Recently a Canadian sniper made a shot against an enemy bad guy ("The shot in question actually disrupted a Daesh [Isis] attack on Iraqi security forces) who was 3,450 meters away. After a little math for Marines that’s about 37 football fields or eight Empire State buildings in length or just over 2 miles away. This is a tough shot and even if you utilized every aspect of superb marksmanship skills, you might still miss if you don’t account for several additional affects to include:

  • Wind (both by the shooter and along the whole flight path to the target)
  • Bullet shape and weight, trying to achieve the highest possible ballistic coefficient ("BC")
  • Air pressure, altitude and (to a certain degree) humidity
  • Temperature (including air, ammunition and barrel temperature)
  • Spindrift, an effect caused by the rotation of the bullet
  • Coriolis effect caused by the Earth's rotation
  • Mirage, which causes the shooter to hit high and to the side if there is a little wind
  • Angle to the target (called "cosine angle") either up or downhill (wikipedia)

The sniper used a McMillan Tac-50 sniper rifle (50 Cal) and a ballistic computer to calculate the above “affects” for him by his spotter. Usually, snipers work in two-man team (one is the spotter and one is the shooter). The spotter does all of your work through the computer for you otherwise you can actually do it long hand using Angular Size = 2*arctan( Size / 2*Distance ) to calculate the actual size of the person at a distance. Now days, the computer calculates much more for you to even include the spinning of the earth. Even with all of this a little luck is welcomed as many things can happen to your round once it leaves your weapon when shooting at this range. I can tell you without using any optics (scope) the front sight post of a M-16 is the same width of a 6ft human, obviously this guy was using a very bad ass scope. Regardless, it was a very impressive shot. Read more here

Time for a C-Gar

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