By Lars Dalseide | June 8 2010 15:45

Shooting black powder rifles are for more than just the average firearms enthusiast -- they are also for the military and cultural historians in us all. Just consider the fact that before the days of cartridges and shells, it was black powder that allowed the average American to hunt for food or defend their land. Even though they are antiquated by today's standards, some people still prefer to use the muzzle loaders for their shooting needs. It's an experience like no other -- you pull the trigger, see the spark, taste the smoke, and - as long as your aim is on - hit the target true.

The ladies who made it out to the Arlington-Fairfax Chapter of the Izaak Walton League on May 8, 2010 got to experience a little of that magic for themselves. Here's how one, known to her friends as Jessica, described her time behind the muzzle:

"They say you’ll always remember your very first kiss, but who cares about kisses when it comes to firing a muzzle loader! It was love at first sight! From a belly full of butterflies when I first saw them to anxious nervousness as my instructor guided me on loading to the unforgettable experience of being blown away by the power of the gun. Well, the experience left me breathless and wanting more! I was floating on cloud nine from there on out and spent the rest of the day trying out the different black powder rifles on the range."

Women On Target® Instructional Shooting Clinics, like the on in Centreville, were developed to create more opportunities for women to learn all about firearms and gain confidence in their shooting skills. And as another shooter put it, "Most of us thought it would be a bunch of stodgy old guys who didn't want us there, but they were great. It was so much fun I started recruiting other women to shoot the black powder."

If you’d like to receive information on these clinics, e-mail womenontargetclinics@nrahq.org or find out more about Instructional Shooting Clinics and how your club can host one.

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