NRA Muzzle Loading Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun competition allows any safe black powder firearm to be fired in competition. In certain tournaments the matches can be used as a vehicle for tryouts and membership on the U.S. International Muzzle Loading Team. Depending on the firearm used, the bullseye matches are generally fired at distances of 25, 50, and 100 yards or meters in the standing, sitting or kneeling, and prone positions. Muzzle loading trap shotgun competition is fired at 5 and 8 meters.
NRA Black Powder Target Rifle competition allows any safe original, modern production or custom variety black powder rifle to be fired in matches at distances of 100 to 1,000 yards. The courses of fire use the same targets as NRA High Power Rifle competition. Black Powder Target Rifle competition also complements the existing NRA Black Powder Cartridge Rifle silhouette competition shooting program.
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Many individuals interested in black powder competition find it difficult to get started unless they start off with the proper information. The cost of equipment is generally a stumbling block. Many feel that unless they have the best of everything they cannot compete. This is not true. Most start with a minimum investment in a black powder firearm (new or used), spotting scope with stand, sling, glove, shooting coat, shooting box, and most important, eye and ear protection. It is also advisable to have a current copy of the NRA Muzzle Loading Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun Rules or the NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Rules.
Section 3 of the NRA Rule Books defines authorized equipment and ammunition. This section is not meant to restrict equipment but to define it.
MUZZLE LOADING RIFLE, PISTOL, AND SHOTGUN – Generally, any safe muzzle loading firearm is allowed in NRA Sanctioned Tournaments.
SIGHTS – The sights on muzzle loading firearms should be contemporary to the firearm. This includes aperture sights.
AMMUNITION – Only sporting grade black powder or Pyrodex® may be used. Special care should always be taken when handling black powder or Pyrodex®. Smoking is not allowed and all powder containers must be covered when powder is not being poured from them. Powder charges should be contained in pre-charged containers. Depending on the firearm used, either lead round balls or bullets can be used.
BLACK POWDER TARGET RIFLE
RIFLE – Any safe, original or modern production or custom variety, breech loading rifle that is designed as a single-shot firearm is allowed. Original or modern muzzle loading rifles, with or without sealed ignitions, are also allowed. There is also a special category for Black Powder Military rifles that have not been altered from their original configuration.
RIFLE SIGHTS – Any metallic sights, with or without clicks, including open, aperture or tube are allowed. No optics other than sight-correcting shooting glasses, rear sight diopters and colored, non-magnifying sight filters are permitted. Black Powder Military rifles must have sights basically of original design.
AMMUNITION – Any cartridge originally designed as a black powder rifle cartridge is allowed, including .40-60, .45-70, .50-70, and others. The ammunition may be fixed, breech-seated, or loaded from the muzzle. Sporting grade black powder or Pyrodex® may be used and, in breech loaded ammunition only, 20% of the powder charge may be smokeless powder. Any lead or lead alloy bullet may be used. As with muzzle loading firearms, caution should be used when handling loose black powder or Pyrodex®.
There are several accessories that every competitor should have to enjoy competitive shooting. Some of the most common and useful ones are:
- Shooting Box or Kit – Some means is necessary to transport your accessories to and from the range. This can be as elaborate as a leather case or as simple as a large box or cloth bag. The choice will depend on the type and amount of shooting you do.
- Specialty Equipment – Shooting mat, shooting coat, glove, sling, kneeling rolls and other items too varied to mention. Some of this equipment can be essential, depending on the type of competition.
- Spotting Scope/Stand – This is the most important equipment after the rifle and rifle sights, allowing you to check your target from a distance. Spotting scopes are precision optical instruments (often you get what you pay for). Scope stands should be suited for the job you will want them to do.
- Gun Case – Used to protect your rifle as you travel to and from the range. Necessary in some areas to comply with local laws.
If your local gun shop does not carry the type of competition equipment you want, check with competitors at the tournaments you visit or at your local gun club. Also check the American Rifleman and Shooting Sports USA for competition equipment in the classified advertisement sections.
COURSE OF FIRE
NRA Muzzle Loading Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun competition is held over a variety of distances and courses of fire. Rifle and pistol competition can be held at either yards or meters with the properly scaled target. Shotgun competition is held exclusively at metric distances. Match competition can be as quick as a single stage of 5 shots in 30 minutes or longer over the four target rifle aggregates. Shotgun competition lasts for 60 minutes with the competitor firing at 25 birds in a single stage of a tournament.
The competition could involve firing from different positions, prone, sitting or kneeling, and standing, with caplock rifle, flintlock rifle, and rifled musket.
NRA Black Powder Target Rifle competition is made up of two basic courses of fire. At 100 to 600 yards, matches are fired standing, sitting or kneeling with crossed sticks, and in the any position depending on the target and distance. Competitors have 30 minutes to fire up to four sighting shots and 10 shots for record.
At distances of 800, 900 and 1,000 yards, competition is fired in the any position. Competitors are allowed 30 minutes to fire 10 shots for record. The competitors are also allowed an unlimited number of sighting shots which may be fired before going for record.
A group of matches added together for a total aggregate score is called a tournament. They can be held locally, state-wide, or in specific regions. Section 7 of the NRA Rules Book discusses the courses of fire that are used in NRA sanctioned competition.
For additional information, please call the NRA Rifle Dept. at (703) 267-1475.