When a group of spotters and a shooter struck a target at 4.4 miles (7,744 yards) in the Wyoming desert earlier this month, they smashed the long-range shooting world record once more. The Nomad Rifleman, a long-range shooting school based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is led by Scott Austin and Shepard Humphries, who also planned the impressive display of marksmanship.
According to a press release on the Nomad Rifleman website, they fired shots downrange for many hours with a group of pals until making contact on their 69th attempt.
It’s not unusual to take so many shots while attempting to break records of this nature. The previous record, a four-mile shot achieved by Paul Phillips in 2019, needed 69 tries before the shooter was successful, according to Humphries.
Shot for a world record: skill, chance, or both? A shooting display like this raises an obvious question: What does it mean in terms of actual marksmanship with a 1.44 percent hit ratio? The answer to that is a little tricky since the achievement required a lot of engineering, expertise, and preparation—more than 1,500 hours, according to Humphries—and it also needed a little bit of luck for it to happen. They were shooting at a metal target that was 10 feet broad and 7.6 feet tall, made of thin sheet metal. Additionally, it was positioned at a sharp angle so that it would fall more naturally with the bullet when it returned to earth. At 4.4 miles, the target was 1.18 MOA in height and 1.54 MOA broad (120 inches by 92 inches). That would be a sporty target at 1,000 yards, measuring around 15.4 by 11.8 inches, but it wouldn’t be very challenging to hit regularly with a competent rifle and ammo. But ringing steel at a grand is very different from doing it at a distance of almost 7,700 yards.
Humphries and Austin created a unique gun using parts from all across the world to increase their chances of success.
Building a long-range rifle world record The gun that broke the previous record for the longest rifle shot was equipped with a heavily modified sight system. Barrett.416 cartridge Cutting Edge MTAC 422-grain bullet Cadex Dual Strike Chassis in stock LRI 40-inch barrel with a 1:9 twist, which tacomHQ “structured” McMillian TAC50 in action Timney, trigger Terminator T6’s muzzle brake the LRAScope bipod Mount: S&S Sporting’s unique 350 MOA mount Custom cheek piece by S&S Sporting Vortex Razor 6-3556 FFP with an EBR-7D MOA reticle for the scope Rings: Two Leupold Mark IV rings Support optics for the 4.4-mile shot include a Charlie TARAC and a Delta TARAC from TacomaUnknown Munitions in Post Falls, Idaho produced the ammo used for the world record rifle shot. They utilized CCI135 primers, Barret brass, and H50BMG propellant. By the time the rounds reached the target (which took more than 24.5 seconds), the.416’s muzzle velocity, which was 3,300 fps, had decreased to 689 fps. Austin offered the shooter a correction of 1,092 MOA of elevation and 17 MOA left to hold for the shot that had the desired effect. (I’m not using the term windage because there were many other factors influencing the bullet’s horizontal drift in addition to the wind value. At that range, spindrift (where the bullet angles in the direction of its spin) and the Coriolis effect (where the earth’s rotation causes the target to move while the bullet is in flight) both come into play. Humphries estimates that a 1 mph increase in the wind would result in 26 feet additional bullet drift.)
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.
When you think about the variables the bullet encounters with wind alone over 4.4 miles you can see where striking the target—at least with today’s technology—involves probability and chance. Add in other factors like variations in muzzle velocity and in the BC of one bullet to the next and this becomes only more pronounced.
Spotting Misses by EarHow the crew of spotters found the misses was one of the experiment’s more unusual aspects. Instead of looking for the hits, they listened for them while positioned in metal shelters surrounding the target. One issue that arises when firing at greater distances (a mile or more) is the shooter’s ability to detect misses since the impacts are fainter and are more likely to be absorbed by the landscape without leaving a trace.
This is one argument in favor of the bigger calibers when discussing cartridge choice for ELR matches—that the bullet splash and impact signature are easier to notice. However, even with a powerful weapon like the.416 Barrett, identifying hits at 4.4 miles becomes challenging. Humphries said that even with the spotters positioned near the impact zone, 90% of their misses while firing left no visible mark at all.
Over the course of the morning, they were able to fine-tune the firing by utilizing their hearing and triangulating what several spotters heard.
Could You Complete This World-Record Shot Two Times Straight? Despite spending hours moving the shot closer to the goal, Humphries and Austin agree that the hit is not a recurring event. However, the fact that they were able to land any shot on the metal plate speaks something about their tools and expertise.
The development in our long-range shooting abilities and general understanding at closer ranges, or at 3,000 yards and in, is, in my opinion, the true advantage of these tests. We’ve observed an improvement in shooters’ ability to land hits in the context of these competitions, where you only have a limited number of tries (often three to five) while under time pressure to strike steel targets at ranges that were previously unthinkable.
There is no doubt that someone will eventually back up from a steel plate more than 4.4 miles and attempt to hurl shots into it, setting a new record rifle shot while also assisting us in improving our shooting. This person may be Humphries or Austin.