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'Loading dirty': Norman County retiree named world champ at black powder shooting

TWIN VALLEY, Minn. - A Twin Valley man who recently retired is not spending his free time sitting in a recliner. He's bringing home the hardware.Raymond Hanson is back home after becoming a world champion at the International Black Powder Long Ra...

Raymond Hanson of Twin Valley, Minn., is shown here holding a muzzleloader. He recently returned from Australia where he became a world champion in the International Black Powder Long Range Competition. WDAY-TV photo
Raymond Hanson of Twin Valley, Minn., is shown here holding a muzzleloader. He recently returned from Australia where he became a world champion in the International Black Powder Long Range Competition. WDAY-TV photo

TWIN VALLEY, Minn. - A Twin Valley man who recently retired is not spending his free time sitting in a recliner. He's bringing home the hardware.

Raymond Hanson is back home after becoming a world champion at the International Black Powder Long Range Competition in Australia.

Margo and Raymond Hanson are spending their retirement years in rural Norman County, surrounded by sheep and the Minnesota landscape.

The pastoral setting gives him a chance to practice his passion nearly every day. "I can shoot when I want to, so it is great that way," he said.

Hanson is a member of the U.S. International Muzzleloading Team. And in Australia recently, he won the world champion trophy in the grand aggregate category.

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The U.S. team won the top prize as well. The South African team had won all the team events for the past five years. This is the first year that Americans claimed those bragging rights.

Hanson says black powder shooting is a worthwhile pursuit. "Unless people like me invest time and money into it, it will not remain," he said. "And these rifles should be used."

Carefully and meticulously, he went through the steps of loading his .45-caliber muzzleloader, a long-range rifle, with black powder. Some call it "loading dirty."

"I seat the (card) wad and then compress the powder by dropping the ramrod a foot, eye level," he said.

And then, as quickly as Hanson fires the muzzleloader, it is back to the beginning. Cleaning and loading, before firing again. It is a sport requiring patience, but Hanson relishes it.

"I was always fascinated by black powder," he said. "These are old rifles, and it is a game, but they are accurate at long range."

At 66, Hanson hopes to continue making the U.S. team. That in itself is stiff competition. But he works at it.

"It is not as much marksmanship as the big picture," Hanson said. "It takes work and effort and time and experience and money."

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