Exploring Extreme Long Range Distances: Team GPG at 7,070-yards
Some of you will remember our post from February when Paul Phillips and Global Precision Group made a 3.4-miles (6,012-yards) shot. When we spoke with Paul, he told us that 4-miles was possible. In just a matter of months, Paul and his team returned to the Nevada desert outside Las Vegas to add over 1,000-yards to their previous feat. Hitting a 1 MOA plate at 7,070-yards (just over 4-miles), Paul and GPG have accomplished the farthest recorded shot in history.
“We were successful in hitting 6,012-yards,” Paul said. “We did it within 22 shots. It’s a long way, and when you go out into the desert — or anywhere for that matter — and you’re attempting something that’s never been done before, you are the explorer, you learn things as you go. There’s no rule book or guide on how to do that. You have to figure it out yourself. When we do these adventures, it takes a few shots to understand what’s going on.”
Of course, Paul had his 3-mile data from February as a jumping off point. Using the Applied Ballistics Analytics Solver program — the same one that he uses at ELR events such as King of 2 Miles — he did have helpful information but there are still many unknown variables at those extreme distances. Paul expressed that anything past 3 miles requires a team of skilled professionals that understand all aspects of long-range shooting. This is very dangerous and should only be attempted by highly trained shooters.
Paul and his team’s accomplishments show that the McMillan ELR Beast stocks are not only capable of reaching extreme distances, they are consistent and accurate too. In July, Paul became the 2019 King of 2 Miles in Raton, New Mexico. With the spotting help of Global Precision Group shooters, Derek Rodgers and Mark Lonsdale, Paul scored 48,350, placing first. His team members Derek and Mark won 3rd and 4th, respectively. Just two years prior in 2017, Derek Rodgers, using the new McMillan Beast II won the KO2M with Paul spotting for him. That means that McMillan stocks have been used to win the KO2M three times out of the four previous years.
Before the July world champion event, McMillan announced that if the KO2M winner was using a McMillan stock they could claim a $5,000 prize. We’re happy to have our stock come in first and for our friends’ accomplishments. But back to 4-miles.
“The greatest challenge is being able to identify where your shots are going when you first start shooting,” Paul said. “It’s just so far. You have to have your solutions pretty good. You have to be close enough to where your forward observers can see a splash. If your shot is more than 100-yards from a target, you’re probably not gonna see it. Unless you have the whole mountainside covered with people, but then it’s not safe to do that. So, it’s very challenging. You have to have your forward observers far enough away from the plate that you’re not gonna endanger them, but close enough to where they can see impacts. And then be able to relay all of that information back to the shooter. Because you have to realize it’s a 22-second time of flight for 4-miles.”
Paul said that at this distance bullets travel 2,100- to 2,200-feet in elevation before coming back down. The velocity of the bullet drops to around 700 feet per second upon impact, leaving little splash for observation.
“The 3- and 4-mile exhibition shooting that we’re doing to learn how to be better ELR shooters is a totally different ballgame [than sanctioned matches] because you just cannot see the impacts with glass, you have to use forward observers. It’s kind of like artillery.”
With James Devoglaer behind his new ELR Beast II, Paul and Derek Rodgers spotted as wind coaches, while John Droelle and Mauro Del Mastro were miles down range as forward observers. In the ELR Beast II is a BAT 50 caliber action and a Bartlein 40” barrel chambered in 416 Barrett — Team GPG uses a 550 grain Cutting Edge Laser bullet chambered in 416 Barrett for both exhibition shoots and sanctioned ELR events. James was looking through a Nightforce 7-35×56 ATACR with the TACOMHQ Charlie and Delta attached. This distance pushed the TACOMHQ elevation enhancers to their limits. This is why Paul conducts these shoots, to learn what’s possible and discover the parameters of high-end shooting products.
An evolution of the ELR Beast I, the ELR Beast II has several design updates based on feedback from expert long-range shooters such as Paul and GPG. It has a 1” rise at comb on its lowest setting and an adjustable half saddle cheekpiece that allows the bolt full range of motion. The butt pad has been raised alongside the comb, so it aligns with the center of the bore. The ELR Beast II stock can weigh as much as 12 pounds and accommodate barrels up to 2” in diameter.
“A lot of these people on the internet and blogs don’t even know who we are [GPG], that we’ve won competitions, that we’re multi-time world champions and multi-time national champions and have set a lot of national records,” Paul said. “They don’t know that about us, they just hear about it on the internet, they read a little post that somebody shot 4-miles and they thought: ‘This is BS, it’s no world record, they just shoot until they hit something.’ Well, we’re not claiming a world record; what we’re doing is research and development on how to become better extreme long-range shooters and we’ve proven that with our track record that we are doing things better. This last trip out to 4-miles, we really learned a lot.”
It took them 69 shots the first day to get on target. The second day it took 10 shots to get close and only 5 shots to get close on the third day. On the second day, Paul made a cold bore shot at 4 miles that landed within 10-15 feet just right of the 1 MOA sized plate. After getting close to the target each day, Team GPG was able to accomplish 3-5 shots in a row that were within 2-3 MOA all around the 1 MOA size plate. This is the type of consistency that they are looking for and how they can reproduce it. They are hoping to reduce the number of shots in the future and increase accuracy, in addition to learning from all the elements, data, gear, and communication requirements. It’s true that Paul and Global Precision Group are exploring new territory — not to mention, nearing the limitations of shouldered rifles. The McMillan ELR Beast is what’s capable of taking them there and winning matches. Paul summed it up nicely:
“You have to have accuracy and consistency. I think that’s what the McMillan Beast stock does at extreme long ranges, it provides the foundation for big heavy barreled actions to have consistent shots time after time. The track record for McMillan is phenomenal.”