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March 28, 2018

For long range shooters and mainstream outdoor media readers, the word Creedmoor conjures up a lot of emotion, excitement and debate. Mostly, it is the attributes of a new Wildcat round (old timer term used to describe a “hot” new caliber being developed.). Typically development is outside of the Big Three major firearm/cartridge manufacturers, in a given era.

The 6.5 Creedmoor, developed by Hornady got the forums flowing. The cartridge, cum rifle caliber and its suitability for long range shooting, is the latest trend in long guns.

With the advent of longer sleeker bullets, words like Ogive and Ballistic Coefficient (B.C.) are common dinner table, campfire, or internet forum words, while discussing "all things" long range shooting.

The craze is about to wear down a bit, as any "over-hyped" something or other has a life-expectancy. Lofted there by the "new paradigm" in Media; Click rates, "Likes", Advertising dollars, Social Medias', Sponsorships, Brand loyalty and yes, more money. All created exciting news of the latest-greatest, whiz-bang cartridge.

It's happened before--lots of times--Millions of times. It's just in today's world, Social Medias' reach (for awhile) takes it new places quickly--heard of the term, "Went Viral"? The .338 Lapua excitement lasted about two years...

Today, numerous written articles, videos and internet reviews detailing the comparisons of cartridges and the "newest" iteration having a ballistic superiority, has long been a stable of long range shooting lovers that started many years before contemporary technology.

This is called, "Technological Advancement". It drove the Romans. It drove the Vikings, the Mongols, Chinese, etc., etc.. We just think that WE recently discovered something "new". Think, 1985, and a startup called, Microsoft Corp. Or, Apple Corp's, Apple IIE, and today's, Apple i-phone 10. Phone Booths? What's that, my 11 year old asked?

Americans love their guns and especially the long range shooting types. Most recently, since the book and movie, American Sniper came to theaters. Calibers like the .50 BMG, .300 Winchester Magnum (officially adopted by Winchester Corp. in 1964), and more recently, the .338 Lapua was all the talk.

Or, the buzz surrounding the latest long range kill record, documented by an Canadian soldier's 3,540 Meter shot; or 3,871.4 yards; approximately 11,614 feet--1,000 feet over two miles in distance. The previous record holder, Craig Harrison, a British Sniper, recorded a kill in 2009 and was 2,475 meters, 2,706 yards, or 8,118 feet, about 1.5 miles. 

Our fascination with war and the implements of battle (Guns, Knives, Night Vision, Drones, etc.,) have long moved us to reach-out even farther, hence the development of the .50 BMG. Longer, faster, flatter with less wind drift and drop, oh the obsession...

So, in a divided country, things happened, and we had a low point in our Nation's history, with increasing tensions, our short lived bliss led us to our own Civil War and the development of even more advancements in firearms--coinciding with Europe's continued wars and weapons developments.

In 1876, the Hundred-years-young Country, post Civil War, was turning away from war guns, and the National Rifle Association was fading from the interest of the general public. The Country literally had no discernible enemies after the Civil War. And using guns for anything but warfare had waned, due to our own internal conflict.

What? A country with a Constitution guaranteeing the RIGHT to possess a firearm? The Second Amendment, written into America’s Constitution, defining the gun ownership right to every citizen, and a Country founded by a Revolution over tyrants and a military buildup of the "Citizen Soldier" whom were primarily hunters, and living in just over a dozen states; and guns are fading from our interest? 

Similar to today's recent politics surrounding guns, many Americans were not interested in the guns of warfare. But this is the year 1876, not 2018. Oh the times are a changing, or not.

The Creedmoor is a special place in American gun history. A place? Yes, I'm sure you searched the word and found several citations and the Wikipedia definition and dozens other references. Well, it’s the real deal.

A farmer's field, not far from New York City, was an ideal size and distance away from those still interested in shooting competitions. It sat in an ideal location to be purchased from the owner, Creed. It sat in a low spot; a Moor-like apparition, more like from Ireland, instead of Stanton Island. The name Creedmoor, it became.

For me, the Creedmoor fascination found it's way into my psyche--it was 2015, while sitting alone at my then girlfriend’s home, looking through some of her family’s books. Then an heirloom book from the late 1800's caught my eye. A brief exploration of the content dealing with hunting and as I moved it aside, an interesting bound "book" was beneath it, with a discernible lack of dust on most of the top.

The U.S. Shooting Team

This book wasn't like books I'd seen before, but more like a Scrap-book. Well, within seconds of turning the cover, I discovered a real family heirloom.

Then it dawned on me; the Bronze on marble--the two bull elk locked up in battle that I had only admired from afar, was something special. I rubbed the dust from the front and found an inscription from, wait for it, 1878.

PJ Mene'

The artist’s name is P.J. Men'e, a French sculptor of the 19th Century. His thing was small animal sculptures. This was a third-place trophy from the shooting match that took place in 1878, where the Italians nearly upset the American shooting team, which could have potentially forever changed our gun culture.


As I dove over the couch table, back to the pub table, gasping, I turned page after page through the newly discovered scrap book of numerous newspaper articles glued meticulously page-by-page, and like it was done say, 30 years ago, not over 140 years prior.

I found at least a-half-dozen pages that were extremely pleasing to the eye. There were a multitude of pictures of the many shooting positions, the targets with specific data on their stature and the Creedmoor layout. My favorite thing about this find--and there are so many but, this fact above all others is the best: The position used to shoot 1,000 yards, with open sights!

US National Rifle Team

And, so much more...over two hundred newspaper articles cut and pasted detailing the matches, and all the "politics" of the times to include rifles as a pivotal point in time. Renee's deceased husband's mom's-side of the family; E.H. Sanford made the team in 1876. My wife's deceased husband's great, great-grand father.

Even as scintillating as the shooting positions were that many adopted, or the design of the sights developed and referred to as, the "Creedmoor sight", nothing stood out more than the "Creedmoor" rifles built for the competition from Remington and Sharps. *Note: As I write this piece,  a social media post declared, "Remington Arms Co. declares bankruptcy protection, in a Trump era..."


Oh, the pleasure and dreaming about those times. Nowadays we think we're just amazing to hit a gong at 500 yards with our high powered scopes, Kestrel wind computers, sophisticated Laser-computer range finders and doping data. We shoot guns that would flabbergast even those deceased for twenty years, let alone those shooters of the post Civil-War!

The shooters--primarily wealthy New Yorkers--kicked ass. These are the real skills gone today, like Blacksmithing or Woodsmanship. The technology that removes us from nature and the experience of work and using our brains erode us from experience. Today's technology and in the future will take us further (or farther?) from the simple and more enjoyable times, like Dutch Ovens, Wall tents, and growing our own produce and harvesting our own animals; it has diminished our experience on earth as humans, and will continue to do so.

 Well, there is more to come in Part Two.


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