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How far can a sniper rifle shoot?

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A difficult question to answer, but the average sniper rifle in the .300-.308 caliber can shoot anywhere between 100 and 800 yards. A .50 caliber is estimated to effective at about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles). US snipers are trained to engage targets at ranges up to 1000 meters. In combat, there is rarely the need, or the desire, to kill someone 1000 meters away--and there's the knowledge, that of all the people US snipers have killed, only three people were ever shot at that range. Snipers prefer to work at 500 to 600 meters if they can get in that close.

The longest kill recorded in the Vietnam War was at a range well over a mile; a Marine Corps sniper armed with an M2 .50-caliber machine gun (firing single shot) made the kill.

The longest confirmed recorded kill by a military sniper is 2430m (about 1.5 miles), set during Operation Anaconda (Afghanistan, 2002) by a Canadian soldier, Rob Furlong. The previous record was indeed set in Vietnam, 1962, by Carlos Hathcock at a distance of 4576m (about 2.6 miles).
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