West Texas marksman reportedly breaks distance record with 3-mile shot

October 25, 2020

Bill Poor's efforts have brought him attention from reporters and firearms enthusiasts, but establishing his record may prove difficult.

Poor used a custom-built rifle from a gunmaker that specializes in crafting firearms for extreme distances. Both he and Melton used the same base round: a .408 CheyTac, originally designed for snipers operating at long range.

While it reportedly took Melton 38 shots to hit his target, it took Poor just eight.

Poor had to account for variables that can alter a bullet's flight, including the shape of the earth. The earth curves nearly six feet over 3 miles, so he had to use an elevated stand to see his target.

"We call it dope — how much elevation you have to put in your scope to be able to see that far," Poor said. "Getting a clear view is almost impossible."

Temperatures in the mid-50s also complicated the shot. Because cold air is heavier,  it causes a bullet to drop more than warm air would. To compensate, Poor aimed well above the horizon, adjusting his aim after each shot with the help of two spotters.

"It's a 14-second flight time," Poor said. "It's 10 seconds before the spotter downrange can hear the boom of the rifle going off, and another four before the bullet hits the target. You have that much time and you're thinking 'This is it.'"

But Poor's mark may not last for long, as Melton is already crafting plans to take back the record.

"Stand by," Melton said. "We are about to do 6,000 [yards]" — 3.4 miles.