The Keefe Report: Canadian Sniper's Longest Shot

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posted on June 22, 2017
tac_50_2.jpg

The Canadian C15 LRSW made an appearance in the movie "Hyena Road." Top image courtesy imfdb.org.

Marksmanship matters
. And a record was set last month and reported this week in military marksmanship. Already well known for the excellence of its snipers—who work in pairs—a Canadian sniper in Afghanistan has set a new world record for the longest shot—a shot fired at 3,450 meters or 11,300 feet. That is 2.14 miles or 3,766 yards. It was remarkable for many reasons, one of which was it took about 10 seconds from the moment of firing for the bullet to impact the target—an ISIS fighter. The shot replaced British sniper Craig Harrison's 2,675 meter hit on a Talban machine gunner in 2009. Harrison, a Corporal of Horse in the Blues and Royals, used an Accuracy International rifle chambered in .338 Lapua adopted by the British as the L96A1.

The Special Forces soldier in the news reports was a member of Canada's Joint Task Force 2, which "protects the Canadian national interest in combat terrorism at home and abroad." The Globe and Mail reported "the shot in question actually disrupted an [Islamic State] attack on Iraqi security forces."

While American military snipers shooting .50 BMG typically use the Barrett M107, the Canadians prefer bolt-actions for long-range sniping work. The rifle used by the JTF2 sniper is a variant of the McMillan TAC-50 adopted by the Canadians as the C15 Long Range Sniper Weapon (LRSW). This is a 26-lb. bolt-action 50 BMG rifle built for the Canadian Armed Forces by McMillan Firearms Mfg. in Arizona. Of course, it has a McMillan fiberglass stock with a pistol grip, an adjustable comb and can be broken down for transport. The C15 is chambered in .50 BMG and is built with a proprietary McMillan action with a fluted, two-lug bolt, and feeds from a five-round capacity detachable box magazine. Barrels for the TAC-50 are made by Lilja Precision, and the 39” tubes are hand lapped. It is unknown whether the JTF2 sniper was using a Leupold Mark 4 4-16X 40 mm LR/T M1 or the newer Schmidt & Bender 5–25X 56 mm PM/IILP.

Likely the round used was the Mark 211 Model 0, which is a 671-gr. armor piercing round that has a tungsten-carbide penetrator. Known as the Raufoss for the ammunition maker in Raufoss, Norway, that developed the projectile, it is favored by Western snipers shooting .50 BMG. This round was used by Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry sniper Rob Furlong in his previous record breaking shot in Shahi Kot Province in 2002, which was 2,675 yards or 1.51 miles.

Major John L. Plaster, USAR, (Ret.) has written about sniping in Afghanistan, and the conditions faced by Allied snipers. Training and technology have made such shots possible. Again, Maj. Plaster wrote about the kinds of ballistic software used in the field by elite snipers. Ever heard of Coriolis Effect?

More details will no doubt emerge, but this remains an impressive feat of military marksmanship.

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