SOCOM 6.5 Creedmoor and the upcoming 277 Fury

Two years ago Hornady announced they’d won the contract to supply 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition to the DOD. No load development was necessary, as their 147 grain TAP load, available to Law Enforcement/Government only, met the requirement. If you don’t mind not having “flash suppressant” in the powder mix, you can purchase commercial 147 gr ELD-M loads from Hornady and have the ballistic twin of the TAP load.

But if you want to load your own; this is a close duplications load:

Bullet: Hornady 147 gr ELD-M
Brass: Hornady
Primer: LR, brand unknown, likely Fed 210M
Powder: StaBALL 6.5, approaching 43.0 gr (max charge per Hodgdon data). Other powders that will work to the required velocity level include Hybrid 100V and Superformance.
Velocity: 2,700 fps from a 20″ barrel

Your barrel may not produce these velocities, or you may blow right past them and get pressure signs early. I’ve never seen such wild swings between barrels with 308 Winchester, but the 6.5 Creedmoor barrels seem to have up to several hundred fps swings between barrel manufacturers.

Now that the 277 Fury is becoming a “general purpose cartridge” we may see further development for SOCOM. The commercial SIG load of a 150gr bullet with 0.500 G1 BC at 2,830 fps from a 16″ barrel are going to significantly better than the 308 Win 175gr load at roughly 2600 fps at distance, and the 135gr OTM bullet at 3,000 fps from a 16″ barrel (0.488 G1 BC) is on paper superior to the 147gr 6.5 Creedmoor load.

The 277 Fury 135gr load has 33.1 MOA drop to 1000 meters, the 6.5 CM 147gr load has 34.4 MOA drop to 1000 meters. And the 277 Fury is doing all that from a barrel 4″ shorter than the Creedmoor. The 277 Fury 150gr Nosler Accubond load has 35.8 MOA drop to 1000 meters, but is seriously the only hunting bullet I’m going to talk about in this post, and it is still supersonic at that range, something the 308 Win struggles to do with the 175gr SMK.

Pushing the ballistics calculations out to 1,500 meters, the 6.5 Creedmoor 147gr ELD-M load becomes the clear winner. In the 277 Furty both the 150gr Accubond and 135gr OTM loads go subsonic before 1,200 meters, while the 147gr ELD-M gets a lot closer to 1,400 meters. That puts the 147gr ELD-M load well into the performance envelope of the 300 Win Mag for sniper operations, but without the 300 Win Mag barrel length, rifle weight, ammunition weight, or recoil.

Now, this is all data based on press releases and ballistics calculations. What we don’t have is a good “Operational Test & Evaluation” or “OTE” report form the US Army on the actual performance of the 277 Fury in the hands of Infantrymen doing their jobs. And we don’t have a lot of 6.8/.277 caliber bullets capable of meeting the high Ballistic Coefficient of the long 6.5/.264 caliber bullets. I’ve tried the best match bullets from Berger, ELD-X from Hornady, and I just can’t get the 277 Fury to match the 6.5 Creedmoor in performance beyond 1000 meters. And quite frankly it will be very difficult to design such a bullet that will also fit in the standard 308 Win box magazine dimensions that the 6.5 Creedmoor and 277 Fury were designed to use.

To sum up, the 6.5 Creedmoor is still the better long range sniper round option for SOCOM, however the advantage is roughly 150 to 200 meters of supersonic distance past 1100 meters. The 277 Fury has a lot of performance optimization built in for 1000 meter and under, but I expect that it won’t make an immediate splash in service rifle competitions right away. The “across the course” 200, 300, and 600 yard stages are not so far that the 5.56×45 won’t be competitive, especially considering the real skill is reading the wind. And the DOD isn’t getting away from 5.56×45, as it will still fulfill the role originally designed for the M1 Carbine in WWII, a short, handy, low recoil carbine for support troops while the “real Infantrymen” carried the M1 Garand battle rifle. So you’ll likely see Artillery, Signal, Logistics, etc, all carrying M4s for decades to come.

So now let’s depart from the land of calculations and move to the land of speculations….

What if the Sig “hybrid case technology” could be used to significantly bump up the chamber pressure of the 5.56×45? Obviously a different gas system or piston upper would be necessary to handle going from 60k psi to 80k psi just fine. But now your M4 would essentially fire the 223 Winchester Super Short Magnum, but with normal round counts in 30 round STANAG magazines. This would put a 75gr OTM bullet around 3,100 fps or more from an M4 length barrel, which is flatter shooting out to 600 meters than the 277 Fury or 6.5 Creedmoor.

And going further…what if Sig used the “hybrid case technology” to bump up the pressure in the 6.5 Creedmoor for SOCOM, to get “264 Win Mag” level performance? Now you are looking at a 142gr bullet at around 3,000 fps. Assuming we can get that 147gr ELD-M to 2,900 fps from a 20″ barrel, that extends the supersonic range about another 100 meters on the back end, approaching 1,400 meters.

So I don’t see SOCOM abandoning the 6.5 Creedmoor any time soon, and I do see the “hybrid case technology” getting adopted for other sniper rounds that SOCOM uses, including the 300 Winchester and 338 Norma Magnums. However it remains to be seen if Sig will develop these loads to create the demand, or SOCOM or the DOD will generate a requirements document to create the demand. Or neither could happen, since an extra hundred meters on the back end of the 6.5 Creedmoor performance envelope is a low benefit for the high price of increased barrel wear and decreased weapon system life.

Posted in ammo, defense, guns, reloading, sniper | Leave a comment

Putin’s mobilization and draft order

The defense news has called Putin’s activation of 300,000 “reservists” an “act of desperation” but I disagree. It is a coldly, rationally calculated move to throw “mass” at his Ukraine problem (the problem being that Ukraine exists at all).

The Russian military does not have a “National Guard” or “Army Reserve” system of truly professional part timers like the United States, so these 300,000 “reservists” are really just Russian men who’ve completed their 12 months of “mandatory military service” under the Russian universal conscription law for men 18-27. The last time there was a mass call up of the “reserves” was World War Two, in order to build Divisions and Corps to repel the Nazi invasion. And at the time, the Soviet Union had over 14 million “trained reservists” (individuals who had completed their mandatory service and returned to civilian life) to call on.

This “universal conscription” model works. It works for South Korea, it works for Israel. It worked for Russia in the past, and has worked so well for Switzerland that they’ve not needed to fight a military battle in centuries. It doesn’t work for the United States because we don’t have the political will to do it, we enjoy the “all volunteer force” making warfighting a service that simply costs more money to our elected political leadership.

But enough about conscription in the United States, the “one million conscripts” note from Putin’s speech/document is really an irrelevant number. Since Russia already has “universal conscription” that number could be 500,000 or 1,500,000 and it wouldn’t really make a difference. In the current demographic breakdown of Russian male citizens, the 18-27 age bracket has about 7 million men in it. That means getting 1/7th of them to do their service this year instead of 1/9th (there being 9 years of eligibility for mandatory conscription) is only a programmed difference of about 223,000 individuals, or not even enough to backfill the 300,000 veterans being recalled to active service plus a bit more.

So “a million man conscription” isn’t really a big change from “business as usual” for Russia. The number sounds impressive to Americans where getting a million people into uniform would simply be an impossibility with our current recruitment and non-compulsory service laws. But for Russia, that’s going from processing 65 thousand individuals into service per month to processing 83.3 thousand individuals per month, and increase of 18,300 people per month across all five military districts, or 3,660 per district. Or an extra 122 people per day, per district. An ambitious, but not impossible goal.

But…this is not to say this is all “business as usual” so to speak. Traditionally all conscripts are kept in Russia, for the defense of the homeland. The announcement that the 300,000 “reservists” were being activated to fight in Ukraine is a sharp departure from that tradition. As much as Putin wants to sell the world that there is no such thing as an independent Ukraine, or that Ukraine is full of Nazis, the Russian people aren’t buying the idea of an existential threat to Russia from Ukraine. Many Russians have family in Ukraine similar to the way Canadians and Americans have family across the border.

Because this departure from the norm is, quite frankly shocking, there will be impacts to Russian society in other ways. There will be more arrests as the government cracks down on protesters. There will be more people not showing up for work as they attempt to leave Russia to avoid being drafted to go fight in Ukraine. This will further hurt the Russian economy on top of the impacts of sanctions.

But Russia has a demographic problem, people are aging out of the workforce faster than people enter the workforce. This has led to very low unemployment numbers as there are generally jobs available for people who want to work. Pulling out an additional 300,000 from the labor pool isn’t generally going to be a problem from a macroeconomic standpoint, but that’s roughly 10% of the published unemployment numbers. And pulling people from private industry where they make money for the state, to government jobs where they take money from the state, isn’t necessarily the wisest choice. Although all wars of choice aren’t the wisest choice either, so this could be seen as doubling down on a bad decision.

The other reason why I don’t see this move destroying the Russian economy by winter is that Russian women are 0.2% more unemployed than men. In a 75 million person labor pool, 37.5 million of whom are women, that 0.2% difference equates to 750,000 individuals. Unless the work absolutely requires a man to do it, there’s plenty of slack in the female population to serve as clerks, assembly line workers, truck drivers, etc. This probably why the 300,000 and 1 million numbers were chosen, because they are big enough to send a message to Ukraine and NATO, but small enough that the current economy can adapt without being crippled.

And lastly, Putin has been largely trying to shelter the urban economic engines from the cost of the war by heavily conscripting rural areas. There are still many places in Russia without reliable internet access, and when the draft man comes to issue papers there’s nowhere to run. So it is the farming communities getting hit hardest. But with 300k and 1 million, the population of St. Petersburg and Moscow are no longer safe, and this will become a bigger and bigger issue for Putin as he struggles to control the narrative.

Posted in defense, history, politics | 2 Comments

Thoughts on the War in Ukraine

The Russian Horde has proven less than able to hold their initial gains into the neighboring country, and now the Ukrainians are pushing back.

As the war drags on, Russia’s stocks of high end modern systems dwindles to the point where they are openly looking to Iran for drones and North Korea for artillery. Meanwhile Ukraine is using every captured T-80 that they can put into service, while “combat testing” many different NATO systems like Polish and French artillery. And make no mistake, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is boiling down to artillery as the center of combat capability for both sides.

Air power on both sides is absolutely useful, but neither side was or is capable of utter domination of the air domain along the lines of NATO.

Ground power, the Russians have “mass” in terms of men and material, but the men are generally not seasoned veterans, fighting away from their homeland, for a vague purpose. The Ukrainians have less in terms of men and material, but they have a “qualitative advantage” in defending their home turf, with soldiers largely trained by NATO cadre since 2015.

Artillery is the interesting comparison point here, both sides have plenty of old Soviet artillery tubes, but the Ukrainians have been able to create a modern “fires complex” where the “sensor to decision maker to shooter” links are fast and accurate. And the Ukrainians have largely done this by creating smartphone apps that can communicate over their organic cellular or WiFi networks using top end commercial encryption. The few western systems, American HIMARS rocket artillery, Polish Krab systems, French CEASAR systems, FH70s donated by Estonia and Italy, are proving their worth delivering what the old Soviet gear cannot, long range precision fires using precision guided munitions (PGMs).

The Russian Electronic Warfare (EW) units should be, in theory, capable of degrading PGM accuracy, but years of sanctions have taken their toll on Russian EW equipment. Meanwhile years of over-using EW on Ukrainians have created a combat force that is accustomed to operating in a contested, congested, electromagnetic spectrum environment. These two factors have made Russian EW largely irrelevant to the fight up until now, and Ukrainian EW units can regularly identify and geolocate Russian emissions (communications, jammers, radars, etc). And they can feed that data into the artillery app, and get accurate fires on target quickly.

And this gets us back to the same lessons learned after the 1973 Arab-Israel conflict, “see first, shoot first, conduct a survivability move” is the key to survive and then win a high intensity conflict.

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President Biden’s Speech on Democracy, or why you should stock up on ammunition if you haven’t already.

Better writers than I have pointed out the blatant hypocrisy and blatant logical fallacies in the President’s September 1st speech. If you want to read the official transcript, you can find it here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2022/09/01/remarks-by-president-bidenon-the-continued-battle-for-the-soul-of-the-nation/

If you don’t believe that the Democratic Party endorses political violence, I humbly submit that the Weather Underground all went on to be influential members of the Democratic Party. Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn were part of the “Chicago Machine” that gave us President Barrack Obama and Vice President (now President) Joe Biden. Kathy Boudin, who thankfully became a good Communist on 1 May 2022 when she died, after serving her post prison career indoctrinating other Communists at Columbia University.

Even before this, the Democratic Party used the Ku Klux Klan as it’s paramilitary wing to maintain tight political control over the “Solid South.”

Even the “fact checks” about Democratic leadership support for “mostly peaceful protests” and targeting and harassment of Conservatives isn’t labeled “false” only “missing context” https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2021/01/15/fact-check-quotes-democratic-leaders-riots-out-context/6588222002/

The Democratic Party has always attempted to harness the energy of violence to its advantage. https://assets.ctfassets.net/qnesrjodfi80/6bQdKPLDjyo2s0I8c60gA2/aec7a4feb53cdd469d9c59bc3dd5cc64/swain-the_inconvenient_truth_about_the_democratic_party-transcript.pdf When the “Rainbow Party” threatened to pull away black voters, the Democrat party adopted the “Rainbow Party” platform almost verbatim, https://digitalcommons.unf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1824&context=saffy_text. When “Black Lives Matter” started burning and rioting, the Democrats once again saw an opportunity to harness political violence for their own attempts to retain political power. https://www.kajalmag.com/democratic-party-black-lives-matter/ This is very similar to the 1960s radical socialists embracing the Black Panther Party into the hard Left: https://jacobin.com/2016/03/black-panther-party-revolution-fred-hampton/

The history of “Hard Right” violence in the United States has largely been the story of “lone wolves” or small pockets of people prodded into action by the FBI trying to prove that right wingers are dangerous. This is why so many “people of interest” got pulled off the January 6th list, because they were “agents provocateur” for the Federal government, hell bent on proving how dangerous all those right wingers are. After all, it’s easier to gain political power over your opponent when the media and deep state work together to show the world how horrible anyone who believes in the 2nd Amendment or limited government happens to be.

But the truth is, the people actually competent at violence are on the right, not the left. This is why Leftist revolutions, when they start to get serious, recruit violent criminals into their organization to ensure that the violence is competent. The death toll from the Weather Underground’s 25 known bombs was a single digit fraction of Tim McVeigh’s one bomb.

So what’s left to say? President Biden’s speech is just another example of “well violence isn’t bad when WE do it, only when YOU do it.” Because right wing violence scares them, because it is effective. So to all the “MAGA Republicans” I say, “Keep it up” because even if I don’t care for your politics, the Left is dead set on painting every plumber, framer, and truck driver with a Trump bumper sticker as a domestic terrorist.

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New rules on 80% receivers

From what I can tell of the new Federal Rules on firearms receivers, the only thing that changes is that if you want a blank 80% receiver, you have to buy your tooling to finish it separately. This means you can certainly buy a tooling kit, say for a DPMS Gen 1 LR-308 lower, and from a different company purchase a DPMS Gen 1 compatible 80% lower….

Way to go Brandon, the “cost of compliance” with this new rule is trivially easy. The people who lived through the “Assault Weapons Ban” of 1992 to 2002 are scoffing.

So to celebrate, I went ahead and purchased another 80% receiver, which I already have all the tooling necessary to complete. After all, it’s not a “loophole” it’s “compliance.” Unless you are an idiot, then anything but an outright total ban is immediately identified as a “loophole.” “Ewe….people can still own those icky guns, time to end the 2nd Amendment Loophole!”

Quite literally, I hope those people die of ass cancer. Places where only the government has guns are not good places.

However, it also means that you should start purchasing more 80% lowers as “trade stock” since we don’t know when the next “rules change” will make it so that they need to be “75%” or “50%” or some other un-Constitutional percentage number.

I found this to be the most digestible summary of the new rules: https://www.guns.com/news/2022/08/24/new-atf-frame-or-receiver-rule-take-effect

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Crawling through the mud with a rifle.

Explosions aren’t so loud as they are deafening. After a while you only feel the artillery pounding the dirt around you. But you can hear, somehow, your own ragged breath. No matter how dry the surface is, whether bare dirt or grass, the explosions pull up damp, soggy, earth and spread it across the beaten zone.

The crack of bullets going overhead sound like angry snaps, not timed to any beat or rhythm. The cheap, low thread count cotton digs into the skin near the elbows, scratching like canvas while soaking in the reddish hue of the mud.

Even with the concealment of darkness the smoke shells obscure everything, the wispy cloudlike chemical smell mixing with the nitrates of gunpowder, and high explosives. Dry and acrid, it’s enough to make you choke if you get a lung full of it.

Knee up, toes dig in, push forward. Repeat. Straps and buckles drag and catch on random sticks, roots, rocks. Elbows inching forward, gripping down, pulling. Repeat.

And then, suddenly, a trench, maybe. Over the berm down into a deeper darkness. The rifle feels heavier, or maybe the arms are weak. Mud cakes the front of the uniform, hands slick with sweat and grime.

Every heartbeat takes an eternity. All around you Death pulls souls to the afterlife, and you’ve never felt so alive.

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Nursing a popped rib and bruised ego

My competitive Brazilian Jiu Jitsu win loss record now stands at Zero wins and Two losses. My coach wants me to “get back on the horse soon” because competing in BJJ is a separate skill than learning BJJ, and he’s not wrong. But I have to pick the timing carefully because my very first match caused a floating rib on my left side to pop out and back in, and dumb me went into my second match and popped it out and in again….

So ouch. I’m more ashamed that I didn’t fight through the pain than anything else, but I tapped and now I’ve got weeks of recovery to try to not shit myself every time I cough or hiccup. This is the second time I’ve had a bad rib injury, the first was before Ranger school and that took six weeks to heal up, and I babied the hell out of it. This time I started off day one recovery with a light stadium stair drill to get some mild cardio going and increase blood flow through my veins. Screw passive recovery, as that would destroy all the gains I worked for over the past year.

So what did my first competition cost me? 95 dollars in registration fees, 50 bucks in gas to and from, and a day of my life. What’s the aftermath? Weeks of physical rehab and no rolling because I got injured, while I still pay 200 bucks a month for a family membership at the gym. What did I learn? That’s a good question. First, I’m definitely not aggressive enough. Coming from an Army Combatives background it felt like my first opponent had spent his entire time in the gym just focusing on competition and imposing his fight game on me the way a Soldier or wrestler does. And there’s really nothing wrong with that, if you want your BJJ game to be all about winning competitions there’s nothing wrong with it. But there’s no “flow” and it relies really heavily on being physically stronger and faster, which is why all the really competitive BJJ practitioners look absolutely ripped, because strength, endurance, and speed all matter.

The bruised ego part comes in because I feel I could have done way better had my ribs not “subluxioned.” Coach gave me some advice, “Keep more air reserve in your lungs to help support your ribs.” Which is something I’ll practice in a few weeks, or months, when I can roll again.

But coach is right, I need to compete again. However with Mammoth coming up in January, and a half marathon in February, there aren’t a lot of competitions that would leave enough time to be healthy for a 36 mile ruck march event (over three days, sleeping on the dirt) and a 13.1 mile run if I got injured again. I’m paying 800 bucks to do Mammoth, so that’s probably going to be my priority.

But that’s what my competition experience ended up being, hundreds of dollars to pop a rib because I didn’t have enough air in my lungs to pad when a 200+ man kneeled his body weight on them.

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Preparing for the Mammoth Sniper Challenge

Fort Gordon, Georgia will once again host the Mammoth Sniper Challenge, and in the spirit of “enjoy your midlife crisis, since this will be cheaper than an affair, sportscar, or decent motorcycle” I signed up. And now I’m in preparation mode, getting my kit together and working on increasing ruck march distances at pace to toughen up my feet.

One thing first, the Mammoth Sniper Challenge isn’t really a “military sniper” event. You aren’t going to put on a ghillie suit, be judged on your ability to stalk a target, or submit reports over a radio. But you will be graded on your ability to shoot, getting points for hitting small targets at longs distances. You will be graded on your ability to do range estimation, or whatever other tasks the organizers cook up, under strict time limits. So it is more of a “sniper” event (unknown distance, unknown target size) than NRA Vintage Sniper (known distance, known target size), but it’s not like a military sniper competition where senior snipers grade how well you do the sniper mission tasks and skills.

The real challenge with Mammoth is the rucking. You have to carry everything you need (save water) with you, in the ruck. You have to keep your pace faster than a 16 minute mile average between hard start and stop times. As long as you can keep up with the rucking, you can stay in the competition. If you bust a hard stop time (didn’t make a location by the required time) you are out of the running. Because of this requirement, there’s a lot of lists out there on how to minimize the weight you carry so you can keep up the pace.

One of the ways you can save weight is with a high end, custom rifle shooting .223 Remington. This is a great option because you can load up 75 or 80 grain match bullets pretty fast and be deadly accurate at pretty much any range where you have a good wind call. One team wrote in their after action report that next time both shooters would use lightweight AR-15s instead of heavy bolt action rifles.

Right now I have an LR-308 with a 5-25×56 (mil reticle, mil adjust) scope on it that comes in at 12.1 lbs empty. And I have a 20″ AR-15 topped with a 2.5-10×42 (mil reticle, mil adjust) that comes in at 10.1 lbs. So I could save 2 lbs on the rifle by going with the AR-15.

A normal “match load” for 5.56×45 will be around 200 grains total, or 2.85 lbs per 100 rounds. A normal “match load” for 7.62×51 will double that, to about 5.5 lbs per hundred rounds.

LR-308 with 100 rounds = 12.1 + 5.5 = 17.6 lbs total.
AR-15 with 100 rounds = 10.1 + 2.9 = 13 lbs total, 4.6 lbs less than the 7.62 option.

Next up is rucksack options. I have access to my issued MOLLE ruck, and I have my old school “big green life sucking tick” ALICE pack. The ALICE pack is about 2 lbs lighter, and I trust it (carried it through three phases of Ranger school way back in the day). Honestly I’m looking really hard at a commercial external frame hunting pack since I prefer a pack that puts the weight closer to my back, and higher up than either the ALICE or MOLLE rucks.

One thing I did splurge on was a thick, 4″ air pad to sleep on. I’ve slept on the ground plenty, and my joints aren’t getting any younger.

Last up is food considerations. The last time I did “serious rucking” like this I was consuming over 5,000 calories a day and still lost weight over the course of the event. So I need to plan for 15,000 calories of shelf stable food for myself (and an additional 15,000 calories for my shooting buddy).

Thankfully there’s a few months left before January hits.

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Vortex 4-16×44 Diamondback Scope

The Vortex line of scopes ranges from entry level to world class, and at the “entry level” side of things you have the Crossfire line and Diamondback line. Personally I think the Crossfire II 1-4×24 is a great option for a Low Power Variable Optic for an AR-15. I’m less convinced about the 4-16×44 Diamondback scope as a great option, but it can be a good option within certain limitations.

There are plenty of other reviews for this budget scope on tracking, return to zero, stiffness of turrets, etc. Suffice to say that this isn’t going to cover that, but more along a “how to use it” method.

The good, it’s first focal plane, has a “Christmas Tree” style reticle which is MOA in a body that has MOA adjustments. These are all good things. Where the Diamondback has a “feature failure” is no way to discern between turns. A normal long range scope has lines under the turret adjustment so that as you go “up” more lines are exposed so you know what turn you are on. The Diamondback misses this feature, which means that you have to manually count and keep track of turns, OR you have to set up your rifle so that you never need more than one turn of adjustment left or right.

Currently the Diamondback I have is sitting on top of an old Savage 10, with a 20″ heavy barrel in 308. Pushing a PPU 174gr FMJBT bullet to 2,550 fps this means I need a good 500 yard zero to make this a “one turn left/right” to go from 100 to 800 yards. For a short barreled 308 Winchester, this is a lot of real estate to cover, and given the original M24 was spec’d as an 800 meter weapon system, this isn’t bad at all compared to the old Leupold Mk4 used on that system.

To dial “down” to 400, it’s 3.9 minutes “down”, 300 is 7.4 minutes, 200 is 10.4 minutes, and 100 is 12.3 minutes. To dial “up” to 600 it is 4.4 minutes, 700 is 9.4 minutes, and 800 is full revolution of 15 minutes. Beyond 800 is beyond one revolution, and now you are back into the “manually counting turns” problem that better scopes eliminate with vertical hash marks to count turns. Or you end up using the “Christmas Tree” reticle to drop your dope, which works fairly well.

Now, would I recommend a 4-16×44 Vortex Diamondback Tactical for you? It depends. For a dedicated long range precision rifle/sniper option? No. For someone who does most of their shooting between 100 and 600 yards on a budget, then yes. But a 4-16×44 Diamondback will set you back around $350 on Amazon today, and a step up to the 5-25×56 Vortex Venom is only another $150. The Venom has a zero stop function, and is set up better for long range shooters. So, you get more for paying more, but often it’s worth paying more. If you want a scope not made in China, you’ll have to look long and hard to get something comparable to either Vortex in the “serious tactical shooting” category.

It should be noted, that for a “two way live fire” situation, huge scope objective lenses aren’t exactly a good idea. For marksmanship competitions, police marksman work, or a situation where you don’t expect enemy snipers to be looking for you, there’s really no downside to having a big rifle scope other than weight. There are ways to camouflage an objective lens, with green hundred mile per hour tape, or mesh cloth, two methods which cut down on the light gathering ability of the optic, as well as it’s reflectivity back towards a bad guy.

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Army Recruiting Is Down During a Bad Economy

The US Army is essentially a more complicated version of “screw it, I’ll be a stripper” for physically fit individuals with a clean enough background. Generally as the economy heats up, it gets very hard to recruit talent as the civilian economy also has a need for physically fit individuals with a clean enough background to run their businesses.

So why is the US Army (and every other service) Recruiting mission, in this straight dumpster fire of Bidenomics economy struggling to meet recruiting goals?

The first reason is that despite a crap economy, official unemployment numbers are below 4%. So there are jobs out there for people looking for work.

The second reason is that the “labor participation rate” is still below the Trump administrations low, by about a single percentage point, which equates to a couple million people. These are people not working, but also not counted as unemployed. It means someone or something else is supporting them, such as a pension, trust fund, or family.

The third reason, is simply that Leftists hate the military, and despite a new Top Gun movie hitting the theaters, there are tens to hundreds of other films where the bad guy is a broken veteran. In the 1980s it was the disgruntled Vietnam Vet, and more recently it’s the disgruntled GWOT vet. And charities such as the “Wounded Warrior Program” don’t exactly endorse leaving the military as a whole and healthy individual. The recently “renewed for 20 episodes” reboot of Magnum P.I. often include veterans dealing, sometimes unsuccessfully, with the trauma incurred in service. The same trope was ever present in the reboot of “MacGuyver.”

It is hard to describe in data these cultural trends and media tropes. When I enlisted a friend of mine in college told me, “You’ll come back a brain washed baby killer.” When I did come back, and we sat down for coffee at one of the local Denny’s the waitress accidently splashed some hot coffee on my arm, and I didn’t react because it honestly didn’t hurt that bad, and the same friend said “They trained you not to react very well.” However, he’d changed too. His life went on, and he grew into a different person, took the tech route and makes good money. Change is inevitable, whether or not military service is part of your life story.

It isn’t that there is anything wrong with the youth of today. They haven’t been given the whole story, nor did they grow up watching GI Joe on Saturday morning cartoons. They didn’t have a Hollywood cranking out WWII victory movies, and most are too young to get M.A.S.H. Most were born after the Global War On Terror started, and operations continue to this day in Iraq. The embarrassing and largely incompetent withdrawal from Afghanistan played out in real time on their laptop and smartphone screens.

What they don’t understand, and truth be told many Americans don’t understand this, is that a credible military is an absolute necessity for national and international security. What they don’t understand is that socialism always fails, “green, renewable energy” is a scam, and the worlds problems are created more by politicians than corporations. Those who didn’t escape public school got the full brunt of indoctrination, some in High Schools that refused to even let a recruiter on campus.

Actor Donald Sutherland, recently celebrating his 86th birthday, used to tour with a group called “FTA” which was organized to overtly subvert servicemembers against the Vietnam War. Jane Fonda was there as well, and both went on to fully successful Hollywood careers. Our culture wars were largely lost, and leftist “new media” like Facebook and Twitter amplify leftist talking points, and diminish empirical truths.

This is the world we live in, and at this point there is only the future to determine if the great enlistment slump of 2022 is a fluke or a trend.

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