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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My boss has been talking a lot about his muzzle loaders lately, and then last night I saw a show on weapons of the civil war. My curiosity has gotten the better of me. I just found out today about the difference between traditional and in-line muzzle loaders. I think I like the traditional style. First, who makes a decent beginner's rifle? I saw Lymans at impact guns, and thought the prices seemed good. Second, how much does it cost to shoot a muzzle loader? I went to WM after work and saw that they had a 1lb can of powder (Pyrodex?) on closeout for 15 bucks down from about 30. My boss had told me he gets a pound of powder for 8 bucks. What gives?

I've got too many more questions to put them all down, but I'd appreciate some education. It just seems like it would be fun to shoot a muzzle loader.
 

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Shooting a smokepole is fun and can be done many ways, You need a general reference book to get started. BlackPowder Handbook? by Sam Faldala was the one I started with and it is good one. Thompson Center or Lyman greatplains rifles are excelllent traditionals. Real black powder is harder to purchase because it is banned by most municipalities because it is considered a low explosive.
All forms of propellant need prompt and thorough cleaning after each shooting session as they are CORROSIVE. Both patched roundball or conical bullets will do the job, fun shooting or hunting. Just learn how to load properly and learn what your rifle likes as a load in terms of powder charge weight and bullet type. Percussion guns are easier to learn on than flintlocks. You'll hear a different opinion from every muzzleloader you ask. Good luck and don't be afraid to come back here with questions.
 

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I prefer to shoot Goex over other powders, but I shoot flintocks and Pryodex has a higher flash point...Fortunately I live fairly close to a Goex distributor so I can buy a pound of powder for $11.50...

I have 2 custom built flintlocks, a .40 caliber for small game and a .54 for deer...It's pretty cheap for me to shoot because I bought a bag mold from Rapine years ago for each gun and get my lead free from my dentist, so I make my own balls...I buy a yard of pilow ticking from WalMart for patches and make my own lube with bees wax, castor oil and Murphy's oil soap....I bought 50 flints for each gun years ago, so I still have plenty left...

You need to think about what you want the gun for...Is this for deer hunting??? Also, what projectile do you want to shoot...A round ball barrel usually has deeper (.012-.016) rifling...It is also a slower twist, in a .50-.54 it would be typical to have a 1-66 or 1-77 twist..(One turn in every 66 inches)...Modern inlines have a 1-28 twist and the rifling is button rifled about .005....

Many folks don't realize it, but the barrel is what determines powder charge, projectile used, etc...The lock (percussion. flint, 209 primer) just sets the powder off....So you could have a 1-28 twist barrel percussion gun, put a scope on it and it can me as accurate and shoot the same powder charge and projectile as an inline....
 

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i didnt know anyone had banned owning or storing blackpowder ?
All states have requirements for storage and some have laws that only alow an X amount to be kept or transported .
Some will even tell you that the patriot act changed these requirements . I don’t believe this is true past the addition of a hazmat fee, which is added if you have it delivered to your door .
You will also find that those regulations very from city , county and state so call your local enforcement and know the law that applies to you

What has change is the Insurance companies amount they charge a company for having it as part of their innovatory and IMO that is the real reason many places no longer carry it . Most time those that do have it you have to ask as they don’t place it out on the shelves .

There are many places on the net that sell BP in bulk or in lb cans and this is another reason small shops are no longer carrying BP as they simply cannot compete

but remember if you order just 1 lb its going to cost a lot because of that hazmat fee which is a set price and applies to the shipment itself NOT each can and is the same no mater if you order 1lb or 25 .

Myself I only shoot BP and between my wife and I we go through around 30lbs a year . BP IMO is a much better product for many reasons

I find that if anything its much easier to get and at a much better price then found at the local gun shops where its often found for 16 to 21 dollars a lb .
Im currently paying in the 8 to 10 dollar a lb range depending if I purchase in a 25lb bag or if I buy in individual cans . I can tell you that even at that price there is a mark up

If you go to the Goex web site , they list their licensed distributors . Find one close to your location .

As to information . What others here are saying is true . Pick up one of Sam Faldala
Older books or one of the new Lyman blackpowder books . These can be found at most sporting goods stores . I would also recommend web sites such as this one and others like the one sponsored by the Traditional Muzzleloading Association

http://www.traditionalmuzzleloadingassociation.com/forum/phpbb2/login.php?redirect=viewtopic.php&p=62875&sid=08a2c5d0d63a60f59c6df59ee4235e1a

I would however recommend that you chose these carefully. Some while having good quality information and experienced folks also have low traffic and it takes time to get a reply . Others have high traffic but low quality info OR they are prone to squabbling, fighting and low moderator control .
Grey beard here has a lot of good Knowledgeable folks and most times well controlled .

As to an entry level gun .
I would say the lyman and TC as well as the Pedersoli’s offered by outlets like Cabalas are most certainly valid recommendations .

However I would also keep in mind that the prices of these are climbing and are now coming very close to a basic customs being offered by some custom makers so weigh your options .

Purchasing USED is also another option for you but you need to know what your looking for and what to watch out for
 

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It is great to hear from a newbie who is interested in traditional muzzleloading!
Take these guys' recommendations and get a good percussion rifle. They are beautiful to look at, cheap to shoot, and, take it from me, the patched round ball is murder on deer.
I have killed 7 deer and 6 wild hogs with the .50 round ball and none of them made more than 50 yards.
If you want to hunt deer get at least a .50 caliber.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I didn't get to check the forum yesterday...thanks for the replies. As for the questions asked, I would mostly shoot for fun. If I got good enough, I could see myself shooting coyotes. I had thought I would go for .50 cal to start, just because it seems so common. I could cast my own balls. How much powder is used for a single charge? I heard guys talking about 100 - 150 grains...this seems like an awful lot of powder. Even at 100 grains each, that's only 70 rounds from a pound of powder. If I got a pound of powder for 22.00, that's over 30 cents a shot just for the powder. Seems kind of steep. Is 100 grains 'normal', or is that a heavy load?
 

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You use different powder fer different applications. Yup 125 grs. and up is really alot. To target shoot depending on yardage, you could use 40 grs. in a 50 cal. and do great out to 100 yds. with very little wind. More powder will give flatter traj. A good prb load to start with is 65 grs. 2f or 45 of 3f. On short bbl's powder will only burn so much before excess blows out the end . I don't punch paper or go to shoots anymore. So the ML's i have are fer Hunting,all 3 are 50 cal. All 3 are T/C perc. 2 are sidelocks and an inline. I have my greatest hunting thrills using my peep sighted New Englander and soon to be scoped Grey Hawk. My eyes are not suited to open sights anymore. I don't want to cut or drill new threaded holes farther up the bbl..
 

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I hunted with either 80 or 90 grains in my .50 TC Hawken. I couldn't much tell the difference.
Both were deadly on game.
If you have read the inline ads, they all talk about "Magnum loads of 150 grains."
What a bunch of crap.
Most rifles won't even burn that much powder, and most rifles are inaccurate with that much loaded.
You certainly could cast your own balls.
Balls are cheap to buy, 7 or 8 cents each. Why don't you buy a box and see how you like it before you invest in a mold?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Any recommendations on a brand or model that would be a good and serviceable newbie gun?
 

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I ain't bad mouthing anyone's choice. I like T/C but i have some friends that have Lymans. Most any of those models and brand will be good. Just make sure to ck., bore, run rod with wet patch and see if its good and clean. Don't want hunks of crud and rust to come out of it. Nor pitting, you can tell if its pitted by the pull on cleaning patch, run it up and down 8-10 times and feel the bore. Ck. under nipple and ram rod. Ck. hammer spring for being weak. Do you want round bbl. or octagon? Rounds are lighter, oct's are more traditional Hawken's are better on felt recoil than Renegades from T/C. Big bore Renegades are well known nose thumpers!
 

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I like T/C Hawken's , perc. or Flint both good. New Englander perc. or Grey Hawk. Lyman Gpr or Hunters, Trade rifles. all are good.
 

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T/C Hawken is a very good muzzle loader. It is not what you would say a "beginners rifle" but its just as good to start with something that will last.
 

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Check out -www.gunbroker.com
They have a few TC New Englander rifles for less than $125
It's what I consider one of the best muzzleloaders made .
Shoots good with round ball or bullets.


Willy
 

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There has been a lot of good advice given here. Personally, I favor the T/C Hawken. Mine has worked perfectly for over 30 years. My recommendation would be to visit a gun store and handle several rifles and decide what feels best to you.
 

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Thompson makes some fine traditional smokepoles. I have the Hawken and Renegade, and love to shoot them both.
I like the sights better on the renegade. My tired old eyes see better through them. The 54 Hawken has a 28 in barrel, and the Renegade a 26. The Hawken is the heavier of the two, with a slightly less felt recoil, but the Renegade isn't bad either. I shoot 90 Gr's of Pyrodex RS, or 80 Gr's of Goex 3F. I have found I can shoot longer without cleaning the barrel with Pyrodex.
 

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i love the deer creek northwest rifles. I have a .45 percussion and the thing is an excellent shooter with PRB and powerbelts.
www.azmountainman.com sells them and can be ordered in .45-.50.54cal in percussion or flintlock.

Also have a Lyman GPR .54 flintlock coming in the mail.

midsouth has the kit for $315 shipped.

Heres what the deer creek northwest rifle looks like.

 
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