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Firearms, Long Range Target Shooting & Military History

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The Creedmoor Era

In the latter part of the 19th century the Creedmoor Rifle Range, Long Island, New York, USA, was the venue for a number of international long range rifle matches that received widespread public interest and much press coverage.

  • Chronology - Key dates and events charting the rise and demise of Creedmoor Rifle Range.
  • Creedmoor and the International Rifle Matches - This article looks briefly at the origins of the National Rifle Association in America and the establishment of Creedmoor Rifle Range. It continues with an overview of the international long range rifle matches.
  • Creedmoor, History of the Range - An early article on the occasion of the first annual Prize Meeting of the National Rifle Association [1873].
  • Long Range Black Powder Rifle Target Shooting - a facebook group. Long range target shooting with the percussion muzzle loading rifle and black powder cartridge rifle. Historical study and shooting today. 19th Century competition at Wimbledon, Creedmoor and Dollymount. Rifles, ammunition and equipment. Riflemen and Gunmakers.

International Military Rifle Matches

Shooting competitions between the Rifle Volunteers of Great Britain and the National Guard of America were agreed for 1882 and 1883.

Rifles & Ammunition

These articles on muzzle loading and breech loading rifles and their ammunition can be found in the Firearms collection. Reference should also be made to Long Range Rifle Fire for broader studies on the subject.

  • Creedmoor Rifles, 1873 - American manufacturers responded to the need for a long range target rifle.
  • The Creedmoor Rifle, 1876 - Contemporary information on the basic form and ammunition for the American long range rifle.
  • The Science of Long Range Shooting - Edwin Perry shares in his Modern Observations on Rifle Shooting (1880), some of the major changes / advancements at Creedmoor, in particular regarding bullet alloys.

Amateur Rifle Club

The Amateur Rifle Club of New York city was established in 1873. It was this club that accepted the Irish challenge to riflemen of America that led to the series of international long range rifle matches.


1871: The National Rifle Association (NRA) was granted a charter by the State of New York on 17 November 1871. The first president was Gen. Ambrose Burnside.
1907: Creedmoor closed as a rifle range in September 1907, 34 years since its opening. Its abandonment was due to the encroachment of suburban residences and the need of the ground for building purposes.

Read more: Chronology

Creedmoor and the International Rifle Matches

Creedmoor 1877

To trace the origins of the Creedmoor rifle range one needs to go back to the immediate post Civil War years in America. Understandably, at the time there was little interest in marksmanship or military matters from the general public, and although the US National Guard received plenty of drill and marching instruction there was scant, if any, marksmanship training. The impetus for the development of marksmanship skills within America's National Guard units came from the pages of the Army and Navy Journal. The editor was William Church, and a kindred spirit was George Wingate, whose "Manual for Rifle Practice" appeared in six instalments in the Journal in late 1870 and early 1871. Reprinted in book form in a number of editions the manual became the standard work upon which rifle practice was developed in America.

Read more: Creedmoor and the International Rifle Matches

Creedmoor, History of the Range

Creedmoor 1873

Though Creedmoor may he now well known to our National Guard and riflemen in the city and vicinity, still a thorough description of the same, its plan of organization, and the object to be obtained by having such a range for rifle practice in our midst, with full details of methods of shooting, &c., may be of interest to many outside of the city, and may help to develop more thoroughly a taste for rifle shooting in the United States.

Read more: Creedmoor, History of the Range

Rifle Volunteers vs National Guard (1882 & 1883)

A shooting competition between the Rifle Volunteers of Great Britain and the National Guard of America was agreed for 1882. On 14 and 15 September the teams of twelve met at Creedmoor in the USA. The match was fired at 200, 500 and 600 yards on the first day, and at 800, 900 and 1000 yards on the second. In 1883 the American National Guard team had a return match against the British Volunteers at Wimbledon, England, on 20 and 21 July. The rifles used were of military pattern, although not necessarily one authorised for service. Each man fired seven shots at each distance, and no cleaning between shots was permitted.

Read more: Rifle Volunteers vs National Guard (1882 & 1883)

'Amateur Rifle Club' Origins

The "Amateur Rifle Club," of this City, has been organized to promote the introduction and use of the most improved rifles, and to encourage long-range practice without regard to any military organization. This body, composed of young men in business, will be subject to the laws governing the practice of the National Rifle Association, on whose grounds they will shoot next month on the opening day, when, it is thought, Gov. Dix and other prominent persons will be present.

Read more: 'Amateur Rifle Club' Origins