On November 22nd, Jim Spinella hit a 36” plate at 4210 yards with a HCR 375 CheyTac. That is 2.4 miles!
Over the past few years, Hill Country Rifles has been doing some very long range shooting with friend and customer, Jim Spinella.
Spinella hit a 36” plate at 3600 yards, 3800 yards, and on November 22nd, he hit a 36” plate at 4210 yards.
Each shot involved a new rifle build by HCR, all in 375 Cheytac. New lessons were learned and the rifles evolved into lighter, more useful designs.
One of the most interesting aspects to these shots is the engineering of custom mounts to avoid running out of scope adjustment. A 230 minute of angle (MOA) rail was machined for a 20 MOA Nightforce Unimount for a total of 250 MOA.
The Nightforce Beast scope also allows 34.9 MILS of additional come-up. That internal adjustment range is extremely important for this kind of shooting.
Because of the amount of cant in the mounts, the point of impact at 100 yards is 16 feet, 8 inches high. Crazy, right?
After hitting the plate at 3600 and 3800, the HCR team felt confident the 4210 would happen. Time to learn a new lesson.
“We checked the weather forecast daily a week ahead of the trip to FTW Ranch. Things looked pretty good,” said HCR’s GM, Matt Bettersworth. The ever-reliable weather app predicted sunny skies and high temps in the low 60’s. The weather pattern looked stable several days before and after the November 21st shoot date. Perfect shooting conditions.
Four days before the trip, a major cold front entered the forecast. Each day the predicted high temperature fell lower and the predicted winds got higher.
“The bottom line is that this was more about having a great time with friends and making some cool memories than it was about the distance,” said Spinella. “We pushed the team, the equipment, and the round way, way beyond any reasonable shooting range.”
At 4210 yards a ½ mph change in wind speed can move the bullet more than 4 feet.
The wind was blowing 15 to 35 mph most of the day Saturday, so the shot was moved to Sunday.
Conditions finally looked reasonable late Sunday afternoon. Reasonable ended up consisting of 3-6 mph of wind, usually left to right, but occasionally right to left, with a temperature of 58 degrees.
During the 3800 yard shot, the first shot was close to the target and easy to see. In fact, almost every impact was visible through the spotting scope.
“17 shots later we hit our target,” said HCR President Dave Fuqua. “It is amazing to see what happens to the bullet in the next 400 yards.“
The last 400 yards adds 1.5 seconds to time of flight and the bullet drops an additional 265 feet. That is a lot of time for the wind to push the bullet.
Another major obstacle to this shot was that the equipment would only calculate ballistics to 4000 yards. So just finding a starting point in terms of dope was a challenge.
Doug Prichard has been making wind calls in the FTW hills and valleys for over a decade, not to mention his extensive military training. He predicted the air would go flat just before Jim ran out of shooting light. He was right.
At about 5:15 the air went totally still. Cigarette smoke would have gone straight up if anyone still smoked.
Everything changed on a dime. The next shot hit the white rock with the red paint on it about 12 feet left of our target. The next shot was just to the right.
The last two magazines produced very consistent results at that amazing distance and the hit was made by making calculated adjustments to the known impact calls.
“This would never have been possible without a customer and friend like Jim and the amazing people and facilities at FTW ranch,” said Bettersworth. We are blessed to have the unique combination of a shop to build the rifle in, a customer to build it for, and a place to shoot these extreme distances.”
Date: November 22, 2015
Location: FTW Ranch, Barksdale TX
Rifle: HCR Carry Weight 375 CheyTac
Action: Stiller CheyTac 1.450”
Barrel: Benchmark 8 groove, 1:11.5” twist, 27”, .750”@muzzle
Muzzle Brake: Benchmark Miller Prone
Trigger: Jewell with front safety set 2.0 pounds
Stock: McMillan A3/5 customized to fit action, bottom metal, with custom adjustable comb
Trigger Guard: Bear Custom DBM
Metal Finish: Two-tone Black, Tungsten Gray Cerakote
Scope: Nightforce Beast H59 reticle
Mounts: Custom 230 MOA rail, 20 MOA Nightforce Direct Mount
Unscoped weight: 12.5 pounds
Weight with scope and mounts: 15.5 pounds
Ballistic Data and Environmentals:
Total Elevation: 96.5 MILS (4.5 MILS in the reticle)
Windage: 2.3 MILS Right
Temp: 58 Degrees
Elevation: 2000 ft
Station Pressure: 28.00 Hg.
For more information:
Hill Country Rifles: www.hillcountryrifles.com
FTW Ranch: www.ftwoutfitters.com
McMillan Fiberglass Stocks: www.mcmillanusa.com
Benchmark Barrels: www.benchmarkbarrels.com