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My apologies if I mess up the terminology; I am overwhelmed by Battlefield 3's lingo, simplified as it may be.

In the mission Going Hunting, I am the gunner and flare-dumper of a plane being flown by another guy. It's a pretty interesting and intense experience where it feels like a single second of hesitation might lead to a firey explosive death. Fun!

My plane has two weapons: a machine gun and a missile launcher. The missiles seem to occasionally connect; sometimes my enemy dumps flares to avoid them, other times they don't. This seems pretty straightforward. The part that confuses me is the machine gun. Maybe it's because I'm playing on Low Quality settings, but I can barely see the bullets fly out of my plane, let alone connect any with my enemies. I get them in my sights and then squeeze the left mouse button, but my bullets don't seem to be coming anywhere close to hitting them.

What am I doing wrong here? Am I even supposed to be using the machine gun? How do I hit the enemy MIGs with this thing?

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I don't have BF3 yet (australia) so I'm not posting this as the answer, but bf3 has realistic bullet speeds, and in the multiplayer (beta) you have to lead your target fairly significantly based on distance and speed. Maybe that's it. Also, you know you're connecting if you see the little x's. – Mr Smooth Oct 25 '11 at 6:34
Also, you might want to look up a walkthrough (I know IGN has a video walkthrough of that level) to see if they're doing something you're not. – Mr Smooth Oct 25 '11 at 6:40
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The machine gun will only fire directly forward, and is very inaccurate, however, it's a 1-2 shot kill, so on the parts where the enemy plane is directly in front of your own, it's worth spamming the machine gun until they move away, and then switch to your missiles.

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