Celebrating America’s Muzzleloading Heritage

Jim Pottee breaking the high-house four clay with a muzzle loading shotgun.In the midst of the Great Depression, an offhand comment sparked a flurry of good-natured ribbing. The kidding grew serious and escalated into an outright challenge. A muzzleloading shooting match offered the only true means of resolution. The modern revival of muzzleloading competition began with that first match, held in Portsmouth, Ohio on February 22, 1931.

Today, this dynamic sport is led by the dedicated members of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, state associations, like the Michigan State Muzzle Loading Association, and a host of local black powder clubs. The black powder shooting sports encompass a wide range of activities dedicated to preserving, promoting and celebrating America’s rich firearms heritage.

Each “Black Powder Shooting Sports” article examines and explains a specific aspect of this enjoyable pastime: from line matches to primitive skills demonstrations, from educational outreach programs to fine-tuning a smokepole’s accuracy, and from living history re-enactments to the artistic side of custom gun building.

2016 Michigan Outdoor Writers Association James A. O. Crowe Award: Best Outdoor Column.

“Abuzz with Anticipation” features the Gunmaker’s Match at the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association’s Walter M. Cline Range in Friendship, Indiana. The highlight of this particular match was the contrast between Larry Horrigan’s 4-bore wall gun and Roy Scott’s .25-caliber Southern Mountain rifle.

“An afternoon African safari” won the 2016 Michigan Outdoor Writers Association James H. Hall Award. The article delves into the world of muzzleloading double-barreled express rifles made famous on the big game hunts in India and Africa. Find out who survived the charging water buffalo…

“Keeping the Spirit Alive” touches on the life of Roy “Pa” Keeler and his impact on the black powder shooting sports both here in Michigan and on the national level. I was humbled and honored with induction into the Spirit of Roy Keeler Society in July of 2010.

“The ‘Popsicle Match'” offers a lighthearted perspective on the good-natured kidding and camaraderie that is typical of the black powder shooting sports. The bantering and bickering is all feigned, but the laughter and enduring smiles are real. And who knows, maybe you might win a popsicle?

Availability for Publication

The “Black Powder Shooting Sports” column appears monthly in Woods-N-Water News: Michigan’s Premier Outdoor Publication. The stories are available, complete with supporting photographs, for print publication in non-competing markets, either on a stand-alone basis or as a monthly or bi-monthly column.

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