Several months ago I had the pleasure of attending an Extreme Long Range Shooting event hosted by Ritter and Stark. Ritter and Stark, an Austrian firearms manufacturer, recently introduced their SLX and the SX-1 MTR rifles to the American market. The event took place at the historic Felix Canyon Ranch in Southern New Mexico, and some very high-profile marksman from the Long Range shooting community were in attendance. The purpose of the event was not only to demonstrate the capabilities of the SLX and SX-1 MTR rifles, but also to try and set a 4000-yard world record with 338 Lapua Magnum factory ammunition.
The SX1-MTR is a multi-caliber capable rifle. It features a modular receiver that can be configured with several sizes of magazine wells and barrels. Ritter and Stark currently offer barrels chambered in .308 Winchester, 300 Winchester Magnum, and .338 Lapua Magnum. Individual barrels come equipped with a scope mount, and you can quickly reconfigure the rifle in the field.
To perform a caliber conversion, an end user swaps the barrel, bolt face, and magazine well. The SX1-MTR feeds from AI style magazines, and the SLX feeds from an SR-25/Ar-10 style magazine. Ritter and Stark plan to offer additional calibers for the SX1-MTR, such as 6.5 Creedmoor, 260 Remington, and 300 Norma Magnum. I think an SX1-MTR with 6.5 Creedmoor and 300 Norma Magnum barrels would be an ideal setup. An end user could train out to 1800 yards with 6.5 Creedmoor, then swap out to 300 Norma Magnum for serious long range work.
The SLX is a short-action multi-caliber capable rifle available in .308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor. Ritter and Stark have plans to offer the rifle in .260 Remington and 6.5×47 Lapua. The SLX feeds from an SR-25/AR-10 style magazine. Both the SLX and SX1-MTR rifles feature Ritter and Stark’s match grade barrels. The barrels are produced in a CNC controlled electrochemical machine that reduces mechanical stress and, according to Ritter and Stark, results in barrels with a longer lifespan.
The Felix Canyon Ranch
Felix Canyon Ranch is located between Mayhill and Artesia, New Mexico. The Ranch is 152,000 acres and has several rifle ranges and a headquarters with multiple buildings that can sleep 30+ people. The Ranch has a great room with a dining hall and an enclosed porch with tables for gunsmithing and maintenance. All of the food was fantastic, the amenities comfortable, and I had no problems getting a good night’s sleep. Aside from being a premier spot for long range shooting, the Felix Canyon Ranch has numerous big game hunting opportunities.
When I was invited to cover the Ritter and Stark event and learned where it would be held, I was ecstatic. My great-grandfather grew up in Hondo, north of the Felix Canyon Ranch. He was friends with William H. Bonney, aka Billy the Kid, and knew a lot of the players in the Lincoln County War. While growing up he worked as a ranch hand for a lot of ranches in the area, and I know for a fact that he spent time at what is today the Felix Canyon Ranch. Getting a chance to drive around the area, I could imagine my teenage grandfather herding cows to Kansas, or drinking some homemade whiskey at the Felix Canyon headquarters.
Officially the event was scheduled for December 10th and 11th. Teams trying to set the 4000-yard world record arrived on the 9th to zero their SX-1 MTR rifles and gather atmospheric data and wind trends. In my experience the cool stuff happens behind the scenes, so I drove down from Albuquerque on the 8th, spent the night in Cloudcroft, and was at the Felix Canyon headquarters at 6:45 AM on the 9th.
Walking into the Headquarters, I was greeted by Ray Sanchez of Thunder Beast Arms, Frank Galli of Snipers Hide, Brad Stair owner of Performance guns and the creator of the Tejas cartridge, and retired Navy Seal Charlie Melton of CMP Precision. I fortified myself with a cup of coffee, then jumped at a chance to have the owner of Felix Canyon Ranch, Jens Klingshirn, show me around the Headquarters and talk about the history of the Ranch.
After a quick breakfast, Nathan Grove of Ritter and Stark walked up and said, “Let’s get you a rifle.” On a workbench was a Pelican case holding an SX-1 MTR configured for .338 Lapua Magnum, a Charlie TARAQ prism that would give me an additional 300 minutes of elevation, and a Thunderbeast Arms .338 ULTRA suppressor. I did a quick function check of the SX-1 MTR and confirmed the torque on my scope base and scope rings. I packed everything up and headed off to the 100-yard range to zero the rifle.
For the Event, Ritter and Stark brought 500 rounds of .338 Lapua Nosler Match Grade ammunition and 500 rounds of .338 Lapua PRIME ammunition. I chose the PRIME based on positive experiences with that round through my personal 6.5 Creedmoor rifles. After attaching the Thunder Beast Arms 338 ULTRA suppressor, I bore sighted the SX-1 MTR, adjusted parallax on the Nighforce ATACAR, chambered a round, loaded my weight into the Accu-Tac bipod, and squeezed the trigger.
I expected recoil to knock me into the adjacent county, but the SX-1 MTR recoiled straight into my shoulder and I was able to watch my crosshairs settle back down on target. Not bad… I cycled the action and squeezed off another shot. Recoil on the SX-1 MTR is akin to a hunting rifle chambered in 300 WSM. The weight of the rifle, the ergonomics, and the Thunder Beast Arms 338 ULTRA suppressor made the SX1-MTR a joy to shoot. Within 5 minutes I had a solid zero and was delighted to see the rifle printing groups around .75 MOA with the 338 Lapua Magnum PRIME ammunition. Once we were zeroed, Frank Galli walked up and down the line and helped shooters determine the velocity of their ammunition with a Magneto Speed Chronograph.
Once we had achieved zero, the whole group drove several miles away from ranch headquarters to a canyon with a 4000-yard shooting lane. Our target for the event was a 40 x40 inch steel target. For hit indication, Jens set up a Target Vision Camera and a pair of Caldwell Strobe Flash hit indicators. Jens set up a bench for us to shoot off of and, once everyone had loaded five rounds into their magazines, we were ready to send rounds downrange.
To learn more about Ritter and Stark, click here.