INCREDIBLY LONG SHOTS
Rifle|January - February 2021
DOWN RANGE
Mike Venturino

Back in 1874, there were supposedly two incredibly long-range shots made by frontiersmen in fights against Native Americans. The best known one was by bison hunter Billy Dixon at a fledgling settlement in the Texas Panhandle named Adobe Walls. In June, several hundred Comanche, Kiowa and Cheyenne warriors attacked Adobe Walls. Twenty-eight people, about half of whom were bison hunters, fighting from behind walls repulsed the warriors. After Billy Dixon’s death early in the twentieth-century, his widow wrote his biography, said to be based on the stories he had related to her about his very interesting life. It was titled Life of Billy Dixon.

In the book, it is stated that a few days after the battle a group of Native Americans appeared on a mesa over 1,500 yards away. Resting a borrowed .50-90 Sharps over a window frame, Dixon was said to have knocked one off his horse.

A couple of months earlier in Montana during what was called “The 1874 Yellowstone Wagon Road and Prospecting Expedition,” there supposedly was another fantastic long-range shot. That expedition consisted of about 150 frontiersmen who traveled by wagon and horseback from Bozeman, Montana, east almost to Tongue River before circling back westward. During the several months of the expedition, there were several pitched fights with Sioux and Cheyenne warriors. The one of interest here happened on Lodge Grass Creek on what is now the Crow Indian Reservation. Reportedly, during a skirmish an expedition member named Jack Bean rested over a wagon wheel, took aim at a warrior said to be over 1,700 yards distant and fired. A few seconds after the report of his Sharps .44, the man fell off his horse, wounded or killed.

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