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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May 25th, 2010

Bartholome Teaches Trinidad F-Class Training Seminar in July

Larry BartholomeThis July, Trinidad State Jr. College (TSJC) in Colorado will offer a unique 5-day instructional course on F-Class equipment and shooting skills. Slated for July 5-9, 2010, the F-Class Seminar will be taught by F-Class guru Larry Bartholome, Captain of Team Berger/Norma and current member (and past Captain) of the U.S. F-Class Open Team. Spots are still open for the course, but you should register right away.

Trinidad’s course will cover every aspect of F-Class shooting: selecting the best equipment and caliber, load development and ammo testing, reloading for long range, how to shoot a match, doping the wind at long-range, team shooting, mental conditioning, and match-winning strategies. While most of the course will consist of class work on the Trinidad campus, there will be range sessions July 8 and 9 at the NRA Whittington Center Range (Raton, NM), located just 20 miles south of Trinidad, CO. During these sessions there will be demonstrations and students will practice their long-range shooting skills at distances out to 1000 yards.

Larry told us: “This is not a gunsmith class, but rather a class that will cover all aspects of F-Class shooting. I think this will be a good opportunity for a person who wants to learn F-Class from the ground up, to do so in a short period of time. I feel a person could come into the class knowing next to nothing about F-Class and long-range shooting and leave [the seminar] knowledgeable enough to be very competitive at even a world level.”

The Rocky Mountain Palma Championships and Long-Range Regional will be held at the NRA Whittington Center July 10-15, 2010 and students may want to compete in all or part of those matches after the class concludes. Whittington charges $15/day range fee for any non-members who use the range.

Larry Bartholome

Larry BartholomeOpenings Still Available for July F-Class Course
There are still some places available for the F-Class seminar. If you’re interested, sign up soon by contacting Trinidad State Jr. College at 1-800-621-8752, ext. 5541, or log on to No tools are required for the seminar. However, while a couple of F-Class rifles will be available for limited range use, students may want to bring their own rifles and ammo. All students should contact Larry Bartholome to confirm the students’ rifles are appropriate for use at 1,000 yards as F-Class rifles. Email Larry at: Lbart [at]

Trinidad State Jr. College summer courses cost $325.00 for continuing education and $393.90 for out-of-state Credit. On-Campus Housing is offered for a reasonable $100.00 per week. CLICK HERE for the TSJC/NRA Summer Course Registration Form (PDF).

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February 9th, 2010

Gunsmith Training at Trinidad (CO)– Six Decades of Excellence

Colorado’s Trinidad State Junior College first launched a gunsmithing school in 1947. That makes Trinidad’s gunsmithing program the oldest active gunsmith school in the nation, and the first of its kind ever offered by an American college. The gunsmithing program immediately attracted capacity enrollment, dominated by veterans of World War II. In its 63 years of existence, the school has earned the respect and support of many leading companies in the shooting industry, including Brownells and Sinclair International.

The NRA Blog recently interviewed Trinidad Professor of Gunsmithing Dave Nolan to learn more about the program. Nolan explained that: “Each student chooses whether to pursue an Associate’s degree of Applied Science or a Certificate of Gunsmithing”. Students come from all across the nation, according to Nolan, shown above with colleague Keith Gipson. Most students enrol in a two-year program, but Trinidad recently added a new Advanced Third Year Gunsmithing Program, which launched in January 2010.

CLICK HERE for more info on Trinidad’s Advanced THIRD-Year Gunsmithing Program

While the courses, ranging from Firearms Safety to Custom Pistolsmithing, make up the bulk of the two-year program, there is also a hands-on experience called the “Gunsmithing Cooperative Program”. Much like a short-term apprenticeship, the Cooperative Program places students in a real working environment. This requires that students learn about business management and financial planning as well as just smithing techniques. “It’s the real deal,” Nolan said. Each student must enroll in the 13-week program in order to graduate.

Conveniently, the campus houses its own full-scale gunsmithing shop, complete with storefront and real customers. If you’re interested in gunsmithing but don’t have the two years necessary to complete the Certificate course, consider one of the Trinidad Gunsmithing Seminars. These are one or two weeks long and attract a variety of pupils — both college age students and older workers looking to learn a new trade.

Article by Danielle Sturgis, courtesy

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