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Army Report: GIs Outgunned in Afghanistan
Politics Daily ^ | 04/2/10 | David Wood

Posted on 04/03/2010 1:03:04 PM PDT by neverdem

American troops are often outgunned by Afghan insurgents because they lack the precision weapons, deadly rounds, and training needed to kill the enemy in the long-distance firefights common in Afghanistan's rugged terrain, according to an internal Army study.

Unlike in Iraq, where most shooting took place at relatively short range in urban neighborhoods, U.S. troops in Afghanistan are more often attacked from high ground with light machine guns and mortars from well beyond 300 meters (327 yards, or just over three football field lengths). The average range for a small-arms firefight in Afghanistan is about 500 meters, according to the study.

Unless U.S. troops under attack call in artillery or air strikes and risk civilian casualties, the only way they can fight back is with long-distance precision shooting -- a capability currently in short supply among infantry units, according to a study done at the Army's School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., by Maj. Thomas P. Ehrhart.

According to Ehrhart's paper, Army infantrymen do not regularly train and practice shooting at distances of more than 300 meters. The round fired from their M4 carbines and M16 rifles, the 5.56mm bullet, don't carry enough velocity at long distances to kill.

While the Army has moved recently to equip each infantry company of about 200 soldiers with nine designated marksmen to overcome this problem, they don't often carry weapons with sufficient killing power at distance, and there aren't enough of them, Ehrhart reports.

Army spokesmen had no immediate comment on Ehrhart's paper, which was released by SAMS last month and given wider circulation by defensetech.org and the Kit Up! blog on military.com.

Most infantrymen in Afghanistan carry the M4 carbine, a version of the standard M16 rifle, but with a shorter barrel. It was designed to allow soldiers to operate from cramped armored vehicles and in the city neighborhoods of Iraq. But the shorter barrel robs the weapon of the ability to shoot accurately at long distances, because the bullet doesn't acquire as much stabilizing spin when it is fired as it does in a longer barrel.

Soldiers commonly are taught in training to use "suppressive fire,'' in effect returning enemy attacks with sprays of gunfire, which are often ineffective in Afghanistan.

One reason is the ineffectiveness of the most commonly used round, designated the M855. Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, was once accidentally shot in the chest with an M855 round from a light machine gun; rather than being killed, he walked out of the hospital several days later.

Ehrhart recalls seeing a soldier shot with a M855 round from a distance of 75 meters in training. Twenty minutes later he was "walking around smoking a cigarette.''

Such incidents may be flukes, but they do illustrate that the rounds can lack killing power. Most infantrymen are equipped to fire the M855 round from their M4 carbine, M16 rifle, or the SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon), a light machine gun. When a firefight erupts in Afghanistan, they are unable to fire back accurately at more than 200 or 300 meters, leaving it to soldiers with heavier weapons -- the M240 machine gun, 60-mm mortars or snipers equipped with M14 rifles.

"These [heavier] weapons represent 19 percent of the company's firepower,'' Ehrhart wrote, meaning that "81 percent of the company has little effect on the fight.

"This is unacceptable.''

One quick fix, he suggested, is to equip the designated marksmen within each company with a powerful weapon that can kill at long distances, the M110 sniper weapon, which is effective out to 800 meters.

These rifles are expensive -- about $8,000 apiece. But you could outfit every infantry squad in the Army with two M110 rifles for the price of one U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor supersonic stealthy fighter, Ehrhart noted.

Ironically, American doughboys in World War I were better trained and equipped for Afghanistan-style firefights than today's GIs.

"The U.S. infantry weapon has devolved from the World War I rifle capable of conducting lethal fire out to 1,200 yards, to the current weapon that can hit a target out to 300 meters but probably will not kill it,'' Ehrhart wrote.

The School of Advanced Military Studies, where Ehrhart was a student last year, trains the Army's brightest young officers for senior leadership. His unclassified paper, written last year, does not reflect official Army positions. But the paper has rocketed around in military circles and has been read avidly in some units preparing to deploy to Afghanistan.

But even before his report began circulating widely, some Army units were acting on the hard-learned lessons from Afghanistan, where the Army has been fighting for almost nine years.

Several weeks ago I watched an infantry battalion of the 10th Mountain Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team working on live fire maneuvers in central Wyoming.

One key focus, according to Command Sgt. Maj. Doug Maddi, was to hone soldiers' skills in high-angle and long-distance shooting -- precisely the skills not widely required in regular Army training, according to Ehrhart.

Where normal Army marksmanship training is often conducted on level ground against pop-up targets, Maddi and the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Chris Ramsey, had their men shooting up towering ridgelines and down steep inclines, and at distances out to 600 meters.

The battalion's troops, wearing their full battle kit, also were firing live rounds while running, and while running with heavy packs, up and down the steep Wyoming ridges.

"We're here to replicate the environment of Afghanistan," said Ramsey, who brought his battalion to Wyoming from its home base at Fort Polk, La. "We don't get this kind of terrain at home."

Ramsey told me he had not read Ehrhart's paper before his battalion deployed to Wyoming for a month's training in early February. Polishing those skills was "intuitive," he said. But he said the paper now has been read across the battalion.

At a meeting with reporters this week, Army Secretary John McHugh was asked whether he was familiar with the Ehrhart report. McHugh said he was not, but after hearing a brief description, he said he would track down the paper and read it.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; banglist; bhodod; ehrhart; ehrhartreport; guns; oef; oefsurge
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To: neverdem

M-4s?

How about some B-52s?


101 posted on 04/03/2010 3:10:14 PM PDT by exit82 (Democrats are the enemy of freedom. Sarah Palin is our Esther.)
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To: Svartalfiar

“. The 7.62, on the other hand, starts falling out of the sky at a couple hundred yards.”

Which “7.62”? 7.62 NATO or 7.62x39? The two are completely different and the 7.62 NATO certainly doesn’t fall out of the sky in only a few hundred yards.


102 posted on 04/03/2010 3:11:07 PM PDT by Favor Center (Targets Up! Hold hard and favor center!)
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To: neverdem

I’d suggest getting the Germans to put the 88 back into production. Return fire from that would discourage the snipers.


103 posted on 04/03/2010 3:17:21 PM PDT by PAR35
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To: neverdem
While I agree with much of the report, let the author go out 300 yards and see what i can do to him at that range.
104 posted on 04/03/2010 3:23:29 PM PDT by mad_as_he$$
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To: mamelukesabre
BS alert! Wind blows the 5.56 round all over the place, and beyond 300, the bullet loses too much steam to be massively damaging.

The reason Tubbs and Gallegher shoot the 5.56 is that these are service matches, requiring the use of a military service round.

The fact is, as someone pointed out up the line, the Mattie Mattel was another gift to the Leftists from Robert Macnamera. Riflemen shoot it because they have to, not because they want to.

The M-16 has gone through how many revisions, 4 or 5, and you want to do another? Odd how, for 50 years, the rifle never quite seems to do well, and one more "fix" will do the job...

Personal opinion: I was lucky enough to qualify with the M-14 in boot camp, and even over the years, with experience on the 16, FN, AK-47 and 74, the 14 was the best.

105 posted on 04/03/2010 3:24:25 PM PDT by jonascord (We've got the Constitution to protect us. Why should we worry?)
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To: GreyFriar
Wrong. they were inspected and serviceable ones were mothballed. The Army has thousands in stock.
106 posted on 04/03/2010 3:24:31 PM PDT by mad_as_he$$
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To: GreyFriar
Wrong. they were inspected and serviceable ones were mothballed. The Army has thousands in stock.
107 posted on 04/03/2010 3:24:31 PM PDT by mad_as_he$$
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To: Mr Rogers
My contacts among the now senior NCOs tell me that the average taliban and jihadi use the "If Allah wills it," method of markmanship. The method is known among US police as "Spray and Pray."

It's odd that I don't hear these kinds of marksmanship complaints from the Corps...

I wonder why?

108 posted on 04/03/2010 3:32:02 PM PDT by jonascord (We've got the Constitution to protect us. Why should we worry?)
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To: mamelukesabre
762x39 is way easier to stop with a vest than 556nato.

Yes, but the enemy is not wearing vests, so which is better in that case? I think if we had a President with the balls to back out of that stupid 100 year old treaty against using JHP, our ground troops would be in a much better position.

109 posted on 04/03/2010 3:36:49 PM PDT by Thane_Banquo (Mitt Romney: He's from Harvard, and he's here to help.)
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To: Gaffer
"30’06 black tips"

You know that's an AP round, and illegal, don't you?

110 posted on 04/03/2010 3:37:58 PM PDT by jonascord (We've got the Constitution to protect us. Why should we worry?)
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To: exit82

B-52s have proven difficult to deploy in the field. They are heavy, and most troops have difficulty carrying them on their backs. In addition, the ammunition can weigh thousands of pounds, and magazines large enough to hold the ammunition are expensive and prohibitively large.


111 posted on 04/03/2010 3:39:28 PM PDT by Thane_Banquo (Mitt Romney: He's from Harvard, and he's here to help.)
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To: JayVee
I have been saying for over forty years that the M-16/M-4 is a popgun.

They don't call it the POODLE SHOOTER for nothing!

They need a few of these in every squad:

"In my opinion, the M1 Rifle is the greatest battle implement ever devised."

-- General George S. Patton Jr.
.

112 posted on 04/03/2010 3:40:18 PM PDT by Iron Munro ("Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you." - Steinbeck)
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To: onedoug

Ping


113 posted on 04/03/2010 3:41:39 PM PDT by windcliff
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To: Thane_Banquo
Are there any Western bloc assault rifles (i.e. not machine guns) that fire the 7.26x52, besides the M14?

The FAL. And BTW, it's 7.62x51 NATO, not 52.

114 posted on 04/03/2010 3:42:53 PM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: jonascord

“”30’06 black tips”

Might be useful to have a few around. And since all guns will soon be illegal, who cares?


115 posted on 04/03/2010 3:43:43 PM PDT by bigheadfred (BE WHO YOU ARE. SAY WHAT YOU FEEL. Those who matter don't mind.Those who mind don't matter)
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To: neverdem

How about a 338 Lapua or an RSAUM?


116 posted on 04/03/2010 3:44:29 PM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Favor Center
<<“The question that needs to be asked is, why aren’t we using the most effective ammunition?”
Treaty.>>

Previously it's been ruled that open tipped ammunition IS "legal" for wartime purposes.

Link

and...

Link

So why aren't we using the most effective ammunition?
117 posted on 04/03/2010 3:45:03 PM PDT by Sylvester McMonkey McBean
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To: Farmer Dean

M14s have been used extensively in the Army (see link) since the beginning of current conflicts.
They are also in use by Navy and Marines.

http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/03/army_m14_032210w/

Over the past 5-6 years I have seen a few articles about the ineffective stopping power of the 5.56mm round. I remember one where troops stated it was taking 2-3 rounds to put down the jihadis. Also remember another where some Special Ops troops were being taught to shoot at lower abdomen rather than center mass to increase chance of stopping their target quickly by hitting a hip or major artery.


118 posted on 04/03/2010 3:46:33 PM PDT by jim-x (You cannot protect people from themselves.)
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To: neverdem

My first question too....how many M14s still around?


119 posted on 04/03/2010 3:47:00 PM PDT by wtc911 ("How you gonna get down that hill?")
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To: neverdem

Jeff Cooper was predicting this twenty years ago.


120 posted on 04/03/2010 3:48:13 PM PDT by Hardastarboard (Joe McCarthy was right. He was just early.)
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To: GreyFriar

We used M-14s as sniper rifles over in Iraq.

I remember handling one of them,I would take them over the M-16.The M-4 has at least some use because of its much shorter barrel.


121 posted on 04/03/2010 3:49:29 PM PDT by Del Rapier
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To: ebshumidors

Thanks for the links.


122 posted on 04/03/2010 3:51:47 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: jim-x

I’ve used the M16,the only effective shot to an enemy would be to the head.Of course at close range the M16 will effectively shred an opponent,but if the SHTF I’m carrying my HK 91.(and my 1911,screw those 9mm pussy pistols)


123 posted on 04/03/2010 3:52:30 PM PDT by Farmer Dean (stop thinking about what they want to do to you,start thinking about what you want to do to them)
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To: mamelukesabre
"Bigger bullets is the wrong way to go, imo. More speed is the best solution."

You ain't going shooting with me.

124 posted on 04/03/2010 4:07:30 PM PDT by An Old Man
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To: neverdem

…whatever round our military uses, be sure to lube with ‘Pig Fat’


125 posted on 04/03/2010 4:28:03 PM PDT by Java4Jay
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To: Sylvester McMonkey McBean

Those rounds aren’t designed for expansion, but better accuracy.


126 posted on 04/03/2010 4:29:36 PM PDT by Favor Center (Targets Up! Hold hard and favor center!)
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To: neverdem

Mosin Nagant M91/30s.

7.62 x 54R. Hundreds of thousands of re-armored models available for about $80 each.

Reach out a country mile accurately with stock iron sights.

:)


127 posted on 04/03/2010 4:32:58 PM PDT by 2111USMC
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To: mamelukesabre
It’s still made. It only tumbles when shot from longer barreled rifles. No tumbling when shot from a m4 carbine.

Please have a clue before you spout something like the above.

The rifling rate of twist in relation to the bullet length and velocity governs bullet stability, not barrel length.

128 posted on 04/03/2010 4:35:23 PM PDT by Lion Den Dan
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To: jonascord

AP is not illegal.


129 posted on 04/03/2010 4:35:49 PM PDT by Favor Center (Targets Up! Hold hard and favor center!)
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To: Lion Den Dan

dam you sure are arrogant for such a moron.


130 posted on 04/03/2010 4:37:39 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum (If you want peace prepare for war))
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To: bitterohiogunclinger
One quick fix, he suggested, is to equip the designated marksmen within each company with a powerful weapon that can kill at long distances, the M110 , which costs 8,000 bucks apiece!

I know this is BS. How can a frikcin' rifle cost 8,000 dollars? There are plenty of rifles that can blow the eyebrows off of a fly at 1,000 yards that cost less than 1,000 dollars. Not to mention we must have plenty of M14s salted away somewhere, that is if Clinton didn't cut them up when he did the B52s.

131 posted on 04/03/2010 4:45:00 PM PDT by calex59
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To: neverdem

Pig Fat vs islamic terrorist

SILVER BULLET GUN OIL can be used in or on ALL weapons and weapons systems.

Put a drop on the remains of ‘’suicide bombers’’ for the same effect-No Paradise! FOR
MAXIMUM IMPACT DOWNRANGE; USE ‘’SILVER BULLET’’ AND MAKE SURE THE ISLAMO-FASCIST
COWARDS KNOW IT!

http://www.silverbulletgunoil.net/


132 posted on 04/03/2010 4:57:58 PM PDT by Java4Jay
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To: Favor Center

Those rounds aren’t designed for expansion, but better accuracy.
**************
Regardless of what they were “designed” for, an open point round is by definition, a hollowpoint. It is an academic distinction without a difference.

Furthermore, since we still have not signed on to the protocol specifically prohibiting it, why aren’t we fielding expanding ammunition. (rhetorical)

(Also rhetorical) Rounds considered humane for killing game are not humane for killing people, and rounds humane for killing people are not humane for killing game. How can both be true, given a single definition for humane?


133 posted on 04/03/2010 4:59:35 PM PDT by Sylvester McMonkey McBean
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To: bitterohiogunclinger

I agree 1000%. Take a Remington 700P and shoot Federal Gold Match .308 win, 168 grain. This round was recommended by Carlos Hathcock.


134 posted on 04/03/2010 5:00:51 PM PDT by fredisred
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To: GreyFriar

Start now. Give ‘em M1As in the meantime.


135 posted on 04/03/2010 5:03:31 PM PDT by karnage (worn arguments and old attitudes)
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To: calex59; smokingfrog

See smokingfrog’s link at post # 27. I would love to have one of those M14 EBR’s.


136 posted on 04/03/2010 5:03:54 PM PDT by davetex (All my weapons got melted by a meteor!! No Sh*t)
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To: EGPWS

AR-10s would also work.


137 posted on 04/03/2010 5:04:23 PM PDT by karnage (worn arguments and old attitudes)
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To: Favor Center

Give ‘em SOCOMs.


138 posted on 04/03/2010 5:06:37 PM PDT by karnage (worn arguments and old attitudes)
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To: Favor Center

Gee, every M-1A I have utilized worked great...


139 posted on 04/03/2010 5:07:20 PM PDT by karnage (worn arguments and old attitudes)
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To: karnage
AR-10s would also work.

I'm looking forward to going to the range tomorrow to see.

140 posted on 04/03/2010 5:08:45 PM PDT by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: windcliff

hussein happy


141 posted on 04/03/2010 5:11:51 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: 2111USMC
Mosin Nagant M91/30s. 7.62 x 54R. Hundreds of thousands of re-armored models available for about $80 each. Reach out a country mile accurately with stock iron sights.

I have eight MNs. Six 91/30s and two M44s. I love them all! I wasn't looking to get that many, but I just kept finding really nice examples on sale and couldn't pass them up.

;-)

142 posted on 04/03/2010 5:41:49 PM PDT by SIDENET ("If that's your best, your best won't do." -Dee Snider)
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To: decimon; barb-tex; All
"Some M14 rifles are presently in civilian hands with the blessing of the authorities, but the originals were equipped for full-auto fire and require the tax stamp, etc." - Wiley Clapp.


Close-up view on the controls of the military M14 rifle, including fire mode selector switch (on receiver above the trigger)
Source URL: http://world.guns.ru/assault/as15-e.htm

Source URL: http://www.lrbarms.com/
See that metal lever missing below and behind the rear sight. The lower M14 would only fire semi, IIRC. My memory is 40 years old.

143 posted on 04/03/2010 5:43:04 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: GreyFriar

There’s actually still production of them, but re-branded as the M21 and the M25 with some modernizations.


144 posted on 04/03/2010 5:44:56 PM PDT by ksm1
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To: Sylvester McMonkey McBean

Match hollow points don’t expand. The mk 262 and M118 are match hp.

The Hague Convention prohibits expanding bullets.


145 posted on 04/03/2010 5:46:46 PM PDT by Favor Center (Targets Up! Hold hard and favor center!)
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To: karnage

Put a few thousnd rounds through one.


146 posted on 04/03/2010 5:48:48 PM PDT by Favor Center (Targets Up! Hold hard and favor center!)
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To: jonascord

Tubb shoots his T2k now, not service rifle.

Regardless, match 5.56 loses nothing to 762 NATO at range windage wise. The AR platform dominates service competition and that’s not because the M16 is the issue rifle. The M14 is harder to keep running accuracy wise and harder to shoot well. The AMU proved that in the 90s.


147 posted on 04/03/2010 5:55:23 PM PDT by Favor Center (Targets Up! Hold hard and favor center!)
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To: neverdem

I called the selector switch a ‘key’ because it was removable. Unless they changed it, I’m pretty sure that all M-14s were select fire.

I saw why it wasn’t used as full-auto when they handed one to a desk-jockey-looking sergeant to fire. When he pulled the trigger the barrel rose to near vertical and he looked to fall backwards before he released the trigger.

The M-14 manuals showed a variety of models that were likely never used. With a wire stock, with a pistol grip (meant for full-auto and, if the old brain is reliable, designated as M-2) and so on.


148 posted on 04/03/2010 5:56:08 PM PDT by decimon
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To: Virginia Ridgerunner
That's exactly what Carlos Hathcock (RIP) did in Vietnam.

So they went down to the PX and bought
Remington model 700's and Redfield Widefield scopes

149 posted on 04/03/2010 5:57:47 PM PDT by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: davetex

150 posted on 04/03/2010 6:03:48 PM PDT by smokingfrog (Free Men will always be armed with the Truth.)
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