Frontier history comes to life at national muzzleloader shoot

February 10, 2010

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PHOENIX – Come enjoy a smokin’ saga of living frontier history during the National Muzzle Loader Rifle Association’s Western National Shoot Feb. 10-15 at the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Ben Avery Shooting Facility on the northern edge of Phoenix.

Bring along your coonskin cap and Davy Crockett frame of mind because participants will be dressed in period clothing while shooting black powder rifles, throwing knives and tomahawks, wielding chunk guns and even firing smoke-belching cannons.

There’s a little something for everyone at this “historical, cultural and educational event” at the nation’s largest public shooting complex along Carefree Highway just west of Interstate 17.

There is no entry fee, but you can expect to pay a nominal fee for parking. Events run all day long. You’ll even find contestants camping out in teepees and cooking over campfires.

Many of these matches are loads of fun for contestants and spectators alike.

For instance, there is the “turkey machine shoot” where a shooter in a blind has to use a turkey call. If the turkey calling is good enough, a turkey head target will briefly appear down range for the contestant to shoot at with a black powder rifle or musket. At the end of the multi-day event, someone will be crowned “the best turkey hunter.”

There are even international matches.
Be sure to set your palate for frontier vittles and bring along some wampum in your wallet – once again there will be a Traders Row where you can purchase everything from mountain man stew (or hot dogs) to period clothing and vintage black powder firearms. There will also be plenty of bygone era toys available to fuel the imagination of your youngsters. Want your own cannon? You can probably buy one there.

For more information, visit the National Muzzle Loader Web site at