World record for longest long-range rifle shot broken Tuesday

Sep 15, 2022, 3:03 PM | Updated: Sep 16, 2022, 11:35 am
Custom built long-range rifle which shot the new world record on September 13, 2022. Photo by Matth...
Custom built long-range rifle which shot the new world record on September 13, 2022. Photo by Matthew Mellor

JACKSON, Wyo. — The world’s farthest long-range rifle shot was fired Tuesday, surpassing the previous record by nearly half a mile.

Forward spotting team after hitting the target. Photo from forward spotting team.

The previous record of 4 miles set in 2020 was defeated by a 4.4-mile target hit in the high desert of western Wyoming. The bullet took 24 seconds to hit the 8-inch bullseye, but breaking the record had been the goal for over a year.

After setting the Wyoming state record of 3.06 miles in 2020, Scott Austin and Shepard Humphries gathered a team of extreme-long-range enthusiasts to tackle the world record.

“This was the most challenging, difficult, frustrating, time-consuming and yet rewarding professional project I have ever undertaken,” Humphries said.

They began planning the project in late 2020. With custom parts coming in from all over the world and fine details, like hand-lathed bullets, it wasn’t until May 2022 that the rifle was built and ready to fire.

Then began months of testing a wide range of systems like wind readers, custom steel bunkers, and optics.

“With this kind of shooting, nobody has yet figured out how to get first-round hits. This isn’t the kind of thing where you buy a new rifle and some ammo right off of the gun store shelf and go get lucky,” Humphries said.

Bunkers protected the spotters from being hit, as they were scattered between the shooter and the target in order to guide accuracy. Humphries’ wife Lynn Sherwood led the spotting team, who primarily used audio spotting to calibrate the shot, which Humphries thinks might be a brand new concept in extreme-long-range. Audio spotting has been known to supplement visual spotting, but because of the distance of the target, spotters couldn’t always see impact dust from the bullet as well as they could hear it whooshing past.

Target at an angle for incoming bullet descending at 48 degrees. Target was 10 feet wide, 7 feet 8 inches tall. Photo from forward spotting team.

After several hours of number crunching and aim adjusting later, their 69th shot hit the bullseye. Austin and Humphries say that while their hit is not scientifically consistently repeatable, this makes it extra coincidental that the previous 4-mile record set by Paul Phillips also landed on the 69th shot.

Hit was 3 and 1/8 inches from bullseye center. Photo from forward spotting team.

“Together, we’ve spent over 1,500 hours in research, highs and lows, blood, sweat, excitement and tears, with dozens of amazingly gifted people and businesses personally invested in the goal,” Austin said.

“Together, we’ve spent over 1500 hours in research, highs and lows, blood, sweat, excitement and tears, with dozens of amazingly gifted people and businesses personally invested in the goal,” Austin said.

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World record for longest long-range rifle shot broken Tuesday