My Extreme Long Range Shooting Story
– Meet Competitor & Gunsmith Gene Nowaczyk –
Extreme Long Range Shooting is always on our mind here at rifletalks.com. Every month we seek to strike conversations with industry people, competitors, match directors and estate owners where we can bring you more of what you love best, this thrilling world of ELR shooting!
We’re excited to be back with you for this series of My ELR Shooting Story. We’re kicking off this year with a string of experiences of some of the older and newer shooters in this Extreme long range shooting game so that you may be better informed before making your decisions for extreme long range shooting gear, reloading practices as well as venues to shoot ELR. It pays to get the info first hand from those in the game. The interviews follow a similar template to be able to compare one shooter’s replies with another.
Who is Gene Nowaczyk?
Today I’m happy to bring you none other than Gene Nowaczyk from Missouri, USA, one of the first shooters in this ELR game. He is also an ELR gunsmith, it helps us understand both a shooter’s mindset as well as an ELR rifle builder. Thanks for being here Gene Nowaczyk!
Rod: How did you get into ELR shooting?
Where about in the US are you based?
Do you have access to ELR shooting grounds nearby?
Which are the most important Extreme Long Range Shooting matches in the USA today in your view? Oh man what a view!
Have you won any ELR matches Gene?
ELR at Clarks Knob Heavy Gun
How often do you practice shooting beyond 1500m and what’s your favorite training round?
Which one of these describes you best?*
- Competition shooter
- ELR shooter
Can you share one ELR experience that really got you going in the sport?
What do you look for when you set out to build an ELR rifle?
What rifle are you currently running for 2-mile shooting?
Can you share some info about the rifle build?
(Picture source: Cuttingedgebullets website)
Manners composite stocks gen2
Bullet: Cutting Edge 550gr Lazer
Pierce 20x action
Bix n Andy trigger
HD 50 bipod
Accuracy Solutions bipod extension
Nightforce 7×35 atac-r
Bedding: Is the barrel bedded forward of the action or is it the action only?
Bedding forward of the action depends on the barrel diameter and weight. On barrels 1.4″ or larger at the shank, yes I prefer a little bit of barrel bedding as well to help support the weight. (good tip!)
Which scope for Extreme Long Range Shooting?
How far out can you get with your setup before mounting a prism device?
How do you dial in the elevation required for 2 mile shots?
- Zero offset system + dialing in
- Adding a prism device (eg. Nightforce Wedge or Charlie Tarac)
- Adjustable mount plus dialing in (eg. Eratac or Ivey)
- Adjustable base + dialing in (Coldshot
- Offset, dial and holdover
- Dialing in only (eg. Using a March Genesis scope with 400MOA)
Are you using an offset Zero system at 100m?
I have a 16 inch offset at 100 yards
What is a Zero offset?
For those of you who have not shot ELR, you may not be familiar with offset. For most ELR rifles, having a 100m zero may not make sense. These rifles do not see much shooting up close. In order to gain more range from their scope, ELR shooters will zero their rifles to be say 12-18″ high at 100m which would be a 600m zero or so, then take the gun out from there.
Most ELR scopes sit on an angled base such as a 30-70MOA rail plus some sort of adjustable mount such as an Eratac adjustable mount with 0-70MOA of selectable adjustment. This gives the shooter a significant amount of elevation travel. The tradeoff is that they may not be able to zero it up close.
Below Is an example from Ryan Cheney’s interview:
Ryan: I run Nightforce ATACR 7-35 mil-c scopes on everything and one of them has a mount for a Tacom HQ Charlie Tarac prism. I had it on my 33xc for the 2 mile plus shots last year at Spearpoint, but on my Cheytac with a 40 MOA action rail and a 44 MOA Spuhr mount and a 18″ offset, I only had to hold over by 4 mils on the 2 mile target at KO2M. (Editor: Gents did you know that you have a setting in your kestrel specifically to plugin this offset and it will deduct that offset from your come ups? Basically your rifle is zeroed at 1000yards or so) In the example below, I added 18″ of offset to my Kestrel so it deducted the elevation required by some 17.25MOA
Rod: Below is an example using an offset in my kestrel for the 300Norma Mag. With this offset, a 2000m shot would require 63.8 MOA instead of 79.8MOA as we have an 18″ offset at 100m. Kestrel will deduct that offset from the correction needed.
What can you use if you want to dial from up close to very far out? The March Genesis scope 6-60×56 offers up to 400 MOA of vertical travel for extreme long range shooting without any additional devices.
A March Genesis 6-60×56 is mounted on this 375 Cheytac built in Italy by Littleboy Rifles.
Do you use an adjustable mount or base?
What magnification do you use for ELR shots past 1500m -3200m?
What do you look for when picking a barrel for Extreme Long Range Shooting?
Do you anneal your brass and if so how often?
Do you find yourself trimming your brass regularly on these big calibers?
What’s your bullet of choice and how do you test your loads? Short range tests, long range group test, (ladder testing, round robin, any other method?)
Do you chase the lands to maintain the same bullet seating depth as the round count increases?
- Yes I chase lands
- No I dont
- I change barrels before I have to chase lands
How many rounds do you get for competition before you dump that barrel?
400 to 600!
Do you use a mandrel to keep your neck tension consistent or bushing style dies?
- Bushing style dies
Different sizes mandrels as these seen below help extreme long range shooting competitors achieve the right amount of neck tension on the bullet. A mandrel sits in a purposely made die. The necks are lubed before the mandrel slides into the neck typically after using a bushing die. It helps to uniform the inside of the necks besides setting the neck tension. You may get some excellent custom mandrels from ARC Ballistics in UK.