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M.L.A.I.C. Clay Target Events

posted Oct 18, 2011, 12:39 PM by Peter Lucas   [ updated Dec 2, 2011, 5:22 PM ]

  

  At a recent shoot, we decided to try setting up an "International Clay Target Course".  While we did not get the dimensions quite right,  we did have some fun shooting on a course similar to that used for International Black Powder competitions.  For those not familiar with the International muzzle loading competitions, here are the basics.

    The Muzzle Loaders Associations International Committee or the "MLAIC" is the World governing body for muzzle loading shooting.  The goals of the MLAIC include: a) development of a wider interest in antique firearms; b) discouraging alterations of antique firearms which would affect their historical value; c) encouraging historical research into antique firearms and their use; and, d) to organize matchesMajor competitions include the Zone Championships, held in odd-numbered years, and the World Championships, held in even-numbered years.  Guns used range from Japanese matchlock muskets, through the flintlock arms of the American Revolution, to the percussion rifles and pistols of the Civil War era.   Approximately 550 competitors, representing 25 countries, compete in a typical MLAIC World Championship.

    The United States International Muzzle-Loading Team represents the United States in international competition. The goal is to select the best competitors from the whole spectrum of American muzzle-loading organizations to represent the United States at MLAIC events.  Historically, the United States team has been one of the strongest teams in international competition.

    The MLAIC events include competitions in eight rifle, four pistol, and two shotgun events.  Original antique arms and modern replicas compete in separate classes.

MLAIC CLAY TARGET COMPETITIONS  

    The MLAIC Clay Target events are conducted on a specialized range which combines aspects of both trap and skeet. Like skeet, the targets are thrown along a fixed trajectory which does not change from shot to shot. Like trap, competitors shot from five stations which are located behind the trap house. A diagram of the course layout is pictured to the right.

    The five stands are each located 8 meters (8.7 yards) behind the clay target thrower.   This puts the shooter significantly closer to the birds when compared to a standard ATA Trap range where the machine is placed 16 yards from the shooter.  However, it would be a mistake to think that the MLAIC Clay Target course presents easier targets than the standard ATA Trap course. 

    Unlike ATA Trap, the MLIAIC layout presents both straight away shots and highly angled targets.  For the MLIAIC event, the stands are located: 70 degrees left, 35 degrees left, central, 35 degrees right, 70 degrees right.   This means that shooter will have have targets which are significantly more angled than would be encountered on an ATA trap range. By comparison, an ATA trap machine oscillates left to right within a 35 degree arc making the maximum oscillation to the right or left of center 17.5 degrees,

   There are a couple of other differences from standard American clay target events which make the MILIAIC event more difficult. First, the birds used in MLIAIC Clay target competitions are the standard type used for Olympic Trap shooting.   Generally, the Olympic clay birds events are flatter and of a more durable construction, making them more difficult to break.


Maximum Proof Sevice Load

The Proof Table Service Loads refers to the maximum loads for guns in good condition and in proof.  The maximum load varies depending on gauge of the gun.  Here are the maximum charges for the common gauges of shotguns:


Gauge

Drams of Powder

Grains of Powder

Ounces of shot

10

4

109

1 ½

11

3 ½

96

1 5/16

12

3 ¼

89

1 ¼

13

3 ¼

89

1 ¼

14

3

82

1 1/8

15

3

82

1 1/8

16

2 ¾

75

1

17

2 ¾

75

1

18

2 ¾

75

1

19

2 ½

68

7/8

20

2 ½

68

7/8


For MLAIC competition, the maximum load is 3.5 drams of black powder and 1.25 oz of shot regardless of the the gauge of the gun.  Effectively, this limitation would effect only guns larger than 12 gauge. 
    Second, the trajectory of the birds for MLIAIC Clay Target event lower than what is usedthan most trap shooting events. For MLIAIC events, the clay launcher is set to throw the bird only 6 3/4 feet (2 meters) above the shooting station at 10 meters. At this elevation, the bird should fly approximately 60 meters (plus or minus 5 meters).  For Olympic Trap the bird is set to be between 3 and 3.5 meters (approximately 10 feet) high at 10 meters and travel a distance of 55 meters. For ATA singles targets birds the recommended height of the birds is 9 or 9 1/2 feet at ten yards.  ATA birds are set to fly a total of 50 yards.

    Guns may be percussion or flintlock, military or civilian, single or double barreled, smooth-bore, and of any gauge. Replicas with choked bores are forbidden. Double barreled guns may be used but with only one barrel loaded at a time. Loads must not exceed normal Proof Table Service Loads for the caliber of gun up to a maximum of 6.2 grams (3.5 drams) of black powder and 35 grams (1.25 oz) of shot.  The maximum shot size is 2.55 mm diameter which equates to approximately Number 7 1/2.

   There are a total of four clay target events; two individual events and two team events.  With in each event there are separate classes for original guns and replica guns.   Each event is named for either a famous gun maker or location.  The clay target events are as follows:
  • No. 21 Manton.  The Manton event is fired with flintlock firearms of any gauge.  A total of 50 clay targets are shot in two separate rounds of 25 birds each (one in the morning and one in the afternoon of the same day) on different ranges where possible.  Five targets are shot from each of the five stands within a 60 minute relay.   The Manton event is named for the Brothers John and Joseph who worked independently and were two of the most famous of all English gun makers They produced superb fowling pieces, pistols and rifles.
  • No. 22 Lorenzoni. The Lorenzoi event is fired with percussion firearms of any gauge. Again at total of 50 clay targets shot in two separate rounds. The Lorenzoni event was named for the famous Italian designer of early flintlock magazine repeaters, who lived in Florence from 1683 - 1733.
  • No. 34 Hawker.  The Hawker competition is a three man team of competitors in the Manton event.  The Hawker event is named for Lt Col Peter Hawker was a dedicated game shooter and wild-fowler, famous for his much reprinted book on the subject of shooting. He co-operated with Joseph Manton, the most prominent gun maker of the day, in the improvement of the sporting gun. Hawker's double barrelled gun with which he bagged 14,000 head of game is now in the Birmingham Museum.
  • No. 35 Batesville.  The Batesville competion is is a three man team of competitors in the Lorenzoni on event.  The Batesville event is named for the town of Batesville, Indiana which hosted he 2004 World Championships.
    The U.S. International Muzzle loading team is a self supporting operation.  According to their web sit, It costs approximately $6,000 to send a single competitor to a World Championship.  Sending a full team of ~50 shooters to Portugal in 2010 will cost $300,000...and sending the Long-Range Team to Great Britain will cost another $80,000-$100,000.  The US Team needs to raise approximately $500,000 per biennium - about $250,000 per year - to cover these costs.

    If this money is not raised, the team members must dig into their own pockets to cover the difference.  Every American shooter who represented the United States in Adelaide last year paid for his own airfare and lodging - roughly $7,000 in out-of-pocket expenses.  These costs have severly impacted the number of American competitors who can participate.  The 2008 team was fourteen shooters.  In 2000, the US Team took over fifty competitors to Australia.  And more shooters means more medals for the USA.

    Please consider a tax-deductible donation to the US Team. Every dollar they aise helps us field the strongest possible team to represent the United States.  To donate, contact Gary Crawford, Chairman of the U.S. International Muzzle-Loading Committee, at usimlt@hughes.net.
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