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July 16th, 2012

Wilkinson Wins Hunter Class at .50 Cal World Championships

Walter WilkinsonUsing a “box-stock”, 30-lb Steyr HS.50 rifle, Walter Wilkinson of Edgewood, NM, bested a field of 31 competitors (most using heavier custom rifles) to take the Hunter Class Score title at the recent Fifty Caliber Shooters Association World Championships. This event was held July 1st and 2nd at the NRA Whittington Center outside Raton, NM. This is the second year in a row that a competitor with an off-the-shelf Steyr HS.50 won the Hunter Class title. (Eduardo Abril de Fontcuberta won Hunter Class with an HS.50 last year.)

Wilkinson, a retired U.S. Army Special Forces sergeant major and current Gunsite Academy instructor, ran up a two-day Aggregate score of 274-6X out of a possible 300, beating his next closest competitor, .50 Cal legend Lee Rasmussen, by two Xs. The Hunter Class is a 1,000-yard course of fire consisting of six, five-shot strings, with three strings shot on the first day, and three strings shot on the second day. Due to the wildly varying winds on this range, competitors who shot in the morning of the first day were required to shoot in the afternoon of the second day, and vice versa, to equal the playing field.

Slotted in the first afternoon’s fourth relay, Wilkinson’s consistency, solid wind-doping and holding skills paid off as the winds made an especially tricky display with a 180-degree shift as thunderheads came over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Heading into his morning relay on the second day, Wilkinson found himself in second place with nothing to do but hammer the 10-ring to work his way into the championship title.

Walter Wilkinson

Wilkinson’s .50 Delivered Quarter-MOA Groups During Load Testing
Wilkinson said the Steyr .50-Cal has shown outstanding accuracy: “As I was working up a load for the HS.50, I shot groups that amazed me. I was getting groups of .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’. They were the best groups that I have ever shot in my life — and they were with the .50 BMG!” That surprised Wilkinson: “With my [military] experience with the performance of the same cartridge overseas, I didn’t expect that kind of accuracy out of it.”

Walter Wilkinson

Wilkinson Was Also Member of Winning .50 Cal Team
Along with his individual Hunter Class Title, Wilkinson earned team honors as a Ten-X team member. The Ten-X team won the Team World Championship with an aggregate score of 1081-24X combined with an average group size of 14.549 inches. Each team had four shooters with one from each of the four classes represented at the .50 Caliber Championships: Light, Heavy, Unlimited, and Hunter.

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July 16th, 2012

8th Edition of CMP Guide to Rimfire Sporter Shooting Released

Rimfire Sporter Guide ShootingThe Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has just released the latest, 8th Edition of the CMP Guide to Rimfire Sporter Shooting. This FREE, 50-page digital publication covers equipment, positions, course of fire, rules, scoring and much more. You’ll find helpful “how-to” sections on aiming, sight picture, hold control, and trigger control. Reading these sections can benefit any prone or three-position shooter.

The National Rimfire Sporter Match will be held next Sunday, July 22nd, at Camp Perry (Port Clinton, Ohio). It is still possible to sign up for this fun event — which draws more shooters than any other competition at the annual National Matches. Register today at

Rimfire Sporter Match Basics
The CMP Rimfire Sporter Rifle Match is an inexpensive, fun-oriented competition using .22 caliber sporter rifles (plinking and small game rifles) commonly owned by most gun enthusiasts. To compete, all you need is a basic rifle, safety gear, and ammunition. No fancy, high-dollar rifles are required.

Rimfire Sporter Guide ShootingThe event is shot with standard sporter-type, rimfire rifles that can weigh no more than 7 ½ pounds, with sights and sling. Rifles may be manually operated or semi-automatic; shooters with manually operated actions are given extra time in rapid-fire to compensate for the difference.

There are three classes of competition — the standard “O Class” for open-sighted rifles, “T-Class” for telescope sighted and rear aperture sighted rifles and “Tactical Rimfire” class, which is a .22 caliber A4 or AR15 style rifle. Firing for all classes is done at 50 and 25 yards on a target with a 1.78″ ten-ring and an 18″ outer one-ring. Even new shooters can get hits on this target, but it’s still tough enough that no one yet has fired a perfect 600×600 score.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
July 16th, 2012

Peltor Folding ‘Shotgunner’ Muffs Work Well for Rifle Shooters

Peltor folding ‘Shotgunner’ ear muffs are on sale right now at Available in red (#97013), dark green (#97012), or black (#97011), the muffs cost about $17.00, and you can get free shipping with an order over $25.00. That’s a good deal for a good product. This Editor owns two sets of these muffs. They are very lightweight and comfortable. Because they fit well, with gel foam cushions, they actually seem to work better than some big bulky muffs (with higher NRRs) that don’t seal so well.

Peltor’s Shotgunner muffs feature tapered ear domes, cutaway on the lower half for stock clearance. We have not found any other muffs on the market that allow a better cheek weld, with less interference with the comb on a riflestock. These muffs also fold up into a very compact package. You can keep one set in your range kit and a spare set in your vehicle for back-up or if a friend needs hearing protection.

Peltor Shotgunner muffs

USER REVIEW: Because I am a firearm instructor I own a half-dozen muffs including a pair of electronic Peltors. These [folding shotgunner muffs] are my favorite at 10% of the cost of electronic muffs. I bought them for trap/skeet. My Browning has an adjustable comb but these do NOT interfere with mounting the shotgun or getting a proper cheek weld as do the large electronic muffs. I highly recommend these to you. They are inexpensive but are EXTREMELY COMFORTABLE and WORK VERY WELL. What more could you ask? — F.M. (Idaho)

Ear Plugs vs. Muffs
Personally I prefer using foam earplugs, because they have a better Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) than the Shotgunner Muffs. However, there are times when the muffs come in handy, as when I am scoring for a fellow shooter and need to hear range instructions. I also like to keep a spare pair of muffs in my vehicle at all times. It always seems that, when we go to the range, someone forgets ear protection, or doesn’t like to use plugs.

For Indoor Use — Add Plugs Underneath
For indoor use, particularly on a tight firing line (with a guy shooting a .44 Mag right next to you), you’ll want muffs with a higher NRR. Alternatively, wear ear plugs under the muffs. Peltor Shotgunner folding muffs have a NRR of 21 db — compare that to 25-30 db NRR for big, heavy muffs and 29-33 db NRR for good ear plugs, such as the Howard Leight Max UF plugs (33 NRR). Of course, to achieve those 30+ Noise Reduction Ratings, earplugs must be inserted correctly.

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals 5 Comments »