Friday, March 07, 2008

Friday Clogged Arteries

I was blown away by Fox News' hysterical coverage of the Swiss Mini-Revolver we mentioned a couple of days ago (couldn't find it on the web, unfortunately)...they gave it maybe 7 minutes, which is broadcast time is huge, including an interview with an "anti-terrorist expert" who suggested that the entire Republic was at risk from little bitty terrorists toting little bitty revolvers. It seemed to me that the gun was on the verge of breaking up laughing, but he was able to get through the interview pretending this pea-shooter was "lethal!"

Yeah yeah, it's funny until someone gets their eye put out!

Now, let's look at a real gun!

The Brits are moving to a new sniper rifle from the masters at Accuracy International. Here's the lowdown from the Daily Mail:
It is the latest weapon on the front line against the Taliban - the British Army's most powerful-ever sniper rifle, capable of killing with pinpoint accuracy from more than a mile away.

Yesterday the Army showed off its new Long Range Rifle, which has just entered service with combat units in Afghanistan to replace smaller and less powerful weapons.

The £11million upgrade programme is part of a "renaissance" of the sniper tradition - which during the Cold War was largely relegated to the sidelines - as modern commanders rediscover the huge value of pinpoint fire from sharpshooters.
The new weapon, the L115A3, fires a heavier bullet to much longer ranges and has a state-of-the-art telescopic sight with twice the magnifying power of the old version.

More than 500 are on order from the British manufacturers, Accuracy International.

Since British forces moved into Helmand Province two years ago to take on the Taliban, demand for snipers has soared and 120 a year are now passing through the specialist training school at Warminster in Wiltshire.

One said: "It's a huge step forward. I'll be using the new rifle in Afghanistan this summer.

"It's a little heavier to carry, but the extra power is worth it. The improved telescopic sight can cut through the heat haze, which was preventing us from spotting targets at longer ranges."

Sniping is proving a hugely-important tactic in Afghanistan, where the difficulty of fighting among maze-like compounds and thick vegetation necessitates attacking the enemy at long range.
The caliber is listed as 8.59mm, which I am assuming to be more or less the .338 Lapua, currently considered the ne plus ultra of long-distance sniping. The SAS guys seems to like the whole program. This from the Telegraph:
The L115A is a highly prized piece of equipment within the British Army - there are relatively few in use.

SAS patrols have devised simple but effective hit-and-run ambush tactics against Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters moving through mountain passes in lorries and pick-up trucks, and one Ministry of Defence official said, that in such circumstances, "The effect on the enemy would be devastating.

"The first round takes care of the pick-up truck or lorry by shattering the engine block and, as the Taliban fighters try to find out what's going on, they're taken out by the sniper. At 1,200 metres, with the shot echoing around a valley, they won't have a clue what's going on.

"This is a fantastic piece of kit. It can stop any car in its tracks by splitting the engine block in two, and it can also pierce the armour of light tanks or armoured personnel carriers. With a decent sniper, anyone within its range is a dead man - even if they are wearing body armour."

The SAS has access to a vast array of sophisticated weapons, but what its armoury lacked was a sniper rifle that was relatively light but could pack a powerful punch.

The weapon was chosen after extensive and rigorous tests carried out by the Infantry Trials Development Unit. Marksmen gauged the weapon's accuracy and reliability under the most extreme conditions in the Brunei jungle, the Omani desert and during the Alaskan winter.

The American Barratt Light .50 semi-automatic, a favourite weapon of the IRA, and the French PGM Hecate .50 calibre bolt-action sniper rifle were also tested, but the L115A emerged as the preferred option.
You know, mentioning .50s reminds me...given the 2008 elections, I'd say the piece of hardware most at risk are .50 BMG rifles...I could forsee a scenario where we lose the .50s as a sop to the "ban assault weapons" crowd...might never happen, but if a .50 is on your wish list, you might want to move it on up a couple of notches. At the very least, if a .50 is in your even distant future, it might be a good idea to start collecting ammunition and ain't gonna get any cheaper, I'm afraid! Here's a link to the Midway USA page of loaded .50's the Midway link for reloading components.

I always mean to get a .50, but the price surely scares me away. My current long-range rifle is a Remington 700 in .300 Remington Ultra Mag...not exactly a plinking gun! It is, however, a better rifle than I am a shooter. I want to get together with Jon Weiler, who used to be at Barrett and is now out on is own with Professional Marksmen, Inc., for some training.

We filmed the Barrett 1,000 yard Women Only class Jon taught a year or so ago for SHOOTING GALLERY, and I was tremendously impressed with his ability as a long-range instructor...he made it seem simple, and heaven knows it is anything but! I ran into him at SHOT, and he graciously extended me an open invitation, which I intend to take him up on.


Anonymous said...

Nostrildemus sez:

Wow...the Swiss Mini Revo is only 235fps slower than my Sheridan Blue Streak pellet gun.
Granted, my pellet gun is bigger than 2" long, but it will kill something more substantial than a dragonfly - and do it better range!

The 338 Lapua is a beast.
The 408 Chey-Tac is possibly the true top performer in the REAL long range class though.
Production and availability may be the reason for the choice made by the Brits, I don't know...

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should make a tiny AK-47. I hope it doesn't count as a SBR!

A GI Joe action figure could have a functioning firearm.