Retired Army Special Forces Sgt. Maj. Walter WilkinsonRetired Army Special Forces Sgt. Maj. Walter Wilkinson

BESSEMER, Ala. –-( Retired Army Special Forces Sgt. Maj. Walter Wilkinson won two of the four individual score-based, 1,000-yard championships—the Light and Hunter Classes—at the Fifty Caliber Shooters’ Association (FCSA) 2018 World Championships, conducted July 5th through 7th at the NRA Whittington Center near Raton, NM. Remarkably, Wilkinson, who shot his stock Steyr HS.50 equipped with factory bipod from the ground in the prone position, posted the championships’ highest score, beating out shooters in the Unlimited, Heavy Gun and Light Gun Classes.

Wilkinson, a current Gunsite instructor from Edgewood, NM, shot a two-day aggregate 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. This marks his third World Championship in the Hunter Class with his Steyr HS.50 since his first win in 2012, and it is his first Light Gun Score World Championship.

Nestled at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Whittington Center’s 1,000-yard range plays host to notoriously fickle winds, especially in the afternoons.

On the first day, Wilkinson was squaded on the afternoon Relays, 3 and 4. As usual, the switching and swirling winds proved to be a formidable foe for all shooters throughout the championships. Wind coming from behind the shooters was switching from 4 o’clock to 8 o’clock and back again, often changing within seconds. As a prone shooter, Wilkinson was able to very quickly make wind judgments and adjust his hold accordingly before taking the shot. He ended up dropping only five points in each class for a Hunter score of 145-5X and a Light Gun score of 145-4X at the close of day one.


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