By Kerrin Brinkman | October 18 2011 13:28

For many people, the shootings sports is a lifelong passion that begins in their youth and carries them into adulthood. For Justin Magruder, his love of shooting began at camp when he was introduced to the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program. Decades later, Magruder has returned to the self-paced marksmanship program to earn his Expert rating and continue on into other shooting disciplines. But he's also looking to help his daughters (pictured with Magruder) develop the same interest in the shooting sports. Here's a look at what Magruder told NRAblog:

Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program Participant Justin Magruder with his daughters NRAblog: How did you get started in the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program?

Magruder: When I was a kid in the early 1970’s, I attended Camp Winona in Bridgeton Maine. I really enjoyed both archery and riflery, as well as several outdoor survival and athletic activities.

What ratings have you earned and in what disciplines? Are you looking to add more disciplines?

Over the course of three years at Winona I earned my Marksman, Pro Marksman badges and a Sharpshooter medal with 3 bars in .22 long rifles. I was also qualified as a Maine Woodsman, which is a survival and conservation program run by the Maine Youth Camping Foundation.

How has the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program been beneficial to you?

I continued shooting as an adult, including target shooting with .44 rifles and waterfowl hunting with my Winchester Model 12 in Colorado and Idaho. Aside from pleasure and self-confidence of knowing how to handle a firearm properly, the gun safety and hunter safety programs and training have made a lasting impact on virtually everything I do outdoors in terms of my awareness of the surroundings and my situation.

You mentioned that you might get your daughters involved in the program. Tell us a little bit more about why you’d like them to get involved.

My daughters are getting to the age I was when I began shooting. Both girls are interested in learning, and have begun to ask questions about my firearms and how they work. I’d like them to learn how to handle a rifle, beginning with gun safety and maintenance, and eventually target shooting and even hunting.

To learn more about the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program and view disciplines and courses of fire, visit the program website. Questions? Contact Program Coordinator Sheri Judd at

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