By Barbara Baird, Women’s Outdoor News
After you’ve been shooting traditional firearms for a while, nothing is really new … until you position yourself behind the buttstocks of Precision Guided Firearms (PGFs), such as the TrackingPoint or Remington 2020. You’ll have to learn to place your trust solely in the gun, while using very few shooting fundamentals, to get a perfect shot set up. Last August while at a Remington-sponsored media event on a 300-yard range at Gunsite in Arizona, I shot the TrackingPoint, the first “smart rifle,” and also saw the Remington version of the gun.
Many firearms enthusiasts have pooh-poohed the idea of PGFs, questioning the ethics of hunters taking long-range shots. Please be reminded that hunters using PGFs, just like any other firearm, must first purchase hunting permits and licenses to legally pursue game. Then, if a hunter shoots the intended game animal, that animal must be recovered. Period. The methods, the proximity of the hunter to prey, the ethics of long shots – I am not going to discuss those questions here. I know, though, that I’d want one of these guns for my son if he were a sniper in the Armed Forces. Also, even at 300 yards, isn’t it better to get a clean hit than a sloppy miss?
Getting set up for the first shot on the TrackingPoint. Photo courtesy of Britney Starr
The TrackingPoint Smart Gun
The media event that I attended focused on women gun writers. TrackingPoint sent a woman to demonstrate the product. Not just any woman, though. Melicia Schauble owns a boxing studio in Austin, Texas, and claims “former Marine” in her list of titles. She also is married to the CEO of the company, himself a former Marine.
The TrackingPoint system includes a network tracking scope, a guided trigger and a tag button; these parts all work with temperature and pressure sensors, 3 gyroscopes, integrated laser rangefinders, 7 processors (that calculate the ballistics solution), and of course, a WiFi server.
After explaining that we’d shoot a TrackingPoint XS2 in .300 Winchester Magnum, Melicia whipped out the accompanying iPad loaded with TrackingPoint software (which comes with the purchase of the gun) and explained that it would enable her to see what we were seeing through the viewfinder, thanks to embedded WiFi servers in the TrackingPoint system. She talked us through the procedures. We shot customized XactShot ammunition from Barnes Bullets. The custom-built rifle featured a 24-inch Krieger cut-rifled MTU profile barrel with an AAC Blackout 90T muzzle brake and a Surgeon Rifles long action placed into an Accuracy International AX chassis system. Accessories included detachable rails, a Harris bipod and LaRue quick-detach mount. The package comes with a custom Pelican hard case, batteries, chargers and a cleaning kit. It also comes with 200 rounds of 220 gr. Sierra Open-Tipped Match XactShot ammo by Barnes.
Gunsite instructor Il Ling New tried the TrackingPoint. An avid huntress, she shot it for the first time, too. Photo courtesy of Barbara Baird
The TrackingPoint will track a moving target up to 10 miles per hour. It works like this: the shooter pulls back and holds the trigger, but the gun determines when the shot is safe and delivers it downrange.
The TrackingPoint starts at $22,500 and can run up to $27,500, depending on features and distance desired for range. It can be built to cover 1,200 yards. As of Oct. 17, TrackingPoint had sold at least 100 firearms, to customers as varied as Safari hunters and Texas ranch owners with predator problems. Law enforcement and government entities are currently testing the firearm, too, said Jason Schauble in a Fox Business interview. He projected sales of up to 500 firearms this year.
Learn more about the TrackingPoint at https://tracking-point.com.
Ellen-Pucciarelli, gun writer for RECOIL magazine, gets ready to take her first shot on the Tracking Point. Melicia Schauble talks her through the process. Photo courtesy of Barbara Baird
Remington 2020 Digital Optic System – an alternative to the TrackingPoint
Realizing that not everyone can afford a $20,000-plus gun, and recognizing the need that some hunters have to make long shots on game, Remington Arms Company partnered with TrackingPoint and created the Remington 2020 Digital Optic System. Like the TrackingPoint, the Remington system broadcasts a Wi-Fi signal, where the shooter and others can see a video feed via a smartphone app of what the shooter sees through the viewfinder. This optics system goes out to 750 yards, and comes with a 3-21X digital scope, still camera, Wi-Fi system, laser rangefinder, an advanced ballistic computer and a video/audio recorder. The system is zeroed and loaded with ballistic profiles for 3 types of ammo – a target round, a traditional hunting round and a Barnes™ Vor-tx® TSX round. All of this equipment comes fitted on a hand-selected Remington rifle: Model 700 Long-Range chambered in 30-.06 SPRG; Model 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD with Threaded Muzzle chambered in .308 WIN; or a Bushmaster® Varminter chambered in .223 Remington.
The Remington 2020
With each purchase comes a wheeled hard case with customized foam insert and a 300-round case of ammunition – 100 rounds of each of the aforementioned type.
Suggested retail price: $5,499.99 – $5,574.99