November 29, 2010 1 Comment
A personal account of the 2010 International Sniper Competition from SFC Edward Homeyer, winner of the Service Class, along with his partner Chance Gianelli.
Originally I was going to spot for Chance, but earlier in July while training at Accuracy 1st, we discovered that we work a little better with Chance calling winds and me shooting.
Around mid September Chance got a hold of our committees 16″ Larue Tactical OBR with a 5-25×50 Horus Falcon with a H37 reticle. He zeroed it, trued using the ATrag software and immediately started getting hits on 12″ plates out beyond 850 meters. I was going to originally shoot my M24 with my Falcon. But four days before the comp I got my hands on a 20″ Larue Tactical OBR.
Two days before the comp I received my scope. It was a Nightforce first focal plane 3.5-15×50 with a Horus Vision H58 reticle in it. I put it on my gun and went to zero. After my initial group I went to make my adjustment. That’s when I realized that one of the zero stop screws had broken off in the scope. With the elevation cap off I used a screwdriver and some elbow grease to turn the knob and zero my crosshairs at 100 meters. It was almost dark when I finished that.
The next day Chance and I went out and trued at 900 meters in a 12″ plate. I shot a few intermediate range targets to ensure the data matched. That night I got my zero shift with my PVS 26 at 100, 200 and 400 meters. My night vision zero shift was Left .2 mils. That was what I fired less than 35 rounds through a gun I never touched before and we used it to win overall at the International Sniper Comp. It is a testament to Horus Vision, the ATrag, and the Horus reticle.
My gun was driving tacks at Ft Benning and Chance was making all the right calls. We used Accuracy 1st’s short wind formula to calculate our wind holds. When my zero stop broke I lost all ability to dial elevation. I held over for every shot of the comp. The only time I touched my elevation knob was to dial on my night vision zero shift. By not touching our dials we were able to engage multiple targets quickly without ever breaking cheek stock weld. Losing the ability to dial doesn’t make long shots impossible.
I had to hold 14.2 mils on one shot during the day unknown distance, that put my hold near the bottom of the scope. Since I couldn’t dial a few mils on, I just reduced the power from 15 to about 13. This allowed me to avoid any distortion by bringing the hold up away from the edge of the scope.
The final shot of the comp had Chance and I each firing one round at two Larue targets 800 meters away. We decided to use a drill we teach in school. We had two minutes to fire our rounds. Instead of spotting for each other we laid down side by side. Chance was holding 9.7 mils on his target and I was holding 8.7 mils on mine. I held up my Kestrel to get a base line wind speed, estimated the value of the downrange wind through my rifle scope and gave Chance his wind hold. When I said right .5 Chance (who was already holding over 9.7) immediately held R.5 and broke his shot. I was holding over 8.7 and R.5 on my target, but observing Chances shot. When I saw his target fall I immediately broke my shot. And since we were the same range, same wind, same hold my shot was also a hit.
By holding the same wind on my target, as Chance is observing his splash, it gives me the opportunity to correct my shot off of his. If his round would have hit .2 mils right of his target, I would have immediately held R.3 and shot. In my opinion this method gives a team a high probability of making a solid second round hit. This method is successful because of the accuracy of the Horus reticle. I don’t have to guess where his shot went. I can see within .1 mils where it is. There are enough variables in sniping already. Knowing exactly where your round hit takes one of those variables away.
I believe the days of gathering data at every meter line are numbered. If you have a gun that can group sub minute, an ATrag, a Kestrel and a range to true your muzzle velocity on ,then you don’t need to fire more than 10 rounds to get a range card from 100 meters to just prior to subsonic flight. If you want to accurately shoot past subsonic, just extrapolate your BC, input that data and you can shoot as far as you can call winds and spot rounds.
I know this is long winded. But what you can do with these tools are really only limited by the consistency of your shooter and the skill of your spotter. I consider Chance a good friend of mine and one of the best spotters in the world. He will consistently call winds within 1mph, but what good is the best wind call if you don’t have the capability as a shooter to exploit it? Dialing winds breaks cheek to stock weld and by the time you get back on the gun you are probably going to hold a correction anyway, guessing what a 1/4 or a half mil hold is. Why not just hold that wind call within .1mils when your spotter says it in the first place? With a Horus reticle in .2 mil increments you can and we do.
I could go on and on about the Horus reticle and the ATrag program. And it feels like I already have. The capabilities of this system are endless. I’ve built range cards in my ATrag from my glock 17 9mm to the M107 Barrett .50 cal. I’ve learned more in one weekend by playing through different scenarios on my ATrag than I have in months on the range. All the work is done by the time you get to the range, all you have to do is concentrate on your cold bore shot and wind calls. Alright I’m done for real this time.