Flathead Valley Muzzle Loaders


The traditional muzzle loading rifle, with open sights, loaded with patched round ball, its variations and it accouterments. That provides the focus for the members of the club. The members practice the handling, loading and shooting of old rifles, build their shooting skills and accepting as well the responsibilities of safe handling and range etiquette.

For some that activity is enough, and its own reward. For others, the blast of black powder and white smoke drifting through the trees beg them to look back at at the men and women that used such a rifle to help win the independence of this great country. With the hard won freedom to carry that rifle and move as they wished, they opened new frontiers. Finding such information, some members become curious about the life of those hunters and mountaineers, and learn to dress, start fires, shelter themselves, cook, hunt and use other necessary tools, like tomahawk and knife. Whole families gather to shoot, learn, teach, eat, sing and listen to the music. From shooting the seemingly simple traditional muzzle loading rifle, many of the members let themselves be carried to a slower, more simple time. We have the freedom to carry and shoot that rifle, and the freeedom to take our club involvement as far as we wish.
F.V.M.L - How it Started

In late June of '96 the first organizational meeting of the FVM was held at Vaughn Gaschet DeLisle's home. In answer to a newspaper ad the following people attended Vaughn, Mike Jorgenson, Don Webber, Dan Bourne, Paul Hahn and Shaun Bouche of the Tobacco Valley Club as an advisor. On the agenda were a club name, insurance and a place to shoot. The club really took off when Mike Jorgenson obtained the George Lapp property to hold the club shoots. Mike and Don Webber shot there before at several invitational shoots put on by George's son Charles. Our first two day shoot was held the following spring at Dog Creek Campground near Olney. After we lost the use of Dog Creek we obtained permission to hold overnight shoots at the Larry Merical property near Marion, MT.

On the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 AM during the summer and 11:00 AM during winter the cub shoots on Lapp's Farm at 3230 Columbia Falls Stage Road. There is a short trail walk along side the Flathead River. This is a beautiful location in spring and summer right next to the river, a great place for the kids to play while Dad is shooting if they are too young to shoot. A couple of blocks have been set up for knife and hawk throwing. The club has access to two ranges with availability of metal and novelty targets. The shooting is followed by a pot luck dinner and some good conversation with the coffee always hot.

The club also organizes two rendezvous each year the first is on the third weekend of May and another in September, fire season permitting. We appreciate the generosity of Larry & Val Merical who allow us the use of their property, a beautiful wooded area at Marion. There is a two day aggregate shoot with a 20 target trail walk, a pistol trail walk and a 20 station knife and hawk trail walk. A "Mountian Man Run" tests your skills and knowledge and you can make a little money at the tomahawk poker, long gong and other fun shoots with events changing from year to year. Games for little ones with a candy cannon that's popular with the big kids as well. Pot luck dinner on Saturday evening with camp fire entertainment into the small hours of the morning. Prizing and closing ceremonies early Sunday. Many of the club members dress in period clothing and have primitive camps, this isn't a requirement but it is a lot of fun to dress up.

We meet once a month at 7:00 PM on the 4th Tuesday of each month at

Cornerstone Community Church, 1970 Hwy 93, Kalispell, MT

.The normal business meeting is followed by an informal display and discussion of some aspect of the fur trade era. Topics covered have included capote making, knives, footwear, musical instruments, blankets, head coverings, clothes, beads, trapping, primitive archery, fire starting, tack belts, leather work and art work of the fur trade era, and are seen from both a white and indian perspective. Annual dues are $15.00 for an individual, $20.00 for a family and are due at the January meeting. A monthly newsletter comes out around the first of the month, it is emailed to all members who have internet access. The newsletter and website keep you up to date with what's going on in the area of shoots, rendezvous, gun shows, etc.

President: Mike Jorgenson - 406 837 0135
Vice President: Randy Burns - 406 755 1262
Secretary/Treasurer: Eldon Nielsen - 406 755 9788

Mailing address:

Flathead Valley Muzzleloaders
210 Lore Lake Road
Kalispell, MT 59901

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