I recently had a client that had taken our Extreme Long Range class at Gunsite purchase an Ashbury Precision Ordnance (APO) .375CT SuperSport XLR to go along with the .338 Lapua Magnum TCR (Tactical Competition Rifle) rifle he used during class. He really wanted to extend his range as far as possible, and after a few emails agreed that the .375CT SuperSport XLR was the way to go. Once the rifle arrived, we ordered a Nightforce BEAST to mount on top and some HSM ammo with the Rocky Mountain Bullets 350gr ULD bullet. Sid then arranged to come out to Gunsite for a day on the range to get familiarized with his new rifle and calibrate his system.
Prior to his arrival, I had already zeroed the rifle and got muzzle velocity data on the ammo. The Nightforce scope was also calibrated to exactly .2 Mil per click with the .1 throw lever being right on as well. We did a quick check to see that Sid’s tripod shooting rig put him on the same zero point, and after a minor adjustment went right to the long range. I should point out that Sid is 80 years old, and because of back problems is forced to shoot from a large tripod system seated in a chair or from his Humvee. One of his concerns was the recoil impulse, but APO’s SABER® chassis, Limbsaver® recoil pad and Arclight muzzle brake on this SuperSport XLR system makes it very soft to shoot, and certainly no worse than his TCR .338 Lapua Magnum with a muzzle brake.
We checked his zero again on the 600m target with two shots, both impacts right on the painted ‘waterline’ we use to confirm good elevation settings. From there we went right to 1200m and shot a five round group. The steel plate at 1200m is a 0.5 x 2m (about 20 x 78 inches) rectangle and the group was well centered and under .3 mil in height, despite a solid 10mph crosswind.
Background on the APO .375CT Super Sport XLR
A little background on APO’s .375CT SuperSport XLR. Several years ago Matthew Peterson the Product Development Coordinator at Ashbury Precision Ordnance attended a Gunsite XLR class and we began discussions about building a “true” 2000 meter plus rifle using affordable ammo loaded with traditional jacketed bullets. I was already shooting APO’s ASW-338 Lapua Magnum with fantastic results using Hornady’s 285gr BTHP Match ammo and this would just push out the XLR envelop that much further.
I started collaborating with APO on the rifle and load data as they are located just above sea level in Virginia and here at Gunsite I’m at about 4200ASL. We based the loads on Sierra’s 350gr Matchking bullet, a traditional jacketed OTM projectile. I believe more shooters would consider a .375CT rifle to shoot extreme long range if they could purchase reasonably priced quality ammunition at magazine length, as monolithic solids tend to be a bit pricey and problematic.
APO tested several twist rates and barrel lengths along the way to zero-in on the right combination for their standard rifle ending up with a 28” 1-in-10.5 twist barrel, custom contoured in Ashbury’s proprietary BASED™ software. I can’t say enough good things about APO’s Arclight muzzle brake which makes the mighty .375CT shoot like an un-braked 308Win. Mounted in a very comfortable and ergonomically adjustable SABER® modular rife chassis yielded a base rifle weight of about 18lbs which worked out perfectly for Sid!
APO’s Product Development Team hit their first accuracy node using the 28” Muller Works / Rock Creek barrel hand loading the 350gr SMK to about 2850 FPS and hit the second node at 3050 FPS using a couple of pinches and a thimble full of Retumbo powder and Federal 215M primers with no signs of excessive pressure. Quite a bit of additional work went into case preparation and careful loading to get loaded cartridge concentricity down to well less than .002”. This is the domain where many experienced in the art believe precision hand loading, and alchemy come together…”a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination”
Using the very reliable Lab Radar Chronograph when evaluating these magazine fed loads, we noted standard deviation and extreme spreads in the mid single digits! A five shot group at 100m was less than <1/2 MOA and mid-range groups were hovering near the same. Consistently engaging targets at 1 mile (1760 yards) and at 2000+ yards at sea level is encouraging to say the least for jacketed bullets. Ah…success at long last…now back to Sid at Gunsite!
Pushing out beyond Sid’s successes at 1200m, we then took a few shots at the 1400m, 1600m and 2000m targets. Sid scored a first round hit on each target, missing only with the second shot at 1600m (I really think I missed the wind call on this target, because he was dead on with each shot). Sid was enormously pleased with APO’s .375CT SuperSport XLR rifle (and I should hope himself), but that was enough shooting for him that day, as he has a long drive back home to Louisiana.
The main challenge for me now is trying to find some room in the safe for an APO .375CT SuperSport XLR of my very own! Actually I may hold out for an ASW375CT ULR which is built on APO’s new VX bolt action receiver that will match up nicely with my ASW338LM which is now on its second barrel!
A few days after his return to Louisiana, Sid sent me an email which I‘ve included below.
“I wanted tell you Cory how much I enjoyed my short refresher using my new Ashbury .375 Cheytac SuperSport XLR at the Gunsite Academy’s extreme long range."
I so much appreciate you setting the rifle up for me. Little things mean a lot, to quote some song. When shooting targets at distances that when you tell an everyday shooter, he gives you a funny look, and a “yea, yea, sure” reply.
First of all, when you uncased it, WOW! Some guys like beautiful wood stocks, and bright blue, maybe even a stainless barrel, but the more “get the job done” looked better, and as far as I am concerned, the .375CT SuperSport XLR, with the NightForce Beast on top, exudes that look.
The next test, does this beautiful rifle live up to its appearance? As far as I am concerned, it definitely, no holds barred does and I am convinced you feel the same way. Due to a very serious back injury, I can no longer shoot from a prone position. I use a heavy duty tripod, made by Lone Star Field Products. I am by no means any kind of a competition shooter, but have had many so called long range rifles ever since I was old enough to get the family car keys, and blast varmints.
I just turned eighty and back in those days a 300 yard shot was quite impressive. Now shooting on the Gunsite extreme long range can be quite intimidating. We started at the 600 meter target just to see if everything was spot on and to double check the Field Firing Solutions calibration. With me as the shooter, and you calling the wind and adjustments on the NightForce Beast, it seemed too easy. We progressed on down the shooting positions, to 1200m, 1400m, then 1600m and then 2000m, where we finished. I think there was one missed shot over the entire course. That’s pretty impressive performance for a rifle in the hands of an amateur. A rifle that shoots every bit as good as it looks, and it looks great. Thanks so much for getting this setup for me!”….Sid
About the Author
Cory Trapp is a lifelong rifle shooter, small arms instructor, factory certified armorer firearms dealer, and consultant. He has been a Gunsite Staff Member since 1987 and ran the Gunsite Gunsmithy from 2001 to 2013. Cory teaches the Gunsite’s Foreign Weapons Program, Precision Rifle, Advanced Precision Rifle and Extreme Long Range Rifle courses. Currently Cory is also the Armorer and Weapons Consultant for The Outdoor Channel TV show Gun Stories w/Joe Mantenga.