National Muzzleloader Association to Begin Celebration

The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association will host its annual nine-day celebration of all things muzzle loading beginning June 9 at its headquarters in Friendship, Ind.

The celebration wraps up on Sunday, June 17. Events include daily black powder shooting competitions, Early American living history demonstrations, a special museum display, youth activities, vendors, gunmaker demonstrations and more.

This year’s event will open with a special exhibit featuring a showing of the newly named Indiana State Rifle, known as “The Grouseland Rifle,” built by Hoosier pioneer John Small sometime between 1803-12. The rifle will be displayed in the NMLRA Education Building Museum only on June 9, from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.

The Grouseland Rifle will be on special loan to the NMLRA from the William Henry Harrison Mansion and Museum in Vincennes, Ind. Several state dignitaries and personnel from the museum are expected to take part in the exclusive showing of this historic and extraordinary long gun.

With the signing of legislation into law by Gov. Mitch Daniels on March 15, Indiana became the first state to designate an official rifle to join its state song, flower, bird, tree, stone and other symbols with important significance to Hoosiers.

As in past years, national-class competitive muzzle loading shooting is the focus of the annual, week-long NMLRA gathering. Matches include competition for every genre of front-loading firearm, including rifle, pistol, shotgun, slug gun and chunk gun.

The NMLRA Gunmaker’s Hall will be open daily during the week, exhibiting some of the finest examples of modern gun building by today’s master craftsmen. Demonstrations will also take place on the premises.

Those traveling to Friendship from the east should be aware that State Road 62 from Dillsboro may continue to be closed through June for repairs from spring flooding. If so, an alternate route will be clearly marked with detour signs.

Another highlight of the event, the NMLRA commercial vendor area, features a wide array of muzzle loading guns and supplies for the serious shooter or the enthusiastic novice. Vendors offer merchandise ranging from guns and gun parts to books, knife-making supplies, period clothing, leather goods, and other shooting and hunting supplies.

As the historic national center of muzzleloader shooting, education and competition in the U.S., the NMLRA headquarters and expansive range complex is located on nearly 600 acres in rural and scenic southeastern Indiana. The Friendship facilities are an easy drive from nearby Cincinnati, Louisville and Indianapolis.

Since 1933, the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association has worked to preserve, promote and support the rich American muzzle-loading heritage through recreational, educational, historical, and cultural venues – including match competition, hunting, gun-making and safety, historical reenactments, exhibits, museums, libraries and other programs.