Unlike many other areas of the country, Texas is still blessed with lots of open land. For shooters, that means lots of opportunities to reach out a little farther with your long gun. Within 45 minutes of my place on the Hays/Blanco County line, there are four ranges I know of that go out to at least 1,000 yards. Lots of landowners have ranges at those distances as well. Maybe it’s just my circle, but I know a whole lot of people who take long range shooting seriously.
Given all that opportunity and interest, I’ve been surprised that there are relatively few long range rifle matches held in our area, especially compared to other, more populated parts of the country. That’s why I’m stoked about the upcoming 12 Hundo In Hondo match coming up March 30th and 31st at the Valdina Ranch right outside of Hondo, Texas.
This one is a little different than other long-range style matches I’ve seen. First, it’s a team only match. It’s also very much set up as a “real world” match. There’s no stage walk-through prior to the shoot and no artificial props. You’ll use the terrain and property as it is.
There’s a reason it’s called “America’s best endurance team challenge match”. You and your teammate will be walking a little over six miles of Texas Hill Country with all of your gear. When you get to your stages, you’ll have to find your targets and make your decisions right then, with the clock ticking.
That’s the “endurance” part. But check the team part as well. This is a two-gun event. One of you will engage targets with an AR-15 out to 600 yards. The other team member will engage targets with a bolt gun out to 1,200 yards. The AR can be chambered in any AR-15 format caliber, such as 5.56 NATO, .300 BLK, 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel, etc. AR-10 rifles or chamberings will not be allowed. For the bolt guns, bring anything you want with the maximum caliber being .300 Winchester Magnum. Full rules here.
Check out the full gear list, but note that electronic range finders of any kind are a no-go. You’ll have to figure your holds the old fashioned way, using your eyes and your reticle. You can carry binoculars and spotting scopes and two different tripods along with wind gauges, shooting maps and all sorts of gear. But remember, you’re rucking that as well as all your water for the entire course. Choose wisely, because you have a total of four hours to finish the course.
The entry fee for each team is $525. That’s not cheap, and I had to look at the wallet a few times before signing up, but that’s the team cost, not the per-person cost. On top of that, the entry fee includes very nice lodging there at the ranch and all of your meals for Saturday and Sunday. It also includes the open bar steak dinner awards ceremony on Sunday.
The Valdina Ranch, where the match will be held, has a pool and a bar, as well as a 5-station shotgun range that any of the competitors can use outside of match time. Maybe somebody there can teach me to shoot a shotgun.
There are plenty of sponsors and prizes from MDT, Proof Research, Hawkins Precision, Manners Precision Stocks, US Optics, ZRODelta, TXT Custom Gun Works, HopticsUSA, Peak Case (they did the amazing case on my Ruger No. 1), J. Allen Enterprises and Tactical Walls.
I’ll definitely be competing, although my teammate and I haven’t decided which one of us will be shooting the AR and which will be shooting the bolt gun. I’m more comfortable with the AR, so I’m hoping to push myself a bit and shoot a new bolt-action rifle in 6mm SLR that should be done in the next month or two.
This should be a fun one, and a little different than other events out there. I’m really looking forward to it. If you’re in the area, or just willing to travel for a great event, I hope to see you there, and I hope your team scores almost as good as mine.