True grit

February 21, 2014

Modern mountain men prove their mettle shooting 1800’s-style muzzleloaders

Steve Baima struggled with his muzzleloader. An old-timer watched as Baima tried to get his handmade rifle to fire. Instead of the advice Baima expected, the old-timer told him a line he’s never forgotten.

“He said, ‘I hate to tell you this, but your scalp is already on the pole,’” Baima said.

Above, Rich Downs, of Kirkland, fires at a target during a monthly meeting of the Cascade Mountain Men at the Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club shooting range. Below, Darrell Kapaun, of Duvall, puts black powder, a cotton patch and a lead bullet on the muzzle of his replica full-stock Hawken 1840’s flintlock rifle and prepares to tamp it down to the touch hole.

Above, Rich Downs, of Kirkland, fires at a target during a monthly meeting of the Cascade Mountain Men at the Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club shooting range. Below, Darrell Kapaun, of Duvall, puts black powder, a cotton patch and a lead bullet on the muzzle of his replica full-stock Hawken 1840’s flintlock rifle and prepares to tamp it down to the touch hole.

That drove home to Baima that his new hobby — he had just started to learn how to make and shoot black-powder guns — once was a life-or-death necessity. Originally, he said, muzzleloaders were needed for self-protection and to put food on the table.

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