Over 81,000 NRA Members Celebrate Freedom in Atlanta

Leave a comment

The 146th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits was held in Atlanta, Georgia at the Georgia World Congress Center April 27-30, 2017 were attended by over 81,000 participants and 800+ exhibitors.
More

A Page From History: The First Televised Rifle Match

1 Comment

Here’s a good bit of history. The following article was published at a time when about a third of the NRA membership held a formal NRA Classification. This is about 2% today.

NRA members receive a Classification (Marksman or higher) by merely participating in an NRA Approved or Registered tournament, or a Sanctioned league, regardless of score. This means 98% of the current membership has never bothered to show up to such events.

The ideas presented in this article will work today but only if people bother to attend and pay a little attention. Improving this among NRA members would be a tremendous help.

More stats and facts on this:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/high-school-shooting-range-1950s-and-today/

The First Televised Rifle Match
https://www.ssusa.org/articles/2016/12/1/a-page-from-history-the-first-televised-rifle-match/

From the April 1955 issue of American Rifleman, an article by Don Mohr on the first televised rifle match.

Television program ideas often develop from unusual occurrences. What we believe to be the first televised rifle match had just such a beginning.

The final construction phase of Allentown, Pennsylvania’s first television station, WFMZ-TV, was underway and any spare moments that were available from my Film and Arts Director position at the studio were spent in improving my shooting form. This was accomplished with a target range I had constructed in my home. The range involves firing from my editing room, through my dark room, and into a bullet trap located in my den. This area isolated from the rest of my home and with doors locked is perfectly safe; however, the initial reaction of visitors is one of disbelief.

Such was the case when one of our Directors, Don Tuckwood, paid a call. Upon questioning my wife as to who could possibly be hunting so close to a residence, and being informed it was merely her husband firing through the dark room, he was about to leave as quickly as he had arrived. It wasn’t long, however, before he became a regular visitor and participant in a number of impromptu matches.

Televise shooting?

One day the question arose, why not place this very thing before the camera? Why not indeed? You can imagine some of the problems involved: the safety factor, the range size, the safe coverage of target, and above all, the audience reaction.

Our large 60×60-foot studio makes a 45-foot range the most practical, and a lockout system plus close supervision by a number of range officers eliminates the possibility of any tiny holes appearing in equipment. Experimenting with my spotting scope and the TV camera, I found I could place the Bausch & Lomb 20-power spotting scope in front of the TV camera, and from a safe distance pick up the entire target, enabling the viewing audience at home to watch all five shooters place their shots, which is quite interesting to watch—even to a non-shooter.

The Remington flyspeck targets are used with 50 bulls, five-in-a-row, and ten rows. This allows our scope shooters to try their luck on two rows with a total of ten shots.

With the blessings of our Manager, Raymond Kohn, five .22 cal. rifles blaze away on Wednesday nights during our “Seven to Nine Show”. This program is planned around 120 minutes of local live entertainment and information. Most anything is presented, from arts to sports to industries to—yes, rifle matches.

Cover other activities with guns
To add interest to this quarter-hour of shooting for those of the audience who may have no desire to watch holes appear in paper (though we’ve discovered that many non-shooters are fascinated by the matches), interviews are conducted on some phase of shooting—cups and medals won by some of our shooters, law enforcement officers and firearms, gunsmiths, how to load ammunition, antique guns, etc.

The studio area is cleared 15 minutes prior to telecast so the shooters can zero in and, to keep the area safe, the match is presented at the very beginning of the show. Often the letters S-H-O-W of the Seven to Nine Show title are shot out by the five shooters as an opening feature.

The participants experience considerably more tension when firing over television as compared with the normal club match. They are well aware of the many eyes peering at every miss. Such stage fright, however, does not deter them from the usual heated discussion of ‘just on the line’ shots.

Scoring, by the way, provides a possible 200 with 20 X’s, and an X is any shot hitting the flyspeck but not touching the circle. A 10 is any shot hitting the flyspeck but touching the circle. Any shot missing the flyspeck is scored as a miss and down 10 points. This is a fast and easy method of scoring right before the camera which I do immediately following the shoot so as to present the winner for the night.

A tremendous amount of credit goes to the local gun clubs who aided me in laying the ground work for the first match. Nineteen men and one brave woman. Five shooters fired per week with each returning to shoot a second time. A local merchant donated a beautiful trophy to the high scorer and sterling silver tieclips for the three group runners-up.

Matches scheduled regularly now
This match proved so effective that we are not conducting a team match to last 10 weeks. At the close of 10 weeks, if enough interest in shooting has developed, we expect to begin a women’s match and a junior division match. The possibilities are endless. What started as another television experiment has blossomed into an interesting smallbore rifle contest, both for the participants and all viewers.

Television stations are always seeking new ideas for programs, particularly programs utilizing local talent and activities. If you approach the program director of your local TV station, perhaps arrangements can be made to program some of the activities of your local rifle and pistol club.


The author placed his Bausch & Lomb 20-power spotting scope in front of the TV camera to capture shots.

Americans and their guns: The National Rifle Association Story

2 Comments

Most Americans, including the gun owners, view the National Rifle Association of America as a political organization due to changes made during the 1970’s which changed their focus to politics and lobbying. However, before then the NRA was primarily concerned with promoting marksmanship training and competition.

This book, published in 1967, when the NRA was still primarily a marksman’s organization accounts not only the history of the organization but the development of formal marksmanship training. Mass produced rifles became readily available during the mid 1800’s and highly drilled regular forces quickly learned that orderly march and drill was no match for riflemen. However, no recognized system for teaching the rifle existed. The British started Schools of Musketry and founded the original National Rifle Association in their country. American General George Wingate along with publisher Colonel William Church founded the NRA of America twelve years later to foster organized shooting events to promote and teach marksmanship.

All forms of shooting skill in military, law enforcement, hunting and civilian circles can trace its origins back here. The US Army’s first marksmanship manual was Wingate’s “Manual of Rifle Practice” based on skills learned in competition shooting venues promoted by the military. Shooting was a popular spectator sport and received wide media coverage.

All that history is here. Too bad nobody at the NRA today seems to know it.

NRA Guide To The Basics Of Personal Protection In The Home

Leave a comment

The following guest article was written and submitted by John Veit. We welcome a variety of points of view on the subjects of shooting and marksmanship. Test them objectively on the range and let the results fall where they may.

More

Marksmanship Classification vs. Qualification?

Leave a comment

When is an ‘Expert’ not an expert? What is the difference? The military, police and civilian shooters throw terms like “Sharpshooter” and “Expert” around and they do NOT always mean the same thing. Even within the NRA, Classification and Qualification are very different.

%d bloggers like this: