LEYDEN RIFLE CLUB
- Leyden, Massachusetts -

Affiliated with the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP)

"...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

OUR MISSION STATEMENT

"The object of this organization shall be the encouragement of organized rifle and pistol shooting among citizens of the United States’ residents in the community with a view toward a better knowledge on the part of such citizens of the safe handling and proper care of firearms as well as improved marksmanship."


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About Leyden Rifle Club....



The LRC is a sportsmen's club that is located in Western Massachusetts close to the Vermont border. The LRC's goal and mission has always been to promote:
  • firearm safety,

  • shooting marksmanship, and

  • self-discipline and fellowship.

The beginnings of the LRC traces its roots back to both the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) and the Director of Civilian Marskmanship (DCM) program.

The DCM's origin dates back into late 19th century when the United States military and political leaders strived to strengthen our country’s national defense capabilities by improving the rifle marksmanship skills for the soldiers in the Armed Forces. In 1903, both the U.S. Congress and President Theodore Roosevelt established the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP) by initiating national match high-power rifle competitions. From that time, the Department of War and later the Department of the Army managed the NBPRP that eventually became known as the DCM. The DCM's objectives eventually shifted from military marksmanship to rifle marksmanship by training U.S. civilians who might (or might not) serve in the military and for developing the American youth in basic rifle marksmanship. In 1996, Congress acted again to establish the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearm Safety which now governs the program and it was renamed from the DCM to the Civilian Markmanship Program (CMP).

[Source: CMP's Website]


A new rifle club is formed....

In May 1935, the first meeting was held in the town of Leyden and was attended by area residents for the purpose of organizing the Leyden Rifle Club. The attendees adopted By-laws for the new Club (as outlined and recommended by the NRA); there were 10 By-laws which were adopted. (To read the Club's By-laws from 1935, click here   →  pdf file.)

At the first meeting in1935, the founding elected officers of the LRC were:
  • President:   Eric Cook
  • Vice-President:   John Wagstaff
  • Secretary:   Henry Glabach
  • Treasurer:   Henry Glabach
  • Executive Officer:   Charles Bolton

There were 25 founding LRC members and annual membership dues were set at $1.00 per year (!). Lastly, the Club joined the NRA, -which it continues membership in and supports the NRA 100%.

The LRC was active into the 1940's by holding high power rifle matches or practices often on Monday evenings in the summers at the 200 yard range (located in West Leyden). The U.S. War Department would often issue .22 long rifle ammuntion to the LRC and the Club would distribute 100 rounds "...to each member in good standing and sell the [balance] for 25¢ per box...".

Immediately after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Club's meeting minutes for December 9, 1941 showed that LRC members, the Women's Auxiliary, and local Leyden residents all assisted in the war effort by serving as lookouts and spotters for any flying aircraft. The Club's records state, "The lookout location was on the hill northwest of the indoor range. A model T coupe body set on the ground with a cupola set on the roof heated with an oil burner." Shortly after, the model T coupe was replaced by a 7 foot by 9 foot heated wooden structure for the spotters throughout the balance of the war.

After World War II in Fall of 1945, negotiations started by the LRC to lease the 200 yard range to the Town of Greenfield for its National Guard's rifle practices and training. In December 1945, the LRC Officers met with the State National Guard and Greenfield Armory to iron-out the range lease details. By June 1948, a formal lease was approved by the LRC (the lease was dated on August 5, 1946) for the 'inhabitants of Greenfield' and for the term of 10 years at a rental fee of $75.00 per year + cost of property taxes assessed upon the LRC's land. Club records also show that in Novemer 1946, a Captain Bailey of the Greenfield National Guard was granted a 'life membership' to the LRC; Captain Bailey would eventually become a President of the LRC in 1950.


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Other interesting past events and timelines of the LRC are....
  • On May 3, 1946, the Officers voted to 'incorporate' the LRC; on May 30, the Club received its 'corporation' papers from Massachusetts.

  • In the Spring of 1948, LRC Officers voted to charge new members a (one-time) initiation fee of $10.00 along with their $1.00 annual membership dues.

  • In 1950, LRC President Bailey proposed to build a 100 yard range at the West Leyden range; the motion was carried 12-to-1. (The 100 yard range does exist; however, it has since been over-grown with trees, brush, etc.)

  • During the 1950's, LRC continued to hold rifle practices and matches at the West Leyden 200 yard range every other week during the summers. Attendance at these shoots varied from 5 to 20 shooters from both the LRC and residents from Greenfield. The Turners Falls Rifle Club would often use the rifle range on Sundays in the summers. The Club's meeting minutes asked the question, "Why can't more Leyden members make an effort to attend one or two shoots?" (The same problem that the LRC encounters these days.)

  • In 1963, the LRC voted to allow the Bernardston Rifle Club to use the rifle range for a $1.00 per member fee + range fees.

  • In 1966, the Greenfield built for the LRC a target holding building in the 'butts'; complaints were made that there was no lock on the building's door (it's still that way today).

  • In 1969, LRC annual membership dues were increased from $1.00 to $2.00. (!)

  • In 1974, the Greenfield and the National Guard terminated their lease with the LRC for use of the 200 yard range.

  • In 1982, the LRC voted was approved become a DCM-affiliated club. From this, the LRC became eligible to purchase from the DCM .30-'06 cartridges to be sold for use at the high power rifle matches. The LRC continues to offer shooters .30-'06 cartridges for the high power rifle matches.

  • In May 2013, LRC's newsletters and special notices are sent by electronic mail (email) to all current members. Also, LRC's website went "live" on World Wide Web (the Internet) and, early in March 2014, over 1,000 people visited and browsed LRC's website!

  • In the summer of 2013, LRC members volunteered to help rebuild our Pavillion at the outdoor rifle range. (Click on the "Photos" page and then click on the Pavillion link to view the pictures of LRC's Pavillion's reconstruction from start-to-finish.)

  • In 2015, it was the 80th anniversary of the LRC in Massachusetts.

Did you know that the official name of the LRC is,

LEYDEN RIFLE CLUB, INC. and JUNIOR DIVISION ?

What does 'JUNIOR DIVISION' mean? The CMP has always promoted, through its affiliate Clubs, to have 'junior' shooters become familiar with and qualify for rifle marksmanship. This means that persons under 21 years can learn about rifle marksmanship and and shooting. In the past, the LRC has often hosted the Boy Scouts of America to come to our indoor and outdoor ranges to shoot, -perhaps qualifying for their Marksmanship Merit Badges. The LRC is always looking for 'junior shooters', boy scouts, etc. to shoot at the Club and to qualify at our ranges. If any LRC members know of any 'junior' shooters who would like to learn about marksmanship, please contact the Club to make shooting arrangements.

The LRC continues now to be an active organization in the Pioneer Valley and plans to exist well into the future.


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John Cantius Garand with his Rifle, M1, .30 caliber

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