column By: Zack Taylor | May, 19
A few years ago, I heard the scuffling of feet and low murmurs along the “moccasin telegraph” that Bill Loughridge from Phoenix, Arizona, was contemplating the idea of holding Black Powder Target and Silhouette matches in the late February to early March timeframe at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility near Phoenix, Arizona, in conjunction with the Western Independent National Shoot (a muzzleloading event), known as AZWINS.
Coincidentally, if not providentially, an opportunity surfaced where the Arizona Muzzle Loader Association, the American International Muzzle Loading Team and the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association combined to launch a trial match, incorporating Black Powder Target and Silhouette matches in a consecutive timeframe. No membership in any organization was required, and vintage sniper rifles were welcome, with all three Target matches specifically open to muzzleloaders and black powder cartridge rifles.
Since it was late in the year when AZWINS got the green light, the matches were not well advertised because the feasibility of the idea, although a great one, needed a bit of a familiarization, and the sponsors wanted to get set in the saddle before going whole hog. They were fortunate enough to recruit Skip Burks to build new targets. Skip has also signed on for 2020 and news of the match is already drawing the interest of other experienced volunteers.
Since AZWINS had run the Silhouette matches before the 2019 event, incorporating three target-rifle events became the main focus for 2019. The goal of the organizers was simple – they wanted to provide a quality match for muzzleloader and cartridge rifle shooters that was fun for the competitors to shoot in. That’s it. Just those two things for a program consisting of two days Creedmoor, three days Muzzleloader/Cartridge Rifle Combined for mid range and long range and four days 1,000-yard World Championship. Or in practical terms, 130 rounds for Silhouette and 400 rounds for Target.
It was difficult not to notice the beautiful weather. While the rest of America was experiencing frigid conditions, high snowfalls and flooding, we had high temperatures during the day in the 70s and occasionally slipping up to the low 80s with light to moderate winds most of the time. Although, Mariah the Wind Maid and Mirage (her deceptive sister) were joined by their Aunt Vert to alter the path of bullets in flight and prevent the matches from being trigger-pulling contests. On several occasions, they demonstrated their combined disruptive craft with score-wrecking results when they would swoop down out of nowhere.
I am delighted to report that the seed for this “Triple Crown” of BPCR shooting has taken root and a full-blown sequel is planned for the first two weeks of March 2020 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. Why? Because the competitors agree that it was very successful and they want to continue competing under this “shooting a quality match for fun” mindset, especially when the northern states are frozen solid and buried in snow. Fear not, we will remind you to reapply the sunscreen after four hours of continuous exposure to the sun and to drink plenty of water when you attend. So, go ahead now and put the first two weeks of March 2020 on your calendar to be at Ben Avery for the Triple Crown of black powder rifle competition.
Zack Taylor: .45-90 Remington Hepburn by John King, 34-inch Badger barrel, 1:18 twist, 540-grain BACO bullet No. 459542M3, 1:16 alloy, Lube-Gard lubricant, .025 milk carton wad, .060 veg fiber wad, .060 LDPE wad, 79-grs. Swiss 1½ Fg powder, drop-tubed 36”, mechanical trickler, .115 compression, Federal 150M primer, .009 primer wad, fireformed Starline cases annealed and not sized, bullet seated in case and lightly crimped with .45 taper crimp die (barrel engraves first driving band of the bullet), Montana Vintage Arms Long Range rear sight and windgauge front sight, aperture insert, Cabela’s cheek pad on stock, rifle weight: 11 pounds, 12 ounces. Barrel wiped between shots with BACO Bore Wipes and M Pro-7 Cleaner followed by damp 2.25 patch.