Taking aim

Muzzle loaders’ National
Spring Shoot set for June 13-21

Period games and activities
at Living History Center

Staff Report

(June 2009) – The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association in Friendship, Ind., will hold its week-long celebration of all things relating to the sport and history of muzzleloading June 13-21. Black powder shooting competitions, Early American living history demonstrations and classes, museum displays, youth activities, and some of the finest commercial vendors in the muzzleloading community will be available to see.
The National Spring Shoot is an opportunity to view an important part of our nation’s heritage in operation. The event grounds are located in southeastern Indiana about forty miles from Cincinnati. Public attendance is welcome and encouraged.

Historic participants

Photo provided

The most colorful
aspect of the Nationals
is the interactive
living history program featured in the Primitive Encampment-Living
History Center,
Participants wear
period costumes and
set up period campsites.

• Eighteenth and early 19th century crafts abound in the “Living History Center: The most colorful aspect of the Nationals is the interactive living history program featured in the Primitive Encampment-Living History Center. Located on the banks of Laughery Creek, this area serves to remind visitor and participant alike of the importance of the historical heritage behind the sport of muzzleloading.
At various times throughout the Nationals, visitors might be treated to the sounds of French Canadian harmonies, fife and drums, Early American songs, or hammer dulcimer and bagpipe music. Scheduled programs and traditional crafts artisans include an heirloom seed dealer, a wigwam display, woodworking, a frontier scout horse encampment, weaving, 18th century medicine, and many more demonstrations in camps scattered throughout the Living History Center grounds. Classes and workshops include ones devoted to the arts of painted floor cloths, bowmaking, blacksmithing and leatherworking.
Special activities are planned for children, including butter churning, bead stringing, an archaeology class, a Native American-style pottery class, period games, costume try-on, and candle dipping! Period foods will be featured, including homemade root beer, perfect for a warm and sunny June day.
• Rand House Museum Displays: The NMLRA Rand House Museum welcomes several guest exhibitors for the National Spring Shoot
The National Rifle Association, Rex Patterson, Mike Gingher and Jeff Jaeger will all have antique firearms and accoutrements on display. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 13-20.
• Rex Patter-son’s collection focuses on the unique, revolutionary rifles of John Hall. Hall received a contract from the United States government in 1819 to produce weapons for the Army. He had many ideas to improve the gun making process, including 100 percent interchangeable parts.
Hall produced the first military weapon of percussion ignition, the 1833 Carbine, which also had the first ramrod bayonet. The truly unique thing about Hall’s weapons was that they are loaded from the breech. It was no longer necessary to be standing to load a gun.
Jeff Jaeger, current Vice President of the Indiana Antique Arms Collectors Association, will be bringing a large collection of firearms, including a circa 1840’s Indiana-made fullstock which garnered a “Top Ten Award” at the 2008 National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting in Louisville, Ky., where hundreds of fine antique firearms were displayed from around the country.
• Exciting Firearms Competitions: National-class competitive muzzleloading shooting is a strong focus of this gathering. As a special feature this year, the National Rifle Association will be bringing their Muzzleloading Championship matches to the National Spring Shoot.
The NRA and NMLRA have teamed up to bring many new competition opportunities, as participants can now compete in the NRA National Muzzle Loading Championships and at the same time shoot the NMLRA’s National Spring Shoot. Try to win an NRA National Champions-hip and set NRA national records, all while shooting for NMLRA honors, too. There are so many matches that there is truly something for shooters of all skill levels, and with all types of muzzleloading equipment.
On June 15, Larry Pletcher will be filming gun locks in high speed (5000 frames per second) with the assistance of Norman Baumgartner from Olympus. A lock that takes 1/500th of a second to fire will be slowed down to about a minute of film giving you the opportunity to see what really happens when the sparks fly! CDs will be available for those who have their locks filmed.
To see truly fine examples of craftsmanship, visit Gunmaker’s Hall during the Nationals. Exhibited at this facility are some of the finest examples of modern gunbuilding by today’s master craftspeople. Gunmaker’s Hall also sponsors a series of lectures during the Shoot.
• Shopping Opportun-ities: The Commercial Vendor area features a myriad of muzzleloading guns and supplies for the serious shooter or the enthusiastic beginner. Many rows of booths offer merchandise ranging from guns and gun parts to books, period clothing, leather goods, and other supplies relating to the sport. The Commercial Vendors offer a wonderful opportunity to listen and learn from the experts in the hobby.
Handicap parking is available. No pets are allowed except assistance animals. Gate hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 13-21. Admission is charged for visitors 16 and up, and a portion of the parking fee benefits the local American Legion.

• For more information on the NMLRA’s National Spring Shoot and the living arts programming, contact the MNLRA at 1-800-745-1493 or visit: www.nmlra.org. For directions to the site, and information about hotel and motel facilities and other area attractions, contact the Ripley County Tourism Bureau offices at 1-888-747-5394 or visit: www.RipleyCountyTourism.com.

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