THE CREEDMOOR MATCHES


 

The ability for a person to launch a projectile, whether it be a rock, arrow, or cast bullet, at a distant target and strike it with precision has been a part of human history since the beginning of mankind. I sometimes think that we have must have a gene embedded in our DNA that somehow instills within us a burning desire to embark upon such an undertaking.

Throughout recorded history tales abound about the fantastic shots taken by some of the early pioneers of this country, like Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. The incredible shot taken by Billy Dixon during the battle at Adobe Walls in the Texas panhandle in June 1874 is one that many consider to be the greatest ever made. Using a Sharps “Big 50” .50 caliber buffalo rifle, Dixon took careful aim, fired, and struck a hostile Indian sitting on horseback at an estimated distance of 1,538 yards — 9/10ths of a mile away!

Shooting Was America’s Number #1 Sport

It may seem hard to imagine now, but in the late 1800s and early 1900s, before baseball became the “national sport”, organized target matches were the most popular sport in this country. Men and women would gather on a Sunday afternoon at their local rifle club or town square to participate in matches which involved shooting at a target 200 yards away, from the off-hand position. Many of the pictures and lithographs from that era show men dressed in formal attire with rifle raised and pointed at a distant bullseye target. Skill with a rifle was considered to be a “good” thing in those days and something about which to be proud.

The Creedmoor Matches of 1874-76

Probably the most famous long range precision match ever held, and the one that made the term “Creedmoor” famous, was the Long Range Black Powder match that took place between the United States and Ireland on the NRA’s newly established shooting facility built on the site of the “Creed” farm in upstate New York in 1874. The land around this area reminded many who saw it of the “moorland” in Great Britain — hence the term “Creedmoor”.

Subsequent competitions at Creedmoor in 1876 and at Wimbledon, England in 1877 drew widespread attention to the sport and matched the best shooters in the world against each other in formal competition.

Major Ned H. Roberts

Probably the most detailed account of shooting during this time period is contained in a book written by Major Ned H. Roberts and edited by Gerald O. Kelver entitled “Major Ned H. Roberts and The Schuetzen Rifle”. Although the title would lead you to believe that this book is devoted solely to the sport of Schuetzen–style shooting, that is not the case.

In his book, Major Roberts covers in exquisite detail virtually every aspect of the shooting sports in which he was involved and discusses the people with whom he shot during his 82 years. Major Roberts covers everything from bullet casting to load development, famous rifles and their makers such a Harry Pope, George Schoyen, A.O. Zischang, and W. Milton Farrow, along with the history of the events that took place in the world of target shooting during the latter part of the 19th century.

Not only does it contain a wealth of information, but it is also one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read on the subject of shooting. If you have an interest in precision shooting and the history of the sport, you’ll find this book to be a valuable addition to your collection. Much of the information contained in this book is still applicable today.

To order your copy, go to:

IDSABOOKS.com: Item # 100922                    $ 13.95 + Postage

http://www.idsabooks.com/cgi-bin/idb455/100922.html

or

Dixie Guns Works, Inc.: Item # BK2076         $ 13.95 + Postage

http://www.dixiegunworks.com/default.php?cPath=22_113&sort=1a&&page=2


The Story of Creedmoor

Another excellent publication that details the history of the Creedmoor matches is called “The Story of Creedmoor” by David Minshall. This booklet is based upon an article that was originally published in 1876, and contains the original twelve page article, supplemented by nine pages of notes which add historical comment.

There are also 14 pages of Appendices which give a chronology of Creedmoor and the International Matches, transcripts of the original challenge offered by the Irish National team, and the Amateur Club's appeal for riflemen, including team profiles, match results and selected target diagrams from that time period.

To order your copy, go to:

Research Press:                                                 $ 9.00 + Postage

http://www.researchpress.co.uk/publications/index.htm#creedmoor1876

By Darryl Hedges
 

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