TrackingPoint’s new 500- and 750-series of precision-guided ‘smart’ rifles

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TrackingPoint is rolling out two new mid-range series of rifles for 2014 with much more approachable price tags, the 500- and 750-series. The 500-series is based on semi-automatic AR-pattern rifles where the 750 is composed of Remington 700 bolt actions.

Both are priced around or just under $10,000, which is still no small amount of money, but it’s a far cry from the original “Precision-Guided Rifles” or PGRs, whose prices start around $25,000 and go up from there.

The two new series of TrackingPoint rifles also have shorter effective ranges than the original magnum rifles, with the 500-series conveniently rated to 500 yards and the 750-series likewise rated to 750 yards.

The semi-auto 500-series is chambered for .223 Remington/5.56 NATO and 300 AAC Blackout in its AR-15 configuration and .308 Winchester/7.62 NATO in its AR-10 config. The 500-series optic has a variable-power magnification range of 2-12x.

“TrackingPoint is excited to be able to expand and adapt its TTX technology for the AR semi-automatic market. For the first time, AR enthusiasts will be able to make fast and accurate shots on moving targets out to five football fields away,” said John Lupher, TrackingPoint CEO. “We expect not only strong demand for the 500 Series AR products, but also a growing demand for our technology across the industry.”

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While they are rated to shorter ranges than their bolt-action counterparts, they also have much more compact, maneuverable smart scopes. This is accomplished by moving the battery compartment into the buttstock. The buttstock contains two batteries, one primary and the other for backup, like the original scopes.

The bolt-action 750-series is also offered in three calibers, mostly harder-hitting cartridges; .308 Win./7.62 NATO, 300 Winchester Magnum and 7mm Remington Magnum. Commensurate to the more powerful cartridges and longer effective range the 750-series uses 6-30x digital optics.

“TrackingPoint continues to broaden its line of Smart Rifles with the launch of the 750 Series of Precision-Guided Firearms,” added Lupher. “The new 750 Line will appeal to the classic game hunter who is also excited by the groundbreaking possibilities of TrackingPoint TTX: hitting big game on the move, across valleys, up steep mountains, down into steep valleys, off-hand, unsupported with digital tagging stabilization. A TrackingPoint hunter can be as good as the greatest marksmen who ever lived.”

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All the new rifles maintain the wireless functionality of the original rifles, allowing the shooter to transmit information from the scope, including video, to a nearby iPad or other compatible Apple device. This lets another shooter use the same information that the shooter sees, as a spotter, trainer or simple observer. The video feed can be recorded for educational purposes or to record footage of a trophy hunt.

TrackingPoint’s PGR system is often called the rifle that shoots itself, although that’s not very accurate. The system works by firing only when the rifle is perfectly aimed at a marked target. The scope compensates for windage, drop, cant and any other environmental influences on the flight path of the projectile. The PGR system tracks the slightest movement, down to the shooter’s breath, and compensates for air pressure with its barometric sensor and thermometer.

The shooter still has to acquire and tag the target in the first place, then re-acquire and maintain a solid hold on the target in order for the system to fire. The system can track and fire on a moving target although the shooter has to hold up his or her end at the rifle side of the shot.

While it takes time and effort to learn the PGR system, by locking out any imperfect shots it does make it so that the shooter only takes the perfect ones, a skill that takes many years to develop without the tech.

And even though skilled long-range shooters may not appreciate the tech, it’s clear that there’s a market for it, for long-range hunting, trophy hunting and military and law enforcement users who can’t afford to miss on the first shot.

If $10,000 isn’t in the budget but you’re still interested in putting some of the new smart rifle technology into use, check out the new Remington 2020