Building A Credible Sniper System

We regularly see questions asking for recommendations on things like; what’s the best scope to get, the best reticle, best bipod, best rifle or best ammo. We try to steer our readers to view their equipment as a system and not discrete components. So, for this week’s shoot–the-shit topic we’ll go through our thought process. Please feel free to make any unsupported statements, use profanity, insult anyone or change the subject altogether. You’ll experience no subliminal messaging or a bill from us.

The economics of building a high performance system are not trivial; a sniper system, like the Remington shown in the picture above, can run the buyer  well over $20,000, and that does not include thermal or image intensified optics. You can reasonably expect the numbers to breakdown something like this; $5,000 – $8,000 for the rifle, $ 2,000 – $4,000 for the optics, another $500 – $1,000 for bases and optic mounts, extra magazines will run you $60 – $200 each depending on the rifle, muzzle devices (unsuppressed) $150 – $350, suppressor $ 1,000 – $2,000 depending on material, mounting arrangement and caliber, and lastly about $500 for all the miscellaneous items like slings cases etc. No matter how you slice it a very expensive proposition, even on a DoD budget. Unfortunately, if you take the discrete component approach, you can end up spending a lot of cash for a system that doesn’t perform as well as a less expensive arrangement that was built as a system.

Using a systems approach requires first and foremost that you clearly define your objectives. Once you’ve decided what your system needs to do, you’ll want to define how well it needs to do it keeping diminishing returns in mind. Once that’s done you can design your platform by examining how the various discrete components interact, but before you run out and plunk down a bunch of cash have it all penciled and researched. Failing to do that guarantees that you’ll spend more than you have to and not achieve your desired objective.

Not long ago, I ran across an individual with a custom built .308 rifles, top of the line mounting hardware; all topped off by a Schmidt & Bender PMII 5-25×56. The shooter could not hold a minute of angle out to 300 yards. Some of it was his shooting, but the real problem was operating the scope at its highest magnification which amplified the effects of mirage. I don’t know what this individual’s objectives were but it was clear to me he didn’t plan before building his system. By over-scoping his rifle, he effectively reduced his field of view at lower magnifications as well as the higher magnification levels; making tracking a moving target much more difficult. When you consider the effective range of the .308 caliber it’s easy to see that his optic selection was misguided. So, to make a long story short, not matching his caliber to his optics resulted in poor overall performance.

This is our thought process on the subject. We think it’s a good way to maximize your return on investment and the level of satisfaction you derive from that investment.

Send us your comments / questions. Have a great Halloween weekend. Be safe; get out to the range with your buds and family!

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