zero?)

  3. 21 January 2011 at 15:37

    And suppose your particular 20 inch target is beyond your BSZ range? You have your comeups taped to your rifle stock, right? And you’ve verified them on a known-distance range, right?

  4. Bo
    21 January 2011 at 16:30

    AND I know how to use my front sight as a rangefinder. 😉

  5. 21 January 2011 at 16:54

    Take note, David. Bo here not only knows what his effective range is, but also how to determine if the target is in that range. If you don’t know that info for your backup iron sights, you’d better hope you don’t trip and break the glass in that fancy night aperture.

  6. Bo
    21 January 2011 at 17:36

    I think he’s referring to the two apertures on an M16A2-type iron sights. I’m not a great fan of the rifle itself; but it sure does have decent iron sights. The smaller aperture is for further, precision shooting. The larger is for shooting when there is less light out. I have used these sights quite a bit on an AR 180B and on an M4-configured AR15. I tend to leave the larger aperture up by default, and only switch to engage targets beyond 300 meters.

  7. 21 January 2011 at 19:14

    Re-reading his comment, that makes a lot more sense now. Thanks for the clarification.

    Still, the point remains: target detection is the hardest problem facing a rifleman on the battlefield.

  8. Bo
    21 January 2011 at 21:43

    No question. The reverse then must also be true: learn camouflage so your adversary can’t see you. Noise discipline, light discipline, and sloe deliberate movements must be the order of the day.

  9. Anonymous
    22 January 2011 at 01:43

    At 300 yards, my general purpose rifle is zeroed. I do not regard it as particularly suited for shooting past that point, but I have the necessary holdovers memorized to 600 yards.

    My “guerrilla sniper rifle” is mounted with a Nikon with a BDC reticle. At 9x, the distance from the horizontal crosshair to the first aiming circle subtends 5 MOA. (Google “sua sponte guerrilla sniper rifle” for more information.)

    With the horizontal crosshair at the crown of the head, the position of the aiming circle translates approximately as follows:

    Eyes: 100 meters
    Chin: 200 meters
    Shoulder: 300 meters
    Armpit: 400 meters
    “Solar plexus”: 500 meters
    Waist: 600 meters

    The rifle is zeroed to 500 yards with loads approximating 7.62 National Match. Aiming points are as follows:

    600 yards: Crown of the head
    500 yards: Center mass
    400 and 100 yards: Waist
    200 and 300 yards: Crotch

    Note that while ranging occurs in meters, aiming points are expressed in yards and must be so converted. There is a certain amount of Kentucky windage that must be considered, relative to a unique rifle/handload/shooter combination.

    I do not tape ranging and ballistic information to the stock of my rifles. I create flash cards using photos and drawings and drill relentlessly with them. My range time serves, in part, to confirm what I learn from these drills and provide me with the confidence I need to hit quickly at unspecified ranges.

    Taping a data card to your stock can be a dangerous crutch, causing you to bobble in a crisis if it is missing or illegible. Know your weapon and know yourself. Beat what you need to know into your brain and practice until it is reflexive — then practice it again, preferably under conditions of adverse lighting, poor visibility, stress and fatigue. Recall the words of the Hakagure:

    Is not good to settle into a set of opinions. It is a mistake to put forth effort and obtain some understanding and then stop at that. At first putting forth great effort to be sure that you have grasped the basics, then practicing so that they may come to fruition is something that will never stop for your whole lifetime. Do not rely on following the degree of understanding that you have discovered, but simply think, “This is not enough.

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