For additional information please call the
NRA Rifle Dept. at (703) 267-1475
NRA Muzzle Loading Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun competition allows
any safe black powder firearm to be fired in competition. In
certain tournaments the matches can be used as a vehicle for
tryouts and membership on the U. S. International Muzzle Loading
Team. Depending on the firearm used, the bulls eye matches are
generally fired at distances of 25, 50 and 100 yards or meters in
the standing, sitting or kneeling or prone positions. Muzzle
loading trap shotgun competition is fired at 5 and 8 meters.
NRA Black Powder Target Rifle competition allows any safe
original, modern production or custom variety black powder rifle to
be fired in matches at distances of 100 to 1,000 yards. The courses
of fire use the same targets as NRA High Power Rifle competition.
Black Powder Target Rifle competition also complements the existing
NRA Black Powder Cartridge Rifle silhouette competition shooting
If you have any questions not answered by this document, we hope
you will contact us.
Many individuals interested in black powder competition find it
difficult to get started unless they start off with the proper
information. The cost of equipment is generally a stumbling block.
Many feel that unless they have the best of everything they cannot
compete. This is not true. Most start with a minimum investment in
a black powder firearm (new or used), spotting scope with stand,
sling, glove, shooting coat, shooting box and most important, eye
and ear protection. It is also advisable to have a current copy of
the NRA Muzzle Loading Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun Rules or the NRA
Black Powder Target Rifles Rules.
Section 3 of the NRA Rule Books defines authorized equipment and
ammunition. This section is not meant to restrict equipment but to
Muzzle Loading Rifle, Pistol And Shotguns
Generally, any safe muzzle loading firearm is allowed in NRA
Sights - The sights on muzzle loading firearms should be
contemporary to the firearm. This includes aperture sights.
Ammunition - Only sporting grade black powder or Pyrodex¨ may be
used. Special care should always be taken when handling black
powder or Pyrodex¨. Smoking is not allowed, and all powder
containers must be covered when powder is not being poured from
them. Powder charges should be contained in pre charged containers.
Depending on the firearm used, either lead round balls or bullets
can be used.
Black Powder Target Rifle
Rifle - Any safe, original or modern production or custom variety,
breech loading rifle that is designed as a single-shot firearm is
allowed. Original or modern muzzle loading rifles, with or without
sealed ignitions, are also allowed. There is also a special
category for Black Powder Military rifles that have not been
altered from their original configuration.
Rifle Sights - Any metallic sights, with or without clicks,
including open, aperture or tube are allowed. No optics other than
sight-correcting shooting glasses, rear sight diopters and colored,
non-magnifying sight filters are permitted. Black Powder Military
rifles must have sights basically of original design.
Ammunition - Any cartridge originally designed as a black powder
rifle cartridge is allowed, including .40-60, .45-70, .50-70 and
others. The ammunition may be fixed, breech-seated or loaded from
the muzzle. Sporting grade black powder or Pyrodex¨ may be used
and, in breech loaded ammunition only, 20% of the powder charge may
be smokeless powder. Any lead or lead alloy bullet may be used. As
with muzzle loading firearms, caution should be used when handling
loose black powder or Pyrodex¨.
There are several accessories that every competitor should have
to enjoy competitive shooting. Some of the most common and useful
1. Shooting Box or Kit - Some means is
necessary to transport your accessories to and from the range. This
can be as elaborate as a leather case or as simple as a large box
or cloth bag. The choice will depend on the type and amount of
shooting you do.
2. Specialty Equipment - Shooting mat, shooting
coat, glove, sling, kneeling rolls and other items too varied to
mention. Some of this equipment can be essential, depending on the
type of competition.
3. Spotting Scope/Stand - This is the most
important equipment after the rifle and rifle sights, allowing you
to check your target from distance. Spotting scopes are precision
optical instruments (often you get what you pay for). Scope stands
should be suited for the job you will want them to do.
4. Gun Case - Used to protect your rifle as you
travel to and from the range. Necessary in some areas to comply
with local laws.
If your local gun shop does not carry the type of competition
equipment you want, check with competitors at the tournaments you
visit or at your local gun club. Also check the American Rifleman
and Shooting Sports USA for competition equipment in the classified
Course of Fire
NRA Muzzle Loading Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun competition is held
over a variety of distances and courses of fire. Rifle and pistol
competition can be held at either yards or meters with the properly
scaled target, and shotgun competition is held exclusively at
metric distances. Match competition can be as quick as a single
stage of 5 shots in 30 minutes or longer over the four target rifle
aggregates. Shotgun competition lasts for 60 minutes, with the
competitor firing 25 birds in a single stage of a tournament.
The competition could involve firing from different positions;
prone, sitting or kneeling and standing, with caplock rifle,
flintlock rifle and rifled musket.
NRA Black Powder Target Rifle competition is made up of two
basic courses of fire. At 100 to 600 yards, matches are fired
standing, sitting or kneeling with crossed sticks, and in the any
position depending on the target and distance. Competitors have 30
minutes to fire up to four sighting shots and 10 shots for
At distances of 800, 900 and 1,000 yards, competition is fired
in the any position, Competitors are allowed 30 minutes to fire 10
shots for record. The competitors are also allowed an unlimited
number of sighting shots which may be fired before going for
A group of matches added together for a total aggregate score is
called a tournament. They can be held locally, state-wide or in
specific regions. Section 7 of the NRA Rule Books discusses the
courses of fire that are used in NRA sanctioned competition.