The following is a Desert Tactical Arms (DTA) press release:
Recent news has been reported of two Australian Snipers who shot and killed a Taliban commander at a record distance of 3079 yards during a simultaneous command fire. They were firing two Barrett M107 .50 BMG rifles. After the reports, there has been a lot of debate and discussion on whether the equipment used had the accuracy or sighting capability to even make such a shot possible.
Here at Desert Tactical Arms however, we got extremely excited about the news, and wanted to see what kind of accuracy was really possible at 3079 yards. So we headed out to the Utah desert with our DTA HTI .375CT rifle and DTM ammo in hand to see what we could do.
We put word out to our online community to see if anyone wanted to witness the testing, and had more than 20 people show up. Thanks to everyone that attended, including a special thanks to Craig Sawyer who took time out of his busy schedule to fly up from Phoenix and support our efforts.
View of target being ranged by Vector IV military laser, we moved back one yard beyond this distance to make it 3080 yards.
On the Range
We setup two cardboard targets approx 6’5” tall and 4’9” wide at exactly 3080 yards (1.75 miles). At 3080 yards we were not able to discern impacts for two reasons, one because at 0 deg temperatures the ground was iced over with snow, and two it was just too far away to see impacts reliably (even with the Pricey Hensoldt 20-60x spotting scope we were using).
Our solution was to put two observers down range located near the target behind cover so they could see exactly where each shot landed. We shot all firing strings under their observation.
After inputting all of our information into our ballistic computer it told us our hold and we also noted that the projectile was dropping subsonic at 2560 yards so it would be a test to see if the projectiles destabilized during their 520 yards subsonic flight. We took our first sighter shots and found we were low.
Each sighter string consisted of two to three rounds fired then the observers would point out each individual impact while we observed through optics and communicated over the phone. We would adjust and fire again.
Normally, when measuring misses I use my cross hairs to see how far off I am from my aiming point, but at extreme distances it becomes problematic because the fall angle is so steep that just a few feet makes a very large difference in drop. When it looked like I needed to come up 0.5 MILS I really ended up needing 1 MIL.
I really like the method of firing a multiple shot group prior to adjusting the scope because it keeps you from chasing your target around. Rifles shoot at an area and you want to find out where the center of that area is before you get frustrated and waste ammunition while making adjustments every shot.
It took us 10 shots or so before we hit the target which happened after a final wind correction. When our final three sighter shots hit the right target, two of the sighters were in the paper and one just below. After we got the confirmation from the observers about the three impacts, then we fired six more rounds for a record group size using the same elevation hold but compensating for wind shifts throughout the string.
The six shot string fell on the lower half of the target with two rounds hitting the ground approximately 6.5” below the targets edge.
• The six shot string had a vertical spread measuring just 23.75”, that’s 0.74 MOA folks!
• The two strings of fire added together made 9 shots vertically measuring 50.31” or 1.56 MOA and eight of those nine shots had a vertical spread of just 35.63” or 1.10 MOA .
• Do to the wind changes the extreme spread of the 9 shot aggregate group was 65.5” or 2.03 MOA. For those interested Average Group Circumference for the 9 shot aggregate was just 26”.
9 shot string hits are spray painted orange, two shots up on the paper were part of the 3 shot sighter group.
Once zeroed we consistently hit the target we were aiming at nearly every shot (78% of the time because our group was off center). After we fired and recorded the record groups, Craig Sawyer put three rounds into a 24” group (great shooting Craig!). Troy Vanvaley also fired three rounds hitting two out of three on the left target.
On the whole, we proved that it was possible to accurately engage a 4 to 6 foot target consistently at 3080 yards! If we weren’t all frozen to the core we would have shot a lot more and let the witnesses put rounds on the two silhouette targets we had setup at 2000 yards.
Craig Sawyer shooting the HTI 375CT
Details about the Equipment Used:
1. Rifle = Desert Tactical Arms HTI .375 Cheytac: At Desert Tactical Arms we manufacture the HTI (Hard Target Interdiction Rifle). It was built from the ground up for extreme distance firing. It is the most versatile hard target rifle in the world because of its portability, being: 12 inches shorter and 12 lbs lighter than the Barrett M107 and because it can quickly be converted between the most capable extreme distance factory cartridges in the world; Including: .50 BMG, .375CT, .408CT, and .416Barrett.
2. Ammunition = DTM .375CT 352 gr @ 3118 fps BC = 0.89: To make accurate and consistent hits at 1.75 miles the ammunition is the key, no matter how accurate a rifle is, it can only shoot as well as the ammunition fired through it. At 1.75 miles even medium velocity spreads create significant vertical stringing, runout, land distance, brass, projectile, powder, and primer combinations all factor significantly into it. Like a professional chef, this fine-tuned recipe is what creates the magic. That is why we are producing our own production ammunition because we understand the true importance the ammunition plays. DTM ammunition sets the new standard because it is held to the highest standards and nothing goes out with more than 0.003” of runout and our velocity spreads are unmatched. In our test we wanted to demonstrate the best performance possible and the .50 BMG round is far from the best cartridge for such a test. We believe that the most capable extreme distance cartridge available from ammo makers today is the .375CT (Cheytac) because The .375CT stays supersonic 600+ yards farther than the .408CT. (can you say WOW?) Unfortunately the .375CT has been unjustly overshadowed by it’s predecessor the .408CT. Desert Tactical Munitions currently manufactures exceptionally accurate match 375CT ammunition. All shots fired in this test were with off the shelf DTM 375CT ammunition randomly selected out of our previous lot#. Our .375CT is loaded with a 352 grain lathe turned solid projectile from Cutting Edge Bullets, they have a true G1 ballistic coefficient of 0.89 and a velocity of 3118 FPS.
a) Brief History on .375CT for those interested: When the folks at Cheytac internally developed the .375 variant the marketing folks hid it in the closet because they had already invested so much time and money on the .408CT and they didn’t want to hurt existing .408CT sales by marketing a newer even better cartridge. Luckily I had the opportunity to shoot one of the first .375CT rifles six and a half years ago at Cheytac’s facility in Arco, Idaho. I fired it at a rock 2650 yards away and my five round grouping wasn’t more than 2 ½ feet in size. I was so impressed by its accuracy and power that I ordered a custom .375CT build immediately following. Unfortunately the builder never delivered a finished rifle. When I originally founded Desert Tactical Arms the SRS was designed to be chambered in .375CT but I realized that Cheytac as a company was on shaky ground and component availability was scarce their quality unpredictable in those days. We elected to downsize the SRS to smaller cartridges including .308win/.338LM which was the right choice to make. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who appreciated the .375CT cartridge because today some very high quality components are readily available on the market independent of Cheytac.
3. Rifle Scope: Vortex HD 5-20x mounted in DTA 40 MOA tapered rings: Shooting this great distance it requires a scope with lots of elevation travel and a reticle with precise holdover points. With this setup we maxed the turrets elevation adjustment out at 30.6 MILS and had to hold an additional 10.25 MILS of holdover with the EBR-2B reticle. Unfortunately their reticle really ends at 9MILS, which made it less convenient, and necessary to use the thick stadia line as a elevation reference. With the necessary wind holds then I was on the side of the thick stadia line so it did not obstruct my vision of the target. I would have elected to get rid of the thick stadia line at the bottom and continued the hold markings all the way to the edge of the field of view. It is important to note that we had to dial down to 12x magnification in order to view the bottom portion of the reticle that we had to aim with.
4. Support Equipment: LR-Accuracy Bipod and DTA rear monopod provide an extremely stable shooting platform in prone shooting position (which is uncommon for big 50 BMG rifles).
Details About The Shooting Conditions:
When we first got to the range it was 5 deg F, and after we finished shooting it got up to 17 deg F. As I was shooting I noticed that my breath had created an ice patch on the side of the HTI’s aluminum receiver just in front of my face. I smiled because I knew nobody else would be crazy enough to be out on the range in that kind of weather.
Luckily the HTI has a nice rubber insulated cheek piece, unlike the Barrett M107 which you would freeze your face directly on its steel receiver. The shooting conditions were not ideal to say the least; I couldn’t feel my fingers after the first two shots. Keeping my shivering under control was not too difficult though, due to the great stability of the HTI.
Shooter: Nicholas Young
Spotter: Russ Wallis
Environmental (verified with Kestrel weather station)
Distance: 3080 Yards verified with vector IV (reliably ranges to 6KM)
Barometric Pressure: 30.3
Altitude: 4,639 ASL
Bearing: .08 degrees true
Wind 6-12 mph from 1700
Bullet Flight Data
Velocity Remaining at Target: approx 850+ fps.
Time of Flight to Target: 6.5 second flight time.
Wind 6 mph (gusts to 10-12)
Elevation Adjustment Required: 40.8 MILS above 100 yard zero
Wind Hold range: 1 MIL to 2.5 MILS
Supersonic range in conditions: 2560 yards