Powders are carefully measured and poured into the bores of the rifles. Lead projectiles are set at the bores of the rifled-muskets, tapped in slightly before ram-rods follow, in a clatter, to pack the powder as solid as possible for a consistent burn-rate. The percussion cap is placed over the nipple cone and the hammer is retracted. The rifleman takes aim at the target, steadying the long gun before squeezing the trigger.
Once a month, a half-Saturday is pierced by the sharp reports of muzzle-loaded rifles and the space beyond the firing lane’s red-line is filled with thick white smoke – all that remains of the sulfuric black-powders, such as Hodgon and IMR. The monthly competition is held by the Bayou Muzzleloaders; a group of men and women who wish to preserve the old-school techniques and heritage of muzzle-loading for generations to come. Most of the participants operate cap-lock mechanism rifles and revolvers; but, there is the occasional flintlock, and inline rifles are also allowed.
This past July, the State Championship was held with the ability for shooters to participate in multiple classes for shooters to enter. For example, there was a hunting class, two classes for women’s shooting and a few youth classes. Prizes and ribbons were announced to those ranked in the top-three in each class. Included are a few photographs of the members doing what they love while at the Championship shoot. The regular monthly shoots take place at the Woodworth Shooting Range every third Saturday.
The Bayou Muzzleloaders members are hugely dedicated to spreading knowledge about the sport and the traditions. They are avid instructors of firearms safety and muzzle-loading to those who wish to learn how to properly shoot and maintain muzzle-loading firearms. Most of them are outdoorsmen and partake in other trades, as well; such as knife-making and tanning. The group is also actively involved with supporting youth shooting sports, such as with 4-H and the Youth Hunter Education Challenge events around Louisiana.
The arena of shooting sports is extremely diverse. It isn’t simply made up of 3-Gun and tactical, black rifle-laden sporting events or classes. I found watching muzzle-loading to be relaxing. I can say the same about participating with a period-specific rifle against other people. It was a rush to do something different. I needed that break from the monotonous handgun shooting that I regularly do. It was a rush and it was humbling to jump into an element of firearms that I wasn’t familiar with. If you have been thinking about it or have an old rifle in the closet, but haven’t had anybody to shoot with, then look for a local organization. Get out there and join up.
For those out of Louisiana, the Bayou Muzzleloaders would love to see you at their future shoots. Give them a holler.
Second Amendment Guarantee Act (SAGA Act – H.R. #3576, Chris Collins N.Y.) – Legislation specifically targets Restrictive states that go beyond, via regulation, what the Federal level mandates on firearms controls. Collins has specifically spoken out about the New York SAFE Act when mentioning the point of his legislation.
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