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Load, aim, fire: Marksmen take part in Civil War shooting competition

It's a chance to re-live Civil War history from the viewpoint of the soldiers on the ground.

Members of a national organization are taking part in a live-fire competition.

WSBT 22's Elkhart County reporter Ed Ernstes tells us, however, it's not a re-enactment.

It's about using the primitive weapons of the time to hit targets.

Marksmen dressed in period costumes, fired muskets, carbines and breech loaded rifles -- many that had to be muzzle loaded.

Weapons like these were used by union and confederate troops.

It's part of a national competition sponsored by the American Civil War Shooting Association.

Friday, they shot at paper targets -- Saturday and Sunday will feature team competitions to see who can hit the most targets in the shortest period of time.

"The typical infantry weapon was a muzzle loading .58 caliber rifled musket or rifle. Some of the men went in at the beginning of the war with flint lock, smooth bore muskets," said Organizer, Norm Gibson.

"Once you shoot a black powder gun and you get some black powder under your skin, you are hooked for life. It's just a ton of fun and a great bunch of people to be with," said Gene Hass of Wisconsin.

Those taking part in the three day event, from around the Midwest, say being a part of it holds their interest on a number of levels. Learning about the hardships on the battle field for both sides to learning more about the history of the Civil War.

"It catches your interest and if you're interested in that era of history, you get pretty much drawn into it," said Weldon Fealko.

"The Civil War was a defining moment in our country's history. And every state, including Indiana, played an important role," said Steve Sherry.

Organizers say competitors range from teenagers to one over 80 years old.

The event takes place at the shooting range on State Road 120 - east of Bristol. Admission and parking are free.

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