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It’s often said that even the worst day spent shooting is still better than the best day working. If that’s true, then how good is the best day shooting? It would probably be just like today . . .

Our morning classroom session started with an introduction to Bushnell’s top-end precision rifle scopes. I won’t bore you with the specs and details until I have a real live scope to test on my 700 PSS, but these big mofo scopes check all the right boxes: beefy 34mm single-piece tubes, locking target turrets, reticules that help you calculate the lead for shooting a flying English sparrow mid-flight and amazing brightness and clarity . . .

In order to show us that Bushnell can walk the walk, we shot the crap out of these scopes all day long, on rifles from 5.56 to .338 Lapua to 12-guage short-barrelled shotguns and at ranges from 5 to 1140 yards. Despite recoil that beat us black and blue, the optics gave us nothing to write about except some incredible shooting.

This is a 10x view of what a human silhouette target looks like at 950 yards. Can’t see it? Neither can I, because it’s basically covered up by stadia lines just left of the crosshairs. It’s substantially more visible at 21x rather than 10x, and with the help of a Bushnell 3.4-21x50mm HDMR sniper scope (and a Delta sniper acting as my truly outstanding spotter) I nailed that impossibly distant silhouette. And then I nailed the 10″ gong, that tiny speck 8 mils right of the crosshairs, just for good measure.

Now look again at the scope shot above: see that tiny white speck 10 mils up and 8 mils right from the crosshairs? That’s the 1140 yard gong, almost 2/3 of a mile away and 10 inches in diameter, and after several more shots (landing within a 15″ circle) I nailed it too.

I hit it with Zeus’ Thunderbolt an Accuracy International AX-338 PSR. This monster let me blast lots of long and pointy 300 grain bullets downrange at over 2700 fps. With that zippy velocity (and the extremely high BC of these huge bullets) I was able to put lead on steel 600 yards beyond my ‘why bother’ range with the .308 Winchester.

When I told Frank Galli of Sniper’s Hide that I couldn’t believe I’d rung the 1140 yard gong, he told me “Oh yeah, the PSR with the shot-out barrel?” A quick question to the AI rep proved he was right: this PSR has vastly exceeded its projected barrel life of about 2,000 high-pressure rounds, and it’s “only” capable of putting an entire magazine full of slugs into a human silhouette at 1140 yards. Maybe a new barrel would have made all headshots?

TTAG sincerely hopes to answer this question for ourselves some day, as we’re still angling for a T&E rifle. Hopefully my ability to hold still and squeeze a trigger (and take a beating from recoil) has earned us a little more street cred in that regard.

Yeah, .338 Lapua rounds are freaking huge, and the guns that fire them do plenty of damage…from both ends. The heavyweight AX-338 beat me like a redheaded stepchild, but it showed me so much ballistic love that I couldn’t stop coming back for more.

The end result, besides some major bragging rights, is that my shoulder looks and feels like it was run over by a mountain bike. I’m pretty sure the diagonal hash-marks match the treads of the .338’s recoil pad. Will I be moving my arm very much for the next few days? No. Would I do this all over again tomorrow? Oh, hell f***ing yes!

It’s not every day (or every year, or even once in every shooter’s lifetime) that you get to shoot two boxes of .338 Lapua Magnum through an AI rifle at a barely-visible speck of a target almost 2/3 of a mile away. No complaints here.

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  1. Never fired the .338, but enjoyed a similar gong ringing experience up at Gunwerks. There’s nothing quite like it.

    • The targets ended up all covered with lead splatter, and our shoulders were all purple and red. A fair trade.

    • It kicks like a magnum shotgun and then some, but it feels like a longer recoul pulse. If you’ve had a rotator cuff repair I’d ask your doctor first.

      The recoil doesn’t hit you near the tuberosity of the humerus, so it wouldn’t be directly hitting the tendon anchor screws. But I’d still talk to a doctor.

      • I am 16 years old and have already had a laberal tear fixxed in my right shoulder from football. Some scars, titaninium screws, and 6 months later i am shooting magnum duck loads and playing football.

  2. Between you, Nick and Tyler talking up the long range shooting I’m starting to get the itch. Where’s an extra couple grand when you need it?

  3. I’m pretty sure Tex Griebner would prefer work to his worst day shooting pretty much any day. Just sayin’.

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