Fieldcraft - Gear to Pack::
OK guys again lets get serious - you know Old Sarge lives somewhere in the state of New Mexico - if nothing else Al has told you'all this a number of times! I COULD be in a desert climate or in the mountains anywhere up to 13,000 feet, or any terrain in between. NOW with this infomation what equipment (let's not even talk about weapons yet) are you going to need to mount a mission to find Sarge? Lets assume 5 days to a week in the field, your base camp (I'll let you have support but only what they can carry in a 1/2 ton 4x4 PU, no helos, no air!) to be 3 to 5 miles from your final AO (but remember if I have enough altitude I could have your base camp under observation!) and this will be a ONE person stalk.
Sarge goes back to his hide and waits!
Area 51, NM USA - Sunday, November 15, 1998 at 20:51:14 (EST)
Everyone, remember what time of year it is - temperatures here can range from 50's-70's during the daylight hours and 40's to well below freezing during darkness. Prepare accordingly!
Area 51, NM USA - Sunday, November 15, 1998 at 23:25:14 (EST)
Sarge. You and Marius summed this up well. Enough of the endless story on the hunt already. Lets get into the grit of what would be needed. I think we are losing focus here on the entertaining aspects.
Minimum Gear for a week (Short List): Large Ruck. Enough ammo for the mission. Toilet Paper in a 1 gallon Zip-lock bag. Never discount this one! Ivy Sucks as a substitute! MINIMUM 4 quarts of water (canteens and/or Camelback). Water purification kit or tabs. Extra Zip-lock bags to store solid human waste (do not leave your calling card!). Medical kit (Sarge or Rick can elaborate). Food. Break the MREs down so they take up little room. Eliminate all unessential MRE packets to save weight. Extra socks. Undergarments to match environment. Bug juice and treatment. Tools: Compass, Knife, wire cutters, pruning shears. Spotting scope (stand optional). Small binos for area glassing. Monocular for stalk phase. Radio. MAPs protected in zip-lock bag or small map case. GPS if you got one. E-Tool. Yeah, that one sucks but it beats digging if necessary via hand and knife. Poncho liner. Poncho (Cold weather bag only if absolutely necessary!). Small paint cans if needed. Add to this all necessary gear for rifle (drag bag, shooting sticks, dope book or cards, lens cleaning kit, and small weapons maintenance kit). Ghillie stuffed in Ruck or tied underneath. There are more things you can take but you have to decide what you REALLY need versus what is essential. This is the short list. You can take a heck of a lot more!
If you are really into travelling light and weather permits: LBE with buttback. Ammo stuffed into M16 mag pouches. Food (MREs) broken down and distributed on gear or person. 4 quarts water. Water purification tabs. Knife. Pruning shears. Small med kit. Maps in Zip-locks. Compass and GPS. Weapons kit and associated gear. Spotting scope or binos tied to or placed in drag bag or buttpack. Tailor gear for the mission conditions.
If you can not pack your poop out, learn to bury it effectively. Pack out your trash. I know for a fact that Ryan will DIG IT UP no matter how well you hid it or thing you hid it!
Rick? Gooch? Rod? How about it? More or less gear?
USA - Monday, November 16, 1998 at 13:33:48 (EST)
Great list!! I just wanted to add if you need to cary an e-tool a nice one is the Glock. It's light and has a saw in it too, carries real nice in you pack.
USA - Monday, November 16, 1998 at 14:00:48 (EST)
Spider bait - You mentioned in your gear list that the spotting scope tripod is optional. I would make it mandatory. There are few things as agrivating as trying to make target ID, reading mirage, watching trace or catching bullet impact through a bobbing and weaving spotting scope. When operating for extended periods of time this will give you excedrine headache #60x20.
USA - Monday, November 16, 1998 at 22:26:56 (EST)
Gooch, the reason I mentioned leaving out the tripod is that I found I could use my buttpack or ruck frame to support the scope in a lot of instances. NOT ALL mind you! But often this was just as useful as having to hump the ungainly stand. Guess I am getting lazy. The Ruck and the buttback are good supports and I may even start leaving the bipod behind on some of the sustainment classes. I am not saying the stand is not valuable, but if weight is an issue (like if you have to hump a PRC-77 and a 5 quart water bag!) it would seem that you could get by with out it. I know for a fact that it was next to useless on about three scenarios down at SMTC. The terrain just would let me get the stand set up in a useful manner. Then again, this is WHY GOD invented spotters so I guess bringing the stand along is ok!!! ;-)
USA - Tuesday, November 17, 1998 at 19:34:25 (EST)
One more thing on gear. Notice I called it a short list. I have seen lists from active duty guys that would frighten a pack mule! The thing about lists is there can be no RIGHT one as every mission is going to have slightly different requirements. Some will need little beyond ammo and rifle while others will require enough stuff that you'll question your status as a LIGHT INFANTRYMAN! "Light" Infantry is a bigger oxymoron than "military Intelligence"!
USA - Tuesday, November 17, 1998 at 19:42:21 (EST)
Scott, great "short list" but again I must inquire - If you have a WIDE variation in temperatures as I mentioned in the last intel update how do you decide what type of clothing to "wear" and what to put in the ruck?? Remember you CAN have as much as a 40+ degree change over a course of 24 hours and this is without having a sudden storm etc! I have SEEN frost bite and heat stroke in the SAME day around here!!
Area 51, NM USA - Tuesday, November 17, 1998 at 22:24:45 (EST)
Sarge is very right about the dress for that type of weather. In january of '76 I seen snow along the texas panhandle and NM border in the morning and 75 by midday. Made that run to chow in the morning not so bad. The bad thing about this time of year untill the end of march or so is the wind. Sand gets into everything. A word to the wise, keep your dust covers or bolts closed as much as possible. Tape or condem the muzzle. At least a bandana to breathe or goggles to see. I'm serious folks, for those who have never been in a February sandstorm, it's like being in a sparkplug cleaning machine. Another is your food. In the middle of a sealed duffle bag, wrapped in extra clothes, in your tent, the sage rat will get it if its an open container or package. He will tunnel underneath of your tent and bag and chew right through it and anything else in his way to get it. Remarkable noses, they smell dry food like crackers or bread. Never even pack for the desert with food on your hands. Always check your boots in the morning for creepy crawlers (those little green scorpians or worse), carry some calomine lotion for the ants and twice as much water as a normal stalk.
somewhere, ny USA - Wednesday, November 18, 1998 at 02:51:26 (EST)
Gooch: Bipods vs Sack of beans vs. pack vs. shooting stand. Let me make this easy "How would you rate the necessity of bipods?" I'll be taking SMTC classes but don'twant to show up carrying all this crap. During load development/sight in/ and then verifying load performance / wind and elevation settings, is a quality shooting stand necessary or worth the money? Is a sack of beans just as good?
I've seen posted everything from a bipod can do it all to why carry the weight when a bush or dirt clod or back pack will do the trick.
here&, there USA - Thursday, November 19, 1998 at 11:06:35 (EST)
On shooting supports. I have shot and taught most of the variations out there (Bipods, rucks, sandbags, slings, sandsocks, gloves, etc). For years I shot the M40A1 from a ruck sack/field expedient tripod with a gloved hand grasping the rear sling swivel. When I was at Quantico teaching the shop put a Parker-Hale bipod on a M40 and we shot and hated it. Too much slop. When I became involved with the Army program I started using the Harris bipod and a sock full of plastic beads for the rear support.
I think the Harris bipod with sandsock is the most stable for a trained shooter. I agree with Rick that a beginning shooter should start with a sling, then move to a bipod without a rear sand sock then be allowed to use a sand sock once he has gotten a grip on building a good position. However, a bipod can be hard to manuever when shooting moving targets at close range. It is easier to track with a ruck sack or sand bag support as the bipod tends to be jerky. So we solve this by using a bipod most of the time and just fold it up and throw the rifle on a ass pack when we have to track.
USA - Thursday, November 19, 1998 at 18:29:20 (EST)
I just re-read my post and realized I didn't really answer the question on shooting support for sniper training. Bring two, Harris bipod of choice for prone shooting and a camera tripod for sitting and higher. Get a piece of PVC and make a saddle for the camera mount for the rifle to sit in and pad it with a piece of carpet. Make you a bean bag by putting plastic beads (found at walmarts everywhere in the craft section) in a zip lock bag then put them in a heavy sock. The thing should be a little larger than 2 fists when done. Or bring your kids Barney doll.
USA - Thursday, November 19, 1998 at 23:41:46 (EST)
Sensei Gooch, please tell this Grasshopper more about tripods... Will any lightweight aluminum one work or are they stable enough? I've seen some that had an awful lot of flex, and rigid ones I wouldn't want to take afield because of weight... Enquiring, highly absorbant minds want to know...
San Jose, CA USA - Friday, November 20, 1998 at 00:17:59 (EST)
Gooch, how on earth do you camouflage and hide a Camera tripod on your person in a combat environment? Just curious as it would seem like a whopping target indicator to a counter sniper. Of course the ghillie and scoped rifle donít help!
USA - Friday, November 20, 1998 at 11:10:29 (EST)
Spider bait. The tripod goes in the drag bag. We use the eagle one and the side pocket is plenty big enough. Most of the guys will glue ghillie turds to the metal parts as well as use the granite textured paint that I have talked about before. Almost every student at the Army(Benning)and USMC courses use the tripod for stalking. Once you've used one you'll never go back to anything else. The ones with a elevation crank are great for finding that perfect loophole to fire through. You can also use them for a spotting scope rest. As a matter of fact during the Arkansas National Guard State sniper championships (whicch we won) my partner and I each used a tripod on the stalk event. My observer used on for his spotting scope and I had one for the rifle. Remember that the prone position is not always going to be used. The height of the sniper teams cover/concealement may require a kneeling, sitting or standing position. This is when the tripod comes into play.
USA - Friday, November 20, 1998 at 17:27:31 (EST)
Gooch, I will come out of the closet on the camera tripod too. It's
a bit troublesome at times and adds weight too but some things are worth
the effort. I caught a k-mart going out of business several years ago and
got a couple for $12 apiece. For the stability and versatility offered
I think they are better than the wonderful "Harris" but the H has its place.
Actually I never mentioned it (the camera tripod) here for fear of flack
but I'll go with you on that one.We do have places where different worlds
meet. Don't let's forget that the Sniper game began with the Hunters and
the precision target shooters are our scientific branch. I like to think
of the Real Snipers as the product of all our best efforts in the brotherhood
that is riflemen. Those who practice the art be mindfull of that and gather
all the information whether it be from an old worn out plainsman with doubtfull
credentials or a raw beginner for they all have something to add but if
we were not believers we would not be here I suspect. May I be permitted
a quote from the American revolutionary era. "The success of American Arms
owed much to the unerring and surprising skill of the American Backwoodsman
who from the age of sixteen, has made the use,perfection,and construction
of the rifle, and all other species of arms both his study and his pleasure.
Col. Geo. Hanger British Expeditionary Forces. about 1780
Bill Rogers <email@example.com>
USA - Friday, November 20, 1998 at 22:33:11 (EST)
Have y'all ever tried a 2 1/2" long piece of 4" wide aluminum "U" channel lined with 3/8" closed cell neophrene rubber for the tripod cradle? Drill and tap a 1/4"-20 hole in the center to secure and you're ready. No more soggy carpet or PVC pipe sawing thanks very much.
BigCity, BY-GAWD USA - Saturday, November 21, 1998 at 10:05:28 (EST)
Pete - Your idea sounds pretty good. We snipers are some improvising mutha's. To tell you the truth I made my PVC creation out of what I had laying around. You should have seen the creation that my buddy made at Benning. Styrofoam with a "V" cut in it duct tape wrapped around it and hot glued it to the tripod. I made a scope shade for the M21 I stalked with (they didn't want us stalking with the 24's)out of PVC also. Shoe goo'd burlap and shreded twine to that sucker for the ultimate in sniper fashion accesories. Most of use would never had passed sniper courses without shoe goo and duct tape. But I digest.
Try the tripod guys. It may not be that great for a biathalon type non-tactical match like the D&L shoot but for more realistic situations it works fine.
USA - Saturday, November 21, 1998 at 18:12:43 (EST)
I'll suggest that the daily high and low temperatures are not to be ignored. When I'm in the cool weather my creature comfort of choice is fleece. I like fleece gloves for those chilly air temps, and a fleece sweater to keep the old skin warm. If the nights are that cold, let's add a wool tuque, eh. As for footwear, I like Goretex booties, just in case there are streams or puddles.
Terry Warner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Canada - Saturday, November 21, 1998 at 22:53:28 (EST)
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