Equipment needed to start shooting in the N-SSA

In this episode we’ll talk about the basic equipment you need to get started shooting in the North-South Skirmish Association. The N-SSA is a 501c(3) organization, founded in 1950, dedicated to competition shooting using firearms of the era of the American Civil War.

Here are some links to some of the equipment discussed in the video. Note that these are just representative possibilities; there are other vendors and styles of equipment to choose from. Also note that you should not rush to buy anything without checking with your team commander first!






Waist Belt:

Belt Buckle:

58 Caliber Cartridge Box:

Cap Box:


Plastic Cartridge Tubes:

Safety Glasses:

Bulk Cartridge Box:

Cleaning Rod:

Breech Scraper:

Patch Puller:

Cleaning Brush:

Howdy folks and welcome to the inaugural Edition of musket matters today we’re Going to talk about some of the Equipment and clothing that you’re going To need if you want to get started Shooting in the north south skirmish Association now if you don’t know what The NSSA is I’ll give you a brief Introduction there’s plenty of YouTube Videos and the website WWN SSA org that You can go check out and get more Detailed information but the NSSA is Basically a competition shooting Organization that’s been around since About 1950 that focuses on the era of The American Civil War So we shoot all kinds of firearms from Rifles to muskets to smoothbore muskets Revolvers carbines breech loaders Repeaters you name it if it’s an arm From the era of the American Civil War We probably shoot it in addition they Have artillery matches with mortars and And cannons so quite a lot to do there But don’t let that scare you off Hopefully that’s exciting and wants to Entice you to get involved in it but one Of the nice things about the NSSA is it Doesn’t take a whole lot of gear to get Started so that’s the purpose of this Video today is to talk about the minimum Gear that you’re gonna require if you Want to get started shooting in the NSSA So with no further ado we’ll start off

Of course with the most important piece Of equipment you’re going to need and That’s some kind of firearm so to get Started shooting the NSSA you only need One kind of firearm and that’s a musket Now there’s different kinds of muskets There’s three bands there’s two bands And for a complete list of approved arms You definitely want to check out the NSSA website and I’ll provide a link to That below this particular rugged musket Is a replica of a British pattern 1853 Enfield it’s a three band gun I Definitely recommend that if you Look into buying used firearms great Idea you can really save a lot of money On that if you do it that way But I definitely recommend if you’re Gonna go to use drought try to find Someone in the NSSA that can shoot does That can sell you a firearm that is Skirmish ready a known good skirmish gun That they know shoots well enough for Competition and they can give you the The load information and what kind of Bullet they’re using that way you’re not Just rolling the dice like when I got Into this stuff I’m going to plot this Firearm off a gun broker you know I Didn’t know about the NSSA I didn’t know Anything about black power firearms I’ve Just I wanted an Enfield so I like Bought one and trying to get it shooting And I discovered that the board been

Shot out of it so you know these things Are supposed to have a five seven seven Diameter bore and it ended up having Like a 584 diameter bore and even when I Found the bullet big enough isn’t it it Still never shot with the garden so I Ended up having to put a custom Barrel In it from Lineker machine shop which Made it a really nice competition gun But I also ended up spending money that I didn’t need to spend if I had known What I was doing up front so highly Recommend you check out the used market For firearms you get on the forums like The NSS a forum or other forums people You know you want to get in touch with People that can that you have some Degree of confidence that they’re gonna Sell you an arm that is usable you know For the kind of competition of shooting That we do so used you know you can pick Up a used musket you know for four or Five hundred dollars it’s really you’re Careful and you and scout on the forums And you get that friend deal if you Don’t have to buy a new musket and you Can figure they’re gonna set you back at Least a thousand dollars these days for A brand new one from Pettus only or Chiappa army sport or those kinds of Companies so that’s that’s the musket Also definitely want to check with your Team because some teams require specific Kinds of muskets so for example some

Teams might require a tube and musket Just because they’re shorter and they’re Faster And that gives you improved teen times Assuming you can hit anything Of course other teams like my team if You’ve got a pulse and you show up with A musket I don’t really care if it’s Three men or whatever you’re in so so Just something to think about when You’re buying your first your first Musket alright so we’ll continue on Something else you’re going to want for Shooting is you’re going to need some Kind of range box to keep your Ammunition in I usually make up about a Hundred rounds so every time I go to a Skirmish a weekend skirmish and I’ll Probably shoot 75 of those or more just Depends on how many times I I buy or a Entry target try to get a better score This particular kind of case is made by MTM case guard fantastic company great Customer service I’ve had with them this Is just one of their I think it’s 20 Games there might be 12-gauge I’m not Sure it’s a shotgun shell box and they Come with a couple of these shelves that You can put your rounds in and so that’s Nice you can’t have loose ammunition Running around at a scrum if it’s a Safety thing they don’t spark in your Ammunition and have a problem the other Thing is in period we used to use or in

Period they used to use paper cartridges So this is a replica of the u.s. 1855 Pattern expanding ball cartridge and What it was is a paper envelope that Contained your black powder charge and The bullet so you’d tear this tail off Pour the powder down the bullet a barrel Break open the cartridge and extract the Bullet and load that down the barrel and Then the paper was just thrown away well That’s a disposable I don’t a lot of People don’t want to invest a lot of Time and making a paper cartridges over And over again just to throw them away Because we go through them by the Hundreds so to get around that what a Lot of people use are these plastic caps And you can get these from various NSSA Merchants like S&S firearms lots of Manufacturing again I’ll provide some Links down below but these things were Originally designed to protect threaded Pipe fittings so in shipping or transit Or whatever so they’re just little Plastic caps that slip on the end of a Threaded Or a threaded piece of pipe to protect The threads and they weren’t great for What we do as a cartridge so you just Fill them up with whatever you determine Your best most accurate lo Deus of Trouble powder and then you take your Bullet which would be lubricated this One isn’t but anyway you take your

Bullet and you put it in like a cork and That makes up your cartridge and then to Use it you know just let the period of Cartridge we would uncork it or our Powder down the barrel and then take the Bullet and load it load it as usual so This is pretty much what people use in The NSSA for making cartridges for Muzzle loaders again you get yourself One of these trays and ammo boxes and Your cartridges fit in there and then You’re good to go to the range so you’ll Want something like that next thing We’ll talk about is a bayonet doesn’t Really matter what kind of bayonet you Get it doesn’t have to match the firearm You have although that’s nice if it does We will use the bayonet for is in our Competitions it is not required that you Return the ramrod back to the firearm Before shooting so what a lot of folks Do is they’ll take the bayonet and drive It in the ground and you can use it as a Prop for your ramrod while you’re Shooting and it’s just faster it gives You a faster load time also it makes it So that you don’t have the added weight Of the ramrod In the musket while you’re shooting Which is nice and you don’t have it Rattling around in the channel under Recoil and maybe throw it off your aim a Little bit so in the NSSA you’re not Required to return the ramrod to the

Firearm you can hold it in your hand you Can stick it in your boot you can prop It up on a pea net some people use a big Bowie knife that they stick in the Ground and prop up against that all Those things are fine I just recommend a Cheap reproduction bayonet and these Things are you know they look like Bayonets but they’re not hardened steel They’re they’re very cheaply made Basically and for what the abuse we put Them through empowerment into the ground I would definitely recommend Use a reproduction over and original but You know that’s your choice so any light Beignet that’s something else that You’re gonna want next thing that you’re Going to need are some leathers and We’re going to talk about a basic set of Letters here now when I first got Started shooting in the NSSA I didn’t Really understand all the terminology so I wasn’t sure what I needed to buy and I Didn’t understand how it all went Together how you wore it in any case so This is what’s called a waist belt and You’ve got to have one of these no Matter what you do now some cartridge Boxes are designed to be worn on the Waist belts and this particular style of Cartridge box this is a 58 caliber Cartridge box has provisions as you can See for mounting on a waist belt but it Also has provisions here and here and

These buckles on the bottom that you can Wear it on a shoulder strap and that way Your shoulder bears the weight of that Box full of ammunition because in period This thing can hold 40 rounds of ammo And that had some considerable weight to It especially when you’re on the March You know you don’t want this thing Dragging and bouncing so you could wear A waist belt and that I mean I’m sorry a Shoulder belt and that’s completely Legitimate and you can wear your Cartridge box on that belt so if you do That then you put on your your shoulder Belt with your cartridge box and then You put your waist belt on over the top Of it and that helps to keep it secure To your waist so you can do that that’s Just something else you’d have to buy if You want to go the shoulder strap route But you can do it with just a simple Waist belt So there are cartridge boxes and so if You go it’s just the waist belt make Sure you get a cartridge box that can be Attached to a waist belt like this one Now a word about quality there are low End what we call mainstream or sutler Road grade quality of equipment and then There’s higher end you know for the Progressive movement or the high Authenticity folks the NSSA is not Re-enacting organization so it’s great If you want to go if you’ve got the

Money In the inclination and you want to have The super authentic stuff that’s awesome I’ve done living history stuff myself And definitely I appreciate folks that Go to that level of the tale but for What we’re doing it’s not required so Don’t spend the money on it you know if You’re having a hard time with the Expenses don’t worry about going and Buying the most awesome perfect Reproduction hand-stitched whatever you Know something Road type stuff is going To work just fine for what we do if you Discover later that you want higher Quality things than by all means you Know avail yourself to that but these Set elaborate leathers I’ve been using For seven years and they are lasting we Just find so again Waist belt you’re gonna need to get a Waist belt you know whether you use a Saw a shoulder strap or not you’re gonna Need a waist belt you’ll need a buckle You know I’m using one that’s relevant To my team your team may have Requirements definitely don’t buy any Clothing or our equipment until you Check with what potential team you might Be shooting with for a couple reasons Number one teams have uniform Requirements so if you buy things that Don’t meet their uniform requirements You’re not gonna be allowed to use them

So don’t go spend money and then Discover that you bought the wrong stuff So definitely you’re going to want to Check with your team or your team Commander to find out what the required Equipment is for their team that might Influence your choice of team the other Thing is is by asking around with your Potential new teammates almost certainly They’re gonna have used equipment that They’d probably be willing to either let You borrow or that you can buy at a Really good price instead of having to Buy new stuff so definitely for any of Your equipment you’re going to want to Check with a teammate or a team Commander before you commit to buying Stuff all right Back to the leathers so I’ve got a belt Buckle that just matches my team but There are a variety especially on the Confederate side there were a variety of Kinds of buckle possibilities that they Might that you could And that might be appropriate for your Use you might have a u.s. Buffalo Generic CS Buffalo anyway you’re going To need a waist belt and a buckle you’re Going to need the cartridge box as we Talked about the cartridge box is going To have straps or flaps and straps to Help protect your ammunition while You’re shooting you don’t want to get Any stray sparks earning than getting in

Your ammunition so you have to have a Cartridge box to store your ammunition Now I use one cartridge box for Everything so I don’t have a 69 caliber Smoothbore musket coverage box for when I’m shooting 69 caliber smoothbore I’ve Just got one and I use it for everything So you can certainly do that the other Thing you’re going to need is a cap Pouch this is where your story to Percussion caps this particular one is Designed to mount on your waist belt They also make versions that attach to That shoulder strap if you choose to go That route some people find that Convenient so that when you’re loading Your arm it’s just easier to grab out of Your pouch here at your chest than to Fumble around down here at your waist I Just go simple so I’ve got everything on My waist belt the last thing I have here Is a tin cup that’s not for drinking out Of it you can see inside and you Wouldn’t want to drink out of it so What’s the tin cup for so when we’re Shooting with these plastic tubes You know you finish using them you’ve Loaded your firearm what do you do with Them well a lot of people just throw Them on the ground but then after the Match is over you’ve got to bend over And pick them up all off the ground Because they’re reusable well with the Tin cup on your belt you can just drop

Them in your cup so it just saves you From having to bend over and scoop Things up so that’s that’s just an Option totally optional if you want to Go that route so that completes your Leathers I happen to have a little Nametag holder on my belt also but you Can use the little clear plastic office Nametag holders also and clip it to the Back of your hat or what But that’s just something clever I got Picked up at one of the national Competitions so that’s your letters next Thing we’ll talk about here are shoes Footwear so these are replicas Brogan’s Civil War Footwear that soldiers could Have worn or would have worn again in The NSSA you know we’re not a living History organization we don’t require This wear period in Footwear and I have Quit wearing the different period of Footwear you know I’ve got an extra 200 Pounds on me that I shouldn’t be Carrying and as a result of that when You’re wearing these just little flat Leather sole shoes even when I put the Dr. Scholl’s inserts in them at the end Of the day my feet are killing me so I Have reverted to wearing modern Footwear And that’s fine as long as it’s black or Brown leather if you’re wearing any kind Of a lace-up boot that’s obvious you Can’t wear it on the outside of your Trousers your trousers have to cover

Them and then all you’re seeing is the Leather you know toe anyway so that’s Perfectly fine As long as it’s brown a black leather Then you’re okay with your Footwear you Don’t have to wear a period Brogan’s Or period style shoes but you certainly Can I can walk to so that’s that’s your Shoes next thing you’re going to need is A shirt and this is your typical suppler Road style a shirt again check with your Team people are probably going to have Ones to Philly they let you borrow They’ll give them to pick it or they’ll Sell them to you at a really good deal If not you know something road type Shirt sets back 20 bucks and I’ll put Links down below to all of this Equipment from manufacturers that I use I typically use SNS firearms they’re a Really nice company to deal with They have great summer quality equipment They also sell original things as well So I like dealing with them a lot so Anyway there’s a you’re going to need You’ll probably want a couple shirts Because black powder shooting is a dirty Sport and especially down here in the South and the deep south region it’s hot So at the end of the Day the next day you’re going to want a Fresh shirt if you can get away with it So there’s your shirt next thing you’re Gonna need is a set of trousers these

Are our again sutler rogue grade Trousers at the end I got these from S&S Firearms they have a button down fly They’re woolen not much else to say About them you need to wear a period Style of trouser they don’t allow Zippers and I’m not sure I don’t think Belts are allowed either but could be Wrong on that but the style you know in That time period was to wear suspenders With them and that’s what you’ll find to Be most comfortable with this style of Pants so they’ll need a set of trousers And you’ll need some suspenders to go With them again we’re not you know Hardcore authentic this style of Suspender with the sliding adjustment Strap is a post-war invention as I Understand it so these are not Period-correct suspenders but they’re Good enough for what we do in the NSSA So that’s trousers and suspenders so You’ll need some of those next thing We’ll talk about is a hat you’re gonna Need some kind of headgear if you’re a Confederate then your choices are Probably more broad than on the Union Side of Confederate side you know they Had you know issued style of headgear But there’s also a bunch of civilian Styles of headgear to wear a lot of Folks prefer a civilian half especially A wide brim hat to keep the Sun off of You if you can uh if you can get away

With that but again it’s going to depend On what your team has decided it’s new Form for them if you’re a union team you Know it just may be kept ease or Hardy Hats all the way around whatever your Team says is required you may have a Choice And you may not but anyway you’re going To need some kind of headgear keep the Sun off you know it’s a good it’s a good Thing to have last but not least is You’re going to want a coach however This is usually an optional piece of Equipment certainly in the deep south Region the reason is In the deep south region you might be Lucky if you get to wear it twice a year The rest of the year it’s just too darn Hot for us to wear them and you Certainly don’t need to wear them you Might find the November skirmish maybe The February skirmish might be chilly Enough that you want to wear a coat but The rest of the year you might pull it Out for photos and that’s about it So check with your team to see what one Is required if any and definitely it’s The last piece of equipment that I’d Invest any money in because at least in The deep south with our team it’s an Optional piece of equipment and most of The time you won’t be able to wear it so That’s that is a summary of all the Equipment that you’ll need to get

Started shooting in the north/south Scums Association as you can see it’s Not as is equipment intensive and some Competition sports and it really is a Lot of fun too I’m going to leave some Links down below to all this equipment Places where you can buy this stuff um They’re certainly going to need more Places than just we’re all linked so Feel free to shop around but I’m just Gonna hit the places that I know about Also if you like this video please hit The like button down below and I’m going To be making more videos so subscribe And you’ll get to see what the latest Stuff is thanks again and we hope to see You home the skirmish line check us out At SSA org thanks a lot

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