The word "Schuetzen" is German and in this application refers to a breech-loading, singleshot rifle using a cartridge case to contain the primer and powder charge with cast or swaged lead bullets. The bullets are usually seated with the base of the bullet at the case mouth as this method gives superior accuracy.
Shooting as a sport was so popular in Germany that practically every village of any size had a shooting club or "Schuetzen Verbande." This tradition continues today although the muzzle loaders and black powder have given sway to the "Luftgewehre and Luftpistolen."
As gun-making technology in America progressed, a gunmaker named George Schalk made a muzzle-loading target rifle in 1885 that was as accurate as it was revolutionary. It was a Ballard breech-loading rifle that chambered a cartridge. Because of its superior accuracy, this type of rifle quickly became the dominant force in the "Schuetzen" competitions that had been transplanted to America along with the German people.
Bear in mind that this was the heyday of rifle competition and the shooters of the day were as well known as any modern athlete.
"Schuetzen" was to the firearms of that era what benchrest is to ours. The goals were the same: The finest accuracy attainable. Harry M. Pope of New Jersey and George Schoyen of Denver, Colorado were considered the finest riflesmiths of the "Schuetzen" era. Both built breech-loading rifles that were loaded with a "false muzzle" to guide the soft lead bullet as straight as possible into the bore.
"Schuetzen" competition was usually fired at 200 or 220 yards offhand. The accuracy of these rifles and the shooting done with them was truly remarkable. Some of the records set with them were unbeaten for nearly a century.
As part of the rush to dive headfirst into the First World War, the government used a "media blitz" (sound familiar?) to generate a significant anti-German sentiment. Hating "the Hun" and all things German was our patriotic duty (politically correct). One of the victims of this hate was the sport of "Schuetzen." The clubs quietly stacked arms and disbanded.
Today, thanks to the efforts of Coors, the sport of "Schuetzen" has re-emerged as a popular form of rifle competition.
The data presented in this section was developed in pressure barrels in our ballistic lab. The pressures were measured using a drilled case. This was necessary due to the very low pressures generated by most of these loads. A most pleasant discovery was how consistent these load combinations are. If these charge weights had been used with fixed ammunition, the results probably would have been awful. Breech seating the bullet served to dramatically improve the ignition characteristics of the propellants used. It is our hope that this data will be useful to the modern "Schuetzen" competitor.
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