Port Alberni’s black powder club is opening its site to the public for a day of historical reenactment this Saturday, June 4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The open house is part of the inaugural National Range Day.
National Range Day is a Canada-wide event the Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights created to promote sport shooting events. The Alberni Valley-based club is using Range Day as an open house for its historical reenactment society, said Ryan Wong, who at 23 years old is one of the youngest members of the Rangers.
The Rangers, founded in 1978, are a historical reenactment society focusing on the 1840s fur trapper era. Members dress in period costume and use traditional black powder muskets and hawk and knife tools for target shooting.
“Sport shooting is a safe, family-friendly activity,” Wong said. His interest in black powder shooting grew after an uncle, who was a West Coast Ranger, took him to a few rendezvous. Now Wong has his own historical setup and participates in several different target shooting activities.
The West Coast Rangers held their first rendezvous on the May long weekend in two years, drawing members out to the range to get back into the reenactment mindset. Wong set up his Yukon miner’s tent on the long weekend and will be one of a number of people wearing 1840s period fur trapper clothing for range day.
Members of the public visiting the range will be able to learn how to load and fire a black powder musket, try out other activities and watch a fort shoot at 2 p.m. Light refreshments will be available for a small fee.
Admission to range day is free. Visitors wanting to visit the range are asked to leave their pets at home.
The range road is located just off Highway 4 east of Coombs Country Candy. Coming from Port Alberni, turn right onto the Mainline dirt road (there will be signs) and follow the main road a few kilometres out to the range. For more information, visit the website at westcoastrangers.ca.