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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