After winning last year’s King of 2 Miles competition – a three-day Extreme Long Range match featuring some of the best shooters from around the world – returning to compete this year was very exciting and highly anticipated. Knowing that no previous winning team has ever made the finale the next year definitely added an extra level of pressure. My team at Manners Composite Stocks decided to take a similar approach as we did last year. Running raw horsepower, simple strategy and minimal gear is easy to manage on the clock and makes for easy transitions between targets.
I had two goals for this match. One was to make the finale. Just making it into the top 10 qualifiers would have been a win to me, just to break history. The second was to clean the qualifying run. Last year we only missed one shot and I know that the course of fire is cleanable under good conditions. This year they changed the match up a bit; they made some target sizes smaller and they changed how many people they put in the finale. This year, the top 20 percent of competitors were awarded finale slots, which meant that up to 16 competitors would duke it out for the finale run! A lot can change in those rounds when the point value of targets is so high. With ranges starting at 2,614 yards and heavy multipliers, you’d better be on your game for the finale run!
I WAS RANDOMLY picked to run on day one. My conditions weren’t great but they weren’t too bad either. Just enough condition changes to keep you on your toes. We had a decent run but not what I wanted.
They put many of us team shooters real close together and that put a major rush when our slot was up to shoot. So my run started with me running the wrong profile on my solver. My teammate Tom Manners was just up before me and I had his profile still on my phone, so the cold bore shot was way off! I saw it hit really low in my scope and quickly milled the difference to determine how much I was off. I saw about 2 mils and knew there was a major issue. Instead of making a correction on the fly for the first target, I decided to take the time to go through my phone to see what I could find. I went to my other profiles and saw one that told me to add an additional 1.9 MRAD. I knew this would get me on target.
I used the excellent Hornady 4-DOF app, which is incredibly accurate and super easy to use. In fact it’s so easy to use, I got complacent and made a mistake. When I duplicated my profile to build Tom Manners’ profile, I didn’t rename it so I pulled his up on accident. That may explain his first wild shot. This is what the time constraints of competition can make you do.
After putting my faith in this profile, I went to target one and achieved a first-round hit after my SWAG of a wind call since I got a risky call from my cold bore. We got a few
hits there and were able to progress to all of the other targets and get hits on them all along the way. That run ended up as the best run that day and put me in first place. That gave me a boost of confidence that I would make the finale.
THE CONDITIONS FOR day two would be what decided my fate. When day two came around, there were definitely some great runs. Paul Phillips, Derek Rodgers, Bryan Litz, Walt Wilkinson, Mitch Fitzpatrick and the other known contenders made good runs and all placed within the top 10. They had some great conditions and didn’t waste any time making the best out of it. I knew I would have to perform on the finale to be able to keep up.
On the final run, we still did pretty good; we achieved a first-round impact on target one with some following impacts. We hit target one more than any other shooters. Unfortunately, I didn’t get on target two within my allotted rounds; I had to go into my 2 mile rounds to buy in to proceed. We moved up from fifth to a real close second place finish. Less than the value of one target separated us from the win. I couldn’t let myself get too down and we at least crushed our goal of making the finale.
Overall we were very happy with our performance and finish. Not only making the finale but bringing in a podium finish was icing on the cake. Another thing that made me proud was that most all of the top ELR competitors were in the finale, making it a run against the titans. Many of them I look up to and respect, so it was special to me to be able to shoot alongside those guys. I was also happy to give a respectable finish to my sponsors. I run gear not as popular in that discipline, so it means a lot to show that the gear is competitive in that field as well. Along with our company, Manners Stocks, we represented Bushnell, Badger Ordnance, RCBS, Hornady, Bartlein Barrels, Cutting Edge, and Armageddon Gear. It is all gear I know I can trust across shooting styles.
We are looking to make another run in 2020 and we’re hoping to sustain our royalty status. This bug has bitten me and I’m ready to do some more. Anytime you can pull the bang switch, watch the bullet fly, and see an impact over five seconds later is always a thrill. I’ll keep with the PRS circuit that I normally compete in, but will be putting a few ELR events on my calendar and hopefully get tuned up for next year.
Until next time, I hope to see y’all on the range!
Editor’s note: For more on the King of 2 Miles competition, see the July issue of American Shooting Journal.
Story by Robert Brantley
Photos by Bill Griffis