An Interview with the 121st Musket Team Champions

by Mike Kendra on June 28, 2010

This is an interview with a team that needs no introduction, the 110th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Jerry Smith was my contact with the team and he provided some interesting information. Please enjoy the interview:

The Victorious Musket Team Champions. Photo Courtesy of Ashley Smith

SkirmishNotes: What makes your team special / unique / the best?

Jerry/110thOVI: Special – What makes us special is the dedication to the sport/team by so many members year after year.   When we attend a skirmish, you can bet that at least 20 members will show up.   I have not missed a National since about 1982 and only 1 Midwest Regional (the best I can recall) due to a funeral.

Unique – I don’t know of any team trait that I would call unique.

Best – We have a nice core group of talented shooters and good depth into the B team.   If you look at the 14 photographs of our winning musket teams, you will see that only two members are in every photo, Mike Rouch and myself.  But to consistently win, it takes both good equipment and practice.  Most of the members have some form of custom gun, either an original gun with a custom barrel (Bill Large barrels are favored) or a fully custom made gun using quality parts.  I am unaware of any member using an Italian made musket and at least has been re-barreled of had a new barrel liner installed.   As far as practice, many practice at least once per week during non-skirmish weeks.

SkirmishNotes: What did you and your team do to prepare for this National?

Jerry/110thOVI: We host the first Midwest Skirmish in May, and thus don’t have a tune-up skirmish to participate in.   Some members attend out-of-region skirmishes (Early Bird or Statesville, NC), all participate in our pre-season qualification sessions (three sessions with each gun rapid fire that are like mini-skirmishes), and all get in practice when spring weather permits.

SkirmishNotes: The 110th Swept the National Smoothbore Team Match in all classes, was this result a surprise, or did you expect it?

Jerry/110thOVI: We we have a lot of interest and competition within the team for the Smoothbore Matches.  At our last Midwest Region skirmish, we fielded A, B, C, D, and E smoothbore teams.   But to answer your question, a sweep was a surprise to me.

SkirmishNotes: The 110th Musket Co.A finished the clay board in just over two minutes (127.5 seconds to be exact) at this last National, does the team consider this to be their best event? How does the team approach this event?

Jerry/110thOVI: I don’t know that we have one single best event. I must say, the pigeon board has become one of our most consistent events, both in regionals and at the nationals.  I personally believe the change a few years ago to allow orange side out pigeons effected our ability to be consistent, no matter the lighting conditions.

SkirmishNotes: The one weak event for the 110th Musket Team seemed to be the 6″ tiles at 100 yards, with about 9 other teams finishing in a faster time. What steps are you taking to improve your time in this event?

Jerry/110thOVI: PRACTICE!!!!!!!! We shoot great 100 yard events, we shoot not-so-great 100 yard events.  We need more practice at 100 yards if we are to become consistent like we are with pigeon boards.

SkirmishNotes: Was the 110th Awarded any other medals at the 121st National, as a team, or as individuals?

Jerry/110thOVI: You know the Musket and Smoothbore results, the A Team finished 5th in Carbine, and there were some individual medals won by members.

SkirmishNotes: The 110th OVI has been awarded 14 Musket Team Match Gold Medals in the last ten years… What musket teams have been you biggest competitors in that time?

Jerry/110thOVI: There are a lot of good musket teams shooting at the nationals, and as they say in the NFL, “on any given Sunday…..”  I could mention  several great teams who almost beat us during those 14 Sundays, but our biggest rivalry overall is with the Union Guards (they finished second at the past Nationals) who we go up against at every Midwest Region skirmish.   We beat them, sometimes they beat us.

SkirmishNotes: Of the team’s 14 National Musket Team Gold Medals, which is the most memorable?

Jerry/110thOVI: Without a doubt, the first.  With different members getting the opportunity to shoot with the A Team at the Nationals, I’m sure each would say “the first.”

Thanks so much Jerry for taking the time to answer my questions, and good luck to the 110th at the 122nd National!


A Reminder: Tonight, June 28th, from 9 to 11pm EDT, Skirmisher Chat, anyone can join the discussion, registration is not required. I will be hosting the chat and doing a survey for a future series of blogs. Your answers will be appreciated!

That’s the CivilWarTalk chat room.

Be there:

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Phil Spaugy June 28, 2010 at 8:14 am

Nice article. One item that I might add is that “Redmen” also shoot throughout the year, and not just skirmish style firearms either. At any local round ball match in the southwestern Ohio area its not unusual to find 10 or 12 members of the 110th present. And theses matches tend to be fertile grounds for recruiting new members.

Good skirmishers, great people all around. They represent the Midwest region and the NSSA very well.

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