Well, I went out to an N-SSA Skirmish this weekend with the Midwest Region. The event was hosted by the Union Guards; a very authentic unit portraying the 19th Indiana of the Iron Brigade, Hardee hats are required for this unit These guys know their stuff when it comes to loading a minie ball down the barrel!
The Union Guards had a visitor's shooting station set up with the following weapons:
1841 Mississippi Rifle (hated it - too heavy)
1864 Springfield 3 banded rifle musket (loved it - will probably buy this one)
1842 Springfield smooth bore (love it - will buy this one too)
1855 Springfield "shortened" 2 band (didn't really like it much)
Henry (hated it ... worst rifle I ever shouldered)
Smith Carbine (didn't like it either)
They sucked me in by setting the targets up at 25 yds ... I hit all of them with 64 Springfield ...
Targets at 25 yds
When I asked if they would move them back to competition range (50 yds) they initially said no, but I talked them into it. At 50 yds I was only 2 for 4 I was told that most N-SSA shooters are in the 60% range.
Targets at 50 yds
The smooth bore was also a lot of fun ... competition ranges are 25 yds ... with one round at 50 yards. Rifle & carbine are at 50 yds with one round at 100 yds (at 100 yds the targets look like periods at the end of sentence).
I'll tell you what, there is nothing in reenacting like standing on a firing line with 7 or 8 others loading real ammunition and trying to get off as many shots as you can in a 5 minute time period. It really gets the adrenaline flowing! Your hands get greasy and you pick up the filth of live fire black powder shooting ... I loved it. It is a part of the living history experience that I will now be able to relate better to the public.