Black powder shoot mimics days of old

First Posted: 11/1/2014

The Factoryville Sportsmen’s Club held a black powder shoot on Sunday, Oct. 26.

Tunkhannock resident Mike Cupinski has been a member of the club for 13 years and enjoys black powder shooting due to its similarities to Cowboy Action Shooting, which he also enjoys participating in.

“I’m a Civil War buff, so I enjoy the historical significance of the black powder shooting,” Cupinski said, “and the smell of the sulfur.”

In most black powder shoots, the compeitors aim to hit life size animal targets at various ranges.

Scranton resident Larry LeStrange has been responsible for organizing the black powder shooting sessions on a few Sundays each month at the club.

“Larry has done a lot to rekindle interest in black powder shooting at the club,” Club Public Relations Coordinator Paul Zbegner said. “It’s a very cool, fun thing to do. A lot of people who enjoy black powder shooting are really into the authenticity of the event. They use original firearms and are fanatical about it. You see a big puff of grey smoke. It’s a blast to shoot, no pun intended.”

Zbegner added that black powder was widely the first propellant used in rifles, dating back to 900 AD, and the muzzleloader guns used for black powder shooting are often seen in Revolutionary War movies.

Cupinski also enjoys the camaraderie with fellow members and the well-structured programs offered at the club.

“It’s a well-organized, safe place to shoot,” Cupinski said.

According to Zbegner, there are well over 700 combined junior and senior members at the club. He said there has been gradual growth in the club from around 500 when he joined 12 years ago.

In addition to black powder, the club also offers 5-stand, sporting clay, 3-D archery, civilian marksmanship, defensive, international practical, long range, skeet and trap shooting.

“We like to try to give people a variety of things to do,” Zbegner said.

Zbegner added that every activity is supervised and precautions are taken at all times at the premises of the club.

“The foremost thing that we do is practice safety,” he said.

The club is active in the community, supporting the Susan G. Komen and Delta Waterfowl non-profit organizations, among others through fundraisers.

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