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Weapons: Smaller Bullet Gets The Longer Shot
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May 4, 2010: It was recently revealed that, last November, a British sniper (corporal Craig Harrison) set a new distance record when he killed two Taliban in Afghanistan, at a range of 2,620 meters (8,596 feet). He did this with a L115A3 rifle firing the 8.6mm Lapua Magnum round. The previous record was held by a Canadian soldier, corporal Rob Furlong, who dropped an al Qaeda gunman at 2,573 meters (7,972 feet) in 2002, also in Afghanistan. Furlong, however, was using a 12.7mm (.50 caliber) rifle. These weapons are good at 2,000 meters or more, but weigh twice as much as the 6.8 kg (15 pound) 8.6mm rifles.

Three years ago, the British Army began replacing most of its 3,000 7.62mm L96A1 sniper rifles with one modified to use the .338 (8.6mm) Lapua Magnum caliber round. This Accuracy International "Super Magnum" rifle is basically a L96A1 "Arctic Warfare" rifle modified to handle the larger, 8.6mm Lapua Magnum round. The new rifle (the L115A1) weighed 6.8 kg (without a scope), was fifty inches long and had a 27 inch barrel and a five round magazine.

Snipers in Iraq, and especially Afghanistan, have been calling for a longer range round, but find the 12.7mm (.50 caliber) weapons too heavy. The .338 (8.6mm) Lapua Magnum round has an effective range (about 1,500 meters) about 50 percent greater than the 7.62mm standard NATO round. Like most long range rounds, if the weather (clear) and winds (calm) are right, you can hit targets farther away. Those were the conditions Harrison encountered when he took his three shots (the third one hit the machine-gun the two Taliban were using.)

The 8.6mm round entered use in the early 1990s, and became increasingly popular with police and military snipers. Dutch snipers have also used this round in Afghanistan with much success, and have a decade of experience with these larger caliber rifles. Recognizing the popularity of the 8.6mm round, Barrett, the pioneer in 12.7mm sniper rifles, came out with a 7 kg (15.5 pound) version of its rifle, chambered for the 8.6mm.

Corporal Harrison, a member of the Household Cavalry Regiment, recently returned from Afghanistan. While there, he was lightly wounded by gunfire, and later suffered a broken arm when his vehicle encountered a roadside bomb. It took a while for someone to go double check the distance of his shot, using GPS. He only learned that he broke a record after he returned to Britain last month.


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nihonjin    1 1 meter = 3.2808399 feet   5/4/2010 9:21:57 AM
2,620 meters = 8595.8 feet
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mustang22       5/4/2010 11:07:53 AM

2,620 meters = 8595.8 feet


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YelliChink       5/4/2010 11:26:33 AM

2,620 meters = 8595.8 feet



Seriously, since Nihonjin means "Japanese" in Japanese.
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StobieWan       5/4/2010 11:57:48 AM
On topic, that's some pretty good shooting! Three rounds, three hits is consistently good work.


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nihonjin    1 mile = 5,280 feet   5/4/2010 1:27:49 PM
8596 feet = 1.63 miles
Serious shooting.
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HogKiller       5/4/2010 11:05:23 PM
Actually much closer to 8,628.6089 ft. But who's counting?
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dogberry       5/5/2010 2:25:31 PM
Has the British military increased the number of snipers in their units assigned to Afghanistan?
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Captain Slog       5/6/2010 12:23:13 PM
I don't know if they have deployed more true snipers, but they are in the process of issuing the new L129A1 Sharpshooter rifle to each squads Designated Marksman - not a fully quallified sniper, but nevertheless a good shot.
This gives even the smaller deployed units teh ability to "reach out and touch" at fairly decent ranges, without someone being lumbered with a 5 round bold action rifle in a close fire fight (it has 20 round mag, semi-auto.
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maruben    CONGRATULATIONS   5/6/2010 5:07:29 PM

L96 Sniper Rifle and L115A3 Long Range Rifle

The L96 sniper rifle and the L115A3 Long Range Rifle are used by military snipers across all three Services.

Designed to achieve first-round hit at 600m and harassing fire out to 1100m, the Accuracy International L96 sniper rifle has been upgraded with a new 3-12 x 50 sight and spotting scope.
The L115A3 Long Range Rifle fires an 8.59mm bullet, heavier than the 7.62mm round of the L96, and less likely to be deflected over extremely long ranges.

Sniper Rifle L96

Calibre: 7.62mm
Weight: 6.5kg
Length: (adjustable) 1124-1194mm
Muzzle velocity: 838m/s
Feed: 10-round box
Effective range: 900m, harassing fire 1100m

Long Range Rifle L115A3

Calibre: 8.59mm
Weight: 6.8kg
Length: 1300mm
Muzzle velocity: 936m/s
Feed: 5-round box
Effective range: 1100m plus 
The Britihs sniper should be very lucky and greatly talented to get more than twice the effective range of that bullet to hit 3 targets. CONGRATULATIONS
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StobieWan       5/6/2010 5:43:16 PM
British weapon too :) We have so very little to celebrate these days but this one is definitely "The Empire Strikes Back" :)


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