Brief History of How The Corps Began


When our forefathers and foremothers raised their heavy flintlock rifles and pulled the triggers, they generally hit whatever they were aiming at. And they taught their off-spring to do likewise. It was a matter of necessity. How well a person could handle a muzzleloader determined how well he would eat and, more importantly, whether he would live or die. Owing to that inherent dependence upon the weapon, many native Kentuckians hold a fierce fondness for the long rifle... and claim it as their own. Many native Kentuckians claim the long rifle as their own because of its heavy influence on the area's early settlers. Such devotion has led to marksmanship contests with other states.

Ah, but Pennsylvania claims the rifle too. And the claim is not with-out substance. After all, the long rifle was made in Pennsylvania before it was made in Kentucky... indeed, even before Kentucky was granted statehood in 1792. That may be so, Kentuckians admit, but it was here, on the shoulders of hunters, early settlers and Indian fighters, that the flintlock gained lasting fame. Besides, Kentucky Long Rifle" just sounds better than to us than “Pennsylvania Long Rifle."

Well, the interstate controversy never got much attention until 1963 when Pennsylvania Gov. William Scranton (for reasons known only to him and to a few public-relations people) up and challenged Kentucky to a long-rifle Flintlock shootout. The premise being that whichever state won the shooting match, also won the right to call the long rifle its own. Scanton sent eight Pennsylvanians 900 miles, on horseback, from Harrisburg to Frankfort to issue the challenge. 

It didn't take Kentucky’s governor, Bert Combs, long to respond. He immediately dispatched Col George Chinn of the Kentucky Historical Society to accept the challenge. Chinn met the Pennsylvanians on the steps of Kentucky's State Capitol, and with all due Kentucky modesty, instructed them, "notify yer next of kin."

On Sept. 28, 1963, at the Daniel Boone Homestead near Reading, Pa., 10 good men from Kentucky and 10 from Pennsylvania squared off with their flintlock long rifles...when the black-powder smoke had cleared... the Kentuckians had beaten them by 27 points, 1,129 to 1,102. There were three more Kentucky-Pennsylvania flintlock shooting matches, but the Pennsylvanians never won. 

Kentucky then opened the competitions to any certified flintlock team representing any state, and it has held the flintlock competition annually since 1965. Many of those years Kentucky has stayed first but has had to relinquish the title a few times to other states... and yes.... a few times to Pennsylvania. 

Each year "Kentucky's Corps of Longriflemen" holds two qualifying shoots, generally open to anyone who fires a flintlock rifle. The 20 riflemen whose average scores are the highest in the two shoots,10 make up the Long Rifle Corps 1st team, and the second team of 10, known as the "Renegades" of Kentucky. 

On the first weekend of October every year, states such as Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, New York, Tennessee, Virginia, the Carolinas, and others meet to challenge each other to this historical match competition. It is open to any state that wants to participate. 

Beginning around noon the 10-man teams will commence firing. Each will fire four relays of five shots each, two at 25 yards and two at 50 yards. There is no charge for admission to the match, which will be held on the Kentucky River below present day Fort Boonesborough, and admission to the fort, that day, has normally been free to anyone in period dress. Don't be surprised if Daniel Boone shows up at the Saturday match. Brothers Daniel and Davy Boone were both members of Indiana’s Longrifle team one year. They are direct descendants of the man who carried his flintlock through the Cumberland Gap... and helped to forever put "Kentucky" in front of the name, "LONG RIFLE.'




Letter from the governor of Pennsylvania challanging the governor of Kentucky to shooting match to determine which state would claim the name of the rifle.



Take Notice


 WHEREAS the revered frontiersman Daniel Boone was born on the soils of the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and

 WHEREAS the frontier weapon he helped make famous, the often~miscalled Kentucky Rifle and more properly The Pennsylvania Rifle, first was produced by Pennsylvania gunsmiths, and

 WHEREAS there is doubt concerning the fabled reputation of Kentuckians as marksmen, especially as compared with Pennsylvania Marksmen,

 NOW THEREFORE as Governor of the Great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I challenge the Honorable Bert Combs, Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky to send Kentucky’s finest marksmen to vie against Pennsylvania Riflemen at the Daniel Boone Homestead, near Reading Pennsylvania, subject to the following conditions;

  THAT the weapon of competition be the aforementioned Rifle, and

  THAT match rules be drawn by a joint committee representing each Commonwealth.

               GIVEN under the HAND of,

                    Bill Scranton

                                                                                                                         June 1963 A.D.