You’ve probably seen stories about some of the longest rifle shots every made recently, like the 4,210-yard shot Steve Spinella made with a .375 CheyTac rifle with a custom scope and riser.
It’s a remarkable feat and a testament to the capability of todays rifles paired with modern optics and ammunition. But a recent series of shots made by Ernie Jimenez of Utah outshines Spinella’s numbers not because of how far he shot (though it’s far) but because of the rifle he used and the optics he chose…or, rather, the lack thereof.
In the video above from Long Range Shooters of Utah shows Jimenez landing four shots on a 36-inch bright pink steel bison target set at about 2,240 yards downrange. Jimenez was shooting an unmodified, 1950-dated K31 rifle firing a 7.5 x 55mm Swiss Gewehrpatrone 1911 round, which is ballistically similar to the 7.62 x 51mm NATO/.308 Winchester cartridge. The rifle is outfitted with adjustable iron sights.
For context, that’s a shot of almost 1.3 miles with no optics.
The four shots were by no means effortless for Jimenez. His first shot to hit, his 58th, doesn’t come until the 9-minute mark in the video, and his spotters actually called it a miss at first. After his three following hits, Jimenez talks about the handloaded rounds he’s using (when’s the last time you saw a box 7.5 x 55mm Swiss Gewehrpatrone 1911 at Cabela’s?).
The K31 is an interesting rifle, in that it’s a magazine-fed, straight-pull bolt action rifle that was the standard issue long arm of the Swiss armed forced from 1933 to 1958, though it remained in service until the 1970s. The integrated 6-round magazine is loaded from the top of the receiver. To operate the action, the bolt handle is pulled straight rearward to unlock the action and eject the spent casing in one motion. Pushing the bolt straight forward again chambers a new round, cocks the striker, and locks the action. The reduced range of motion was meant to increase the rifle’s rate of fire.
Jimenez’s rifle has a ladder-style tangent rear sight on his rifle, which was an adjustable sight found on some older military rifles that were meant for long-range shooting, likely used mostly for volley or suppression fire.
The video description says Jimenez bought his rifle fro $99, proving you don’t have to drop a small fortune on a modern sniper rifle in a modern caliber to get those long-range hits.
The video claims the shot is a record for iron sights, but that still has to be confirmed.