Monday, June 06, 2005

Another wild weekend.

I think this last weekend was the most relaxing weekend I’ve had in close to two years. We also kept our streak of wet canvas alive, as we were rained on. My wife, Clone and I did an event we had never done before. It wasn’t a rendezvous; it was a black powder shoot. This shoot was unlike anything I had ever done before. The first difference was that there was a section for modern camping (motor homes, trailers, nylon tents) in camp, and a separate section for primitive camping. You also were not required to be in period clothing, although I did dress for it. I figured that if I’m going to act the part, I’m going to look the part. There were others dressed as well, some camping modern and some just visiting.

I will say that I was disappointed at the number of camps there. Including our camp there was only five other primitive camps. There where only four modern camps and a handful of people sleeping in the clubhouse. During the day, the place was busy. Tons of shooters day tripped it out to shoot and socialize and then went home at night. We had a friend of ours do that, as well did other re-enactors that we knew. I was occasionally asked where the rest of Clan Chattan was, I had to explain each time that I was no longer a member of that group and why. I know I caught some people off guard with that news. One re-enactor extended an invitation to my family to join his group. I was flattered, but had to pass. I am not looking at joining another group.

I entered the primitive smooth bore competition. There were 10 participants. I came in 5th place. I was happy with that standing. That means I am not the worst shot out there. There were six targets I had to shoot at: A white rabbit at 25 yards, a Red Fox at 35 Yards, a ground hog at 45 yards. The state of Illinois at 50 yards, a buffalo skull at 65 yards and a playing card sized paper target at 25 yards. When I hit the rabbit target, I ended up bending it. That makes me three for three damaging a range this year. I also turned their target boards into pegboard with ¾-inch holes in it. I’m surprised any place lets me shoot anymore.

The only bragging right I really have is that some of the guys I was hanging out with were shooting black powder rifle. They had all the same targets I had, plus a couple of additional ones. We were going down the line together, spotting for each other when we shot. The smoke out of the bore can make tracking a round very difficult. One of their targets was a life sized deer silhouette at 110 yards. When they where finished shooting at it, I walked up to take my shot at it. I looked down the range and said, “There is no way in hell I’m hitting that!” I relaxed, got my heart rate down, lowered my musket into place, held my breath and fired. The flags moved… I HIT IT! At 110 yards, I hit the deer silhouette! I went to mark it off on my scorecard, and discovered the shot didn’t count for my competition. My best shot of the day wasn’t even going to count. Now I’m not saying I didn’t mean to hit it, but that was pure luck. I didn’t even try to replicate that shot, as I knew there was no way I would be able to do it again. What was the most amusing was the fact that I was only one of a hand full of guys to hit it, and the only one with a smooth bore. At least I know it is possible to hit a deer at 110 yards with my musket.

They had a couple of blanket traders out there selling various things, but no real vendors. The event coordinator is a gunsmith that used to set up out at a couple of our other events and he was selling some real nice field rods and ball starters. I knew Grau wanted a good field rod and these were inexpensive. I called him to see if he wanted me to pick him one up, and he said sure, so I did. I’m sure he’ll be happy with the field rod; it’s a nice brass rod with a wooden handle on it. It’s long enough for my musket, so it will fit his rifle. These are real nice field rods, better then the one I have. If I didn’t already have one that I like, I would have bought one for me. I did however buy myself a nice ball starter/pistol rod as well. That night, after I purchased my ball starter, I ended up winning another one in a raffle. The one that I won was a nicer one then I bought, it has a longer rod on it. I’ll have to trade blanket off the one I bought to see if I can recoup the cost of it.

I was invited back for next year. It wasn’t so much an invite as an order. I was also told that I had to come to their fall shoot, Frenchman’s Frolic. I told them I was planning to do Frenchman’s Frolic and that I will probably come back next year for this shoot. Another shooter also extended an invitation to me for a shoot in July in at a club in Wisconsin. I would love to go, unfortunately it falls on a weekend that I already have plans. I’m going to have to pass this year.