Tactical Life reports that Walter Wilkinson, a 56-year-old from Edgewood, NM, has secured the Hunter Class Score World Championship title at the Fifty Caliber Shooters’ Association World Championships.
When most people look at Wilkinson’s massive Steyr HS.50 long-range precision rifle, they think, “Holy crap! That thing’s huge!” In the world of .50-caliber marksmanship, however, Wilkinson’s gun is comparatively dinky.
This rifle really isn’t that much different from a fresh, out-of-the-box Steyr HS.50. Sure, he equipped it with a Nightforce NXS 5.5X-22X 56mm scope and gave it a custom paintjob, but past that it’s bare bones. To put things into perspective, his rifle weighed in at a mere 30 lbs., which is well short of the 50-lb limit.
Wilkinson trumped his 31 competitors, many of whom were packing much more accessorized and customized rifles. His final score was 274-6X, just two X’s higher than the second-place competitor.
This is the second year in a row that a simple Steyr HS.50 has won the Hunter Class; Eduard Abril de Fontcuberta took the award last year. The Steyr also has a three-year streak helping shooters secure first place at the 600-Yard Practical Match win at the World Championships.
Wilkinson explained that it took a while for him to fully grasp how great the rifle was, because it was performing better than he had ever could have imagined. He said, “As I was working up a load for the HS.50, I shot groups that amazed me. They were the best groups that I have ever shot in my life—and they were with the .50 BMG!” He added, “I didn’t expect that kind of accuracy … I didn’t know what to think.”
We’ve learned two things from this. First, William Wilkinson is an amazing shooter. Second, we’re going to have to add a Steyr HS.50 to the top of our shopping list.