Ukrainian Sniper Claims World Record

| December 5, 2023

Nine seconds of flight time? Seems like a huge challenge unless the target it stationary.

Ukrainian Sniper Claims World Record
Whether a fatal shot of a Russian soldier is provable or not, Ukrainian troops take pride in the news

By Bob Cronin, Newser Staff | Dec 4, 2023

It won’t show up on a Guinness list, but a Ukrainian sniper is claiming he set a record by killing a Russian soldier more than two miles away. That would surpass the generally accepted mark by more than 850 feet. Vyacheslav Kovalskiy’s 12,470-foot shot was captured on video and reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, which reports the footage shows the soldier doubling over and falling. The bullet traveled for 9 seconds before hitting him, the video documents. “There is no chance he survived,” Kovalskiy said. Still, without up-close verification, the claim has been met with some skepticism.

The soldier could have moved in those 9 seconds, and weather conditions can affect the trajectory. Experts said such a shot is possible but extremely difficult because of all the variables. “Anything over about 1,300 meters (about 4,265 feet) can be more luck than skill,” said Steve Walsh, a former US Marines sniper instructor. Much math is required in a long-distance shot, and even the curvature of the Earth has to be taken into account, as well as temperature, humidity, and wind. A laser was used to measure the distance. Snipers intentionally shoot high in anticipation of gravity’s effect.

Kovalskiy, 58, argues that stationary targets have been hit at such lengths in competitions, including in the US; he’s won long-distance shooting contests in Europe and North America. Whether anyone outside his country accepts the record or not, the claim has emerged as a source of pride among Ukrainians. Plenty of countries at war have embraced fighting legends, and the Journal points out that snipers especially have been celebrated in the former states of the Soviet Union. An artilleryman said that when Kovalskiy’s news reached him in the Kreminna Forest in east Ukraine, it was a “punch the air” moment. He added, “Everyone was talking about it.”

Two miles away?  You just don’t lead ’em so much. Well, actually you do… you lead ’em a LOT.

I don’t buy the nine seconds of flight time.  Impossible.  Why you ask?  (rhetorical)

Well, let me put on my ‘TAH MYTHBUSTERS’ ball cap and tell you why.

They say that if you dropped a bullet at the side of a rifle barrel at the exact same time that you fire the weapon, both bullets will hit the ground at the very same time. The laws of gravity cannot be denied.

So, maybe he fired from an elevated position to somewhere down in the valley… as like Grand Canyon-ish, so there’s that.

I’ll leave this up to the TAH ballistics experts but hopefully I’ve disproved the nine second theory.

Category: Ukraine

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KoB

The FIRST (snickers) casualty of war is the truth. We’ve had other claims of derring do from this conflict that have been proven to be false. I am not a sniper, nor do I claim to portray one on TeeVee…but I have stayed at a Holiday Inn. I call for a BS flag to be thrown.

White Feather had no comment.

Forest Bondurant

Another “Ghost of Kyiv”-type wartime myth from the Ukranians.

Dogshit.

David

Instant disproof: your flight time theory only works if the shot fired was from a dead level barrier. On a very long shot you cant the barrel UP so the bullet flies up till its altitude peaks, and then starts falling.

Say the bullet’s muzzle velocity is 3000fps, a pretty good nominal figure. It probably slowed to maybe 1000fps by impact – still enough to kill someone. But average velocity through its flight would probably be what, 15-1600fps? Divide that into 12000+ feet…9 seconds is pretty believable.

David

Barrel, not barrier. Damned autodistort.

5JC

He forgot to take into account thrust. So yes 9 seconds is totally workable. Otherwise planes would not be able to fly.

Roh-Dog

I knew our 100’s of billions were going to a good cause,
the Ukrainazi’s have rocket propelled bullets now!

Alternate theory: maybe the Christians In Action hooked them up with their ‘Dallas magic bullet’ tech?

5JC

Nope , just propelled the old fashioned way with propellant.

Roh-Dog

Still not tracking, I see.

𝑣ᵢ = 𝑣₍max₎, thrust has fuck-all to do with it.

Guess I’ll just be foiled again by understanding physics.
It really is a drag…

KoB

Physics? “…it’s a warm summer’s eve…”

Roh-Dog

I really hate that show (actually all Chuck Lorre products) but that was cute af.

Big G and the unknown, I surrender.

Last edited 2 months ago by Roh-Dog
Odie

It could be possible if he was shooting sideways, gangsta style.

tshe

RE: “𝑣ᵢ = 𝑣₍max₎, thrust has fuck-all to do with it.”

I agree, the thrust would manifest itself into a greater distance traveled, but the gravity or time for the bullet to fall to the earth would be the same. Stated another way – the bullet merely dropped would have zero thrust forward.

Wind resistance will act to counter thrust, but I don’t think it affects gravity.

The only thing I would concede is if the bullet were dropped from 6,000 feet in the air. It may reach a point of terminal velocity but if another bullet were fired at 6,000 feet it would also experience this. Maybe if fired straight down while the other dropped, they would be different speeds. What I don’t know if it is high enough to slow down to terminal velocity.

Forest Bondurant

Lots of factors have an effect on projectiles shot at long distances: wind, elevation, temperature, humidity, mass (of the projectile), degree of latitude, hemisphere (in the Northern hemisphere, the projectile deflects to the right, and deflects to the left in the Southern hemisphere), and Coriolis effect.

26Limabeans

I’m not buying the 9 seconds of flight time.
Maybe 8.5 but certainly not 9.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

Nine sounds fine but 8.5, I say nein.

Graybeard

I’m skeptical.

Dunno what caliber he’s claiming to be using, or projectile weights/designs etc. but at two miles the terminal velocity is going to be quite a bit degraded.
And what was the target wearing?
Did the projectile have the energy to penetrate the intermediate barriers with sufficient energy to provide a significant wound to the target? Did the target “double over” from as from a punch, from a near-miss, or from a significant wound?

Luck is a fickle mistress, so the possibility exists. The probability is like that of Biden being competent.

I’d toss the BS flag as well.

USMC Steve

It was actually a plasma rifle in the 40-watt range.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

my brand spanking new 40-W Elechome Bug Zapper reaches out and does the same thing to Bugs.

QMC

By a Tech Sergeant in the Resistance Forces.

David

Not a huge fan of Ukrayinska Pravda in general (we shot down 1000 drones before breakfast!) but in theory the shot is possible. Talked a bit above about flight time – addressing the terminal ballistics now.

First, let’s say it was a .50 BMG. Bullet weights range from 650-800 grains, with 7-750 grains being a good average weight
range. Have enough power? By two miles the bullet has slowed significantly…tables say by 4000 yards it is “only” 800+ feet per second and over 1200 foot/lbs of energy, just under what a 5.56 carries at the muzzle. Yeah, the power is still there, and the bullet has over four times the frontal area.

There are regular competitions for long range shooters who REALLY push the limits. One Ko2M (King of 2 Miles contest) winner has a witnessed and documented shot on target at 7,070 yards, just over 4 miles. He says: ” I shoot a .416 Barrett, which is a necked-down .50 BMG. The bullet is 550 grains and more than 2.5 inches long, and it leaves the barrel at 3050 feet per second. Considering all that, the total flight time from the muzzle to a target 4 miles away is 23 seconds. The bullet climbs about 2,300 feet above the target before dropping down into it.”

CAN it be done? Hell, yes. Did a Ukrainian sniper do it? With a lot of luck, it’s possible… but not probable.

USAFRetired

Possible but improbable

Absent being able to easily get in touch with a couple old friends who both shot previously at Camp Perry in the 1000 yard matches. One owns a Barret in .50 BMG (not what he used at Perry . The other used a Model 70 in .300 Win Mag at Perry and a .375 H&H Magnum to take a Grizzly in Alaska. So I dug out my handy dandy Hornady reloading manual at the .338 Lapua Magnum and the .375 Weatherby Magnum.
There is a load listed for the former 225 gr at 3100 fps and a BC 0.470 the latter has a 270 gr at 3100 fps and a BC of 0.380
For the Lapua with a 1500 yard zero you need to hold over 500 + inches at 3800 yard 417 inches at 3500 yards and 260 inches at 3000 yds. 

SFC D

“They say that if you dropped a bullet at the side of a rifle barrel at the exact same time that you fire the weapon, both bullets will hit the ground at the very same time. The laws of gravity cannot be denied.”

Only true if the barrel of the rifle, and therefore the initial trajectory of the fired bullet are perfectly level.

Roh-Dog

“What’s our vector, Victor?”

It’s hard to conceptualize things falling at the same rate.

Rome presumably took decades and Joe’s puppeteer is only on year 3! I guess the pertinent question from a physics standpoint would be: falling relative to what?

AW1Ed

Do you like gladiator movies, -Dog?

Roh-Dog

Dunno, how do you feel about the word “rotate”?

Does it put the ‘Vr’ in vroom for you?

NHSparky

Both sides have made outrageous claims, none of which have borne out.

So yeah, nah.

Tallwhagger

Let’s see him recreate that shot. On the uptick, if he did get him, I thank him for his ability and his service to humanity.

A Proud Infidel®™

As real as “The Ghost of Kyiv”?

Hate_me

Impressive if true.

Theoretically, such a shot is doable; the M2, for example, has an effective range of 1800m (~1.12 miles) and a maximum range of 7400m (~4.6 miles). Given an adequate application of luck, such a shot would be possible with a weapon designed over a century ago.

I have no experience with the XM500, nor was I ever a sniper, but the M82/M107 at least matched the distances of the M2 in a more ergonomic setup.

Of course, theoretically possible does not necessarily mean it’s been done and, as others have already pointed out, the Ghost of Kiev has made it impossible to accept at face value any claims of exceptional individual performances in this war.

QMC

Every time I read one of these record breaking achievements that comes out of the Zelensky government, I do so through the foreign doctor character from the Simpson’s voice.

“Hi everybody! We shoot down 400 Russian planes today! And we kill top Russian general with small rifle from 12 miles away!”

IMG_0760
Blaster

Well, I expect him to be a damn good sniper for the money I’m paying for him!

fm2176

Propaganda, PSYOP, exaggeration, outright lie, or 100% true, the article hints at this being reported primarily for a morale boost, with lines like “Ukrainian troops take pride in the news,” and …”snipers especially have been celebrated in the former states of the Soviet Union… it was a ‘punch the air’ moment.” The Ukrainians need their equivalent of a Simo Häyhä, or at least the illusion of one.

I’m sure this story has some Ukrainian soldiers’ spirits lifted, and maybe even has a few Russian worried that they’ll be killed from over two miles away. As others have alluded to, there are probably some Americans shouting, “See, I told you so!” in a non-sarcastic manner while hoping that billions more in aid gets approved to support the valiant defenders of Ukraine.

Me? I think it’s either myth or coincidence. Lucky shot? Perhaps. Russian soldier having a Biden moment? Maybe (were stairs involved?).

11B-Mailclerk

Any day now, that Russian steamroller will decide this war.

Any day, now.

Soon, da?

Show that Ukie Tar Baby some manners!

Lol.

All these experts keep announcing the Russians can’t lose. The Ukrainians are on the ropes. It’s over. Yet somehow, no one seems able to convince the Ukrainians to quit.

And that’s the ball game. If they won’t quit, then Putin wrecks Russia refusing to admit -he- is going to quit. Sooner or later, he runs out of meat to feed the grinder. He has to -win-. They just have to keep existing.

Sure. He could nuke them. Then what? They give him “GFY” again. (“Go to dick” I believe was the literal.)

They don’t care. The Ukies wont quit. Effectively they are now nuts.

Bad news.

Stacy0311

Some random Russian conscript was sitting on a field expedient crapper trying to push out a Borscht MRE when BOOM headshot