A new long-distance shooting record of 4.4 miles was set September 13 in western Wyoming by a shooter who requested anonymity. Scott Austin and Shepard Humphries, managers at Nomad Rifleman, near Jackson Hole, Wyo., coordinated the massive undertaking that included a support team at the firing line and multiple spotters downrange to call impacts and document/verify the shot.
It took the pair more than 20 months for the rifle to be built, craft the bullets, collect the accessories and assemble to expertise to accomplish the feat. It was shot No. 69 that hit the 8" orange circle, 24.5 seconds after the shooter squeezed the trigger. It punched through the 4'x10' thin metal sheet only 3.125" from dead-center.
Multiple shots to walk a gun onto target are common when extreme long distance is the pursuit, but this range presented a whole new set of challenges. To reach that distance, the bullet rose 2,500 feet above the bore, into wind meteorologists only dope by weather balloon. Despite the unmeasured variable, the record-setting shot resulted from a 53-m.o.a. wind call in ground breezes that averaged 8 mph. Elevation adjustment was a mind-boggling 1,092 m.o.a. Spindrift adjustment was calculated at 93.80" to the right.
“These types of shots are just for fun” explained Shepard. “This is not for hunting purposes, and the hit isn’t consistently repeatable yet. Maybe the people who beat our record and the other smart cookies in the ELR [extreme long range] world will be able to make first-round hits at these distances in the years to come, but at this point, it isn’t a sure thing.”
The rifle was built by S&S Sporting in Driggs, Idaho, and assembled from customized parts and accessories from Canada, New Zealand, Arkansas, South Dakota and elsewhere. It is chambered in .416 Barrett and used a hand-lathed Cutting Edge MTAC 422-grain bullet. Muzzle velocity was 3,300 f.p.s. and it hit the target at 689 f.p.s.