David Reed Combines Love of History with Competitive Sport
Equilibar Operations Manager David Reed has enjoyed colonial and early American history throughout his life. He’s also found a way to combine history with competitive sport by participating in rifle musket competitions throughout the Eastern and Southern United States. He recently competed at the US Nationals in Friendship, Indiana, where he won both 100-yard events, and he won first place trophies at the 2017 North Carolina Muzzleloading Championship.
Rifle muskets, which represented the zenith of muzzleloader technology, appeared at the cusp of the American Civil War. In fact, the rifle musket is largely responsible for the war’s staggering loss of American life because it combined the musket’s rapid speed of loading with the deadly accuracy of the rifle. By the time the Civil War was over, the muzzleloader was outdated, having been replaced by the invention of breechloaders firing brass cartridges.
Many groups continue to keep the past alive by using these old firearms in competitions. Most competitions are referred to as bullseye events in which competitors have 45 minutes to place 10 shots as accurately as possible into a paper target at ranges up to 200 yards.
David’s engineering background has been especially helpful in tackling the highly technical nature of the sport. “I probably own 20 different bullet mold designs,” he said. “Each design gets carefully tested in a grid that includes gunpowder charge weight, powder type, bullet diameter, and bullet lubricant. There are a lot of variables that must be scientifically controlled. Usually the results of dozens of hours of testing prove that a particular design isn’t suitable and you need to move on to another design.”
Certain competitive groups are quite active in the sport. “My favorite is the North-South Skirmish Association. We shoot in eight-man teams in a race to hit all 32 targets before the other teams can hit theirs. In the Nationals there are 65 eight man teams on the line in any relay, so you’ll have 420 rifles let loose in a single ragged volley on the sound of the horn. I think that gets you as close as possible to experiencing what it was like on the battlefield for the common infantry soldier.”
David’s goal is to set the world record with a rifle musket. “Like any athlete, I approach this through a disciplined schedule,” he said. “I practice a minimum of two times per week throughout the year. Days off are spent testing, manufacturing ammunition, and keeping everything in good repair.”
This same disciplined approach is practiced by all the engineers at Equilibar who are working hard to bring our clients outstanding pressure control valves and fantastic customer service.
In the picture above, David is holding the first-place trophies that he won for the rifle musket competition as well as the ‘as-issue’ revolver competition at the 2017 North Carolina State Muzzleloading Championship.