Photos by Timothy Devine
The days when 300 yards was considered extremely long range are over. Now, thanks to better rifles, scopes, rangefinders, and bullets, 500 yards is more like it. But there is a small subculture of shooters to whom 500 yards is a piddling distance scarcely worth a round of ammunition. These are the people who have harnessed the power of the immense .50 Browning Machine Gun cartridge and transformed it into an instrument capable of shooting with eerie precision at distances that are usually associated with track meets rather than riflery.
John Yenason and Wendy Henry belong to the fraternity of .50 BMG shooters, where everything is oversize, hyper-powered, and far, far away. Yenason is a wiry, dark-haired heavy-equipment contractor who took up the .50 in 1992. He shoots one in benchrest matches at 1,000 yards and hunts with it, too. Wendy Henry, his fiancÂ¿Â¿e, is a tall, willowy woman who walks with the toes-out waddle of the ballerina she has been all her life. With no prior shooting experience, she took up the .50 in 1998. She competes and hunts alongside John. I had a chance to visit and shoot with th6em at their home in rural Pennsylvania, and they took me on a tour of their arcane world, where glory lies way out yonder.
Photo by Field & Stream Online Editors