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Making friends at the range

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Cosmo

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Every time I go to the range with a flintlock I get asked about BP. Last weekend, I was shooting my SMR and had a number of people ask about the rifle. The most common question was, "Why shoot a flintlock?" My answer was simple, "It's a different skill set." I like fielding questions about BP because perhaps someone I've talked to will be intrigued enough to explore BP. I think I spent as much time answering questions as I did sending lead down range (the bruise on my shoulder suggests otherwise). I also made friends with a guy shooting a cap and ball revolver, which prompted me to dust of the 1851.

Who else has had this experience lately?
 

Eutycus

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Not the place to mess up, gotta be "semi-competent" (or pretend to be) . But that's also a good way to start a conversation. Remind the awe-inspired people at the range that all of us aren't complete experts (just real close).
 

Grenadier1758

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I like yakking to people at public ranges about black powder shooting but my problem is every time I'm letting them know how smart I am I lose my concentration and end up dry balling. Happens at least once every time.
Part of the loading process at a range should include a visual indication of the status of the loading process. After I shoot I run a damp patch through the bore, those who do not wipe after shooting can skip this step. I like to see the smoke getting pushed out the touch hole or nipple. I do have to consider if I am pushing fouling into my percussion rifles with chambered breeches. If the rifle is leaning against the loading bench, it is unloaded while I look at the target through my spotting scope. Upon loading I pour my powder through a funnel. If the funnel is in the barrel, I have poured powder. The funnel is not removed until I have lubricated my patch material and have my eye on the ball to load. Once the rifle is loaded, I try to avoid distractions until I go to the bench to prime and shoot. Then the loading process starts over again.
 

oldwood

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In 1972 , a local sportsman's club started black powder m/l shooting matches. Went to a couple Sunday afternoon shoots and found maybe 25 + like minded souls there. We shot 25 yards , off hand w/ whatever guns showed up. To speed the matches up due to so many shooters It was 3" , 3 ring bull , one shot per target , @ 25 yds. , offhand. We had a blast. At times the heckeling was fierce , but in fun. Most guys were just trying to figure how to make their gun fire reliably.
All this aside, somehow I was doing well, and winning about 1 out of three matches , but for this guy shooting beside me. Had to find out who this obviously unskilled , but "lucky" shooter was. He turned out to be a guy who has been one of my best friends in this life. Hunted w/him for the last 50 or so years. Turned out , I was the "lucky" one , he is one of the best natural deer hunters in the Pa. deer woods , and I owe him for passing a little of his skill to me........Thanks Bob.................oldwood
 

BullRunBear

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You said it! If I'm the only BP shooter at the range, I'll end up talking at least as much as shooting. The different sound of ignition, that smoke and 'aroma', and the look of a traditional muzzleloader always gets attention. (It draws kids, especially little boys, like bees to honey. It's so different from the 22 autos they shoot with their dads. I get a similar reaction when using an old 4x5 press camera in public. The little kids are fascinated by the overall size, the huge glass lens and metal of the body. It's completely outside their experience and even their parents.)

I've made friends over the years due to BP shooting but even more, it has created a bond between me and several nieces and nephews. Many of them are military trained and know modern weapons. But traditional muzzleloaders fascinate them. That has led to long talks about history, specifics in using MLs, and the attitude (philosophy) needed to enjoy shooting such archaic weapons.

Jeff
 

TXFlynHog

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Indeed, the drama of flintlocks going off with the big puff of smoke draws eyes from the other shooting lanes. I’m always happy to chat, though admit that it does derail my concentration, making it more difficult to accomplish the usual goals for my day. I don’t get out often, so when I’m there, I usually have an agenda.
 

tenngun

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I always get lookyloos and most of the time give them a shot. I think it’s part of the sport. I’ve been know to dress out for me a range trip too.
 
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Thunder14

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When i joined my gun club i was the only one that shot BP rifles and revolvers got a lot of dirty looks and under breath comments about the smell and smoke I ignored all that now most people say I would like to try shooting one of them so I always offer them a chance to shoot one of them.I have turned a few into getting there own BP rifles and revolvers now I’m known as the( black powder guy) except for a few old crotchety old guys no more dirty looks or under breath comments.They are impressed when i can outshoot them at 50 and 100 yards.
 

Cosmo

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The people I spent the most time talking to this past weekend were a guy and his girlfriend who were shooting a bolt gun with handloads. They were genuinely interested and curious. I had fun talking with them. I also talked to a guy who was into collecting old military bolt guns. It turned out we both retired from the Air Force and had been stationed at the same place.

The most curious/odd reactions are from the Tacti-Cool crowd. You know them, dudes with high dollar ARs, with optics, flashlights, laser pointers, and a Swiss Army knife attached on rails. The flintlock seems to make them apprehensive and a little unsure. They tend to keep their distance, whisper amongst themselves, and avoid eye contact, almost as if I've got a device from an alien world.
 

Bob McBride

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Cosmo, that's my experience as well with the tacticool guys. (That said, I do have a custom build based on a DDM4V11Pro myself)

I field a lot of BP questions per day via email, etc. (something like 30-50) being one of the BP YouTube guys, and I can say, nothing makes me happier than helping new shooters and nowhere do I find more than at the local public range. I rarely visit, usually when I still have a bit of sighting in to do on a new gun (I shut my range down here on the farm a few weeks before Deer/Fall Turkey season opens). Especially being out here in the deep South, whenever I go to the range with the Muskets or Firelocks, I tend to draw a crowd. It's a ton of fun to convince some of the more hang-back guys that they should take a shot or two. I see in all of their eyes (except for the Posers) a sort of new awakening. It's fun to see and be a part of. We've got to pass it down fellers.....
 

Shooter1

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I get asked quite often " don't they kick hard ?" Then I load my 32 with a ten grain load and hand it to the light weight lady and tell her it won't kick her. The look of surprise and the following smile really make the interruption worth while.
 

Robby

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Cosmo, that's my experience as well with the tacticool guys. (That said, I do have a custom build based on a DDM4V11Pro myself)

I field a lot of BP questions per day via email, etc. (something like 30-50) being one of the BP YouTube guys, and I can say, nothing makes me happier than helping new shooters and nowhere do I find more than at the local public range. I rarely visit, usually when I still have a bit of sighting in to do on a new gun (I shut my range down here on the farm a few weeks before Deer/Fall Turkey season opens). Especially being out here in the deep South, whenever I go to the range with the Muskets or Firelocks, I tend to draw a crowd. It's a ton of fun to convince some of the more hang-back guys that they should take a shot or two. I see in all of their eyes (except for the Posers) a sort of new awakening. It's fun to see and be a part of. We've got to pass it down fellers.....
Well, I'm not a new shooter, but I always keep an open mind. I saw a video you did about shooting the crescent shaped buttplate rifles. I always put the butt in that crux between the bicep and shoulder but standing at ninety degrees to the target never occurred to me, so I tried it and it made one heck of a difference!!!!! I am much more stable and minor corrections are a snap! Thank you!!!!! Now if I could just find something for old man eyes, HAH!
Robby
 

Bob McBride

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Well, I'm not a new shooter, but I always keep an open mind. I saw a video you did about shooting the crescent shaped buttplate rifles. I always put the butt in that crux between the bicep and shoulder but standing at ninety degrees to the target never occurred to me, so I tried it and it made one heck of a difference!!!!! I am much more stable and minor corrections are a snap! Thank you!!!!! Now if I could just find something for old man eyes, HAH!
Robby
Haha! I know the feeling. Last year or two I've been looking through and over my glasses so I can see everything....

Thanks for the kind words Robby. I got so many questions about shooting those crescent buttplate guns that I thought I better do a video on it. I'm glad you found it helpful!

Bob
 

Cosmo

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I'm gonna have to take a page out of Shooter1's playbook and offer the girls a chance to shoot the flinchlock. It's hot here most of the year and women in my area tend to wear yoga pants to the range...I like yoga pants.
 
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Greg Blackburn

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Met friendly people at the range, never made a new friend there. Did meet a cool guy at a gun store once, invited him to the range, then we went out to eat. Still talk on the phone every so often.
 

bisleyjohn

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Almost every time I visit the range someone will take up the offer of trying. My ROA with 25gn produces the biggest smiles and most ‘Gonna get one!’ responses. Job done.
 

Eric Krewson

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A long story but on the same vein; I was walking down the road at my hunting club and ran into a guy carrying what looked like a tree limb with a string on it and handful of arrows. I was one of the rare Trad guys at the time (early 90s) so I stopped to talk with him. I asked him" do you deer hunt with that", he said yes. Next I asked if he ever killed a deer with his bow, again he replied in the affirmative and said he killed deer with it the past week.

Being a so so craftsman at the time I had to know more about making ones own bow, this was uncharted territory for me. I asked about the wood and the process, even though he didn't know me from Adam he invited me over to his house to show me how he made bows.

Later we sat on his back porch and he showed me the entire process, I was hooked. I started cutting osage, collecting tools and went at bow making like a house on fire.

We became good friends, he was an amazing man and craftsman.

A few years later another friend gave me his custom flintlock on his deathbed, one shot and all my TC stuff was for sale and I decide to try my hand at building my own gun.

My bow making mentor was not only a bow maker but could make any stringed instrument, he was a fabulous musician and best of all had built a bunch of B/P rifles and pistols, I had a great mentor in my first attempt at building a gun.

Turns out he is from a rather famous dynasty of gun builders, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree generation after generation. Joseph Bogle was his 5th great grandfather and he carries the same name and passion for recreating the same style rifle his great(times 5) grandfather built.

Here is Joe Bogle at the Museum of Appalachia with his great grandfathers original rifle;
joeandtheboglerifle.jpg
 
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Cosmo

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A long story but on the same vein; I was walking down the road at my hunting club and ran into a guy carrying what looked like a tree limb with a string on it and handful of arrows. I was one of the rare Trad guys at the time (early 90s) so I stopped to talk with him. I asked him" do you deer hunt with that", he said yes. Next I asked if he ever killed a deer with his bow, again he replied in the affirmative and said he killed deer with it the past week.

Being a so so craftsman at the time I had to know more about making ones own bow, this was uncharted territory for me. I asked about the wood and the process, even though he didn't know me from Adam he invited me over to his house to show me how he made bows.

Later we sat on his back porch and he showed me the entire process, I was hooked. I started cutting osage, collecting tools and went at bow making like a house on fire.

We became good friends, he was an amazing man and craftsman.

A few years later another friend gave me his custom flintlock on his deathbed, one shot and all my TC stuff was for sale and I decide to try my hand at building my own gun.

My bow making mentor was not only a bow maker but could make any stringed instrument, he was a fabulous musician and best of all had built a bunch of B/P rifles and pistols, I had a great mentor in my first attempt at building a gun.

Turns out he is from a rather famous dynasty of gun builders, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree generation after generation. Joseph Bogle was his 5th great grandfather and he carries the same name and passion for recreating the same style rifle his great(times 5) grandfather built.

Here is Joe Bogle at the Museum of Appalachia with his great grandfathers original rifle;
View attachment 44293
Amazing story Eric. Thanks for sharing it.
 

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