World Record for Longest Rifle Shot Ever Completed Set in Wyoming

by Alex Falls
Predrag Vuckovic / Getty

A new world record has been set by a team of long-range shooting experts in Wyoming. They’ve set the record for the longest rifle shot ever completed by shooting a target 7,774 yards away, or 4.4 miles.

Shepard Humphries and Scott Austin led the group from Nomad Rifleman, a shooting range and training facility out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. But they didn’t make the shot with an average hunting rifle. They achieved the shot with a custom bolt-action rifle chambered in a .416 Barrett. It took the bullet 24.5 seconds to reach the target.

Humphries said he felt “elated and relieved” when he heard through the radios that the bullet reached the target. “We all contributed so much time, effort, and money into this project, and as with anything not done before, the chances are slim that you will succeed,” Humphries said to MeatEater.

To achieve this shot, they needed a perfected, custom rifle, which took several years to produce. Scott Null and his sons, Meshac and Nehemia Null, from Driggs, built the rifle gathering parts from different states and even as far as New Zealand and Canada.

The team took 69 shots the day they set the record. Their final shot miraculously hit the eight-inch center circle. The white rectangular target measured 10 feet wide and seven feet wide. Hitting the center circle was equivalent to putting a bullet on an area the size of a pinhead at 100 yards, Humphries said.

The Endless Factors of a Record Rifle Shot

The expert marksman said the biggest factor in landing the shot was predicting wind patterns. They started shooting early in the morning while the winds were quite calm. However, as the day progressed, velocities began to change. Even an increase of just one mile per hour would cause the need to adjust their point of aim by 26 feet.

Moment to moment, the team had no way of judging the wind at every point along the bullet’s path to the target. Factors at the microscopic level such as atmospheric pressure or humidity can change from one square foot to the next. And at any moment within the same cubic foot.

“Even if we could know with 100% accuracy the ‘environmentals’ at the moment the trigger was pressed, we could not predict what that cubic foot would be 20-something seconds later as the bullet passed through,” Humphries said. “There were over 23,000 of those cubic feet.”

In order to safely pull off the shot, the team developed what they called “audio spotting.” They built bulletproof bunkers around various points near the target so they could sit and listen for the impact of the bullet.

Many hours of study and safety measures went into landing the 4.4-mile shot and Humphries says this is not something people should go out and attempt without proper education and practice.