Home on the Range

Tour­ing High Bar Homestead, a shoot­ing en­thu­si­ast’s par­adise

Firepower - - CONTENTS - TEXT & PHO­TOS BY CHRIS TRAN

Re­cently, World of Fire­power was in­vited to at­tend an ex­clu­sive me­dia-only event at High Bar Homestead in April, 2017. Nine other me­dia and press per­son­nel and I at­tended a three-day pro­duc­tion that show­cased some new and out­stand­ing prod­ucts from

Grey Ghost Pre­ci­sion, Hor­nady Man­u­fac­tur­ing, Le­upold Op­tics, Si­lencerco, and Tac­ti­cal Night Vi­sion Com­pany.

Be­ing a very small fish in a big pond of “who’s who” in the firearms in­dus­try, and an av­er­age shooter at best (more on that later), I have never ex­pe­ri­enced such rock­star treat­ment at a press event in my short time as a writer. I owe the ex­pe­ri­ence to the gra­cious­ness of event spon­sor TNVC and the to­tal ex­pe­ri­ence pack­age of­fered by the Homestead.

Once the event was over, I had an op­por­tu­nity to speak with Kelsy Gon­za­les, one of the staff mem­bers at High Bar Homestead, who pro­vided me with some back­ground and con­text of what the High Bar Homestead ex­pe­ri­ence truly is. Be­fore we delve into the event it­self, let’s put the com­pany into con­text.

Chris Tran (CT): How did High Bar Homestead (HBH) come to be?

Kelsy Gon­za­les (KG): My friend and hunt­ing buddy Drake Clark had been look­ing for land in Wy­oming for the past 10 years. He wanted a place for his fam­ily to es­cape to on the week­ends and to call home in his later years. In April of 2016 Drake set­tled on a 250-acre spread that had pre­vi­ously been the old Sure­fire small arms train­ing academy. Drake was look­ing for some­one to man­age the prop­erty full-time; that's where I come in. Shortly af­ter clos­ing the deal and mov­ing into the prop­erty, we re­al­ized there was a busi­ness op­por­tu­nity. I wanted to share the land with peo­ple who would truly ap­pre­ci­ate not only the scenery and firearms per­spec­tive but the op­por­tu­nity to par­take in an all-in­clu­sive venue that re­quired lit­tle to no headache in busi­ness/ plea­sure lo­gis­tics.

CT: Can you ex­plain your over­all mis­sion phi­los­o­phy?

KG: The an­swer is twofold. First, of­fer a se­cluded lo­ca­tion with all-in­clu­sive ser­vices from ground trans­porta­tion to and from the air­port, top-notch food, amaz­ing lodg­ing, a dozen-plus ranges, and ac­cess to the en­tire prop­erty via on-site off-road ve­hi­cles. Whether our cus­tomers are firearms in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als or a group of guys look­ing to do a bach­e­lor party, we pro­vide a turnkey so­lu­tion.

Sec­ond, pro­vide a va­ri­ety of firearms-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties. So of­ten today ranges are fairly bland, flat and mun­dane. Our dozen-plus ranges and close to 1,000 steel tar­gets al­low cus­tomers to ac­cess a va­ri­ety of shoot­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. This in­cludes a 2,000-yard range, paint­ball and Simu­ni­tions shoot house, sub­ma­chine­gun and pis­tol cour­ses, nat­u­ral ter­rain pre­ci­sion ranges, shoot tower, 1,000-yard known dis­tance, and a 1.5-mile walk­ing course with over 100 tar­gets. We only of­fer one flat range with more than 30 tar­get stands. Ev­ery­thing else is steel and very unique.

CT: Be­ing that HBH is a des­ti­na­tion ex­pe­ri­ence for shoot­ers, can you de­scribe the ben­e­fits of­fered for shoot­ers or com­pa­nies who sign up for the HBH ex­pe­ri­ence?

KG: I've men­tioned sev­eral al­ready. The all-in­clu­sive price, 40 miles north of Gil­lette, means [we’re] close to the air­port and town but far enough away to be very pri­vate. The new lodge ac­com­mo­dates groups of up to 30. Not your bor­ing old ranges, with sig­nif­i­cant va­ri­ety, scenery be­yond beauty and a first-rate staff. CT: Does HBH have a tar­get mar­ket? What is unique about HBH that sets it apart from other lo­ca­tions? Are there other sites that com­pare to or ri­val what HBH has to of­fer?

KG: Our tar­get mar­ket con­sists of two ma­jor groups. Firearms in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als look­ing to host me­dia events, sales meet­ings, VIP re­treats, mar­ket­ing video and photo shoots, matches, prod­uct launches and em­ployee train­ing. Pri­vate groups for events such as fam­ily re­unions, wed­dings, bach­e­lor/bach­e­lorette par­ties, and “man-cations.”

We’ve built a venue that of­fers so much more than other “stay where you play” ranges. From the comfy mem­ory foam mat­tresses to the top-notch food, you feel like you're on va­ca­tion ev­ery minute. Va­ri­ety is king from a firearms per­spec­tive. We con­trol the vari­ables we can con­trol and that's al­ways the first pri­or­ity.

No doubt there are other ranges out there that of­fer sim­i­lar ser­vices. I'd be hard pressed to be­lieve any would em­brace the spirit of the West while of­fer­ing a to­tally unique ex­pe­ri­ence the way we do. We are look­ing to ex­pand busi­ness to the off-road ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers and en­thu­si­asts in 2018. The

“a 250-acre spread that was once the Sure­fire train­ing academy.”

goal be­ing to of­fer both four- and two-wheel off-road cour­ses with all the site lodg­ing, food and trans­port as well.

CT: I was amazed at the diver­sity of ranges, shoot­ing sta­tions, and ex­pe­ri­ences avail­able for our group. There were sev­eral sta­tions that we didn’t even get to de­spite the multi-day event. Can you give us a run­down of the sta­tions and cour­ses of fire avail­able?

KG: There’s more than a dozen ranges, and I could talk about them all day.

Pre­ci­sion Ranges:

Quigley’s Rig: This is an 1,800- and 2,000-yard range marked by a 1961 GMC 2 ½-ton flatbed. The shoot­ing po­si­tions con­sist of sev­eral prone lo­ca­tions and spot­ter po­si­tions in the rear of the truck. There is an el­e­va­tion in­crease of 300 feet from the shoot­ing lo­ca­tion to im­pact zone [for] both the 1,800- and 2,000-yard man sized tar­gets.

1,000-yard known dis­tance: This shoot­ing po­si­tion con­sists of five ’50s and ’60s farm trucks, two 1953 Chevys, a 1969 Dodge, and two 1959 Fords—all of which have two shoot­ing benches in the beds. The trucks have had ad­di­tional sta­bi­liza­tion to cre­ate a solid foun­da­tion. Hand­crafted stairs lead to the back of each truck for ease of en­try. The range has im­pact zones and mul­ti­ple steel tar­gets in hun­dred-yard in­cre­ments out to 1,000 yards. This range al­lows for the shooter to re­move the ma­jor­ity of the vari­ables in un­der­stand­ing data for their ri­fle. It is by far a crowd fa­vorite.

Car­bine ranges

Dixon’s Out­look: This is a nat­u­ral ter­rain range that sits atop the high point at High Bar. With 20+ steel tar­gets, the shooter can en­gage tar­gets out to 600 yards with both high- and low-an­gle en­gage­ments across the val­ley.

There are mul­ti­ple shooter po­si­tions in both the prone, kneel­ing and stand­ing po­si­tion with sup­port in ad­di­tion to benches.

Di­a­mond Cabaret: Near the top of one of the taller foothills, DC of­fers high- and low-an­gle shoot­ing at more than 20 steel tar­gets out to 500 yards. Shooter po­si­tions con­sist of mul­ti­ple prone ar­eas.

White’s Hill: Set at the base of a small knoll and nes­tled amongst the Pon­darosa pine. This shaded area is a crowd fa­vorite with mul­ti­ple shooter po­si­tions and close to 30 steel tar­gets at ranges from 200 to 500+ yards. The Roost: This 40-foot shoot tower looks down upon a field of 20 steel tar­gets at dis­tances be­tween 200 and 250 yards.

Pis­tol

Johnny’s Bone­yard: Named af­ter John Noveske, this range is a roughly 1.5-mile sin­gle-track trail. It’s not for the faint of heart. With more than 100 steel tar­gets and vary­ing ter­rain through­out, the shooter can ex­pect to en­gage tar­gets any­where be­tween 15 and

150 yards. The Bone­yard starts near Johnny’s Bone Shack, a me­mo­rial to John Noveske set in a sage brush prairie. Once the shooter makes his way up into the draw, the ter­rain changes into lush green for­est fed by a nat­u­ral spring. Past the spring, the ter­rain changes to thick forested foothills.

Ho­gan’s Al­ley: This is a fast-paced, high-tar­get range. Set in a 3-acre stand of 10-year-old Pon­darosa, this range is lit­tered with steel tar­gets. The shooter moves down the cen­ter, en­gag­ing steel tar­gets on the left and right.

The Shoot House: This 20-room Simu­ni­tions and paint­ball shoot house in­cludes a movie theater, class­room, and bus-en­try sce­nar­ios. There are also sev­eral ve­hi­cles that add to the of­fer­ing. The ex­ter­nal walls of the shoot house are live-fire ca­pa­ble. There are dozens of tar­gets that al­low shoot­ers to run the out­side perime­ter, where they will find half-ipsc drop tar­gets.

Shot­gun Ranges

Dayl’s Draw: This is a fun course set at the bot­tom of a 200-yard draw that sits sub­sur­face to the rest of the prop­erty, and is lush with hawthorne bushes and plum trees. The shooter will run down a sin­gle-track trail and en­gage fall­ing steel tar­gets along the way.

Puller’s Point: This range al­lows for shoot­ing car­bine or shot­gun. A mix of steel tar­gets can be en­gaged with a car­bine out to 200+ yards. Near the shoot­ing po­si­tion there’s also a clay throw­ing sta­tion for trap and skeet.

100-yard Flat Range: This is the only flat range on the prop­erty. At 150 yards wide and with dozens of tar­get stands and steel tar­gets, this hun­dred-yard flat range can host 40 shoot­ers at once.

CT: Is there any­thing else you would want read­ers to know about HBH be­fore they book a shoot­ing ex­pe­ri­ence?

KG: We at High Bar strive to ad­dress ev­ery need of our cus­tomer prior to their ar­rival. There are a few things that our cus­tomers will be re­spon­si­ble for: air trans­porta­tion to the Camp­bell County air­port, firearms, and am­mu­ni­tion. Ev­ery­thing else is taken care of by us. Whether you’re a firearms in­dus­try pro­fes­sional look­ing for a venue to host your next event, or a reg­u­lar Joe look­ing for a guy’s week­end away, we pro­vide a turnkey so­lu­tion. When Gon­za­les de­scribed High Bar Homestead as a “turnkey so­lu­tion,” he wasn’t jok­ing. Ev­ery­thing is taken care of. Once I de-boarded my plane and got my lug­gage, I boarded a char­tered bus for the guests and com­pany reps. Once at the Homestead, we were greeted by the HBH staff, given an ori­en­ta­tion of the 100% brand-new lodge (Gon­za­les later told me that the staff was lit­er­ally clean­ing up con­struc­tion residue and sweep­ing saw­dust up the morn­ing of), found our bunks, and had the rest of the day to so­cial­ize, set­tle in, ad­mire the grandiose views, and eat some won­der­fully home­cooked food.

The staff was pro­fes­sional, at­ten­tive but not over­bear­ing, and very clear in their de­sire for us to feel at home and re­lax. I felt more like I was at a friend’s get­away cabin rather than at a high-end me­dia event, right down to the “What­ever is avail­able in the fridge is yours” com­ments.

The even­ing cul­mi­nated in pre­sen­ta­tions from each of the com­pa­nies present: Grey Ghost, Le­upold Op­tics, Tac­ti­cal Night Vi­sion Com­pany, Hor­nady Man­u­fac­tur­ing, and Si­lencerco.

On Day Two, we awoke for break­fast, a safety brief­ing, and short pre­sen­ta­tions from each com­pany on the prod­ucts they wished to show­case. The weather was beau­ti­ful—crisp, cold, clear, and the morn­ing sun of­fered a bit of warmth as it rose in the sky. We spent the morn­ing shoot­ing on the 1000-yard known dis­tance range. One of my fa­vorite ranges of the event, our shoot­ing plat­forms were in the beds of the ’50s and ’60s-era trucks. The truck beds pro­vided a sta­ble, slightly el­e­vated shoot­ing plat­form with sturdy, com­fort­able benches and plenty of space to move around. Grey Ghost Pre­ci­sion ri­fles in .308, 6.5 Creed­moor, and 300BLK were plen­ti­ful, and those plat­forms in con­junc­tion with Hor­nady ammo and crys­tal-clear Le­upold glass made for a great time.

Af­ter a lunch break, we broke up into two shooter groups for the af­ter­noon and had a chance to al­ter­nate be­tween Johnny’s Bone Yard walk­ing pis­tol course and an awe­some Ho­gan’s Al­ley course of fire. Si­lencerco’s Maxim 9, a full-auto MP5, and Grey Ghost Pre­ci­sion’s new Glock slide plat­forms were the stars of the show.

Af­ter din­ner break and a pre­sen­ta­tion from Tac­ti­cal Night Vi­sion Com­pany on night vi­sion fun­da­men­tals, we bun­dled up and headed out for night vi­sion shoot­ing, led by Chip Lasky and Don Ed­wards. Both for­mer SF op­er­a­tors, they led us through an awe­some fa­mil­iar­iza­tion course of no-light fire that let us all ex­pe­ri­ence the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of TNVC’S prod­ucts, and an op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence the su­pe­ri­or­ity of B.E. Meyer’s MAWL plat­form. It’s safe to say that for all of us with lim­ited ex­pe­ri­ence un­der NV, the ex­po­sure was quite lit­er­ally eye-open­ing.

Af­ter a cou­ple hours, we ex­pended all the ammo for the night and headed back to the lodge to thaw out, have an adult bev­er­age or two, and set­tled into the amaz­ingly com­fort­able beds.

Day Three was our fi­nal full day of events, and we all loaded into Po­laris Quad Run­ners and tra­versed up and through the rolling hills and mul­ti­ple acres of HBH to the Di­a­mond Cabaret and Dixon’s Out­look pre­ci­sion cour­ses. Shoot­ing prone at no less that 450 yards, we got to en­joy the pre­ci­sion, ac­cu­racy, and re­li­a­bil­ity of Grey Ghost Pre­ci­sion’s ri­fle plat­forms, and many of us started to test our own skills at dis­tance. Af­ter a lunch break, the sec­ond half of the day­light hours left were spent at Puller’s Point, The Roost (a 40-foot tower), and White’s Hill Pre­ci­sion Course. The high­light for me was get­ting solid shots on steel at 100 yards with Grey Ghost Pre­ci­sion’s Glock slide plat­forms. Those pis­tols se­ri­ously per­form. I was also notably im­pressed with the co­or­di­na­tion, pro­fes­sion­al­ism and laid-back at­ti­tude of all the HBH staff. They were ex­traor­di­nar­ily ac­com­mo­dat­ing and shooter safety was al­ways at the fore­front.

As dark­ness fell on that fi­nal night, we headed back in for an in­dul­gent steak din­ner, and then we were back to the 1,000-yard known dis­tance range, perched atop truck beds to shoot us­ing clip-on NV set­ups. This was a first for me, hav­ing never used ded­i­cated clip-on NV scopes be­fore. Ring­ing steel at 750 yards in to­tal dark­ness was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. If an av­er­age shooter like my­self could ac­com­plish that, I can’t imag­ine the ter­ror of be­ing on the re­ceiv­ing end of such me­chan­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties for en­emy com­bat­ants fac­ing trained Spe­cial Forces op­er­a­tors. Truly awe­some.

High Bar Homestead is truly a des­ti­na­tion venue and an all-in­clu­sive turnkey so­lu­tion. Wy­oming’s beauty is one thing, yet matched by the mod­ern yet cozy ac­com­mo­da­tions that HBH has cre­ated. It truly is a shooter’s par­adise with more diver­sity in cour­ses of fire and range set­ups than one could hope for. There were sev­eral ranges we didn’t ex­pe­ri­ence (the one with school buses and room struc­tures, for ex­am­ple) and I’m try­ing to scheme a way to get back to them.

Whether it be for tac­ti­cal train­ing, en­thu­si­ast shoot­ing, pre­ci­sion cour­ses (such as the re­cent Ca­bela’s/mag­pul CORE shoot), cor­po­rate get­aways or fam­ily events, High Bar Homestead is a shooter’s dream come true. Cur­rently, I’m dream­ing of Wy­oming.

“a shooter’s par­adise, with more range set­ups than you could hope for.”

High Bar Homestead of­fers all the com­forts of home and breath­tak­ing scenery.

The au­thor takes aim at the 1,000-yard known dis­tance ri­fle range.

Which one would you grab first?

More than a dozen ranges in­clud­ing ri­fle, pis­tol, and shot­gun are avail­able to High Bar Homestead guests.

Grey Ghost Pre­ci­sion, Hor­nady Man­u­fac­tur­ing, Le­upold Op­tics, Si­lencerco, and Tac­ti­cal Night Vi­sion Com­pany of­fered prod­uct to shoot and test at the event.

The Homestead cod­dles its guests in the lap of luxury.

The view from the top of Dixon’s Cabaret, a rocky out­look nested among Pon­derosa pine.

What better way to spend the week with your friends than on a tac­ti­cal out­ing on the range?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.