How I Go About the Long Range Shot & Shooter Dialog.
How I go about the long range shot
and team dialog explained.
By Tres “TresMon” MonCeret
The day prior to the shot I get on the internet and pull up Google maps or Google Earth and look at aerial & satellite imagery of the AO (Area of Operation) I will be shooting in. Hopefully I already know or nearly know what my FFP (final firing position) will be as well as the area the target will be in. This let’s me take note of:
- The terrain features/ landscape that will effect my visibility and the flight of the bullet.
- The Azimuth (compass direction) of the shot for comparison to the predicted wind speed and direction to let me predict my needed wind drift compensation as well as for inputs to correct for Coriolis effect if needed.
Depending on predictability of the target this also will let me map range the shot.I also pull up wunderground.com and get:
- Predicted weather data and especially predicted wind speed and direction.
- This also gives me current sunrise & sunset times.
- Make sure to note both wind speed and gust speed projections
- As soon as I get into the AO I update my ballistic program with all the atmospheric and other inputs or pull the correct DA (Density Altitude) ballistic data card to ensure correct firing solutions are on hand. Just after sunrise and nearing sunset atmospherics will change constantly and you need to update accordingly. This is true throughout the day, but changes are more extreme early & late in the day
I’m continuously reading and monitoring the wind as soon as I get boots on the ground. Im working hard to establish the wind patterns. I want to figure out:
- Average primary wind direction
- Average secondary wind direction
- Average primary wind speed
- Average secondary wind speed.
When I have a good working average on my primary and secondary wind conditions I communicate it clearly with my team mate if I’m in the field with one.
We then transfer our primary condition into required wind drift dope.
If the range of the target is not know, wind dope for several different probable ranges can be cataloged.
Range: Hopefully by the time I’m in position and ready to make the shot I have all my wind data gathered, translated into dope and my partner & I are on the ball with the wind speeds and directions. As soon as we get into position we start ranging various objects and noting them for quick reference so that when the target appears we are ahead of the game. If the target is up we immediately range the target and get the elevation corrected for range and convert our wind datas into wind holds.
So to recap:
- Prior homework is done to get a wind and weather forecast, as well as looking over the terrain maps. This all comes together to predict wind direction, how it will effect the bullet, etc.
- As soon as boots are on the ground ACTUAL wind speeds & directions are figured as well as the actual weather data. This comes together to provide the correct firing solutions (DOPE.)
- In the FFP objects in view are ranged and noted for quick reference for when the target is up. If time allows the actual target is ranged.
Let say the shot is a 1000 yard shot wether it be a mission, a rifle match or hunting.
We’ll also assume our primary condition is a 8 mph FV (full value) wind.
For an established .308 winchester load I have an 8 mph crosswind requires a 2.2 mil hold into the wind. For our example we’ll say we dialed LEFT, into the wind.
The team has already worked through this data and know full condition requires a 2.2 mil hold.
Spotter / shooter coms:
So say I’m in the spotter role: My partner and I have established what our standard condition is, and the required wind hold for this 1000 yard shot.
(Each team uses slightly differing verbage that works for them)
- When one of us sees the target the call is made: “Target up”
- The shooter gets the weapon on target and calls: “Shooter ready”
- The spotter gets his optics on the target and calls: “Eyes on”
- Also the Spotter gives the shooter an immediate wind call: “Half condition”
- And quickly gives the word for the shooter to fire, watching
intently for the impact (“splash”) of the bullet if it’s a miss so
the spotter can call an immediate correction for a follow-up
shot to the shooter: “Send it”
So we see in this dialog between the shooter & spotter that the term
“half condition“ was used. This lets the shooter know at that second the wind had dropped off some and accordingly only hold half (1.1 mil) of the full condition:( 2.2 mils into the wind.)
Wind tends to vary all the time in my typical AO and this type dialog set up lets the shooter know in an instant how to hold for the wind when he’s breaking the shot.
In this example if the spotter calls __ condition the shooter holds __ into the wind.
“Full condition:” 2.2 mils into wind
“3/4 condition:” 1.7 mils
“half condition:” 1.1 mils
“1/4 condition:” .6 mils
“No condition:” N/A
“Condition & 1/4:” (etc.) 2.8 mils into the wind
So now let’s take it up a notch:
Let’s say the wind is shifty. We have an occasional shift to where the wind goes from a primary crosswind to a in your face headwind once in a while. This is our secondary condition. A headwind increases drag on the bullet and slows it a little faster creating slightly more drop. We compensate with a slight hold over with the reticle.
(I have not run the ballistic data, this following is a random figure for illustration:)
So let’s say the head wind is worth a .25 mil additional drop. The shooter obviously compensates by holding over by .25mil.
Let’s run a scenario and look at the associated dialog:
“Target up.” “Shooter ready”
“Eyes on, full condition”
When the shooter heard the “full condition” wind call, he instantly swung the horizontal crosshair 2.2mils into the wind because the team previously determined:
- the wind speed for the average wind condition & the range of the shot
- the required hold into the wind to connect with the target for the variables (wind,range, atmospherics) of the shot
As the spotter is waiting to hear the rifle bark and watch for the splash suddenly the wind shifts to the secondary condition. The spotter instantly calls:
“WAIT, Full secondary”
Now the shooter instantly knows he is no longer going to hold 2.2 mils on the horizontal crosshair , rather he needs to hold .25mil OVER the the target.
BANG! goes the rifle. The impact is seen just to the side of the target. Spotter calls: “Miss-Hold 1 mil left! Send it!” BANG! “HIT!” calls the spotter. And thats how it’s done.
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