They say that once you have Black Powder in your veins, it never goes away and for Philip Schreier, Senior Curator of the NRA's National Firearms Museum, Black Powder was where it all began for him way back in 1977 at his first Civil War re-enactment. Last weekend he reported from Ft. Shenandoah, the home of the N-SSA Spring Nationals and this weekend he was in West Virginia, further away and even further back in time.
Shooting Black Powder guns has always been a thrilling experience for me, there is just something about the flash, bang, smoke and smell of the sport that has always held me firmly in its grasp. I ventured out into the wilds of West Virginia this past weekend to experience the fun and fellowship of shooting with the Patuxents, a group of 18th Century living history enthusiasts as a guest of my longtime friend John Gilday and his family.
Set off the main road from civilization near Hedgesville, West Virginia, the Patuxents set up a period camp, a sighting-in range, a open field range with targets out to 150 yards and a woods walk competition, (Kind of like sporting clays with flintlocks). In addition for shooting competitions the crew had a duck cooking competition and managed to stay dry as severe weather threatened all weekend.
If you wish to learn more about joining a group of muzzleloaders like the Patuxents, check out www.nmlra.org or come and see us in Friendship, IN this June 16 – 19 when the NFM will have an exhibit of treasures from the museum on display.