Marine Corps veteran sniper Frank Galli highlights the past year's top long-range shooting gear, from the must-have ammo to the on-target stocks and scopes.
What's The Top Long-Range Shooting Gear:
Bullets And Ammo
- Hornady A-Tip
- Prime Ammunition
- Berger-Lapua Ammunition
Long-Range Rifle Stocks
- McMillan A10
- Cadex Nuke Chassis
- MDT Chassis
- Zero Compromise
- Nightforce NX8
Looking at the year in review regarding which new piece of equipment performed as advertised—versus products that did little more than help lighten your wallet—can be tough. So, let’s get down into the weeds with some of the best long-range shooting equipment of thepastyear.
Bullets And Ammunition
My top choice for 2019 in the bullet category is the Hornady A-Tip. The A-Tip seeks to fill the distance between a machined solid bullet and a lead-core variant. Its success was immediate, winning practical rifle matches across the United States. Hornady squeezed everything it could out of the A-Tip, and I highly recommend these bullets if you’re looking to take advantage of the consistency.
The changes made by Prime Ammunition comprised the other standout for me. Full disclosure: I’m a Prime Ammunition shooter and have used Prime religiously for years now. The new, improved Prime is from a U.S.-based manufacturer and features Peterson brass. Can the brass make that big a difference in a factory offering? Well, yes, it can!
Not to be outdone, the new Berger-Lapua factory ammunition is every bit as good, with a nice variety in both bullet weights and calibers. When shooting the 6mm Creedmoor from Berger, the results are impressing everyone. You find 6mm dominating the PRS/NRL competition circuit; besides, having excellent factory ammo is a plus. We all win when companies compete. You get Berger bullets and Lapua brass—a winning combination used by handloaders every, single day. Not everyone has the time or resources to make their own, so great sources in factory ammunition open the door widely.
Finally, I want to touch on the .224 Valkyrie, which stumbled a bit on its initial release. Even so, after a year or more of using it, I’m still impressed. Federal has revamped the 90-grain factory load to clean up the accuracy variations people were seeing. Was it the twist rate? No, it was the ammunition. I tend to shoot more of the Hornady 88-grain versus the other weights, but more and more, we see fantastic and inexpensive factory ammo for the Valkyrie. If the negative Internet reviews kept you on the fence, trust me—it remains one of my favorite cartridges to shoot.
Get On Target With Frank Galli:
- Mils vs. MOA: Which Is The Best Long-Range Language?
- Buying the Perfect Precision Scope
- Shooting Positions: Variety Is The Spice Of Life
- Riflescope Tracking: Why It’s Crucial To Test It
- Long-Range Shooting: Becoming Your Own Spotter
Long-Range Rifle Stocks
Because I’m a bit shorter in stature, I’ve almost wholly transitioned to chassis in my rifle builds. More adjustability means more comfort for the shooter.
Back in 2018, I think every rifle I was shooting was in a chassis. This year, this situation changed when McMillan offered the A10 stock, designed in part with help from Regina Milkovich. If you don’t know that name, you should: Regina is the only woman to win a PRS competition head to head with everyone else.
The A10 takes a traditional McMillan fiberglass stock and shrinks it down a bit, creating a more comfortable experience for smaller shooters. With new materials, such as carbon-fiber shells, and mixing up the fill, it’s easy to fall in love with fiberglass again.
My honorable mention in the stock category goes to Cadex for the Strike Nuke Chassis. The Strike Nuke is an internal chassis with the external look of a traditional stock. It has modern lines and the attachment points necessary to meet most shooters’ needs. For me, the most significant selling point of the Cadex is its price point: Starting at $599 retail, it’s very affordable.
Finally, I want to give a shout-out to MDT, which has established itself as the leader in the chassis department. If you’re going to upgrade your stock and are confused by the options, you won’t go astray buying an MDT chassis.
There are so many great scopes, and the prices are trending lower, but it’s hard to lay down your money sight unseen.
First place in the long-range riflescope category goes to Zero Compromise. I’m currently running both the 4-20x Ultra Short and the full-sized 5-27x. The quality, clarity and tracking of both optics are stellar.
Using the 5-27x on the MCM A10 rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor complements the caliber. I can push the rounds out to 1,500 meters with no problem, and the fidelity of the Zero Compromise is second to none. I have the 4-20x ultra-short on my bolt-action .224 Valkyrie rifle.
Also, the Zero Compromise reticles were designed with speed and accuracy in mind. They’re not too cluttered and still give you that excellent floating dot for pinpoint precision. I’m running the MPCT 1 reticle, as well as the MPCT 2, which features a Christmas tree-style holdover area. They’re balanced in both line weight and design.
Honorable mention in the scope category goes to Nightforce and its new NX8 line of scopes, including a 1-8x, 2.5-20x and 4-32x. These are feature-rich scopes with zero stops, Digi-illumination and impressive variable-power ranges. Cost-wise, they fall closer to the higher end of the spectrum. Retailing around $2,000 each, they nevertheless punch above their weight class.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.