Hunting Rifle

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Those darned big horn sheep are elusive…

and it’s Gun Pride Month, so shouldn’t I buy myself something to celebrate this high holy month? Something that would reflect the reason for the season? I’ve been looking at Seko, Accuracy International, Barrett, and CheyTac. It’s unlikely that anyone will buy me a rifle and so I’ll have to do it myself. I’m reviewing options. Since the big horn sheep where I live (Clear Creek Gorge) like to cling to cliffs 2,500 meters away, I need to pick up a hunting rifle that will deliver. My JP-LR07 in .308 simply lacks the range beyond 1,000 meters. The .50 BMG explodes the target and ruins the meat. So, maybe something between the two?

Monday is Gun Day so let’s look at a contender.



I’ve been looking at CheyTac for my next long-range solution hunting rifle. And while you’re asking me while I’d pay $15,000+ for the M-200 Intervention, it fills the gap between different platforms for me. (add another $5,000 for ammo) (add nearly $7,000 for the scope). Yes, it’s a $30,000 problem before we put the first round downrange.

It delivers sub-minute of angle accuracy, combined with the ability to engage targets of 2500 meters and beyond. With CheyTac USA’s Patented Balance Flight Projectiles® this platform delivers greater range and accuracy with less bullet drop and drift than any weapon in the world.

The problem with buying CheyTac isn’t so much the platform as you’re locked into their somewhat custom ammo. I’m sure that I’d spend some on the cartridges, but I’d also want to reload. In this case, it is the .408 CheyTac and .375 CheyTac. New dies, maybe new powder, new cases, new bullets, and maybe new primers.

Article 1

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The problem with the CheyTac ammo is that I’m stuck with their very good, long-range,  partitioned bullets without the option of AP or API or Raufoss rounds.

What do y’all think?

It would mean a trip to Tennessee – and that means that I’d need to buy Frank a steak lunch in Chatanooga. So Frank, since lunch is in the balance, you don’t get a vote.

65 thoughts on “Hunting Rifle

  1. Amongst the high power rifle discipline, it’s pretty much universal that it’s not so much about the shooting, we’re all about where to go to lunch after the match and how do we talk our buddies into hemorrhaging mass quantities of money on the next new thing. So yes, absolutely, you need that CheyTac and Frank needs that steak! Do it!

    As my contribution to Pride Month, Smith & Wesson Model 38 (Airweight) and 49 (steel-framed) “Bodyguard” revolvers were added to the pile, in serial number range to have been appropriate for the one used by General Loan. The General’s superb demonstration of precision field marksmanship was a topic here a while back, and it was necessary to get one of each because impossible to tell from the photos which model he had in hand that day. “Lest we forget,” General.

    1. There is no question but that CheyTac is proud of their rifles.

      The Airweights (as used to great effect with significant documentation by General Loan) are easy to carry and if there is a traitor that needs executing – well, they work. Of course, if you’re going to follow through by opening a pizza joint in New Jersey.

      1. Was Loan’s gun an Airweight? If you look real close at the photo, it almost looks like the very top of the right grip is sticking up over his hand and might be ivory. I’d like to know for sure. As to New Jersey. Um, no. Been there twice. No.

  2. I suggest a Javelin missile without a warhead. All the range, all the accuracy, but the meat stays (relatively) intact. If it’s a flock of sheep, put the warhead on again!


    1. That’s what I like about you, Peter. You think BIG and practical at the same time.

      Combining model rocketry (on steroids) with big game hunting does make sense…

    1. The quick swappable barrels are the new thing for hunting rifles. Accuracy International (UK) offers the trade between the Lapua and .300 Win Mag. Some would call that unnecessary. Then again you could accuse me of wanting a firearm that would only end up in the bottom of a deep lake, unnecessary.

  3. i’d have to analyze their business model and long term viability. many great rifles/rounds have come and gone. niche market is not a good investment unless they have a plan to stay solvent with another more mainstream product line/s. personally, i would/did go with a .50, for the ammo selection and availability. tested, tried and true. not perfect, but good enough…. but i don’t have bighorn taunting me from 2500 yards.

      1. When a 50 isn’t enough, look at a 20 mm from Anzio or even a custom 30 mm. It’ll actually be cheaper than the other options. If you’re worried about meat remaining, find frangible or sabot projectiles for it.
        Not only will it stop any animal on the planet, it’ll stop anything short of a tank, and a it can even mess them up.

  4. Retrieving the big horn afterwards from the bottom of a cliff 2.5 km away sounds like a day’s work in itself …

    1. At present, that’s my calculus when hunting, having been faced with shoot/don’t shoot. How far must I drag the carcass? And for this historical record, many deer survived because I said to myself, “f-that”. Elk are worse. Big horns, which we have here actually show up in residential areas from time to time against all logic. And the cliffs we’re talking about are thousand + foot drops, so if one-shot the sheep from any range, it would be broken up beyond being bad mutton by the time you got to it – if you could get to it.

      Knowing the area as I do, the point is to set up the shot by waiting so that the ram is within range of a fire road – at the top of the cliffs. So the reality of the hunt is taking a thermos or two and a couple of sandwiches and waiting for them to transit optimal retrieval rather than blazing away at a target of opportunity. And one does not need a $50K rifle/ammo to do that.

      1. Need? What the blazes does NEED have to do with a gun purchase?

        Remember one of the things that Phil Gramm once said that made liberal heads explode: “I have more guns than I need, but not as many as I want.”

        Do it. Think of the children who read your blog that you would make happy.

  5. I’d suggest adding to the “Elusive B-H-S” Cost-Benefit analysis spreadsheet a mutli-rotor drone with lift capability (for sweat free “carcass” retrieval), category is “property security and inspection purposes” (tax deductible). Come to think of it, better add a Mini-Ex line item, about $50k (used)…for…you know…”SSS landscape management” (also tax deductible).

    See how easy it is to spend others peoples money…like a politician..which is an overall “budget reduction” because the Mini-Ex would be used, not new, therefore costing less than proposed.

    1. Forgot to ask…does the CheyTac come in ‘periwinkle’, or only that hideous drab beige that goes with nothing except..gawd…beige pants? Too much beige isn’t a good look. Then there’s the aspect that it blends and you could lose it in the brush.

      THIS IS Pride Month…colors matter.

    2. Man, you’re turning this into a science. New toys are important as is tax deductibility. I figure that I could start a game guide service for hunters with no experience who could pose with their pathetic rifles next to the trophy kill. Use the White Wolf Mine as a dude lodge for inept hunters?

      I’d go out the day before, take the shot, clean the kill and then they arrive for the glory. That has happened in the past but I didn’t get paid for it. In this era of tax deductibility, the business model would change.

      Or not/

      1. Maybe do the rifle in rainbow? If not that, predator pink? The animals would respect the color and the effort that I’m taking to save the planet.

        “Animals” does not mean game animals, if you get my drift.

        1. Do they make rainbow colored tie-dye tactical gear? Maybe the New Improved Military has some.

      2. Just trying to help, like the government. But you know how design by committee goes, nothing gets done. Which, come to think of it, would be a huge cost savings to the budget, allowing you to transfer those funds to the Hydra-6 purchase, which I know for a fact comes in beige or green, and no Drone needed as there’d be nothing left to pick up or dispose.

        Supplier says they are including a rainbow flag at no extra charge to honor Pride Month.

        (Just my 2 cents)

    1. Yeah, a fat old man with a cloth around my head, Lambo, looking for all the world more like fat Elvis in a camo jumpsuit, knife in my teeth. It’s not a pretty visual, Odie.

      1. No no, Lambo is movie chalactel prayed so abrery by Syrvesterl Starrone. Vely big in China. We rove Starrone’s poltlayar of tlagic vetelan with PTSD.

  6. My vote would be for the AI AXMC with the three barrels. That’s a hell of a set up.
    I was in my LGS last week and bought on the spot a nice little Ruger 44 carbine.He had just put it out and I was the first one to look at it. Mint condition and the serial # says 1964 production. The perfect way to celebrate gun pride month.

    1. I’ve looked hard at the AXMC. The problem is that my JP Arms LR07 gives me the same range with a platform that while semi-auto, is very accurate. Same with the Seko. It doesn’t offer more range with a platform that is comparable.

      All of these firearms are exceptional tools.

      1. I think 338 Lapua has the legs you’re looking for with more ammo choices as well. It’s certainly doesn’t seem to be as popular as it was.

  7. I am clueless, other than I don’t like its looks.
    But it sounds like you are set on it, since you didn’t show the other options. 🤔🙂
    Be safe and God bless.

    1. You didn’t frame it quite the way I did. I was TOO LAZY to lay out all of the other options. Essentially, I wrote up the CheyTac and then ran out of time. Man does not live by blogging alone.

  8. I suggest steaks at Jimmy Kelley’s in Nashville. You can do a comparison to offerings in Chattanooga and still have plenty left over for good bourbon.

    1. Since I will be visiting Chattanooga this fall, as discussed in e-mail, we’re going to have to work out the kinks on steaks, etc. even if I don’t buy a CheyTac.

  9. At 2500 meters, in big horn sheep locals, you had better salt your bullets or the meat will spoil before you can get to it to pick it out. I don’t think ChyTac offers that bullet option.
    Or, you could knock if off of a steep enough slope/cliff so that it rolls down to you already tenderized by the time it gets there.
    If your knees are like mine and you shoot one in the bottom of a canyon, you will have to make camp and eat it on the spot.
    My dad would say that it would build character and it would be good training…I am sure you are familiar with what that really means.

    1. For this historical record, I have no interest in killing a big horn sheep. I have other big game in mind but talking about sheep is always safer. I’ll hunt for meat if I’m hungry and big horn yearlings would be on the list, but there are like 10,000x more elk here and I can pick out the elk that I want from the deck at the hovel.

  10. CheyTac or AI is more or less a toss up. The hunt (and retrieval) are the real issues. I’m sure Ronny B would build you what you want, but the real issue is how many times will you actually use it. You ‘could’ use the M-82 to ‘bark’ that sheep, and kill it with rock chips like we used to do with squirrels. But then you’d still have to go get it.

  11. Come to Colorado around Georgetown along I-70. You can poach one out your vehicle window with your handgun.

      1. Being a Latter Day Luddite I don’t know what this means but suspect it isn’t complimentary.

  12. @WWW–what he says about the high power rifle discipline (to quote Lili Von Shtupp) “…it’s twue, it’s twue!”. (Got my Master card in 1990).

    “New dies, maybe new powder, new cases, new bullets, and maybe new primers.” That has killed more than one purchase for me. I’m still torn over that pristine Peruvian Mauser in 7.65 Argentine that was priced right. (But noooo, I bought the 1879 Remington rolling block in 43 Spanish).

    The development and ballistics behind the CheyTac has always fascinated me. However in your case, I think I might experiment with some handloads using these–!/

    Seeing as how my birthday was in May, I celebrated Gun Pride Month a bit early and bought myself a Canik TP9SF (from Bud’s Guns, $374.99).

    1. It’s an impressive bullet. Worthy of consideration. The 35lbs weight of the rifle to me anyway, makes it useful in an anti-materiel role, taking out light skin armor. Using it in the field along with ammo and the standard load-out is a challenge as I get older.

      1. you need on of those fav’s. these days i need one to carry my pack…and my cooler, lol.

    2. 750 grains. That’s heavier than a golf ball, but very pointy and at supersonic velocity.

  13. This rifle and it’s application are so far out of the realm of my “expertise” as to be absurd. It’d be like consulting my on design choices for an SSTO rocket plane.

    I think the key to this kind of hunting is to deploy the pickup truck so that the sheep just drops into the bed when you shoot it. That would be a triumph of Man over Dinner.


    1. Heh. Back in my former life in California, I had an older (than me) friend and shootin’ buddy who would hie off to deer camp every season with some of his buddies (I did so as well one season).

      My friend was very much into collecting guns of the old west. He enjoyed hunting, but enjoyed as much or more the camp social life and just being outdoors. The camp was in northern California on the west side of the Coast Range, in terrain that offerd spectacular views east across the Central Valley to the distant Sierra Mountains.

      One fine morning, all the younger hunters were up and out early to their favorite spots. My friend relaxed and finished his second cup of coffee. By and by he got in his truck and headed up the main logging road, stopping about mile out at a road cut that offered one those spectacular views. This season, there was still snow on the ground. He had said that morning that he was going to hunt with M92 Winchester in 32-20, and that if something legal to shoot tapped him on the shoulder, he would take the shot.

      Well, as he was standing there by the front of his truck, he heard a snort and looked up. Standing about 30 yards away at the top of the road cut was a nice young buck looking down at him. He took the shot. The buck jump up in the air, fell over the edge of the cut, and slid all the way down on the snow, coming to a stop against the front left wheel of his truck, stone dead.

  14. While it is hard to beat the 750 grain AMAX in 50 BMG, if price were no object I would go with the 375 CheyTac. Multi caliber rifles that are capable of changing out barrels to quickly switch to another caliber kind of discourage a person from buying another rifle so I am not a fan. Variety is, as they say, the spice of life.
    If you have need of API or other specialized rounds you can always fall back to the 50.

  15. I’m liking “Lambo”…with the descriptive visual. We could have an entire team, call us The Dependsables”.

  16. Sounds like an incredible rifle. Another tool in the box, for those times when you need it.

    That rifle, to me, is like my big Yaesu radio would be to you. Another tool in the box…..

    1. A lawyer friend called me with a defense case. My end will just about cover the CheyTac… God knows that it’s Gun day and Gun Pride Month, I guess.

  17. As you mention reloading, the consideration that pops to my mind is availability of the bullets needed and powder consumption. To the first, I would think the .338 likely has more available (I have not yet looked). To the latter… What round will do what you want it to do, while burning the least amount of powder?
    Choose the round first, then choose the rifle, is my thought.

  18. Long time reader. First time commenting. Should you come for the Cheytac please drop me an email. Would enjoy meeting you. Be happy to spring for a BBQ sandwich. Cheytac just a couple of miles from me.

  19. I would say something like, “Well, are you good enough to actually hit something at that range? If so then if you can afford it go for it.”

    But from what you’ve inferred, the question isn’t needed. So, well, if you want it, then go for it. Long-range shooting is a wickedly interesting game I don’t have the money, eyesight or stillness to play in.

    Now, if you do get the rifle, do you have a vehicle that will allow you to recover whatever you’re shooting at? A while ago you were talking about looking at a Pinzgauer, but I don’t think you ever got one. So, well, what vehicle to mate with using that rifle?

    1. My Toyota FJ is capable of recovering the flesh of man or beast. There’s not THAT much Toyota in it anymore as I’ve modified it heavily. There is the 48 Willies and that works too, but I don’t have a winch on the Willies. I didn’t get a Pinz because I didn’t find the 6×6 that I want. I’ve looked at a few but DAMN, Beans, they are expensive.

      There is a retired urologist up here who owns a Hughes 500C and I happen to have a license to fly it and about 400 hours logged in the 500C. Worst case, we could rig a sling and hoist the beast to my Raptor and I’d drop it in the bed. The MD is a very amateur pilot so he likes me to fly him if I’m around and have time to kill.

  20. What optic choices are available for a platform like you’re looking at? Like some others have commented, I have no experience in shooting at those ranges. I look forward to the review on whichever you end up with.

  21. re — CheyTac (.408?)
    My buds in Idaho had one.
    Nightforce big barrel (34mm?) glass.
    We set an 18″ steel across the canyon from their back porch.
    Most decent SHOOTERS rang on the third us$5 trigger-pull.
    The kick — anybody with 12-gauge or .50 experience gripped and grimaced for dear life.
    The reality — a gentle push reminiscent of a .243 semi-auto.
    To a one, after the first trigger-pull, every SHOOTER laughed at their anticipation.
    Addictive… to the point of boringly easy irregardless of breeze through the canyon.
    We visited the maker.
    They had 55-gallon drums of empties.
    They told us to help ourselves.
    We came away with a couple five-gallon buckets of once-fired.
    Those buds also had a Sharps replica in 45-90 (or 50-110?).
    The kick — at the other end of the spectrum.
    Geez Lou-Weez, once was enough.

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