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I had been using the SV98 sniper rifle for a while, but could not cause sufficient damage after about 600m, I was getting a lot of bullet drop, and it was difficult to lead a moving enemy.

So I switched to the M98B for a faster projectile and flatter trajectory. Since switching I've noticed that my bullet often misses to the left (seems it is always left) when the cross-hairs are dead-on a stationary enemy. This happens at medium range (250-300m) but is more pronounced at long ranges.

I know the M98B packs more punch at distance, has flatter trajectory, and gets to the target faster. But if it can't be aimed accurately, it's not much use.

Has anyone experienced similar or know if a patch changed the aiming mechanic for sniper rifles? Is there some random percentage chance to not hit where you're aiming?

I am playing on PS3.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I think I found the answer. On PS3, high-powered scopes are steadied by pressing the L3 button (the left joystick). When I pressed the joystick, I also slightly pushed it to the right. This rightward pressure caused the vertical cross-hair to lean toward the right. Since I was shooting at a distant target, I also aimed high to compensate for bullet drop. Since the scope was tilted, adjustments along the (no longer) vertical cross-hair introduced horizontal inaccuracy.

I just have to be careful and press straight down.

By testing, I was able to get the scope reticle to lean right or left by applying left or right pressure. It is very slight, but enough to cause a miss on longer range targets.

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This sounds very plausible. Its the reason that on a real weapon, people are trained to squeeze the trigger carefully, just as you are squeezing the l3 trigger. Not only that, some pro gamers use the spacebar to shoot over LMB to prevent the mouse from being moved when firing – Lawton Jul 8 '12 at 1:49
L3 is the button press you do on the analog stick. L2/R2 are the triggers, but they are used for grenade/melee, not firing. Although all the PS3 controller's buttons are pressure sensitive, so your point still stands. – Flater Apr 8 '13 at 8:29

Your controller isn't working properly. If you tap the left stick to the right while aiming you'll see your horizontal line isn't pixelated. If you let go while slightly holding right it messes up your aim. My suggestion would be buy a new controller because the joystick in the old controllers were poorly made.

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The SV98 and M98B will not vary horizontally if you're aiming down scope. It's in your head. See the value for spread under ADS? It's zero for all bolt action sniper rifles.

Are you using the same scope with each rifle?

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Actually, I found the answer myself last night. When pressing the sprint button (L3 on PS3) to steady the scope, if the pressure has any horizontal aspect (i.e. it is not straight down, but is instead down and to the right or left) the scope reticle will tilt in that direction. I ws pressing down and slightly right, which tilted the vertical cross-hair (the top end was now pointing slightly NE instead of just North). Raising my aim to compensate for bullet drop, but keeping the vertical cross-hair on the target caused me to miss to the left. I just have to be careful and press straight down. – Leatherwing Jul 7 '12 at 18:54

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