Sniper Rifles | 5 Things You Don't Know About

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In anticipation of the Chris Kyle biopic and film release of the American Sniper this new original Military.com series looks at different sniper rifles and quickly recounts five “unknown” facts.

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  1. born2kill-checkYour6
    born2kill-checkYour6 Jan 10, 2015

    Seems like i read that Japanese women were the first "snipers".

  2. 33563178
    33563178 Jan 12, 2015

    I believe it was Russia that first at least "popularized" the role of sniper. They did so in WW2 when sniping was considered by most soldiers a very underhanded and ..undesirable role. Although I also know that the Germans had a large role in sniping as well.

  3. artymgysgt
    artymgysgt Jan 12, 2015

    I have fired rifles most of my life including 30 years in the USMC, but I never fired a weapon with a telescopic sight, just your every day iron sights.

  4. paddyj6
    paddyj6 Jan 12, 2015

    i thought a sniper was an asset in the days of Roger's Rangers, many many eons ago.>>

  5. Khrut27Gg
    Khrut27Gg Jan 13, 2015

    Perhaps the American rebels, fighting during the revolution? They used their longer range rifled barrel weapons to great effect during contact with the British units. Shooting officers off their horses was great sport to the rebels. Of course if captured, hanging was considered too good for these, as the British Officers considered them, cowardly mongrels.

  6. 6gunsally
    6gunsally Jan 13, 2015

    I would think it was the arly revolutionary volunteer withhis Kenucky Long Rifle, sniping officers.

  7. Slowpokey
    Slowpokey Jan 13, 2015

    England WW1 Named after English Snipe hunting. History Channel.

  8. rherickson
    rherickson Jan 13, 2015

    The first sharpshooter of record, according to Maj.Plaster's book "The History of Sniping and Sharpshooting", was an Englishman in August 1653. Shooting from the rigging of a ship, he shot and killed Adm. Martin Harpertszoon Trump, commander of the 100 ship Dutch fleet. The next to go by a "long shot" was King Charles XII of Sweden, shot by a Russian sharpshooter. The word "Sniper" was still a long way off but the skill was in use and fueling the desire and need for more accurate and long range barrels and ammunition. When is the first rifled barrel of record made??? 1450, Italy. Of course, I could be wrong and if I am, please let me know where I went off the tracks.

  9. BASavage
    BASavage Jan 13, 2015

    If I'm not mistaken it was the Scots under the British Crown that developed the sniper.

  10. 17288370
    17288370 Jan 15, 2015

    Isreal

  11. 4499124
    4499124 Jan 20, 2015

    During the Russo-Finnish war of 1939-40 some Finn had over 500 Russian kills...there were over 100,000 Russian dead and Hitler was convinced that the Reds under Stalin were weak and that Moscow could be taken. All started in June, '41.

  12. 33596370
    33596370 Jan 21, 2015

    The Finnish sniper was an army man Simo Hayha a.k.a White Death. A farmer with family, active hunter and National Guard man. Due his profession he was able to cope with the inhuman cold during the 105d brutal Winter war. even -40f. Stalin made an massive mistake by underestimating the Finnish Army. He lost 90men /hour 24/7 for 105 days. Hitler made even worse mistake by assuming Wehrmacht can fight as Finns did and necleted Stalins ability to learn from mistakes. Simo Hayha eliminated 500+ Red Army soldiers in less than 3 months. Note: he did not use crosshair! even some communists died 1300 ft away. ayha was wounded and did not join the 41-44 war. He was raised as an Officer bypassing the rank. Later he was the Chief Hunting boss for our President Kekkonen and his beloved visitors from Top Soviet Union hierarchy!

  13. HH3FFlightmech
    HH3FFlightmech Feb 02, 2015

    Iam going with the Dutch/South Aficans dring the Boer war.

  14. 31872127
    31872127 Feb 03, 2015

    In WWI the British sniper program was in response to German snipers that were slaughtering the Brits in the trenches, so it's not the British. But then it's not the Germans either. The earliest formal sharpshooter formation, however, of which I am aware is the 1st US Sharpshooters raised in the Union Army by Hiram C. Berdan in 1861. That said, depending on how the question was posed, in the Napoleonic era there were jagers and schutzen in various German armies that were organized from huntsmen and who were noted for their marksmanship. The French had voltigeur and chasseur companies in their line regiments whose duty it was to skirmish, with an emphasis on shooting officers. And NCOs in some regiments light companies were issued rifles. These men pre-dated the 5/60th Foot and the 95th Rifles in the British Army, which were armed with Baker rifles for that purpose. My money, however,is on the 1st US Sharpshooters.

  15. 26221955
    26221955 Feb 03, 2015

    Israel,

  16. danny70000
    danny70000 Feb 03, 2015

    Calling any 5.56 weapon a sniper rifle is like calling a go-cart a race car. You can call it anything you want, but it just doesn't have the horsepower to do the job. In my experience, beyond 300 yards,the bullet doesn't have the stability or power to do the job.

  17. Royneal2002
    Royneal2002 Feb 04, 2015

    The British Whitworth rifle, used greatly during the American Civil War. Some of these rifles were fitted with a scope on top of the barrel, thus creating the first actual sniper rifle.

  18. 33675726
    33675726 Feb 12, 2015

    To those wondering when "sniping" began, if you consider sniping to be long range accurate fire with the ability to target selected individuals, then you must consider the Baleric Island slingers. They were so highly regarded by the Imperial Roman army that each legion was supplied with a small group (15-20 men per legion) who were dispersed through the legion and under the direct command of the Centurions, who would specify which targets to eliminate .

  19. 33799223
    33799223 Mar 28, 2015

    Was it Germany

  20. 33846472
    33846472 Apr 15, 2015

    to much common knowledge....

  21. 26919692
    26919692 Jun 17, 2015

    Very interesting article. I always thought using the 50 Cal on personnel was against Geneva Convention Rules.

  22. 32122243
    32122243 Jun 20, 2015

    I have a thing I need to get off my chest.. Memorial day I drove by the local National Guard unit to see our country flag at full mask, not at half mask??? this was not the only place...post office, police station and so on. I served for 32 years....How disrespectful!! to our fallen service members who have fallen...and our country. 1SG

  23. 34079911
    34079911 Jul 03, 2015

    Scotland

  24. punnster
    punnster Jul 06, 2015

    Americans in the revolution first snipers??

  25. garyskids
    garyskids Aug 29, 2015

    Switzerland would be a natural guess.

  26. 34133558
    34133558 Oct 18, 2015

    I believe it was the Germans who were the first to effectively use trained snipers during WWI. They were so effective that the British and Canadians had to respond in kind to limit their casualties. Their snipers targeted German snipers. American marksmen using rifled muskets during the revolution did shoot particular individuals from hidden positions, however they were not considered snipers and it wasn't the range of their weapons, but their accuracy and the fact they fired from hidden positions that made them so dangerous. Marksmen were not the only Americans firing from hidden positions. It was the preferred method of harassing British troops during the war. They were able to inflict casualties without engaging the British regulars in open field combat. The colonials could fire on British troops and then disappear into the forests.

  27. 34487799
    34487799 Nov 11, 2015

    Initially, the Soviet's designed the Mosin-Dragoon Sniper Rifle during 1927-1928 with a D-III optical sight. Ammunition used was 7.62mm. The Russian's subsequently modified the Mosin-Nagent 1891/30 bolt-action Sniper Rifle prior to WWII in 1932 and produced 330,000 units until retiring it in 1963. It fired a 7.62x54mm rimmed round for targets up to 600 meters with a 5-round clip. Since then, Russian snipers have used the Dragunov SVD Sniper Rifle with a PSO-1 Optical Sight. It has a max effective range of 1,200M or 1,312 yards.

  28. 35257977
    35257977 Jul 17, 2016

    Russian women in WW II where used as "Snipers"... And used sniper rifles can be bought at gun shows. You did not mention the .338 Cal sniper rifle that may be softer on the shoulder ! Thank you for the video ! tjl

  29. 35504717
    35504717 Oct 08, 2016

    Russia

  30. MandM3
    MandM3 Dec 27, 2016

    German's

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