July 30th, 2017

NRA Hosts Black Powder Target Rifle Championship August 14-20

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship Raton NM
NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

The NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship will be held August 14-20, 2017 at the Whittington Center in Raton, NM. Top Black Powder Cartridge Rifle (BPCR) shooters from around the country have come to Raton to test their skills during a week-long event with targets set from 200 to 1000 yards. Today through Thursday, mid-range matches continue at 200 to 600 yards. On the firing line you’ll see many handsome, custom-built BPCRs (Sharps, Ballards, Browning High Walls, Rolling Blocks) with exquisite wood, hand-checkering, and color-case-hardened receivers.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

The 800-1000 yard Creedmoor matches will be held Friday and Saturday, August 19-20. Interestingly, for safety reasons, there are minimum bullet weight and muzzle velocity requirements for the Creedmoor matches. These BPCR shooters launch some seriously heavy projectiles downrange.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

REGISTRATION: Registration will take place at the Eagle’s Nest Building beginning at 13:00 – 17:00 on August 13, and 07:15 – 09:00 August 14 for the Championships. NOTE: The NRA Black Powder Committee and NRAWC has changed the minimum requirements of bullet weight and velocity. There may be a 2% variance in bullet weight or velocity. Numbers in BOLD indicate the 2% variance. Only ammunition which produces these results, or better, and only rifles that have long-range sights will be permitted for use in the Creedmoor Championships. See the BPTR Nationals Ballistic Velocity Chart below for minimum requirements.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

ACCOMMODATIONS: There are many motels in the town of Raton, about 10 miles from the Range. In additions, there are accommodations on the grounds of the Whittington Center: 90 beds in Competitors Housing and 100 beds in Log Cabins. These facilities fill up quickly — call the Whittington Center right away at (575) 445-3615 to reserve.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

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April 17th, 2017

MEGA Gong — All-Steel 72″x72″ Triple-Element “Gongzilla”

1000 yard steel bullseye target

Rick Mulhern GongzillaForum member Rick from Louisiana (aka RMulhern) has rigged up a fantastic target for long-range shooting. Rick, a long-time competitive Palma shooter, had a large 72″x72″ steel target fabricated with two separate center rings that are equivalent to the official paper Palma/Creedmoor target. He says he’s “shot a lot of Palma on that target, as well as lots of Black Powder Cartridge (BPCR) rounds”. The big steel target works great when Rick shoots his Sharps 45/110 BPCR at 800 to 1000 yards. The large steel background (painted white) helps Rick see and hear his hits. If you understand the high-arching trajectory of 500+ grain projectiles shot from a 45/110, you know it can take a few rounds to get Point of Impact dialed in.

Rick reports: “These are two of my favorite rifles to shoot: a M1874 Shiloh Sharps in caliber 45/110 (2 7/8) made in Big Timber, Montana by Kirk Bryan and family. The other is a 6.5×47 Lapua on a blue-printed M700 action with 1:8.5″-twist Krieger barrel and F5 McMillan Tactical stock. Many of the shooters that take up BPCR have a tendency to get away from their smokeless powder rifles in favor of the blackpowder game. Frankly I have the best of both worlds as I enjoy shooting both (smokeless and BPCR), although I must admit that I probably spend the majority of my time on the range with the Sharps rifles these days.” (Rick’s pretty good with his Sharps by the way — he recently shot a 95, 96, and 100 (clean) for 3×10 shots at 800 yards.)

Gongzilla: $1000 Worth of Steel with Three Plate Layers
Rick tells us: “Here’s the deal — everything is steel! The large plate is 72″x72″ and the black bull is 44″ diameter. The 20″-diameter central white bull is made from 1/2″-thick AR400 bull-dozer plating. That’s the same size as the regulation Palma/Creedmoor paper target. The white square and black bull are 3/8″-thick mild steel. Plates are off-set 2″ from each other. I welded a 2″ length of square tubing to the back of both plates and the bolt slides through and is attached to the large plate. I used 2 3/8″ upset tubing (oil field pipe) for the holder framing.” Rick says he invested about $1000.00 in metal for the target, but that was 15 years ago. Today the steel would be much more expensive.

1000 yard steel bullseye target

Rick says the AR400 armor plate in the center bull is very strong: “You can shoot a .338 Lapua Magnum at 200 yards and it won’t damage the center bull”. The mild steel works well for the cast bullets Rick uses with his Sharps 45/110. Also, Rick says the mild steel is rugged enough for 6.5mm and .308 hollowpoint match bullets, if you’re at least 500 yards away. However, Rick told us, “If I would make [the target] again, I would make the black bull AR400 as well. [That way] you would never have to worry about big dents or beating the plate up at any distance. The AR400 is very tough steel. You can shoot a Sierra or Lapua HP bullet and they will just splatter.”

Rick told us: “I built this target with off-set clanger plates. The white clanger is AR400. Bullets just splatter!” Does he worry about hitting the bolt head? Not at all. Rick says: “When I hit the bolt head, I break my arm patting myself on the back!”.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 4 Comments »
July 14th, 2016

Black Powder Target Rifle Championship Next Week in Raton, NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship Raton NM
NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

Next week the NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship will be held at the Whittington Center in Raton, NM. From July 19-24, top Black Powder Cartridge Rifle (BPCR) shooters from around the country will test their skills during a week-long event with targets set from 200 to 1000 yards. On the firing line you’ll see many handsome, custom-built BPCRs (Sharps, Ballards, Browning High Walls, Rolling Blocks) with exquisite wood, hand-checkering, and color-case-hardened receivers.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

The Black Powder Championship starts with mid-range matches from 200 to 600 yards. Then competitors set their sights for long range, with 800-1000 yard Creedmoor matches at the end of the week. Interestingly, for safety reasons, there are minimum bullet weight and muzzle velocity requirements for the Creedmoor matches. These BPCR shooters launch some seriously heavy projectiles downrange:

Caliber Minimum Bullet Weight (Grains) Minimum Bullet Velocity (FPS)
.38 Cal 408 (375) 1300 (1375)
.40 Cal 408 1280
.44 Cal 450 1240
.45 Cal 510 1200
.50 Cal 600 1200

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

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April 20th, 2016

Gongzilla — Giant 72″x72″ Triple-Element Steel Gong

1000 yard steel bullseye target

Rick Mulhern GongzillaForum member Rick from Louisiana (aka RMulhern) has rigged up a fantastic target for long-range shooting. Rick, a long-time competitive Palma shooter, had a large 72″x72″ steel target fabricated with two separate center rings that are equivalent to the official paper Palma/Creedmoor target. He says he’s “shot a lot of Palma on that target, as well as lots of Black Powder Cartridge (BPCR) rounds”. The big steel target works great when Rick shoots his Sharps 45/110 BPCR at 800 to 1000 yards. The large steel background (painted white) helps Rick see and hear his hits. If you understand the high-arching trajectory of 500+ grain projectiles shot from a 45/110, you know it can take a few rounds to get Point of Impact dialed in.

Rick reports: “These are two of my favorite rifles to shoot: a M1874 Shiloh Sharps in caliber 45/110 (2 7/8) made in Big Timber, Montana by Kirk Bryan and family. The other is a 6.5×47 Lapua on a blue-printed M700 action with 1:8.5″-twist Krieger barrel and F5 McMillan Tactical stock. Many of the shooters that take up BPCR have a tendency to get away from their smokeless powder rifles in favor of the blackpowder game. Frankly I have the best of both worlds as I enjoy shooting both (smokeless and BPCR), although I must admit that I probably spend the majority of my time on the range with the Sharps rifles these days.” (Rick’s pretty good with his Sharps by the way — he recently shot a 95, 96, and 100 (clean) for 3×10 shots at 800 yards.)

Gongzilla: $1000 Worth of Steel with Three Plate Layers
Rick tells us: “Here’s the deal — everything is steel! The large plate is 72″x72″ and the black bull is 44″ diameter. The 20″-diameter central white bull is made from 1/2″-thick AR400 bull-dozer plating. That’s the same size as the regulation Palma/Creedmoor paper target. The white square and black bull are 3/8″-thick mild steel. Plates are off-set 2″ from each other. I welded a 2″ length of square tubing to the back of both plates and the bolt slides through and is attached to the large plate. I used 2 3/8″ upset tubing (oil field pipe) for the holder framing.” Rick says he invested about $1000.00 in metal for the target, but that was 15 years ago. Today the steel would be much more expensive.

1000 yard steel bullseye target

Rick says the AR400 armor plate in the center bull is very strong: “You can shoot a .338 Lapua Magnum at 200 yards and it won’t damage the center bull”. The mild steel works well for the cast bullets Rick uses with his Sharps 45/110. Also, Rick says the mild steel is rugged enough for 6.5mm and .308 hollowpoint match bullets, if you’re at least 500 yards away. However, Rick told us, “If I would make [the target] again, I would make the black bull AR400 as well. [That way] you would never have to worry about big dents or beating the plate up at any distance. The AR400 is very tough steel. You can shoot a Sierra or Lapua HP bullet and they will just splatter.”

Rick told us: “I built this target with off-set clanger plates. The white clanger is AR400. Bullets just splatter!” Does he worry about hitting the bolt head? Not at all. Rick says: “When I hit the bolt head, I break my arm patting myself on the back!”.

Permalink Gear Review, News 1 Comment »
August 18th, 2014

The Holy Black — BPCR Nat’l Championship is One Month Away

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship Raton NM
NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

On September 13-20, 2014, the NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship will held at the Whittington Center in Raton, NM. Top Black Powder Cartridge Rifle (BPCR) shooters from around the country will visit Raton to test their skills during a week-long event with targets set from 200 to 1000 yards. The event kicks off with Mid-Range matches at 200 to 600 yards. On the firing line you’ll see many handsome, custom-built BPCRs (Sharps, Ballards, Browning High Walls, Rolling Blocks) with exquisite wood, hand-checkering, and color-case-hardened receivers.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

The 800-1000 yard Creedmoor matches will be held Friday and Saturday, September 19-20. Interestingly, for safety reasons, there are minimum bullet weight and muzzle velocity requirements for the Creedmoor matches. These BPCR shooters launch some seriously heavy projectiles downrange:

Caliber Minimum Bullet Weight (Grains) Minimum Bullet Velocity (FPS)
.38 Cal 408 (375) 1300 (1375)
.40 Cal 408 1280
.44 Cal 450 1240
.45 Cal 510 1200
.50 Cal 600 1200

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

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September 14th, 2012

Alliant Black MZ Wins Field & Stream ‘Best of the Best’ Award

Black MZ Powder AlliantBlack Powder Cartridge Rifles (BPCR) typically fire cartridges with large capacity — 70 grains or more of the ‘holy black’. For a variety of reasons, BPCR shooters may want to use a black powder substitute when training, hunting, or when competing in matches that allow substitutes. The problem with most smokeless propellants is that they are designed to operate at much higher pressure levels and they don’t fill the case well when loaded to black powder pressure levels. (There are some exceptions).

Allian Black MZ Wins Field & Stream Award
Alliant Powder has developed a new black powder substitute that works well in black powder cartridge rifles and in muzzle-loaders. Alliant’s new Black MZ is an innovative, non-corrosive black powder substitute that resists moisture and reduces cleaning time.

Alliant claims that Black MZ “burns cleaner for less residue and easier cleaning” and that Black MZ can deliver “better velocities at lower pressures.” In fact, Black MZ performs so well that it was recently awarded Field & Stream’s “Best of the Best” award in its product category.

BPCRField & Stream reports: “[Black MZ] performed so well… that the test team was able to fire muzzleloaders repeatedly without any cleaning. And when a patch was run through the barrel, there was far less fouling than is normally seen. The loose grains also can be packed tightly, producing great energy results while maintaining low barrel pressure.” Alliant states that: “Moisture resistant and virtually non-corrosive, Black MZ replicates black powder performance without the ignition headaches and cleaning hassles common to traditional black powder use.”

Alliant Brand Director Rick Stoeckel declares: “We are excited to win the Best of the Best from Field & Stream. We strive to provide the best products for our consumers, and this recognition reaffirms the effectiveness of Black MZ” [for both muzzle-loaders and Black Powder Cartridge Rifles].

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 4 Comments »
August 21st, 2012

Smoke and Thunder — Black Powder Championship at Raton, NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship Raton NM
NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

This week the NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship is being held at the Whittington Center in Raton, NM. Top Black Powder Cartridge Rifle (BPCR) shooters from around the country have come to Raton to test their skills during a week-long event with targets set from 200 to 1000 yards. Today through Thursday, mid-range matches continue at 200 to 600 yards. On the firing line you’ll see many handsome, custom-built BPCRs (Sharps, Ballards, Browning High Walls, Rolling Blocks) with exquisite wood, hand-checkering, and color-case-hardened receivers.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

The 800-1000 yard Creedmoor matches will be held Friday and Saturday, August 24-25. Interestingly, for safety reasons, there are minimum bullet weight and muzzle velocity requirements for the Creedmoor matches. These BPCR shooters launch some seriously heavy projectiles downrange:

Caliber Minimum Bullet Weight (Grains) Minimum Bullet Velocity (FPS)
.38 Cal 408 (375) 1300 (1375)
.40 Cal 408 1280
.44 Cal 450 1240
.45 Cal 510 1200
.50 Cal 600 1200

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

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July 18th, 2011

Creedmoor Black Powder LR Nationals at Whittington Center

The two-day 2011 Creedmoor Nationals for Black Powder rifles concludes today in Raton, NM. Many of the nation’s top black powder shooters are vying for the historic “Castle” trophy at the Whittington Center Range. Today’s course of fire is identical to Sunday’s — ten shots at each of three distances: 800, 900 and 1,000 yards. Weather was reasonably stable on Sunday, 17 July, but thunderstorms are predicted for this afternoon.

The Creedmoor Championship and the Castle Trophy

Castle Trophy BPCR CreedmoorThe Creedmoor Nationals’ match history dates back to the 19th century with the purchase of the Creed Farm in Long Island, New York. A long range black powder match between the United States and Ireland at the brand new Creedmoor range drew a significant amount of attention to the shooting sports and drew eventually drew its name from the NRA’s range. The 2011 championship currently being conducted at the Whittington Center is based on the original course of fire in keeping with the tradition of the match.

Castle Trophy
The Castle Trophy was first awarded to the 25th Lanarkshire Volunteers by Lord Elcho for their win over England and Ireland in a shooting match in 1871. The trophy was used as a prize at Creedmoor matches over the next couple of years. A noted inscription on the trophy reads: “Overall winners National Rifle Association of America 2nd Round” April 25, 1873. To honor the victors in the famous Creedmoor 1874 challenge match the USA and Ireland, this trophy was given to Colonel John Bodine of the United States of America Team.

Shown below, looking rather dapper in their waistcoats and top hats, are members of the American rifle team that defeated the Irish squad in 1874:

Story and photos by KJillson courtesy of the NRA Blog.
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August 6th, 2010

Third Year Student Gunsmiths Aid Black Powder Competitors

Trinidad student gunsmiths at WhittingtonStudents from the Brownells-sponsored Third Year Gunsmithing program at Trinidad State Junior College (TSJC) donated their time to help shooters at the recent Black Powder Cartridge Rifle National Silhouette Championships. The students repaired guns during the event, held at the NRA’s Whittington Center Range near Raton, New Mexico.

The TSJC gunsmiths-in-training worked on almost 40 guns belonging to the 200 competitors in the event. In the photo at right, John Cowell and Bob Campbell work on a firing pin problem for one of the shooters. The Whittington Center experience let the students practice their skills with the extra time pressure of helping a shooter get back to competition. “This is exactly [what] the 3rd Year Program was designed to do — get the students hands-on experience solving real gun repair problems,” said Brownells President, Pete Brownell.

Black Powder Cartridge Rifle Silhouette Basics
You’ll find a good summary of Black Power Cartridge Rifle Silhouette History, Rules and Equipment on the Outdoor Adventures Network website.

Trinidad student gunsmiths at WhittingtonIn Black Powder Cartridge Silhouette Silhouette (BPCRS) competition, shooters must knock down steel silhouette chickens at 200 meters (656 ft.), pigs at 300 meters (984 ft.), turkeys at 385 meters (1,262 ft.) and rams at 500 meters (1,639 ft.). As in high-power rifle silhouette competitions, the chickens must be shot off-hand, in the standing position. However, BPCRS differs in that the pigs, turkeys and rams may be shot in a prone or sitting position using a cross-stick rest. Ten shots are fired at each target, for a total of 40 shots per match. The challenge is in the equipment — BPCRS is limited to single shot, exposed-hammer, American rifles of the era preceding 1896. Only original or reproduction single shot rifles that shoot cartridges loaded with black powder or Pyrodex are allowed. Only original sights may be used –- no scopes.

Black Powder Cartridge Rifle Links:

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