Earlier I wrote about the entertainment industry giving magical powers to firearms. More recently, the Discovery channel, on their new program, Future Weapons, did a bit about an “actual” 1.5 mile, one shot hit from a cold bore using the new .416 Barrett. The shooter was depicted as firing his first shot ever from that rifle and hitting his target (a circle of about 5 feet diameter) at 1.5 miles. My skepticism lead me back to Joe’s exterior ballistics program. Since Barrett had just sent us a write-up and the specs on his new cartridge, all I had to do was plug in his numbers. I allowed, again, for the most amazing velocity standard deviation of 5 feet per second, with a 1/2 MOA accurate rifle/cartridge combination. I reduced the effects of the atmosphere by raising the elevation to 3000 feet. I enlarged the target to a 12 x 20 inch ellipse (roughly the one-shot kill area of the human body) and still I came up with a probability of a one shot hit (any hit) of about 8 percent at 1.5 miles. The hit probability at that range on a 5-foot circle is about 58%. Time if flight: 4.05 sec. Extremely good, but you have to push the accuracy of the system to the edge of believability to get it, and with a perfect marksman. It’s certainly not what we’re being led to believe by the TV producers.
Barrett’s specs for the .416:
Muzzle velocity: 3250 fps
Ballistic Coefficient: 0.943
Bullet Mass: 400 grains – solid copper
I want one! I wonder if they’re going to come out with some light varmint bullets for it, or some frangible defense loads. Heh.