This is the last post in a series highlighting the major challenges related to extreme long range (ELR) shooting. Along the way I’ve shared a few tips and products to help you overcome those challenges. I grouped topics into a few categories, and here is what we’ve covered so far:
- Optics & Mounts – Accounting for an extreme amount of bullet drop
- Spotting Shots & Ranging – Seeing your bullet impact and getting an accurate range
- Ballistics & Time of Flight – Advanced/unique things that happen when a bullet stays in the air for a long time
In this post, I’ll highlight a few other factors that didn’t fit neatly into those categories. Some of these are less technical, but could be just as limiting. These challenges can be barriers to entry or to getting the practice you need to consistently get rounds on target at extreme distances.
Before I dive into the list, let me start with some sound wisdom. I’ve asked Bryan Litz, one of the most respected ballisticians in the world, to help me with this series of posts, and was very gracious to agree. Here is one of the most valuable takeaways from our Q&A sessions, and it seems especially relevant to these topics:
PRB: What is the best piece of advice you’d give someone wanting to get into ELR shooting?
Bryan Litz: Don’t lose sight of the fundamentals. It’s very common for those getting into ELR to overlook the fundamentals of marksmanship. The costly and heavy equipment doesn’t make it out to the range for practice as frequently as a 308 Win or similar “normal” rifle. The result is shooters show up at matches lacking a comfort level with the big guns they’re shooting. Even if you have everything else right, a breakdown in fundamentals will prevent you from doing well in ELR events.
Okay, let’s dive into a few aspects that make ELR challenging:
Finding An Extreme Range
It’s tough enough to find a public range with targets out to 1,000 yards, but it can be near impossible to find a range where you can shoot 2,000+ yards! Getting good at ELR requires practice, so finding a place can be one of the toughest obstacles for some to overcome. In some parts of the country it may even be a non-starter.
ELR Central is trying to aggregate info about all the ranges across the world that allow you to shoot 1,500+ yards. You can search those locations here: https://elrcentral.com/elr-locations/. At the time this was written, there were only 17 facilities listed in the United States, and only 2 others in the world. God bless America! 😉 (If you know of any ELR shooting facilities that are not on this map, please contact ELR Central and tell us about the range to have the range added so others can find it.) ELR-Resources.com also has a range list you might scour through.
The best bet for many shooters might be hunting down some public land (where it’s legal to shoot), and finding a secluded area with vista views where you can set up your own target or shoot at distant rocks. Unfortunately, most places have trees/hills in the way, or might be cut up with roads making shots unsafe. Honestly, it can be tough to just find an area with the natural curvature to the land necessary to get a clear shot at 2 miles or more! Add the requirements of needing permission to shoot and the absence of hazards between you and the target or beyond the target, and you have to get pretty resourceful and/or be ready to travel. Ask me how I know!
One alternative gaining some momentum is Rimfire ELR. That’s right – extreme long range with the old 22 long rifle! Bryan Litz explains, “Rimfire ELR is an exciting development that will allow many more people to enjoy the challenges of ELR shooting on standard ranges (~600 yards).” I wrote about my experience shooting rimfire ELR with the Applied Ballistics Team a few months ago at the Whittington Center in Raton, NM, and you can read about that in this post.
Excessive Recoil & Concussion
A more obvious challenge when shooting ELR with big bore rifles is the excessive recoil. The guys shooting the farthest are using bullets weighing from 350 grains up to 750 grains from cartridges that hold a ton of powder. For example, the 416 Barrett has almost 4 times the case capacity and muzzle energy of a 6.5 Creedmoor! The comparison below shows how much larger the cases and bullets are for popular ELR cartridges.
Excessive recoil requires more disciplined fundamentals. Any inconsistencies in shooting technique will become magnified at extreme range. High recoil may also prevent you from practicing as much as you might with a less extreme sized cartridge. For example, with Creedmoor-sized cartridges it’s common to shoot 100+ rounds in a practice session, but that many rounds might be punishing with these cartridges. That’s why most guys build ELR rifles that weigh 30-40 pounds. By increasing the mass, you can decrease the perceived recoil. The chart below shows what the rifles used by the top 25 shooters at the 2018 King of 2 Miles weighed in at in their “ready to fire” configuration. (Note: King of 2 Miles doesn’t allow rifles over 45 lbs.)
And if the recoil doesn’t bother you, the massive concussion probably will. Virtually everyone uses Kia-sized muzzle brakes to tame the recoil. Burning 120+ grains of powder produces a ton of expanding gas, and the resulting concussion can make you want to quit even before the recoil does. There are a couple 375 suppressors, like those by Crux Suppressors, but they don’t appear to have widespread use in ELR competitions.
Every shooter is trying to balance all the competing design characteristics, including ballistic performance and recoil, to truly optimize the overall system. Excessive recoil can be incredibly unsettling and not conducive to accuracy or precision, so it’s worth considering that when deciding on a cartridge and rifle weight.
Big Bore Quirkiness & Maintenance
When I attended the Applied Ballistics Seminar, Mitch Fitzpatrick gave a very informative talk on ELR rifles and cartridges. One of the things Mitch said was “Large calibers (.40 caliber and over) all have their quirkiness that you have to deal with.” Beyond technical/mechanical nuances of the rifle and gunsmithing, big bore rifles can be “harder to manage” or “higher maintenance” than traditional long range cartridges. For example, multiple shooters at King of 2 Miles told me they struggle to get more than 1 loading out of their 416 Barrett brass – but other aspects are related to just spending less time behind the gun.
Most shooters reading this probably have some experience with traditional long range shooting with mid-size cartridges like the 6.5 Creedmoor or 308 Win. With those rifles, you load and shoot by the hundreds and all of that shooting gives you a thorough understanding of how the rifle behaves in different conditions, how your muzzle velocity is affected by temperature, round count, etc. If you run into an issue, you just go to the range with 50-60 rounds and can usually work it out. On the contrary, most guys never shoot long strings of fire with large-caliber ELR rifles because of expense, discomfort from recoil/concussion, or barrel heating problems. Those factors naturally limit the number of shots you can manage in a given session, and ultimately leads to a less complete understanding of how the rifle system behaves than conventional long range rifles that you can put more rounds through. In other words, large-caliber rifle systems tend to be less predictable (or more quirky) than normal rounds that we can get to know better.
Considering that challenge, it’s great if you can find a large-caliber cartridge that is both high performance AND stable in its behavior. That is why some shooters go with the .375 CheyTac rather than larger cases like one of the screaming .375 wildcats, .416 Barrett, or other cartridges. At the 2018 King of 2 Miles, I had a conversation with Bryan about cartridges, and we specifically talked about comparisons between the .375 CheyTac and .416 Barrett. First, Bryan thought both were very capable, and the optimal choice depends on your priorities and specific application. He said in his experience the .375 CheyTac might be a better option for guys who only shoot the rifle occasionally, because in his experience its performance tends to be more stable over time. While larger cartridges might provide an edge in ballistic performance, you may need to manage them a little more closely to get that last bit of performance. One cartridge he’d used in the past would speed up 1 fps on each shot, which isn’t much – but over an ELR competition with 25 total shots that is enough that you’ll have to adjust your firing solution as you go. That’s just one more layer of complexity in a game that is already complex, so this is one of many trade-off to consider when selecting an ELR cartridge.
Bryan also points out that barrel length is another trade-off in the ballistic performance vs. consistency spectrum:
Many shooters want to maximize barrel length to get as much muzzle velocity as possible which is good reasoning. However don’t forget the other effects of a long barrel. Guns with barrels which are too long and heavy can be difficult to shoot well for various mechanical reasons. In my experience, long-barreled rifles (longer than 30”) are typically harder to maintain reliable precision with, as well as being more difficult to hold a zero. The precision problems stem from the long barrel time with a heavy bullet; the system has too much time and impulse to move while the bullet is in the barrel. Also, any harmonics or other similar effects that may be present are only amplified by the longer barrel. In my experience, shorter barrels are better able to shoot small groups and maintain zero. Maintaining zero is of the utmost importance for any rifle shooting discipline (apart from Benchrest), and is especially important in ELR where matches and records highly value a first round (cold bore) impact. You can do everything right to put a shot right on the money at 2000 yards, but if you have a zero that wonders by ½ MOA randomly, cold bore shots are a straight up gamble.
If you thought traditional long range was expensive … brace yourself. The ELR game can be very expensive! Some of that is due to the fact that it is still a small niche of guys doing this, and the costs may come down as ELR gains more widespread popularity.
The cost of the initial rifle system can be high, especially if you go with a full custom rifle build. There aren’t many “entry-level” rifles for this game. In 2017, Ronnie Wright did get 2nd place at King of 2 Miles with a stock Barrett M99 chambered in 416 Barrett, which you can buy for $3,850. Another option for a complete ELR rifle is the Noreen ULR .416 Barrett for $2,550.
But the expense is more than just the rifle; the optics and accessories can also add up pretty quickly. Some guys not only have a $3,500 scope, but also may have a $1,700 Charlie TARAC on the end of it! (Read this post for more info on the Charlie TARAC.) I also noticed at the King of 2 Miles 2018 that around 90% of the shooters were using a Phoenix Precision Bipod, which costs $499! Some gear is a nice-to-have, not a need-to-have … and in this game it can add up quickly! To help sort out what is truly essential, I asked Bryan what he thought was the most critical gear:
PRB: What are the most critical pieces of gear (outside of the rifle) to getting rounds on target at extreme long range?
Litz: Given a good rifle and high performance/consistent load, the 3 things needed to get hits on known distance targets at ELR ranges are: A good chronograph (we use LabRadar), a good scope with extensive and reliable adjustments (we use Nightforce ATACR 7-35×56’s), and an Applied Ballistics device (we use all of them) to calculate a fire solution. With these 3 things, we can measure muzzle velocity, calculate a fire solution, and apply it with the high degree of accuracy that’s required to hit targets at ELR distances.
Bullets and brass can also cost a mint. Most shooters use lathe-turned solid bullets, like Cutting Edge Bullets, which can cost over $2 each. Match-grade brass can run over $2 per piece as well. There may be other expenses too, like the fact that CheyTac-sized cases typically require a larger reloading press. Loaded match-grade ammo costs around $7/round, although it can vary depending on what cartridge you are talking about. All this is another reason that practice sessions tend to be more limited with big bore calibers. You are basically shooting a few dollar bills out of the barrel every time you pull the trigger!
Barrels can be also more expensive for big bores, because the caliber, length, and contour are special order from most manufacturers. Barrel blanks are around $450-600, depending on company and what you spec. However, I’ve asked several shooters what kind of accurate barrel life you can expect, and I’ve yet to meet someone who gave a straight answer with much confidence. It seems like very few people have actually shot out a barrel in a big bore rifle, at least at this point. The truth is most people just don’t shoot high round counts on these monster rifles like they might with smaller calibers. When it comes to barrels, one more point worth mentioning is that if you choose a wildcat and have to fire-form your brass, you might use 20% of your barrel life doing that. With expensive barrels, the proposition of fire-forming brass gets more expensive too.
Extreme Wait Time for Components
You may already be used to the long wait times for stocks and barrels, but wait times for ELR components can be even longer. Most of this is “special order” or made in very limited runs, because this is still a very niche area and there aren’t a lot of orders for this stuff yet. Almost nobody keeps inventory on the shelf ready to ship.
I noticed on Bartlein Barrels website it said “Due to the demand of other calibers, we are not accepting orders for these calibers at this time,” which included 375 and 416 calibers. I checked with Krieger and they said their lead time would be 6 months on a 375 caliber 36” barrel.
The fastest way to get your hands on equipment would likely be to buy a complete factory Barrett rifle or a Noreen rifle, which might be able to ship out to you today. But if you’re going the full custom rifle route, you might be waiting a while.
There are a few companies hoping to help cut down the wait time. EuroOptic.com is a stocking dealer for JJ Rock actions, which is one of the most popular big bore actions for precision rifle rigs, and they also stock the Nightforce ATACR 7-35×56. ELRHQ.com is another place that is trying to stock popular ELR specialty products, like the McMillan ELR Beast 2 stock, Charlie TARAC, Phoenix Precision Bipods, Peterson brass, Cutting Edge Bullets, Edgewood rear bags, Piercision muzzle brakes, etc.
Another start-up hoping to change that is Applied Ballistics Weapons Division. This is a new venture for Bryan Litz and Mitch Fitzpatrick and their goal is to dramatically shrink the wait time for a top-shelf, custom ELR rifle system from months into weeks. I’ve noticed a few ridiculously small groups (below) posted on social media from ELR rifles built by Applied Ballistics Weapons Division.
Still Emerging & Disruptive Innovation
Finally, a less obvious but notable challenge when it comes to ELR is that it is still emerging. Proven paths to success have yet to be established. One of the things that is so exciting about ELR how quickly it is evolving, but with that comes the risk of investing in the wrong equipment. Exponentially more research and development is being put into this area than 5 years ago, and new innovative products like the Charlie TARAC can be disruptive (read more about it in this post).
One thing I’ve learned over the past several years is that cartridge popularity follows bullet design. When someone releases a new high-performance bullet design, you will often see shooters migrate to a different cartridge that is more optimized for launching that new bullet. It may take a couple of years, but it often results in either old or wildcat cartridges getting a surge of attention. I’d suspect with ELR gaining so much popularity we’ll see more manufacturers enter the scene and release new bullets that are even higher-performance, which could shift which cartridges are here to stay.
Don’t let fear of making the wrong decision paralyze you, because ultimately a good ELR rifle can usually be re-barreled for whatever bullet/cartridge combination you might desire in the future. My advice: invest in a good action. The action is the heart of the rifle, and it’s what will be with you the longest. You may change barrels, optics, stocks, and triggers, but those are all peripheral to the action. While there are several good actions, I’d suggest checking out the JJ Rock SuperXL action. It is a new design that seems to have all the features ELR shooters are looking for in a well-thought-out and robust package.
The Overall Take-Away
The truth is we’re still learning so much about ELR. It’s one of the most rapidly changing and growing areas in the firearms industry. That makes it really exciting to be a part of! If you’re like me and enjoy ringing steel a long way off, what better time in history to live than this?! While it’s easy to get caught-up in the equipment and it might be tempting to wait to see where things settle, I’d encourage you to jump in and try it out! I recently invested in my first big bore rifle setup, and I’d invite you to come learn alongside us.
This marks the end of this multi-part series of articles around ELR shooting, and I’d like to leave you with one last nugget of wisdom from my interview with Bryan:
“Most questions we get about ELR shooting focus around the equipment. At the ranges we’re shooting, performance is a big concern but you shouldn’t let the gear overwhelm you to the point where it compromises your readiness in other areas. All shooting disciplines and most endeavors in life require a balanced approach for success. Get your equipment working, and then practice with it, as frequently as you can. Even shooting 3-5 shots at 600 yards can teach you a lot about your ELR equipment. Cold bore and first round impacts are a big deal in ELR competitions, so it pays to know if your first shot is slow/fast, and out of the group. This doesn’t take a lot of shooting, and will teach you something vitally important that can lead to max points in a match.” – Bryan Litz
Other sources of .375 CT suppressors (listed alphabetically):
https://gsltechnology.com – in development, call
Cool. Thanks for sharing that, Oscar.
Gents, A few years ago we were on a tech eval in Japan. The Japanese SF group had been trying some SAKO TRG42 rifles
in 338 Lapua. One soldier had kept a good round count book, and had around 1500 shots thru his rifle, Half with a suppressor and half with a muzzle brake. Using a “HAWKEYE BORE SCOPE” examination showed severe erosion
at the breech for 5+ inches (alligator checking with missing steel) Surprisingly, the muzzle was severely eroded back
at least two inches from the crown, and also showed checking . All ammunition that had been fired was of normal 338
style loading. I thought this was a little more than I’d expected, especially with the quality of SAKO products.
Admittedly, an isolated case, however, well documented. Food for thought !!! Cheers, John Miller
Very interesting! I wonder if the erosion at the muzzle was from use with the suppressor. A suppressor can get pretty hot if you don’t watch it, and the barrel will retain more heat too … at least compared to a muzzle brake. That’s one of the big reasons I don’t use one much personally. I own several, but typically use a brake because I’m impatient and don’t want to wait as long for the barrel to cool. Muzzle brakes are also better at reducing recoil, and can help you stay on target too. The concussion isn’t fun, but it’s worth the benefit to me.
Thanks for sharing the intel. That is interesting.
I’m new to ELR, and I’m having a rifle built now, a .300 RUM. It started as a stock .300 RUM Sendero, which is now a Brux 29″ with brake. The concussion was noticeable during break in before the rebarrelling, so I plan to build a blast barrier from plywood. Have you seen anyone else using barriers?
That’s great, Doyle. Glad you’re getting into it. I hope this series has been helpful for you. I’m still fairly new to this too, especially the big bore side of things. I’ve seen guys use blast barriers in between competitors at a match, but that was to the sides, not in front of them to shield them from the concussion on their own rifle. That is an interesting idea though. I have seen the 100 yard underground tunnel the Gunwerks guys have to test rifles and ammo loads, and they have a bench with a plexiglass wall in front of it that you basically just put the barrel through, and that helps keep the concussion from echoing off the enclosed concrete room. Shooting a brake in an enclosed space can be brutal! Some military guys have to deal with that when shooting from an overwatch position in a building. It’s not fun. I’d think you could use that same concept. Not sure how well it’d work, but it seems like it’d help. You got me thinking now! I might have to try it out. Thanks for sharing!
I assume that none of these rounds stay super sonic at ELR ranges of two miles. If that’s the case is there a ballistics program that calculates predictable characteristics for certain bullet designs at trans sonic and sub sonic speeds?
Good question, Wade. I don’t think any of these cartridges are still supersonic at 2 miles. I ran the ballistics for the 416 Barrett with the 500gr Cutting Edge bullet pushed pretty hard and it was below 1000 FPS at 1 mile, even at higher elevation. So yeah, modeling bullets through transonic and into subsonic becomes really important. Applied Ballistics engine is what most people use, and their new custom drag models were created to address that specific issue. Hornady is also creating Doppler radar drag models for individual bullets too, which is a similar idea but they don’t have the same device support. I touched on those topics in the last post. You might check it out if you haven’t read it already: http://precisionrifleblog.com/2018/09/17/extreme-long-range-tips-ballistics-time-of-flight/
First Class Cal – thank you from down under
You bet, Steve!
Disruptive Innovation leading to rapid Obsolesence are a real problem for those of us not swiming in $$$
Started a new action design around CT size cartridge and magazine barely a year ago and its scarry to see that ELR might soon be on the 50BMG case wildcats(.416 Barrett and .460Steyr)
My concept was to go for a magfed, light around 10kg for all up weight , so a practical/tactical rifle not a ‘crew served’ 40+lbs rilfe for one competition per year. Which meant strict weight regimen for every component including carbon sleved barrel.
Anyways design is now finished and rifle build will start soon .
For cheap ELR rfile here ein Europe Fortmeyer and Steyr HS50 single shots are race ready of the bat.
In many ways the big disturbance is in the optics , Charlie Tarac costs pretty penny now they are promoting an addtional add on to get picture to one side of the barrel. , variable scopemounts are unreliable , and then there is March.
I get it, Mr. T. Those are some great points, and I appreciate you sharing. I would point out that none of the innovation has been so disruptive that you would no longer be competitive with equipment from a couple years ago. The guy who won the King of 2 Miles didn’t have a Charlie TARAC or any of the fancy adjustable mounts. He was simply using a budget scope from Bushnell. So is it really that big of a problem? Sure, what we buy may not be the newest and shiniest within a year or two … but should we let that fear keep us on the sidelines? That’s all I was trying to say. And there isn’t a “right” answer to that question. It really comes down to the individual.
And I’m hesitant to say that everyone is headed toward the 50 BMG case wildcats. There were far more shooters using a 375 CheyTac than any other cartridge at King of 2 Miles. That could change, but that seems to be the most popular chambering at this point, and some of that relates to the reasons I spoke about in this post.
You’re certainly not alone in your preference for a “lightweight” and “practical” rifle weighing in at 10 kg (i.e. 22 lbs.). David Tubb feels strongly about that as well. In fact, Tubb personally paid out $2,500 to the highest placing shooter using a rifle weighing less than 25 lbs. at the 2018 King of 2 Miles. He’s obviously hoping to shift the field in that direction.
I personally wonder how “practical” a 22-25 lbs rifle really is. From my perspective, if it weighs that much it isn’t “lightweight” and most people wouldn’t want to carry it far … so I struggle to think of an application I’d personally run into where a 25 pound rifle would be more advantageous than a 35 pound rifle. But again, there is no “right” and “wrong” … it all comes down to trying to strike the right balance for your application.
I do agree that much of the innovation is happening around optics. That is why the first post was focused on that, and it touches on the products you just mentioned and a few more. For anyone who hasn’t read that yet, you might check it out here: Extreme Long Range Tips 1: Optics & Mounts.
I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. Certainly some good points in there.
Its hard to get lighter than about 10kg simply because velocity chasing via longer barrels. without the chase for that i would go for a much lighter 28” barrel ( I have high hopes for Tubbs 33XC -375 variant). Mag feed or even conventional type action carry huge weight penalty over artilery type bolt that locks into barrel extension/reciever like on Steyr HS50 ,only Alpha Mag for Cheytac weighs 1+lb (will likely make a carbon mag later on as well.)
My action is a funky 3 lug rearlocker (reduces action lenght and weight by almost a third ,in tubechassis ,80+% of the chassis is carbon fiber and reciever and bolt are not chromemolly but much higher grade tool steel .
Yes optics have lately gained some elevation adjustment ,but there is more hiden , i have been testin SV prototype Sightron and it had over 42mil while its being sold caped to 35mil. (as you can imagine we are sold optics that have near square movement range ,altough tubes are round , more elevation is there to be had if windage is cut shorter ,but there also optical issues with picture quality on the fringes)
New high elevation mid price scopes are Delta optical HD Stryker -in US same optic is sold under Trijicon brand. Great elevation and consistent tracking.
Has been used in last KO2M by Speedy Gonzalez
I am runing Delta Stryker HD a long term test on my Rimfire ELR rig .Great optic for the price.
For ELR rig at least in Europe IOR is best buy by a huge margin , the funky mid tueb paralx optics are very reliable and also very cheap in Europe . 4-28×50 Recon has been my companion for years on my tactical rig.
Hi Cal, sorry for leaving this comment here but I can’t seem to find how to comment on Part 1 or on the 300 NM post.
You mentioned several times on those posts that your 7-35 has 36.3 mils of travel but the specs of the optic on NF website say that the scope only has 27 mils of travel. Are you sure that’s not a typo and you meant to say 26.3 mils?
Nope. Mine definitely has 36.3 mils of elevation. I talked to a Nightforce sales rep about this, and they said they advertise less because if you were to dial the max windage adjustment (18 mils), and try to dial the max elevation adjustment at the same time … you wouldn’t be able to get 36.3 mils of elevation. It’d be closer to 27, but probably slightly over (they don’t want to over-promise). The problem with that approach is I can’t possibly imagine a scenario where I’d dial 18 mils! I actually can’t imagine a scenario where I’d even dial 1/2 of that. In fact, I rarely dial wind at all. If it is super-windy and I am having to hold more than 5 mils of wind, I might dial 5 and hold the rest … but I shoot a long way in some windy conditions, and I’m never dialing 18 mils! I feel like Nightforce is being so conservative with their approach that it is actually misleading. Their product might actually fit someone’s needs perfectly, but they don’t explain that the advertised max adjustment assumes you also have 18 mils of wind dialed … so somebody looks at the specs and thinks it doesn’t meet their needs … when in reality it probably would.
Now I’m not saying your’s will have 36.3 mils of elevation adjustment, but that’s what I measured mine to be. Without them saying that is what they’ll provide, there is no guarantee … which is the tricky part of advertising the specs the way they do. I recently bought another one, but haven’t got it in yet. I would suspect it will be very close to 36 mils … in fact, I’d bet $100 it is way closer to 36 mils than the 27 mils they advertise.
Awesome. Thanks for the clarification. I see that you are running 30moa base and 30moa rings. I’ll do the same and hope I get a zero.
I wish they would explain that more. I’ve been on the fence for a while but once I read your posts and got your response, I’m sold on the 7-35. How are you liking it?
I just bought another 7-35, so that should be your answer! 😉 And just to be 100% transparent, I did pay full retail for it, so it wasn’t like some discounted or free scope. I really enjoy that scope. Seems like the right thing for the job in this game. It tracks true and is super-durable. Incredibly durable. On my 300 Norma I zeroed it at 100 yards, then took 2 commercial flights with it, then shot a 160 round magnum match with it, then took 2 commercial flights back with baggage handlers doing their best to make it lose its zero … and it was STILL dead-nuts on at 100 yards. I doubt many scopes could do that! And the rifle I ordered has a 60 MOA integral rail, so I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to get a 100 yard zero on it too. But even if I have to do a 200 yard or even 1000 yard zero … on a dedicated ELR rifle, that isn’t a deal-breaker. The worst thing is to not have the elevation adjustment you need to take the shot, especially if the scope has more but it’s on the wrong side of your zero. Honestly, I’d be shocked if I don’t have pretty much exactly the same amount of clicks under my 100 yard zero as I do on my 300 Norma rifle setup. Hope that helps!
Last question, which reticle did you go with? I’m putting one on a 338 Lapua and want to take it to 3500 yards. I’m concerned the Mil-C reticle won’t have enough hash marks for hold-overs so I’ve been racking my brain between getting an adjustable base like the Ivey, or a Tremor reticle to have lots of hold-over marks.
Ha! That’s another great question. Your instinct in right. Like I mentioned, I’ve now bought two of them … the first one I went with Tremor3 and almost did that on the 2nd one, but Litz talked me into trying the Mil-C. So I will have one of each. Afraid I’m not much help there! Reticle choice is such a personal thing anyway. The Tremor3 gives you all the options and features you could possibly want, but could also potentially cause you to miss seeing a bullet splash … especially those way out there that might just appear as a tiny speck. I wish it didn’t have wind dots, honestly. I think that’d make it a lot less busy, and I never use those for an ELR gun anyway. I wish there was a gridded reticle that was more subdued so the features are there when you need it but don’t obstruct your view as much as the T3 does. (Insider info: I may have designed a reticle like that which a manufacturer is considering adding to their line-up in the future. 😉 )
The Mil-C is the far other end of the spectrum from the Tremor3. It’s simple and has has marks in 2/10th mil increments, which is what I strongly prefer for precision work. You have a wide-open, unobstructed field of view to help you spot impacts. The downside is you better have enough elevation adjustments or you’ll end up having to dial elevation + hold elevation + dial wind, since there is no way to hold both wind and elevation (i.e. no Christmas tree grid for reference). To go 3500 yards with a 338 Lapua is quite ambitious. According to my rough ballistics, you’d need around 80 mils of elevation. It’s unlikely you could do that with a 100 yard zero. You could do the math to figure out exactly, but I’d guess you’d need closer to 175 MOA in your base/mount to be able to dial that much with the scope and hold center. That’s a LOOONG way for a 338 Lapua. I’ve hit at 2640 with mine, but 3500 is a world away from that! I certainly like your ambition though! I have to wonder if the bullet will still be flying nose forward beyond 3000 yards or if it’ll destabilize and start turning end over end. I honestly don’t know, but would be sincerely interested to hear how it turns out for you. Best of luck!