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Thinking of getting into black powder

calrugerfancalrugerfan Member Posts: 18,209
What do I need to know BEFORE I get started? Obviously, some things will come with experience, but I'd like to know if there are any beginner mistakes that I should avoid.

Comments

  • ofitgofitg Member Posts: 359 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Are you thinking about BP cartridge guns? Or muzzleloaders? Rifles or pistols? Hunting or plinking? "Black Powder" covers a lot of territory...
  • calrugerfancalrugerfan Member Posts: 18,209
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by ofitg
    Are you thinking about BP cartridge guns? Or muzzleloaders? Rifles or pistols? Hunting or plinking? "Black Powder" covers a lot of territory...


    Plinking, not hunting. Rifles or Pistols, or both, not sure. As far as cartridge guns or muzzle loaders, I don't know the difference. I'm guessing that a muzzle loader is where you pour the powder in, then a wad and ball, then press it down (I just learned that today at Sportsmen's Warehouse) but I wouldn't know what a cartridge gun is. I thought that they were all loaded like I just described.
  • ofitgofitg Member Posts: 359 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I was thinking about the "cowboy" guns using blackpowder cartridges in SASS events and reenactments..... but you are interested in muzzleloaders.

    My favorite muzzleloaders are the percussion revolvers - especially the Remington repros - but other people like older designs such as single-shot pistols, flintlocks, etc.

    If you're just starting out, I might suggest some type of percussion firearm - rifle or pistol - there are a lot of good reproductions out there. You might want to avoid Spanish-made repros like CVA, the quality is mediocre.
    The Lyman Blackpowder Handbook is an excellent source of info for muzzleloaders. It illustrates how to load them, and provides ballistics data for different calibers, barrel lengths, etc.
  • calrugerfancalrugerfan Member Posts: 18,209
    edited November -1
    So the 1800's reproduction revolvers that I was looking would be a good start?
  • ofitgofitg Member Posts: 359 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Yes, definitely. Personally, I like the Remington design - it is inherently stronger than the open-top Colt design.... and another problem I have with Colts, is the spent caps occasionally fall off the nipples and jam the Colt's hammer. Never had this happen with a Remington.
  • centerfiremancenterfireman Member Posts: 70 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    The Ruger "Old Army" percussion revolver is very strong, very well made and quite accurate (though it is not a replica of any particular 19th century firearm).
  • allen griggsallen griggs Member Posts: 32,922 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The old pistols are a lot of fun, I have two of them. I have a Pietta and a Uberti, they are copies of the 1860 Colt Army.
    Pistols would be a good starting place for you.

    Or, you could buy a rifle such as the Thompson Center Hawken.
    There are some real steals on used black powder rifles. Be sure to check the bore and make sure it is good, if it wasn't cleaned properly it will be ruined.
    Of course, the barrel is replaceable, and you can change it out in 30 seconds.
  • Walley19Walley19 Member Posts: 118 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I suggest you start with a cap lock rifle. The Traditions Deerhunter is reasonably priced and from what I have seen is a decent weapon. It would pay you to get together with someone who knows their way around traditional black powder guns to help you get started. Black powder is an altogether different game than center fire and each gun has a personality of its own as to what it likes. I have two identical cap and ball revolvers with sequential serial numbers and they each work best with different loads. A word of warning black powder can get additive. I started out with a CVA Bobcat eight years ago and now own seven cap lock rifles, nine cap and ball revolvers, a single shot 50 cal pistol and one in-line rifle. I am giving serious thought about trying a flintlock, most likely a Deerhunter because of the price.
  • calrugerfancalrugerfan Member Posts: 18,209
    edited November -1
    What is a flintlock?
  • bobbyrose512bobbyrose512 Member Posts: 2,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Been reading this thread thinking about my reply. First I am glad to see you wanting to get started in black powder shooting. This is something that people either like or don't like.

    As a suggestion I would go shooting with a person who has a variety of black powder fire arms and see which ones you really like. From matchlocks to cartridge guns. It seems that each has there own following but it is like any other guns to each his own.

    A flintlock uses a flint clamped in the hammer, when the trigger is pulled the flint comes forward striking the frizen (spelling) which is a piece of steel causing a spark to ignite the powder in the flash pan causing the main charge to go boom and seeding a ball down range.

    As previously stated black powder guns can become addictive. I now own 6 rifles, 3 pistols, and 2 shotguns. Inline rifles can be as much fun to shoot as the replicas. To save money on brass and reloading I've bought a sharps paper cutter that uses paper cartridges that I make myself.

    Have fun getting started and I hope that shooting black powder is for you.
  • allen griggsallen griggs Member Posts: 32,922 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    You don't want to mess with a flintlock, at this stage in your career.
  • calrugerfancalrugerfan Member Posts: 18,209
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by allen griggs
    You don't want to mess with a flintlock, at this stage in your career.



    Thanks. I didn't even know what it was. After reading it, I figured I would steer clear.
  • anderskandersk Member Posts: 3,825
    edited November -1
    Oh yes, get a cap lock long gun! I'd suggest getting a used Hawken off gunbroker.com! Many companies manufacture them. I think Italian gun makers do the best job. Thompson Center is the best U.S. gun maker. They may cost a bit more but they shoot very well and the sights adjust nicely and their guarantee cannot be beat.
  • allen griggsallen griggs Member Posts: 32,922 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Buy this book for 22 bucks:

    http://www.lymanproducts.com/lyman/publications/black-powder.php


    I have been shooting black powder since 1966, when I bought a cap and ball pistol from another 11th grade boy in the hall at Chamblee High School.
    I could talk to you for an hour, and still not tell you all I know about black powder.
    And, Sam Fadala knows more than I do.
  • spitpatchspitpatch Member Posts: 7 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Check out some clubs around you, find out if any have some activity with black powder. Most folks that shoot the vintage stuff are helpfull. You will get much better info on site than you will on the computer. Best advice I can give is ( BEWARE THE INTERNET EXPERT ). Not to say you can't learn some here. But if you can get to a range with some activity you will pick up more good info. Just my thoughts.
  • Walley19Walley19 Member Posts: 118 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    There is quite a bit of good information available on forums such as this and the Internet is an exceptionally good place to garner knowledge. Over the years I have found just as many self-proclaimed experts that don't know much at the gun clubs as anywhere else. If I had listened to all the opinions and advice that is kicked around most ranges I would be more screwed up than I am now. For someone starting out shooting black powder I would advise that they search out and read what people like Dr. Wright, Randy Wakeman, Randy Smith and Chuck Hawks have published. The down-loadable manuals the manufactures publish are another good source of information. Most states have Black powder associations that are more than willing to help a beginner out. Remember that no one knows it all and some of our best learning tools are experience and mistakes.
  • anderskandersk Member Posts: 3,825
    edited November -1
    "spitpatch" had a great idea about talking with people at a club, but I say why not do both. I probably did get most of my most helpful info at the gun club, from people who are into it big time. They really enjoy (as I do now!) introducing people to all the delicacies of muzzle loading! It is a tinkerers sport.
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