Brad Stair of Performance Guns of Utah : Interview

Brad Stair of Performance Guns of Utah
Brad Stair of Performance Guns of Utah

U.S.A.-( Charlie Melton set a world record for the longest shot ever taken at 5000 yards (2.84 miles).

He used an AR-30 rifle that was designed and built by Brad Stair. The gun was chambered in .408 Tejas® a specialty round that was also designed and constructed by Brad Stair himself. This shot pushed the limits of what was thought possible.

There was a rumor of another shot taken on the same day as the 5000-yard shot. This feat was a 4000-yard shot using a factory .338 Lapua round. The story was that Brad Stair took the shot using a stock Ritter And Stark SX-1 MTR rifle. I had to find out if this was true. I also wanted to learn more about Melton’s world record-setting shot.

I got my wish and was able to sit down and speak with Brad Stair of Performance Guns of Utah about both shots and his background.

John: Give us a little of your background?

Brad Stair: Texas. Born and raised in San Antonio. I got introduced to machining when I was 12 years old. My grandfather got me up in front of some early gunsmiths back when people had time to talk and could teach you things. It had me hook, line, and sinker.

I was doing that and working with cars. I was building engines using all the same machines. I just loved the machines. By 15 I built my first rifle. I modified my pellet gun when I was seven. I soldered up the sights and made them a lot more accurate. I was always around it.

I was loading up some ammo with some cousins down in Goliad when I was seven. I was loading .222s in their bedrooms. It was just common. Everyone did all that down there. I got hooked on it.

Later I started working for gun shops until I could get my lathe. I shot a lot of bench rest. That is where I started. It was just a perfect time. People had time. They had time to teach.

I was 17 or 18 doing my own barrel work with an old Sears Atlas lathe. It was junk, but I made it work.

John: What got you into building very high-end rifles?

Brad Stair: I built a couple of rifles early on for a couple of Texas Rangers. That is where it started. Austin PD also. I did a couple of rifles for them. I had other guys begin to approach me to do sniper stuff for different teams around the country. From there it kind of just spilled over into the military side.

John: How did you hook up with Charlie Melton?

Brad Stair: I have been inventing cartridges since I was 17 years old. At last count, it was over 250 Tejas® cartridges.

I got involved with the Ritter Stark rifles. I was asked to use my FFL. That was when they first came into the states at the AUSA show. Charlie asked to be the range officer so he could look at the Ritter Stark rifles. A lot of teams did.

We just started back and forth in emails, and we just hit it off. When we met, we were only a couple of old southern boys that just wanted to shoot. Then he started talking about making this three-mile shoot Memorial Day weekend.

I said, “OK, have you done this?”

He said, “No.”

I said, “Do you have an idea of what it takes?”

He said, “No.”

I then said, “OK, here is a card. I will gladly help out. Do you have a rifle?”

He said, “I think so.” It was a .408 Cheytac.

The Furthest I got those out to was 4100 yards. I had a different version and a separate bullet. It took two Hail Marys to hit 4100 yards. I was envisioning this crazy rail system at-least I thought it was crazy.

Two days after we met I met the guys from Taqcom HQ.

John: I heard a rumor of another shot that you made with the Ritter Stark rifle at 4000+ yards? Is there any truth to that?

Brad Stair: What happened was it is all about Charlie. I said, “I will help you do it, but house rules say I am going to beat you.”

So we are packing up. We are behind the curve big time, but I promised Ritter Stark I would shoot their rifle as far as I possibly could before SHOT Show. I had to move my bench three times because I couldn’t see the bottom of the target.

In less than 20 minutes I saw it. I did a 200-yard boresight, didn’t pull the trigger and just said, “I am good to go.” I moved the scope from the .408 to the .338. I shot the first round and I was within 20 yards of the target at 4016 yards. I said, “Cool I got this.”

The second shot was right under the target. Between the 3rd and 4th shot I hit it at 4016 yards. All this happened in less than 20 minutes. I still have the bullet that struck the plate.

Here is the kicker. I was using Nosler factory ammo. I did not hand load.

John: Were you surprised?

Brad Stair: Kind of, but the thing is I was shooting between 3/8th and 1/2 minute with that ammo and the Ritter Stark.

Charlie had three to four mile an hour wind and a little bit of rain. No sun. Nothing, when we took that 4016 yards shot our hats were flying off. We had sun and mirage, and I beat it!

Charlie and I were just in Colorado a couple of weeks ago. We are going to do another shot because Ritter Stark has hired a retired Ranger sniper who trained Ryan Cleckner. His name is Nathan Grove. They are bringing in three teams to try to beat what I did. That is happening on December 9th, 2017 in Utah.

Charlie and I will be on the same team.


John Crump
John Crump

The Ritter and Stark shoot will take place in Utah on December 9th, 2017.


  • Brad Stair is the owner and operator of Performance Guns of Utah.
  • Ritter and Stark can be found on the web at

About John Crump

John is an NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot-News Podcast which can be found at John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%’ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people from all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on the history of the patriot movement and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss or

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1 year ago

I contacted Brad the owner of Performance Guns over three years ago to build me a custom rifle. He agreed to do so and we discussed the design and costs. I purchased a new Remington 700 Win Wag as the platform that he would alter to the custom design. I gave Brad the rifle and he started the work. I never received any updates or information about his progress and over time I decided he wasn’t the right person for the job. I told him could he sell the rifle and get my $1,000 back. He said he could and had a couple of people willing… Read more »

Witness 1
Witness 1
2 years ago

Too bad Brad missed the target that he was aiming for. I built and set up the targets, a portable weather station, the recording equipment and was a witness of the long distance record attempt on September 26, thru September 30th, 2017 by Brad Stair and Charlie Melton outside of Dugway proving grounds in the Utah desert. I have pictures of the entire event and one of the .408 Cheytac Tejas bullets that went downrange. First, Brad is taking credit for a Charlie’s 5000 yard shot that missed the target. That shot actually hit the 2×4 “:A” frame that supports… Read more »

James Higginbotham
James Higginbotham
3 years ago

that’s a LONG SHOT.
very impressed.
modern technology and materials today make better firearms ext.