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8 Longest Sniper Shots in History

8 Longest Sniper Shots in History

Technological evolution has increased the range and accuracy of firearms and ammunition throughout history. Just as the use of the minie ball in the Civil War and the rifled bore of the American long rifle during the Revolutionary War, modern weaponry has made today's sharpshooters the deadliest ever, and the experts agree.

"Global conflicts over the past 25-30 years have taken place predominately in and around urban areas," said CW3 (US Army Special Forces, Retired) D. Brad Smith. "So, the demand for well-trained sniper teams that are equipped with 'state of the art' sniper weapons systems and are fully capable of interdicting threat targets in a setting where both non-hostile civilian and hostile military forces are present and often intermingled, is growing."

Smith is a 23-year veteran of the US Army Special Forces, a graduate of the Special Operations Target Interdiction Course (SOTIC), now known as the Special Forces Sniper School, and a former instructor for the Special Forces Advanced Reconnaissance Target Analysis, among other achievements.

"The U.S. and its NATO allies have committed a considerable amount of funding to expand and improve sniper training over the past years," he said.


While seven out of eight of the longest sniper shots in history have taken place in the last decade, better technology and training are only two variables in the long-distance shooting equation. Teamwork, natural skill and even luck all factor into the longest kill shots in the military books. The variables when shooting at distances up to one and a half miles can be staggering. It takes more than technology and know-how to tackle crosswinds, elevation and even the Earth's rotation. Click through the photos to get all the details on the longest sniper shots in history.


No. 7: Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle's 2,100-Yard Shot

Date: August 2008
Weapon: MacMillan Tac-338
Ammunition: .338 Lapua Magnum
Nationality: USA
Military Unit: US Navy SEAL — Team 3, Charlie
Conflict: Iraq War — Sadr City

No. 6: Staf Sergeant Nicholas Ranstad's 2,288-Yard Shot

Date: January 2008
Weapon: Barrett M82A1
Ammunition: .50 BMG
Nationality: USA
Military Unit: United States Army 1-91 Cav/173d ABCT
Conflict: War in Afghanistan
(Ranstad pictured with Vice President Joe Biden after receiving the Army's Meritorious Service Medal)

No. 8: Corporal Christopher Reynolds' 2,026-Yard Shot

Date: August 2009
Weapon: Accuracy International L115A3
Ammunition: .338 Lapua Magnum LockBase B408 bullets
Nationality: UK
Military Unit: 3 Scots: The Black Watch
Conflict: War in Afghanistan
Specifics: After sitting atop a roof for more than three days, Reynolds plugged a Taliban commander nicknamed "Mula," and responsible for multiple attacks on UK and US troops, from more than 2,000 yards. The father of one is a member of the 3 Scots: The Black Watch. Scotland's Black Watch is an elite military regiment whose history stretches back almost three centuries. Seems Reynolds might be the most noteworthy of them all. Beware a man willing to wear a kilt.
The Expert: "Another interesting point that I see when reviewing the data is the increased presence of the .338 Lapua on the Iraq and Afghan battlefield amongst NATO/Coalition forces. The .338 Lapua is a great solution for filling the gap between the 7.62 x 51 mm and the .50 caliber-12.7 mm€¦€¦.Due to size, weight and ease of mobility, a sniper weapons system chambered for the .338 or 7.62 would be my sniper weapon of choice, every time. As it relates to training, one could also argue that the .338 Lapua would result in significant cost savings. This is true because of the diminished affects that climatic conditions such as wind-drift has on the heavier and 'hotter ' .338 round that's moving out at around 3,071 ft. per second compared to the M24 with the .175 grain, M118LR that's moving out at around 2,580 ft. per second." --CW3 (US Army Special Forces, Retired) D. Brad Smith
(Reynolds pictured above receiving Queen's Gallantry Medal)

No. 5: Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock's 2,500-Yard Shot

Date: February 1967
Weapon: M2 Browning machine gun
Ammunition: .50 BMG
Nationality: USA
Military Unit: United States Marine Corps
Conflict: Vietnam War
Specifics: A legend in the Marine Corps, Hathcock held the record of longest confirmed sniper kill for 35 years. The 2,500-yard shot was just one of the 93 confirmed kills Hathcock made during his career. At one time the North Vietnamese Army placed a $30,000 bounty on Hathcock due to his soon-to-be legendary status as a sniper. But while every NVA sniper pursued "White Feather," the nickname given to him by NVA and Viet Cong due to Hathcock's habit of wearing one in his bush hat, none were successful. The Gunnery Sergeant's military career came to an end after his transport unit struck an anti-tank mine. As of today, Hatchcock is still ranked fourth on the list of most confirmed kills for an American sniper. (Pictured above receiving the Silver Star during a ceremony in 1996.)

No. 2: Corporal Rob Furlong's 2,657-Yard Shot

Date: March 2002
Weapon: McMillan Tac-50
Ammunition: Hornady A-MAX .50 (.50 BMG)
Nationality: Canada
Military Unit: 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
Conflict: War in Afghanistan
Specifics: While participating in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan's Shah-i-Kot Valley as a member of the 3rd Battalion of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, Furlong witnessed and took aim at three Al-Qaeda fighters moving into a mountainside position with a RPK machine gun. Furlong's first shot missed the machine-gun toting insurgent and his second hit the gunner's backpack. The third shot from the McMillan Tac-50 struck the target's torso and killed him. At more than one mile and a muzzle speed of 2,700 fps, it took each bullet almost four seconds to reach the target.
The Expert: "The .50 cal is a great sniper tool when conducting mounted operations or even aerial platform shooting but can be a bit cumbersome for dismounted operations due to its size and weight. The Barrett weighs in at hefty 30lbs with the standard 29 inch barrel and is about a pound less with the 20 inch barrel with an impressive effective range of 1,800 meters compared to Accuracy International's, L115A3 that weighs in at about 15 lbs with an effective range of 1,500 meters. I'm certainly not saying the 50 cal can't be taken on a dismounted patrol because it can, but it must be employed with a team much like a crew served weapon, not very practical." --CW3 (US Army Special Forces, Retired) D. Brad Smith
(Furlong pictured above during recent interview.)

No. 1: Corporal of Horse Craig Harrison's 2,707-Yard Shot

Date: November 2009
Weapon: L115A3 Long Range Rifle
Ammunition: .338 Lapua Magnum LockBase B408 bullets
Nationality: UK
Military Unit: Household Cavalry
Conflict: War in Afghanistan
Specifics: Using nine shots to initially range his targets, Harrison and his spotter, Trooper Cliff O'Farrell, then dropped two Taliban machine-gunners with successive shots while providing cover fire for an Afghan national army patrol south of Musa Qala. Harrison noted that environmental conditions were perfect for long-range shooting: no wind, mild weather and clear visibility.
The Expert: "Global conflicts over the past 25-30 years have taken place predominately in and around urban areas. This is due to the fact that an estimated 70% of the world's population lives in urban or sub-urban areas. Logically future conflicts will continue to parallel this percentage. So the demand for well-trained sniper teams that are equipped with 'state of the art ' sniper weapons systems and are fully capable of interdicting threat targets in a setting where both non-hostile civilian and hostile military forces are present and often intermingled, is growing. I am very confident that we'll see an ever increasing presence of the .338 Lapua in current and future sniper engagements." --CW3 (US Army Special Forces, Retired) D. Brad Smith
(Harrison personal photo pictured above)

No. 4: Sgt. Brian Kremer's 2,515-Yard Shot

Sniper: Sgt. Brian Kremer
Date: March 2004
Distance: 2,515 yd
Weapon: Barrett M82A1
Ammunition: Raufoss NM140 MP (12.7 mm multi-purpose ammunition)
Nationality: USA
Military Unit: 2nd Ranger Battalion
Conflict: Iraq War
Specifics: With long-range shots in Afghanistan dominating this list, Kremer's 2,515-yard shot is one of two that came from Iraq. His 2004 shot came less than 150 yards short of setting the record, placing him just 11 yards behind Perry's one-time-record shot and giving him, at the time, the third-longest shot in history. (Representative Image of Barrett M82A1)

No. 3: Master Corporal Arron Perry's 2,526-Yard Shot

Date: March 2002
Weapon: McMillan Tac-50
Ammunition: Hornady A-MAX .50 (.50 BMG)
Nationality: Canada
Military Unit: 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
Conflict: War in Afghanistan
Specifics: Perry held the record of longest sniper shot in history for perhaps the shortest time in history. Picking off an insurgent in Afghanistan in March 2002 from a distance of 2,526 yards, Perry bested Carlos Hathcock's Vietnam-era record of 2,500 yards, but was quickly dethroned as the best long-range sniper by a member of his own team, Corporal Rob Furlong who made the second-longest shot in history, just weeks later. (Representative image of McMillan Tac-50, actual sniper/rifle not shown)

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