NRA Whittington Center

The NRA Whittington Center is an absolute gem of American shooting. I’ve always been looking for an excuse to blog about the world renowned shooting center for a while, but this short video recently posted by Nosler Ammunition highlights the center in a way that I’ve never seen before. They’ve used some high quality footage of shooters, and combined it with some excellent drone shots of the area to put together an awesome video overview of the entire place.

The center was founded in the 1970s, and exists in this grey zone of ownership by the NRA. On its own, it is its own entity, business, etc… However the NRA has a certain amount of actual ownership in it, and I forget how this is. Either it is owned by the Board, or as a sort of tax write off, I’m not entirely sure. Regardless, the center has nothing to do with the political aspects of the NRA, and has everything to do with shooting sports, hunting, and LE training. It boosts over 18 ranges, everything from silhouette, muzzleloader, handgun, 1000 yard, and extreme long distance. It has the big three of shotgun sports, Trap, Skeet, and Five Stand. All these ranges are massive in size, many of them able to accommodate hundreds of shooters down the line. In addition, the center has 38,000 acres of land on which anything from guided hunts, to private hunts can occur on.

I wish the place occupied a much larger portion of the shooting world, like how Knob Creek or IPSC has done. I think it has to do with the NRA connection and all the political baggage that brings, in addition to how the NRA is viewed in the shooting world, when it comes to some of the more interesting training and competitions out there. The center has a range or area that could host just about anything of interest in today’s shooting world.

My personal association with the center was through a summer camp called “Adventure Camp”. I went there as a teenager in 2007 or so (the camp has been in continuous operation since the 1990s), and returned the next year as a camp counselor. This was really my introduction into firearms, as it went through every discipline of shotgun,rifle, muzzle-loader. Every discipline was divided into two day sections, where campers were taught, practiced, and qualified. The finale was a guided hunt in the woods, shooting at paper silhouettes of various animals along a trail. You had to identify what was legal to take, and what wasn’t, according to a sheet of what was in season. This drill was after every camper become Hunter Education certified. The camp was two weeks long, and is about $800 dollars for a teenager to attend. There are also various scholarships and sponsorship’s available, so some kids get to go for free. If you have teenagers, I would absolutely recommend looking into this sort of thing, it is a great introduction to the shooting sports, extremely heavy on safety procedures, and every instructor there is NRA qualified in their particular discipline.

A view from one of the mountains on the center, the 1000 yard range is on the right. All the land in view is apart of the Whittington Center.

A view from one of the mountains on the center, the 1000 yard range is on the right. All the land in view is apart of the Whittington Center.

A view onto the High Power silhouette range.  The white dot on the hill midway up, is a white painted buffalo at 1000 or so yards.

A view onto the High Power silhouette range. The white dot on the hill midway up, is a white painted buffalo at 1000 or so yards.


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

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  • Tiru Maru

    What white dot on the hill midway up?? The old eyes aint what they used to be….. : (
    Good thing for the buffalo I guess…. lol

    • LV-426

      Yep here’s a close up.

      • Tiru Maru

        So it is… thanks… : )

  • TVOrZ6dw

    This must be how heaven looks…

  • Mike N.

    Was there in 2013. The only downside of the Whittington Center is that it is in the middle of nowhere. The range itself was great but everything else was miserable. You can’t even get good cell reception (data) in Raton, though maybe that has changed in the last two years.

    The buffalo is cool though, it’s 1025 meters or 1123 yards from the firing line. You need a heavy hitter to hear it ring though, it was hard to tell hits with my little 6.5x47L.

    • Paul White

      Raton still sucks for pretty much everything, but damn it’s in pretty country

  • Ken

    I drove by it in 2007 on my way to Philmont as a Boy Scout. It really is a beautiful part of the country.

  • So can you shoot your legally owned machine guns there?

    • milesfortis

      Yes, I have done so on many occasions.
      About the only thing you have to do is let the management know about it in advance, but just that, nothing more.

  • LV-426

    I spent a lot of time out there when I was going to school in the area. The High Power silhouette range is a ton of fun, we would shoot it offhand and bet on shots against each other. The white buffalo is a blast. There is a lot of steel out there to shoot with rifles (no 223 or magnums that’s the rules on this range) And after you shoot all the heavy steel animals you drive down there and set em up again. It’s really addicting and you can spend a small fortune in ammo even if you do reload. It’s almost always erratically windy out there. If you do plan on going, check the website to see if there are any events or range closures before hand, and also call the front desk to verify. Other than that, bring everything you got and a ton of ammo because there are ranges for every discipline just about. I really miss shooting out there. Need to make a trip again. It is a special place.

    • You went to TSJC, didn’t you? 😉

      Spent a lot of time there, myself.

    • LazyReader

      Yeah, you’d think they’d put a fake tree cell tower

      • LV-426

        Hahaha true that Sir! My life out there revolves nothing with cell phones..

  • LazyReader

    two things to love Architecture and guns.