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Old Ranger
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Posted: 27 November 2017 at 9:16am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

As a youngster I thought in terms for distance
measurement in yards and miles. But... Upon entrance to
the service everything was meters and kilometers. When
ranging my targets in the field, calling in artillery or
air support it was grid location and meters for round
adjustments. When I viewed a battlefield or an individual
soldier in my scope it was in meters. When I trained
troops it was in meters and "klicks".

Upon my return to the civilian populous I slowly learned
to express distance in yards and miles simply to be
better understood. You speak in meters and you get
puzzled or exasperated looks in return. But in my former
"Military Mind" I still think meters. I express yards
here in this forum as a matter of convention. However, I
still, in my mind, think and see meters.
Mathematically it's faster and more precise.
Example: 1,760 yards to a mile... Or....
        1,000 meters to a kilometer.

Using a mil-dot scope and metric measurements are, to me,
very precise where in standard English measurements it's
a might sloppy and imprecise for anything quick to
calculate in one's head.
Saturday, in the dreaded box in the deer pasture, I
ranged EVERYTHING in meters. It was just more natural for
me. Young grandson mentioned it to me back at the house
about a text I sent about distance of a deer in the
field. He told me he had no idea what I meant. Being a
civilian, and staying close to home all his life, he was
never exposed to this. Said he was clueless.

So, once again the Old Ranger boggles yet another young
mind with what my neighbor calls my "G.I. tech language"
that he (a fulltime civilian) fails to comprehend.
As I've grown older I find myself reverting to when
things made better sense to me. I'm just going to express
myself in meters and if I confuse some folks, well...
They're just going to have to catch up. As my boy reminds
me "Pop, you still think you're on point and that old
mentality of 'Rangers lead the way' has never left you."
Guess I am hard headed huh?

So am I the only one that thinks in meters?

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rednekpaul
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Posted: 27 November 2017 at 12:16pm | IP Logged Quote rednekpaul

I remember back in the 70`s the schools were pushing the metric system. Saying the US is going to switch over to metric and that was the future. Well, it never happened.
For me the conversion is easy....110 yards=100 Meters, 220 yards =200 meters, 330 yards =300 Metrs, 440 yards=400 meters and so on...I don`t think it really matters, if meters work for you stick with it. most shooting ranges use 100 yards, 200 yards, including my private range. The majority of the shooters think in yards so its just easier. When you buy something like a fence, rope, chain, carpet....you buy it in feet and yards. Its the system we use here in the USA. Ballistics are the same whether you use Meters or yards

Edited by rednekpaul on 27 November 2017 at 12:22pm
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joed
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Posted: 27 November 2017 at 7:46pm | IP Logged Quote joed

You're the only one thinks in meters, I never did while in the military.   
In basic shooting was in meters but I can't remember using it after
that.

I'd like to learn how to use a mil-dot scope though.

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STCM(SW)
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Posted: 27 November 2017 at 10:53pm | IP Logged Quote STCM(SW)

In the Navy we us yards and a nautical mile is 2,000 yards.
So meters mean nothing to me.
I can estimate distance across water to a ship or object in yards and radar has confirmed I'm real close.

Edited by STCM(SW) on 27 November 2017 at 11:33pm


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Ham Gunner
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Posted: 28 November 2017 at 7:47am | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

I was reading maps and more or less orienteering with a compass before I even went into the military as I worked for the Forest Service for a short while under a college work/study program during the summers. I was used to using both yards as well as meters. Once I was in the military all the maps were in meters. After I settled into my regular MOS (Combat Intelligence Analyst) I was using maps almost on a daily basis so the metric system was just part of my routine and so I saw things in meters and clicks.

I can just about jump back and forth between the two standards of measure, but actually found the metric system easier for quickly finding locations on a map. Now as for distance in the field, well after I got out of the military, our standard of measure seemed to take the lead again. In shooting yardage, I normally think in yards.

Edited by Ham Gunner on 28 November 2017 at 7:50am


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Old Ranger
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Posted: 28 November 2017 at 8:51am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Understandably, yards are the conventional measure in
this country. And we, as Americans, fiercely reject or
shun anything outside our own interests and means. We, as
a whole, don't like anything European and the metric
system is predominantly seen as a foreign system even
though it's crept it's way into many aspects of our
lives. Much of the nuts and bolts of our automotive
industry are metric. Speedometers read in both. Even
illegal drugs are measured in kilos. Like it or not, the
Metric System is slowly infiltrating the American way of
life. Yes, we resist change. We're often given a chance
of choice before something is eliminated and replaced. In
the market it was "Paper or plastic" when checking out.
Now it's just plastic, and we don't miss paper bags
anymore either, do we? Why firearms themselves are
evolving and synthetic stocks are replacing wooden ones.
We don't like it. We cling to tradition. Wood is getting
scarce. Rosewood was once big in musical instruments but
now it's being replaced. Yards are not easily computed in
mapping and measuring. It's slowly being replaced. All
our rulers and many tape measure tools display both.
Paper or plastic? Wood or composite stocks? S.A.E. or
Metric? We don't miss the paper. Soon we won't miss the
inch or yard either.

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M700
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Posted: 28 November 2017 at 10:16am | IP Logged Quote M700

I find that I swap back and forth between the two units of measure, yards or meters, quite easily. Yes, the military made use of the metric system of measurement mandatory, and we all got real good with it - well us ground-pounders anyway.

For a quick calculation, Redneck Paul's method is good. A meter is about 10% longer than a yard.

On my trip through British Columbia and the Yukon last spring, I was careful to use the km/hr portion of my speedometer to keep myself out of trouble with the Canadians! BTW, ridiculously low speed limits up there let my Jeep average nearly 20 mpg whereas it averages more like 15 - 16 mpg here... Perhaps not so ridiculous?

Also had to buy my fuel in liters, not gallons. That took some mental gymnastics, but was actually fun.

Guy

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rednekpaul
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Posted: 28 November 2017 at 1:45pm | IP Logged Quote rednekpaul

Agree with Ranger as the metric system is slowly creeping into our lives. When I work on my vehicles I grab the standard and metric tools. Lots of them have both
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Old Ranger
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Posted: 29 November 2017 at 8:29am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

I don't know for sure, but I do believe we're the only
major country that still uses the Imperial Measurements.
All others I'm aware of use the Metric System.

I believe eventually this country will have two changes
come about. 1. We will adopt the Metric System. And..
2. Spanish will become the national language, and English
will become "the second language" used.
Enjoy those older rulers with just inches on them while
you can mi amigos!

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joed
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Posted: 29 November 2017 at 2:12pm | IP Logged Quote joed

As STCM says on the water you use nautical miles, what would
happen to that.   Being a Sea Captain if that changed I don't know
what I'd do.

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KinleyWater
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Posted: 29 November 2017 at 6:41pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

Yards, meters, eh - their both close enough. I tend to speak in meters at the range and it confuses the wife in no small degree. So I just set things up as what suits my mind and tell her to think yards when I say meters. At pistol ranges, it doesn't really matter.

Driving, or figuring distance? That's in statute miles, except when I'm teaching on Sunday; then it might be a Roman mile (about 4,000 feet). For small distances, I use standard units also; I never found centimeters and decimeters to be very useful and meters are to coarse a measurement for things like how tall someone is.

Then there's weather... For wind speed, I always use knots. Pressure is in millibars, and visibility is in nautical miles.

Now that I think about it, I'm a bit messed up...

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richhodg66
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Posted: 29 November 2017 at 6:58pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

The metric system is a much better system. All of it is based on numbers that make sense.

In the ninth grade, my physical science teacher taught us how to do all conversions and after that, if one of us used an English system term in conversation, he stopped class and the offending student had to work the conversion math on the board.

I like the metric system. 24 years in the Army got me into the meters thinking. I was a forward observer for a long time and we used the mil relation formula for calculating artillery corrections when calling for fire. One mil transcends a one meter arc at 1000 meters. If you have mil reticle binos and a basic idea of the range, it's easy to make accurate left and right corrections then just a matter of bracketing to correct for range. It's been a while since I've done it, but I bet I could still meet the Fort Sill standard of fifth adjusting round fire for effect if put to the test.

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KinleyWater
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Posted: 29 November 2017 at 7:37pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

No objection Rich. The math is certainly easier with metric, but, it's just so... French.

But, really, when I'm machining, thousandths of an inch makes more sense to me than hundredths of a millimeter. I mean, I could eyeball 0.005 inches in a cut. When shooting, it's all metric. When I doing cartography it can be either.

Here's a challenging question. Why is it that everything we do in the military is metric, except for PT? I mean, why don't we do a 2km run instead of a 2 mile run? .

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richhodg66
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Posted: 29 November 2017 at 8:57pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

Standardization with allies is the reason. As to the APFT, everybody has understood for a long time that the push up, sit up, two mile run isn't really a very good measure of much of anything, but it continues because it can be done anywhere without special equipment and doesn't require much to set up a course. If American car odometers had a reading in meters (which is how most seem to mark the APFT tracks)it would be more likely to be a metric distance.

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Old Ranger
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Posted: 30 November 2017 at 7:48am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Many odometer and speedometer of electronic display are
capable of both these days. Even my '06 Lincoln Zephyr is
easily switched over. The newer model cars have far more
sophisticated electronics than my 12 year old car.

And don't forget the bilingual display and instructions
on all products. Everything here is in English and
Spanish. And of course product weight, dementions, and
such is printed in metric as well as English Imperial
standards. ¿Bueno, si? Ahhhh.... Good, yes?

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Kosh75287
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Posted: 02 December 2017 at 12:47pm | IP Logged Quote Kosh75287

I tend to THINK and COMMUNICATE in yards, but I can convert from meters to yards pretty quickly.Converting in the other direction takes slightly longer, but can also be done in my head with reasonable alacrity. I've been told by some that I am the only person they know who can do this, but I find that difficult to believe.

For a rough approximation, meters to yards, multiply by 1.1. For the other direction, multiply meters by .91 to get yards. Add 0.9 yards for every 200 meters.

More precise conversion fsctors are 1.0935 (meters to yards) and 0.9145 (yards to meters), but probably are only relevant beyond 300 yards.
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hdwhit
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Posted: 13 December 2017 at 7:34pm | IP Logged Quote hdwhit

Where I do most of my shooting, the longest open distance is across the berm at the base of the dam. It is, give or take a few inches, 225 yards (207 meters). For all practical purposes at distances 200 meters and below, I treat the two as interchangeable.
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