Tumbleweed Smith
Tumbleweed Smith

Bill Poor owns Flatland Forge near Tuscola, Texas. He has won several international awards for his blacksmith work and he manufactures tools for blacksmiths. His items go all over the world.

“When we’re not doing that we’re shooting in precision rifle competitions,” says Bill. “There are lots of those in Texas. We really like to play shoot ‘em up. I think it’s just part of being a Texan. We try to have a good time, that’s for sure.”

He has set a record for shooting a bullet a long distance. “I did shoot a bullet three miles. I’m one of only a few guys to shoot a bullet that far. There’s one other guy that has beat me. He’s up there in Michigan and hit a target nearly three and a half miles away. But I was the first one to shoot a target three miles away.”

He says you need a good telescope mounted on your rifle to be able to shoot that far. “You have to have good glass, good optics. Leopold has some of the best optics out there and they sponsor me. That’s a really good scope that enabled me to see the target that far and get it sighted in.”

You don’t shoot a bullet three miles in hilly country. “That’s why I go out to Midland and Odessa to make a shot that long. I have a couple of buddies who have ranches that are more than four miles long. You’ve got to have a pretty flat place to shoot that far.”

He enters all types of competitions. “A lot of them are in Midland and Odessa. We have a couple here; we have a new range out here almost to Winters, Texas that’s a thousand yards long. We do some pistol competition at the Coleman County Gun Club. Abilene has some short range shooting events. I’ve entered a competition in Raton, New Mexico where we shoot at targets two miles away.”

He had a special rifle built to shoot a bullet three miles. The bullet looks like a missile. He showed it to me. “That’s a 400 grain solid copper bullet moving at 3,200 feet per second when it leaves the barrel. It goes supersonic. I shot it with a 408 military style rifle built by Robert Vestal who makes custom guns in Virginia.”

Windage and other factors are available at his fingertips using his cell phone. “We have all this modern technology that tells you what you need to know. I use a 30-dollar app called a ballistic app. When you give it the information about where you are, the air, wind, humidity, elevation, altitude and environment it’ll tell you what you need to do to hit the target.”

To say that Bill is a good shot is an understatement. We stood outside his gun room and saw a bird fly up about 50 yards away. He got it with a pistol. He has a selection of powerful guns and uses them on hunting and shooting ranches around the state.

Bill shoots bows and arrows, too, and wants to set a world record with a crossbow, shooting an arrow 700 yards. “I’m working on it. I’ve had a couple of goes at it and I keep improving.”