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What is the furthest distance that a rifle bullet can travel?

Updated July 19, 2017

The range of a rifle bullet can be considered in several ways. General range capabilities show the greatest possible distances. Effective range is a more precise measurement that factors accuracy. Long-range rifle shooting dominates the record books.

General Range Capabilities

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which regulates hunting, has a chart showing distance ranges for common sizes of ammunition. The distances can range up to a mile, depending on various conditions. The chart shows that 7mm, .338 calibre and .300 calibre Win. Mag. cartridges have the greatest ranges--up to 5 miles.

Effective Range

You will typically find "effective range" as a rifle specification associated with ammunition size. The Barrett M82A1/XM107 long-range rifle has an effective range of approximately 2,200 yards, using .50 calibre standard military ammunition. In 2009, Cheyenne Tactical introduced the M-200 .408 calibre Magnum; the company claims it has an effective range beyond 2,500 yards.

Records

There is a difference between how far a bullet travels before it hits the ground, and how far it can travel with accuracy. In November 2009, a British Army sniper, Corporal of Horse Craig Harrison, logged two enemy kills in Afghanistan. Both targets were 2,706.7 yards away, setting a world sharpshooting record.

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About the Author

Keith Bryant started writing in 1995 for a documentation project at Electronic Data Systems, Inc. He was a technical writer for Information Development, Inc. and Lake Technical Communications. Bryant holds U.S. Air Force certification in ground radio electronics and an Associate of Applied Science in mechanical design technology from San Juan College.