The best new gear from the past year for mastering the long-range shooting game.
What are the Top 5 long-range shooting gear choices:
- Vudoo Gun Works V-22
- Really Right Stuff Anvil 30 Tripod
- .224 Valkyrie
- Competition Bags Game Changer
- Bighorn Origin Action
Time flies when you’re having fun, and the gear precision rifle shooters are turning to is coming at us even faster. Before writing this article, I put the question to the Sniper’s Hide Forum, asking what gear they would include in a “year in review” column, and they did not disappoint. I could make this a 10-page article, but I just don’t have that kind of space, so I’m going to boil it down to my Top 5.
Jumping right in, I want to caveat and say one thing: There’s currently a lot of movement in the precision rifle side of the sport. I selected these pieces of kit based on the feedback from the Sniper’s Hide Members and from my own personal experiences with each product. It’s by no means complete or definitive; however, I think it hit the mark in a lot of ways. Don’t read into the order of my selections, instead place them all on equal footing to each, just nestled in their various applications.
Breaking down the Top 5 list, let’s look at each one individually and dissect why they were chosen.
Vudoo Gun Works, along with the NRL 22 League, has changed the way we approached training and practice with a precision rifle. The V-22 Action has a very similar footprint to the Remington 40x. In other words, it fits in a standard Remington short-action stock. It has been adapted to work with AICS type magazines, so the controls are very similar to our standard, full-sized rifles.
Translated, it also has a short action detachable bottom metal. Vudoo Gun Works .22 rifles look just like their full-sized brothers out there, just scaled down. The best part: You can shoot a .22 LR all day, and it doesn’t destroy your shoulder or your wallet.
More Long-Range Shooting Info:
The competitions using these rifles has spread across the United States like wildfire. The NRL 22 League has really exploded. Why? Because any 100-yard range will do, and they’re replicating tactical matches scaled down to work for the .22 rimfire.
You’ve heard it a thousand times, but the .22 LR is the best way to train and get kids involved. Across the board, the Vudoo Gun Works rifles are absolute hammers, and when shooting Prime factory ammo, we have seen great results. www.vudoogunworks.com
A good tripod is universally considered the best single tool for the precision rifle shooter to employ when conditions don’t allow you to go prone. It’s only been a few years since Really Right Stuff (RRS), an excellent camera support company, created their SOAR Division to address the shooting community.
The Anvil 30 Tripod can be considered their dedicated, mission-specific tripod head that — so far — is unrivaled. The Anvil 30 connects to the Really Right Stuff Dovetail as well as to your Pic rail. In other words, one head fits both specs.
Consider the Marine, the hunter and the competition shooter: Prone shooting is the exception, not the rule, so being able to maintain stability and get hits on target under a variety of circumstances is essential. Lightweight and sturdy, this tripod makes taking 1,000-yard shots from the standing just as easy as shooting from your belly. It’s really that good — simply because it was designed from the ground up … specifically for shooting.
Go to any tactical rifle match in the country, and it will be dominated by RRS Tripods.
An honorable mention goes to the change from Picatinny rails to the Really Right Stuff Dovetail. Similar to the Arca Swiss pattern of camera mounts, the Really Right Stuff Dovetail is being manufactured and machined into a variety of stocks and other products. It’s super simple and fast to deploy, and the rail systems being used has been adapted to work with bipods, too, so the user can easily slide them up and down the rail system quickly. Aftermarket products using the dovetail are too numerous to list. www.soar.reallyrightstuff.com
I am a fan of the Valkyrie. There, I said it. I’ve shot the Valkyrie in competition, I’ve shot the Valkyrie to 2,020 yards — in fact, I recently went 7 out of 10 hits at 1,785 yards with a Mile High Shooting bolt gun chambered in .224 Valkyrie. The round works as advertised, and is not being overhyped.
Put simply, it’s a .223 Rem. on steroids, using high BC bullets. I’m currently using both the 88-grain Hornadys, as well as the 90-grain Federal factory ammunition, and the results really do speak for themselves. Inexpensive with great ballistics and a long barrel life, the Valkyrie is a smart choice to bridge the gap between the .223 Rem. and 6.5 Creedmoor. Big-picture wise, it’s also an excellent way to get kids involved in shooting because of the low recoil and superior ballistics. The ammunition is widely available in a variety of bullet weights, so finding it on a shelf should not be a problem.
I started out shooting a small frame JP Rifles AR in .224 Valkyrie and took it to a Guardian Long Range competition. The low recoiling rounds let you stay on target, and it has just enough velocity to make it competitive without burning out the barrel in 2,000 rounds. While more people see it as a semi-auto cartridge, we do see outstanding results with it in a bolt gun as well. www.federalpremium.com
If you’re shooting any tactical competitions and you’ve not used a Game Changer bag, you’re missing out. These bags have changed the way shooters approach stages like barricades, balancing the rifles on them and getting repeatable hits out to distance. The bags mold to the obstacles — they can be tossed on a tree limb, a rock or the bed of your truck — and it will stabilize the shot. The only limitation is your imagination with these bags.
There are a bunch of similar bags, but I chose the Game Changer because it was one of the first, and its name has become universally accepted to describe all bags of this type. Others include the Fortune Cookie, the Saracen and the Tactical Udder. They may sound funny, but they work. Slap ‘em down and balance the rifle — you’ll be surprised how well you stay on target. It’s somewhat heavy for most hunters; however, they do make smaller versions to limit the weight. www.reasorprecisionsolutions.com
There are a ton of custom actions out there right now, so many in fact that it’s hard to keep pace. Bighorn started out in Colorado and then moved to Nebraska, but it has continued to make great, inexpensive custom actions. A desirable feature of these actions is the floating, replaceable bolt head, which lets you change calibers quite easily.
Coming in at $825, it’s one of the cheapest of the custom actions on the market. Available in both left- and right-hand configurations, the Bighorn Origin is a bang-for-your-buck rockstar. Bighorn is a custom action maker, so you can adjust the features upon order to fit your needs — think of it as a customizable custom action, in other words.
Other actions that received honorable mention include the ARC Nucleus and Defiance Tenacity. www.bighornarms.com/actions
So, there’s my look back at the gear the Sniper’s Hide members and I considered the best in their class for 2018.
Here are a few of my honorable mentions. I really wanted to include them, but there is just too much great stuff out there right now — but these certainly deserve a mention.
- Sig Electro-Optics BDX System
- Terrapin X Laser Range Finder
- The Atlas CAL and Ckye Pod Bipods
- The Everyday Sniper Podcast
- TRASOL Ballistic Software Revamp
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.
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