Longest recorded sniper kills

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Royal Marines snipers with L115A1 rifles. These rifles are similar to the L115A3 Long Range Rifle used by Craig Harrison but outfitted with Schmidt & Bender 3-12x50 PM II telescopic sights.

Reports regarding the longest recorded sniper kill that contain information regarding the shooting distance and the identity of the sniper have been presented to the general public since 1967. Snipers in modern warfare have had a long history since the development of long distance weaponry. As weapons, ammunition, and aids to determine ballistic solutions improved, so too, did the distance from which a kill could be targeted.

The modern method of long-distance sniping (1.25-kilometre (0.8 mi) shots) requires intense training and practice. A sniper must have the ability to accurately estimate the various factors that influence a bullet's trajectory and point of impact, such as range to the target, wind direction, wind velocity, air density, elevation, and even the rotation of the Earth under the bullet of the sniper and target. Mistakes in estimation compound over distance and can cause a shot to only injure, or to miss completely.[1] Furthermore, as any given combination of firearm and ammunition will have an associated value, known as the circular error probable, denoting a circle whose boundary is expected to include the landing points of half of the rounds fired, beyond a given distance, whether even a perfectly-aimed shot lands will be dictated partially by chance.[2]

Devices such as laser rangefinders, handheld meteorological measuring equipment, handheld computers, and ballistic-prediction software can contribute to increased accuracy.

History[edit]

The science of long-range sniping came to fruition in the Vietnam War. Carlos Hathcock held the record from 1967 to 2002 at 2,286 m (2,500 yd).[3] He recorded 93 official kills before an injury halted his service on the front lines.[4] After returning to the U.S., Hathcock helped to establish a school for training Marine snipers, the Marine Corps Scout Sniper School, at the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia.[5]

It took over thirty years for Canadian Master Corporal Arron Perry of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry to beat Hathcock's record. Perry held the title for only a few days as another man in his unit (Corporal Rob Furlong) bested Perry's distance with a 2,430 m (2,657 yd) shot in March 2002. Furlong took the shot while supporting American soldiers during Operation Anaconda in the beginning years of the latest War in Afghanistan.

The current record is held by Briton Corporal of Horse (CoH) Craig Harrison, recorded a 2,475 m (2,707 yd) shot in November 2009 also during in the War in Afghanistan; in which he shot two static machine gunners consecutively.[6] Confirmed by GPS, Craig Harrison (UK) of the UK’s Household Cavalry killed two Taliban insurgents from a distance of 2,474 m (8,120 ft, or 1.54 miles) in November 2009. It took the 8.59 mm rounds almost three seconds to hit their targets, which were 914 m (3,000 ft) beyond the L115A3 sniper rifle’s recommended range. A third shot took out the insurgent’s machine gun. The rifle used was made by Accuracy International.

Unconfirmed Australian claim[edit]

In October 2012, Chris Masters, a reporter for the Australian The Daily Telegraph, quoted an unnamed source that claimed that an unknown Australian soldier from Delta Company, 2nd Commando Regiment had made a shot at 2,815 m (3,079 yd) using a .50 cal Barrett M82 rifle in Afghanistan. If this shot is confirmed it will have broken the 2,475 m (2,707 yd) record held by Craig Harrison. In the Daily Telegraph article Masters claimed that multiple shooters were engaged in a targeted kill mission.[7] The claim has however not been confirmed by the Australian military or the Australian government, and the article in The Daily Telegraph remains the only source of the event and thus not included in the following list. Subsequently, a ballistics blogger and former sniper calculated the alleged shot and in his opinion declared it highly unlikely.[8]

Confirmed kills 1,250 m (1,367 yd) or greater[edit]

Sniper Date Distance Weapon Ammunition Nationality Military Unit Conflict References
Corporal of Horse (CoH) Craig Harrison November 2009 2,475 m (2,707 yd) Accuracy International L115A3 .338 Lapua Magnum LockBase B408 bullets  United Kingdom Household Cavalry – Life Guards War in Afghanistan [6][9][10][11]
Furlong, RobCorporal Rob Furlong March 2002 2,430 m (2,657 yd) McMillan Tac-50 Hornady A-MAX .50 (.50 BMG)  Canada 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry War in Afghanistan [12]
Master Corporal Arron Perry March 2002 2,310 m (2,526 yd) McMillan Tac-50 Hornady A-MAX .50 (.50 BMG)  Canada 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry War in Afghanistan [12]
Sgt. Brian Kremer March 2004 2,300 m (2,515 yd) Barrett M82A1 Raufoss NM140 MP (.50 Cal)  United States 2nd Ranger Battalion Iraq War [13]
Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock (sniper) 1st Marine Division [A 1] February 1967 2,286 m (2,500 yd) M2 Browning machine gun .50 BMG  United States United States Marine Corps Vietnam War [3]
South African Special Forces sniper (Name withheld) [A 2] August 2013 2,125 m (2,324 yd) Denel NTW-20 14.5x114mm  South Africa South African Special Forces Brigade [A 3] United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo [14][15][16]
Ranstad , NicholasNicholas Ranstad January 2008 2,092 m (2,288 yd) Barrett M82A1 .50 BMG  United States United States Army 1-91 Cav/173d ABCT War in Afghanistan [17]
Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle [A 4] August 2008 1,920 m (2,100 yd) McMillan Tac-338 .338 Lapua Magnum  United States US Navy SEAL - Team 3, Charlie Iraq WarSadr City [18][19][20]
Corporal Christopher Reynolds August 2009 1,853 m (2,026 yd) Accuracy International L115A3 .338 Lapua Magnum LockBase B408 bullets  United Kingdom 3 Scots – The Black Watch War in Afghanistan [21]
Steve Reichert April 2004 1,614 m (1,765 yd) Barrett M82A3 Raufoss (.50 Cal)  United States United States Marine Corps Operation Iraqi Freedom - Latifiya [22]
Billy Dixon June 1874 1,406 m (1,538 yd) Sharps .50-90 .50-90 Sharps  United States Civilian Buffalo Hunter American Indian Wars [23]
Norwegian sniper (Name withheld) [A 5] November 2007 1,380 m (1,509 yd) Barrett M82A1 Raufoss NM140 MP (.50 Cal)  Norway Norwegian Army 2nd Battalion War in Afghanistan [24]
Staff Sergeant Jim Gilliland [A 6] September 27, 2005 1,250 m (1,367 yd) M24 rifle 7.62x51mm NATO  United States 2nd Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division Sniper Shadow Team Iraq War – Ramadi [25]
Carlos Hathcock in 1996
Carlos Hathcock in 1996
Notes
  1. ^ During the Vietnam War Hathcock had 93 confirmed kills of North Vietnamese Army and Viet-Cong personnel. During the Vietnam War, kills had to be confirmed by an acting third party, who had to be an officer, besides the sniper's spotter. Hathcock himself estimated that he had killed 300 or more enemy personnel during his time in Vietnam.
  2. ^ Longest confirmed kill using 14.5x114 mm ammunition
  3. ^ Serving as part of the UN Force Intervention Brigade
  4. ^ Christopher Scott "Chris" Kyle (April 8, 1974 – February 2, 2013) was a United States Navy SEAL who claimed to be the most lethal sniper in American military history with 160 "confirmed" kills out of 255 claimed kills. This figure, however, has not been corroborated by the Department of Defense, U.S. Special Operations Command, or the U.S. Navy Special Warfare Command, as such numbers are not tracked or managed under any official procedure. Kyle's claims are instead thought to be based on individual shooter logs not subject to verification or legal discovery.
  5. ^ Longest confirmed kill using 12.7 mm multi-purpose ammunition
  6. ^ Longest confirmed kill with a 7.62x51mm NATO chambered rifle

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ Plaster 1993
  2. ^ Circular Error Probable (CEP), Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center Technical Paper 6, Ver 2, July 1987, p. 1
  3. ^ a b Henderson 2003, p. 181
  4. ^ Gaijinass (May 6, 2010). "The way of the Gun: USMC S/S". Gaijinass. Retrieved May 6, 2010. 
  5. ^ Henderson 2003, p. 283
  6. ^ a b Smith 2010
  7. ^ Masters 2012
  8. ^ Reichert 2012
  9. ^ Chandler 2010
  10. ^ Alpert 2010
  11. ^ Drury 2010
  12. ^ a b Friscolanti, Michael (May 15, 2006). "We were abandoned". Maclean's. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 
  13. ^ Sheridan, Michael (May 3, 2010). "British sniper Craig Harrison (The Silent Assassin) breaks record, kills target from 1.5 miles away". Daily News. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 
  14. ^ Gibson 2013
  15. ^ Helfrich 2013
  16. ^ "Times Live". http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2014/08/22/south-africa-at-war-in-the-drc--the-inside-story. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  17. ^ Goldstein, Joseph (2010-05-30). "How to shoot someone from a mile away". NYPOST.com. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  18. ^ Buiso, Gray (January 1, 2012). "Meet the big shot - SEAL is America’s deadliest sniper". Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  19. ^ Zennie, Michael (2 January 2012). "255 confirmed kills: Meet Navy SEAL Chris Kyle... the deadliest sniper in US history". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  20. ^ Sanchez, Raf (2 January 2012). "'The Devil of Rahmadi' named America's deadliest sniper". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  21. ^ Mail Foreign Service (August 15, 2009). "British sniper describes moment he shot Taliban commander... from TWO KILOMETRES away". The Daily Mail. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  22. ^ D'Alessio 2005
  23. ^ Souter 2012, p. 40
  24. ^ Johnsen 2008
  25. ^ Harnden 2006
  26. ^ Brownlie 2003, p. 63
  27. ^ Westwood 2005, p. 212
  28. ^ "Герой Советского Союза Зайцев Василий Григорьевич :: Герои страны". Warheroes.ru. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  29. ^ Fredriksen 2010, p. 306

Bibliography[edit]