The forward spotting team celebrates the hit. Photo: Courtesy

JACKSON, Wyo. — The record for the longest target hit with a long-range rifle was set on Sept. 13 by a group of local long-range shooting enthusiasts. After 69 shots, they landed on the 8″ bullseyes, 4.4 miles away. The new record breaks the previous four-mile record set by Paul Phillip, in 2020.

The group, led by Scott Austin and Shepard Humphries of Nomad Rifleman based in Jackson, set the goal in 2020.

 “With this kind of shooting, nobody has yet figured out how to get first-round hits. This isn’t the kind of thing where you buy a new rifle and some ammo right off of the gun store shelf and go get lucky,” said Humphries.

They enlisted a “friend who has a great trigger finger and smart analytical business mind” to do the shooting. According to Austin and Humphries, he participated on the promise of anonymity if they landed the shot.

They had a custom long-range rifle built by S&S Sporting in Idaho and also built a custom bunker for their spotting team and target.

Humphries and Jackson Hole Shooting Experience shooting instructor Zack Shelton built the target, using a wood frame and two sheets of 4’x10’ thin metal, making the target 120 inches wide and 92 inches tall. An 80-inch circle was drawn on the target which would be equivalent to hitting a one-inch circle at 100 yards. If the shooter hit within this circle, they could claim a one-minute of angle (MOA) shot. 

Lynn Sherwood-Humphries, Joel Austin, Tony Molina, Mick Cestia, and Wade Woodhouse spotted from the bunker near the target.

Just before noon in the high desert near Pinedale, the 69th shot of the day landed, with the spotters hearing the reverberation of the metal.

Tony Molina searching for the bullet. Photo: Courtesy

According to the team, “the impact point was on the left edge of an 8-inch orange circle painted in the center of the target. Not only was their hit within the one MOA 40-inch radius; it was at three eights of an inch to the left of the dead center of the bullseye.”

“Luck isn’t the right word; perhaps ‘probability’ is a better word. Had [anonymous shooter] shot another 50 shots, none might have hit the target, or at best, perhaps a few would have, and they probably wouldn’t have been in the bullseye,” Humphries said.

“These types of shots are just for fun” explained Humphries. Adding, “This is not for hunting purposes, and the hit isn’t consistently repeatable yet. Maybe the people who beat our record and the other smart cookies in the ELR world will be able to make first-round hits at these distances in the years to come, but at this point, it isn’t a sure thing.” 

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.