Whether you want to become a professional gunsmith, hone your skills or pick it up as a hobby, the NRA has got you covered

Become a gunsmith with NRA's Short-Term Gunsmithing School

You're a shooter. You're fascinated with guns and want to learn all there is to know. You want to be able to repair, modify, design and build firearms... and have them work when you pull the trigger. It sounds like you want to become a gunsmith. If you're concerned you don't have the time to learn the necessary skills, worry no longer. The NRA Short-Term Gunsmithing School can teach you the trade at affiliated colleges in the United States over the course of several days to a couple weeks.

The program is constructed to provide individuals with the opportunity to take courses at a convenient pace without attending school full-time. Generalized around basic gunsmithing fundamentals, the classes are designed to build an educational foundation to better understand the trade. Though predominately adhering to the needs of beginners, the school also encourages professional gunsmithers to enroll in classes to improve existing skills while learning new techniques.

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Fourth grader paints vivid entry for NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest

Grizzly bear entry to the NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest by David Starovoytov of California

Fairfax, Virginia - Now that the George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest's deadline has been moved back to November 9 because of Hurricane Sandy, students have a little more time to finish up their work.

For weeks now the the stack of envelopes and boxes has been huge and continues to grow each day. It's clear that each artist put a lot of work into their drawings for a chance to win some of the $7,000 in prizes.

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Young artists compete for $7,000 in prizes this fall in NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest

California's David Zheng enters black bears into NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest

Fairfax, Virginia - The entries for this year's George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest just keep rolling in now that the deadline is a couple weeks away. If we could highlight each and every entry, we'd do it, but for now we can only bring you a handful of the ones that catch our eye.

For this next entry we're going to move up to the oldest group, Category IV - for students in tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades.

David Zhang from San Jose, California sent us this outstanding painting of some black bears titled Bears at the River. Done on canvas, David showcases his amazing skill as a painter, making the bears appear as if they could walk right off the image.

Being in Category IV, David will be up against some strong competition, but it looks like he's up to the challenge. We'll see how David, Category IV and the rest of the contest's entries fare when our judges come to look at it all in just under a month.

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Distinguished Experts in rifle, pistol and shotgun from California, West Virginia and Kentucky

NRA Youth Programs Coordinator Samantha Olsen sent us the following on this year's Isaacs Challenge Program winners — an acknowledgement of those who excel in the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program.

The Isaacs Challenge is made possible by the generous donation of the Isaacs family to the NRA Foundation. The Isaacs Challenge Program is designed to encourage individuals to expand their shooting experience and clubs to expand their shooting programs by providing an incentive to shoot several different shooting events in the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program.

There are individual and NRA club awards with the Isaacs Challenge Program. In the individual award category there is an award rifle for the individual who achieves the most Distinguished Expert (DE) ratings in a calendar year and also the Isaacs Challenge Certificate for each individual who achieves three or more Distinguished Expert ratings in a calendar year.

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Girls Guide to Guns founder Natalie Foster's first visit to the NRA

Natalie Foster from Girls Guide to Guns at the NRA National Firearms Museum offices with Charter Arms serial number 1

Fairfax, Virginia - We first met Natalie Foster at the 2009 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Big smile, happy laugh, full of excitement and anticipation over her new venture, Girls Guide to Guns. To quote from their website, "If one day Vogue and Guns & Ammo Magazine fell madly in love, got married and had babies, we would be their favorite child." So yes, she has quite the unique outlook on the shooting sports.

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Top Shot Season 2's Joe Serafini and George Reinas at the Hollywood Celebrity Sporting Clays Invitational

Digging through our archives this weekend we find a photograph from a trip last year to the Hollywood Celebrity Sporting Clays Invitational in Newhall, California. Bookending the above shot is Top Shot Season 2's Joe Serafini and George Reinas.

Set up by veteran actor and NRA Life Member Patrick Kilpatrick, the Celebrity Sporting Clays raises money for a number of charities including charities including Guide On, Wounded Warriors, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Children of Hero's Wish Program and Gallant Few.

Take a look at the event here, here, here and here.

Top Shot Champ Chris Cheng shares his competition experience

Chris Cheng fires a 1911 on Top Shot - Photo courtesy of Cheng

Mission Viejo, California - The first challenge during Season 4 of Top Shot came before the first commercial break. That competition sent young Forrest and Craig the chemist home and broke the others into teams of two. The eventual champion, California's Chris Cheng, landed on Team Red.

In what looked like a collection of characters from the Island of Misfit Toys, Team Red's performance went from dominant to dotty in the first two shows. Each stage, success and failure, had a profound affect on the competitors.

"When we pulled off a win in the first team challenge, I think we were all having a lot of fun," said Cheng. "It grounded us when we lost Keith in the second team challenge. It was terrible losing a team member."

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8th Annual Shootist Expo in Murrieta, California
Murrieta, California - This weekend marks the Shootist's 8th Annual Spring Event and Expo. An ever popular outing for the community, last year's Expo drew more than 1,000 people from the surrounding neighborhoods.

At first you might think it's nothing more than a sale, but Erin Archbold-Silman, an ever important cog in The Shootist's gears, ensures it's much more than that. In fact, here's just a taste of what you're going to see this weekend in Murrieta:

  • Murrieta Fire Department will be promoting promoting the Phil Armentrout Memorial Trap Shoot for Charity. Chief Armentrout answered his last alarm on December 27, 2005. He started this event that year to benefit the ACS Relay for Life, and The Shootist and MFD carry on that tradition with honor.
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Top Shot's Joe Serafini shows off his bow skills to Natalie of Girls Guide to Guns at the Hollywood Sporting Clays on NRAblog

Newhall, California - We ran into The History Channel's Top Shot season 2 duo George Reinas and Joe Serafini while out at the 2011 Hollywood Sporting Clays. After watching the pair do some damage with a shotgun, we cornered Serafini for a little info on this Top Shot's history.

"My father got me started when I was six years old," said Serafini. "He took me squirel hunting with a .22 long rifle. I got my first squirl and was addicted after that."

As the echo of gunfire continued to sound from the surrounding shotguns, ARs and .50 cals, the former Marine was constantly stopped by fans and eventually pulled to the archery range to show off his stuff.

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