New World Record Set for Farthest Long-Range Rifle Shot: 4.4 Miles

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The long-range shooting world record was broken yet again when a team of spotters and a shooter hit a target at 4.4 miles (7,744 yards) in the Wyoming desert earlier this month. The marksmanship feat was orchestrated by Scott Austin and Shepard Humphries, who run Nomad Rifleman, a long-range shooting school out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
This is the rifle that set the new record for the longest hit on a target—a 4.4 mile shot using a highly customized .416 Barrett.
This is the rifle that set the new record for the longest hit on a target—a 4.4 mile shot using a highly customized .416 Barrett.© Matthew Mellor
Together with a group of friends they spent several hours launching bullets downrange before connecting on their 69th shot, according to a release on Nomad Rifleman’s website.
Making that many shot attempts isn’t unusual when trying to set records of this type. Humphries noted that the previous record, a four-mile shot made by Paul Phillips in 2019, required 69 attempts as well before the shooter connected.
World-Record Shot: Skill, Luck or Both?
With a 1.44 percent hit ratio, a shooting exhibition like this does raise an obvious issue: What does it signify in terms of actual marksmanship? That’s a somewhat difficult question to answer as a lot of skill, engineering, and prep work—more than 1,500 hours, according to Humphries—went into the feat, which required an element of favorable probability (aka luck) to come to pass.
The highly modified scope system used on the rifle that set the new world record for the longest rifle shot.
The highly modified scope system used on the rifle that set the new world record for the longest rifle shot.© Matthew Mellor
The target they shot at was constructed of thin sheet metal and measured 10 feet wide by 7.6 feet tall. It was also placed at a steep angle so it would be more in line with the fall of the bullet as it came back to earth. The target’s dimensions (120 inches by 92 inches) made it 1.54 MOA wide and 1.18 MOA tall at 4.4 miles. At 1,000 yards that would be a sporty target—basically 15.4 by 11.8 inches—but by no means difficult to hit consistently with a good rifle and ammo. But there’s a world of difference between ringing steel at a grand and doing it at more than 7,700 yards.
The ammunition used to set the world record was made by Unknown Munitions and was constructed with 422-grain bullets turned on a lathe and loaded into .416 Barrett brass.
The ammunition used to set the world record was made by Unknown Munitions and was constructed with 422-grain bullets turned on a lathe and loaded into .416 Barrett brass.© Matthew Mellor
To tip the odds of success in their favor, Humphries and Austin built a specialized rifle, sourcing components from around the world...
For the shot that made the impact, Austin gave the shooter a correction of 1,092 MOA of elevation and 17 MOA left hold. (I’m not using the term windage, as the wind value was only one of several variables affecting the bullet’s horizontal drift. Spindrift [where the bullet angles in the direction of its spin] and the Coriolis effect [the rotation of the earth, by which the target shifts position while the bullet is in flight] also play a role at that distance. That said, a 1 mph increase in wind would cause 26 feet more bullet drift, according to Humphries.)

The ammunition used to set the world record was made by Unknown Munitions and was constructed with 422-grain bullets turned on a lathe and loaded into .416 Barrett brass...

Full article: New World Record Set for Farthest Long-Range Rifle Shot: 4.4 Miles



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tuna

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This almost sounds like the time we were shooting golf balls with an iron sighted SKS at 300 yards with our spotter helping us out.

I’m impressed with the shot in under a hundred rounds. It sounds easy, but we know it gets weird after 600 yards.
 

PatMcD

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I would be MUCH more impressed then too, but I don't believe you (or anyone else here) could do it ONCE... number of tries is infinity.

Prove me wrong.



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Well, seeing as how I do not have the equipment to attempt it, I guess I'll never be able to prove you wrong.

I've said it before when talking about these "feats" of accuracy: launch enough bullets in the general area of something at any range and you will eventually hit it.

Set up a clay pigeon at 600 yards and try to hit it with a 22lr. Close to impossible, right? But once you get the range, it's only a matter of time until you hit it. But what have you proven? Nothing. Do it twice in a row and then I'll be impressed.
 

Dennis in MA

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If I shot one straight down from space, I could negate a lot of the wind. I'd be more concerned about rotation of the earth, but a good bomb-sight on my rifle and I'd be fine. I bet I could shoot 10 miles with the right equipment and little skill. LOL
 
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Well, seeing as how I do not have the equipment to attempt it, I guess I'll never be able to prove you wrong.

I've said it before when talking about these "feats" of accuracy: launch enough bullets in the general area of something at any range and you will eventually hit it.

Set up a clay pigeon at 600 yards and try to hit it with a 22lr. Close to impossible, right? But once you get the range, it's only a matter of time until you hit it. But what have you proven? Nothing. Do it twice in a row and then I'll be impressed.

When I was shooting Highpower, I followed your posts closely, so I know you can shoot, and that's one of the reasons I quoted your post and not anybody else's.

As you say, the equipment is important, and I'm sure a lot went into making that rifle, developing that special sighting system, and that ammo. Efforts such as these create knowledge and new equipment and/or techniques, which benefits future shooters, so it's a worthwhile endeavor.

There may not be anywhere in this area that somebody could legally attempt to shoot something 4.4 miles away, but I wanted people to think about how difficult that really is rather than just poo-poo what these guys accomplished.



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Wait. It took SIXTY NINE attempts?

So you’re telling me if you did a full mag dump TIMES 7 in the general direction of the target (and up like 60 degrees to account for drop) you wouldn’t also get one on target?

From 4.4 miles away? No, I don't believe you would. And how would you know where your rounds were landing so that you could adjust?


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I wonder what the terminal ballistics were.

Maybe this info from the article will answer that:

The ammunition used for the record rifle shot was made by Unknown Munitions in Post Falls, Idaho. They used Barret brass, H50BMG propellant and CCI135 primers. The .416’s muzzle velocity was 3,300 fps and by the time the bullets reached the target (which took more than 24.5 seconds), they had dropped to 689 fps.


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This….

I don’t really understand what the point of doing any of this is unless it’s actually repeatable.

Thoughts from the article:

Humphries and Austin acknowledge that the hit isn’t a repeatable event, even after several hours spent walking the shot closer to the target. But the fact that they were able to get any shot on to the metal plate is a testament to their equipment and skill.
I think the real benefit of these experiments is the improvement in our long-range shooting skills and collective knowledge at closer ranges, meaning at 3,000 yards and in. We’ve seen an uptick in the ability of shooters in competition to get hits within the framework of these matches, where you have a handful of attempts (usually three to five) under a time constraint to hit steel targets at distances that just a few years back would be considered unimaginable.

There's no doubt that in time someone—perhaps working with Humphries and Austin—will back up from a steel plate beyond 4.4 miles and do their best to lob rounds into it, establishing a new record rifle shot, all the while helping us become better shooters in the process.
 
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