June 15th, 2019

Go Big This Summer — As in Fifty Caliber Big

50 BMG cartridge FCSA

34th Annual Fifty Caliber Championship Coming Soon
The 34th Annual Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FCSA) 1000/600 Yard World Championship will be held July 4, 5 and 6, 2019 at the Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico, a beautiful facility. The FCSA Championship takes place right after the 2019 King of 2 Miles event, running June 29 – July 1, 2019.


Match Information | Match Registration | Photo Gallery

Fifty Caliber shooter association fcsa national championship raton whittington NM new mexico
Looking downrange at the 1000-yard line. Note the fan and air hose for cooling the barrel.


Competitor’s POV perspective from a FCSA Match. Note the mirage.

By James Patterson
This article first appeared in Sinclair International’s Reloading Press Blog

For a number of years I drooled over every .50 BMG caliber rifle that I came across, I read every article I could find and determined that ‘Someday’ I was going to have one. Well I finally took the plunge and in 2002 I purchased my first ‘Big 50’. Almost immediately I joined the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FCSA) and I have since come to immensely enjoy shooting this challenging cartridge and associating with some of the best people on earth.

Dierks 50 BMG Light Class

FCSA Founded in 1985
FCSA Fifty Caliber ShootersThe FCSA, started in 1985, is an international organization with members in 22 countries. Headquartered in Monroe, Utah, the FCSA has a membership of approximately 4000. While the FCSA provides a service to military and law enforcement with research and instruction as well as an active liaison in both communities, the primary charter of the FCSA is the promotion of the sporting use of the 50 BMG cartridge and its wildcat derivatives. It has been the FCSA and its members who have lead the way in refining .50-caliber cartridges, rifles, and 1000-yard plus shooting know-how. Members enjoy a quarterly magazine, a suppliers directory, an active website with great photo galleries, and access to literally the best repository of 50 BMG information on the planet. If you are interested in Mr. John Browning’s big 50, you should seriously consider joining the FCSA.

Fifty Caliber shooter association fcsa national championship raton whittington NM new mexico
This interesting .50 Cal rig features a liquid-cooled barrel and unusual scope mounting arrangement.

While all aspects of the 50 BMG are promoted by the FCSA, the primary sport is 1000-yard competition. In 2010, there were 16 separate official matches scheduled across the USA, and many more ‘fun-shoots’. This sport is an incredible mix of the science, skill, and art of extreme long range accuracy. I had been actively shooting rifles and hunting for well over 40 years and had always considered myself a “rifle man”. But I had no idea of the learning curve that [faced me] when I first joined the FCSA.

FCSA 50-caliber shooting association

Historically, 1000-yard shooting has been primarily a benchrest activity but in the past several years we have seen a tremendous interest in ‘Hunter Class’ competition; this is shot prone using a bipod. This form of long range match shooting is excellent preparation for long range hunting. The required skill set [for ultra-long-range hunting] is guaranteed to humble even the most experienced rifleman.

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 $8000, maybe even more for a top of the line custom rifle. A premium long-range scope will set you back $1800 to $3500. And while excellent .50 BMG commercial ammo is available, it runs $5 to $6 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.

BAT 50 BMG Action

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September 26th, 2018

Black Powder Target Rifle Championship Oct. 1-7, in Raton, NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship Raton NM
NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

The NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship will be held October 1-7, 2018 at the Whittington Center in Raton, NM. During the week-long event, top Black Powder Cartridge Rifle (BPCR) shooters from around the country will test their skills at Raton with targets at 200 to 1000 yards. The event starts with mid-range matches at 200 to 600 yards, followed by 800- and 1000-yard long-range competition. On the firing line you’ll see many handsome, custom-built BPCRs (Sharps, Ballards, Browning High Walls, Rolling Blocks) with exquisite wood, hand-checkering, and color-case-hardened receivers.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

The 800-1000 yard Creedmoor matches will be held Friday and Saturday, October 5-6. Interestingly, for safety reasons, there are minimum bullet weight and muzzle velocity requirements for the Creedmoor matches. These BPCR shooters launch some seriously heavy projectiles downrange.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

REGISTRATION: Registration will take place at the Eagle’s Nest Building at the Whittington Center. NOTE: There are minimum requirements for bullet weight and velocity. Only ammunition which produces these results, or better, and only rifles that have long-range sights, will be permitted for use in the Creedmoor Championships. See the BPTR Nationals Ballistic Velocity Chart below for minimum requirements. There may be a 2% variance on bullet weight or velocity:

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

ACCOMMODATIONS: There are many motels in the town of Raton, about 10 miles from the Range. In additions, there are accommodations on the grounds of the Whittington Center: 90 beds in Competitors Housing and 100 beds in Log Cabins. These facilities fill up quickly — call the Whittington Center right away at (575) 445-3615 to reserve.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

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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.

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February 15th, 2018

Shooting on a Spinning Planet — The Coriolis Effect

Whittington Coriolis Effect
Photo by Dustin Ellermann at Whittington Center Range.

The Coriolis Effect comes into play with extreme long-range shots like this (2100 yards at Raton, NM). The rotation of the earth actually moves the target a small distance (in space) during the long duration of the bullet’s flight.

Coriolis Effect Bryan Litz Applied BallisticsWhen you’re out at the range, the Earth seems very stable. But it is actually a big sphere zooming through space while spinning around its axis, one complete turn every 24 hours. The rotation of the earth can create problems for extreme long-range shooters. During extended bullet flight times, the rotation of the planet causes an apparent deflection of the bullet path over very long distances. This is the ballistics manifestation of the Coriolis Effect.

Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics discusses explains the Coriolis Effect in his Ballistics Books and Seminars. Bryan notes that Coriolis is “a very subtle effect. People like to make more of it than it is because it seems mysterious.” In most common shooting situations inside 1K, Coriolis is not important. At 1000 yards, the Effect represents less than one click (for most cartridge types). Even well past 1000 yards, in windy conditions, the Coriolis Effect may well be “lost in the noise”. But in very calm conditions, when shooting at extreme ranges, Bryan says you can benefit from adjusting your ballistics solution for Coriolis.

Bryan explains: “The Coriolis Effect… has to do with the spin of the earth. You are basically shooting from one point to another on a rotating sphere, in an inertial reference frame. The consequence of that is that, if the flight time of the bullet gets significantly long, the bullet can have an apparent drift from its intended target. The amount [of apparent drift] is very small — it depends on your latitude and azimuth of fire on the planet.”

Coriolis Effect Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics

Coriolis is a very subtle effect. With typical bullet BCs and velocities, you must get to at least 1000 yards before Coriolis amounts to even one click. Accordingly, Bryan advises: “Coriolis Effect is NOT something to think about on moving targets, it is NOT something to think about in high, uncertain wind environments because there are variables that are dominating your uncertainty picture, and the Coriolis will distract you more than the correction is worth.”

“Where you could think about Coriolis, and have it be a major impact on your hit percentage, is if you are shooting at extended range, at relatively small targets, in low-wind conditions. Where you know your muzzle velocity and BC very well, [and there are] pristine conditions, that’s where you’re going to see Coriolis creep in. You’ll receive more refinement and accuracy in your ballistics solutions if you account for Coriolis on those types of shots. But in most practical long-range shooting situations, Coriolis is NOT important. What IS important is to understand is when you should think about it and when you shouldn’t, i.e. when applying it will matter and when it won’t.”

The Coriolis Effect — General Physics
The Coriolis Effect is the apparent deflection of moving objects when the motion is described relative to a rotating reference frame. The Coriolis force acts in a direction perpendicular to the rotation axis and to the velocity of the body in the rotating frame and is proportional to the object’s speed in the rotating frame.

A commonly encountered rotating reference frame is the Earth. The Coriolis effect is caused by the rotation of the Earth and the inertia of the mass experiencing the effect. Because the Earth completes only one rotation per day, the Coriolis force is quite small, and its effects generally become noticeable only for motions occurring over large distances and long periods of time. This force causes moving objects on the surface of the Earth to be deflected to the right (with respect to the direction of travel) in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. The horizontal deflection effect is greater near the poles and smallest at the equator, since the rate of change in the diameter of the circles of latitude when travelling north or south, increases the closer the object is to the poles. (Source: Wikipedia)

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August 17th, 2017

Stunning Backdrop for Rocky Mountain 3-Gun Championship

Rocky Mountain 3-Gun multi-gun USAMU raton new mexicon whittington center

For sheer “Fun with Firepower” it’s hard to beat a 3-Gun match at Raton, New Mexico. You get to play with lots of guns — rifles, pistols, and shotguns — while enjoying great views in one of North America’s most scenic shooting facilities. This past weekend many of the nation’s top 3-Gun aces were in Raton for the 2017 Rocky Mountain 3-Gun World Championship. This was held August 10-13 at the Whittington Center facility. Stages were conducted both on the designated rifle ranges as well as nearby hillsides.

In 3-gun matches, all stages are “on the clock”. Competitors need to be FAST and accurate.
Rocky Mountain 3-Gun multi-gun USAMU raton new mexico whittington center

There was a lot of Army black and yellow on the top of the podium, with USAMU shooters winning two divisions, along with the Team Event. SSG Joel Turner won the Open Division and SSG Tyler Payne won the Heavy Metal Scope Division. SFC Daniel Horner placed second in the Tactical Scope Division, while SFC Kyle McMaster finished second in the Tactical Irons Division. All four soldiers teamed up to win the Team Relay Shoot-Off competition to close out the event.

Rocky Mountain 3-Gun multi-gun USAMU raton new mexico whittington center

High-tech AR platform rigs are the rifles of choice for 3-Gun matches.
Rocky Mountain 3-Gun multi-gun USAMU raton new mexico  whittington center

Who wouldn’t like a chance to shoot at the Whittington Ranges? What a backdrop!
Rocky Mountain 3-Gun multi-gun USAMU raton new mexico whittington center

Run ‘N Gun at 6000 feet
The Rocky Mountain 3-Gun (RM3Gun) is an action shooting match in the natural terrain of the NRA Whittington Center near Raton, NM. The riverbeds, mountains, trees and rocks provide props for the stages. There are 5 divisions: Open, Tactical Scope, Tactical Iron, He-Man Scope, and He-Man Iron.

Daniel Horner USAMU SSG

RM3Gun is a very physical match, and Whittington’s 6000′ altitude makes things even tougher. The pace, thin air, and terrain challenge competitors’ fitness levels. The match has a healthy amount of long range rifle shooting. The match organizers state: “We try to strike a balance between rifle, shotgun and pistol, but you will definitely have lots of rifle because it’s one of the only places you can shoot as far in such a beautiful environment. Usually, we have some moving/aerial targets for the shotgun as moving targets are what the gun is designed for.”

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June 6th, 2017

Extreme Long Range Training — Rockin’ Two Miles at Raton

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum
Shooter behind the .375 Lethal Magnum. Check out the size of that suppressor!

Two-Mile ELR Training
ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal MagnumThe Applied Ballistics ELR Team spent the weekend at the NRA Whittington Center in New Mexico training for the upcoming King of 2 Miles event. Former USAMU coach Emil Praslick III was on hand to help with wind calls. The results were impressive — all team members had confirmed hits at 2.05 miles on a 36″x36″ steel target. Bryan Litz even had a 3-shot group that measured 17.5″ x 22″. That’s under 0.6 MOA!

Most guys would be happy with 0.6 MOA at 300 yards. Bryan did it at 3611 yards, shooting Paul Phillips’s .375 Lethal Magnum. When you consider all the variables involved (bullet BC variance, shot velocity variance, wind changes during flight, Coriolis effect etc.), that’s phenomenal.

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

Report by Paul Phillips
Just got done shooting two days in New Mexico with Recoil Magazine and the Applied Ballistics ELR team. We learned a lot and had great success. Every team member made impacts on target at 2 miles. The best 3-shot group at 3611 yards (2.05 miles) was shot by Bryan Litz with my 375 Lethal Mag. The group measured 17.5 inches tall by 22 inches wide with Cutting Edge bullets. We also had Recoil’s David Merrill shoot at two miles and was laying them in there like a true pro. We had three team members make impacts on the 36-inch plate at two miles within just three attempts in a mock competition. I also increased my personal longest shot by hitting only 15 inches right of center at 3611 yards. 2.05 miles. I did it with a GSL Technology Copperhead Silencer.

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

Report by Emil Praslick
I participated in the Extreme Long Range training with the Applied Ballistics team at the Whittington Center in Raton, NM. All team members had confirmed hits at 2.1 miles. Components and hardware suppliers included: Berger Bullets, Cutting Edge Bullets, Nightforce Optics, Kestrel, FLIR Systems.

Q: At that distance (2.1 miles), how much do spin drift and the Coriolis effect impact bullet trajectories?

Praslick: At 3613 yards we had to adjust about 1.5 MOA/56″ of Coriolis (up), and 5 MOA/~190″ of right spin drift adjustment. You’d have to come down if facing East. The planet rotates counter-clockwise (from above), so your target would be falling away from you.

Here is a 3-round group at 1898 yards (1.08 Miles) shot with factory ABM Ammo .338 Lapua Magnum loaded with 300 grain Berger Bullets Hybrids. That’s sub-MOA elevation. (The guy calling wind didn’t do too bad, either.)

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

Report by Bryan Litz
Learning is my favorite part of new ventures and we learned a LOT this weekend shooting extreme range in New Mexico. I connected on a second round hit on a 3-foot square target at 2 miles in simulated match conditions under coaches Emil Praslick and Paul Phillips. In fact all five of our team shooters got on at 2 miles. The Applied Ballistics Extreme Long Range team is in good shape for the King of 2 Miles match later this month, and there is still so much to LEARN!

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

You need serious equipment for shooting beyond two miles. Who can identify this high-tech hardware?
ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

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May 26th, 2017

Registration Open for YHEC National Championship in Raton, NM

Youth Hunter Education Challenge Raton NM Whittington Center NRA Championship

Report from NRABlog.com
The 32nd annual Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) National Championship will take place July 23-28 at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico. The YHEC National Championship is the pinnacle of the YHEC program. Top-ranked individuals come together from across the country to compete. This event is the most advanced of all YHEC events — all participants to have completed a hunter safety course, as well as a YHEC event at the state level (if your state has one). This is a great opportunity for young people to work with skilled coaches (and enjoy the great Whittington Center facilities).

Do you know a youngster who might want to compete at this year’s YHEC National Championship? Registration is NOW OPEN!

Youth Hunter Education Challenge Raton NM Whittington Center NRA Championship

NRA started the Youth Hunter Education Challenge way back in 1985. Designed to promote and encourage safe, lifelong hunting, over 1.2 million young people have participated in YHEC since its inception in 1985.

YHEC regional programs help kids 18 and under learn hunting, marksmanship, and safety skills. From rifle, bow, and muzzleloader shooting, to wildlife identification (see below), map & compass orienteering and more, YHEC participants get hands-on training in eight (8) skill areas. This is a great program for parents and kids who want to go on family hunts together.

Youth Hunter Education Challenge Raton NM Whittington Center NRA Championship

National Championship Program at NRA Whittington Center
Participants under 18 can either compete individually or on a team of five. There are eight mandatory events each participant must complete and be scored on: Hunter Responsibility Exam, Hunter Safety Trail, orienteering, Wildlife ID, .22 LR Rifle, Shotgun, Muzzleloader, and Archery. Competitors may also participate in a variety of special events that are hosted throughout the week. Coaches are also eligible to compete in events and re scored against other coaches nationwide. Each competitor must also possess a hunter safety card and have completed their state or recognized local YHEC event.

Youth Hunter Education Challenge Raton NM Whittington Center NRA Championship

Photos courtesy NRABlog.com and www.YHCA.org (Oklahoma).

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February 5th, 2017

NRA Whittington Center Video — What a Place to Shoot…

NRA Whittington Center New Mexico

If you’ve never visited the NRA Whittington Center outside Raton, New Mexico, it is well worth a visit. This new HD video shows the features of this unique facility where marksmen can shoot from 10 yards to two miles. Drone video footage gives you a “birds eye view” of the scenery and the ranges.

This is an excellent video. Well worth watching, with impressive aerial photography.

The Whittington Center hosts many major matches each year. Along with the training and range facilities, the Whittington Center has comfortable, modern cabins and RV camping zones for extended stays. Founded in 1973, the Center offers ranges for every kind of shooting discipline, along with a shotgun center, firearms museum, specialized firearms training, guided and unguided hunts, plus an adventure camp for younger shooters.

NRA Whittington Center New Mexico

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July 14th, 2016

Black Powder Target Rifle Championship Next Week in Raton, NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship Raton NM
NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

Next week the NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship will be held at the Whittington Center in Raton, NM. From July 19-24, top Black Powder Cartridge Rifle (BPCR) shooters from around the country will test their skills during a week-long event with targets set from 200 to 1000 yards. On the firing line you’ll see many handsome, custom-built BPCRs (Sharps, Ballards, Browning High Walls, Rolling Blocks) with exquisite wood, hand-checkering, and color-case-hardened receivers.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

The Black Powder Championship starts with mid-range matches from 200 to 600 yards. Then competitors set their sights for long range, with 800-1000 yard Creedmoor matches at the end of the week. Interestingly, for safety reasons, there are minimum bullet weight and muzzle velocity requirements for the Creedmoor matches. These BPCR shooters launch some seriously heavy projectiles downrange:

Caliber Minimum Bullet Weight (Grains) Minimum Bullet Velocity (FPS)
.38 Cal 408 (375) 1300 (1375)
.40 Cal 408 1280
.44 Cal 450 1240
.45 Cal 510 1200
.50 Cal 600 1200

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

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June 29th, 2016

Report from Raton: King of 2 Miles Match, Day 1 and 2

Raton New Mexico King of 2 Two Miles

The King of 2 Miles Extreme Long Range (ELR) competition is underway at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico. Many of the nation’s top shooters are competing — aiming for hits on targets as far out as 3500 yards.

Raton New Mexico King of 2 Two MilesBryan Litz of Applied Ballistics offered this report:

Day One went well. I was the third shooter this morning. Started out good with 4/5 hits at 1454 yards including a first-round hit which is worth a lot of points. The second target was only 100 yards further, but the wind cycled and I missed the first two shots. If you miss three shots on any target after the first, you’re out! So cautiously, and with help from my teammates/spotters Paul Phillips and Mitchell Fitzpatrick, I scored a third round hit at 1550 and was able to advance to the 1720-yard target. I manage to hit that 1720-yard target three out of three times.

The final target on Day One was at 2011 yards. Unfortunately I had three close misses. (Editor: Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, Bryan…)

Twenty teams shot today and about 15 more will shoot the qualifying stage tomorrow then the top 10 from the two days will shoot on Thursday at over 3300 yards for the crown. My score of about 29,000 points is good. But I won’t know for certain if I’ve made the Top 10 until all tomorrow’s teams fire.

Raton New Mexico King of 2 Two Miles
Mitchell Fitzpatrick hit every target on his first two shots and finished with 40,000 points on Day One. His farthest shots were just over 2000 yards.

So that’s my story so far, but that’s not THE story. Teammate Mitchell Fitzpatrick (with rifle above) topped the field today with a monster score, hitting all targets and racking up over 40,000 points! The prototype Berger .375-caliber, 400gr bullets and Mitch’s .375 Wildcat from Lethal Precision Arms LLC are a super high-performance combination that made short work of the ELR course.

Also, teammate Paul Phillips, who originally was only here to spot, has entered the competition. He’ll be shooting my .338 Edge tomorrow. Luckily I brought plenty of ammo!

Picture below is the full Applied Ballistics team with sponsor Kelly McMillan. Kelly has been great to our team and we’re looking forward to some future projects with him in ELR.

Raton New Mexico King of 2 Two Miles

In all the King of 2 Miles event is very enjoyable. It’s a great place to come and learn from fellow ELR shooters what works and what doesn’t work at these ranges. The spirit of the match is education and growing the knowledge base and I think it’s doing a great job at that. We’re thrilled to be a part of it!

DAY 2 UPDATE: Top TEN Shooters

Results of King of 2 Miles After Day Two
The Top 10 listed below continue to Day Three. On this final day, the ten remaining competitors will engage targets from 1-2 miles. Paul Phillips reports: “I managed to finish today with the highest score of the day. That placed me 7th overall and allows me into the shoot-off tomorrow. Team Applied Ballistics place three shooters in the 10 Final: Michael Fitzpatrick, Bryan Litz, Paul Phillips.”

King of 2 Miles Raton New Mexico

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October 12th, 2011

NRA Annual Meeting Featured on Shooting USA TV Tonight

Tune your TV to the Outdoor Channel tonight. There’s a good episode of Shooting USA featuring the 2001 NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburg, PA, along with a special report from the NRA Youth Adventure Camp in Raton, NM. There are also two helpful tech features. USAMU gunsmiths demonstrate the official Army way to camo-paint your AR, while Wade Bourne explains how to set the trigger pull on a hunting rifle.

NRA Annual Meeting
The NRA’s annual meeting moves to a new city each year. For 2011 time Pittsburgh was the location and the gathering point for 70,000 members to conduct business, elect members to the board, and hear from a slate of speakers including Newt Gingrich, Lt. Colonel Ollie North, and Mike Huckabee. Along with the speeches and the politics, the highlight of the annual meeting is the trade show, open to all NRA members. Hundreds of vendors are on hand displaying thousands of firearms and shooting-related products. In addition, many top Pro Shooters and celebrities attend the show, meeting and greeting visitors.

NRA Adventure Camp at Whittington
At the NRA’s Youth Adventure Camp, teen participants (13- to 18-years-old) spend two weeks learning about shooting at the 33,000-acre Whittington Center in New Mexico. There are ranges for every NRA shooting sport, and the young campers work their way through most of them, learning the fundamentals of rifle, pistol, and shotgun shooting. In two weeks, the lucky campers will shoot thousands of rounds under the guidance of expert instructors.

SHOW TIMES — Shooting USA airs every Wednesday on the Outdoor Channel, at these times:

Eastern Time: 4:00 PM, 8:30 PM, 12:00 Midnight | Central Time: 3:00 PM, 7:30 PM, 11:00 PM
Mountain Time: 2:00 PM, 6:30 PM, 10:00 PM | Pacific Time: 1:00 PM, 5:30 PM, 9:00 PM

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July 18th, 2011

Creedmoor Black Powder LR Nationals at Whittington Center

The two-day 2011 Creedmoor Nationals for Black Powder rifles concludes today in Raton, NM. Many of the nation’s top black powder shooters are vying for the historic “Castle” trophy at the Whittington Center Range. Today’s course of fire is identical to Sunday’s — ten shots at each of three distances: 800, 900 and 1,000 yards. Weather was reasonably stable on Sunday, 17 July, but thunderstorms are predicted for this afternoon.

The Creedmoor Championship and the Castle Trophy

Castle Trophy BPCR CreedmoorThe Creedmoor Nationals’ match history dates back to the 19th century with the purchase of the Creed Farm in Long Island, New York. A long range black powder match between the United States and Ireland at the brand new Creedmoor range drew a significant amount of attention to the shooting sports and drew eventually drew its name from the NRA’s range. The 2011 championship currently being conducted at the Whittington Center is based on the original course of fire in keeping with the tradition of the match.

Castle Trophy
The Castle Trophy was first awarded to the 25th Lanarkshire Volunteers by Lord Elcho for their win over England and Ireland in a shooting match in 1871. The trophy was used as a prize at Creedmoor matches over the next couple of years. A noted inscription on the trophy reads: “Overall winners National Rifle Association of America 2nd Round” April 25, 1873. To honor the victors in the famous Creedmoor 1874 challenge match the USA and Ireland, this trophy was given to Colonel John Bodine of the United States of America Team.

Shown below, looking rather dapper in their waistcoats and top hats, are members of the American rifle team that defeated the Irish squad in 1874:

Story and photos by KJillson courtesy of the NRA Blog.
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August 14th, 2010

250 Shooters at Rocky Mountain 3-Gun Championship

3-Gun Nation3-Gun Nation is one of the hottest new shooting shows on cable television. This season-long series showcases many of the nation’s best shooters, vying for big prize money and a National title at year’s end. The latest 3-Gun Nation match was the JP Rocky Mountain 3-Gun Championship held August 5-7 at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, NM. Nearly 250 competitors participated. Here are the Class winners, with point totals:

Open: Jerry Miculek – 821.9395
Limited (Scope): Daniel Horner – 864.9413
Limited (Iron Sights): Craig Underdown – 776.5357
He-Man (Scope): Kelly Neal – 867.6091
He-Man (Iron Sights): Patrick Kelley – 820.2407
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Johnson Duels Miculek for $5000.00
At the end of the match, Remington’s Robby Johnson and shooting legend Jerry Miculek were the final two shooters in the 3-Gun Nation Shoot-Off. Watch the video (above) to see Johnson, a former USAMU shooter, edge out Miculek, earning Johnson the $5,000 prize from Safariland.

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May 25th, 2010

Bartholome Teaches Trinidad F-Class Training Seminar in July

Larry BartholomeThis July, Trinidad State Jr. College (TSJC) in Colorado will offer a unique 5-day instructional course on F-Class equipment and shooting skills. Slated for July 5-9, 2010, the F-Class Seminar will be taught by F-Class guru Larry Bartholome, Captain of Team Berger/Norma and current member (and past Captain) of the U.S. F-Class Open Team. Spots are still open for the course, but you should register right away.

Trinidad’s course will cover every aspect of F-Class shooting: selecting the best equipment and caliber, load development and ammo testing, reloading for long range, how to shoot a match, doping the wind at long-range, team shooting, mental conditioning, and match-winning strategies. While most of the course will consist of class work on the Trinidad campus, there will be range sessions July 8 and 9 at the NRA Whittington Center Range (Raton, NM), located just 20 miles south of Trinidad, CO. During these sessions there will be demonstrations and students will practice their long-range shooting skills at distances out to 1000 yards.

Larry told us: “This is not a gunsmith class, but rather a class that will cover all aspects of F-Class shooting. I think this will be a good opportunity for a person who wants to learn F-Class from the ground up, to do so in a short period of time. I feel a person could come into the class knowing next to nothing about F-Class and long-range shooting and leave [the seminar] knowledgeable enough to be very competitive at even a world level.”

The Rocky Mountain Palma Championships and Long-Range Regional will be held at the NRA Whittington Center July 10-15, 2010 and students may want to compete in all or part of those matches after the class concludes. Whittington charges $15/day range fee for any non-members who use the range.

Larry Bartholome

Larry BartholomeOpenings Still Available for July F-Class Course
There are still some places available for the F-Class seminar. If you’re interested, sign up soon by contacting Trinidad State Jr. College at 1-800-621-8752, ext. 5541, or log on to NRA.Trinidadstate.edu. No tools are required for the seminar. However, while a couple of F-Class rifles will be available for limited range use, students may want to bring their own rifles and ammo. All students should contact Larry Bartholome to confirm the students’ rifles are appropriate for use at 1,000 yards as F-Class rifles. Email Larry at: Lbart [at] elp.rr.com.

Trinidad State Jr. College summer courses cost $325.00 for continuing education and $393.90 for out-of-state Credit. On-Campus Housing is offered for a reasonable $100.00 per week. CLICK HERE for the TSJC/NRA Summer Course Registration Form (PDF).

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May 15th, 2010

Glock Donates $115,000 to NRA and Whittington Center

At the NRA Annual Meeting in Charlotte, NC, Austrian pistol-maker Glock Gesellschaft mbH donated over $115,000 in cash and materials to the NRA and its programs. $50K went to the NRA directly, while Glock made separate donations of $50,000 to the NRA Whittington Center and $15,000 to the NRA Whittington Center Adventure Camp.

Glock NRA Donation

Located in Raton, NM, the Whittington Center is an important venue for competitive shooting. Every year it hosts major championships including the Spirit of America match. We tip our hat to Glock, particularly for its generous donation to the Whittington Center. Glock’s contributions will help the Whittington Center maintain and upgrade its range facilities, along with expanding its training and youth programs.

Whittington Silhouette Range

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