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Sniping Could Be the Next Killer iPod App 461

An anonymous Coward writes "Knights Armament Corp. who supply sniper rifles to the US military have developed a iPod Touch mounting system and software for the US Army M110 sniper rifle system. The use of off the shelf hardware no doubt cut costs and allowed rapid development of this system." If it automatically played a theme song after every head shot, this would be the coolest rifle accessory ever.


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Sniping Could Be the Next Killer iPod App

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  • by mr_mischief ( 456295 ) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @04:49PM (#26535813) Journal

    This should help not just snipers but hunters and perhaps some day main force ground troops. At the listed link, the article's author states that the application software is available at the iTunes store. Contrary to some stories on the 'net, it is a general rifle ballistics application that allows someone to enter a different rifle and ammunition profile. So it's good for less specialized rifles, and not just the M110.

    The article didn't mention the availability of the mounting hardware. It attaches an iPod Touch mounted in an Otterbox protective case to a side-mounted picatinny rail. That seems much more handy in combat situations than digging an iPod out of one's pocket. This is what makes it not just another ballistics app for the iPod Touch and iPhone. Mounting it on the rifle could be a big deal in certain situations, and lots of rifles can be fitted with picatinny rails on the side.

  • by dazedNconfuzed ( 154242 ) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @05:05PM (#26536193)

    Computing ballistics in the field has been an ongoing issue for long-range shooters, as determining the required elevation & windage settings for precision shots depends heavily on a variety of factors (wind speed, temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, bullet weight, ballistic coefficient, barrel length, powder burn rate, barrel twist, target angle, distance, and even latitude & direction). Until recently, sharpshooters/snipers addressed the problem by computing ballistics tables ahead of time, memorizing or taking paper copies into the field, developing a reliable "gut feel", and even using specialized slide rules (ex.: Mil-Dot Master); only recently have portable computers been adapted or built (Palm Pilot, Barrett BORS) to improve situational accuracy. Bringing the iPod Touch into the picture via a convenient mounting system allows tremendous improvement & flexibility in creating applications to solve ballistics problems, as there are already at least 3 apps available, and both professionals & hobbists can easily develop their own apps. That this mounting system is provided by Knights Armament, a well-respected name in high-quality small arms, helps as well.

    Those with snide remarks should be aware that (A) this is legitimately needed by military and police to keep your life safe and comfortable, and (B) long-range target shooting is a legitimate and popular sport.

  • Re:haha!!! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @05:26PM (#26536639)

    Naw, it's just another cheap ballistics calculator for a PDA, they've been around since Palm/PocketPC days and I wouldn't be surprised if there was one for newton somewhere. A good one ties into your scope automatically. You punch in the figures, aim, and, pow, cake in the rain.

  • Some potential uses (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lt.Hawkins ( 17467 ) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @05:38PM (#26536861) Homepage

    So obviously there are some pretty funny comments on this, and some incredulous "why?" or "won't this give away a snipers position?" posts as well.

    To address the latter:
    As most of the /. community can appreciate, projectile ballistics isn't as simple as a game; The hardest I've seen in a game is "move the crosshair around to simulate breathing" Obviously, its more difficult than this, or *everyone* at war would be sitting back at 1200 meters, sniping from safety.

    When you get into precision shooting, you need to take into account so many factors, it boggles the mind. Muzzle velocity, wind (and wind isn't constant at the point of your muzzle and where the target is, humidity, bullet mass and aerodynamics, barrel twist rate, etc. This ballistics computer helps you input that data, and will spit out how you need to adjust your crosshair to account for all this stuff.

    A system like this would also make it easy to log past shot data, which is very important for precision shooters.

    I've seen wrist-watch ballistics computers as well; beats the crap out of charts.

    As for when it would be used:
    In training.
    In competitions.
    By police snipers in some situations (where, perhaps, concealment isn't important, but getting that first cold-barrel shot exactly on target is.)
    By a sniper's spotter, perhaps.

    disclaimer: despite my username, I'm not military, nor am I a precision shooter; i've merely had experience shooting as a major hobby.

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @05:51PM (#26537107)

    Depends on the round they're using, and the rifle's setup/weight. A heavy rifle chambered in something smaller (like the 6.8 Remington SPC for example, which has been gaining some favor with the military brass, though it likely doesn't have quite the range for sniper duty) with a muzzle brake can be pretty light recoiling. Certainly light enough that it wouldn't damage anything that used solid state storage.

    Problem is that the muzzle brake tends to make a rifle insanely loud. What the sniper gains in reduced recoil probably wouldn't be worth it.

    If you use something like 5.56 NATO though (which is the standard infantry round - not normally used for military sniper applications but it's commercial equivalent the .223 Winchester was what was used by the DC snipers several years back), then it's light enough that you wouldn't even need a brake to reduce the recoil.

  • Re:on the contrary (Score:5, Informative)

    by AioKits ( 1235070 ) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @05:51PM (#26537115)
    Coping mechanisms aren't formed when someone does a 'wrong' action, merely a stressful one. How many people in high stress jobs have a drinking or drug problem as their coping mechanism?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coping_skill [wikipedia.org]

    In a normal circumstances I will probably not be exposed to a situation where I will have to kill someone. However, if I'm the victim of a mugging gone bad and I have to kill him or he will kill me, believe that's what will happen. There is no sense of right or wrong, merely that I must survive. It will probably be stressful afterwards, and I will probably adapt dark humor to avoid thinking about it.

    And thank you for showing you have no concept of how military chain of command and subordination works.
  • by Kingrames ( 858416 ) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:03PM (#26537343)
    frags, literally speaking, refer to killings of superior officers.

    I do believe sir, that you should use different terminology when marketing it to the military.
  • by rts008 ( 812749 ) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:12PM (#26537477) Journal

    Well, for reliable sniping at 1000 yards you will want something ballistically superior to the 7.62x51 NATO (.308 Winchester) round/M110 package.
    The .308 Win. bullet transitions from supersonic to subsonic around 625-700 yards, causing the bullet to become unstable and seriously degrading accuracy to unacceptable levels for a sniper/target shooter.

    That's what the cartridge/rifle packages in the 7mm-8mm magnums (which includes the venerable .300 Winchester and Weatherby Magnums) are best suited for, which cover 1000 yards quite nicely. :-)

    Over 1500-1600 yards is the realm of the BMG .50 caliber/rifle packages.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:38PM (#26537873)

    You do realize the M110 is an AR-10 based rifle shooting 7.62 NATO with sub-MOA precision, right?

  • Re:Out of line (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:36PM (#26541333)

    A head shot takes one man off the field.

    A body shot takes two. The one you hit and the one that'll try to drag him away.

  • by OcabJ ( 13938 ) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:59PM (#26541541) Homepage

    Actually, a .308 Winchester with the 175gr BTHP (Sierra Match King) bullet can still be supersonic at 1000 yards.

    With a muzzle velocity of at least 2650 feet per second, the Sierra MK 30cal 175gr bullet will make it out to and slightly beyond 1000 before it goes subsonic. It has a ballistic coefficient of .495-.505.

    The 175gr is the standard bullet used on the US military M118LR 'sniper' round. M118 being the military designator for the ammo, 'LR' meaning Long Range.

    You can even get a 22 caliber bullet in a .223 Remington (5.56 NATO) out to a 1000 yards maintaining supersonic flight. While many still use the .308 for 1000 yard Service Rifle competition, the AR15 platform in .223 has taken the Farr Trophy (US National Trophy for 1000 yard Service Rifle). This is accomplished by using an 80gr or heavier bullet. The Sierra Match King 22cal (.224") 80gr BTHP is popular, but the Very Low Drag bullets like the Berger 80gr VLD have a much higher ballistic coefficient and can buck the wind better.

The Macintosh is Xerox technology at its best.