How to start black powder shooting?
First of all, to shoot blackpowder arms you must have a strong interest in history and for target shooting. And second, you will need a good and safe firearm.
The best way to start is to find the nearest blackpowder shooting club, or to contact directly your national blackpowder federation. Our shooters are always very friendly, helpful people, willing to share the knowledge they have acquired during their active shooting careers. Our shooting sport is unique, as you can never be too young or too old to compete even at international levels. When you are old enough to hold a rifle you are welcome. And the story never ends. It does not matter if you are 99 years old, if you can handle your guns safely, you will have a place at the firing line.
Before choosing your first blackpowder arm visit a shooting match or talk to an experienced shooter. You can avoid spending money for things you will never use, or guns that will never win a match for you. Many new shooters start with muzzle loading revolvers. “Once a cowboy, always a cowboy…” they say, and it is true. We all love those six shooters, but if you are learning the very basics, it is probably better to start with a reproduction percussion single shot pistol or rifle. Which are the most popular learning disciplines? Probably Kuchenreuter, (percussion pistol) Vetterli (rifle, standing) and Whitworth (rifle, prone) will teach you the most in the beginning.
Be careful what you spend your money for. Buying a cheap, used gun from an uncertain source can cost you more time and money than if you bought the very best available. Your pistol, revolver or rifle must be capable of the top line scores to compete. It does not matter if you plan to shoot on international levels or not. If you invest your free time in this beautiful hobby, go for the best you can afford.
All MLAIC matches are divided into original and reproduction classes. Original guns are those manufactured. prior to 1899. Shooting them is a great delight, but for a first muzzleloader I suggest you to start with a repro. A reproduction is – but not always – the very close copy of an original firearm. It is manufactured according to the patterns of the past centuries but new materials, and production methods are used for designing and crafting the pieces. It will be much easier to find bullets of the proper size and form, molds, accessories and spare parts for a repro than for an original. A good repro sometimes costs the same as the original, but they will surely be much easier to maintain and finance.
If you are not sure which manufacturer or gun to choose, request help. Ask our shooters about all the products available. It is also a good idea to check the result lists of the previous championships. The MLAIC will always give the info about the firearms and loads of the top six shooters in all the disciplines.
You will learn two things in the initial period: you will learn the gun and blackpowder shooting basics, and you will also learn the art of shooting. The first one can only be learned with muzzleloaders, the second can be learned and practiced with any pistol or rifle that throws a projectile accurately.
Once you have learned the basics of shooting a percussion arm, you can choose a competition of most interest to you: go for greater distances, military rifles, revolvers, shotguns or even flintlocks and matchlocks. They are all here at MLAIC matches. I am sure you will find the gun and discipline that you are after. And when you find it, don’t stop until you have reached the highest ranks at our World Championships.