back to article Canadian sniper makes kill shot at distance of 3.5 KILOMETRES

A Canadian sniper has reportedly shot dead an Islamic State terrorist from the astonishing distance of 3,450 metres – more than two miles away. The astonishing feat of marksmanship took place within the last month "in Iraq", according to the Toronto Globe and Mail. A "military source" – almost certainly the Canadian armed …

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Ive hit targets at 1000yrds (with a gpmg....)

seriously good going to hit with a rifle.

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Hitting a man sized target at 1000 yards is consistently repeatable with a the standard NATO 7.62 / .308 round using a variety of ammunition if you have a good rifle/scope and have a good shooting position.

If you move up to the .338 it becomes a near you can't miss unless you do something wrong.

If you have solid prone shooting station and have the rifle/scope setup right & have the correct elevation/windage dialed in, then just about anyone who can shoot without jerking and hold it steady could hit a man sized target at 1000 yards with minimal training.

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The writer said 'target rifle' by NRA rules. If he'd said 'match rifle' he could have been using a scope, but 'target rifle' implies nothing more sophisticated than a peephole sight - no magnification, lenses or other optical aids in sight.

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Pint

I've hit targets at 1000yrds (with a gpmg....)

I have watched 2 kangaroos bound across a classification range at less than 300 yards with 10 GPMGs (M60's) firing and watched the fall of the tracers to see the 10 gunners attempt to take out the 2 'roos. All missed and the 2 'roos kept going. I have also done the 1000 yard shoots with a .308 target rifle with open (peep) sights (OMark 44 - shooting the same rounds as the M60) to score 95+ consistently.

The M60 can kill at greater ranges than 1000 yards but the chance of getting hit is pretty slim... mind you if someone is shooting at me with a gpmg you can bet I will be keeping my head down (and that is the purpose of the gpmg...).

A beer for the sniper at the centre of this story.

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There are easily found youtube videos of hunters shooting rabbits at 250-500 metres.

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Automatic weapons aren't designed to hit a certain spot but to cover an area (beaten zone) as described here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_of_fire_(weaponry)

For them to miss isn't unexpected, it'd suppress a target and potentially take it out which is what's needed of them.

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"There are easily found youtube videos of hunters shooting rabbits at 250-500 metres."

"Kill the wabbit"

"Duck Season !"

That'th dethpicable! Rabbit Theathon!"

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I have no experience

as a sniper or otherwise. But I took the trouble to buy and read Einführung in de Lehre vom Schuss by Dr. Karl Gey and Dr. Horst Teichmann, Leipzig & Berlin, 1941. Printed in Germany.

Other publications from the same publisher Physikalische Denkaufgaben aus der Welt des Soldaten. Any takers?

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Anonymous Coward

They would most certainly not be using M33 ball. These guys would be shooting match grade low-drag stuff such as the 750 grain Hornady A-MAX.

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Boffin

Am I missing something?

Sorry ;-)

If the bullet followed a ballistic path and was in the air for 9.7s, using s = 0.5at**2 it would rise and then fall ~115m wouldn't it? What am I missing here?

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Re: Am I missing something?

"If the bullet followed a ballistic path and was in the air for 9.7s, using s = 0.5at**2 it would rise and then fall ~115m wouldn't it? What am I missing here?"

Air resistance?

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Re: Am I missing something?

What am I missing here?

Well, a Dastardly Daesh at 3500 yards (unless you happen to be this particular Canadian sniper, which I doubt). And drag. The vertical component of the bullet's speed is not affected by gravity only but by the vertical component of the bullet's drag, which decreases with at least the square of the speed (and probably some higher-order factors). So you're not dealing with a pure parabola, and you would have to wrangle some fierce higher-order equation series to get at the right answer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Am I missing something?

I think you are spot on. The vertical component of the ballistic path is only a function of time and gravity. I came up with a height of 376.36 feet if it does travel for 9.7 seconds.

If the rifle was at a height of 16 feet and pointed horizontal and as the bullet exited the muzzle another was dropped in free fall from the same height which would hit the ground first regardless of muzzle velocity?

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Re: Am I missing something?

Bringing it back to computing, old ww2 / 50's books on analog computers, fire control radar etc, often use balistics and time of flight equations as an example....

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Risk to the shooter

Article suggests that the sniper would be relatively safe, as target wouldn't have anything capable of firing back over that range. There is always the risk that there are other enemy troops closer to the sniper, so he needs to maintain cover to avoid giving away his position

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Re: Risk to the shooter

A couple of points: the muzzle flash may not be noticeable at that distance, the sniper is likely firing very slowly - may be a minute between shots, and standard assault rifle only has an effective range of about 300 meters. Depending on how noisy the area was another rifle might not have been noticed. Also, snipers are trained to find tactical positions that make return fire difficult. The part most do not realize is sniper rifles are optimizing for 1000m + ranges while the standard issue infantry assault rifle is effective out to about 300m. Actually one of the best cures for a sniper is an artillery barrage, as a howitzer has a longer range and much bigger bang.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Risk to the shooter

I was once shown a picture of an apparently empty space and told to spot the sniper. After using my two guesses pointing at wrong spaces I was shown picture two with the sniper standing up in their gilly suit. I genuinely wouldn't have spotted them and could only have picked them out by luck or running out of alternative places to try. Good luck at two miles.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Risk to the shooter

> Actually one of the best cures for a sniper is an artillery barrage

Then again, that's the standard American "cure" for anything, as José Couso would attest if he were alive.

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29" barrel

"Though details on the precise specs of the C15 rifle are surprisingly tricky to find, the factory Tac-50 is supplied with a 29" barrel."

If thats the barrel width then perhaps it wasn't such an amazing shot after all. Of course one then has to ask how they got the battleship up there in the first place!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 29" barrel

The skill isn't so much the hitting of the target, it's the being able to cope with the recoil

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Happy

Re: 29" barrel

Given how long the Belfast's 6" barrels are, with a 29" barrel the target might have been poking his head in the end wondering what this long metal tube was.

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Happy

Re: 29" barrel

Have you not heard that radio documentary by Spike Milligan, 'Trouble at the Barami Oasis'?

"Put that 20,000 tonne battleship down Neddy, or my men will drink the oasis!"

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Pint

Re: 29" barrel

@IAS

Aaahhhh, a voice from my chilhood.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 29" barrel

Given how long the Belfast's 6" barrels are, with a 29" barrel the target might have been poking his head in the end wondering what this long metal tube was.

The Iraqi supergun was intended to have a circa 1m bore, and a barrel "only" 156m long.

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Boffin

Re: 29" barrel

"one then has to ask how they got the battleship up there in the first place"

A rather enormous flatbed truck.

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Re: 29" barrel

Damn! Trapped by a brilliant stratagem, and a common-or-garden forty-four thousand ton battleship.

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Re: 29" barrel

"one then has to ask how they got the battleship up there in the first place"

A very long run-up?

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Re: 29" barrel

The Iraqi supergun was intended to have a circa 1m bore, and a barrel "only" 156m long.

The V3 barrels were 5.9" bore and about 100M long,

I don't think Sadam was really trying when he ordered his new central heating pipes.

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Re: 29" barrel

"one then has to ask how they got the battleship up there in the first place" - A rather enormous flatbed truck.

Wait, what? Aren't battleships the standard floats for hydro-blimps...?

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Re: 29" barrel

"one then has to ask how they got the battleship up there in the first place"

Obviously, it stood in a chair.

Why do they paint battleship hulls red? So they are camouflaged in cherry trees.

Why have you never seen a battleship in a cherry tree? They use very good camo.

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Altitude

It's worth noting that the linked article states: "while firing from a high-rise".

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You wrote "Though details on the precise specs of the C15 rifle are surprisingly tricky to find."

Rubbish, stop using self censoring UK google and use DuckDuckGop for example. There are loads of websites providing detailed info on tactical rifles etc., not least of which is the manufacturer's own.

http://www.mcmillanfirearms.com/mcmillan-rifles/tactical-rifles/

https://infogalactic.com/info/McMillan_Tac-50

And UK British army kit... British Armed Forces AWM 338, designated L115A3

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accuracy_International_AWM

http://www.army.mod.uk/equipment/23223.aspx

So, why would you write that? ♥

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The version of the product as advertised may well differ from the product as sold to a bulk buying customer with enough purchasing clout to specify his own deviations from the published spec. It would be incautious of me to assume the civilian Tac-50 is the same as the issued C15 and C15A1 in the absence of positive supporting data - and as this isn't a contentious point or one that someone's trying to hide, I don't feel the need to go out on a limb. For what it's worth, the C15A1 definitely does differ in that the stock is not the McMillan own brand fibreglass product, not that that makes a significant difference to its shooting consistency for our purposes here.

I wouldn't assume that, say, British Airways' DC runs identical kit to what is presented in the manufacturer's catalogue just because the list spec for their boxen includes xyz TB of storage.

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Most likely the Civilian version can be built to order being slightly better for a specific purpose than the Military version, or built to the same specifications if desired.

In addition, you could probably load more specialized / more precise ammunition yourself also.

You'll find in the Extreme long range shooting world, at least in the USA & Canada, the military is usually following what has been tried and proved by the civilian target shooters, then adapted to fit the specific mission requirements for the purchase contract. (Much the same as a target shooter may exactly specify what they want on the build of their rifle, down to barrel/stock/action & trigger type etc.)

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Thumb Up

(Much the same as a target shooter may exactly specify what they want on the build of their rifle, down to barrel/stock/action & trigger type etc.)

Speaking from experience I know that each shooter may have started with the "standard" stock on their target rifles but then would spend a few weekends (or months) customising it to suit themselves. This would include modifying the the "bed" of the barrel, length of the stock, position of the sling mounts etc. We even had people that would create their own fully custom stock from a piece of wood (this was in the days before fibreglass moulding and Carbon Fibre).

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Anonymous Coward

> There are loads of websites providing detailed info on tactical rifles etc., not least of which is the manufacturer's own.

The chances of the weapon as used by Canadian forces being stock are slim. The journalist would have been pointing out that he does not know in what aspect their differ (if at all).

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Equipment is the easy part, the skill to do it in a combat situation is the amazing part.

There are several various calibers dedicated to precision shooting out to the 2 mile + range.

The .50 BMG is probably actually the hardest to get on target, with the .408 and .375 rounds being a bit easier.

The recoil isn't going to be too bad, it all depends on the setup of your rifle

(A .50 with a suppressor will feel like a nice stiff mule kick, vs. with a tank style muzzle break, it's downright pleasant. )

Getting the hits on a target of the type that might shoot back or move, when you are in a combat zone & don't have all day to walk your shots in, is where the true skill comes in.

It seems the Canadian snipers do tend to excel at some of the really long range stuff.

Shooting at 1000m ranges with steel targets, is a very Zen like experience, where once you send it, you have time to reload and then relax and such before the sound of the hit makes it's way back to you.

It's a great science doing all the computations for arc angles, maximum rise height, speed at the different locations during flight, stability through the transonic range and all that, plus bullet design stabilization vs not being able to correct etc. Nice little tricks like being able to hit someone behind a hill or barrier etc depending on the arc and all that fun. Or shooting over something to hit something directly but much further behind it.

On a 2 way range, it's way harder & those Canadians have some amazing skills & probably tons of practice. ( $10k scopes with $20k rangefinders & even more expensive doppler wind measurement devices, do help cut down the amount of rounds it takes to get on target by a huge amount).

As equipment gets better shots get longer, these days 1000m is pretty much the entry for saying you are a long range target shooter, with most of the boasting being done just inside the 1500m to 2000m range and the experimenters hitting the side of a barn at 3000m and 4000m

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As a very good "natural" I can tell you it was part of a group of shots,you might just get lucky once in a few million and hit first round but odds are very against it.

Fixed point against fixed point is good,I've been realy impressed if target had been mobile,that's nearly all luck v skill.

My best,swooping seagulls at triangulated from fixed points to have been 1800 yards,impact point out at sea so hard to properly measure,single standard 7.62mm ball,fired from L1A1,open sights,stood up.i called the shot,waited 5 seconds,cloud of feathers.witnessed by two very,very experienced UK soldiers and range control officers..

At ultra long ranges,it's luck,the target can decide to go have a wee,sit down,or anything.

There are stories of Russian troops building/converting 20mm cannons for this kind of job in Afghanistan 1. !!!

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Anonymous Coward

cloud of feathers.witnessed by two very,very experienced UK soldiers and range control officers

Why are you allowed to shoot the flying rats, when the rest of us find the RSPB and Plod getting all hot under the collar if we so much as hoof a teency stone at them?

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Hope you could ID the gull species correctly at that range!

Not every bird that flies off the UK coast is a maligned herring gull. All sorts of things, some you would definitely want to hit (e.g. exotica such as some albatross species spotted off UK waters), but plenty of rare stuff that could be confused with herring gull without proper bird ID training that are in massive decline already without potshots hassling them further

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IT Angle

I think the comment

from Accuracy international is needed here when it was asked about the previous best shot.

"Anything at that range is more down to luck than anything else"

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Re: I think the comment

As Gary Player said, "the more I practise, the luckier I get."

When you're shooting at that range, the target only has to sneeze for you to miss. Or even just decide to go for a walk 5 seconds after you pulled the trigger.

But it still takes immense skill and practise to get close, or in fact get into the right position to even be able to take the shot without getting yourself noticed, or killed.

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Pint

Updated: 3,540m

G&M update: "Editor's Note: The distance of the record-breaking shot is 3,540 metres, not 3,450 as reported in an earlier version of this story."

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"Thanks to the incredibly long distance for the shot, the sniper's target would have heard the boom of the round being fired approximately a tenth of a second after it hit. . ."

I suspect not.

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My M16 had a maximum range of 3600m

Oh, you mean an aimed shot that hits the target?? Well, that's different then. Bloody amazing at that.

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Anonymous Coward

Strelok

I do not own a 50 BMG, so I had to look up values. But this is what I put into Strelok and what I got out...

Distance: 4101 yards (sorry, US here)

Slope angle: 0

Wind speed: 0

Wind direction: 0

Weather: altitude 112', temp 90 F, pressure 29.41 ihHg

Cartridge: bullet weight 700 grains, Ballistic coefficient (G1) 0.62, bullet speed 2978 fps @ 100 degrees fahrenheit

Answer:

Vertical adjustment of 49,622.24 inches (1,260.404896 meters)

Sound speed: 1153.3 feet per second

Time of flight 19.9 seconds

Muzzle energy (out of barrel) 13784 ft-lbf

Retained energy (at impact) 68 ft-lbf

Now maybe I entered stuff in wrong for the bullet, but Stelok is a pretty standard ballistics calculator.

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Uninformed guess.

I heard somewhere that .50 cal ammo in anti aircraft machine guns in WWII were capable of damaging airplanes 7km away. That is, a full-auto machine gun, with tracer rounds every 5th shot, allowing to lead into the target.

So, being 7km their effective range, I totally believe a 3.5km shot, with a couple of leading shots, can hit a man.

So, that record can still be broken, but not by a 10km or 15km shot, on standard .50 cal ammo.

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Re: Uninformed guess.

.50 cal sounds a bit small for that, the effective range when fitted to an aircraft was only a few hundred yards. Not saying there weren't AA guns with that range, just probably not .50 cal or anything man luggable.

Full disclosure, I've fired a .50 cal from a helicopter and we weren't aiming at anything that far away. I did hit it though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Uninformed guess.

As far as I can remember, the Barretts 82 (also .50 cal) could still kill someone through a brick wall after 3km. That doesn't mean they were ever aimed well enough to do so (edit: 1km "effective" range). Being an old fogey, I remember when 6 of them being found in Northern Ireland meant the army had a tempory halt on using helicopters, as they made such juicy targets. That was back when we had proper terrorism (as financed by the USA).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Uninformed guess.

> That was back when we had proper terrorism (as financed by the USA).

Upvoted.

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