Historical Background & Shooting Today
The hey-day of the muzzle loading era for rifle marksmen was the first two decades of the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) existence; broadly 1860-1880. Target rifle competition was held at distances out to 1,000 yards (sometimes further) in local, national and international events. Accuracy achieved with these rifles was formidable, one notable achievement being the Irish rifleman J.K.Milner’s unprecedented 15 consecutive bulls-eyes at 1000 yards, fired at Creedmoor in the Centennial Match of 1876 using a Rigby muzzle loading match rifle.
Learn More: The Muzzle Loading Match Rifle in Great Britain
Two national associations within the UK cater for the discipline of long range muzzle loading, namely the Muzzle Loaders Association of Great Britain (MLAGB) and the National Rifle Association (NRA). The World Governing body for muzzle loading shooting is the Muzzle Loaders Associations International Committee (MLAIC), who in 1999 introduced long range World Championships to their competition programme.
Learn more: Long Range Muzzle Loading Today
Choice of match rifle today will be that of a modern made reproduction, including custom built rifles, or an original rifle. Branch competitions and most MLAGB competitions make no distinction between reproduction and original rifles, although in international events they are fired in their own classes.
Learn more: Rifles & Equipment
For many years the MLAGB have included within the calendar of events National Rifle Championship matches at 200, 300, 500 and 600 yards for Enfield rifles, the service arm of the British soldier in the mid-19th Century. The Long Range Rifles Branch also includes within their competitions the Asquith Cup match, an aggregate fired at 600 and 800 yards with .577 military percussion rifles.
Learn more: Long Range Shooting with the Military Muzzle Loading Rifle
Branch competitions are generally held at the National Rifle Association (NRA) ranges at Bisley, Surrey. The first NRA Annual Rifle Meeting was held on Wimbledon Common in 1860, where it remained for nearly 30 years. By 1887 Wimbledon was a rapidly growing suburban neighbourhood. Residents were disturbed by the crowds from London, and were upset at having their rights of access to the Common curtailed. The NRA were forced move their rifle meeting and examined a number of possible sites. Finally, in February 1889 the NRA Council met and voted in favour of Bisley as the site for their new ranges.
Learn more: Bisley Camp: a brief history