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Muzzle Blasts Online
Muzzle Blasts Online Cover
July 1996 Volume 1, Number 2

NMLRA Blanket Shoot

Small, intimate and cold, the January Blanket Shoot
As an off-again, on-again member of the association since 1975, I've enjoyed attending a few NMLRA National Championship Shoots at Friendship, Indiana, but certainly not as a competitor. I go mostly to visit the vendors, to buy blackpowder hunting items, and to see all the custom work. A couple of years ago I even found a 20 gauge double-barreled shotgun in my price range. It's an 1860s-vintage Ward and, after working out the broken ramrod and properly insuring that it was safe to shoot, it has taken a few rabbits and has provided a lot of enjoyment. I've never shot at an NMLRA National Shoot, and quite honestly, I'm intimidated by the sheer number of registrants and some of their fancy hardware. I don't think I own a gun that costs as much as most of those guys' shooting boxes, and some of the custom match stuff looks more space-age than early American. All in all, it's a lot to absorb.

Mingo I know there are others out there who feel like I do. I even remember one letter in Muzzle Blasts where a young man made reference to some of these things and asked if there was a place for him in the association. Well, I figure as a member I am a part of the association, and, since we can vote, we just have to make things fit our needs. I've found the shoots a great place to visit, the magazine useful and insightful, and now I've found a place to shoot!

The NMLRA Blanket Shoot last January was a laid-back, relaxing event, with a grand total of 22 entrants and many over-the-counter, store-bought guns. Yes, it was cold, but that didn't stop one fellow from pitching his tent. And, yes, it was competitive. Now admittedly, most of my intimidation over the larger events is self-inflicted. For one reason or another, I lack the education or experience necessary for growing into the sport to the same degree as some others. Money seems to play a roll, too. But in the March issue of Muzzle Blasts, I noticed there are provisions being made for voting on the use of sabots in certain competitions, which would open things up for more hard-core hunting types. Conicals would also be allowed, and maybe this would let me break into the field at an upcoming NMLRA National Shoot with my Thompson/Center Treehawk deer rifle.

I saw Thompson/Center Senecas, .40 caliber mountain rifles, CVA guns, and a husband-and-wife team shooting their homemade .50 and .54 calibers with roundball. Hmm . . . I could shoot roundball with my Ward; bet I'll find the right necessities at the next big national event and the right match at the next NMLRA Blanket Shoot.

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