Typically, a sniper avoids shooting at a moving target, since the probability of hitting the first time decreases sharply after 400 yards. These calculations are based on my observations in shooting schools and on practical shooting. Therefore, it is better to wait and shoot at a moving target when it stops for a second. But if she doesn’t provide you such a service, and the moving target will provide the only opportunity to shoot, then use what we will talk about here.
Sniper shooting at a moving target, calculation of movement and lead, methods of shooting at a moving target.
Calculating the movement of a moving target and lead.
All data published here relate to a target moving at an angle of 90 degrees to the flight path of your bullet. That is, a rectilinear movement to the right or left, which has full meaning. Look at the illustration below..
If the target moves obliquely (face) towards you or to your right or left, use half the value. Because in relative terms, the target crosses your front at half speed. When it moves directly at or away from you, there is no value and there is no correction for movement and anticipation. Aim straight at the target.
The quickest way to determine if a person is moving obliquely is to pay attention to whether you can see both of his hands. In a person moving perpendicularly, one arm is closed by the body. While in a moving oblique angle, this opposite arm is at least partially visible..
Using the data for the .308 match bullet of a caliber of 168 grains, we determine the lead when firing at a target moving obliquely at a range of 400 yards. Let’s do it right now. The answer is 14.5 inches, which is half the value that is used when shooting at a person moving to the right or left at a speed of 3 miles per hour.
When I compiled these tables, I took 3 miles per hour as the speed at which a person moves when he is heading somewhere. A prudent or tired person moves slower. The 6 mph figures indicate a person jogging or trotting slowly. Or a serviceman running in full gear. And the cast speed, I thought, should be 10 miles per hour.
Is it worth storing all this data in your head and applying it to every shot? Not. I remember the lead when shooting at a target moving at a speed of 3 miles per hour. Then double them for a man trotting and triple when he throws. Mentally, I can halve any of these values if the target moves obliquely.
The easiest way to remember the lead distances for a .308 caliber bullet is to count as sevens: 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42 – and you will get the correct lead of the bullet when shooting at a walking target, close to the exact values for ranges of 100, 200, 300 , 400, 500 and 600 yards. This method is even more suitable for M118 army ammunition..
Lead when firing at a moving target, bullet flight time. Match .188 bullet .308 caliber bullet and 7.62 mm M118LR bullet.
Leading when shooting at a moving target.
It is good for a well-aimed shooter to calculate the correction for a moving target with an accuracy of half an inch, but in reality it is difficult to shoot in this way. A simpler means of using the correction for the movement of the target returns to the times of muskets and is accordingly called “lead”.
Our ancestors knew that it was difficult to estimate how many inches on the front represents a distant target, especially a moving one. Therefore, these Frontier residents used the Yankees’ ingenuity and decided that a person was 12 inches wide by 1 foot wide when viewed from the side, as we showed in the figure. It has become a unit of “lead”.
Therefore, looking at our data for a .308 caliber .308 bullet and an M118 bullet, instead of a 7-inch lead when shooting at a person walking at a distance of 100 yards, I use half the lead that is measured from the center of his body. My aiming point is on the edge of his torso in the direction in which he moves.
This means that although the exact lead should be 7 inches, I use only 6 inches and I remove 1 inch – this is a small compromise to see how clearly my inner vision tells me to aim at the leading edge of the body. If he walked at a distance of 500 yards, I would keep a lead of 6 inches in front of the center of his body, which is 36 inches.
Leading when shooting at a moving target. Match bullet .300 Winchester Magnum 190 grains and match bullet .223 caliber 69 grains HPBT, range in yards.
The probability of hitting a running target from the first shot.
Comparison of bullet lead .308 caliber 168 gran and bullet M118LR.
I prefer the method of “counting by sevens” – in which the lead is doubled for a trotting target and / or its value is reduced by half when it moves obliquely. You can just recall the lead and do the same: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. The most suitable way is the one that works best for you.
Leads with the removal of the aiming point when shooting at a moving target (3 miles per hour), with a shooting range of 300 yards.
Another way is to use the Mil-Dot reticle for a very accurate correction for target movement. The Mil-Dot method seems most suitable for the M24 army sniper weapon system and for the Marine Corps M40A3 rifle.
Aiming point when shooting at a running target (6 miles per hour), with a shooting range of 300 yards.
Methods of sniper shooting at a moving target.
As a former military coordinator of the marksmanship community, every month I receive the excellent magazine of the National Rifle Association for High-precision Shooting, Shooting Sports USA. And I’m learning many tricks and methods, some of which are authored by Martin Edmondson, coach of our Olympic moving target shooting team.
As trainer Edmondson noted, the main thing for shooting at a moving target is to firmly hold the rifle in the area of the butt cheek relative to the eye and shoulder and turn only the waist. Or, as in our case, lean slightly toward the bipod. Limit body movement as much as possible. You need to sway smoothly to catch the target, skip it a little for a sufficient lead. Wait another second, then complete the shot as soon as the trigger is released.
Following this sequence and turning behind the back of the target, your brain will appreciate its pace and speed as the crosshairs of your sight pass it. Then, when you take the right lead, wait another second to “feel” that everything is fine. Then fire a shot and complete it. Think about how smoothly and naturally the shot will “feel”, and how impulsively and incoherently try to direct the crosshair of the sight in front of the target, calculate its pace, aim correctly, etc..
Many military literature on shooting says that there are two ways to shoot at a moving target. “Catching”, where you need to hold the crosshair of the sight motionless and wait until your target approaches him at the necessary lead, in which you shoot. And “escort”, where you need to turn with her. I think the best way is to use the elements of both as a way of turning behind the target, which I examined in detail.
Two ways to shoot at a moving target.
As distinct from each other methods, “tracking” works well at close distances, where you need to significantly turn. While “fishing” is usually best suited for long distances, where the field of view is larger and only a small turn is required.
However, the method of catching the target is very suitable for shooting at a fast-running person who rushes into cover, lingers out of sight, and then reappears to reach the next cover. To get ahead of this kind of opponent, find the place of his next shelter. Thus, you determine where he will rush further from his current shelter.
Catch it by aiming the crosshair of the sight at the waist level, about one step before the shelter. Stay steady and shoot when even the slightest movement is displayed. And speaking of the shot, one of the problems of novice snipers when shooting at a moving target is a sharp jerking of the trigger, which is solved by a large number of exercises in shooting “dry” in addition to practical shooting with live ammunition.
Some shooting instructors recommend increasing lead time – even doubling it – for right-handed shooters shooting at a target moving from right to left (or vice versa for left-handed people), due to the “natural oscillation” of the body when it is turned in this way.
Since this applies to beginners, I think that the solution is additional training and shooting “dry”, rather than applying both methods to the same shot. But everything that works for you is all right.
Based on the book “The Perfect Sniper. Study Guide for Army and Police Snipers ».
Maj. John L. Plaster, USAR (Ret.)