Back To Basics

by John White

The family that shoots black powder together has a really great time

So, neither rain or no rain; nor wind or no wind; nor flooding or none of that too; nor fog – or no fog – dark of night; nor storm; nor supernovas and other celestial events – at 6:00 in the morning – or any combination would hinder or interfere with The Talking Rock Black Powder Shooters shoot.  Beautiful day for those that laughed at the weather challenge and still came out.  We had eight shooters, two new ones, who have never shot with us before.  Attendance seems light you say? Nope.  We sent nine shooters to the 30th annual Alvin York Over The Log Shoot in Pall Mall, Tennessee (see pics here) and had at least 8 regulars that had previously said in advance that they had family plans or travel conflicts so they would be missing.  We had weather threats all week that never came through.  We had a 6:00 AM storm that blew through and just left the range wet.  It was a warm, sunny, breezeless day – the best shooting weather.

Lacy’s first time out muzzleloading shooting. She placed well in the scoring.
Congrats, Lacy.

We did our off hand and bench shoot categories.  Steel plates at 50 yards and the NMLRA six bull at 25 yards.  Back to basics folks, hit your targets.  Shooting season is upon us.  We had our moisture troubles with the flinters, and dirty guns in both percussion and flint.  Black Powder just makes it that way and we work through it.  It is a group of great folks that just helps everyone through it – loan tools, help, give advice, and just make sure to reduce a person’s frustrations and desire to just give up and come back another day.  The story telling folks do to make lite of the frustrations just makes the day better.

Landon had a very good day shooting his Hawken style muzzleloader

Scoring Results:
Off Hand
1st – Brad Thomas
2nd – Chris Greene
3rd – Keith Heitzman

1st – Landon Bell
2nd – Tim Coleman
3rd – Lacy Bell

Just to point out a little item here in the bench category,  Landon and Lacy B are brother and sister.  Folks, neither of them drive!  And another note – you will see that their father Don is not listed in the final results.  Sorry dad, but i think you got a couple of shooters there.  You might work on your game while they are in school. 

We had percussions, flinters and inliners participate in the event

So our typical cast of characters had our usual number of dry balls (5), flint fails, knapping flints, changing flints, failure to fire, but we had many times heard, but never seen before, the actual culprit during failure to fire.  One of our shooters had struggles all day with popping a cap.   I mean FAILED – 10 or more.  Just threw the cap away after multiple hits and beatings from the hammer falls.  Multiple hits, changed nipples, cleaned and just struggled with the conclusion of a batch of bad caps.  Other shooters loaned some of their caps and then those failed to ignite, so ‘back to the gun’ folks went, as they helped.  Next it seemed a slow hammer fall was the reason, as it just did not seem to smack the cap with the necessary force to ignite it.  So we studied the hammer, cleaned around it and someone said what is that in the hammer face well?  Five spent caps!  Those spent caps created a cushion while striking the live cap making a small “fwap” sound as those spent caps created a shock absorber.  Cleaned those out and the rifle resumed firing. Nothing but smiles finishing out the shoot. 

Pedersoli,1977, percussion. Rx: 40gr FFF, .445″/.010″ ball/patch
Chris’ rifle

So to all that came out including Mike (on scoring) and Barney (on range officer and helper) thank you. It was a beginning threat of a weather day before we started but once we started shooting we never looked back and it was a fun filled enjoyable day.  To Landon and Lacy, keep practicing, your dad is going to.  Thank you for both of you coming out.  It seemed you enjoyed yourself and we all hope your dad gets you both new guns.  We hope to see you back next month.

Take care all, be safe and healthy.  See you next month April 22nd. 

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