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OT: The Bama Squirrel Hunter - hunting is good

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  • OT: The Bama Squirrel Hunter - hunting is good

    The following hasn't gotten a lot of ink or light of day on the silver screen but here's another update of how we're doing, and I might add, who we are.....YOD

    Sniper shot that took out an insurgent killer from three quarters of a mile
    Toby Harnden in Ramadi
    (Filed: 01/01/2006)

    Gazing through the telescopic sight of his M24 rifle, Staff Sgt Jim Gilliland, leader of Shadow sniper team, fixed his eye on the Iraqi insurgent who had just killed an American soldier.

    His quarry stood nonchalantly in the fourth-floor bay window of a hospital in battle-torn Ramadi, still clasping a long-barrelled Kalashnikov. Instinctively allowing for wind speed and bullet drop, Shadow's commander aimed 12 feet high.

    A single shot hit the Iraqi in the chest and killed him instantly. It had been fired from a range of 1,250 metres, well beyond the capacity of the powerful Leupold sight, accurate to 1,000 metres.

    "I believe it is the longest confirmed kill in Iraq with a 7.62mm rifle," said Staff Sgt Gilliland, 28, who hunted squirrels in Double Springs, Alabama from the age of five before progressing to deer - and then people.

    "He was visible only from the waist up. It was a one in a million shot. I could probably shoot a whole box of ammunition and never hit him again."

    Later that day, Staff Sgt Gilliland found out that the dead soldier was Staff Sgt Jason Benford, 30, a good friend.

    The insurgent was one of between 55 and 65 he estimates that he has shot dead in less than five months, putting him within striking distance of sniper legends such as Carlos Hathcock, who recorded 93 confirmed kills in Vietnam. One of his men, Specialist Aaron Arnold, 22, of Medway, Ohio, has chalked up a similar tally.

    "It was elating, but only afterwards," said Staff Sgt Gilliland, recalling the September 27 shot. "At the time, there was no high-fiving. You've got troops under fire, taking casualties and you're not thinking about anything other than finding a target and putting it down. Every shot is for the betterment of our cause."

    All told, the 10-strong Shadow sniper team, attached to Task Force 2/69, has killed just under 200 in the same period and emerged as the US Army's secret weapon in Ramadi against the threat of the hidden Improvised Explosive Device (IED) or roadside bomb - the insurgency's deadliest tactic.

    Above the spot from which Staff Sgt Gilliland took his record shot, in a room at the top of a bombed-out observation post which is code-named Hotel and known jokingly to soldiers as the Ramadi Inn, are daubed "Kill Them All" and "Kill Like you Mean it".

    On another wall are scrawled the words of Senator John McCain: "America is great not because of what she has done for herself but because of what she has done for others."

    The juxtaposition of macho slogans and noble political rhetoric encapsulates the dirty, dangerous and often callous job the sniper has to carry out as an integral part of a campaign ultimately being waged to help the Iraqi people.

    With masterful understatement, Lt Col Robert Roggeman, the Task Force 2/69 commander, conceded: "The romantic in me is disappointed with the reception we've received in Ramadi," a town of 400,000 on the banks of the Euphrates where graffiti boasts, with more than a degree of accuracy: "This is the graveyard of the Americans".

    "We're the outsiders, the infidels," he said. "Every time somebody goes out that main gate he might not come back. It's still a running gun battle."

    Highly effective though they are, he worries about the burden his snipers have to bear. "It's a very God-like role. They have the power of life and death that, if not held in check, can run out of control. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    "Every shot has to be measured against the Rules of Engagement [ROE], positive identification and proportionality."

    Staff Sgt Gilliland explains that his Shadow team operates at the "borderlines" of the ROE, making snap judgements about whether a figure in the crosshairs is an insurgent or not.

    "Hunters give their animals respect," he said, spitting out a mouthful of chewing tobacco. "If you have no respect for what you do you're not going to be very good or you're going to make a mistake. We try to give the benefit of the doubt.

    "You've got to live with it. It's on your conscience. It's something you've got to carry away with you. And if you shoot somebody just walking down the street, then that's probably going to haunt you."

    Although killing with a single shot carries an enormous cachet within the sniper world, their most successful engagements have involved the shooting a up to 10 members of a single IED team.

    "The one-shot-one-kill thing is one of beauty but killing all the bad dudes is even more attractive," said Staff Sgt Gilliland, whose motto is "Move fast, shoot straight and leave the rest to the counsellors in 10 years" and signs off his e-mails with "silent souls make.308 holes".

    Whether Shadow team's work will ultimately make a difference in Iraq is open to question. No matter how many insurgents they shoot, there seems no shortage of recruits to plant bombs.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

    It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

  • #2

    Get me a address so I can send some toys and candy to "those" boys.

    Didn't we have a Seargent York?

    I learned to shoot by hunting and eating squirrels. Learned about death, hunger, and stalking, paitience and planning.
    Excuse me, I farted.


    • #3
      Three quarters of a mile! Now that ain't bad shooting!

      Brings to mind that scene in the movie "Lonesome Dove", where Gustus McRae calmly calculates his windage and elevation, and then drills a gut shot into the mocking bad guy who thinks he's out of range.
      That's probably my all-time favorite movie.
      Lynn (Huntsville, AL)


      • #4
        He did it with a .308, aimed 12 ft high, simply amazing.


        • #5
          12 foot high lucky shot and amazing. I like my squirrels wrapped with bacon. Yumm.


          • #6
            12 foot high lucky shot and amazing. I like my squirrels wrapped with bacon. Yumm. Id be happy to cook that man a nice squirrel dinner.


            • #7
              I shot watemelons left in the field at 500 yards. It was a three-four to one hit. There was no mistaking a hit. The Spray of red melon.

              Then That was a $2500 rifle, now about $6,000. I sold it, a Springfield armory M1A , A stainless 1:10 twist barrel for 168 gr bullets, Gi gas tube, TRW bolt, Two stage trigger, Super dense walnut stock with a beautiful feather. Match sights, a B-square scope mount w. redfield 6x18 scope. It had been assembled by Glen Nelson, a Marine armorer who worked with the match team. The stock had been bedded and was near impossible to dissasemble. (I got caught in the rain hog hunting)

              You could see each heart beat in that scope, your breath made a nice circle, YOu kinda had to let it drift across the target and squeeze the second sear off.

              It was the best auto gun I ever had. The flat top Ar was next, I never put a decent scope on it thou.
              Excuse me, I farted.


              • #8
                The idea about candy and the like sounds good, anyone have an address.


                • #9
                  Hi Fellows, My son-in-law just went to Iraq last Dec.
                  I an trying to get things togeather to send over there. I ask what they could use. Not much of anything but international phone cards are always usefull, he said.
                  I have a site where you can buy them and I will get some and send to him and he can draw names for the cards. I am going to add in some pogie bait also.
                  Don\'t ask me to do a dam thing, I\'m retired.


                  • #10
                    With a 100 yard zero the .308 drops 44 feet at 1200 yards and is barely supersonic.

                    I think he had some dope on the scope to hold over just 12 feet. A lucky shot no doubt. A shooter once told me Skill + Opportunity = Luck.

                    Glen Nelson was an Army gunsmith. I have a M1A that has NELSON 11 as the serial number. It was one of his personal rifles he shot in competition. The wood is stunning. He closed up shop a couple of years ago. I inherited a bunch of equipment from him. The Nelson Cup is awarded to the winning team at the Georgia State Highpower Championship.



                    • #11

                      I envy your rifle. The one I had was pretty amazing for a autoloader.

                      Army? I am confused more than normal. I had the bio with the rifle, it went with it.

                      I was all tangled up in a saw briar in South georgia, I was pulling gently trying to "not scratch the gun" when a black porker about 40 pounds came running straight at me. I whirled and shot once from the hip. Missed, but the gun was scratched. The guy who got the rifle loved the story so much he made me tell it to him three or four times.

                      This was the gun I was shooting crows out of the trees on the next road in Rossville. My handloads, never push a M1A too fast or you will bend the oper rod. 2600 is enough. >> If memory serves me?? Memory is not too good lately. I was using Nosler ballistic tips, 168 grains, isralie brass, 768 ball powder, 4095 grain and sizing all the rounds for length and case thickness.

                      Hey, I found a box of isralie brass. I no longer have a 308.. A box of tracers too broken out of M60 belt. If you want it.. I think you have to pay hazardous shipping nowadays thou? what do you know? My handloads don't store too well. I used a lot of lube. Kills the powder. You'd have to pull the bullets. I was shooting at a range where a bunch of swat trained, One picked up one of my brass with the Hebrew on the rim.. HA HA>. I had so much fun with him.. He was soooo stupid... Or he played it well.
                      Excuse me, I farted.


                      • #12
                        Another under-reported story along the same lines.



                        • #13
                          <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by glenj:
                          Another under-reported story along the same lines.

                          from the article you posted.....

                          "When he hit his first target, an enemy gunman at a distance of 1,700 metres, he said all that ran through his mind was locating his next target.
                          "All I thought of was Sept. 11th and all those people who didn't have a chance and the American reporter who was taken hostage, murdered and his wife getting the videotape of the execution; that is my justification."

                          It's comforting to know there are still real men left around these parts. We're getting pretty touchy-feely - can't we all just get along - as of late.

                          Buck up men, there's work to be done and not many to do it.

                          thanks for the post.........

                          [This message has been edited by Your Old Dog (edited 01-29-2006).]
                          - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                          Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

                          It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.


                          • #14
                            Hurraahh!Score one for the good guys!

                            Here is another under-reported byt the anti-military,anti-American,anti-gun media in this country.-

                            I just need one more tool,just one!


                            • #15
                              Hi Dave,

                              I appreciate the offer of the tracers but I only have the one .308 and would never shoot them through it. Thank you though.


                              [This message has been edited by meho (edited 01-29-2006).]

                              [This message has been edited by meho (edited 01-29-2006).]