If it’s a muzzle-loader, there’s a National Championship Match were you can shoot it during the world’s largest gathering of the fans of black powder. The National Muzzle-Loading Rifle Association has held their Nationals at Friendship, Indiana for more than three generations.
You hear the sound of competition long before you drive onto Main Street in Friendship. Barely a wide spot in a country road, this is the center of the universe for many a competitive shooter. They come to the Walter Cline Range, the home for more than three generations of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association. These are shooters willing to work for their sport, willing to pour and pound, shot, round-ball, or a half ounce of lead down the muzzle of their favorite firearms. They just love that smell of black powder smoke.
NMLRA competition is divided by the main road into town. On one side all imaginable forms of muzzle loaders compete for individual championship titles.
On the other side is the Primitive area, where the shooters compete with flintlock and percussion while living the lifestyle of the pioneers and the mountain men from the early 1800’s.
Primitive competition includes mountain man skills like firemaking with flint and steel, and throwing the “hawk” and knife for accuracy. The competition recreates the annual Rendezvous when pioneers and mountain men gathered to trade furs and enjoy some social activity in what was a solitary life. For those folks caught up in the history of the old guns, it just seems right to live like our early ancestors did, for four days at Friendship.