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My Grandad's rifle- help for a newbie.

MTexanMTexan Member Posts: 94 ✭✭
Howdy folks. My grandad just gave me a rifle that his grandad bought in his teens.
This is my first black powder so I need some wisdom.

I have a few questions for starters.
I measured the muzzle with a micrometer and got right at 0.36". This is measuring from land to valley as they are directly across from each other. Is this the correct way to measure? And do I use 36 caliber balls or do I need room for a patch?

I also have no idea where to start as far as how much powder, what powder, etc.

If anyone knows a good book on the proper use and maintenance of old muzzle loaders I'd like to learn.



  • BrookwoodBrookwood Member, Moderator Posts: 12,266 ******
    edited November -1
    I recommend you get a copy of the book by Sam Fadala "The Complete Blackpowder Handbook". I also would caution you on shooting an old original rifle without first having it inspected by a competent black powder gunsmith. From your measurements it sounds like you have a 36 caliber bore. Try running a greased patch down the bore and feel for rust, obstructions, damage, and check to see it the rifle is still loaded. Upon removing the patch you will learn how clean the bore was left. Also a look inside with a small drop down bore light will offer you a good idea of the bores condition. Always Safety First!!
  • 11b6r11b6r Member Posts: 16,725
    edited November -1
    Good advice from Brookwood. Read the book. To that advice I would add- round ball gets a greased cloth patch.

    Never shoot anything except real black powder or a black powder substitute, such as Pyrodex. Smokeless powder= death.

    Never fire without the ball being ALL the way down on the powder charge- no air space between ball and powder.

    Run the ramrod all the way down the barrel, mark rod at muzzle, withdraw and lay alongside barrel. If it does not go all the way to the nipple, it is loaded.

    There are original antique rifles, and modern reproductions. Are there any markings on your rifle that would give us more information?

    APPROXIMATE charge weight- 1.5 to 2x the bore diameter in grains. A 50 caliber rifle- 75 to 100 grains of powder. Use a powder measure.

    See if you can find someone that can coach you thru checking, loading, firing and CLEANING your rifle. There are a bunch of BP shooters around. Start by checking at local gun shop that sells black powder stuff, and/or gunshows in your area.
  • MTexanMTexan Member Posts: 94 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks guys.

    The lock is marked "Henry Perker" and directly below the name is the word "warranted".
    The barrel is marked "S . Stull".
    I guess you'd say it has a half stock since it only goes a little over a foot past the lock.
  • montanajoemontanajoe Forums Admins, Member, Moderator Posts: 56,291 ******
    edited November -1
    What a great gift. Post up pictures,would love to see it.
  • MTexanMTexan Member Posts: 94 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by montanajoe
    What a great gift. Post up pictures,would love to see it.

    I'll try to post some later.
    I'm really glad to have it. My Grandad, great great grandad, and I all have the same first name so that makes it even cooler. [8D]
  • jerrywh818jerrywh818 Member Posts: 2,573 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have been a muzzle loading gunsmith for many years. The best way to measure the bore is to slug it. This is how it is done.Oil the bore. Get a lead ball that is slightly bigger than the bore. .50" or 50 caliber. Drill a 1/8" hole in the center of the ball. Place the ball over the bore with the hole straight up. With a wooden hammer or equivalent, pound the ball down into the bore about an inch. Then screw a sheet rock screw into the ball and pull it back out. Measure the diameter of the ball at the widest part from land to land. this will be the caliber. Now you must find some round balls about .005 to .010 smaller than the caliber. You can purchase some patches at most BiMart stores around .015 thick. The powder charge will be black powder only and about 1 1/2 times the caliber of the bullet in grains. For example. a 50 caliber will take a load of about 75 grains of black powder. If yours is a 36 caliber it will take 1 1/2 times 36 or 54 grains of FFG black powder. You can use less powder but that is usually the maximum powder charge. NEVER use ffffg powder in the gun. pyrodex is OK in a percussion but not in a flintlock.
  • Okie743Okie743 Member Posts: 2,318 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    AND it might be already loaded right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • perry shooterperry shooter Member Posts: 17,390
    edited November -1
    as a side note I agree one does not wqnt to load FFFF black powder for the load in the barrel HOWEVER one does want to use FFFF black powder
    In the pan of the LOCK on a flint lock I shoot a 54 Cal Flint lock taken 27 deer in my ownership of 29 years have fired over 200 shots and can count on one hand the number of none fire or Hang fire Most of these because of damaged flint one because of rain
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