1. Dovifan4
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    Dovifan4 New Member

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    Assassin shooting question

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Dovifan4, Aug 9, 2013.

    I'm currently working on a story that starts with a competitor in a Formula 1-esque race being assassinated. I've looked up some stats, but I don't know jack about the physics of making a long distance rifle shot, and would like to make sure that this is at least near the realm of possibility.

    Ok. According to the math, this is possible. But theory isn't always the same as reality. The assassination would take place during a caution lap/pit stop (so the car is moving a lot slower/sitting still). The assassin would be in a blimp (e.g. an off brand Goodyear blimp), and take the shot from there.

    Blimp Approx. 1000ft. alt.
    l
    l
    l
    l
    l
    l_____________________________________________________driver in carapprox. 2640ft (1/2 mile)

    The shot distance (hypotenuse of the ^^^ triangle) would be approx. 2823ft (just over 1/2 mile).

    I've looked up the stats on the Goodyear blimp and it generally flies 1000-1500ft, and the record for longest shot is well over a mile. Like I said before, the math says yes, but my lack of knowledge in this subject says that this is something that would only be possible in a bogus action movie. Thanks for any input.
     
  2. DPVP
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    DPVP Active Member

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    Ok my long distance shooting is limited to hunting out west ranges ranges, and shooting prarie dogs at up to a thousand yards. Hear is the problem with making this shot from a blimp versus a building. The blimp is moving, as is the target. This creates more issues with aiming, as you have to take into account your movement and the targets movement. This is why snipping from one ship to another is so difficult.

    Also remember that gravity does not concern itself with angles. The bullet travels along a parabolic arch, but is affected by gravity along the surface. The thing with these distances is its not just haveing a good rifle and scope, it's about haveing the training and experience to do it. I am guessing the sniper does not want to fire multiple shots so range finder is nessary. That range finder measures the hypotnose though. The shooter will need to know the gravity distance, their are conversion tables for that.

    Also the shoot will need a good rest. So he will probably want as supported a position as possible. A bipod or similar tool with a bean bag can help give the shooter a good rest. To me the hardest part if you had a proper shooter with proper gear is the blimp part as it is moving.
     
  3. DPVP
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    DPVP Active Member

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    Haveing a spotter whould also be helpful to watch the shot and help make adjustments if their is a miss. I thought I should mention the most important thing. A shot at that distance needs data about their belistics. They need to know the rate that their bullet falls and how it's affected by environmental factors like humidity and tempeture. Their are calculators for this
     
  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would suggest you check out Sniper Central http://www.snipercentral.com/ - I've had several conversations with the fellow over there and he's very helpful, as is his site. That said, I'm not sure the shot during a caution lap is even possible. The pit stop - that may be.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    If this assassin can hit a moving car from a blimp, he's either the greatest sniper ever or extremely lucky.

    Shots at that distance are insanely hard to pull off. The sniper would need to consider wind, temperature, humidity, mirage, light, elevation, and how the target is moving relative to him. Even the record holder for the longest sniper kill missed 8 times before he hit the target.
     
  6. Dovifan4
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    Dovifan4 New Member

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    Thanks everyone for the input.

    I realized as I typed the question, that for it to be any amount of possible, it would have to be during a pit stop so that the car is stationary.
    In regards to the sniper. This character has many years of experience and is a very skilled assassin. Think Mark Wahlberg (spelling?) in the movie Shooter. I plan on giving him accomplices in the blimp, and at least one close to the target (or high tech sensors mounted nearby) to give him the wind speed, humidity, etc. at the target. I think if he has that information, plus the same information at his position, it would make it more realistically possible for him to do the necessary equations for the shot.

    I have been unable to find the information on how slow you can fly a blimp. I would think in the single digits, but the Goodyear site only says that it can fly 35mph. So I'm hoping to find more info on how slow you can fly it.

    With the need for a sand bag, or form of rest for the rifle. The shooter will have an attachment on the bottom of his rifle to allow him to connect it to the TV camera mount, providing the rifle with the same stability as the tv camera.

    What type of rifle would be needed for such a shot? Sorry for my lack of knowledge, but I really don't know much about rifles. I'm not really worried about portability. The sniper and his men hijack the blimp on the ground, and after getting to a decent distance away will bail out. So, he doesn't need to blend into a crowd or have like a movie style "fit in a brief case" kind of gun. Is there a certain caliber that would/wouldn't work for a shot of this distance? Or any other factor of the weapon's manufacturing/specs that would make this shot a lot more believable?

    Thanks again to everyone for the help.
     
  7. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    Why shoot from the blimp? If he can get an accomplice close to the driver, he can get himself there, and that presents much easier ways to eliminate the target. Also, if it's a major race, it will likely have TV helicopters covering it, which are faster and more maneouverable than a blimp could ever be, so the chance of slipping away unseen isn't good. Those issues, combined with the difficulty of a sniper shot from the blimp, means that an experienced assassin isn't going to risk it.

    Of course, if he used something like an anti-tank rocket, some are laser guided so he doesn't need the same levels of distant accuracy, it will eliminate a radius rather than hitting a spot, also helping with the accuracy, and it will scare the hell out of the helicopters who wouldn't want to follow something so clearly hazardous to them. I think with the anti-tank rocket, taking the car out on the slow lap would be feasible.

    You can cut the engines on the blimp and drift - if there's little or no wind, you're practically stationary. Alternatively, a skilled pilot should be able to hold it (roughly) stationary in the wind using the engines.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm curious about why this would be classified as an assassination and not just a murder...
     
  9. DPVP
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    DPVP Active Member

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    so for a rifle for this job. their are a few things that go into this.
    lets start with the round.

    the cartridge needs to have efficient power down range to make a kill. believe it or not a lot of bullets are still lethal at that type of range, . the issue is reliability to produce a kill and acrecy. a smaller bullet will be more effected by wind and other changes and then a larger one. their are alot of people that shoot 1000 yard matches with 308 and 30-06 caliber guns. however you are looking at something a bit longer then that

    this leads us to the question of is this modern day? we now have a lot more options built for long range shooting. one of the most popular new ones is the .338 Lapua, this carterage currently holds the record for longest kill in combat. of course their is also the older 50 BMG witch also has some very long range kills. one i have not heard as much about is the .416 Barret

    this leads us to the last part of the question. Accuracy international (L115A3) McMillian Brothers and Barrett along with many other makers produce rifles for this purpose. (i listed those three because they come to mind out of how common they are). i like Barrett and consider them good guys with their polices about who they will sell to and wish more big gun companies would fallow suit.
     
  10. auntiebetty
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    auntiebetty Active Member

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    Please consider how your assassin, in a blimp, escapes. It is impractical to assume any escape that would evade authorities. The slow ascent rate after the shot, combined with the low maximum altitude of this type blimp, make it an impractical platform for the sniper attack you envision.
     
  11. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    As others have pointed out, there are a lot of problems with this scenario, so could you possibly consider giving the sniper some other location? I'm unfamiliar with F1 competition grounds, but I'd guess there might be places like individual booths, rafters, or some such, which would be far more ideal as a shooting platform than a moving blimp since that way the sniper would eliminate the need to mess around with a range finder if he misses his first shot (and pros usually take into consideration the possibility of a miss since there are so many variables in such a feat, variables that can make or break the job), he'd have more options for escape, he wouldn't need a camera arm etc. I have no idea how long / how big of a hassle it would be to set up a camera arm like that, but it's just one more thing that can go wrong / cause problems, and going for a kill at such long distances already has enough of those to begin with, so unless it's absolutely essential for the plot or some such, I'd ditch the blimp.

    As for the hardware, he'd need the aforementioned LRF, his data chart (made for that particular rifle and the particular cartridge he's using for that shot), the rifle (most likely a higher-end bolt action with a detachable box magazine, it can be a custom job or a decent mass produced model that's harder to trace back to him, like a Remington 700 Police or a CZ 550 Varmint Kevlar, both examples of rifles that are great out of the box and fire the popular & hence difficult to trace .308 round that's still used by organizations like FBI's HRT), and the ammo (someone already mentioned the ones I would've recommended, namely .308Win, 30-06, .338 Lapua, and the .50BMG), a bipod, a top-level adjustable scope... I have a hunch I'm forgetting something essential here, so I second sniper central.
     
  12. archerfenris
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    archerfenris Active Member

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    Particularly the moving blimp and moving vehicle make it rather unbelievable. I'm no sniper but from a conversation I've had with a sniper I understand that it's very difficult to hit a target that is zig-zagging or otherwise moving perpendicular to your aim. I've never had to hit a moving target but even I know you have to lead the target and time it, making it much more difficult. They speak about this problem in the Jack Reacher movie. Also if you believe Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy you'd note he set up in a position where his target (the president) was moving away from him. This made him almost like a stationary target. Also Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot while stationary from across the street with a 30-06 hunting rifle.

    Point being it all seems very unnecissary. Regardless of how skilled this assassin is, he'll want to keep it simple. Shooting a guy in a race sounds much harder than shooting him while he's at home. If the contract required it to be at the race, I'd further assume he'd prefer a bomb. An attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler involved a bomb. Particularly terrorist organizations use this method be they Al-Qaeda, other islamic fundamentalists groups, or even the IRA. Fatherland and Liberty assassinated a Spanish police officer with a bomb while I was in Europe in the summer of 2009.
     
  13. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    Yup. I've hit targets at 800m using a sniper rifle, and it's NOT easy. A simple gust of wind can deflect a bullet so much that in the scenario you laid out, the sniper might even miss the car, never mind the driver. No assassin would plan his "hit" this way, because he has no way of knowing the wind conditions so far in advance.

    A guided anti-tank missile might be more the weapon of choice, but obviously everybody would see where that came from. ;-)

    I second the suggestions made by the others and propose you find a different way of killing the victim. The track could pass through a densely-wooded section, where a sniper would have a much better chance of hitting at much shorter ranges. Probably best scenario would be to try to hit the driver head-on just before a corner. Lower speed, not much sideways target movement, and point-blank range if possible.
     

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