I recently came across a rifle posted on Facebook that I knew instantly was something special. The rifle was posted by none other than Speedy Gonzalez, renowned precision gunsmith and instructor. With Mr. Gonzalez's permission, I would like to share some pictures and information of this rifle in my tradition of celebrating the fine work of craftsmen in the field.
I have always emphasized purpose in building. I am fascinated by the projects that craftsmen choose to embed with their spirits, and why. Maybe that's the reason that this rifle immediately stuck out to me. It was built with a clear purpose: to dominate target shooting at distances of 2 miles, and do it in style.
The rifle was designed for a competitor in the King of 2 Miles Extreme Long Range Sporting Event. These are the specifications, as provided by Speedy in his Facebook post.
- BAT Model L Action
- Caliber .375 Cheytac
- 36" Bartlein barrel with a 1:7.5" Twist Rate
- Blueprinted Fire Control Group
- Kelly McMillan "Beast" Stock with Speedy Cooling Ports
- Carbon Fiber Bedding Block
- Terminator 5 Muzzle Brake
- Blueprinted Jewell Trigger
- Vortex Razor 35mm Scope
- 60 MOA BAT scope base
- Long Range Arms SendIt Level with custom mount made by Speedy
- R.A.D. Recoil Reduction System
- Pictured with Atlas Bipod but will have a different bipod for the match.
Every aspect of this rifle was built to combine into an awesome long-range machine. If this article is heavy on pictures and light on words, it's because I struggle to come up with words that are more striking than what can be readily seen.
Many parts in the rifle are custom made, including the carbon fiber features. The rifle features a carbon fiber bedding block which supports the action within the stock. Speedy says he likes to use this in addition to glass bedding as the carbon fiber is very stable and not susceptible to warping or putting uneven pressure on the rifle due to atmospheric changes.
The muzzle brake is made by Terminator products, a New Zealand based firearm accessories company. The T5 model is designed for .375 Cheytac cartridges without additional modification. The factory threads start at a beastly 3/4"X20tpi and get larger from there. As a side note, the diameter of the brake is 1.5" and we can see that the massive barrel on this rifle is almost that thick!
An appropriate muzzle brake is an important part of a rifle such as this. Even with the impressive weight of the rifle, the recoil of the heavy .375 Cheytac round will be more than enough to move the optics off target. In such a competitive extreme long-distance sporting event, controlling muzzle climb to allow for shot spotting is essential.
One very interesting feature is the digital level attached to the scope. When shooting long range, especially at such extreme distances, a little bit of cant in the rifle's position can throw a shot wildly off course. 1 degree of adjustment can impact point of aim by five inches at 1,000 yards. This error is magnified at an exponential level as distance increases, so you can imagine the impact it would have at 2,300 yards. This rifle is fitted with a SendiT level from Long Range Arms. The SendiT is an electronic level which the company boasts is more accurate than a standard mechanical level, quicker to use, and easy to use without removing your eye from the scope.
To fit the level to the scope, Speedy started with an extra-high 35mm Vortex ring. Drawing up the dimensions in CAD, he cut the extra height from the 35mm ring into a Picatinny rail which would be the mounting point for the level. A very inspired piece of custom engineering. The gallery below shows some stages of the work.
That's a lot of work! So how does it perform at the range?
Some pictures from the customer show excellent performance. A text from the customer also reads "Shooting pretty tight! No recoil, a pleasure to shoot!!! Awesome!". The considerable weight and muzzle brake seem to do their job in taming the beast of a cartridge.
The pictures below show the first group at 100 yards, and an incredible purported group of under 4 inches shooting at 1 mile! Fantastic shooting and I hope to see it do well at the event.
About the Event
The King of 2 Miles is an annual shooting event drawing some of the community's most talented Extreme Long Range shooters. It is actually a team sport, as each shooter also has a ballistician and wind coach giving consultation on any adjustments needed.
The first two days are qualifying matches where shooters must hit targets starting at 1500 yards and advancing. Shooters are scored on the number of hits, with earlier hits being worth more (for instance, if 3 shots are allowed, a first-round hit is worth 3 times as many points as a last-round hit). Shooters must score at least one hit at each target within their shot limit or they do not continue. Only the top 10 best scores advance to the final round, where targets as far as 3500 yards are engaged. You can follow the event on Facebook or check out the video series. It will be held this year from July 2nd - 5th at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico.