Muzzleldrs Learning how to shoot Civil War muskets

poorjack

Corporal
Joined
Jul 17, 2015
Location
NC
I know this isn't "exactly" on topic, but it bears publicizing and this is a great place for it, eh Mike?

Well a group of us started an effort to work with kids doing instruction in black powder muzzleloading prior to Covid and we got in one successful summer. Then the Covid put the brakes on us. We're back now and going at it even harder. This week, we've been to two Scout camps- Raven Knob and Bud Schiele, both in NC. We've worked with 29 kids this week from WV to FL and plan to work with similar numbers through the entire summer each week.

The guns we use are a couple personal PRB rifles, but the one we use for the vast majority of our actual instruction are 1863 Remington replicas aka "Zouaves" donated by PJ Kelly of the N-SSA. We also use donated powder and caps from Schutzen Energetics, THANK YOU TAMBI!!! During our "lecture" part of the sessions, we cover the history of muzzleloading and since we are N-SSA competitors, we use quite a few Civil War arms for illustration and allow the kids to handle Sharps, Maynards, Henrys, Remingtons, Enfields, and more. The kids are always amazed at the range of arms used in the War and they have a fantastic time shooting muskets.

So a couple pix-
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Reverend Ron

Private
Joined
Dec 11, 2018
Location
Raccoon Ford, Virginia
I am thrilled to learn that someone actually followed up on this. I went thru the same clinic to become an NRA Certified Muzzleloading Instructor, but because of liability few ranges are keen to host kids at their facilities. For that reason, I have decided to install my own range behind the church and just start teaching kids myself on my own property. That way I set the rules, pick the dates, put the word out etc. I have the range design all worked out just need a dump truck load of clean dirt to fill in the back stop.
Way to go gentlemen!!!
 

poorjack

Corporal
Joined
Jul 17, 2015
Location
NC
I am thrilled to learn that someone actually followed up on this. I went thru the same clinic to become an NRA Certified Muzzleloading Instructor, but because of liability few ranges are keen to host kids at their facilities. For that reason, I have decided to install my own range behind the church and just start teaching kids myself on my own property. That way I set the rules, pick the dates, put the word out etc. I have the range design all worked out just need a dump truck load of clean dirt to fill in the back stop.
Way to go gentlemen!!!

Ron-
We're in process of setting up a cadre of qualified instructors through the NMLRA. We'd be glad to have you on board.

When working with youth, in particular BSA, as long as you use their range, follow their procedures, and have their stipulated credentials (NRA/NMLRA Instructor), then BSA insurance is operative.
 

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
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Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
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Reminds me of some of the fun we had at the range outside Corinth, Mississippi during last Fall's CWT Muster; above and below guest attendee Tom Moss instructs the shooting of his Henry Rifle to some of our members.

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Above and below, Mike @Rusk County Avengers instructs Bobby @bdtex in loading and firing his Mississippi Rifle while @Rick Featherston "supervises."

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Story

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Location
SE PA
I know this isn't "exactly" on topic, but it bears publicizing and this is a great place for it, eh Mike?

Well a group of us started an effort to work with kids doing instruction in black powder muzzleloading prior to Covid and we got in one successful summer. Then the Covid put the brakes on us. We're back now and going at it even harder. This week, we've been to two Scout camps- Raven Knob and Bud Schiele, both in NC. We've worked with 29 kids this week from WV to FL and plan to work with similar numbers through the entire summer each week.

I regret that I have only one 'Like' to give to your post.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
A few years back I made a visit to the Chickamauga Battlefield. While there the Park Ranger on duty at the time gave a presentation about the process of loading and firing a CW rifle. In fact there were two Rangers who alternated in giving the presentation--one in a gray uniform...the other in blue. They emphasized the numerous steps which had to be executed in precise order. As he got to each step he would emphasize that reports from many participants in the battle that to a man they had all reported that this particular battle perhaps because of the tree cover which contained the sound and magnified it, was the loudest battlefield that they had ever witnessed. This was from men who had been at Shiloh, Stones river, Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, etc. The Ranger would then emphasize that the report would be LOUD. Finally having successfully loaded his weapon he reiterated one last time that the sound would be LOUD. He then raised the weapon and pulled the trigger.
Every one of us levitated at least 10-12 inches in the air. Because it truly was LOUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

CaptSpook

Private
Joined
Apr 13, 2020
It's great to see some of the older folks out there teaching the youngsters about loading and firing muskets. (I hope you're showing them how to clean them too). Anything to draw them away from computer games and other hi-tech nonsense if only for a moment. Plus, it can spark (no pun intended) their curiosity about history. Your efforts will likely pay off in very good ways for these kids.
 

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
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Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
Old West Trip, Nov. 2010 007.jpg

A few years back I made a visit to the Chickamauga Battlefield. While there the Park Ranger on duty at the time gave a presentation about the process of loading and firing a CW rifle. In fact there were two Rangers who alternated in giving the presentation--one in a gray uniform...the other in blue. They emphasized the numerous steps which had to be executed in precise order. As he got to each step he would emphasize that reports from many participants in the battle that to a man they had all reported that this particular battle perhaps because of the tree cover which contained the sound and magnified it, was the loudest battlefield that they had ever witnessed. This was from men who had been at Shiloh, Stones river, Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, etc. The Ranger would then emphasize that the report would be LOUD. Finally having successfully loaded his weapon he reiterated one last time that the sound would be LOUD. He then raised the weapon and pulled the trigger.
Every one of us levitated at least 10-12 inches in the air. Because it truly was LOUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am reminded by this of seeing such a demonstration on the U.S. Army's artillery base and school at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, just outside the very excellent museum there. (I don't recall any actual firing though.) Note that those being instructed are active-duty personnel armed with conventional modern rifles.

Old West Trip, Nov. 2010 008.jpg
 

rebracer

Sergeant
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Location
Southern Louisiana
I am glad yall are doing this as keeping an interest in black powder shooting is very important. I am hoping you also discussed cleaning with the students as this is probably the most important aspect of BP shooting, the proper cleaning procedures.
 
Joined
May 1, 2015
Location
Upstate N.Y.
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I am reminded by this of seeing such a demonstration on the U.S. Army's artillery base and school at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, just outside the very excellent museum there. (I don't recall any actual firing though.) Note that those being instructed are active-duty personnel armed with conventional modern rifles.

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Your second photo looks like he is walking into the firing squad:giggle:
 

poorjack

Corporal
Joined
Jul 17, 2015
Location
NC
So here's a couple more from this week. Camp Raven Knob. Since our curricula covers the span of muzzleloading rifles, we do spend some time with patch round ball guns. In the case where we have the chance to work 1v1, it's possible to get in some quality marksmanship instruction. Once the round ball part is over, on to the muskets! Since I used to be in the reenacting/living history world, I usually wear my accoutrements while instructing. The haversack holds extra supplies I might need on the firing line. My cartridge and cap boxes hold ammo and caps which are issued one at the time to the student as the loading process goes on. And yes, I know a glengary hat is not terribly authentic but it did exist at the time and I wear it to honor my Scottish lineage and the clan crest is my mother's clan. Also, it's easy to pick out in a crowd scene photo :D -

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A word here about what's going on. When explaining how to aim, the difference between sight picture and sight alignment needs to be demonstrated.

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poorjack

Corporal
Joined
Jul 17, 2015
Location
NC
A few years back I made a visit to the Chickamauga Battlefield. While there the Park Ranger on duty at the time gave a presentation about the process of loading and firing a CW rifle. In fact there were two Rangers who alternated in giving the presentation--one in a gray uniform...the other in blue. They emphasized the numerous steps which had to be executed in precise order. As he got to each step he would emphasize that reports from many participants in the battle that to a man they had all reported that this particular battle perhaps because of the tree cover which contained the sound and magnified it, was the loudest battlefield that they had ever witnessed. This was from men who had been at Shiloh, Stones river, Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, etc. The Ranger would then emphasize that the report would be LOUD. Finally having successfully loaded his weapon he reiterated one last time that the sound would be LOUD. He then raised the weapon and pulled the trigger.
Every one of us levitated at least 10-12 inches in the air. Because it truly was LOUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We once did a living history at part of the Chickamauga/Chattanooga park. The ranger was giving us a "safety" brief on muskets. Uhmm, ok. Yeah, guns are loud. Yup, it shoots fire out. As for the noise levels, when we are instructing where there are covered firing points, it is quite loud compared to the little hollow at Camp Raven Knob.
I am glad yall are doing this as keeping an interest in black powder shooting is very important. I am hoping you also discussed cleaning with the students as this is probably the most important aspect of BP shooting, the proper cleaning procedures.
Part of the deal clearly laid out as we start- we don't mind you shooting our guns and ammo, but yer gonna clean up! Ain't no discussing cleaning, they get hands on experience at cleaning.
 

Noonanda

Private
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Location
Fredericksburg Virginia
I know this isn't "exactly" on topic, but it bears publicizing and this is a great place for it, eh Mike?

Well a group of us started an effort to work with kids doing instruction in black powder muzzleloading prior to Covid and we got in one successful summer. Then the Covid put the brakes on us. We're back now and going at it even harder. This week, we've been to two Scout camps- Raven Knob and Bud Schiele, both in NC. We've worked with 29 kids this week from WV to FL and plan to work with similar numbers through the entire summer each week.

The guns we use are a couple personal PRB rifles, but the one we use for the vast majority of our actual instruction are 1863 Remington replicas aka "Zouaves" donated by PJ Kelly of the N-SSA. We also use donated powder and caps from Schutzen Energetics, THANK YOU TAMBI!!! During our "lecture" part of the sessions, we cover the history of muzzleloading and since we are N-SSA competitors, we use quite a few Civil War arms for illustration and allow the kids to handle Sharps, Maynards, Henrys, Remingtons, Enfields, and more. The kids are always amazed at the range of arms used in the War and they have a fantastic time shooting muskets.

So a couple pix-
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Pat Kelly is a great guy and the reason Im now in the NSSA
 

SgtDarby8OVI

Private
Joined
Jun 30, 2021
This looks like a great event for everyone involved. Despite discharging hundreds of blanks over the course of their careers, many reenactors have never shot live rounds out of their rifle muskets. Our unit remedied that in 2019 by having a "live shoot" at one of our member's property. It was quite successful not only because we got to fire some Minie balls out of our Enfields and Springfields, but also thanks to the plethora of other historic weapons that guys brought to share. The funny thing is that because of a typo in the original e-mail, the 2019 event and the one being held next weekend on the same property will forever be known as "the love shoots."
 
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