July 19th, 2018

Wilkinson Dominates in Score at .50 Caliber FCSA Championships

Walter Wilkinson .50 BMG fifty caliber FCSA Raton New Mexico Whittington Center Steyr HS .50

Retired Army Special Forces Sgt. Maj. Walter Wilkinson won two of the four individual 1,000-yard Score titles — for Light Gun and Hunter Classes — at the recent Fifty Caliber Shooters’ Association (FCSA) 2018 World Championships. In addition to his two individual score titles*, Wilkinson was also a member of the winning 4-shooter team.

The FCSA World Championships were held July 5-7, 2018 at the NRA Whittington Center near Raton, New Mexico. There were shooters from Australia, Great Britain, Spain and the USA in attendance. The FCSA 1000-yard matches have four classes: Light Gun, Heavy Gun, Unlimited, and Hunter. In the first three classes, the rifles are normally shot from a machine rest off the bench. Hunter Class requires the shooter to fire from the ground with a bipod. And that’s how Wilkinson shot all his relays…

Steyr HS .50 BMG FCSA

Remarkably, Wilkinson, who shot his near-“box stock” Steyr HS .50 equipped with factory bipod from the ground in the prone position, posted the FCSA Championships’ highest score, beating out shooters in the Light Gun, Heavy Gun, and even Unlimited Classes.

Beating the Benchresters — While Shooting Prone from Bipod
Wilkinson, a Gunsite instructor from Edgewood, NM, shot a two-day total of 290-10X for the Hunter Score, and his Light Gun Score total of 291-7X was the highest of any shooter in any class — most of whom were firing custom-built rifles from mechanical rests atop concrete benches. Wilkinson also placed fourth overall in the 2-Gun Aggregate, which factors both scores and average group sizes from both classes. Wilksonson’s score wins marks his third FCSA victory in the Hunter Class with his Steyr HS .50 since his first win in 2012, and this year he notched his first Light Gun Score World Title.

Walter Wilkinson .50 BMG fifty caliber FCSA Raton New Mexico Whittington Center Steyr HS .50

The Wicked Whittington Range at Raton
Nestled at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Whittington Center’s 1,000-yard range has notoriously tricky winds, especially in the afternoons. On the first day, Wilkinson shot on the afternoon relays. As usual, switching and swirling winds proved to be a formidable foe for all shooters. Wind coming from behind the shooters was switching from 4 O’clock to 8 O’clock and back again, often changing within seconds. Wilkinson was able to very quickly make wind judgments and adjust his hold accordingly. “I couldn’t do anything wrong,” Wilkinson said. “It was like every time the wind changed, I knew exactly where to hold, and the bullets just kept going where I wanted them to.

Walter Wilkinson FCSA .50 BMG fifty caliber

Walter Wilkinson FCSA .50 BMG fifty caliber
Photo courtesy Brett Berger.

Holding Off Right and Left for the Cycling Wind
“The highlights of the day were the last two strings of fire in Hunter Class during Relay 4″, Wilkinson explained. “I shot a 50-2X with a 9.8-inch group and a 49-2X with a 7.9-inch group. The Ten-Ring is right at 1.15 MOA, and when you keep them all in that, it says something about your rifle and your load. During both of those two strings, I changed from holding on the right side of the target to the left side during the string.”

Wilkinson’s .50 Delivered Quarter-MOA Groups During Load Testing
Wilkonson’ Steyr .50-Cal has always been an accurate rig. Back in 2012, when Wilkinson developing loads, the big rig showed outstanding accuracy: “As I was working up a load for the HS.50, I shot groups that amazed me. I was getting groups of 0.214 MOA at 220 yards, and I didn’t know what to think. All the bullets were going in the same hole, and it was like ‘Wow, I’ve really got a rifle that can shoot here’. That stunned Wilkinson: “With my [military] experience with the performance of the same .50 BMG cartridge overseas, I didn’t expect that kind of accuracy out of it.”

FCSA 50 caliber Fifty Cal world championships

Cost of Big-Bore Shooting
Is owning and shooting a 50 BMG caliber rifle expensive? Relatively speaking yes, but one must put it into perspective. Rifles may run from $2500 to $6000, maybe even more for a top of the line custom rifle. (Current MSRP for the Steyr H2 .50 is $5910.00). A premium long-range scope will set you back $1500 to $3000. And while excellent commercial ammo is available, it runs $3 to $5 per round! Most serious shooters start reloading for the rifle as soon as practical, not only for the economics of reloading but also for the ability to fine tune custom ammo for their specific rifle. It’s a very rare match that is won shooting commercial ammo.

*Wilkinson’s FCSA trophies state “Hunter Class Score World Champion” and “Light Class Score World Champion”. NOTE the FCSA also recognizes, for each class, a World Champion for Group size, AND a World Champion for combined Group and Score (Aggregate). Plus there are Championship Trophies for Two-Gun. This gets a little confusing. With other Disciplines there is only ONE World Champion per class, generally the competitor who has the best combination of Group Size and Score.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 1 Comment »
November 12th, 2013

Hornady Announces ‘Match Grade’ .50 BMG Brass — ETA Unknown

Hornady 50 bmg brass cartridge case match gradeHornady plans to start producing .50 BMG ‘Match Grade’ Cartridge Brass. MSRP is $131.99 for twenty (20) cases (Item #8772). Hornady claims the new brass will have very uniform case wall thickness, and very consistent case weight and internal capacity. Hornady has not stated when its .50 BMG brass will start shipping. When the Hornady .50 BMG brass (Item #8772) does hit the market, we expect it will be in high demand. Our friends at the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FCSA) tell us that it is “getting harder and harder to get your hands on good .50 Cal brass these days.”

Hornady 50 bmg brass cartridge case match grade

Grafs.com lists the new Hornady .50 BMG brass in its catalog at $101.99 for 20 cases, but inventory (Item HRN8772) is not yet in stock. CLICK HERE to check for updates.

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

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March 1st, 2012

New Military Powders for 50 BMG — Just $4.88 per Pound

Here’s a good deal for you 50 BMG shooters. Wideners.com has NEW 8-lb jugs of military ball (spherical) powders on sale for just $39.00 per jug. That works out to just $4.88 per pound. Two types are offered at this price: WC867 and WC872. Both types are NEW never-loaded powders, not re-claimed or “pull-down” propellants. Wideners notes: “There is almost no difference between WC867 and WC872 powder and the same loading data is used for both. The slight differences will depend on the bullet used, the neck tension, whether you are shooting a bolt action or semi auto. Use loading data for AA8700, work loads up accordingly.”

While these powders are optimized for the 50 BMG, WC867 and WC872 can be used for other maxi-sized cartridges that require a very slow-burning propellent. To make this an even better deal, Widener’s will waive the Hazmat fee if you purchase six (6) 8-lb jugs: “Buy in Increments of 6 and we will pay the Hazardous Material Fee for you. That is 6, 12 or 18 Kegs etc.; if you buy less than 6, you will pay the Hazardous Materials Fees.” To order, visit Wideners.com or call 1-800-615-3006.

Wideners 50 BMG powder WC867 WC872

Permalink Hot Deals, Reloading 5 Comments »
December 13th, 2011

.50 BMG Bottle Opener — Proceeds Benefit Wounded Warriors

Here’s a fun gift item from Vat19.com — a bottle opener made from de-milled .50 BMG cartridges. These .50 Caliber Bottle Openers are made by hand in the USA by a group that donates at least 15% of its profits to helping wounded soldiers via the Travis Manion Foundation.

50 cal bottle opener .50 bmg

The price is $14.99. Considering the simple design, we bet many of our readers could make their own bottle opener using an old cartridge, a Dremel tool, and a file. If that’s too much work, you can order the .50 Cal bottle opener from Vat19.com. This item has been so popular that it is currently sold out, but Vat19.com is expecting to receive more inventory on December 19th — right before Christmas.

50 cal bottle opener .50 bmg

Credit TheFirearmBlog.com for finding this item
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April 12th, 2010

Steyr .50 BMG and .460 Steyr Big Boomers on Sale in April

For many firearms owners, the answer to the question “Why own a .50 BMG?” is simply “because I can.” There is also a very active group of .50 BMG shooters who compete in long-range tournaments. At the 2009 Fifty Caliber Shooters Assn. National Championships, Lee Rasmussen shot an amazing 1.9557″ 5-shot group in Heavy Gun Class, breaking Skip Talbot’s 2.600″ single-group record set in 1999. That demonstrates the remarkable accuracy possible from .50-caliber firearms.

Steyr Knocks $1300 Off Price of HS .50 and HS .460
If you’re looking to acquire a .50 BMG, and don’t want to go the custom rifle route, Steyr Arms has a deal for you this month. Steyr Arms has drastically reduced the price of its big-bore, ultra-long-range HS .50 and HS .460 rifles to $3,995 for the entire month of April — or while supplies last. This promotional sale represents a savings of nearly 25 percent off the previous $5,299 price for HS .50 and HS .460 rifles. To learn more, visit www.SteyrArms.com, or call Steyr at (205) 655-8299.

Steyr HS .50 HS .460 rifle

Both the Steyr HS .50 and HS .460 rifles are single-shot bolt-actions, featuring 33″ fluted, free-floated barrels fitted with large, three-chamber muzzle brakes. The modular metal chassis allows easy disassembly for cleaning and transportation. Note how the +20 MOA scope rail is attached directly to the barrel block. This prevents loss of zero when the rifle is disassembled for transport or storage.

The .460 Steyr Chambering — Bigger than the .416 Barrett
While most of you are familiar with the legendary .50 BMG chambering, you may be curious about the “.460 Steyr”. This cartridge was developed by Steyr to provide superb ultra-long-range ballistics with less recoil than the .50 BMG. Like its .50 BMG big brother, the .460 Steyr can launch bullets that stay supersonic well past 1500 meters. The .460 Steyr was designed by Horst Grillmayer (Austria) in 2002, and the projectiles were designed by Guido Wasser (Switzerland). Production of rifle and cartridge started in 2004. The .460 Steyr was a way to offer an ultra-long range, sporting/sniper rifle and cartridge in juridictions which banned 50-caliber rifles. As with the .416 Barrett cartridge, the .460 Steyr cartridge was developed by shortening and necking down the .50 BMG case; however, the .460 Steyr is longer than the 416 Barrett. Loaded ammunition for the .460 Steyr is offered by Ammo-one.com, which provided the image below.

Steyr .460 rifle

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