Sniper Scope

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: Firearms Folklore" and "Myths Redux"


Explanation: According to battlefield legend, a U.S. Marine sniper named Carlos Hathcock killed another sniper during the Vietnam War by firing a bullet directly through his opponent's scope. But MythBusters Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage shot down the credibility of this tale when they re-created the sniper showdown.

After constructing a ballistics-gel sniper dummy and outfitting it with a sniper gun and scope, the MythBusters marksmen took aim from 100 yards away. Adam's and Jamie's sniper skills were spot on, and both hit the target square in the scope. However, the glass lenses inside the scope, which allow the operatives to precisely pinpoint objects from long distances, stopped the bullet short from striking the dummy sniper. Even at point-blank range, the bullet's force failed to shatter through the entire scope lens glass, providing a fatal shot to the busted myth.

However, at the request of some skeptical fans, the MythBusters later retested the myth using a Vietnam-era sniper gun and ammo, which yielded a plausible result. The period scope had fewer bullet-obstructing glass elements, and the old-school sniper bullet actually packed more glass-breaking punch.

Today's sniper might miss the mark by shooting to kill through the scope, but during the Vietnam War, a shot through the scope could've very well happened.

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