Americans Set New Long Range World Record! 5,000 yards (2.84 miles)

The American team led by former Navy SEAL sniper Charlie Melton and Brad Stair of Performance Guns. (Photo: Brad Stair of Performance Guns)

On October 11th, we published an article about a team of Russian shooters from Lobaev Arms who set a new long-range world record by hitting a 1-meter target at 4,604 yards, which is approximately 2.6 miles. The rifle manufacturer announced this record on its Facebook page on October 3rd.

Unbeknownst to us, and apparently to the Lobaev team, was that on September 30th Charlie Melton, a retired United States Navy SEAL sniper, shot a 40-inch target at 5,000 yards, smashing all previous records.

For the record-breaking shot Charlie Melton, who runs Charlie Mike Precision, teamed up with Brad Stair of Performance Guns. Over several conversations with Charlie and Brad, I was able to get the details of their record-breaking shot.

Performance Guns, which is based out of Salt Lake City took an Armalite AR-30 and modified it to shoot .408 Tejas, which is a modified .408 Chey Tac. The .408 Tejas round when compared to a .408 Chey Tac has a 50-degree shoulder for increased powder capacity. The actual .408 Tejas bullets used for the shot were monolithic, weighed 420 grains, and were turned on a screw machine.

The Modified Armalite AR-30 had a 31-inch Pac-Nor barrel with an Armalite muzzle brake. The rifle was equipped with a Jewell trigger that was tuned to 6 ounces. The shot was taken with a Shots Gunsmithing bipod that was designed for the Armalite AR-X series of rifles. The .408 Tejas round had an average velocity of 3,065 fps.

The Modified Armalite AR-30 chambered in .408 Tejas. (Photo: Brad Stair of Performance Guns)

In regard to glass, the team used a Nightforce NXS 12-45 x 56 that was set on 21 power. To get the necessary 419.6 minutes of angle to make the shot, the team used Ivey Adjustable scope rings in conjunction with a Charlie TARAC prism. (We wrote about the Charlie TARAC prism when we discussed the record-breaking sniper kill by the Canadian JTF2 team in Iraq earlier this year.)

Getting to the actual shot, Charlie, and his team loaded several 10 round batches that had different amounts of powder. They connected on the 40-inch target when shooting the 7th shot of the 3rd batch of ammo.

The .408 Tejas round had an average velocity of 3,065 fps and took almost 13 seconds to reach the target that was about 2.84 miles away. (Photo: Brad Stair of Performance Guns)

You could say that it took 37 rounds to hit the target, but I think it is more appropriate to say that they found a calibrated load that was optimized for stabilizing the .408 Tejas round into subsonic range, and once the optimal load was found, it took seven rounds to hit the target.

The team had a Density Altitude of 5,200 feet, and they had to contend with a 3 to 4 mph 1/2 wind value. The wind was measured with a Kestrel 4500. Plugging the provided values into my Applied Ballistics firing solution, the .408 Tejas round had a flight time of 12.816 seconds.

Overall, very impressive. What is incredible is the accuracy of the Performance Guns rifle. An accurate rifle at a minimum should be able to hold a 1-inch group at 100 yards. Good glass, consistent ammunition, and a good shooter should be able to hold a 10-inch group at 1,000 yards, 20-inch group at 2,000 yards, 30-inch group etc. Charlie shot a 40-inch target at 5,000 yards, which means that at a minimum his rifle is capable of shooting a .80 inch group at 100 yards.

When I asked Brad about that he said that the rifle that Charlie used grouped 1/4 MOA at 100 yards, further adding that the rifles that leave his shop typically achieve groups between 1/4 – 3/8 MOA at 100 yards.

SEE ALSO: Russians Set New Long Range World Record: 2.6 Miles!

Not only is Charlie a world class shooter, but he is also a world-class instructor. Charlie Mike Precision, Charlie’s company, specializes in long-range precision rifle training. If you have a desire to learn the finer points of long range shooting, don’t hesitate to schedule a class.

Charlie and his team are gearing up for a 6,000-yard shot. I have total confidence that his team will beat their own record in the very near future. Great job guys!

{ 59 comments… add one }
  • Ajeocci October 29, 2017, 4:33 pm

    I would like to see the team fire several rounds with the same loading as the one that hit the target. That would really be impressive. This shot was impressive by itself, but consistency would prove their point. Anyway, congratulations. I was impressed with the .408 Chey Tac which was originally made here in Idaho in a shop in Arco. The cost of the rifle, I think, led to the demise of the company. Still, it was an impressive cartridge and rifle.

  • Selden October 28, 2017, 7:21 am

    I have to agree with a lot of you guys. Although this was an exceptional shot, one shot is not a group. The article states the rifle is capable of shooting a .80 inch group at 100 yds. This may be true but as I said “One shot is not a group”. I’ll be impressed when I see some kind of consistency. As far as snipers go, when you’re in the field in less than ideal conditions and generally don’t have 27 chances to hit your target, to me a 1000 – 2000 yard shot is much more impressive.

  • James Brigham (Bigg) Bunyon October 28, 2017, 6:57 am

    I once read of a blind hog rooting up an acorn. No idea how many tries it took but congrats to the blind porker.

  • Scott A.Bush October 27, 2017, 7:24 pm

    The only standard that should be applied to this type of shooting is repeatability with in a specified time frame.

  • John Helm October 27, 2017, 5:06 pm

    Show me 3 holes somewhere near the square in the middle of the target out of 10 shots fired and I will be much more impressed. Hitting the target at 5000 yds. is impressive but doing it a few times in a row, REALLY impressive.

    • Thomas Gomez October 27, 2017, 5:23 pm

      I respect your opinion, but getting a bullet to maintain its gyroscopic stability that deep into the subsonic range is impressive in its over right.
      I hope this finds you well.

  • Ryan October 27, 2017, 5:00 pm

    Monolithic projectile???
    From Latin meaning Mono=one
    Lithic=stone aka one-stone. What are they shooting? Stone bullets?! 😂 Stonehenge is monolithic! Not a rifle stock! not bullets! 🤣 just stop it…

    • Thomas Gomez October 27, 2017, 5:22 pm

      They are shooting a bullet that has a monolithic composition. Conventional swaged bullets have a lead core and a copper jacket. The bullets typically used in these shots are a brass copper allow that are made on a lathe or screw machine.

    • Joshua Bungard October 28, 2017, 3:21 am

      The precision in which the projectile is made holds a few tenths tolerance that’s .0002” of an inch. One solid piece of brass copper alloy.
      Concentricity, circularity and symmetry is nearly perfect.

  • Jeffrey L. Frischkorn October 27, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Well, so much for me getting excited about hitting a paper plate at 50 yards with my smoothbore slug shotgun and calling it “minute of deer.”

    • Charlie October 27, 2017, 9:47 pm

      Heh.
      That makes nineteen million and one of us.

  • D Day Dog October 27, 2017, 3:01 pm

    27 (or 37) rounds to hit the target? I’m not dashing the effort, but with a decent enough rifle and load, even I could eventually hit a target far out with enough rounds. Repeating the result (more or less) consistently within the conditions presented would seem to warrant more of an applause to me.

    • 2000 yd ear piercer October 27, 2017, 4:38 pm

      D Day Dog: Maybe you should go out and show us how it is done. I will put money where my typing is should you want to try !!! OR better yet, simply put $100 a shot shooting against me personally. You pick the distance between 1760 yds out to 5280 yards and put up the money – I am ready !!!! Are you ????
      What I watched Charlie Melton do with the Performance Rifle 408 Tejas was simply amazing……the groups were outstanding.

      • Thomas October 27, 2017, 6:51 pm

        You can pat the shooter on the back all you want but he still only hit the target 1 time out of a slew of attempts. That is neither accurate or precise and definetely not reproduceable. Yes, there is something to be said for acheiving it, once. It ultimetely has no real world application until it can be replicated and has accountability.

        • Bret October 30, 2017, 5:49 pm

          It really pains me to think that fellow sportsman in the shooting world are really this stupid. Since this blog started, has anyone one of you who are not impressed sent 200-300 rounds of ammo down range at 100″ target, much less 40″ and beat this record??? I will answer that for you, NO YOU HAVE NOT!!! If it was that easy, then it wouldn’t be a world record now would it. If he would have needed 30 or 40 rounds and was hitting within 10 yards of the target with half of those rounds, it is damn impressive. If you dullards are not impressed then you might consider destroying your firearms and going out to the forest…………..find a real preal perty tree and give’er a big ol’ hug

      • Scott A.Bush October 27, 2017, 7:34 pm

        Repeatability is one of the bases for scientific theory. Without that, any results garnered could easily be dismissed in any number of ways. That’s what I suggest if they do create a standard for these type of long-distance shots that a subsequent shot must be made within a specific time period.

    • Thomas Gomez October 27, 2017, 5:46 pm

      Unless you have spent 5 years developing a bullet that will maintain its gyroscopic stability into subsonic range, and you have the glass and bases to get 400+ minutes/111+ MILS….I doubt it.

    • Scotty Gunn October 27, 2017, 6:33 pm

      Actually, you couldn’t. A buddy of mine and I shoot all the time at 6-700 yards, and some guns and loads just can not do it, no matter how many rounds and a good spotter. And that distance is pretty much point blank for these fellows.
      Yea, they didn’t cut a ragged hole, but very impressive none the less. Now that they have the dope worked out (load, adjustments,etc) I suspect next time they can plug in the data and do even better.

  • 2000 yd ear piercer October 27, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Gentleman, I happened to be there when Charlie Melton, Navy Seal, made the 5,000 plus yard shot with the Performance Guns 408 Tejas rifle, built by Brad Stair. In fact, I loaded the ammunition shot by Charlie, and was the main down range spotter positioned by the target. We had 3 different loads as well as 3 different brass manufacturers, all shot sub moa, but the last batch from Peterson Cartridge Co. produced sub 3/4 moa accuracy at the target distance.
    As a previous sniper and government shooter for 17 years, and still a long range shooter, I was more impressed with the groups Charlie Melton was able to maintain at the 5025 yard distance than him actually hitting the target. When you have 7 back to back shots maintaining about a 3 foot circumference directly next to the target and some just inches apart,you have to just shake your head in amazement wondering how that was possible and how did Charlie maintain the groups he was shooting.
    The shot is repeatable and Charlie, Brad and myself plan on doing it again in the very near future. We might consider adding 1,000 yards at some time though so go figure…… It is a 1 in 13 twist barrel, and Brad was holding up the bullet and holding the muzzle brake, but it wouldn’t have hurt his trigger finger though, and he also knew we were out of ammo…..
    There was a 4000 + yard shot made that day with a smaller caliber, more on that later.

    • Thomas Gomez October 27, 2017, 5:46 pm

      Thank you Sir.

    • Lloyd myers October 27, 2017, 6:31 pm

      If it was repeatable why didn’t you hit it twice
      There needs to be a sanction to set parameters for elr I am not knocking the effort that went into to this But at one point it becomes a light artillary game

    • Sendit6.5 October 29, 2017, 4:59 pm

      It’s definitely a technological feat by a truly great shooter. There’s no knocking that. It just seems like after that shot was made, why not use the remaining loads from the batch to prove it wasn’t a fluke? Everyone had to know that a single hit was going to raise questions with most folks. All that could have been eliminated with even one more hit. Adam Kroda managed to put 3 rounds in a 16″ target at only 273yds shorter and there’s NO such questioning going on because the group is evidence that it wasn’t an accident. I couldn’t dream of making a shot like that so I’ve got nothing but admiration for both of these shooters. Im just saying, until there’s evidence that this wasn’t a one-off, there will not be the same level of praise that’s probably due.

  • Steve October 27, 2017, 1:55 pm

    wouldn’t the seventh shot of the 3rd batch be the 27th round, not the 37th?(as the 10th shot of the first batch would be the tenth shot, 10th of second batch would be the 20th, 10th of 3rd batch would the 30th, etc.?

  • CHARLES October 27, 2017, 1:46 pm

    VERY NICE LONG POKE.
    A 10 FOOT TARGET SHOULD BE USED THOUGH, TO GET A CONTINUED PATTERN OF HITS, AND WALK THE BULLET INTO THE BULLSEYE OR GET A GROUPED PATTERN OF HITS.
    SEVERAL SPOTTERS TO BE USED TO WATCH THE HITS. ONE IN A BULLET PROOF BOX, OFF THE SIDE OF THE TARGET AND A 100 YARDS FROM TARGET CAN CLOSE THE GAP TO MINIMAL GROUP SIZE.
    ITS ONLY A MATTER OF WINDAGE AND ELEVATION ONCE CENTER LINE IS FOUND.

  • Darren October 27, 2017, 12:25 pm

    What am I missing? For a round to take 13 seconds to reach that target – would be traveling an average of 1200fps or so.

    • Steve October 27, 2017, 1:51 pm

      he means the average muzzle velocity(is 3,065fps.) not the average velocity of the round from the shooter to the 5,000 yard target(as obviously the average velocity would change considerably based on the distance the shot was taken at.)
      by the time the round hit the target, it was moving at subsonic velocities.

  • Don Wheeler October 27, 2017, 12:24 pm

    Back in June an American named Adam Kodra set the record at 4752 yards. Hitting three of 5 shots into a 16inch bulls eye. Guieness book of records has no record for longest shot WITH OPTICS yet they have it for Longest kill by a sniper. I Know for a fact the snipers USE OPTICS. LOL

  • Jim Cicconi October 27, 2017, 11:49 am

    I have to totally agree with Mr. Will Drider’s comment. Well said Sir…JC

  • Eric Christianson October 27, 2017, 11:33 am

    I would rather see a 10 hits on a 10mX10m target @ 5000yds than one hit on a 1m^2 so we could see how the rifle and shooter perform in terms of MOA.

  • Allen Lawson October 27, 2017, 11:15 am

    That’s a bad ass shot no doubt about it . 40 inch target at 5000 yards I assume that means a shooter that good could hit Rosie O’Donnell at about 10000 yards . Just kidding . Just finished reading another ridiculous piece about that swanky ole broad .

  • Roy "Cody" Karlsen, DAV October 27, 2017, 10:58 am

    Just over the Russian record of 4546.15048 yards.

    • Thomas Gomez October 27, 2017, 1:05 pm

      The Russians “record” was dead on arrival. They offered no technical data on how the shot was done.
      Hope this finds you well!

  • Bob October 27, 2017, 9:51 am

    Gomez wrote this in his article about the Russian 4604 yard shot.

    Quote, “Though impressive, the unofficial world records are amusing due to the lack of a sanctioning by a governing body. It is hard to consider a long distance shot a world record when dozens of rounds were likely sent down range in the hope of hitting a target.”

    Would the same not apply in this case?

    • Thomas Gomez October 27, 2017, 1:08 pm

      Hello Bob

      In many ways yes. Bryan Litz put together a standard that Charlie and Brad will be using when they attempt their next shot. I would consider what Charlie and Brad did to be a legitimate record. They did a ladder test. Found a round that was accurate, and that would maintain its gyroscopic stability well into subsonic range and hit their target on the 7th shot.
      I hope this finds you well.

  • Phil Macedon October 27, 2017, 9:50 am

    “An accurate rifle at a minimum should be able to hold a 1-inch group at 100 yards. Good glass, consistent ammunition, and a good shooter should be able to hold a 10-inch group at 1,000 yards, 20-inch group at 2,000 yards, 30-inch group etc. Charlie shot a 40-inch target at 5,000 yards, which means that at a minimum his rifle is capable of shooting a .80 inch group at 100 yards.”
    Totally wrong. It would be true IF bullets traveled in straight lines, but they do not; they curve. Groups enlarge exponentially the farther away they are.

    • Thomas Gomez October 27, 2017, 1:13 pm

      Hello Phil.

      I agree. That is what my article said. Not only do bullets curve, groups expand due to epicyclic swerve. You want tight groups at ELR range, you need to spin a concentric bullet, really really fast.

      I hope this finds you well. Thanks for reading Gunsamerica.

    • Steve Warren October 27, 2017, 1:28 pm

      Maybe they meant in a vacuum.

    • Steve October 27, 2017, 1:47 pm

      i was surprised by that comment as well.
      and really, it’s not even so much that they curve. if the shooter and target were in a vacuum(i.e. there was no air resistance/wind to deal with) what he said would be trueassumming they had the exact same holdover/point of aim each shot for a given target), but the longer a bullet is in flight the more variable come into play. air resistance, ballistic coefficients, wind(blowing at various speeds in various directions at various heights over the(in this case)5,000 yards of bullet travel), air pressure, breaking the subsonic barrier, even the correolis effect has to be accounted for on these long shots.
      tiborasaurus rex(YouTube channel) actually has a great video on how INSANE that recent world record kill was, and everything that had to be taken into account to make it.
      also, it’s not like he was shooting 40 inch groups at 5,000 yards. he took 27 shots(the author says 37, but I thibk he may have misunderstood, or maybe I did) and ONE shot hit the plate(not saying it’s not a great shot/shooter/rifle, just that the authors comment doesn’t really make sense in that context.)

  • Julio Lopes October 27, 2017, 9:23 am

    Is no one going to talk about the picture where the guy helping hold up the gun has his hand in from of the muzzle?

  • Ross Campbell October 27, 2017, 8:41 am

    Oorah, tell kimjonyu hello

  • James October 27, 2017, 8:22 am

    These are getting silly un realistic.

    • Thomas Gomez October 27, 2017, 1:14 pm

      Charlie and his team are going for 6000 next!

    • Scott Rousseau October 28, 2017, 2:36 pm

      Unrelatable, yes. Unrealistic? Apparently not.

  • JGinFlorida October 27, 2017, 8:21 am

    What is the maximum bullet travel range at the altitude and atmospheric conditions they functioned in? It would be interesting to know the size of a group of 10 shots, on a flat horrizontal surface at the same level as the shooting bench.

    • JGinFlorida October 27, 2017, 8:23 am

      horizontal

  • Robert Jiantonio October 27, 2017, 7:26 am

    What was the barrel twist rate?

    • Thomas Gomez October 27, 2017, 1:15 pm

      Let me inquire. That may be proprietary.
      Have a wonderful weekend.

  • Josh October 27, 2017, 6:41 am

    “They connected on the 40-inch target when shooting the 7th shot of the 3rd batch of ammo.”

    10 First Batch
    10 Second Barch
    7 th round of 3rd batch = 27

    • Thomas Gomez October 27, 2017, 1:17 pm

      You are correct. Let me ask the Team for clarification. Regardless, they did a ladder test, found a round that was accurate and could maintain is gyroscopic stability deep into subsonic flight and hit the target in less than 10 rounds.

      I hope this finds you well.

    • Rob October 27, 2017, 1:50 pm

      They took several batches of ammo out and each batch was a different load, The third batch was when they hit the optimum load and it was the 7th shot of that batch that hit the target. The author was disregarding the first two batches because they were not an optimum load. This was stated in the article.

  • Martin will October 26, 2017, 8:23 pm

    Sorry spell check. Adam Kodra was his name

  • Will Drider October 26, 2017, 1:01 am

    Batches of 10, 7th shot from 3rd Batch would have been the 27th shot hitting the target. So was it the 27th shot or the 37th shot as also stated?

    I think these records are all good PR but to the people that really shoot, a big question remains: Is the shot and result repeatable? One hit out of XX shots has a reliance on luck/odds, whereas repeated hits prove the concept and application. Even though the 5000 yard hit was the desired result, it was still an anomaly.

    • Martin will October 26, 2017, 8:22 pm

      Adam Korea also had a record that was set in June or July of 4650 ? 3 shots three hit cold bore worth looking up

      • Gary October 27, 2017, 10:04 am

        “Adam Korea also had a record that was set in June or July of 4650 ? 3 shots three hit cold bore worth looking up”
        If that is so, then THAT is some Great Shooting! Also shooting that would be useful.
        I am sure it was fun hitting a gong at 5000 yds, but after the first 3-5 shots, what’s the point?
        Artillery from a ship can hit pretty close to what you call it in for. Some of those shots are from 20 miles out or more. The only real difference is the size of the shell and the gun. My Guess is that if you figured their MOA it is probably smaller than the gun that took either 37 or 27 rounds to make One hit at 5000 yards. (It’s Not mounted on to a ship, but there is no rough water to deal with either. 😉
        Bottom line is, anyone would have been able to Slowly walk away upright before he would have to worry about getting hit. Unless he Walked Into a round totally as a fluke.
        I see no practical application for this kind of shooting, other than just for kicks. Nothing wrong with that.
        I Do believe it takes a Lot away from the person in combat that actually makes a killing shot from 2000+ yds however.
        Like I said, no harm in it. But set it out at 10,000 yds. Why not? It doesn’t matter how many shots you use to hit it, right? So go for the Big One! 😉

        • Don Wheeler October 27, 2017, 12:33 pm

          His shots were verified by Guiness. Much smaller bull. Used a custom 416. Shot was taken in South Dakota.

    • Jim October 27, 2017, 2:04 am

      If he found the right load in the third batch, then he should be able to repeat it. If not, he put enough rounds down range that he hit the target.

  • Randy Cullinan October 25, 2017, 4:37 pm

    Just called and spoke with Brad this afternoon to get the rest of the skinny since I also have a .408 Wildcat and dream of heading West to be able to see what it will do. Many thanx Brad.

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