Re: first line of defense

From: James Rogers (
Date: Mon Oct 01 2001 - 01:03:10 MDT

On 9/29/01 9:53 PM, "Spike Jones" <> wrote:
>> The hard part is learning to shoot down an aircraft with a rifle, since
>> you'll never hit it if you aim at it even if it is headed directly at you.
> I assume one would lead the target similar to the way one leads
> a bird when hunting with a shotgun. Of course, the muzzle velocity
> of a 30.06 is probably about twice that of Mr. Twelve Gauge,
> but the target is farther away. Im estimating the muzzle velocity
> of a 30.06 at about 600 meters per second, and a crop duster
> up to no good would be about that altitude or less, so estimate
> its velocity at about 50 meters per second and lead the target
> by about that much.

.30-06 = ~900 m/s
12ga = ~400 m/s

What you are forgetting is that, unless the plane is on top of you, you have
to compensate both for the motion of the plane *AND* the ballistic
trajectory of the bullet. With a target moving that fast, this takes
extraordinary amounts of practice to even have a faint hope of hitting

An excellent example is shooting clay pigeons with a rifle. Not impossible,
but something a skilled shooter can learn to do with some practice.
However, when you are shooting clay pigeons, the target is close enough that
you can ignore the ballistic trajectory of the bullet and only compensate
for the flight path of the target. When you are shooting an airplane, you
have to take the ballistic trajectory of the bullet into consideration in
addition to the trajectory of the plane. Shooting off-hand, this could
easily lead to a miss if you misjudge even slightly. And most people don't
even know the basics, like shooting over the plane rather than at it.

So shooting an aircraft with a rifle involves both knowing how to compensate
for flight trajectories (like with a shotgun) AND knowing how to compensate
for ballistic trajectories of the bullet (like long-range rifle shooting).
Unless you can do both in real-time at the same time, your odds of hitting
anything are almost nil because your shooting instincts will most likely be
wrong for that situation. Which is why having the proles try to shoot down
crop dusters is probably a bad idea for the most part without some
substantial education on the matter.

-James Rogers

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