Black powder shoot offers lots of fun and excitement

The Blindman Valley Rod and Gun Club’s first black powder shoot was a bang-up affair that attracted more than 30 participants.

The Blindman Valley Rod and Gun Club’s first black powder shoot was a bang-up affair that attracted more than 30 participants.

Held at the gun range about four and a half miles south of town July 22, the event provided fun and excitement for black powder enthusiasts ranging in age from four to close to 80.

Neil Handford, secretary-treasurer of the gun club, said the shoot gave participants a chance to experience the thrill of using black powder as a form of ammunition.

He said people with all levels of skill attended the shoot.

“On hand were instructors and old hands with experience and a desire to teach some of the techniques of black powder to an enthusiastic group of shooters.”

The day gave participants a chance to try out their skill with a rifle, and some excellent shoots were fired, said Handford.

“The air was filled with the pungent smell of powder and there were grins on every face. From hearing the gong of a well placed shot, to the splitting of a playing card and even putting out a candle (with a well-placed shot), the day was nothing short of great,” he said.

Simulated buffalo, coyote and turkeys were the targets of choice.

Participants also shot at popsicle sticks and playing cards placed on edge.

“For the test of distance shooting we had balloons at the hundred and some of those met their demise as well.”

A fun part of the shoot also included throwing the tomahawk and Bowie knife.

“When we looked out back we had a girl showing us how to throw the tomahawk and Bowie knife and she meant business hitting the target often, so some of the guys gave it a try and did quite well, too.”

Handford, who is a fan of black powder shooting, said the technique goes back to fur trading days. He explained that this type of ammunition was used before the introduction of modern smokeless powders where all components are loaded together into a cartridge and then inserted into a firearm.

“It’s simple, but it’s still challenging. It requires good eyesight and skill.”

Harold Fisher, who lives in Prince Albert, Sask, but often comes to the Rimbey area, also enjoys using a black powder rifle when hunting big game.

For Fisher, one of the biggest challenges in using the primitive ammunition is the time it takes to re-load.

“When you are using black powder all the components have to be loaded into the firearm separately, usually allowing for only one shot. These firearms are not designed for long range shooting as is the case with modern high-powered rifles, so the challenge is getting as close as possible to your game and making the first shot count.”

Both Fisher and Handford said these challenges add excitement and fun to the sport.

The black powder shoot may become an annual event for the Blindman Valley Rod and Gun Club.