DC "sniper" question


March 11, 2004, 10:47 AM

According to this, the two snipers shot people at 500 yards. I don't know if this is true or not, but I think I might through the bs flag on this one.

I would really like to email this numbskull writer and tell him a few things....:banghead:

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March 11, 2004, 11:03 AM
The guy’s a columnist, not a reporter. If you look through some of his past columns, you’ll see a mix of fact, innuendo, hyperbole and opinion.

He actually wrote a follow up column, complaining about readers who complained about the first.

If you REALLY want to practice banging your head against the wall, drop him a line. But, expect yourself to be misrepresented in a future column.

What’s that saying? Never get in a war of words with someone who buys ink by the barrel.


March 11, 2004, 12:26 PM
Well, the 500 yards line raises the BS flag, but this quote takes the BS cake:

"The Bushmaster, a version of the military's standard AK-47 rifle, was the kind of gun they had in mind: highly accurate, extremely deadly from almost a half-mile away."

Wholly inaccurate quotes Batman! Obviously, we're dealing with someone who is writing without even a minimal working knowledge of the subject. Now, I'm not claiming to be perfect, but accuracy in all things is essential. I can't imagine what would happen if I made a big and obvious mistake like that at work.

March 11, 2004, 12:32 PM
what a moron. the military, at least out military, doesn't issue AK-47s!!! this guy needs to do a little research before he writes.

March 11, 2004, 12:48 PM
The "mind" of a columnist is a dangerous thing! :banghead:

Carlos Cabeza
March 11, 2004, 01:03 PM
Checkout L&P on page two. There's a thread called "Worst anti-gun article I've read in a long time"


March 11, 2004, 04:15 PM
According to an article I recently read (Washington Post??), the shots ranged from around 50 to 140 yards max.

Four of the ten people killed in the Washington DC area were head shots. The snipers are thought to have been involved in five other shootings around the country. In some cases they used handguns.

Taurus 617 CCW
March 11, 2004, 04:38 PM
I ended up sending an email to Mr. Vitello at Newsday to notify him that he was severly misinformed on several items in his article. Here's my original email that I just sent to him. Let's see if he replies to my email...:D

Dear Mr. Vitello,

I am writing this letter in response to your article titled New Round in Gun Issue dated March 4, 2004. I have carefully reviewed the article to find several inaccurate and/or subjective statements. I found your article to be informative; however I believe that the information should be as accurate and non-biased as possible. In the first paragraph you made the statement, “…need to purchase a semi-automatic military-style sniper rifle”, you were in error. First, military personnel typically use a bolt-action rifle with a single-shot capability in order to achieve long distance accuracy. Second, you have the caliber wrong for that distance requirement. The rifle you were describing is that of a .223 caliber, rather small in comparison to the standard accuracy rifle. Normally a 30 caliber round would be used due to their ballistics performances. Please refer to the webpage http://www.ballistics-experts.com/News/Beltway%20Sniper/sniper%203.htm for a further illustration of ballistics performance including muzzle velocity, bullet drop, and wind effect charts. I believe that this will clear up some misconceptions that you may have about the .223 caliber. In essence, the .223 is one of the worst calibers that you can choose for a long distance shot (beyond 300 yards).

Next, when you stated that a driver’s license and money are all that would be required to purchase a Bushmaster rifle, you were only partially correct. Yes, that’s all that would be required initially. Then they will use your driver’s license to conduct a federal background check to ensure you don’t have any felonies on your record prior to purchasing your gun of choice. This prevents all non-legal U.S. residents from purchasing a firearm, as well as individuals with a prior criminal record. That essentially leaves law-abiding citizens with the ability to obtain a firearm.

Next, in your statement, “The Bushmaster, a version of the military's standard AK-47 rifle, was the kind of gun they had in mind: highly accurate, extremely deadly from almost a half-mile away,” you were in error again. The United States military does not use the AK-47 as their standard weapon of issue. They use the M-16 which is another version of the AR-15 produced by the Armalite and Bushmaster corporations. The AK-47 is the weapon of choice in many Middle Eastern and Soviet countries. That particular rifle is typically chambered in 7.62x39mm. That is a fairly large difference compared to the .223 caliber that the United States military uses. I can further go into the differences in another email if you desire more clarification. The other part of the statement where you said, “…was the kind of gun they had in mind: highly accurate, extremely deadly from almost a half-mile away,” is also inaccurate. There are 5280 feet to a mile. Divide that by two and you get 2640 feet. There are three feet to one yard. If you divide 2640 feet by three, you get the yardage, which is 880. This is clearly a large difference from your statement that the shooter achieved hits from 500 yards.

When you were describing the modifications that the Bushmaster Corporation incorporated after the ban went into effect, you were mostly correct. It wasn’t actually the size of the barrel that was changed, it was the length. Standard barrel regulation states that it can not be under 16” for any non-law enforcement individuals. The change of the bolt was simply a matter of improvement for mechanical performance. They have been steadily improving the function of their bolts over the past several years. This is not because a regulation exists that states they do so, it is to improve the reliability of their product.

Concerning your statement, “Knowing this much helps to understand why, when Malvo and Muhammad were killing people from 500 yards…” I find this to be difficult to believe. The shooter was in the trunk of a car. Yes he did have a scope on the rifle, however considering the area he was shooting in (city), a shot from that distance would be extremely difficult; especially from the trunk of a car because of how low to the ground he was. I also think that due to the layout of most cities, buildings and vehicles would inhibit his vision which would force him to move in closer for the shot.

When you stated, “This will make it possible for gunmakers to return their products to their full monty of killing power: more bullets per clip, more thrust per squeeze,” you were once again in error. The device that is used to store ammunition at the bottom of the firearms is called a magazine. A clip is a metal strip that holds ammunition in a line to ease the process of insertion into the “magazine.” Clips were frequently used in World War 2 and are used much less frequently today with the advent of a magazine. The second part of your statement described “more thrust per squeeze” which is not a matter of pulling the trigger, rather a matter of muzzle energy. This is determined during the reloading process. The number of powder grains that is loaded into a shell and the bullet weight will determine how many foot pounds of energy will be produced when the trigger mechanism is released. You can refer to the Nosler Reloading guide for muzzle energy and ballistics.

Finally, after reviewing your article, I found several statements to be subjectively dramatic. These statements reflect a matter of opinion, rather than fact. Some examples of these are as follows: “This will make it possible for gunmakers to return their products to their full monty of killing power,” and “…no one wants it on record that he or she voted for every American's right to shoot people's heads off from 500 yards.” These statements are a matter of opinion. A firearms is neutral by itself, it is the individual that picks it up that determines whether the outcome is good or bad. In the future I hope that you will put more effort into researching a fact before making a statement about it because what you say does have an impact on my right to own firearms. I strongly believe that safety is a requirement as well as responsibility when owning a firearm. However I do not believe that my right to own firearms should be compromised because of an individual’s opinion that they are bad.
Giovani Gentilini
Oregon Resident

March 11, 2004, 04:49 PM
Nice letter. He prolly won't even read it. :(

Carlos Cabeza
March 11, 2004, 05:32 PM
Well if Mr. Vitello didn't understand that letter, he never will. Good work Taurus !

March 11, 2004, 05:52 PM
Good letter! Quantrill

March 11, 2004, 10:31 PM
Mr. Gentilini,
That was a great letter. You stated things way better than I ever could have. Again, thank you.

March 11, 2004, 10:54 PM
Great letter! Too bad you wasted your effort on an idiot.

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