They’re merciless. They rarely give you second chances. You have to aim well. Your accuracy has to be top notch. These weapons require greater skill than any others.
The good news is that you can train to get better.
In the following guide, I’ll give you a range of tips that’ll make you a better sniper than most.
I have a small warning first, though!
This is a long-ass guide. It might be a good idea to top up on your favorite beverage before tucking into it…
“The problem” is that Battlefield 4 online mimics reality. This goes for weapon behavior, too.
When using a sniper or marksman rifle, you’ll become better acquainted with two real life problems:
Nothin’ lasts forever. Not even a bullet’s journey. It’ll change – sooner or later – thanks to gravity.
When you fire a projectile, it starts travelling in a fairly straight line away from the weapon. But after a while, gravity takes hold of the bullet, pulling it towards the ground.
That’s reality. So that’s Battlefield 4.
So, children, if your target’s 8,400 feet (or 2,560 meters away), the bullet will take two seconds to reach its target.
That’s reality. And that’s Battlefield 4.
(Most sniper and marksman rifles in the game have a muzzle velocity of around 1,700 ft./s (500 m/s).
So, when you add bullet drop and travel time together, you find the challenges Recons face.
At close range, you won’t notice either of them. But as soon as there’s a certain distance to your target, you’ll suddenly have to take both factors into consideration.
And that’s the foundation of this guide.
There are two kinds of rifles in Battlefield 4 that are particularly well suited to the assignments most Recons solve:
The Marksman Rifle
These puppies are the missing link between assault rifles and full-on sniper rifles. In the game, every class can utilize them.
Marksman rifles tend to be semi-automatic. The range is usually quite a bit greater than that of assault rifles – and equal to most sniper rifles.
In the game, marksman rifles have a higher rate of fire than sniper rifles. But a single bullet from a marksman rifle doesn’t even come close to doing the same kind of damage.
I’d say the weapons in the marksman category work best at medium distances. They also work fairly well at close range, thanks to the reasonably high rate of fire.
The Sniper Rifle
These are usually bolt action rifles. They’re characterized by their long range, low rate of fire, and high potential for damage.
The ideal distance for these rifles goes from medium to long.
You can leave a mark with a sniper rifle in close quarters combat. But the rate of fire will make it difficult to impress anyone – at least to start off with.
The Look-Through Thingy
The norm is to place telescopic sights on both rifle types. These sights magnify your targets to a greater or lesser extent.
These are some of the most common ones:
- M145 – A magnifying effect of 3.4x
- ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights) – Magnifies your target by 4.
- PSO-1 – Also magnifies by 4.
- The Rifle scope – Magnifies the target by 8.
- The Hunter scope – Magnifies by 20.
- The Ballistic scope – Magnifies the target by no less than 40.
The scopes that magnify the least are better suited for short range to medium range gun fights.
The rifle scope, the hunter and the ballistic scope are put to best use when the distance to the target is higher than medium.
It’s What’s Inside that Counts
When you look through many magnifying Battlefield 4 scopes, you’ll see a Mil-dot reticle.
– A what? A military dot? Um… Not so much?
No. Mil is short for milliradian.
(OK, those of you who are now having a minor lecture panic, chill out. I will need to say a bit though, for this guide to make sense.)
The dots you see on the inside of a scope – said Mil-dots – help you find the distance to your target.
There’s a lot more I could say about how these dots can help you – and I will, later.
For now, it’s enough to say that the Mil-dot reticle is likely the most underused tool in the history of Battlefield games.
The Summa Summarum
So, you’re beginning to see where this is all going? Bullet drop, travel time, scopes, and Mil-dots.
Good Battlefield 4 snipers are in control of all these factors.
They calculate target distance at lightning speed, place their aim point correctly (having adjusted for bullet drop and travel time, of course), and plant one head shot after the other at several hundred meter ranges.
You want to become one of these Recons?
Good! Keep on reading.
Adjust the Sensitivity
Sensitivity controls how quickly your character moves its gaze.
The higher the sensitivity, the more flexible your character will feel. The catch is that the chance of overshooting when placing your aim point increases with a higher sensitivity.
There’s no blueprint for success. You’ll have to test these waters solo.
Still, here’s a suggestion:
- Start at a fairly low sensitivity. Play a couple of matches. Increase sensitivity a notch. Notice the difference.
- Keep this up ‘til you’ve found a setting you’re comfortable with.
You can change sensitivity and turn off vibrations under “Options”.
Welcome to Sniper School
All right, take your seats. We’re ready. Welcome to lesson 1 of Respawnless.com’s Sniper School!
Before we get off to the shooting business, we’ll need to talk about the basics.
No matter how you’re planning on using your sniper or marksman rifle, there’s stuff that needs to be clear in your head.
Today’s topic is anatomy!
No, this ain’t med school. But anatomy is a factor even in Battlefield 4 multiplayer.
Where on the hostile’s body your bullets hit matters. A well-placed bullet to the opponent’s head does a lot more damage than a bullet to the foot.
Recon rule #1 – Always aim for the head!
Be Ready – Always
When you’re not aiming, you’ll see four small lines on your screen. Together, they make a reticle. Your first bullet will hit close to the reticle’s imagined center when you raise the weapon, aim, and fire.
Use this for what it’s worth. Keep the reticle in what you think will be your opponents’ head height, as much as possible.
When you do this, you’ll cut off a couple of milliseconds of the time it takes from discovering a hostile character to being able to shoot.
Recon rule #2 – Don’t look at the ground! Point your weapon – and keep pointing it – at wherever you think the opponent’s head will show up.
Your Sight Isn’t a Pair of Binoculars
Be careful using your scope as a pair of binoculars. In other words: don’t stare through it for too long in one go.
The Battlefield 4 telescopic sights take up quite a lot of space on your screen. You could easily lose a fair share of your view of what’s going on around your character.
By all means, use the scope for quick peeks, not to mention for discovering hostiles far away.
Just make sure you’re balancing this with looking around without the scope. Spotting a hostile far off doesn’t really matter much when his best friend’s already scratching your character’s back.
Recon rule #3 – Scope in for short periods of time when you’re long range spotting. Scope out often for short range spotting.
This is an extension of my point above. And it mostly goes for short range to medium range gun fights.
Let me paint you a picture. You’re shooting against an enemy character. You miss. Your opponent realizes he’s in trouble, and heads off for the nearest cover.
You keep your eyes through the scope while your opponent makes his diversion maneuver. Bad idea.
More often than not, you’ll struggle to see where he’s running, due to the limited view the scope provides you with.
Here’s what to do instead, when you shoot and miss:
- As soon as you see the bad guy making a run for it, scope out (or release the aim, if you will).
- Pay attention to wherever he runs.
- Scope in and fire another shot as soon as you’ve got him in your sights.
Recon rule #4 – Scope out when you miss, so you can see where your opponent’s headed.
Hold Your Breath
When you activate the function allowing your sniper to hold his breath, your shots will usually hit with more accuracy.
Here’s what you can do:
- Point your weapon to the enemy and scope in.
- Hold your breath while finely adjusting the aim.
- Keep holding your breath while shooting.
This breathtaking function makes your weapon sway less, which is definitely an advantage when aiming and shooting.
But you’ll need to be fast. Your character can’t hold his breath forever.
Recon rule #5 – Don’t breathe.
Where to Start
Now that the basics are covered, we’re ready to start using our rifles. What should you do for the best possible start?
Well, here’s a suggestion for you:
Equip your soldier with a marksman rifle, so a semi-automatic weapon. Attach a scope that doesn’t magnify by more than 4.
I think it’s a good idea that you start off by getting to know the two weapon groups we’ll be using. Since that’s the case, marksman rifles are a more comfortable introduction than bolt action rifles.
Pick Team Deathmatch. In this mode, you’ll seldom need longshots. That’s why scopes that don’t magnify by more than 4 are well-suited.
Additionally, you probably won’t need to pay much attention to the ballistics in Team Deathmatch. Most gunfights will happen at fairly short range. That’s why this mode’s a good starting point.
Here are you’re your focus points:
- Practice keeping the onscreen crosshair at enemy head height when you’re not aiming.
- Try taking aim every time you’re firing. Avoid hip firing.
- Aim well!
- Go for headshots – every time.
- Practice recoil control. Fire one bullet, adjust the aim, and then fire another burst.
How’s it going? Are you starting to get a sense of the weapon’s behavior?
Good! Then you’re ready to take the next step.
It’s Longshot Time!
OK, things are about to get interesting, people. Time to get your bolt action rifles out. You’ll equip it with the 8x rifle scope.
But before you dive into impressive multiplayer longshots, we’ll need to cover some theory. Namely, the notorious Mr. Bullet Drop.
Bullet drop keeps you from using the middle of the scope’s crosshair as your aim point whenever there’s a certain distance to the target.
You’ll have to place the center of the crosshair a little way above your target.
How much of a little way?
That’s determined by target distance. The further away it is, the higher above the target you’ll need to place it.
This is a technique called the holdover.
An alternative is adjusting the scope so that the crosshair center is adjusted to the relevant distance. This is called zeroing the rifle.
Let’s say your target’s 100 meters away. Instead of raising the center of the crosshair a notch above the target, you adjust the scope, so that it’s zeroed at 100 meters.
Now you’ll hit the target whenever the crosshair’s centered directly on it.
It’s about time I give you some more intel on the secret of the Mil-dots.
Let’s take a short walk back to the real world, where shooters need to take bullet drop into consideration. Because of this factor, they need to know the distance to their target. To find it, they can make use of the Mil-dot system.
Here’s how they do it:
Notice the dots on the crosshair. There are 3 below and above the center 3 on either side of the center. Each dot’s called a mil.
The first thing the shooter does, is use the vertical dots to measure how tall the target is in mils. The only thing she needs to know before doing the maths is the target’s actual height.
She places the sight over the target, so that one of the dots is lined up with the feet of the target. This dot’s called the base dot.
She then counts the number of dots – the base dot included – and concludes that the target is 7 mils.
In addition to this, she knows that the target is 1.7 meters tall. With these numbers in place, she’s got all the facts she needs.
So let’s get the math down, shall we? The calculation looks like so:
(Target size) 1.7 m x 1000/ (Mils read) 7 = about 243 meters
For the inch fanatics:
(Target size) 67 inches x 25.4 / (Mils read) 7 = about 243 meters.
Now, our shooter knows the distance to the target. All she has to do is adjust to bullet drop and wind.
It’s Not Working!
You’ll need to be pretty damn good to succeed with these calculations while playing BF4 online.
I mean, the game’s so intense, things happen so quickly, and most targets never stand still long enough for you to make accurate calculations.
So there has to be another way, right?
Yup. There is. Luckily.
There are alternatives to Mil-dot calculations in Battlefield 4 multiplayer. And they’re quicker than using a calculator.
The catch is that they’re not, of course, as accurate.
But since speed trumps all (well, almost all) in most multiplayer games, I suggest putting your calculator buddy away and using one of the methods below in order to become a star sniper.
The two methods go like so:
- The MPMG (Multiplayer Mil-dot Guide)
- The Test shot
To succeed with this technique, you’ll need to know your target distance.
– Oh, okay! Didn’t you just tell me that I won’t have to do math?
Yes, I did. And calm down. There are other ways to measure distance.
You know, most game modes in Battlefield 4 online have an objective, like M-COM stations and flags. When you look in the direction of these objectives, you’ll see the distance to it, from your character, onscreen.
In this example, that flag’s 92 meters away.
Notice the enemy character right next to the flag. When we know that the distance to the flag is 92 meters, then what’s the distance to the hostile?
If you answered “Approximately 94-95 meters” you hereby have permission to pat yourself on the back. Good! Remember this number.
Now back to the Mil-dot sight. Not only can you measure your target height in mils. Each dot equates to a set distance.
Let’s use the CS-LR4 with a 40x scope:
- Notch #1 corresponds to 50 meters.
- Notch #2 corresponds to 100 meters
- Notch #3 corresponds to 150 meters, and so on…
Here’s the theory:
So we’ve established that the target’s about 94 meters away from our character. And we know that notch number 2 equates to 100 meters.
What do you think happens if we now place dot number 1 a teensie bit down on the hostile’s head?
Bang! Head shot! – Yippee-ki-yay, Motherf***er! You: 1. Hostile: Dead.
So, what if the hostile’s 150 meters away?
Easy! You just place notch number 3 on the target.
Just remember this: what distance each dot or notch equates to in Battlefield 4 varies from one scope to another. There’s also a difference between each weapon. Here’s some cheat sheets for you.
Here’s what you can do: drill the dot distances for the scopes and weapons you use often, and learn them by heart. The more you know, the more dangerous you are on the battlefield.
– That’s just fine and dandy. But isn’t there an even easier way?
Yup. It’s coming up right now.
The Test Shot
This method’s fairly effective when you don’t have an objective nearby to tell you what the approximate target distance is. But it can also be more revealing than is good for you.
That’s why I recommend using a silencer with your weapon, as soon as you’ve unlocked it.
Here’s how to use this method with the M40A5 and a 8x rifle scope:
- You scope in, and see an enemy through the scope.
- You take a guess, and reckon the hostile’s approximately 280 meters away.
- You place the center point between the first and second dot on the target. Important: Notice which part of the crosshair you’re using as your aim point.
- Take the shot! Stay in the scope. Now you can see where the bullet hits.
- Did the bullet go above the bad boy? Pull the sight back on the character. But this time you choose an aim point closer to dot #1.
- Did the bullet hit too low? Use an aim point closer to dot #2.
- Did you get him? Well done! That’s not too bad for a rookie’s first attempt.
You could also shoot a building close to the enemy to find the perfect aim point. Follow the bullet, and notice where it hits. You’ll usually see a bullet hole post-impact.
The Easiest Way
You can use the tips above to find the distance to your target, until you’ve unlocked the range finder.
When the range finder’s available for your weapon, you can really just forget about everything else.
With it, you can place the aim point on your target, and abra cadabra! You’ll immediately see the accurate target distance. No more guess work!
And that’s not all.
You can also use the portable laser designator to find the range.
I’ve got a suggestion for you. It’ll give you a somewhat easier start to your sniper career.
Equip your rifle with a bipod as soon as it’s unlocked.
A bipod ensures that you have to work a little less to keep your rifle steady when you’re about to fire. Instead, you can focus on getting a handle on Mil-dots, ranges and bullet drops.
Just don’t become dependent on the bipod. Let it go as soon as you master the other factors that make you a good, long range sniper.
Zeroing the Scope
I’ve mentioned this briefly already. Zeroing the scope (or, as some put it: zeroing the rifle) entails adjusting your scope.
Simply put, you adjust the scope so that the central aim point is the point of impact. As such, you can use the center of the crosshair as your aim point, regardless of target distance.
This function exists on selected rifles in Battlefield 4. You can cycle between several preset ranges.
You’ll need to find out how useful this function is to you for yourself. The downside to it is that you can’t make adjustments independently of the notches. The scope’s locked to the preset ranges (200 meters, 300 meters, and so on).
Oh No! It Moves!
So far, we’ve talked about bullet drop and targets, at a set distance, that are standing still.
The problem is, quite simply, that very, very few targets actually stand still in Battlefield 4 online (with the exception of one or two snipers that are out camping.) Most targets move.
So now we’re gonna go ahead and cue the next participant in our discussion: Mr. Travel Time.
I’ve already told you: it takes a tiny bit of time from when the bullet leaves the barrel until it reaches its target in Battlefield 4 multiplayer. The further away the target is, the longer the bullet takes to get there.
This doesn’t mean anything if your target’s standing still.
But it’s a whole other ball game if it’s moving.
‘Cause then you won’t just have to consider target distance and bullet drop. You’ll also need to know where your target will be when the bullet arrives.
I’ll say that again: you’ll need to know where your target will be when the bullet arrives.
– But that’s impossible!
Well, no, it’s not completely impossible. But yes, it’s hard.
(You might’ve seen video clips where Battlefield players are able to kill both chopper and jet pilots with sniper rifles? For some, this isn’t all about luck. Some players are just that skilled.)
Now, back to these moving targets.
If a target is moving in a straight line, you can predict where it’s going to be when your lethal bullet makes its impact, with decent accuracy.
– Don’t shoot where it is, son. Shoot where it’s gonna be.
This is, to every degree there is, relevant to Recons with marksman and sniper rifles.
Another way to put this is to say that you have to lead the target.
There are formulas for shooting in the real world that tell you when to shoot. But this is way too complicated for most of us playing Battlefield 4 for fun.
There is a simpler way, and it goes like this: place the aim point a little way ahead of the target when it’s moving. How much depends on target distance. The further away it is, the further in front of them your weapon will need to point.
Yes, I know this isn’t a highly accurate method. To this, I’ll say that the more you practice the technique, the better you’ll get at finding the correct distance.
There you have it, folks. The set up for perfect long range sniping.
As you may have gathered by now, a lot of factors come into play to determine how well you succeed.
You can, of course, flush everything I’ve just told you down the toilet and shoot with the help of your fairy godmother and all other kinds of charms. But the truth is that the more of these factors you master, the better a sniper you’ll become.
And it’s not easy. Always having to consider distance, bullet drops, and travel time is a challenge.
But don’t let it scare you. Nothing’s impossible – not even becoming a star Recon in Battlefield 4 online.
To start off with, you’ll definitely miss. A lot. That’s guaranteed. And your character’ll die countless times.
However, if you stay focused and determined you’ll slowly but surely discover that new skills are rising from the chaos of being a rookie sniper.
Over to You
I’m sure that a lot of you reading this have good tips on how to aim better as Recons in Battlefield 4. So be a pal and share your tips with us. Use the comment field below.The Battlefield.com Forum, Cheaper Than Dirt