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Harvard and Yale have long been rivals in many ways. One that doesn’t often come to mind is the rivalry between their shooting teams. While little known, it has a long history: both schools founded shooting clubs within a few years of each other in the early 1880s.

Within a decade, headlines regarding match results fanned the flames. In 1896, the New York Times reported, “YALE MEN THE BEST SHOTS.” Yale won the match, 66-46, with the copy reporting that “Harvard butts are on low ground.” Princeton competed in that match, too, coming in second place with 57 points.

New York Times headline, 1896.

Membership in both clubs has fluctuated over the decades, but both schools presently report having approximately 50 active members each. More than 125 years later, the desire for each team to be the best still remains. The Harvard club website notes, “We have many goals, but we have one mission. Beat – nay, destroy – Yale.”

Often wearing team jackets and specialized shooting gear, today’s collegiate shooting teams look nothing like those of the past.

Contemporary team at Yale


Harvard team in 2012


Now let’s take a look at the Harvard and Yale teams of yesteryear:

Harvard’s Revolver Club from 1889. Harvard won, 1362 to 1029.


Yale Gun Club from the 1922 yearbook.


Unusual Yale team illustration from an 1882 yearbook.


So, do we have any members of TTAG’s Armed Intelligencia with allegiance to either school’s team?

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    • Looking at their websites it appears they have a trap/skeet club as well as a pistol/rifle club. Looks like the pistol and rifle shooting are based on NRA competitions so they’re probably shooting NRA bullseye, and maybe NRA action matches for pistols and various disciplines for the rifle. Trap and skeet are probably under traditional US rules rather than olympic rules. Just guessing.

  1. We seriously need more articles like this published in the news media. Showing long standing traditions of competitive shooting in schools and colleges with no school shootings of students needs to be out there to counter the leftist claims!

  2. The Heck with those Harvard and Yale pantywaists, the US Naval Academy gave us the ultimate rifleman,.

    Admiral Lee was manical about the science of ballistics and was in the habit of spending evenings in the wardroom instilling in his officers an understanding of the physics and marhamatics. Lee’s knowledge far surpassed the understanding needed to employ the mechanical analog computers that were used to aim the guns of the USS Washington when she defeated a Japanese battleship with only a few salvos.

    • Yes because all those guys who graduated from Harvard, Yale and Princeton who are now working on the Street and writing in the WSJ in support of with harsh classic economic theory and free markets are clearly leftist.

  3. In today’s politically correct world, I’m astonished that any Ivy league school still has gun clubs. Maybe there’s still some hope for America after all.

  4. This article is encouraging. Based on the photo and the article, the Yale Pistol Club is better equipped, better funded, larger—and its members probably are better looking—than in the late 60s and early 70s when I was one of a handful of student members. I recall only one occasion when a female student came to shoot (at my invitation) although she did not join the club. We met in the Armory and shot NRA bullseye matches there against area clubs. I do not recall any matches against Harvard or other schools. One privilege of membership was that the New Haven PD automatically approved concealed carry permits for club members. All part of a well-rounded education, which goes against the grain of the dominant left-wing and indeed Marxist cast of what once was a well-respected institution.

  5. I’m happy to say my underfunded, essentially uncoached skeet and trap team beat Yale once in an informal match. We never managed to be West Point though…

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