Weapons: Elephant Gun For Snipers



October 13, 2008: Yet another heavy sniper rifle is generating a lot of buzz. This one is the CheyTac LRRS (Long Range Rifle System). It looks like a .50 caliber (12.7mm) rifle, but is actually .408 (10.3mm). The .408 round resembles  a scaled down .50 caliber, and this bullet is mainly for anti-personnel use (rather than the oft-quoted, but little used, "anti-material" use of the .50 caliber sniper rifles.) The .408 was developed in 2001, and is actually based on the older . 505 Gibbs and the .400 Taylor Magnum elephant guns.

The .408 bullet is a new streamlined design that leaves it with more energy (at ranges beyond 700 meters) than a .50 caliber bullet. The .408 is accurate to 2200 meters, about the same as the .50 caliber. The CheyTac rifle weighs 24 pounds, is 55 inches long has a 30 inch barrel and a five round magazine. The equivalent 12.7mm rifles weigh about 30 pounds.

The CheyTac is competing with the new 8.6mm (.338 Lapua Magnum) round, which is fired from a 15 pound rifle out to about 1500 meters. Both the CheyTac and Lapua Magnum are marketed mainly to police departments. But British Army has adopted the Lapua Magnum as its main sniper rifle. Current users of the CheyTac include special operations forces in Poland, Turkey and the Czech Republic.

CheyTac also recently introduced a tactical computer (commercial PDA with CheyTac ballistic software), that works with the Kestrel 4000 wind/temperature/atmospheric pressure sensors, linked to the PDA. This system provides that extra bit of data needed to hit man sized targets at 2,000 meters or more. The CheyTac works with most electronic and non-electronic scopes.


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