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02/17/2023 8:04 PM | Anonymous

Snipers  by Tom Reynolds

When I was playing football in college, I once had my first opportunity to kick an extra point.  I thought it was a big deal and, later, called my dad to tell him.  He asked me if I had heard what my best friend, Bill Shear, had done that day.  While I was kicking my extra point, Bill had kicked the longest field goal in NCAA history!

Want to feel inadequate?

Most shooters would feel good about hitting a bullseye at 200 yards.  Here are some stories to make you feel inadequate.

In 2017, in Iraq, a Canadian sniper eliminated a target at 2.14 miles (3,540 meters).  This is the record distance for snipers.  Which means it’s probably the record distance for everyone else. 

The shooter was using a McMillan TAC-50 sniper rifle and was firing from a tall building.  The rifle was a 50 caliber, bolt action, 26 pound rifle with a 5 round magazine.  If you want to buy it, bring at least $10,000.

In addition to the usual forces to be considered – like gravity, wind, elevation, relative humidity, etc. - the sniper had to take into consideration the Coriolis Effect; that is, the spin of the earth, since the shot took almost 10 seconds to hit the target.

Think about that for a second.  Say bang and count off 10 seconds.  That’s a long time for a bullet to be in the air.  Lots can happen in 10 seconds including that a motionless target is not really motionless due to the Earth’s rotation.

The previous record was attained in 2009, in Afghanistan.  The sniper took on a Taliban machine gun crew at 1.5 miles (2,475 meters) and the bullet was in the air for 6 seconds. 

He used an L115A3 .338 Lapua Magnum, which is a .338 caliber,  15 pound rifle holding a 5 round magazine.  It’s a “little” more expensive at $38,000.

The sniper was standing up, not lying prone. Which may explain why he missed on two of the five shots he took.  His first shot missed, but his second shot was on target.  The third shot missed, but the fourth eliminated a second target. A fifth shot took out the machine gun.   

The longest American shot was made in March 2004, in Iraq.  The sniper killed an insurgent from 2,300 meters away.  He reportedly used an M82 SASR .50 caliber rifle which held a 10 round magazine.  

Luck or skill?  Probably a combination of both? Mostly a whole lot of skill. 

But as too luck…

The previous longest American sniper kill was in the Viet Nam War by a Marine sniper at 2,286 meters using a machine gun set to semi-automatic.  The Browning M2 was a .50 caliber weapon that had a longer range that the standard sniper rifle so it was occasionally fitted with a scope by inventive snipers. 

As to luck, USMC Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock reportedly had fired at a specific spot while sighting in his Browning M2 heavy machine-gun.  An enemy soldier stopped his bicycle on the spot Hathcock was aiming at.  Talk about bad luck!

Hathcock was entitled to a little luck since this was one of 93 confirmed kills that he had; which were more skill than luck.

In the heat of battle, controlling adrenaline and breathing after formulating the physics of the shot sounds impossible.  But they did it.

As to my extra point, it still stands as a personal record.

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