Nova Scotia Rifle Association

About NSRA - History


Here you can see the NSRA Historical Records of Awards.


In 1859 the National Rifle Association (NRA) of Great Britain was formed and from this the sport of organized target shooting within the Commonwealth was born.

The NRA of Great Britain held their first matches in 1860 at Wimbledon, a site now famous for international tennis matches. The first shot of this match was fired by Queen Victoria and as luck would have it Her Majesty scored a perfect bulls-eye.

In 1890 the NRA moved the site of their championship matches to a new range complex known as Bisley. Bisley is famous the world over as a place where international marksmen go to test their skill.

In "the Colonies" during the 1800's there was a real requirement for a militia and civilian population thoroughly trained in marksmanship. From this need sprang Colonial Rifle Associations. In 1861, Nova Scotia formed such a Colonial Rifle Association and affiliated itself with the National Rifle Association of Great Britain.

With the exception of the NRA of Great Britain, NSRA is the oldest Rifle Association in the Commonwealth. It has been in continuous operation for more than 150 years and is older than the country of Canada.

With Confederation in 1867, the Colonial Rifle Associations became Provincial Rifle Associations. In 1868 a national or "umbrella" organization known as the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association was formed.

The first prize meet of NSRA (then a Colonial Rifle Association) was held in Windsor, Nova Scotia on October 1st and 2nd of 1861. There were 106 competitors who took part in this match. The course of fire consisted of five-shot strings being fired at ranges of 150, 200, 250, and 300 yards. The first prize, a NRA (UK) Silver Medal, was won by Private R.C. Kinnear of the Chebucto Greys militia unit.

In 1862 NSRA's prize meeting was moved to Truro and in 1866 these matches were held in Bedford for the first time. At the 1866 matches some 400 competitors turned out. To put that is perspective, think how low the population of Nova Scotia was at that time.

The 1866 prize meeting was opened with a match fired at 300 yards and won by Lt.-Col. Lyons of 6th Kings Militia. Other matches were fired at 200 and 400 yards. There was also a team match for the prize of a Silver Bugle presented by Lady Mulgrave, the wife of the Lieutenant Governor of the Province. This match was won by a team from Dartmouth known as the "Mayflowers".

NSRA has a long history of running shooting competitions. It has hosted matches continually since its formation, with the only interruption occurring between 1914-1918 and 1940-1945, due to World Wars I and II.

One match traces its origin back to 1863. Prior to 1953 its was known as the Gold Medal Match and in 1953 it was won "outright" (as a result of two successive wins) by Major C.F. Kennedy, the Member of Parliament for Colchester. Major Kennedy then donated this medal to the Association for perpetual competition as the Kennedy Gold Medal.

Like the Kennedy Gold Medal Match many of the trophies associated with NSRA matches are rich with Nova Scotia heritage; the Laurie Bugle was presented by Lt. General J.W. Laurie in 1883; the Stairs-Borden trophy was presented by Sir Frederick W. Borden in 1899; the Irving Trophy, a magnificent Ram's Head decorated with silver and jewels, was presented by Col. J.D. Irving in 1904.

Nova Scotia has been represented at international shooting competitions by members of the NSRA on many occasions. The first Nova Scotians to travel abroad as part of a Canadian Rifle team were Captain P. Hickey and Private J. Larkin of the 63rd Battalion who were part of the Canadian Team to Wimbledon in 1872. Three NSRA members were present for the first matches at Bisley in 1890. Nova Scotia was represented by Captains H. Silver and W. Bishop of the 63rd Battalion and Captain W.A. Garrison of the Halifax Garrison Artillery. In recent years there has been continual representation by members of the Association in both competitor and administrative roles at Bisley.

NSRA moved the majority of its competitions to their newly build Bull Meadow Range complex in Rawdon, NS in 2005; and has since been able to conduct matches out to 800 meters.

Since1980 until 2013, six Canadian Forces (Regular and Reserve) marksman from Nova Scotia have won the prestigist Queen's Medal for Champion Shots seventeen times in national Service Rifle competitions.  

In 2011, NSRA celebrated its 150th anniversary by hosting the Great Britain Rifle Team at the Annual Prize Meet, as well as having a celebratory dinner at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site.  NSRA has enjoyed a long and successful history and it is looking forward to serving Nova Scotian shooters for another 150 years.


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Last Updated: January 16, 2016

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