maximum effective range of rifles


December 27, 2002, 11:38 PM
i was just wondering what is the longest range that a professional sniper (SAS, SWAT, Navy SEALS, Force Recon, ect.) can hit a humam at. im talking any weapon, perfect wind, altitude, humidity, temperature, ect. what is the maximum ranges shot at at matches?

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Steve Smith
December 27, 2002, 11:57 PM
Their matches usually won't go over a thousand, but what they do in the field is another story. I don't remember any of Carlos' famous numbers off the top of my head.

December 28, 2002, 12:14 AM
I think my Barrett M82a1 with its tuned trigger and Leupold mk4 10x is capable of hitting a man at 1500yds. I'm sure it would be fatal if hit vitally. I think my 35 pound .258 super condor rail gun with the 20x Unertl programmer can keep it's 140 grain .257 bullets in a k-zone at 1000yds and still be travelling 1700fps or so. My NM m14 can get you at 600-800yds if my eyes were young again as can any number of beanfield guns. I'm talking "one shot one kill" on any game with a 18"x6' k-zone less than 500lbs with proper bullet construction of course.

December 28, 2002, 05:50 AM
was just set in Afganistan by a Canadian sniper

little over 2,500 yards IIRC. 50 BMG sniper round. I'm sure someone here will come up with the exact details

December 28, 2002, 09:49 PM
Wasn't the previous record set with a scoped Ma Duece?

December 28, 2002, 10:05 PM
Wasn't the previous record set with a scoped Ma Duece?
Yes it was either a Viet Cong boy on a bicycle loaded with AK 47s or a VC soldier doing his morning routine on a riverbank. The latter Hathcock admitted was pure luck since his round would have missed if the unfortuneate fellow hadn't risen from his squatting position. Check out Daniel Lilja's website regarding Long, long range big game and varmint hunting.

Here ya go (
338/416 rigby, that looks like fun!
Is the 338/416 about the same as the 338 RUM?

December 28, 2002, 11:49 PM
Hathcock did a 2500 yrd with a scoped ma duece.Canadian sniper did a 2750 with a McMillian.

December 28, 2002, 11:49 PM
The .338/416 is (commercially) the .338 Lapua Mag. The .338 RUM is marketed to compete with the .338LM, and similar cartridges. You can fool around with powders and bullets, and it's pretty hard to tell the difference between the two, from the data I've seen (not much published on the RUM yet, but then I haven't been looking too hard).

The .338LM is a long range hitter, and not punishing if you use a good brake. Accurate as heck. I expect the RUM would be, too.

December 29, 2002, 12:24 AM
The .338 Lapua is the standard of British Royal Marine Snipers. They consider it a 1500 meter gun for human targets.

December 29, 2002, 10:44 AM
Hi all, I'm new to the forum and was just looking around. This topic caught my attention. A few weeks ago I was out at my cabin in Clinton Co Pa. I took a ride over the mountain to make a phone call home, when I spotted a group of hunters along side the road. They had big binoculars,range finders, and big rifles on shooting benches. I stopped and talked with them for a bit as I had read an article in the late 60's about mile long shots for deer. Yup thats exactly what these guys were doing. They told me the best shot of their group was 1650yrds, and another group up the road was over 1800yrds. They claim the spotter is the key to a good shot as he watches the vapor trail of the round and the tells the shooter how to adjust if he missed. I was impressed. They were using .50 cals and 338/375, hand loads, with their own shooting charts as they site in at 100 yrds. I'll have to learn more, as this really facinates me. Regards, Jim

December 29, 2002, 11:32 AM
they used to say Hathcock could "see the wind" and put unreal dope on shots he was a bad man (in a good way):cool:

January 4, 2003, 12:08 AM
6 ft tall? :-) The torso is but 12" wide of vital zone, and 24" tall, on a big man, frontally. 50% of the time, the man will be sideways, and skinny little Asians are a mere 8" wide. Most of the time, if you are prone, in the field, you won't be able to see a man beyond 300m, because of vegetation blocking your view. Sitting is nowhere near as steady as is prone, and it's a lot harder to adequately "rest" the gun from sitting. Furthermore, having no wind, no mirage no target movement is not common either. So, hits beyond about 600 yds are quite often achieved mostly by luck.

Furthermore, none of the commercial rds have enough velocity left to expand a softpoint at 1500 yds. Those "hunters" firing at deer at such ranges are scumbags. Their bullets take 2.5 seconds to cover such a distance, and the deer can easily take one step in .5 second. That one step mean a gut hit instead of a chest hit, and the are certainly in no position to again hit a running deer. With a mile's head start on them, a gut shot deer, with a non expanding bullet, is going to be suffering for a long time.

January 4, 2003, 02:08 AM
There's some that have done the l'il p'dogs well-past 1000 yards.

Figure a Height = 4" X a width of 2"

okeydoke, I won't argue about taking game (you are correct, for game), but that wasn't the question.

Poke a goodly enough hole through somebody at fairly extreme range & you've taken 'em out of the picture.

Not really much difference of shooting somebody at 25 yards with a 124+p 9mm versus doing the same energy dump/terminal effect equivalent at 1000 yards+

Not like it's a defensive situation regards saving your own life at the moment - you just want to take 'em away ..... Dor-A-Thee .... ? ;)

January 4, 2003, 10:15 AM
and skinny little Asians are a mere 8" wide


January 4, 2003, 11:10 AM
So, hits beyond about 600 yds are quite often achieved mostly by luck.

Yeah, probably just luck. Assisted by years of practical shooting at long ranges... :rolleyes:

Accurately shooting for the first time at 300 yards might be luck. Someone that very well knows the basics of shooting at 500 yards, doing some computation on drop and judging wind and connecting at 800 or 900 yards might be luck. A 10 year veteran sniper making a kill at 600 yards is NOT luck.

cracked butt
January 4, 2003, 12:18 PM
Youoften hear about incredibly long shots made by snipers at 1000+ yards, but you rarely hear about how many misses it took at such ranges before someone made a hit. At these distances, a few feet of misjudged distance is the difference between a hit and a miss.

Steve Smith
January 4, 2003, 01:26 PM
I like cracked butt's answer. Very few of us non-military types have the time and funding to practice enough to make very long shots on the first try. All those "records" from this and that podunk shooting range are pretty unimpressive unless you know that the guy took his rifle out of its case and fired a single shot for the hit. Haven't we all seen guys get excited that they shot the "bulleye" once, but the rest of the target is randomly peppered? Yawn.

January 4, 2003, 02:58 PM
I don't know Steve, the idea for our best guys is to only take one shot, then get out of dodge.

Granted, MOST of thier shots are not 1000 yarders, but the training suggests, that if the average grunt (marine) with an m-16 can poke you at 300 yards, you had better be at least 500 yards away before you take a shot, preferably farther.

I don't think these guys do thier jobs making those shots with blind luck. They train to do this stuff for a living, hours a day practicing.

If us armchair commandos trained like they do, we'd all be bragging about 1000 yard shots.

To date, my longest made shot on big game was just over 400 yards. And it took me years of misses to be able to say I made that shot. But I'll say this, I don't miss much anymore.:scrutiny:

And I'll also say this.. shooting a Barrett .50 of a bench almost doubled my effective range, as I was nailing a 10 inch smiley face between the eyes at 600 yards. I thought that was pretty good for someone who had never handled a Barret.. but KNEW how to asked the guy that sighted it in, how low to hold the crosshairs, knew to practice breath control, trigger squeeze etc.

Just thank god I didn't have to lug the damn thing up a hill, through a creek and into a hidey-spot to make the shot.

January 5, 2003, 10:54 PM
Tried to do a post last night & the 'puter failed - probablly for the best, at the time.

With a laser-ranger & a ballistic 'puter-thing, one ought to be able to drop a bullet pretty much on-target - assuming some things.

I'll never argue the hunting aspect = go for good shots always, but as a sniper-type who'd just want to eliminate a "bad guy?" .... totally different scenario.

Whoops! I missed his heart & just smoked a liver = still, a pretty good enough thing all told. Worst case, he's outa the picture.

Art Eatman
January 5, 2003, 11:59 PM
A gunrag article some 40 years back spoke of a wheel-chair guy who hunted with buddies. I believe it was in VA or WV. Anyhow, they had a splendiferous range-finder and something like 7mm Rem Mag or equivalent.

The usual target would be resting deer across a valley from a highway with a turnout parking area. The state game department made special dispensation for wheel-chair folks. The shots were not across the road, but from alongside and away from it.

Shots were not taken on standing or moving deer. Maybeso "Code of the West" behavior, if you will.

IIRC, most shots were in the 500- to 800-yard range. Per the article, there was no history of wounded animals which escaped to be lost.

Again, memory...


Steve Smith
January 6, 2003, 10:09 PM
Please re-read my post. You ECHOED my comments. I have nothing but respect for TRAINED snipers. My criticism was directed toward civilian armchair commandos!

January 6, 2003, 10:14 PM
My civilian armchair commando Ruger 10/22 shoots a bullet that is deadly up to a mile and a half. Says so on the box.:neener:

January 6, 2003, 10:45 PM
I know about these guys in Penn in early 60s and allways wanted to join. But I was young and poor and they were well heeled enough to have OUTRAGEOUS rifles and battle ship binocs and range finders. When Doctor Ramon Somavia of Hollister Ca. estate was sold I bought his .258 Super Condor that mimics these early long range guy's guns. These guys were getting deer CLOSE to 1000 yds and were oldtime benchresters. I dont know who does it today but would imagine a very low drag .50BMG doesnt need to open to prove real final even at 1500yds. Back in 1962 they were using .300 weatherbys with 200 Sierra matchkings and .264 Win Mag with 140's. Always with big Unertl target scopes on 30 lb bench guns with 36" barrels.

October 24, 2003, 08:10 PM
don't judge others by your own skill.:neener:

October 24, 2003, 09:39 PM
Shots were not taken on standing or moving deer. Maybeso "Code of the West" behavior, if you will.-Art Eatman

If they didn't shoot them when they were standing or moving when did they :confused:

Quintin Likely
October 24, 2003, 10:19 PM
I don't know about extremes, and I've never shot to the extremes, but I think the US Army says the M24 sniper rifle is effective up to 800 meters, and the Marine Corps says 1000 yards with their M40s.

Art Eatman
October 24, 2003, 10:23 PM
Blueduck, it's real common for deer to lie under a bush or in the shade of a tree during the middle of the day.

That's why I like walking-hunting. Kick Ol' Biggie out of bed; figure out if he's big enough to shoot and if you really want to gut a deer, and then break his neck. A bit of a challenge...

:), Art

October 24, 2003, 10:33 PM

Sounds like shooting them laying down has an added PETA advatange in that the deer suffers no injury from the fall to the ground after being shot ;)

October 24, 2003, 10:59 PM
Yes it was either a Viet Cong boy on a bicycle loaded with AK 47s or a VC soldier doing his morning routine on a riverbank. The latter Hathcock admitted was pure luck since his round would have missed if the unfortuneate fellow hadn't risen from his squatting position. Check out Daniel Lilja's website regarding Long, long range big game and varmint hunting.

Actually he hit a vietcong gorilla that was driven out of the woods after a Marine sweep. He was kneeling taking a drink at 2500 yards. Carlos fired just as he began to rise the bullet struck him just beneath the chin. He was sitting on the same spot that carlos zeroed the BMG when he first arrived.

Got "Marine Sniper" right here on my lap :D

October 24, 2003, 11:33 PM
Actually he hit a vietcong gorilla...

IIRC, it was a big silverback, too. ;)

Art Eatman
October 25, 2003, 08:55 AM
Hey, Tam, I always wondered what happened to Willie B...

Besides, we're shooters, not spellers. :D


October 25, 2003, 09:24 AM
Mr Hathcock's son was in the Corps when I was. I do not remember the exact wording used, but his dad told him that shooting at 1,000 for the Wimbelton Cup is one thing, but when you have to hit and get away, about 500 to 600 yards was the farthest he'd shoot if he HAD to put down the objective. I heard that second hand, but from family, and I believed it.

There is a big difference between taking H&I sniper fire shot(s) at someone and taking a shot at a specific someone. I think when quoting his dad he meant in the context of a specific someone, for whatever that's worth. Of course, I am sure it was NOT meant in the context of the shooter having a .50 precision rifle either.

October 25, 2003, 12:08 PM
Ditto goalie.

Lots of variables on what "effective" might be...

Taking out one specific officer who you really don't want to spoke into hiding for three months might be one range. While shooting close enough to keep some soldiers in a foxhole instead of out in the open assembling a larger weapon that could blow your platoon away might be a significantly longer one.

"One shot, one kill" might be the motto but throught history the ability to keep people pinned down and basically inactive from long range seems to have been a valued tactic. Not to mention the effect on morale of sitting in your own base and having a shot ring in every few hours or even days...

October 29, 2003, 05:35 PM
I'll just hrow this in.

At 14-15 years old, I'd very regularly smoke a crow at 450-500 yards (stock/glass-bedded Rem 700 .243 Win 3X9 scope) off a car window "rest."

At the time, I had zero training/equipment, other than a decent trigger/accuarate handloads & a goodly (home-made tweaked) trigger squeeze.

I have no doubt whatsoever that a man-sized lethal hit can be acheived off a decent rest with any suitable scoped rifle.

Noone whatsoever.

Steve Smith
October 29, 2003, 05:43 PM
You should ask Mr. Hathcock (Jr.) why he was escorted off the firing line at Perry.

The gene didn't stick.

October 29, 2003, 08:39 PM
All right, I'll bite.

Why was Hathcock Jr. escorted off the line @ Perry?

October 30, 2003, 01:17 AM
800 Meters with a .308.

1,200 with a .50 BMG.

Steve Smith
October 30, 2003, 09:31 AM
Not here to spread junk or scuttlebutt...just a passing comment. Sorry!

October 30, 2003, 04:10 PM

Knowing your scope/caliber trajectory,& scope subtension, etc. - one should be able to dial in a round to about 1000 yards, or so, quite accurately ... fair enough.

Work the math:

& easily enough done by just working your scope at 100 yards & extrapolating ....

Wire diameter at "X" yards (for windadge) = X=width & wire diameter +s height.
Each wire diameter at 100 yards =s 2x at 200 & etc. - no majic ....

October 30, 2003, 11:28 PM

I've read and enjoyed lots of your posts, but I'm having a hard time buying the "very regularly" hit crows at 450-500 yards claim, with a stock .243 Rem and single point rest.

Just checked Federal's website, and the drop for a .243 85-grain load, zeroed at 200 yards, is 33" at 500 yards. The drop is 40" for a similar 70-grain load. And these were both top quality Premium loads with very good bullets.

Please understand, I'm not saying you didn't hit a crow at that distance. But if you could do it regularly, man, you're a heck of a lot better shot than I am. Maybe I'm just jealous.

November 3, 2003, 01:19 PM
Load I used was RWS primers, 37.5 grs IMR 4895, Hornady's 87 Spire Point & Norma's once-fired brass - dialed in at 3.5" high at 100 yards.

But let's see, at 14-15, I hadn't started to smoke, drink, chase women, my eyes were excellent, & the rifle shot 1/4" groups consistently at 100 yds. All that has changed. ;)

Shooting enough (1,000s monthly) & one got a real feel for where the gun shoots - couple body length (height) hold-overs is not that big a deal.

Within 500 yds or so & a decent enough field rest, if I could see it, I could kill it.

Haven't shot past around 350 yds or so in quite a while, but would daresay that I could still hit at least >1/2 at 1/4 mile.

Did a John Wilkes Booth on an antelope last season with a 1/4 mile head shot. Same rifle, different load, but did use a bipod - & was prone. The Wife, using a 7-08 did hers at 325 yds, but did miss her point of aim by about 1.5". Not a very flat shooter (a 120 Nosler BT at a measley 2600 fps, she had to use the duplex subtension), this bullet dialed in at a 200 yd zero is about 11" low at 300.

BTW, a nifty "reactive" target is some water-filled 2-litre plastic pop bottles. Paint 'em orange, if need be. No doubt when you make a connect.

"Shoot more, shoot more often." ;)

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