Campers in the Living History Center

Friendship, Indiana - One of the highlights of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association's Spring Shoot is the Primitive Encampment/Living History Center, a section of the property that appears to have traveled backwards in time to the earliest days of the United States.

Here, you could find people dressed up in pre-1840s attire and living in canvas tents and log cabins throughout the week. Visitors, affectionately referred to as "flatlanders," would occasionally come through and browse the wares and admire the setups, but this wasn't all for them. A "commericial row" was set up to sell handmade items to people of every time, but the people in the Primitive Encampment were there for each other, as a hobby they enjoyed, more than residents of the 21st century.

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Shooters on the Quail Walk, Saturday at the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association's Spring Shoot

Friendship, Indiana - The awards ceremony for the NRA Trap Championship were held yesterday, completing the shotgun section of the NRA National Muzzle Loading Championships.

Trap was a little longer than the skeet championship. Where skeet was an aggregate of 16 birds and 14 doubles, trap involved 40 birds for six and a half days; almost the entire length of the Spring Shoot.

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Joe Brown with Match Director Jonathan Leighton

Friendship, Indiana - After yesterday's NRA Black Powder Skeet Championship I was able to pull aside the winner, Joe Brown, and pick his brain to learn what he likes so much about muzzleloader matches and what he thinks of the NMLRA's Spring Shoot.

"I've been muzzleloading of some kind or over for 30 years," Joe told me, immediately establishing how much he likes the sport. "I started coming up here maybe 25 years ago, but I was a pistol shooter and moved to shotgun a few years later. I've always liked skeet and try to shoot modern skeet once a week at the local club. It took me a while to move to muzzleloader skeet, but I'm glad I did."

This was the first muzzleloading shotgun match I'd been to and, unlike other shotgun competitions I go to, it was a new experience seeing shooters walk off the field to reload their shotguns at the bench before the next set of clays.

This component of muzzleloading is something shooters don't experience with modern styles and creates a unique experience.

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Viewing historical guns at the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association's Spring Shoot

Friendship, Indiana - As National Firearms Museum Senior Curator Phil Schreier told us last week, there was a spectacular exhibit on the Lewis & Clark Expedition at this year's National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association's Spring Shoot. In the video below, Phil talks about some of the interesting history behind the exhibit's centerpiece, of which there were TWO of these rifles side-by-side. Accomplishing this was a feat so rare you're not likely to see it again.

In addition to oogling rare and historic firearms, the NMLRA's Spring Shoot offers a whole list of classes throughout the week for some hands-on learning.

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Indiana NRA Field Rep John Crone

Friendship, Indiana - Yesterday on the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association's skeet field, we were lucky enough to run into none other than NRA's Indiana Field Representative John Crone.

Initially he blended in as just one of the guys; just one of the many shooters here at the match. But soon enough we came to realize that this was a man we've met at a number of NRA events.

After finishing the last flight of clays, he left the firing line to clean his shotguns. I took the opportunity to go over and check on his progress.

Crone is a big fan of muzzleloading. In fact, he has been coming out to the NMLRA matches for about 10 years. Expect last year. Events beyond his control took him away from the sport that he loves so.

"I was gone for eighteen months in Iraq and I'm back at it," Crone told me with a smile. "I'm out here and I'm making noise."

He had shot well, but others had shot better. The Spring Shoot brings out some extremely talented marksmen. 

When I brought up next week's Field Operations Division Annual Planning Meeting, Crone said he was excited, but also had some fighting words for some of his co-workers - listen up, Field Reps.

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A hot rod at the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association Spring Shoot

Friendship, Indiana - I arrived at Friendship for the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association's (NMLRA) Spring Shoot yesterday as things were wrapping up. Luckily, there was still time to snap some photos from the activities of the day.

Now if you think Camp Perry has a lot of matches, then you're probably not familiar with the NMLRA. The Association's Spring Shoot features more than 600! This includes the more than 50 NRA matches shot over the week.

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The Rand House Museum

NRAblog is heading out to the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association's Spring Shoot this weekend in Friendship, Indiana.

Since 2009 the NRA and the NMLRA have been holding joint championships in Friendship, providing shooters with an opportunity to celebrate all things relating to the sport and history of muzzleloading in one action-packed week.

Shooters have the opportunity to not only compete in the NRA National Muzzle Loading Championships, but can simultaneously participate in the NMLRA's National Spring Shoot.

The week has so many matches that there is, without a doubt, something for shooters of all skill levels using all types of equipment.

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NRA Museum exhibits a Girandoni air rifle and a 15 Model 1792 US Contract rifle at the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association's Spring National Shoot
National Firearms Museum display at the Muzzle Loading Championships in Indiana.

Phil Schreier, Senior Curator for the National Firearms Museum sends us the following museum update from Indiana:

Friendship, Indiana - The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association's Spring National Shoot is underway in Friendship and the National Firearms Museum is present and accounted for! The NMLRA's Spring National shoot is also the home of the NRA's National Muzzle Loading Championship with nearly 20 National Championship matches being held.

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East Bethel, MN -Thank you to NRA Training Counselor Linn Laage for the following report and photo from the 2011 BSA Venturing Muzzleloading Rifle National Championship Postal Match, which was open to all Venture Scouts and Crews.

Venture Scouts from the Northern Star Council in Minnesota

The Northern Star Council Ventures swept the 2011 BSA Venturing Muzzleloading Rifle National Championship Postal Match. The cold Minnesota weather was no problem for these hearty Ventures. The match was held on December 27, 2011 at Beaverbrook Tri-County Sportsmen's Club in East Bethel. The match consisted of five shots at a six-inch target with the "10" ring only one inch in diameter.

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