Sport: Flintlocks at the Fort

The marksmen gathered at Fort Ticonderoga, N.Y. were a strange-looking group, dressed in checked shirts and funny hats. One man wore a skunk pelt on his head, another sported a black sombrero with a feather stuck in the band. The firearms were out of the ordinary too: long-barreled pistols, archaic-looking rifles decorated with carvings, etched designs and inlays. They were all old-style muzzle-loaders—flintlocks or caplocks*—and the oddly hatted people were devoted muzzle-loader fans.

Muzzle-loader fans have to be devoted. Their guns are handmade (many fans make their own), and firing them takes effort. To...

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