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Elite Snipers: The 2,000 Yard Club

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By Harold Hutchison
While all snipers are elite, some of the crème de la crème of snipers have recorded kills at ranges of over 2,000 yards. Ten snipers… some of whom have not been identified, have made those incredible shots.

The first sniper to do this was Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock, the legendary “White Feather,” who scored 93 confirmed kills during the Vietnam War. Hathcock’s shot, made at a range of 2,500 yards, used a modified M2 heavy machine gun.

Nine other snipers have all reached that plateau since then. Among them were the legendary Chris Kyle, as well as record setters Aaron Perry, Rob Furlong and Craig Harrison.

Sniper Distance (yards) Weapon War
Unidentified Australian 3,079 Barrett M82 Operation Enduring Freedom
Craig Harrison 2,707 Accuracy International L115A3 Operation Enduring Freedom
Rob Furlong 2,657 McMillan Tac-50 Operation Enduring Freedom
Arron Perry 2,526 McMillan Tac-50 Operation Enduring Freedom
Brian Kremer 2,515 Barrett M82A1 Operation Iraqi Freedom
Carlos Hathcock 2,500 M2 Vietnam War
Unidentified South African sniper 2,324 Denel NTW-20 Democratic Republic of the Congo
Nicolas Ranstad 2,288 Barrett M82A1 Operation Enduring Freedom
Chris Kyle 2,100 McMillan Tac-338 Operation Iraqi Freedom
Christopher Reynolds 2,026 Accuracy International L115A3 Operation Enduring Freedom

Of these 10 shots, there seems to be no dominant weapon used. Three of the snipers used the Barrett M82A1, a semi-automatic system that fires the .50 BMG round, and has a 10-shot magazine. Two used the Accuracy International L115A3, a bolt-action rifle that fires the .338 Laupa round, and has a five-round magazine. The bolt-action McMillan Tac-50, chambered for the .50 BMG round, was used by two snipers. The McMillan Tac-338, a rifle similar to the Tac-50 but firing the .338 Lapua round, was used by one sniper. Hathcock used an M2 machine gun for his shot. The South African sniper used a Denel NTW-20, a rifle chambered to fire the 14.5mm round used in the Russian KPV machine gun (most notably used on the ZPU-4 anti-aircraft gun, the BRDM reconnaissance vehicle, and the BTR-60/70/80 series of armored personnel carriers).

Of the shots, six were fired during Operation Enduring Freedom, two during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and one each during the Vietnam War and a UN operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nine of the shots have occurred since 2002.

Hathcock’s record shot stood for just over 35 years, before the record was broken four times in the space of 10 years and nine months. Arron Perry’s time as record holder did not even last a month, before Rob Furlong snapped it. Furlong’s record stood for seven years and eight months, until Craig Harrison took the record. Harrison’s reign lasted less than three years.

This is a very exclusive club. Were these snipers, like the unidentified shooter who took out six insurgents with one shot, lucky to score the kills at the distances they did, or was it just application of their exceptional skills?

From the July 2014 issue of SOF.

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