Truly long-range rifles remain popular, although somewhat limited in scope. Rifles that can reach consistently beyond 2,000 yards with precision are rare. While the .50 BMG has been the most prolific, there are a few other calibers playing in this world. One garnering considerable interest over the last few years is the .408 CheyTac. Originally designed for long-range military use, it is pretty specialized. The idea was to create a cartridge that remained supersonic beyond 2,000 meters (2,187 yards) and stayed accurate and lethal. This was initially accomplished using very precise bullets turned from solid projectiles with very high ballistic coefficients (BCs). While specific BC numbers remain somewhat disputed, there is little doubt that they were very high, generally around .900 or higher. All that math means a really flat trajectory, incredibly long range and a projectile that remains supersonic out to as far as 2,300 yards. As a practical matter, this equates to precision rifle accuracy at ranges extending hundreds of yards beyond where many others become ineffective. Secondarily, operators needed a platform for delivery that was not as heavy or large as the .50 BMG. Actions designed to shoot this cartridge and any of its variants fall in between most .338 Lapua or Norma rifles and the big .50 BMG. The .408’s chamber pressures are actually higher than the .50, so it needs to be a strong action. I’ve fired a few of these rounds before, and recoil is rather stout. Still, rifles in this chambering are man portable, could be fielded more easily and were significantly more accurate than anything used at the time. While the .408 remains primarily geared towards the military shooter, several variants have been spun off into the target and long-range hunting world.

The .375 CheyTac
Rifles or cartridges designed for military use often find their way into the civilian world. Several cartridges using the .408 case have been developed for civilian use. Generally, they are a bit less expensive, produce less recoil and are commercially available. The .375 CheyTac is one of these variants, and it remains one of the most popular. Several companies are chambering rifles for this cartridge, and both ammunition and loading components are available. The .375 CheyTac retains most of the long-range characteristics of the .408 without some of the drawbacks. Bullet weights are generally around 350 grains. Muzzle velocity is around 3,000 fps, with some a bit higher. BCs are generally .878 or higher, providing very flat trajectories. Ballistics rival and even exceed the .408’s, making it very promising for those shooting at very long distances. According to most charts, this cartridge remains supersonic out to 2,000 yards and beyond depending on the load and conditions. A recent test of this cartridge in Utah resulted in supersonic flight out to 2,500 yards. It also yielded sub-MOA accuracy at 3,080 yards! Recoil is noticeably less than the .408 and even the .50 BMG, making it much more usable for most recreational shooters…

Up Next

Fifty Spotlight – Spider Firearms Ferret .50

Truly long-range rifles remain popular, although somewhat limited in scope. Rifles that can reach…