A HIGH-powered "precision guided" firearm is raising eyebrows after a video demonstration – where game are shot and killed over distances as far as a kilometre – has been posted on Facebook.
The series of weapons, which is sold exclusively on the internet, is so high-tech that it completes all the calculations that a hunter needs to do to take a long-distance shot – like range, drop (of the bullet), inclination, wind, temperature and ballistic and drag coefficient – itself.
The promotion video of the Tracking-Point series of firearms – where a group of hunters take shots at increasing distances of up to 1004.9m at animals such as zebra, impala, springbok and eland – was shot in South Africa.
The guided scope allows the hunter to "tag" his target first by aiming at the point that he wants to hit and pressing a tag button.
The computerised scope makes all the necessary calculations for the hunter to hit the exact spot.
The hunter then aligns the rifle with the tag and squeezes and holds the guided trigger, which fires the rifle automatically only once the rifle is exactly aligned with the target.
Pro-gun lobbyist Martin Hood said that while the .338 Lapua Magnum and .300 Winchester Magnum calibre rifles and laser-sighting scopes were legal to use and licensed in South Africa, their legality depended on whether the scope was designed for military or hunting purposes.
"If it was military, you'd need permission from the National Arms Control Committee, otherwise its legal," Hood said. Adri Kitshoff, CEO of the Professional Hunters' Association of SA (Phasa) said the association did not know enough of the weapons system to comment on whether its use was ethical or not.
"Most hunters [clients] would not take shots this long and most professional hunters would not allow it anyway, but this particular client [in the video] is clearly capable".
A security expert with police background expressed concern about what the weapon could be used for should it fall into the wrong hands, but Hood said this argument did not hold water.
"Any firearm is dangerous in the wrong hands.
"You cannot say someone cannot have it because it might be dangerous, because then you could say the same thing about motor vehicles or alcohol," he said.