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Sarah Palin's presence in the lower 48 means the Arctic ice cap can finally return.

calendar   Thursday - May 23, 2013

On Taget But Off On A Tangent

Scelping, bouching, helical welding, Hausse pendulums, roll forging, trunnions, and wootz ...  new terms added to my vocabulary today, and all related via this mysterious remark: Drew is off ironing out the kinks of the Griffen and the Phoenix on the road to Damascus.

Meanwhile, and only tangentially related, here’s a bit of modern tech that sort of excites my bullshit meter. I think there is a lot more to the story than what we’re being told here. But I could be wrong.


Self Aiming Rifle Makes Instant Marksmen

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First time firing a gun? There’s help at hand – a new “self-aiming” rifle can help even a novice hit the target at long range on the first go. But the technology has its critics, who see it as a serious threat to public safety.

Just weeks after the firing of the world’s first 3D printed handgun, a smart rifle that allows the user to accurately hit targets up to 900 metres away has gone on sale in the US.

Made by TrackingPoint, a start-up based in Austin, Texas, the new $22,000 weapon is a precision guided firearm (PGF). According to company president Jason Schauble, it uses a variant of the “lock-and-launch” technology that lets fighter jets fire air-to-air missiles without the pilot having to perform precision aiming.

The PGF lets the user choose a target in the rifle’s sights while the weapon decides when it is the best time to shoot - compensating for factors like wind speed, arm shake, recoil, air temperature, humidity and the bullet’s drop due to gravity, all of which can affect accuracy.

[field report] Steve lines up on his target downrange—a gently swinging metal plate with a fluorescent orange circle painted at its center—and depresses a button to illuminate it with the rifle’s laser.

“Good tag?” he asks, softly.

“Good tag,” replies the spotter, watching on the iPad. He leaves the device in my hands and looks through a conventional high-powered spotting scope at the target Steve has selected. The wind stops momentarily. “Send it,” he calls out.

Steve pulls the trigger, but nothing immediately happens. On the iPad’s screen, his reticle shifts from blue to red and drifts toward the marked target. Even though I’m expecting it, the rifle’s report is startling when it fires.

A second later, the spotter calls out, “That’s a hit!”

Steve has just delivered a .338 Lapua Magnum round directly onto a target about the size of a big dinner plate at a range of 1,008 yards—that’s ten football fields, or a tick over 0.91 kilometers. It’s his very first try. He has never fired a rifle before today.

After the target has been tagged, the scope’s reticle changes to a large blue “X,” and the weapon can be fired. To actually send a round downrange to the target, you depress the weapon’s trigger. This doesn’t cause the weapon to immediately fire, though—the reticle turns red, and while keeping the trigger held down, you must align the reticle with the tagged pip. Once the pip and the reticle coincide, the weapon fires.

...

Behind the optic assembly is an entire ARM-powered embedded system that knows everything there is to know about the characteristics of the rifle and its ammunition. The tracking scope also contains instrumentation to make it aware of ambient conditions, including temperature and humidity and atmospheric pressure, the incline and cant of the weapon, and its compass heading. The only thing you need to manually enter is the wind speed and direction, using a control on the top of the scope.

Phew, for a couple of minutes there I was afraid that shooting skills were about to become completely unnecessary. Judging the wind is an art; the wind blows at an angle to your shot and never blows steadily. A moderate crosswind can push your bullet 20 feet off target at 1000 yards.

And of course the hoplophobic Luddites are quick to set their mouths to rapid-fire mode, not bothering to notice that these guns weigh 3 to 4 times as much as a typical hunting rifle, cost as much as a mid-size car, and require the shooter to get on target and hold the shot for up to 10 seconds (or more!), all of which make this technology a bit less than optimal for your typical mall shooter upper (not to mention that the whole concept is only necessary or useful at extreme ranges) ...

Matthew Lang at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, says the danger arises when the rifle falls into the hands of those who are neither hunters nor military snipers. “If it starts to find its way to individuals that plan to use it for other purposes, there will be a lot of time and money spent figuring out how to secure any public area if the number of possible snipers has significantly increased.”

But if you’d like to see what you’d see through the scope if you owned one, and how the system works, there’s an app for that.

Ok, that was my tangent on my own tangent. No word yet as to what happens when this self-aiming rifle gets mated to those new self-aiming bullets.  Now I’m going back to learning more about antique metallurgy.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/23/2013 at 02:02 PM   
Filed Under: • Guns and Gun Control •  
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