This year marks the 150th anniversary of first-ever international rifle match, and the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association is celebrating the legendary Creedmoor 1874 competition with a historical recreation at the Oak Ridge Sportsman Association’s range in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, October 8-12. Black powder enthusiasts, collectors and shooters are encouraged to attend.
As a historic recreation celebrating the original, the 2024 NMLRA Creedmoor 150 Match will only accept rifles in the style of the firearms fired from the shoulder in the mid-to-late 1800s era of International Rifle Matches. Rifles may be originals or recreated firearms.
Targets at the match will be proportional, much like the original Creedmoor “square” targets for each distance—300, 600 and 1,000 yards. At each distance, 15 consecutive shots for record will be fired. Sighters are only on practice day. Only black powder and lead projectiles can be used. Rifles may be fired from the prone or sitting position, as well as rear (supine–back) position shooting, with the caveat of extreme caution and no artificial support for the latter.
The 2024 Creedmoor 150 match will feature three classes, although shooters are limited to competing in only one. The Traditional Class is for side-hammer muzzle loaders, rolling blocks and side-hammer Sharps rifles. Vernier sights are permitted only. The maximum weight of the rifle in Traditional Class must not exceed 12½ pounds (original Creedmoor rifles weighed less than 10 pounds). As for the Open Class, it includes period-era rifles (iron or scope) not to weigh more than 15 pounds. Finally, the Senior Class is for individuals 70 years of age or older firing any period rifle (iron or scope), which cannot exceed 15 pounds in weight.
Traditional Class competitors must shoot without any artificial support. Open Class and Senior Class shooters can use crosssticks or slings and wrist rests.
Following the completion of shooting events, Creedmoor 150 competitors will head to The Venue in Lenoir City, Tennessee, where they will spend the day at a rifle exposition celebrating the history of the Creedmoor 150. In addition to the displays and camaraderie, there will be a dinner and the awards ceremony.
“After 26 years of hosting, this should be the best experience yet,” Rick Weber of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association said.
In 1874 at the Creedmoor Range at Long Island, New York, the Irish muzzleloaders faced the American breechloaders in a historic contest that is directly connected to today’s Leech Cup contested during the NRA National High Power Rifle Championships at Camp Atterbury.
During the Great 1874 International Match at Creedmoor, the Irish used muzzleloading target rifles (Rigby’s), which were thought to be more accurate than any breechloader, while the Americans used Remington rolling blocks and Sharps breechloaders especially made for the event. The course of fire was 15 shots to each man at 800, 900 and 1,000 yards. On the day of the match—September 26, 1874—spectators arrived by the trainload to observe the action.
During the match, Irish Maj. Arthur Blennerhassett Leech, who had no doubt that his team would be victorious, presented a silver tankard to the Americans. The Americans, of course, ended up winning the match. This silver tankard became known as the Leech Cup and today remains one of the most coveted trophies in long-range rifle shooting, as well as the oldest trophy in shooting competition today.
REGISTER NOW FOR THE CREEDMOOR 150 MATCH
Interested in attending the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association’s historic creation of the Creedmoor 1874 match in October? Registration for each competitor is $224 and includes range fees, targets, pasters, scoresheets and the awards dinner. Additionally, the deadline for entry is August 1, 2024. Go to nmlra.org or visit the Creedmoor 150 Facebook page to learn more.