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extreme long range shooting rifles
375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle built for Randy using top components.

Intro to MY Extreme Long Range Shooting Story

Extreme long range shooting (ELR) is the talk of the town. A simple search on long range shooting forums will reveal numerous ELR attempts both successful as well as many failed attempts and some very remarkable rifles. We have been on the look out for interesting rifle builds out there and we shall bring you some very interesting builds in this series of My ELR Story starting this month.
We shall be speaking to the owners of these beautiful creations that have gone down this route, the optics they have chosen as well as overall experience. We shall strive to bring you the best so you can make up your mind about your build.
We caught up with Randy Dawson from Nashville, Tennessee on one morning, he had just woken up so we started him on his favorite topic, ELR rifles and optics and his ‘Black Bird’. Randy explained that before he set out on this rifle build, he had taken his 284Win a few times to 2000yards. This is probably the way most of us got into ELR using an existing setup and pushing it to its limits.
I had seen the 284Win being pushed to the 1 mile limit when we attended King of 1 Mile in France with one of the French teams run by a guy called Dylan pushing and successfully impacting many targets to the mile. Likewise, that set the hook for Randy who also owns his own rifle range known as Dasher Dome. Way to go Randy.

About Randy Dawson and his 375Cheytac

Can you give us some background about your long range shooting experience to date?
I have shot 600 and 1000 yard IBS benchrest. I shoot on my private property out to 2100 yards so far. I shot 2500yds in Montana and was going farther the next day but the wind did not allow.
Which one of these describes you best as a shooter? *

Competition shooter
ELR shooter
Hunter
PRS Shooter
F-Class Shooter
Benchrest shooter

Furthest Distance shot to date? 
2500 yards in Montana
Like most extreme long range rifle builds, ELR rifles are always projects that their owners embark on with much patience and considerable budget invested to get these built from scratch to their specifications with the added challenges of sourcing the components especially those shooters living outside the USA.
Randy, would you be able to share some info about your rifle build?
It’s a 375 Cheytac – The rifle started out on a stiller 408 action with a 40 MOA rail. This action was purchased through George Coleman, Shell Shocked Gun Sales, of Mt. Vernon, Ky. At first finding the right .375 bartlein barrel proved rather challenging but then one turned up at Southern Precision Rifle. It arrived in 30 days. It was a 1.450″ no taper 36 inch beast. That means it’s going to be heavy!

Barrel Block rifle for Extreme long range shooting

Why the barrel block design, what advantages does it have in your opinion over a traditional setup?
Well that’s precisely the reason, heavy barrels require better support. The barrel block takes the stress completely off the action. I happened to talk to Sam Hall about a Maxi tracker and he noted that he had a barrel block Scoville offset stock. I bought it from him. Scoville had made it special order for him. The idea is that the offset stock would counter the torque effect of the bullet when such a large rifle goes off. ‘Bug holes’ was in charge of mating the barrel to the action and Tim Hewitt and Tracy Milsap masterfully fitted the Stiller action to the stock. Sam is a IBS 600 yard record holder and multiple national champion 600yd competitor. The top ELR shooters such as Paul Phillips do not use barrel blocks but they have tapered barrels.
The next barrel or complete rifle will be a taper barrel, not as heavy, and a easier to handle stock. The stock has a 8 inch wide forend. The rifle tips the scale at 40lbs with scope and the Seb Max Neo machine rest is 25 lbs. There is very little movement in this setup which allows for a real high magnification scope. The rifle is set off by a Jewell trigger. Randy reports the recoil is very nice largely cushioned by the heavy weight of the rifle.
I have a similar barrel block design in 284Win which i’m using for 1000yards F-open so I’m also familiar and sold on the barrel block design. it works amazingly well.
Extreme Long range shooting
284win barrel block rifle made in UK on a Nesika K action, Fox Barrel Block chassis and March 8-80×56 Scope, ideal for F-open or Fclass.

What bullet/twist rate are you shooting on this 375Cheytac? 

The barrel is a ten twist and it does fine with the 377 gr cutting edge bullet.
300RUM vs 375Cheytac
Load development – any specific load development technique and at what range do you test?
I started load development at 100 yards with 350 gr Cheytac bullets, and retumbo. This would sometimes put 3 holes touching. I started with Cheytac brand brass and CCI Mag primers. After reading everything out there about the Cheytac and talking to Gene Nowaczyk, a top ELR shooter, I switched to 50 BMG powder, Peterson brass, and Federal 215 Mag primers, and 377 Cutting Edge bullets. Occasional flyers disappeared with this combo. (Speak to the pros and you save time and money)
What dies are you using for 375Cheytac?
John Whidden custom made bushing full length die. I sent Whidden a couple fired cases and he made me a bushing die. I am using 0.400 bushing which I think is 2 or 3 thousandths tension. Bullet seating is with a Cheytac brand seater bought from Cheytac USA. No expander. I do anneal brass. Muzzle velocity is 3,019 fps. with the 377 gr Cutting Edge. (that’s similar to 37XC performance for those of you who want to run a 375 on your existing 338 boltface)
My current load is BMG 50, 141.5 gr, 377 gr Cutting Edge seated to the gas check, Federal 215 Match Magnum primer, 3,010 fps.
Why do you load test at such short range Randy?
I do load development at 100 yds. I feel this takes more of the variables out. Wind and being able to see a small dot such as a thumb tack. When I get a load that will put 3 shots touching, hopefully cutting each other I am ready to go to 1400 or 1800 yards.

How does it shoot? 

375cheytac group
375cheytac group – don’t we all love these stamps we keep? L:)

375cheytac group

Alternating shooters take turns with randy’s 375Cheytac rifle

I had two new shooters at my range who had never fired a 375 Cheytac. I shot the first three into one hole. I had two shells left and I let each guy shoot one shot at the same bullseye. Two shooters, two shots, one hole. Neither could believe it. So, including me and those two guys, 3 shooters, five shots, all shots cutting each other. Happy days.

Taking the 375Cheytac further out

Richard Schatz, multiple 600 and 1,000 yard Nationals winner from North Dakota and I went up on Rocky Top and had a silhouette at 2,077 yd. We had 10 rounds and I took the first two getting it close. Then Richard took the Blackbird controls and put 4 of the 8 on the plate.

375cheytac at 2077yards
Randy Dawson’s 375 cheytac on 2077 yds plates.

Below you can see the 375Cheytac at 2077yds.

Randy is blessed with some amazing shooting grounds, which are extremely hard to come by as a private property in Europe.

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375cheytac at 2077 yard target
375cheytac at 2077 yard target

2100 yard view from target. Benches are in the woods near the top of the hill. If you enlarge the pic and you will see a small opening in the trees near the top, the two benches are there.

375 cheytac

This pic was taken when I still had the NF ATACAR 5-25 MOAR-T on the gun. We shoot 1400 plus from this spot. Field in distant background is 3,000 yards exactly. Some of my spots I have to travel by Gator. I take a spotter rifle for my spotter.
375 cheytac at dasher dome range
375 Cheytac at dasher dome range.
375cheytac
Randy uses a Gator to carry his rifles around his property and get to the best spots. He uses another rifle for his spotter.

How does it work when you don’t have a cheekpiece on the rifle?

I am only shooting this 40 lb rifle off a bench and do not use a cheek piece. I just have had no experience with them. Vince Bottomley from Target Shooter magazine had introduced me to the technique when I paid him a visit in Diggle ranges UK to work out a load for my 284Win. It was rather odd not using a cheekpiece but for these BR style rifles, it may work for you once you harness the technique.

Optics- March Genesis 6-60×56

What ELR rifle scope are you running there? It looks the same diameter of your rifle barrel
The scope is a March Genesis 6-60×56 FFP ELR scopewith 1/4MOA clicks and FMA-MT reticle.
Why did you chose the March Genesis scope for Extreme Long range shooting and what do you appreciate the most about this scope now?
Reticle is always centered in scope for optimal clarity. Scope is dialed up and down not reticle. I love the 400 MOA elevation, 300 up and 100 down
March Genesis 6-60x56 Scope
March Genesis 6-60×56 Scope shown below with 50MOA per turn on the Elevation knob makes easy work of Extreme Long range Shooting.

March Scope 6-60x56 ELR scope

The Genesis Extreme Long range rifle scope offers up to 400 MOA / 114 Mil of elevation and 50 MOA per turn of Windage, which will allow the shooter to shoot from 20 yards up to 3 miles*

The Genesis uses first focal plane technology where the reticle is always true at any power. The unique design of this scope allows the shooter to always see through the central part of the lens producing clarity, definition, and minimal chromatic aberration as opposed to other scopes when extreme elevation is used, even on maximum elevation

March Scope 6-60x56 ELR scope
March Scope 6-60×56 built for Extreme Long range shooting

Whereas a typical Fclass scope will have about 10-15MOA per turn or per half turn, the extreme long range scope shown above has twice the amount of windage in half a turn (25MOA). This keeps it easy when dialing say 20MOA to make up for a 10mph at 2 miles on one of these cartridges.

Dialing in windage

Turrets for Extreme long range shooting

March Genesis Extreme Long range shooting Turrets in MOA
March Genesis ELR Turrets in MOA. Notice the huge range of adjustment on the windage thanks to the design .
March scope 6-60x56 FMA-MT reticle
March scope 6-60×56 FMA-MT reticle. There are less cluttered options for those who prefer a cleaner view. Seen here mounted on a Desert Tech SRS A2 in 33XC
March Genesis reticles options
March Genesis Extreme Long range shooting reticle options seen above.

33XC Desert Tech SRSA2

This Desert tech SRS A2 shall soon be running a 375XC for those who want to keep a 338LM bolt face instead of changing rifle completely.

Have you tried any other ELR scope setup before this? If yes, why did you opt for Genesis? *
I have a NF ATACR but I wanted the March Genesis for the 400 MOA elevation to get out in the 2500 plus yard area

375cheytac

Seen above is Randy’s rifle in it’s previous format wearing the NF Beast before switching to the March Genesis.

Do you see the barrel in your scope and if so at which point (Mils/MOA dialed)?
Barrel begins to enter field of view when dialed up to 3,000 yards. I have a riser that eliminates that problem.

Do you attend any competition with this fine setup to date?

I have not shot it in any competitions. Richard Schatz, Multiple IBS 600 and 1,000 yard Nationals winner and Hall of Fame shooter has been to my range several times and when in Montana, Wolfe Creek has another 2000 yard benchrest match he is going to take the rifle out to Montana and give it a test against some top shooters.

Furthest Shot with your 375Cheytac

How far have you shot this rifle Randy?
I have shot it to 2500yds in Montana in high winds. The next day I was going to move out to 3,000 plus but the wind was so bad we did not attempt further extreme long range shooting.
I have a scope riser that will need to be put on past 3000 yards to keep muzzle brake out of scope field of view. The brake really helped control recoil and made it a pleasant experience. The brake is a Ryan Pierce 5 port .Action is a Stiller TAC 408. I have a Bat L for next build. It has a Mag bolt and a 338 Lapua bolt

5 thoughts on “My Extreme Long Range Shooting Story

  1. Randy Cullinan says:

    Very enjoyable article. I have a .408 Cheytac wildcat I designed with a BacMillian Beast-2 stock, 36 inch K&P, a Prairie Gunworks action, and a 24 to 42 power U.S. Optics SN-9 external adjusted scope. I have not accomplishment because I live on the Far East coast (1 mile from the big ocean!) I am still looking for someone out west to adopt me so I can see what it will do but I am 75 and not as pretty as I used to be. I never should have built such a beast living where I do.

  2. Jim says:

    interesting article . keep up the good work . I’m glad I signed up for your newsletter .
    I get to read a little about Randy on a shooting forum , and look forward to his posts .
    love shooting ELR . I’m in with a group of guys, we shoot fairly often . our big guns are 338 Lapuas . we are belly shooters . our range is 600 – 2000 yards from one shooting location , then we can back up from there . my longest to date is 2375 yards . I can’t get a picture to load , maybe to big .

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