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What is it?
Muzzle Loading is an NRA recognised discipline, this is to say that the NRA recognises the Muzzle Loading Association of Great Britain (MLAGB) as its National Governing Body.
The MLAGB was formed in 1952 and is the governing body for muzzle loading within the UK. Its objectives are to encourage an interest in muzzle loading firearms; to promote, regulate and safeguard their use; and to preserve their freedom of collection.
MLAGB runs a number of events covering all aspects of muzzle loading arms. These broadly follow the history of firearms development from the early days of matchlock, through the flintlock era and right up to the late Victorian period when the percussion mechanism reached its zenith. Fine examples of rifles from this period are still regularly used.
Rifle and Musket Shooting – 50 metre
There are a number of events for rifles and muskets that are shot at 50 metres from the standing position. Off hand ‘Schuetzen’ style shooting with muzzle loading rifles is extremely popular in Europe and is a precision discipline with shooters regularly achieving near perfect scores. Smoothbore muskets in both matchlock and flintlock mechanisms are also shot at this distance, and are surprisingly accurate when correctly loaded.
Rifle Shooting – 100 to 1200 metres
Muzzle loading rifles are shot at distances from 100 through to 1200 metres. These are precision events, and both original and reproduction rifles are capable of superb shooting at all distances. The longer distances recreate the first rifle matches that were organized by the NRA and held at Wimbledon during the 1860s prior to the move to Bisley.
Pistol Shooting – 25 metres
Pistol shooting is generally carried out at 25 metres although there are some events held at 50 metres. There are a number of different categories including matchlocks, flintlocks, percussion single shot and revolvers. Matchlock and flintlock pistols are smoothbore, and like their longer barreled brethren, can be surprisingly accurate.
Miniature Cannon – 25 metres
The MLAGB also runs events for miniature cannon. This is a relatively new activity and is becoming extremely popular. Miniature cannon are generally smoothbore and despite the lack of sights can shoot extremely well.
The MLAGB holds regular competitions at Bisley as well as at its own range at Wedgnock in Warwickshire. In addition, the MLAGB is responsible for the UK muzzle loading international team. This has been extremely successful in recent years and currently lies in second place in world rankings, well ahead of a number of fully funded, sponsored countries.
How to get involved
The MLAGB runs courses to introduce muzzle loading shooting to newcomers to the sport. These courses cover all aspects of muzzle loading shooting from safe handling through to best practice as well as offering some hints and tips so that attendees can get the best out of their muzzle loader. (link to NRA Muzzle Loading courses)
The MLAGB today is a lively organization with members from all walks of life. Anyone interested in muzzle loading arms and would like more information is encouraged to visit the MLAGB web site.
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