National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association

The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association (NMLRA) began in 1933 as an association pursuing the active continued use and appreciation of the history of muzzle loading firearms. The Association headquarters are located in a beautiful valley in southern Indiana, Ripley County, next to the village of Friendship. Twice a year, June and September, the valley echoes with hundreds of distinctive sounding black powder gunshot reports. Thousands of men, women and youths register and compete in a wide variety of contests and events.

Range targets, shooting stands also visible.

A view across the valley






A friend of mine from High School

The NMLRA has grown tremendously over the decades. When I first came to the shoot with my dad back in 1958 you could stand in the middle of the campground, throw a rock and not hit anyone. Now twice a year hundreds of campers pull into the grounds, in addition to many trailers that remain here year round. The whole valley fills, not only with participants in the shoots, but also two separate and unrelated large flea markets.

A couple of wilderness style forts on the primitive side of the grounds

Where you can buy, sell, trade everything from Kentucky rifles to buckskin trousers to powder horns

A bit of history

Friendship NMLRA shoots are a wonderful piece of Americana, filled with characters of all kinds, history buffs, and craftsmanship you would not expect to still exist. Yes, you can find gunmakers working on fine rifles and pistols. You can also watch impressive feats of marksmanship, both with black powder firearms, bows and arrows, tomahawks and other wilderness weapons. We were there just before the Fall Shoot began.


7 thoughts on “National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association

  1. A great place to have some old-time fun. Many years ago I had a pair of black powder six shooters. We were out at a remote place in the desert that we used as a bandit shooting range. A guy pulled up in hi pickup truck, got out, finished his beer, staggered up to a post and set the empty beer bottle on top of the post, walked back to his truck, pulled out a pistol and tried to hit the bottle. No such luck. During this time I was loading up one of the pistols. I was a bit distracted trying to keep an I on the drunk dude. When I finished loading up the sixshooter, I aimed at his bottle, pulled back the hammer, and squeezed the trigger. KABOOM! In my distraction, I had left a bit of powder around the cylinder and all six cylinders went off almost together. The bottle shattered and the drunk dude might have crapped his pants. He jumped, about fell over, looked at me with wide-eyed fear, jumped in his truck and was off like a another shot. I had a great feeling of satisfaction scaring the crap out of that idiot.


  2. Pingback: National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association – Roadtirement | Ups Downs Family History

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