One shot

Bigger Bullets Prove Better on Strategy Page

Sometimes size matters:

At checkpoints, there are lots, probably hundreds, of suicide car bomb attempts you never hear about, because a .50 caliber machine-gun, or sniper rifle, took out the bomber. Even though the suicide car drivers have taken to wearing protective vests, and even armoring parts of their cars, that doesn’t stop those .50 caliber bullets.

The “bigger is better” theory comes as no surprise to MO readers. Active disdain for the “poodle shooter” 5.56 round is common in the comments sections here.

And the post notes that the bad guys don’t seem to “get it” when it comes to US marksmanship and weapon lethality. Or, rather, they “don’t get it” until they “get it”. The .50 cal sniper rifles, of course, get many of the long range kills, but

Even the 7.62mm snipers have continued to catch surprised targets (at up to 800 meters.) The Iraqi idea of a “sniper kill” is usually at ranges of less than 200 meters. The concept of longer range shots has not yet become accepted among them.

That the bad guys (which are not all Iraqis, remember) don’t seem to conceive of sniper kills beyond medium range shouldn’t be surprising. First of all, they are not trained or disciplined to the point where they could make those shots. Secondly, the majority of them just don’t have weapons that would allow them to even if they were skilled enough. AK-47 “spray and pray” is the modus operandi of your typical terrorist or insurgent, and it probably doesn’t even occur to them to worry about long range shots. Until it’s too late.

And those that learn the hard way don’t tell the tale.

Plus, 7.62mm kills have even pushed beyond the 800m limit noted on Strategy Page. M40A3 kills at 950 yds and 1000+ yds have been noted previously on MO.


  1. Many years ago I used to shoout at university (I was terrible, which probably means quite acceptable marksmanship for ordinary infantry purposes these days). Anyway, long range went up to 1200 yards, though usually using special supine firing positions and rifles with oddly placed sights. These techniques came in during the Boer War and achieved effectiveness at those ranges in those circumstances – and they were necessary, too.

  2. Aaron: You’re right. There are certainly Dragunovs and Dragunov clones out there. I’ve pointed them out before, in fact. Is there a point, or are you just making an observation?