Brit Sniper Makes Double-Kill at 1.54 miles with .338 Lapua Mag
IMPORTANT UPDATE: In a subsequent BBC Interview, Harrison reported it took about NINE shots for he and his spotter to initially range the target successfully. Then, he reported, his first shot “on target” was a killing shot. That makes the story more plausible.
In a stunning display of marksmanship, and the ultra-long-range capability of the .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge, a British sniper killed two Taliban machine-gunners at a confirmed range of 1.54 miles. The distance to the target was GPS-ranged at 8,120 feet or 2,706.6 yards — well over a mile and a half. According to Britain’s Times Online, this successful engagement was the longest ever: “The previous record for a sniper kill is 7,972 feet, set by a Canadian soldier [in Afghanistan] in March 2002.” (Canadian Cpl. Rob Furlong used a McMillan Tac 50 in his 2002 engagement.)
The amazing shots were made by Corporal Craig Harrison of the Household Cavalry using an Accuracy International L115A3 rifle, chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum. L115A3 rifles, part of the British Army’s Sniper System Improvement Programme (SSIP), were first deployed to Afghanistan in May 2008. Corporal Harrison, with the assistance of his spotter, Trooper Cliff O’Farrell, dropped two Taliban machine-gunners with successive shots while providing covering fire for an Afghan national army patrol south of Musa Qala last November. Harrison told the Times that: “We saw two insurgents running through [a] courtyard, one in a black dishdasha, one in green. They came forward carrying a PKM machine-gun, set it up and opened fire on the commander’s wagon. I rested the bipod of my weapon on a compound wall and aimed for the gunner firing the machine-gun.” Harrison fired three rounds, the first killing one machine-gunner, the second killing the other (who had taken over the weapon), and a third to disable the enemy gun.
A shot at this ultra-long-range requires a superbly accurate rifle, a highly-skilled marksman, and favorable conditions. Harrison said: “Conditions were perfect, no wind, mild weather, clear visibility.”
Corporal Harrison is a brave soldier. During an ambush later in his Afghan tour of duty, a bullet pierced his helmet but failed to penetrate his skull. Some weeks after that, he broke both arms when a road-side bomb exploded under his vehicle. After recovering from his wounds, Harrison volunteered to return to Afghan duty.
Photo and illustration courtesy The British Army website.
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