Among the most popular trends in the shooting sports world today is that of long-range shooting. There’s also a ton of crossover between different genres of riflemen, as hunters look to extend their own maximum effective range on game by competing in PRS events, or simply to hone their marksmanship skills at extreme distance while enjoying a bit of friendly competition. For those who haven’t given it a try, long-range shooting is both an art and science that’s incredibly addicting. Whether it’s ranging targets, reading wind, calculating elevation adjustments, or working up proper leads for moving targets, it’s far more than employing the WAG (wild ass guess) method of shooting.
- Type: Bolt-Action
- Caliber: 7mm Rem. Mag.
- Action: RevX GRB, Wyatt-Length, Remington 700 footprint
- Bolt: One-piece bolt & handle, field strippable
- Floor Plate: Billet aluminum
- Trigger: Trigger Tech
- Stock: Natural hold, vertical grip; aluminum bedding blocks; ultra-lightweight fiberglass
- Barrel: Shilen hand-lapped, match-grade, sporter standard contour
- Scope: Nightforce NXS 5.5-22x, custom G7 turret
- Weight: 7.7 lbs.
- Length: 46.25 in.
- Barrel Length: 25 in.
- Length of Pull: 13.7 in.
- Rangefinder: G7 BR-2
- Case: Custom hard case (SKB)
- MSRP: $3,995
- Manufacturer: Gunwerks; dealer exclusive at Cabelas, Scheels & EuroOptic.com
As more and more people take an interest in going long, there’s also been a much-appreciated push from manufacturers to provide everything from entry-level guns to custom-built Ferraris of the long-range game. While wildcatters and shooting enthusiasts have been tinkering their way to long-range perfection for many years, it’s now easier than ever to get a distance-capable rifle setup without trading away your wife’s SUV or holing away in the basement for the next decade.
Seeking to bridge the gap between affordable and custom engineered, Gunwerks has introduced the RevX, a dealer-exclusive (Cabela’s, Scheels, EuroOptic.com) long-range rifle that comes from the company’s Cody, Wyoming, gun shop pre-topped with a Nightforce NXS 5.5-22x optic, G7 BR-2 rangefinder and matching elevation turret in yardage and ¼ MOA adjustments, and custom Berger VLD loads that have been test fired before arriving at your local gun store. The rifle I reviewed was chambered in 7mm Rem. Mag., but it is also currently available in 6.5 Creedmoor, 28 Nosler, .300 Win. Mag., .300 RUM, .22-250, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC and 30 Nosler. As the folks at Gunwerks say, “1,000 yards, out of the box.” Not a bad deal if it proved true, especially with an MSRP of a very reasonable $3,995.
That sounds good, at least on paper, but I decided to put their lofty claim to the test. Instead of my usual procedure — checking zero at 100 yards, testing different loads, then slowly expanding my range on steel targets while working up a dope card specific to my preferred load and rifle — I headed to the 600-yard steel target and prepped for my first shot. I setup a backpack on a distant hillside and got into the prone position, ranging the target with my G7 rangefinder at just shy of 620 yards. I dialed to 620 on the G7 turret, settled on the rifle, and squeezed off the first round.
The concussion of the rifle was followed a few short seconds later by the unmistakable wallop of bullet smacking steel. With one shot, I started to become a believer in the Gunwerks claim and concept. My confidence in the rifle would only grow with more accuracy testing and time afield.
It’s All in the Build
Behind the fancy 1,000-yard claim is a rifle built from the ground up to perform at long range. The first thing I typically notice, and what really stood out on the RevX, was the outstanding Trigger Tech trigger, adjustable from 1.5-4 pounds, which has next to no creep thanks to Frictionless Release Technology (FRT), breaks with incredible crispness and features patented TKR technology to minimize over travel. This also makes for a short, forceful reset that aids in follow up shooting. The trigger can be adjusted in 1-ounce increments, and because it does not rely on the friction of surfaces for break, it feels lighter than a standard friction-reliant trigger. The trigger build is incredibly rugged and lightweight, making it the perfect option for a hunting rifle that’s bound to take abuse.
The action on the RevX is a custom design from the Gunwerks shop and is based on the Remington 700 footprint, while utilizing a Wyatt-length action which allows you to seat bullets farther out — something that’s ideal for maximizing long-range precision. The bolt is a one-piece stainless design and is lightweight (overall rifle weight is just shy of 8 pounds). It’s got a fluid motion for working the action, making follow-up shots with a retained cheek hold a thing of beauty. The bolt is field strippable and features three locking lugs with Borden bumps for solid lock up and bolt alignment. More than anything, the action is a thing of beauty, and I had exactly zero issues feeding any ammunition, whether it was the custom Berger VLD loads or factory loads from Hornady or Barnes.
The fiberglass-composite stock is lightweight and well designed for a custom fit and feel. The front portion of the stock features an underside and recessed Picatinny rail for mounting bipods, and it utilizes pre-fit flush cups for sling attachment on the front and rear of the stock. The hand-painted stock also utilizes aluminum bedding blocks and a vertical grip, maximizing comfort for the shooter. Because the front of the stock is flat, not rounded, it makes prone shooting from a backpack in the field extremely easy.
Perhaps one of the most important components on a long-range rifle is the barrel, and the RevX does not disappoint in this category, either. The Gunwerks crew chose a Shilen hand-lapped, match-grade barrel with a sporter standard contour, which is more than capable of producing consistent accuracy at long-range. The barrel obviously heats up quickly with a fast magnum like the 7mm, but the barrel can handle the heat and keep producing in the accuracy department, as performance testing clearly demonstrated.
No long-range rifle would be complete without a quality optic, which is where the Nightforce NXS 5.5-22x comes into play. The scope is more than capable of conquering the 1,000-yard barrier, with side parallax adjustment, a second focal (SF) plane reticle and external wind and elevation turret adjustments. While a SF reticle isn’t ideal for PRS competition—your reticle remains the same at every magnification, which means the markers are different at every magnification—in my opinion, it’s more than adequate when you’re dialing to max magnification, something you can easily get away with when shots are 200 yards and farther. It also saves you in the cost department over a first focal plane scope.
The other feature I fell in love with on the scope was the G7 turret, which utilizes ¼ MOA adjustments and yardage markers that are matched with the G7 rangefinder. This means instead of having to worry about bullet drop at any given distance and calculating your MOA adjustment, you simply range and dial.
The G7 BR-2 rangefinder is a little beefy, which makes deep wilderness hunting a bit more cumbersome, but it’s well worth the extra weight, especially if you’re hunting in pairs. It’s definitely more accurate than your run-of-the-mill box store rangefinder, and when it comes to shots at 1,000 yards, the slightest change in distance makes a huge difference. The rangefinder also features windage estimates in 5 mph increments. You still have to read the wind, but once you have that, the G7 BR-2 will tell you what your wind adjustment is at that distance.
When it came to accuracy testing, I shot everything off of a Caldwell B.R. Pivot shooting bench with a Lead Sled and sandbags at 100 yards. Group sizes were measured with a digital caliper from four three-shot groups.
Not surprisingly, the 168-grain Berger VLD loads were the top performers, which is exactly what you’d expect from handloads. Group sizes would have been smaller had there not been that shot, roughly one in five, with a more drastic spread in velocity (extreme was 21 fps, while the average was a minuscule 8.5 fps). The average group size was still an impressive .78 inches, with the best group of .31 inches—one of the best groups I’ve shot out of any rifle. It’s obvious that the folks at Gunwerks know what they’re doing with handloads, including the way they’ve seated the VLDs as far out as possible (something aided by the Wyatt-length action).
The factory loads also shot reasonably well, especially when the wind picked up to an average of between 10-15 mph. The Precision Hunter loads from Hornady, with the 162-grain ELD-X bullet, produced the best group of .56 inches, very impressive, while the Barnes VOR-TX LR 139-grain LRX BT came in at .95 inches. The Barnes bullets averaged a velocity of 3,280 fps, whereas the other loads hovered around the 2,900-fps range.
(Accuracy data collected from 100 yards at a Caldwell B.R. Pivot bench, using lead sled, at 6,200 ft. elevation, and taken from four three-shot groups. Velocity measured with ProChrono digital chronograph from Brownells based on five shots of each load. Winds averaged between 10-15 mph.)
Gunwerks Custom Load Berger 168-gr. VLD
Avg. Velocity: 2,932 fps
Extreme Spread: 21 fps
Standard Deviation: 8.5 fps
Avg. Group: .78 in.
Best Group: .31 in.
Hornady Precision Hunter 162-gr. ELD-X
Avg. Velocity: 2,949 fps
Extreme Spread: 74 fps
Standard Deviation: 32 fps
Avg. Group: 1.17 in.
Best Group: .56 in.
Hornady American Whitetail 154-gr. InterLock SP
Avg. Velocity: 3,001 fps
Extreme Spread: 29 fps
Standard Deviation: 17 fps
Avg. Group: 1.27 in.
Best Group: .95 in.
Barnes VOR-TX LR 139-gr. LRX BT
Avg. Velocity: 3,280 fps
Extreme Spread: 21 fps
Standard Deviation: 14 fps
Avg. Group: 1.12 in.
Best Group: .95 in.
While it isn’t the cheapest rifle on the market ($3,995), the Gunwerks RevX strikes a happy medium between custom-built rifle and something you can actually afford without selling one of your kidneys. It lives up to the Gunwerks claim that it’s 1,000-yard capable out of the box, and it is as turnkey a distance rifle as you’re likely to find in that price range. While some folks would rather tinker with their own loads, build their own dope cards and prefer a more DIY approach to the whole process, the RevX is perfect for the individual that wants long-range performance with a minimal investment of personal time. As time crunched as we all are in today’s fast-paced world, that’s a feature I can certainly get behind.
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