Rural Missouri - July 2013 - (Page 14)
O U T D O O R S
Marksmen test their skills out to 800 yards
at the Big Piney Sportsman Club
Joe Reeves of Gassville, Ark., takes aim from 700 yards while competing in a multi-range F-class match in May at the Big Piney Sportsman Club. The facility in Texas County is
unique in that it provides its members with the opportunity to shoot long distances any day of the week — a fact that draws shooters from hundreds of miles away.
While long-distance shooting may be the
affords. “You’ve got lots of stuff to
most prominent pastime at the gun club, it’s far
contend with and account for,” he
from the only shooting discipline enjoyed by
says. “And the farther back you get, the
more extreme it gets.”
t’s a stunning Sunday morning in May, and
its members. The club has several leagues,
including a 50-yard rimﬁre benchrest
Even a bullet traveling thousands of
from across the course, you hear a group of
league that shoots on the ﬁrst and
sportsmen discussing yardages and debating
feet per second is still subject to the force
third Monday of each month and a
of gravity, and shooters use ballistic data
how much they need to compensate for the
trap-shooting league that meets every
wind. Golfers, right?
to accurately compensate: the farther the
distance, the greater the bullet’s drop.
Think again. The only irons this group is packHandgun shooting also is popular,
ing are shooting irons. Here on the course at the Big
Shooters also must learn to read both the
and the club offers its members a number of static
wind and the mirage effect, which distorts the
Piney Sportsman Club, there are no mulligans, and
and moving targets, along with a wide range of
shooter’s image of the target.
holes-in-one are the rule rather than the exception.
simulators. The group also has a multiple-room
“Normally, wind is your biggest factor,” says
For the past eight years, this gun club in Texas
“shoot house” to simulate room clearing and other
Bradley Bell, a club member from Stoutland. “But
County has provided long-distance marksmen with
once you get out to 800 yards and beyond, even the
an opportunity not often found in the Midwest —
“It’s the only one I know of that isn’t on a lawrotation of the earth can affect your shot.”
to shoot up to 800 yards, nearly a half-mile.
enforcement range,” Bob adds, noting that agencies
This phenomenon is known as the Coriolis effect.
“This is the longest range in a big area around
such as the Texas County Sheriff’s Ofﬁce, the MisAs the earth spins, so does everything attached to it.
here that you can just show up and shoot on,” says
souri Highway Patrol and the Missouri Department
In the second or two it takes a bullet to travel from
club president Bob Roach. “I’d say the next closest
of Conservation have used the facilities for training
muzzle to target on a long shot, the earth rotates
is in Tulsa. After that, Wichita Falls, Texas. We have
their ofﬁcers and agents.
three to four inches. “Then you add spin drift, which
members that actually come out here and shoot
Big Piney also opens its gates to other groups,
is caused by the riﬂing of your barrel, and the two
from as far off as Indianapolis.”
including Project Appleseed, which organizes markstogether could be up to eight inches,” he says. “If
The gun club, which is served by Intercounty Elecmanship clinics nationwide, as well as several clubs
you know it’s there, you might as well correct for it.”
tric Cooperative, has been around since 1960. In the
from surrounding schools that participate in the 4-H
Accurately compensating for such environmental
early days, trap and skeet shooting were the predomShooting Sports Program. “We have something hapand celestial factors requires
inant activities at Big Piney.
pening just about every weekend,” Bob says.
precision equipment. A longWhen Bob joined in 1980,
To accommodate shooters’ needs, the club
distance marksmen’s greatest
the riﬂe range only reached
continues to expand. A new shed was recently
ally is his riﬂe’s scope, and
out a paltry 250 yards.
purchased and customized to serve as a registration
today’s top-end optics can
As the interests of the
and scoring room, and a second, shorter range has
cost more than $3,000.
members changed, so did the
been built on the hill above the 800-yard range. It
Several different styles
club. In the early 1990s, the
provides opportunity for target practice out to 200
and classes of long-distance
riﬂe range was lengthened,
yards. Bob says the plan is to eventually add covered
shooters enjoy the range at
ﬁrst to 300 yards, then 400
shooting benches like those on the larger range.
Big Piney. Among them are
and eventually on out to 600
Through all of the changes and countless hours
members of the International
yards where the club now
spent volunteering through the years, Bob says he’s
Benchrest Shooters, which
has a covered shooting line
proud that so many marksmen ﬁnd the club worthy
sanctions events at the club
of 20 benches. Members, of
of a long drive in order to give it a shot — literally.
each year. According to Bob,
which there are about 225
“I just love the place,” he says.
the range is wide enough
today, continued to ask for
to accommodate up to 42
more distance until eventuThe Big Piney Sportsman Club is located about four
shooters per relay.
ally the 800-yard distance
miles east of Houston on Highway B. The ﬁrst-year cost
“To have the ability on
for new members to join is $55. To learn more, visit
any day of the week to just
Bob, who retired from the
www.bigpineysportsmansclub.com or contact Robert
decide I want to go shoot
U.S. Department of Defense
Lyons at 573-674-4633 or email@example.com.
half a mile, that’s a pretty
after a 35-year career at Fort
On July 27-28, the club will host two IBS-sanctioned
Leonard Wood, says the
No matter the distance — shooters at Big Piney amazing thing,” says club
600-yard benchrest matches. More details are available
member Sean Hagerty of
appeal of slinging lead long
Sportsman Club can test their skills out to 800
on the club’s website.
Laquey. “It’s a lot of fun.”
distances is the challenge it
yards — the object still is to hit the bull’s-eye.
by Jason Jenkins
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - July 2013
Rural Missouri - July 2013
That old-time religion
Out of the Way Eats
Hearth and Home
Keep it cool
On the banks of Bull Shoals
Rural Missouri - July 2013