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At 2.35 Miles, This Is The Longest Rifle Shot Ever Recorded In Competition

The story behind Ryan Cheney’s record 4,134-yard shot
John B. Snow Avatar
world record long shot by Ryan Cheney with a 33XC cartridge 4,137 yards
Ryan Cheney behind the rifle he used to set a record 4,137-yard shot in competition. Ryan Cheney

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Bro, do you even long range? With all the advancements in ballistics technology what used to be the benchmark for a long shot—1,000 yards—is downright pedestrian these days.

I’ll admit, I fancy myself a bit of a marksman. In the competitions I shoot, we regularly stretch the shots to 1,300 yards or so. I’ve also dabbled in the world of ELR shooting—meaning Extreme Long Range—shooting to 2,000 yards and beyond with the Remington Custom Shop 300 PRC I had built for that purpose.

One thing that becomes abundantly clear is that there’s a world of difference between a 1,000-yard poke and one that stretches beyond a mile (1,760 yards).

Ryan Cheney, a 41-year-old competitive ELR shooter from Conway Springs, Kansas, just made a couple of those shots that are going to be tough to top. In a competition last weekend, Cheney put two impacts on steel that were jaw-droppingly impressive.

He hit a plate at 3,592 yards—which itself was a record hit for a .33-caliber projectile—but then managed to drop a shot on a piece of 6-foot by 6-foot steel at 4,134 yards, which is 2.35 miles. Here’s his account of the achievement, which took place at the Spearpoint Ranch in Barnard, Kansas, on March 27.

Longest rifle shot in ELR rifle competition 4,137 yard shot Ryan Cheney
Ryan Cheney pointing to his impact at 4,137 yards after an ELR competition at Spearpoint Ranch in Barnard, Kansas. Ryan Cheney

In Cheney’s Words

“The day started off late. We had fog until 10 a.m. and couldn’t shoot until it cleared off. My squad started on targets five and six (T5 and T6) at 2,073 and 2,203 yards. You had to hit T6 at 2,203 to advance to the far plates. I had some elevation issues with target six because of the 17 to 26 mph 4:30 wind. It was squirrely, pushing the bullets high or dropping them low because of the hilly, uneven terrain.  Luckily, I hit it on the fifth and final attempt to be able to engage the bonus target 3,592 yards. The rest of the targets from T1 to T4 went well, and I cleaned T4, going 5-for-5 at 1,942 yards.

“Then came the bonus plates at 3,592 and 4,137. In order to shoot at the 4,137-yard target, you had to hit the 3,592-yard plate first. The first four shots, my spotters and I saw the misses as I got closer and closer to hitting the plate. On the fifth and final shot at 3,592 we didn’t see where it went, so I grabbed my gear and left the firing line thinking I had missed.

“That’s when I was approached by another shooter who said I hit the bottom right portion of the plate, and I looked through his spotter to confirm. I could definitely see a splash from my 300-grain Hornady A-Tip on the steel. I talked to the score keepers watching the target cameras and they confirmed they could see what looked like an impact on the plate as well.

“About 30 minutes later, after the other shooters had cycled through, I was able to get back on my gun and try for the long plate. The sun had just set and it was pretty dark looking through my Nightforce ATACR scope fitted with a Charlie Tarac Macro Charlie optical prism. I had dialed all the elevation in my scope, 33 mils above my zero, and had an extra 35 mils thanks to the prism. Even so, I was holding 10 mils over the target, for a total of 78 mils of elevation. [Editor’s note: At 1,000 yards, this puts the shot more than 200 feet above the ground.] I had to zoom out to about 17x in order to do that, putting the 11-mil mark on my Mil-C reticle right at the bottom of the image. I had also dialed 6 mils of right wind, the max my scope allowed, and had to hold an extra 1.2 mils more into no-man’s land for the 7.2 mil windage correction. [Editor’s note: That’s about 90 feet of wind drift at 4,134 yards.] Luckily, Steve Ream and Rusty Newton worked together to spot for me, and brought me onto the plate to make a fourth-round impact. At that point, I could barely see anything. It was dark and, at 17-power, that 6-foot plate at 4,100 yards was very small.

“After the match we went downrange to check the plates, and sure enough, there was a single, beautiful lead splash on both targets.  

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“I was super excited that I hit the 3,592-yard plate, as that was the longest impact in a competition with a .338 caliber. Then to learn that I also hit the 4,137-yard target was a total shock. I couldn’t believe it. That’s not only the record for the farthest .338 impact, but also the longest impact in any ELR competition ever. It is a totally surreal feeling.”

world record 33XC rifle for 4,137 yard ELR Shot
The rifle that made the record-setting 4,137-yard shot is chambered in 33XC. Ryan Cheney

The Specs