Birthday Cake and a 155mm Candle

Marines and sailors from the Hawaii-based Echo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment paused to celebrate the Marine Corps’ 234th birthday Nov. 10, 2009, here. Members of the battery and the Okinawa-based 12th Marine Regiment and 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines, participated in Artillery Relocation Training Exercise 09-03, which took place Nov. 2-10. Photo by Staff Sgt. Marc Ayalin

Marines and sailors from the Hawaii-based Echo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment paused to celebrate the Marine Corps’ 234th birthday Nov. 10, 2009, here. Members of the battery and the Okinawa-based 12th Marine Regiment and 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines, participated in Artillery Relocation Training Exercise 09-03, which took place Nov. 2-10. Photo by Staff Sgt. Marc Ayalin

On a related note, the son of a buddy of mine qualified Expert Rifleman in boot camp. I think his dad told me 7 out of 10 at 500 yards with iron sights.

Murdoc can barely see the target at 500 yards.

Happy birthday, Marines.

Comments

  1. Murdoc can barely see the target at 500 yards.

    I couldn’t see the target at _all_ in boot camp: my military glasses had not arrived (they caught up with at my first duty station) and my civilian glasses were held together with tape, lenses fogged up.

    But I could see the _number_ painted big as life over my target: 50. I aimed at the center of the zero and adjusted from there.

    It worked – I barely qualified, but I qualified. Later I shot Expert.

  2. But 500 yards is only medium range. Surely an expert rating should be based on scores at each of short, medium and long range? That’s even without considering that there are other things worth assessing as well as marksmanship, like accuracy under timed conditions and a few other things. I’m not saying that he shouldn’t have been given a rating but that a true expert can’t be determined just on that test and so the rating should have been called something else.

  3. P.M. I don’t know the details, but it is a combination of a number of different ranges, stances, and targets. It wasn’t only the 7 out of 10 at 500 yards, it’s just that 7 out of 10 at 500 yards with open sights is a lot better than I could do.

    Though I do think that 500 yards is as long as they go for standard rifleman qualification. Any Marines stopping by pipe in if I’m mistaken.

  4. But 500 yards is only medium range.

    For the M16A2, effective range for a point target is 550 meters, 800 for area target.

    Surely an expert rating should be based on scores at each of short, medium and long range?

    That is exactly how the Marine Corps does it: 50 rounds worth a max of five points each, shoot at 200 meters, 300 meters and 500.

    http://www.usmcweapons.com/articles/m16/m16%20Qual/currentcourse/currentm16qual.html

    Under good conditions (boot camp ain’t that) an average shooter should get 10/10 at the 500 meter line. The target is a man-sized silhouette, you’ve got 10 minutes in the prone position which is a lifetime if you’re dialed in. I rate myself as only average and I could reliably put 10 on the bull at 500.

  5. And 500 yards is pushing it from a factory M16 with iron sights and factory ammo.

    I would not say that. Depends on the target, the weather. Good conditions, decent shooter, you should be able to land the bullet on paper out to 800 meters.

    Granted, I never had the chance. But the specs on the A2 said I could. And I never had the sense I was pushing it at the 500 meter line.

    Except the one time ‘they’ made us shoot the KD course (for score) with gusts above 40 MPH moving laterally across the range. Talking lots of rain, targets being ripped from their carriages and sailing over the berm, wind yawing your muzzle about 30 degrees from center and so on.

    That was pushing it (grin).

  6. Back when I was shooting in my (British) university days over thirty years ago, ranges of 200 – 300 yards were short, 500 – 600 yards were medium, and 800 – 1,000 yards were long (and some locations offered 1,100 yards or more).

    I myself was mediocre or worse, but we had some very good shots. I remember one occasion at Easter Bisley when we rang down to the butts to confirm the score of one of these, Geoff Rutter, who was practising in high wind conditions at long range when most of our shooters had put it off to another time. They confirmed it, and weren’t surprised when they heard that it was him doing it. “But he’s standing!”, we told them.

    So when I hear of someone being rated as expert for a good score at 500 yards, you can understand my reaction in thinking that should really only be called something like “competently accurate”.

  7. Brian: I’ll admit that I’ve been a little taken aback by a some of the stories I’ve been told over the past couple of days regarding all this. My respect for Marine marksmanship (already very healthy) has been kicked up a couple of notches. I guess it’s because of my own shortcomings as a shooter, but “an average shooter should get 10/10 in the bull at the 500 meter line” sort of blows me away, even with ten minutes for 10 shots. I doubt I could do it without optics, even in perfect conditions, with anything approaching consistency.

    I get practically no time shooting at ranges beyond 100 yds, so maybe I’d surprise myself if I put in some practice at longer distances. But damn. Maybe I just suck. I’ve never considered myself anything better than “okay”, but it looks like that’s too generous.

    P.M.: I doubt I could hit paper at 1000 from standing. Certainly not twice in a row. Maybe with a laser rifle.

  8. Here is the “Know Distance” qual course:
    http://www.usmcweapons.com/articles/m16/m16%20Qual/currentcourse/currentm16qual.html

    My experience – if you are locked in and having a good day, the 500 yard-line is the easiest – big target / slow-fire from the prone. If you are having a bad day – wrestling with the wind or chasing your rifle’s zero – the 500 yard line can be a disaster.

    I have shot as high as 9 out of 10 at 500 – and I’m not that great a shot. The kneeling and standing at 200 is much harder and sometimes cost me Expert.

  9. I doubt I could do it without optics, even in perfect conditions, with anything approaching consistency.

    Give it a shot (har) – you might be surprised. You’re prone, you’re as stable as can be. If you can get a tight group at 200 you can do the same further away.

    I will allow it’s been 20 years since I’ve done it, and perhaps I was simply a callow youth. But echoing what Bram said, I recall approaching the 500 with a sense of overwhelming confidence.

    So when I hear of someone being rated as expert for a good score at 500 yards, you can understand my reaction in thinking that should really only be called something like “competently accurate”.

    Sure. What can I say? We shoot the M16s to the limit of their accuracy. What weapons were you shooting?

    Murdoc you want a shooting story?

    http://space4commerce.blogspot.com/2005/07/m-16.html

  10. Brian Dunbar wrote “You’re prone, you’re as stable as can be”.

    Actually, no. The supine position is stabler, and was developed during the Boer War for just those longest ranges. You lie on your back with your legs arranged with one ankle going over just above the opposite one to provide a support for the barrel on top of the lower leg between ankle and calf, while the butt is braced inside your armpit on the same side (the right for right handers, etc.). While you can do this with target rifles, you usually use special match rifles which have sights farther back but are otherwise the same. Check it out, I am not kidding!

    “What weapons were you shooting?”

    Boer War era 0.303″ Lee-Enfields, rebored to take 7.62 mm NATO purple spot rounds (and better quality Swedish green spots). For very short ranges of 50 yards or so, like Short Siberia at Bisley, we used 0.22″ which often had Martini falling block actions much like the old Martini-Henry (but the groove on top curved so that spent cases were deflected to the side on ejection). Oh, and old style muzzle loading rifles with Minie bullets (which I saw being cast) for a special competition, the Rhoades Cup if I remember the spelling. I was actually a bit better at that!

    Off topic: while at Short Siberia I actually saw some of the Ukrainians who were left on the British Army’s hands when they couldn’t go home after the war, who had been given work clearing ordnance as, when and where needed.

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