New record for longest sniper kill: 1.5 miles!!!

Craig Harrison, a sniper in the Household Cavalry, made two kills at at 8120 feet (1.54 miles / 2.47 km)! The Times Online Reports ..

“The first round hit a machinegunner in the stomach and killed him outright,” said Harrison, a Corporal of Horse. “He went straight down and didn’t move.

“The second insurgent grabbed the weapon and turned as my second shot hit him in the side. He went down, too. They were both dead.”

Corporal of Horse Harrison was using a Accuracy International AWM (L115A3, simular to the rifle pictured above) chambered in .338 Laupa Magnum with a Schmidt & Bender 5-25×56 PM II LP scope

Making one kill at that range is amazing! Two kills is almost unbelievable! Legendry sniper John Plaster said

“When you are shooting that far, if you miss by a hair, you miss by a mile,” said John Plaster, a retired US Army sharp-shooting instructor and author of “The Ultimate Sniper.” “That is about as precise as any marksmen on the planet could shoot.”

[ Many thanks to jdun1911 and Tony for emailing me the links. ]



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Don

    Wow, that is phenomenal.

    Question: Where do you aim when you are shooting at people from that far away? From the story it sounds like you aim center mass. Is this the general “rule of thumb” for this kind of shooting?

    -D

  • Jim S.

    And I felt pretty badass blowing off pop bottles at 200 yards…(hangs head in shame).

    I think his spotter, Cliff O’Farrell (mentioned in the article) deserves a bit of credit. That job is a lot harder than just looking through a big tube and finding a target.

    Good Job to the both of them!

  • Ewan

    Dam it. I nearly joined the Household Cavalry. For those who would like to know a Corporal of horse is the equivalent of Sargent in the rest of the army.

  • Vitor

    The .338 Lapua packs more punch than I thought…

  • Lance

    Is he British or Austrialain?

  • Mu

    The British run a pretty hot load on their 338 LM. But even the published 3071 ft/s for a 250 gr bullet gives a 150 MOA drop and subsonic transition at this distance. No idea how you aim something like that, unless they zero their rifles at 1000 yards with a 50 moa base or so.

  • Connor

    The US needs to adopt a .338 Lapua or .416 Barrett rifle. The Brits have us out classed. That was an amazing pair of shots.

  • kr

    I suppose it’s Lapua?

  • Roy Rapoport

    I’ve got to say, I’m really impressed — obviously, with the sniper, but frankly, more with the cartridge — I always assumed you’d have to go into the 50cal range in order to shoot at that range. Didn’t know any caliber starting with ‘3’ could go that far effectively.

  • DaveR

    Ah, the power of the rifle in combat!

    Guess the Brits learned something from us Rebels after all! 🙂

  • Connor

    A spectacular shot made by that man, but (and sorry to be corrective) I thought the British use the L115A3 and not the A1 version.

    • Connor, they use both, but you are right, he was probably using the newer A3

  • Jim

    I wonder how much of this was guesswork. Considering they were 1.5 miles away, they probably could have taken pot shots and gotten away whether they hit or not.

  • Woody

    schmidt & bender makes an impressive scope. really impressive that this shot was conducted with something smaller than a caliber 50 or 400 series wonder cartridges.

    • Steven Huntt

      I agree with woody. I have used Schmidt Bender PM Shortdot for medium and short range but didn’t use its PM II scope but looking to get one PM II 1.1-4×20 riflescopes for my hunting rifle. Was the shot really 1.5 miles away?

  • Guy Thornton

    As a sometime sniper I’d like to believe the story but can’t. The bullet would drop something like 500 feet minimum and take the best part of seven, maybe ten seconds to arrive. So, the scenario of shooting, waiting, spotting, shooting again…….and all three rounds arriving within the same couple of square feet…it doesn’t make sense. As someone said, where would you aim for if you know you have to aim approx 500 feet above the guy’s head.

    What does make more sense to me as an old soldier is the putting together of a war story and retro-fitting corpses to those shots so and so fired half an hour ago from jesus that must have been over a mile….and before you know it you’ve got sir, corporal harrison drilled two chaps from over a mile and a half….and before you know it you’ve got a legend on your hands.

  • DavidR

    is it possible that the sniper was shooting at targets that were at a significantly lower elevation?…i don’t have a ballistics calculator so don’t know what kind of a downward angle would be necessary to offset such a drastic bullet drop, but such a situation would also allow for greater velocity conservation.

  • I’ve had customers bring in some impressive targets. The best being an 8 1/2″ group, shot at a measured mile (Silver Creek Gun Range, San Antonio, TX), with a 300WinMag. This type of shooting is difficult for most of us to grasp, but it has been proven to me time and time again.

    Hitting enemy combatants at 1.5 miles would certainly be possible, but the rounds would most likely impact from above. At that range, the bullet is traveling about 850fps and dropping at a rate of 36.5 ft per 100yards of range. That trajectory is a matter of fact.

    I would expect the wounds would have been similar to those prodeced by a handgun at close range.

    E

  • subase

    Notice that they mentioned the scope, this could be promotional. Companies pay people to talk well about their products all the time.

    Also he was aiming at the guy obviously and had compensated for bullet drop on his scope. Also at that range, he could have test fired and ranged his weapon. In addition they were probably at high altitude which increases the range of their guns, due there being less wind resistance. They also may have been shooting from a very high position to someone below, which again would increase velocity.

  • G

    Guy Thornton:
    You are not alone. More people are questioning the details of record:

    http://www.snipershide.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1791412#Post1791412

    Some numbers from an another (non-english and private) forum:
    At 15°C and 1043 meters over the sea-level a 250gr Lapua lock-base bullet will need 46.3mrad (114.7 m) to reach 2475m.
    A S&B PM2 5-25×56 scope “only” has 26 mrad of elevation. So the shooter will need to set the magnification at no more than 8-9x to be able to see the correct hash mark for hold over. (The S&B PM2 scope has a first focal plane reticle so the reticle grows as the magnification increases.)
    1 m/s 90 degree wind will move the bullet 3.21m (1.3mrad), to the side, at the distance of the target.

  • Having shot F-Class at 1,000 and 1,200 yards, I can attest to the fact that this is quite an achievement. For those who doubt that it was possible, you are wrong. It ain’t easy or for the casual shooter, but it can and has been done. You use match grade bullets and brass. Your powder is measured to the nearest 1/100th grain…. and the loads are tested, tested and retested. You generate an accurate ballistics table using chronograph speeds from a program like G. Perry’s Exbal (which he designed for snipers)… sight in your rifle for 1,000 yards, and then you “dial in” for greater distances. However, you need a superb spotter who can determine the exact range with their laser, “read the wind” and tell the shooter how much adjustment is necessary. The shooter is the trigger man, the spotter has to take in all the variables and make the adjustments (including for angle of fire – using the Slope Doper or its equivalent)… and the trigger man squeezes. It is a total team effort. I am jealous, as at my age, 1,200 is the limit of my eyes, even with a Nightforce 12-42x scope (which we have on two F-Class rifles).

    • Dr. Jim, its great to see you on the blog 🙂

  • Kit the Odd

    Guy,

    At the listed 3000fps it is 2.5 to 3 seconds in flight which is 100-145ft of drop.

    At 2000fps it would be 4 seconds in flight which would be 257.6 feet of drop.

    FYI 7 seconds = 789ft drop and 10 seconds = 1610ft.

    Distance = 1/2 * time * acceleration (32.2ft/s^2)
    Note: these calculations ignore the bullet slowing and many other factors, but do get you into the right ballpark.

    However, keep in mind that the rifle would be set up so that the bullet would rise above the sight line before falling back onto the target. So you wouldn’t actually be aiming at a point 150ft above the target. Long range shooting is less “aiming at the target” and more “handheld artillery”.

  • Pete

    I find this story very hard to beleive also…

  • DaveR

    You guys with long-range shooting experience, how *would* you deal with this much bullet drop? I’m not going to doubt trigger/breath control of these men. But I am having a hard time imagining the actual process of holding over this much. Even sighting the rifle in at 1000 yards (~600 inches of drop), you’d still have to hold over by several hundred feet for a 3000yd shot. Wouldn’t the target be well out of scope’s field of view?

  • DaveR

    Ok, never mind. That snipershide link answered all my questions. It’s worth checking out.

  • jdun1911

    Why does the need to adopt .338 Lapua? So a sniper team can get a 1 in a million shot over 2000 yards? The .338 Lapua add additional weight that I don’t think is needed. If you going over 2000 yards why not use a .50 caliber rifle?

    Anyway, I do think there something amiss in the story. First shot hit at 2700+ yards. Second shot hit at 2700+ yards and his finial shot also hit at 2700+ yards. That is a 100% hit ratio at over 2700 yards. I don’t think David Tubbs can do that and he is considered by many the greatest marksman that ever live.

    1.54 miles = 2710.4 yards = 2478.39 meters. There is a big difference going from 300 yards to 500 yards to 1000 yards to 2000 yards and now 2710 yards. There are only a handful of people that have been recorded getting kills around 2000 yards and these people took more than one shot to do it.

    At 2710 yards the bullet will take a long time to reach its target and within that trajectory a lot of things can happen in an open environment. You also have to deal with the limitation of your optics and that include the spotting scope.

  • Marsh

    Keep in mind that these shots were probably taken at high altitudes in desert-like conditions with little moisture in the air. That means the atmosphere is a lot thinner and easier for a bullet to punch through. They also probably use special rounds that travel faster than normal rounds. All of which can be calculated for by the sniper before he shoots. If a Canadian sniper could do it at a 100 or so feet less then I don’t see why it couldn’t be repeated.

  • AK™

    I always knew you could reach out with the 338LM,but damn.

    I know the 408Cheytac is really accurate and the .50BMG in the right load hits like Thor’s Hammer..

    Kudos to the designated Marksman

  • Dr. Jim Clary

    A short final note, as we will never get total agreement among all folks, which is fine…… when we load for long distance shooting, we are loading our rounds “above” the max load recommended in all of the loading tables, as it is essential that the bullet not go into the transonic range before it hits the target. We burn out our barrels in as little as 600 rounds, we use 20-40 moa rails and must have scopes with a minimum of 35 moa windage adjustment and 45 moa elevation adjustment. And the Slope Doper is a “standard issue” item for marine snipers to compensate for angle of shoot. In fact, I used it recently to make a 60 degree downhill shot at a Persian Ibex at 187 yards (actual laser rangefinder reading from my guide) with a muzzleloader. We don’t “hold over” our target, we dial it in, based on the spotter’s instructions…….. while I would agree that such a shot would have been easier with a 50 caliber, I know that a lot of shooters are “exploring” the .338 cases with various bullet combinations…. those are just my thoughts…. I’m no expert, just a guy who has done some long distance high power shooting and who watches in awe when folks hit the V-bull at great distances.

  • Mu

    One thing to say for the story, IF he can get the rounds there, he can get lucky and get multiple hits. It takes 6 sec for the bullet to impact, so he might get three rounds in the air before the first one hits. Assuming a 1 MOA spread, that could hit two guys two feet apart, if the second guy isn’t taking cover immediately on the first impact (of a subsonic round, so his only indication is his partner’s reaction) he’s dead 2 sec or so later.

  • Don

    While Maj. (ret.) John Plaster has instructed snipers, has instructed at
    Gunsite and has written on sniping, he is Not a ‘Legendary sniper’ and to my knowledge, and on his web site never mentions having been an actual sniper.

    Chuck Mawhinney and Carlos Hathcock are ‘Legendary snipers’.

  • Aurelien

    Well the guy stated he was on a ridge, so shooting downhill from his position, that the targets were using a PKM machine gun, and you dont usually use that sort of thing while running around, that he shot the second guy after he took the place of the first one on the machine gun, and that the conditions were perfect with no wind whatsoever.

    I would believe those are pretty good condition. But then again, i’m no long-range shooter.

  • jdun1911

    This is what bugs me the most.

    “Harrison killed one machinegunner with his first attempt and felled the other with his next shot. He then let off a final round to knock the enemy weapon out of action”

    Three shot and the last shot he purposely disable the enemy weapon. You know how far fetch this is? It’s like it came from a movie or TV show. Three shots, 100% hit ratio at over 2700 yards. It’s like saying you won the Mega Million lottery three times in a roll.

    The greatest marksmen in the world could not done what he has done. Only a handful of people have ever made a kill beyond 2k yards and they did not do it on their first shot.

    I was a precision shooter when I was young and very active in shooting. I can tell you from experience that shooting at 300 yards is totally different than shooting at 500 yards. At 500 yards your shots group start to be noticeable larger. At 1000 yards even more so.

    If you live in the South East VA or North East NC and want to try out 1000 yards shooting with some of the best shooters in the region. the NCRR club is hosting monthly High Power Rifle Match at Blackwater. It is open to the general public. The next one is held on May 22. It is a good learning experience.

    http://www.ncrr.net/index.php?option=com_jevents&task=icalrepeat.detail&evid=17335&Itemid=66&year=2010&month=05&day=22&uid=ed928c2e82b4d8be0574dfc2ecf6a41f

    Calendar
    http://www.ncrr.net/index.php?option=com_jevents&task=month.calendar&Itemid=66&year=2010&month=05

  • Hello all – I have no experience to share on this subject (just sheer pride in our armed forces). But what I would like to say is a big ‘THANK YOU’ to those who commented on this subject…

    As a Brit I get used to – and very dismayed – when any item to do with the British Army highlighted on American blogs inevitably turns into a Brit-bashing. This is not the case here – the comments were all relevant and very thoughtful and interesting.

    I am a big supporter of *both* the British and American efforts in Afghanistan, and see us as strong allies. Yes, I know we have that tradition of competitiveness between our forces – but at the end of the day we Brits have stuck doggedly with you as an ally since WW1 (or further back if you count the Boxer Rebellion!).

    Good on you guys for realizing that stories like this heighten the prestige of both the US and UK in their military endeavours. Thanks.

  • michael

    milgeek, many of us here also love our brit cousins!

  • subase

    This isn’t the first and won’t be last time ‘super snipers’ stories and claims get circulated. It’s called war propaganda.

    • subase, they actually concluded that it was possible. I have no doubt that he succeeded. Little would be gained by that propaganda other than pissing off others in the global sniper community.

  • AirmanOkami

    im always a bit dissappointed when someone outsnipes good ol’ gunny Carlos Hathcock… ah, well. props to you, sir!

  • G

    Dr. Jim Clary:

    “We don’t “hold over” our target, we dial it”

    Please explain how you dial a target which requires 46.3 (or more) mrad of elevation with a scope that “only” has 26 mrad on the dial.

    http://www.schmidtundbender.de/pm-ii/5-25×56-pm-ii-lp-8.html

  • Jay

    I am a former USMC Sniper Instructor, and the second I was told about this, I threw up the red flag on it, as well as every other shooter/sniper I know. The prep time it takes to make three shots (one also made to disable the weapon)at that range, total time of flight, sniper-observer dialogue, breathing cycle etc, the wind somewhere along the gun target line will change, throwing the projectile off by feet at the minimum. The round will also be sub-sonic. Additionally, at that range, the reticle will completely cover up two men. Is there enough MOA in the scope? If it was done then rock on, but I’m just sayin’.

  • VanKeefe

    I am British
    I lived in Afghanistan for many years ago and am familiar with the conditions.
    I, along with a lot of my fellow long range shooter, simply do not believe
    Harrison”s claim. I believe “G comments” sums it up for all of us.
    The one claim I do believe is that Corporal Rob Furlong of the Canadian Armed Forces using a 50calibre rifle still holds the record. And he had to be “walked to the target by his spotter.

  • G

    Later, from the Sniper’s Hide forum, has been able to hit a man-sized target at 2700yards with his Desert Tactical Arms SRS:
    http://www.snipershide.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1838365#Post1838365

    • G, thanks for the link. I am going to blog that.

  • G

    I should point out that “Later” used 300 grain Sierra Match King bullets. The british sniper used 250 grain Lapua Lock Base bullets instead. It seems like the 300 grain SMK bullet has a higher BC because it requires less mils to hit the target than a 250 grain Lock Base bullet.

  • G

    SRS .338 Lapua Magnum effective at 2707 Yards (1.54 miles)

  • Bob

    The 416. Barrett has the longest sniper kill at 1.7 miles 2.9 km

  • PAULWILLIAMS

    My God so many sour grapes because the guy isnt an American ,i dont believe any of you were there so how can you know,I have seen snipers in combat areas pulling target shots at over 2000 yards with the .338 just accept that you are not the best at everything quite the opposite

  • Les Burns

    The Brittish sniper who set this record was using the Accuracy International L115A5 .338 Lapau Magnum with G&B scope.

  • Apparently the story goes that he in fact fired a third shot, which hit the machine gun they were trying to use. It was not confirmed whether he managed to disable the gun, but just hitting such a small target on his third shot as well is an outstanding achievement in accuracy.

  • The weird thing to me is why do they name and make public these guys? Surely it’s just endangering their lives? Even if they have returned from combat to their home country, I know I wouldn’t want the attention..

  • Hankmeister

    I’m calling BS on this one. I’ve been in the shooting sports for nearly forty years from combat/tactical shooting at virtually pbr to precision rifle shooting out to 500 meters. I’m no expert at ultra-long distance “sniping” but there is absolutely no way someone can put three shots in a row on essentially fifteen inch targets at ranges exceeding 2400 meters. Even with benefit of a ballistic computer and the finest set of observer eyes in the world, environmental variables over those distances would make it virtually impossible to achieve a 100% success rate – that is, three shots, three “kills” at 2400+ meters. Maybe out of twenty or thirty rounds one could get three shots in a .35 MOA group, but the the most incredible shot would be “putting the machine gun out of action”. About the biggest profile on an RPK or equivalent machingun would be somewhere around four inches and that would be the stock. Think about what’s actually being claimed here. Two successive hits would be absolutely incredible, three successive hits, the last being on a machine gun even in profile would be highly improbable.

  • Justin

    That’s amazing!
    Is there a video of it?

  • a us army infantryman

    for some of your information, most people in the world do not fully understand the capabilities of snipers. I am in a US Army infantry unit that is deploying to afghanistan in may 2012. We have a scout platoon in one of our 5 companies. In that scout platoon there is about a squad or 2 worth of snipers, just because you are a sniper does not make you some top secret CAG/Delta operator where your identity of an oparator is on a “need to know basis”. There are snipers in every infantry unit from national guard, to regular army, to special operations. Snipers are aong the very miniscuel percent of people who are skilled enough to make that cut and have recieved top of line training and techniques to execute these very well honed skills. a military sniper who has been shooting long range for a long time or a sniper who is just a plain natural can effectivley engage a target from extreme distances like seccond nature with practice. This does not surprise me that this guy made these shots, he is one of the few.

  • bll

    Omg what a suprise if this was a seal sniper it would be good ole U.S.A.
    I think you lot are reading into this too much, yes he fired 3 rounds the first was to kill the first target the second was to kil the second target which he got a gut shot on and the third was to kill the second target as he could not guarantee he was dead, this thing about taking out a machine gun is shit, stop listening to the news, british soldiers dont get told to take out inaminate onjects.
    This soldier took on a hard job, did it to the best of his ability witt that of his spotter and you morons are slagging him off…..shame on you!

  • Les Burns

    These two shots have been confirmed buy military sources and witnesses, not the news media. Regardless of how long you have been shooting as a tactical shooter and whether or not you are able to duplicate it are non-issues. Carlos Hathcock’s accomplishments couldn’t be duplicated either. The factor that can’t be mimicked is the sympathetic nervous system response and effects on ability during combat environment. I spent many years in the U.S. Army Special Forces and I’ve seen many things that “experts” would dispute. It happened…live with it.