Sniper Country Duty Roster collective wisdom

Urban sniping - caliber/bullet choice:

Hey guys, I need help. I have a SWAT Commander that just insists that half of our Sniper Rifles be a .223 with the others being .308 Win. He feels the 308 has too much penetration for a Urban enviornment. So we have 308's for shooting against Glass and when we are sure of the backstop. We have 223's for street areas where a through and through shot could hit someone else. My concern is will the 69 grain Federal round penetrate the skull if a soft head area is not hit. I have not found any info on this bullet and Federal will not help.

Ca USA - Tuesday, November 24, 1998 at 15:04:25 (EST) 

Mike, At ranges urban sniping is done that .223 69 hits hard.
I would use a Vmax Varmint bullet with that plastic tip it doesn't bounce off of anything. The Hornady SX varminter will "pardon my French" Jelly the brains of anything within 200 meters without penetration 99% of the time if that's a cause. I am not,am not a professional Sniper but I've shot a lot of coyote heads and they are
a challenge. The V-max is deadly. My unprofessional opinion and I hope someone else give you another is that the .223 could be a better choice in hostage situations up to 200 meters.

B.Rogers <>
USA - Tuesday, November 24, 1998 at 18:41:59 (EST) 

5.56mm for Tactical situations is actually a very sound decision for close in work where over penetration would be a bad sniper thing. The accuracy and penetration of the 5.56mm is more than sufficent to crack a skull and ruin some a**h**e's day for life. I would recommend you go with a flat top as mounting a scope to the carrying handle of an AR is a waste of time.

Rick <RBowcher>
Fayetteville, NC USA - Tuesday, November 24, 1998 at 21:34:10 (EST) 

Mike; Too many instances of "failure to stop" involve military bullets with .223 if your forced to use Military don't depend on a
.223 by all means. But if you can use the right bullets it will do what you ask of it except penetrate glass. My advise is be damn careful if glass is involved and the subject is more than 6' behind it. I believe Tortsen has a plan for glass. Mail him off line and see
if he can help you.

B. Rogers <>
USA - Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at 11:15:26 (EST) 

Mike - On caliber selection for a sniper rifle. TO be honest if I could go with any caliber out there I would like to go with a 7mm Magnum. Talk about a flat shooter with heavy projectiles.

I think police department legal beagles spend too much time trying to define the perfect sniper round. Glass penetration, with low tgt penetration, with .5 moa accuracy, heat seeking, video tracked, wire guided etc. etc. I think what they are going to do with all of this is to push the sniper into shootings that he should've stayed away from with the hope that the gear/ammo will make the shot for the sniper.

You saw what happened with the "Good Guys" shooting in Sacramento back in '90 or '91. The cop took the shot, door swang shut, hit the tempered glass door, and all hell broke loose. Caliber? .223. Would .308 done better? Dunno.

I say stick with .30 caliber for the "sniper". .223 is a good caliber for an assault rifle and yes many head shots have ben taken in hostage situations. I went through the Dept of Energy SRT course in '86 and one of the instructors was from LAPD. He had a confirmed with an AR15. Through the eye, into the head, no exit, nothing but mush. But he wasn't the primary shooter. He had the shot and the situation dictated that he should take it.

Marine, it's easy for me to sit here and write this, but you are the guy who has to deal with the real world here. I would get input from the FBI, NRA, and others and get your dept. to go along with what you come up with. They can't (shouldn't) argue with research and stats. After the Harvey's Bar shooting, around the same time as the Good Guys, we got an after action report from the Berkley PD. They said they were going to redo thier sniper rifles to M21's from .223 bolt guns. I went round and round with them trying to talk them into a .30 cal bolt gun. But all I could give them was personal feelings and they went with the M21's. Get the facts man and good luck. Semper Fi.

Gooch out.
gooch <>
USA - Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at 12:18:47 (EST) 

Gooch:In a previous posting you mentioned that you'd probably go with 7mm Rem. Mag. if you had a choice of calibres.Being a 7mm fan myself,your comment on this calibre was no surprise to me.What personal prefererence do you have with 7mm bullets ?

For all around use it is pretty hard to ignore weights in the 150-160 gr. range.I consider 160's a decent compromise between the faster 150's and the heavier 175's.

If you want really flat trajectories out of the 175's then the 7mm STW maybe just the ticket.A friend of mine has a BRNO 602 with a heavy McGowan barrel in this calibre.The thing is minute of eyeball accurate with most quality made bullets.

By the way Gooch,have you heard about Remington's new "sniper rifle" with some kind of hot rod 7mm ?I recall something about 220 gr. 7mm bullets.Sounds a little high in weight to me.The ballistic co-efficient on this thing (assuming the weight is correct) may be as high as .700-.800 from what I can guess.

Jeff Babineau <>
Truro, N.S. Canada - Thursday, November 26, 1998 at 20:08:13 (EST) 

On the 7mm magnum post I made. Yes I like the 7mm Mag but it's been a while since I owned one. I stopped buying rifles when I became an instructor because the USMC gave me all of the rifles and ammo I needed. I really don't have a pet load for it and I can't remember what I shot out of it back then. Does Federal make a match round for 7mm mag?

gooch <>
USA - Friday, November 27, 1998 at 17:26:38 (EST) 

Gooch I agree M21 is not a good choice for a primary sniper system for LE. It does not work as well as a bolt gun for first shot placement.

Calif. USA - Saturday, November 28, 1998 at 02:20:20 (EST) 

My SWAT commander is considering the use of an intermidiate sniper round. We currently use the .308 Remington PSS. This is for very short range shots where penetration would be a problem. I recommended the .223 because I have heard that there is a round available that does not exit the body when shot. I just don't know what it is. I am thinking it is a new Hornady load or Federal load, but I am just not sure. If anyone knows about this round, please let me know.

I am also looking to receive information from other Police Sniper units. This info is on their Departments written policy of Rules of Engagement. My Department wants to up-date ours, and it really needs it!
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Randy <>
P.C., Oklahoma USA - Saturday, November 28, 1998 at 20:48:50 (EST) 

Randy- SWAT magazine did a story several months ago about a round used for entry teams with M-16/AR-15's. I believe it was a 55gr. Hornaday designed for varmit shooting. The round fragmented in the geletin within a few inches. More than one team uses this on their entry weapons and they enjoy the accuracy it gives without overpenetration.

Brent "Swede"
Brent <>
Shreveport, Louisiana USA - Saturday, November 28, 1998 at 23:43:23 (EST) 

There's an article about the Hornaday bullets in the current issue of Tactical Shooter if you can get a copy. If not call Hornaday, they have alot of information on shooting through different types of obstacles then having the bullet strike ballistic jello.

Pat II
PL <>
Whiterocks, Utah USA? - Sunday, November 29, 1998 at 23:56:26 (EST) 

Re: Caliber selection for LE sniping. Everything I've seen, read, and shot says something in the .30 caliber class is much more reliable than in the .22 class. Having half and half has its problems - they're two different rifles, with two different sets of trajectories, different feel when they shoot, etc., etc. Now maybe your snipers get enough training to be able to swap back and forth between the two rifles and get CCB shots that are essentially equivalent, but I personally wouldn't feel comfortable doing that. Mention the word "liability" in front of your commander.

The worse thing you could do is take a .223 to a potential sniping scenario and have it rapidly deteriorate into one where you NEED the .308 (akin to the often fatal error of taking a knife to a gunfight). One of the rules I was taught was "always use enough gun". Again, try bringing this up and then using the word "liability" in the same sentence with your commander.

NTOA has consultants on the topic available to your department - let them tackle the problem. As pointed out, your department would be very foolish to risk the liability (there's that pesky word again) to ignore the recommendations of a recognized expert in the field.
Mark Thomen <>
USA - Tuesday, February 02, 1999 at 08:29:11 (ZULU) 

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