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1,123 yard White Buffalo (steel) at NRA Whittington Center

March 15, 2020

by: Frank Tait

I was honored to be invited to an event at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton NM last week with a fantastic group of American patriots.  This is an outstanding facility that is 33,300 acres and ranges from 6,300 to 8,100 feet in elevation. There are 15 different ranges and extensive trap and sporting clay ranges. The facility is amazing and you should go if you get the chance.     


Thursday was sighting in and shooting steel at 300, 550 and 735 yards  (pictures 6, 7 & 8) on the Sight In range. There was also a boar to the right of the coyote. 


I used a Weatherby Vanguard 30-06 and a Quigley Ford scope that I won both in raffles at a Delaware County PA Friends of NRA banquet in 2018. Ammo was the M1 Garand Ball 30-06 from CMP made by Creedmoor. This setup gave me just under 1/2 MOA groups at 200 yards (7/8" groups).   


I also zeroed my LMT AR with a Swarovski Z6i scope that I got second hand from Jeff Gonzales. I was just using surplus USGI 55gr ammo.


Shooting the steel at 550 and 735 yards was fun.  Wind wasn't much of an issue so I just held on the targets.   I was using a USGI sling from a bench and made >80% of my shots.


On Friday morning, since it was alternating rain and snow, we scrapped the plan to shoot trap or skeet and went to the Star range and shot steel from 25 to 200 yards with AR's and pistols. This was my first chance to really get the feel for the Swarovski - it's great!  I plan to use this setup for a 3 man 3 gun competition in June.  I built a lot of confidence in this setup with the targets that ranged from 18" down to 4" at ranges from 25-200 yards (and yes there was a 4" target at 200 yds).


Friday afternoon was at he High Power Steel Silhouette range going for the 1,123 yd white buffalo. The buffalo is in the blue circle in the second picture (10x magnification) and the red circle in the first picture (1x magnification). Weather was 37 degrees, 19 mph quartering and swirling wind from SW to NE (range is facing N) with rain and snow squalls blowing through (third picture) that obscured the target, but made it easier for the spotter to follow the bullet path and help the shooter adjust.


The Quigley Ford scope has a christmas tree reticle from 200 yards out to 1,000 yards.  We used the isnipe app and Jaco Kirsten helped me work out about where to hold for 1,100-1,150 yards.  I only used 12x magnification as I was getting too much mirage at higher magnifications. I thought that holding the 1,000 yard crosshair on the top of the frame holding the buffalo would put me at the correct elevation.  That was spot on.  We were estimating 12-15 MOA of wind adjustment. First shot I used 12 MOA and missed. 2nd shot was a hit, 3rd a miss and 4th and 5th were hits.  3 for 5 at the longest distance I've ever shot and in the most challenging conditions I've ever shot.  It was a blast!


I definitely have to go back there again!