Understanding And Exploiting Echo

Echoes are generated when sound waves reflcct off such hard surfaces as hillsides, buildings« or large rocks, and can be very confusing, as demonstrated in Dallas when President John R Kennedy was slain. To this day, some witnesses swear they heard gunshots from a grassy knoll as well as the building in which Lee Harvey Oswald concealed himself. Photos from the scene show motorcycle officers with guns drawn rushing the knoll., and even so-called experts argue about the total number of shots fired.

Any sound, including a muzzle blast, travels in all directions at a constant speed, about 650 mph at sea level, in flat, open country, such as desert or grassland, it's simple to identify where a sound originated since the noise reaches you directly. There's nothing to bounce off and cause an echo, so there's no confusion. It's when large objects are present that we get confused, because the sound of gunfire can reflect off these and make it seem to come from another direction.

This reflection can reduce your ability to detect enemy snipers, but you can also exploit it by selecting a hide having nearby surfaces that cause echoes and make it difficult to find you.

The most important point to remember when considering echoes is that the person being fired on always hears the real muzzle blast first, while the echoes follow. How quickly the echoes follow—and inspire confusion—is determined by the location of the surfaces off which the sound reflects. As the illustration on page 260 shows, the shortest distance the sound waves must travel is always from the sniper's location to the target—the echo off the rock must travel nvice as far. There's a distinct pause between the shot and the echo, allowing the target an excellent likelihood of distinguishing between the echo and the real muzzle blast.

A North Vietnamese soldier collapses on a Laotisn trail, hit by CAR-15 fire from a SOG man in an 0-1 Bird Dog. (Photo credit: Mike Buckland)

Now look at the next illustration. A short distance behind the target are two large rocks off which the sound bounces, reaching the target's ears at almost the same time as the real muzzle blast. This could confuse the target, but since the echoes are coming from his rear and not the same direction as the shooter, it probably won't fool him.

The most confusing echo, as illustrated at bottom right, has a hillside close behind the sniper that reflects his muzzle blast so that the echoes and real blast reach the target almost simultaneously and from the same general direction in which the shot was fired. If the sniper was well concealed, his target would probably find it impossible to locate him.

If you cannot plan your position in regard to echo effects, at least understand how it affects the sound of your muzzle blast so you'll know when it benefits you. And when in the countersniper role, remember: the sound of his real muzzle blast will reach you first. If you stay alert, you can "see" through echoes and correctly identify the enemy sniper's position.


usually break up and splinter into tiny pieces upon impacting a firm surface. Military-type hardball ammunition will better withstand impact and likely retain more velocity and mass and thus more lethality.

Third, the likelihood of ricochet is affected by the angle of impact. Ricochets occur when a

Bullets ricochet most reliably after striking a firm surface at a shallow angle of 10 to 20 degrees. Three factors affect this tendency to ricochet.

First is the hardness of the impact surface. The harder the surface, the more likely a bullet may ricochet. Hard surfaces include asphalt, steel, and cement, but don't forget we're also talking about vertical surfaces such as walls and the flat sides of heavy vehicles. Though softer surfaces like grass or dirt can generate a ricochet, the likelihood isn't as great.

Second, a ricochet depends upon the type of bullet. Soft-point and hollowpoint bullets bulla hits a surface at a shallow angle—the momentum of the bullet is pushing it forward much more than downward. Usually., ricochets result when the bullet path is less than 30 degrees into the surface it strikes, causing it to glance off rather than penetrate the surface. Note the distinction: we're talking about the angle of your bullet's trajectory path, not the angle you're holding your rifle. After impact, a ricocheting bullet most likely tumbles but may continue flying tip-forward.

It's during your bullet's flattest trajectory— out to perhaps 350 yards—dial a ricochet most likely would occur. Beyond this range, a 7.62mm bullet starts to plunge more sharpJy and lose the forward momentum required for ricocheting. Within this limited area, then— your muzzle to 350 yards—you should aim to hit a hard surface at less than 30 degrees to create a ricochet.

Planning a Ricochet

Planning a ricochet is wrought with uncertainty. You cannot plan exactly where the ricochet will go; a lot depends upon the angle and firmness of the round's impact point.

You probably cannot anticipate much beyond whether a bullet will ricochet up, down, right, or left. I can rccall watching night tracer firing and observing one round flip skyward at 60 degrees; then another tracer, fired by the same weapon into the same approximate spot, careens into the horizon at 20 degrees. This variation resulted from the bullets impacting slightly different, although importantly, I recall that both rounds deflected up.

Generally, your ricochet will come off a surface at the same or a lesser angle than that which it struck, meaning if it impacted at 20 degrees, it will deflect no more than 20 degrees and probably less.

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Hunting Mastery Selected Tips

Hunting Mastery Selected Tips

Deer hunting is an interesting thing that reminds you of those golden old ages of 19th centuries, where a handsome hunk well equipped with all hunting material rides on horse searching for his target animal either for the purpose of displaying his masculine powers or for enticing and wooing his lady love.

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