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.
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.
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.
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!