M8C Spotting Rifle at the Range

The M8C is a rifle that presents a whole lot of really intriguing possibilities. It is compact, with detachable magazines, a modular trigger system, and a neat cartridge that is a bit easier to handle than the full size .50 BMG. Also, it is ammunition which is still reasonably available – and all consisting of potter-tracer that is a heck of a lot of fun to shoot. We took this one out to the range mounted to a Bren tripod, and were quite taken with just how neat it really is…


  1. Ah, yes, the spotting rifle. I remember doing something similar when I played tank battles in War Thunder. Lots of amateurs playing as tanks (not as self-propelled guns or flak wagons) would use their coaxial machine guns like spotting rifles before they fired their main guns. Other amateurs would attempt to point-shoot the main gun after ramming their opponents in an ambush and fire the coaxial guns afterwards if they somehow missed, in an attempt to do SOME damage to their intended victims. Which approach was better?

    • Unless I’m missing something, your question in context is: “Given weapon A that can destroy a tank and weapon B that can’t really hurt it at all, does it make more sense to use B to ensure a hit with A, or to miss with A then try frantically, futilely to save yourself with B?” Sounds pretty obvious to me! All the more so when you’re watching a video of a B that real-life experts developed for the specific purpose of ensuring hits with an A.

      • well you understand a game Don’t hurt you! In real life there are NO second chances! the spotting round ensured the killer charges actually HI the target! …miss with this thing & the whole county knows you are ExACtLY …. there …remember ….they do not like you……….right?

        • Perhaps it’s simply my laps of observational powers, however, it appears to me that no one praises poorly placed ordinance. Further, as much investigating on the matter as I’ve conducted, none of the dead have yet complained about properly landed ordinance.

        • I understand and agree with the purpose behind the spotting rifle, and am not sure why you’re explaining it to me. I know that games don’t hurt, but that doesn’t mean you don’t play to win. I was trying to explain to Cherndog that applying the sensible spotting-rifle mindset to his game would be more of a winning tactic than its opposite.

        • Missing with the main gun of a tank was not exactly rare, though, back in WW2 and even some time after that. There were multiple reasons why you could miss, starting from incorrect range estimation at medium and long ranges and of course not applying correct lead when shooting at a moving target. WW2 tanks in general had no range finders (range had to be estimated) and they certainly had no integrated fire control systems, which make hitting moving targets relatively easy in modern tanks.

          Recoilless rifles of course had all the same problems as tanks, but even more exaggerated, because they usually had a lower muzzle velocity than tank guns. A spotting rifle was a good way to make a hit with the first shot more likely with 1950s technology. That was even more critical for recoilless rifles than tanks, since recoilless guns did not have armor to protect them from the retaliation of enemy tanks.

      • They’d just try to kill you in any manner that doesn’t involve friendly fire. Anyone who repeatedly does friendly fire in the game tends to get booted from the networks permanently.

  2. As I mentioned yesterday, we used to use the M8C for subcaliber training at Fort Lewis because we were not allowed to fire the 106 due to range limitations and had to go to Yakima for shoot “the big gun”. Tons of fun shooting the spotting rifle – they even let the platoon leader (me) play with it. And we were PAID to do so. Life was good.

    By the way, I think the vegetation in the berm concealed the flash when the round hit. When we fired at hard targets (usually old armored vehicles, sometimes empty 55 gallon drums that had been filled with dirt) there was a bright flash on impact.

    Also a lot of fun was the M190 subcaliber system for the M72 LAW firing the 35mm M73 rocket.


    As the battalion’s AT experts, we ran several ranges a year for the rest of the unit and got to fire the left over rounds at the end of day (Ammunition supply points give you tons of hassle if you try to return ammo that’s been taken out of it packaging)

    Question about NFA classification. Is the M8C an NFA firearm because it is a Destructive Device owing to its explosive ammunition?

  3. That was way too much fun, even by digital-proxy!
    I’d love to own a M8C, although I’m at a total loss to think of a single use I may ever have/want for such a sweet and unique bang’stick… Except that it’s really REALLY cool!!!

  4. Wow so great to awake the echos of my mind! Very nice setup Ian! Now the sandbags could have been wise! not the recoil of a . 50 cal but it does kick a bit. Sweet marrage to a bren tripod .a rarity itself! so good to see the performance so clearly. nice indicator hit too the old ammo is keeping well! Could be an idea to run a take on the specifics of the selection of alternative round for the main armament ,ie. the tube was heavily rifled so what was that about ,both anti tank charges DID NO

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