|Meeting RKB The father of 3 Gun
Meeting LTC (ret) Robert K Brown
I have e-mailed RKB a few times through the years, while I was writing the first edition of the Book.
But a little background first, back in the late 1970’s early 1980’s I started reading Soldier Of Fortune magazine, Reading SOF Highly motivated me to Actually Join the Army! In 1982 and also got the Desire to shoot 3 GUN in my head!!! I did not get to shoot a 3 Gun match until the mid 90’s. My Point is that Robert K Brown and SOF has mentored me through my life time, and Meeting RKB and having the opportunity to spend some time with him has some special personnel meaning.
I got to meet him briefly at the 2018 NRA Convention in Dallas, He invited me to come hang out at the NRA Whittington Center with his Group of Deplorable’s!
The week before Labor Day 2018 I was able to get time off from work and I’ll be able to drive in Wed stay Thus and Friday and drive home e on Saturday.
I have all my 3 Gun Stuff in my Car and my Long-range 6.5 Creedmoor, Savage GSR. Just in case I get a chance to shoot the White Buffalo 1123yards!
I have shot the RM3G 7 times and the trip up to the NRA Whittington center is nothing new, yet the 10+ Hour drive has become a pilgrimage of sorts starting the trip in the dark, Up through Abilene TX area with the Windmills a towering sight in the day light and an interesting sight in the dark as the Red Lights blink at the same time on all of the windmills. In some places as far as the eye can see. Through Snyder TX, Post TX a place I have stopped for Breakfast at the McDonald many times. Then passing through Lubbock and Amarillo with the Smells of Money in the air. From Cattle and Pump jacks from the oil industry fill the air. Through the Cotton fields, past the many Cotton Gin’s To Dalhart TX, and just after Texline TX the landscape begins to change and the Mountains are to your front as you drive west to one of the best if not The best Locations in the country to Shoot and Hunt The NRA Whittington Center.
Going to shoot my Favorite 3 Gun Match the RM3G, after the last of the SOF 3 Gun matches ended the RM3G match stepped in to fill the gap!
I got in to Raton NM Wednesday afternoon checked in to my Hotel the Best Western (They have a great Breakfast)
And had Dinner with the JJ and Denice Johnson they run the 3 Gun matches at the NRA Whittington Center. We had a good visit and BBQ Dinner at the newly opened Ice house in Raton. Great Company and Friends those 3 Gun people! We had a good time catching up!
Thursday morning after Breakfast I head on over to the NRA Whittington Center, another familiar trip just 10-15 min ride and up to the guard shack, I popped my head in, Patrick was on Duty he says Hi JIM!!??? They knew I was coming, and knew my name! I was Shocked! Signed the range waver and was on my way over to Competitor housing, the Barracks of the Deplorables! They are dorm style rooms facing a common kitchen with bar a stools facing the stove and sink area, Col Brown was not out and about yet and I made small talk with the group of men that I have not met before, Steve S, Jerry K, and Harry Claflin, Jerry K got me up to speed on Harry, that back in the DAY,, he was on the SOF, CIA and El Salvador payroll all at the same time! Interesting! I must say as all of them were past Military Men, and My Self being a 20 Year Army Veteran Fire Support Platoon Sargent. My fitting in happen quickly.
I little while later Col Brown Comes out to the Kitchen area Says Hi, shakes my hand, and goes about getting a cup of coffee and some breakfast,, then says,, “Hey I’m not trying to be rude” (Not visiting with me a lil bit I guess) “I’m just trying to get some Coffee and Breakfast” I’m thinking in my head,, No problem I get it! And then he says, “If that offends you, Fuck YOU!” For any of you with no Military Background I will tell you that was as good a welcome as any Combat Arms type could ever ask for. No Offense taken!
After a bunch or small talk and this and that I find out that they go shoot Trap! Every morning. I have never shot Trap and I have my 3 Gun Benelli M2 with me and I’m all in! Ok I’m ready to embarrass myself lets do this. Jerry Kraus is gracious enough to bring me up to the line and show me the game. 5 positions 5 shots from each position then the group shifts to the right, 25 shots in all! OK I shot 2 rounds got 20 out of 25 the first time and 19 out of 25 the second time! I’m not unhappy with those results as my only other experience shooting flying clays are in the RM3G on the Holly Shit shotgun stage that just about every other steel target triggers a clay to fly in some direction.
After Trap I wanted to try my shot at the “White Buffalo” The WB is a steel target at 1123 Yards it is huge but it has a Circular plate in the center of it. My guess is 18 in. I have shot it in the past but with a JP Enterprises Rifle at a Side match during the RM3G. I wanted to shoot it with My Rifle with MY handloads and MY scope dope. That I worked up myself. I had not shot this rifle for a few months it has been in its case the only preparation I did was re work my Scope Dope to 6000 Feet of Raton NM from the 1100 feet of Central Texas. So we get to the range I pull my Rifle and a spotting scope out of my Car set it all up. Look at my Scope Dope one more time and decide to hold 10.5 Mills. I put three rounds in the magazine and rack the bolt putting one in the chamber, I have to say shooting in front of people in not new to me but shooting in front of this group of Military Experience was on my mind and I didn’t want to embarrass myself. I got a good position and held my 10.5 Mill Hold on my H591 Horus Recital, and squeezed the trigger. The 143GR 6.5 Hornady ELD was in Flight a little more than 2 seconds later I see the 18in plate move from the Bullet impact and about 3 seconds after that I heard Donk! Of the Impact!
On the Outside I’m trying to be all cool and casual about it, but on the Inside I’m pretty excited a Cold bore shot, after the Gun had been in the case for a few months. Inside I was doing a happy Dance that would blind anyone’s Mind’s eye!
I got back on the gun and did it two more times. Donk! DONK!! Pulled the mag put a few more rounds in the magazine, then some of the group took some shots and also made Hits! For me that was/is Satisfying knowing that I had done my Homework and made the grade! My Gun, my Loads, My Scope Dope.
I spent the afternoon at the Zero Sight in range. Doing some homework on some other guns mounting a scope or two, Crono some ammo, zeroing and making up some Scope Dope cards/,
That evening the Group of Deplorable’s went in To Raton for dinner it was a Good Group and Good Conversation!
During my Visit to Raton, and Visiting the Johnsons I was very Surprised to find out The Jonson’s did not know RKB! Shocked, I just thought that seeing after the last SOF 3 Gun matches ended at the Whittington Center and that The Johnsons took up the match and had been running it for many years that they all knew each other. NOPE.
I get to Competitor Housing (The barracks) and am having a cup of Coffee hanging out in the Kitchen just normal Morning stuff. I have arranged an introduction of RKB and the Johnson’s, all goes as well as can be expected and better! It seems the RM3G match has had some issues with the Use of some of the areas the match takes place. That being in the back country the stages being shot out in natural terrain and not on square ranges, This type of Stage has been a Cornerstone of the SOF match and has followed on to the RM3G match format. RKB is a Board member of the NRA, and is also on the Board of Trusties of the NRA Whittington Center. The Johnson’s and RKB were deep in conversation detailing the issues. RKB Has Gotten involved in this situation I hope the use of the Back Country for 3 Gun and precision rifle matches can be resolved. So that these matches can be held at this Wonderful facility.
And then to the Morning ritual of Shooting Trap! We Shot 2 rounds of Trap, had a great time and enjoyed the Camaraderie. After trap it was Lunch time and we had a good lunch at the Gunslinger It is a restaurant at Whittington Center co-located with the Shotgun center.
Having taken a Picture of three of us eating during Lunch I sent the Picture to Bob! One of the guys we shot Trap with two days in now, I ask Bob Hey give me your Cell # I’ll send the Pic to you, So he hands me his Business card, Boy do I feel foolish, Bob is Robert Mansell also a Member of the Board Of Directors for the NRA. Bob M and RKB have some Business meetings they have to attend after lunch a I invite Bob Mansell to head to one of the Ranges at Whittington that have many Steel targets after his meeting. To show him some of the tools of the Sport of 3 Gun I can’t help myself always trying to plant the seed of 3 Gun whenever I can. He has seen my 3 Gun Shotgun shooting Trap! Yes it’s an ODD Bird on a trap range. I showed him and had him shoot my 3 Gun Rifle a Frankenstein AR-15 and my Hayes Custom 9mm Pistol 6 in Barrel. All went well if we lived closer I would make a point of Dragging him out to a 3 Gun match! Bob a Good shot I’m sure he would do well and have 3 Gun fun!
As my Visit with RKB and the Group of Deplorables was counting down The Whittington Center was having its Annual Get-together that brings in many Whittington Center members they have many Activities and also a Dinner. RKB and the Deplorables’ and the Johnsons all Sat together and had a great time. After Dinner I said my Good bye’s to the Group and to RKB! Being able to spend time with someone who helped shape the direction of your life with their work As SOF, and 3 Gun has makes times like these Special. It was an Honor and a Pleasure. I hope to be able to make it to more Get-togethers of RKB’s Deplorable in the future.
Photography by; Yvonne Morris