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 Houston 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 Thursday evening. 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 tactical skills. 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 was established. for new members to join is $55. To learn more, visit any day of the week to just Bob, who retired from the or contact Robert decide I want to go shoot U.S. Department of Defense Lyons at 573-674-4633 or 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 14 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - July 2013

Rural Missouri - July 2013
That old-time religion
Natural nest
Long-distance lead
Out of the Way Eats
Hearth and Home
Keep it cool
On the banks of Bull Shoals
Retro renovations
Infamous ancestry
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - July 2013