Looking Back At The 2003 NRA National Black Powder Target Rifle Creedmoor Match

posted on August 27, 2020

From the vault: This article by Mike Nischalke covers the 2003 NRA National Black Powder Target Rifle Creedmoor Match at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, N.M. As published in the January 2003 issue of Shooting Sports USA.

Turning It On At 1,000

Dave Gullo leaves the field in the dust, twice, at the NRA National Black Powder Target Rifle Creedmoor Match’s longest distance.

By Mike Nischalke

Launching 545 grains of hand-molded lead 1,000 yards downrange with white-hot precision from his Meacham High Wall, Dave Gullo smoked his competition from the last firing line to seal the national championship victory at the 2003 NRA National Black Powder Target Rifle Creedmoor Match.

The two-day Creedmoor Match, fired from 800, 900 and 1,000 yards on Aug. 15 and 16, followed the NRA National Black Powder Target Rifle Mid-Range Championships in Raton, N.M. The match was conducted on the NRA Whittington Center’s high-power range and scored on standard long-range targets.

Gullo of Ponderay, Idaho, started out the championship match at 800 with a 95-1X, which immediately established him in the top two, two Xs behind Mid-Range Position Champion Rick Moritz of Franktown, Colo. Moving back to 900, Moritz shot an 84 to gain a point but loose an X to Gullo’s 83-1X, landing the two men again in first and second for that yard line.

As the group moved back to the 1,000-yard line, the winds had increased in both intensity and directional variation. Moritz posted a 51 as Gullo shot a 66. Ron Calderone of Tucson, Ariz., picked up the win for the yard line with a 78-2X.

As the competitors made their way back to the score board from the pits and the firing line, the results of the first day’s competition showed Gullo total of 244-2X held a slim three-point lead over the 241-2X of first master Mon Yee, Jr. of Dodge City, Kan. Still in the hunt after some consistent shooting, Mark Hipes of Dallas, Texas, was nine points back at 235-3X. Moritz grabbed first expert with 230-3X and 2003 National Black Powder Cartridge Rifle Silhouette Champion Dave Gruhler of Pray, Mont., ran up 228-2X to grab third master.

Moritz began the second day with a stellar performance at 800. His total of 98-2X gave him the win for that yard line. Gullo finished two points behind Moritz and one point behind Calderone.

At 900, as conditions once again deteriorated, Gullo posted an 81 as Moritz posted a 79. The winner of that distance, Lige Harris of Trinidad, Colo., posted an 89-1X.

Gullo, not about to waste his day one score set up his gear at 1,000 and commenced tearing up the center of the target. His 90-3X guaranteed him the match win by 14 points over his closest competition, expert-class shooter Scott Allison of Cleburne, Texas.

With an aggregate of 511-6X, Gullo took the national championship title. Gullo, the proprietor of Buffalo Arms—a manufacturer and dealer of historical rifles and related accouterments—bested Moritz’ silver-winning performance by a staggering 31 points.

“I was very pleased with how I shot,” said Rick Moritz, who had won his own championship earlier in the week. “I think I was 55th out of 100 the last time I shot this match.” 

By the Numbers…

  • Total competitors: 95
  • Women: 1
  • Seniors: 21
  • High Walls: 29*
  • Sharps: 24*
  • Rolling Block: 12*
  • Most popular caliber: 45-90*
  • Badger barrels: 49*
  • Shiloh barrels: 12*
  • Douglas barrels: 6*
  • Using 526- to 549-grain bullet: 31*
  • Black powder: 49*
  • Duplex powder: 34*
  • Not using duplex: 39
  • Starline cases: 27*
  • Remington cases: 21*
  • Winchester cases: 16*
  • Walter’s Wads: 26*
  • Plastic wads: 22*
  • Homemade lube: 26*
  • SPG Lube: 21*
  • Federal primers: 49*
  • Paul Jones mold: 21*
  • Steve Brooks mold: 19*
  • Lyman mold: 16*
  • Montana Vintage Arms front sight: 27*
  • Baldwin front sight: 11*
  • Lyman front sight: 8*
  • Aperture insert: 61*
  • Montana Vintage Arms rear sight: 30*
  • Baldwin rear sight: 16*

*Figures represent number using a product, of the 83 submitted equipment surveys.

Top Shooter’s Gear

Dave Gullo

  • Action: Meacham High Wall
  • Caliber: .45-90
  • Barrel: Badger
  • Bullet weight: 545 grains
  • Bullet mold: Paul Jones
  • Wad: Plastic
  • Lube: SPG
  • Powder: Swiss Fg/RL-7 Duplex
  • Case: Buffalo Arms
  • Primer: Remington
  • Front Sight: Riflesmith
  • Insert: Aperture
  • Rear Sight: MVA soule

Rick Moritz

  • Action: Sharps 1874
  • Caliber: .45-90
  • Barrel: Badger
  • Bullet weight: 525 grains
  • Bullet mold: Lyman
  • Wad: Plastic
  • Lube: Bad Bob
  • Powder: Swiss 2f
  • Case: Starline
  • Primer: Federal
  • Front Sight: MVA
  • Insert: Aperture
  • Rear Sight: Ron Long

Mark Hipes

  • Action: Winchester High Wall
  • Caliber: .45-70
  • Barrel: Badger
  • Bullet weight: 566 grains
  • Bullet mold: MOS
  • Wad: Walter’s Wads
  • Lube: Homemade
  • Powder: Goex 2f/N130 Duplex
  • Case: Remington
  • Primer: CCI
  • Front Sight: Hipes
  • Insert: Aperture
  • Rear Sight: MVA soule

See more: The Winchester 1876 Centennial Rifle


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