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Old 08-25-2018, 10:21 PM
hillbillydruggist hillbillydruggist is online now
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I have a young teenager who wants to start muzzleload hunting for deer. The last time that I loaded a muzzleloader was 40 yrs ago, sidelock, round balls, real blackpowder, shop towel patch, Crisco.
I understand things have changed a bit LOL. can someone point me in the right/good direction with some suggestions?


thanks,

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Old 08-25-2018, 10:47 PM
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I am an old traditionalist, and prefer my iron-sighted .50 cal roundball hawken for hunting up to 75 yards. I taught the mzloading section of hunter safety for decades, and also have a high-tech, fast twist rifle that uses $1 bullets and mounts a scope.
Decide whether you want to go old tech or new, and don't mix the two, which leads to frustration and poor results. Either get a quality slow- twist barrel reproduction and shoot roundballs, or get a quality fast-twist barrel rifle and shoot the factory bullets with up to 120gr of Pyrodex RS. Accuracy usually is better with loadings less than 100%.
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Old 08-26-2018, 12:39 AM
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There is a third option. A replica of a Civil War carbine in .577/.58 will have sidelock percussion ignition and will be a good, tough hunting arm. Loading with hollow base Minie bullets is quicker than a round ball rifle.

Pedersoli makes a nice Enfield musketoon (carbine). The two band (1858) rifle is also a good choice.

Enfield rifles for sale, historical Enfield rifles by Pedersoli.

Enfield Musketoon Pattern 1861 Short Rifle, Rifles Enfield (1861-1865)
an other “short rifle&.


They are also good for target shooting (North-South Skirmish Association) and reenactments.
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Old 08-26-2018, 12:54 AM
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My dad, brother, and I have had a lot of fun deer hunting with modern 50 caliber in-line muzzleloaders. Very simple. No need to measure loose powder or worry about grease or wads.
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Old 08-26-2018, 01:45 AM
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I'm very much in the traditional American muzzleloader camp, favoring the Pennsylvania Longrifle to be precise.
Flint or Percussion, both have their merits and flaws.

But, I'd like to make one special point.
Consider contacting a muzzleloading shop that specializes in serving the artisans who build them and the shooters who appreciate them. For example, "Track of the Wolf" or "Dixon's Muzzleloaders" in Kempton, PA.
Both could recommend a one of a kind rifle built with real craftsmanship using nice quality parts and beautiful wood.
Often, you can find something of lasting value for about the price of a typical centerfire rifle.
In the long run, you'll be much happier than with a cheap import.

Best Wishes,
Jim

PS: another path, if you're so inclined, would be to get a kit from Track of the Wolf. These are easy to build but come with all top quality parts. You and your son might enjoy the time spent together and the fruits of your labor.

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Old 08-26-2018, 06:21 AM
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You may want to get him a couple of books on traditional vs. modern ML hunting and let him make the choice...I do both.

For a traditional rifle I have a Browning Mountain Rifle in .54 Caliber... Lyman has some that are just like it...

For a modern, just bought barrels for my TC Encore...one 20" blue and a 26" stainless...both are 50s.

Bob
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Old 08-26-2018, 09:04 AM
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I'm personally a traditional black power fan and have two custom made rifles a .54 cal transitional cap lock and a Pennsylvania .45 cal flinter.
Given that, if I were buying a production rifle it would be the Lyman great plains in .54 cal it's pretty historically correct in design except for the bluing on the finished model. If you wanted a more historical look you and the youngster could get the same rifle in kit form have some fun finishing it and do the parts in brown which would be correct for the time.
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Old 08-26-2018, 09:11 AM
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I built my old Lyman .54 cal back in the mid 70's. Use to really get into
the mountain man, fur trapper thing. Have only used round balls and
black powder ever sense the first shot. Sighted in at 60 yards with some experimenting with amounts of powder to use.
My thoughts are if you are going to shoot front stuffers then go with
traditional black powder and patched round balls. Clean up after
shooting with plenty of hot water followed by a light coating of oil.
Others will have different ideas, just saying what I prefer.
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Old 08-26-2018, 09:16 AM
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I'd start him on a break open inline. Easy to understand, load, shoot (or unload) and CLEAN. A four power scope is plenty. I use 2x50 grain pyrodex pellets behind a 250 grain sabot and bullet combo. Accurate and powerful. Instill in him the need to keep his face well away from the muzzle when reloading.
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Old 08-26-2018, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6string View Post
I'm very much in the traditional American muzzleloader camp, favoring the Pennsylvania Longrifle to be precise.
Flint or Percussion, both have their merits and flaws.

But, I'd like to make one special point.
Consider contacting a muzzleloading shop that specializes in serving the artisans who build them and the shooters who appreciate them. For example, "Track of the Wolf" or "Dixon's Muzzleloaders" in Kempton, PA.
Both could recommend a one of a kind rifle built with real craftsmanship using nice quality parts and beautiful wood.
Often, you can find something of lasting value for about the price of a typical centerfire rifle.
In the long run, you'll be much happier than with a cheap import.

Best Wishes,
Jim

PS: another path, if you're so inclined, would be to get a kit from Track of the Wolf. These are easy to build but come with all top quality parts. You and your son might enjoy the time spent together and the fruits of your labor.
I, my son, and grandsons are in Jim’s camp. We have hunted for years with traditional firearms using real black powder and patched round balls. There is a quiet and satisfying feeling which comes from bringing home a nice deer with one muzzleloader shot at 50-90 yards. We have been successful for so many years I can’t even count them.

“Track of the Wolf” is located about an hour from my home and their well-stocked store has provided us with supplies and excellent technical assistance. They operate a bustling mail-order business and carry nothing but good, reliable stuff. And, building up one of their kits with your son is an excellent suggestion. My oldest grandson and I built one several years ago and his eyes still sparkle each time he takes it out of the case. That gun will go with him for his lifetime.

Find a local gun club that encourages muzzelloaders and shoot a few before you decide. I don’t know a muzzleloader who wouldn’t provide you with multiple opportunities. Evaluate your needs and look into traditional muzzelloadimg before you make a decision.

Good luck and enjoy a wonderful time in the field with your son.

Dave
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Old 08-26-2018, 09:27 AM
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Some state laws contain provisions limiting rifle types for primitive weapons seasons. Here in Colorado the rifle must be antique or authentic reproduction of antique type, open sights, and some other restrictions. I would look into those requirements first, as the interest is hunting.

I have always preferred the traditional designs. I have owned the TC Hawken .50 and the Browning Plains Rifle .54, and both were excellent shooters. Over time I became more interested in authentic antiques and acquired an original Pennsylvania half-stock percussion rifle, probably 1850's to 1870's, and restored it to full function. It's a real treat to eat a meal taken with a 150 year old antique rifle!

They are fun, but there is a learning curve involved. There are some good books available that describe everything in detail (handling, loads, cleaning, maintenance, etc), and I would recommend a dose of that knowledge for the young man. Range sessions to learn the rifle, try different loads, different bullet types, and build the skills needed to use it safely and effectively.
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Old 08-26-2018, 09:51 AM
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In my opinion, for a youth the best in-line muzzle loader going is the Knight Littlehorn in .50 caliber. Loaded with Hodgdon Pyrodex 50/50 Pellets (two) along with Barnes Spit-Fire T-EZ Muzzle loading sabots. No muss no fuss loading, very accurate inside 125 yards. All of my mule deer (more than I can count) were taken with this load or something very similar. It is a relatively clean load.

I never use solvent to clean, only hot soapy water.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 08-26-2018, 10:23 AM
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Several years back, I bought a CVA Wolf at Wal Mart just because it was really cheap and I wanted to shoot it. Fast forward to now, it is my go to deer rifle each year until rifle season opens. It is accurate, easy to load, shoot, and clean. It breaks down like a single barrel shotgun. It has a great trigger. A scope can easily be mounted on it. I can whole heartily recommend a CVA Wolf for a great hunting blackpowder rifle.
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Old 08-26-2018, 11:35 AM
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I built my own M/L's and like the traditional styles. I like flint mostly but percussion is fine too.
A wall full of unfinished projects sits there now.
I'd still like to build an UnderHammer on the Hilliard type action. Maybe some time..

I have no interest in the stainless steel/plastic sabot bullets/209 primer types.
But plenty of people do and have great success with them.
They bring lots of people into the BP shooting game so why not!
They are very accurate & very affordable.

You can cast your own projectiles,,you don't need a lot of them for a day at the range or buy them.
Pre cut patches, make up your own lube, ect. It's quite the gadgety sport.
Buy a kit or loose parts and put a rifle together yourself is very satisfying.
Go as far into it as you feel comfortable in the' I made it myself area'.
What parts you can't make are available in various states of complete for you to work on.

So far the Fed Gov'ment hasn't restricted the replica M/L in their original ignition forms, so have at it.
Check the State laws though as they can sometimes place these right in with cartridge guns in some instances.
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Old 08-27-2018, 01:18 AM
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If he wants to hunt with a muzzleloader, then go traditional. The in-lines are for people that want another deer hunting season, but don't want to actually use a muzzleloader. They are single shot center fire rifles that take a little longer to load.

I have never been much impressed with the manufactured guns. However the Pedersoli guns can be nice. They cost more. Problem is that there is just not much out there for good, historically accurate muzzleloaders. The good stuff is all hand made and quite expensive.

Maybe best option is to build one. Track of the Wolf has a number of kits that will make a great rifle in the $700 to $900 range. The father/son project part of it beats anything you can buy in a store. Figure on a few months to get it finished. I have been doing a You Tube series on building one of these kits. Here is the first one.

YouTube
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Old 08-27-2018, 04:47 PM
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Traditional side lock or modern inline is the question. I prefer traditional with real black powder and patched balls. Real black powder may be hard to find in your area but there are several substitutes available. If the interest is strictly hunting then an inline rifle would work very well.
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Old 08-27-2018, 05:10 PM
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Is it just me or do these new modern, break open , shotgun primer, pyrodex pellet and JHP sabot bullet arms with modern 3-9 power scopes just seem ....wrong, maybe even bordering on sacrilegious .

I know it's old school but a nice cap lock Hawken would be my choice....
Handsome rifle ....sometimes looks counts!
Gary
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Old 08-27-2018, 05:35 PM
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Traditional sidelock. The feel, the use, the history makes them fun. I would recommend a Lyman Trade Rifle in caplock to start. Well made and reliable .50 cal is plenty for deer. it will shoot a patched round ball or a miniball with the 1-48" twist. I recommend the PRB to start. plenty of power to shoot right through any deer walking North America. Black powder is my 1st choice but canbe hard to find. Non existant around here so I researched a GOOD alternative (they are not all the same) Came up with Alliant Black MZ. Ignites well, burns clean, little fowling and cleans up just as easy as the HOLY BLACK.
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Old 08-27-2018, 05:50 PM
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I'm old enough that when I saw folks shooting black powder guns, they were originals. Having watched the guys involved finding the correct ball diameter and patch thickness to get their original Pennsylvania flintlock rifles to shoot correctly, I crossed black powder off my to do list. i figured then (and still believe) they're for folks with a whole lot more spare time than I've ever had.

Decades later I decided I liked the looks of the percussion guns like the Thompson Center and investigated them and the Lyman guns. I decided the TC bullets and Hornaday Great Plains bullets beat the dickens out of the screwing around with patches & balls. My younger son and I have had a blast with our traditional styled cap and ball rifles.

I'd strongly suggest starting off there. While TC apparently no longer makes the traditional style rifles, there are lots of them used in local gun shops when guys traded them in on in-line rifles. They're a whole lot easier to use and if, and only if, the kid later decides he wants to go mountain man and use patch & ball, he can work through that stuff then. He'll already be hooked.

BTW, the Triple 7 powder is worth the price difference unless you've got a source for really, really high grade black powder. TC Bore Butter may not be as cheap as Crisco, but it's a whole lot less messy.

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Old 08-27-2018, 07:35 PM
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If one learns a bit of history, he will discover that an inlin ignition system is quite traditional.
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Old 08-28-2018, 12:49 AM
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I'm another traditional kind of guy. I still shoot my old Hawkens style .54 cal. Lyman Great Plains rifle. It is great round ball gun and pretty deadly out to somewhere past 100 yards. The only problem I have with it these days is my old eyes can't see the sights like they once did.

If I were getting back into muzzle load hunting I would probably buy a 50 cal. Remington 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader and put a good scope on top of it. They are a real 300 yard rifle. There are gunsmiths making 1000 yard muzzleloaders based on the 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader.
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Old 08-28-2018, 05:59 AM
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Traditional here. I shoot a TC 45 and a 54.
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Old 08-28-2018, 06:39 AM
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I'm a bit biased but that is because Christian Sharps was a 1st cousin of one of my Ancestors. Why fuss with muzzle stuffers when the perfect solution dating back to 1848 is out there. That is a reproduction of the Sharps Rifle. Drop the breech block, insert bullet and paper cartridge of Black Powder, close the breech cap and fire. Heck during the Civil War there were even Sharps Rifles made with a small telescope mounted to them.
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Old 08-28-2018, 08:36 AM
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As stated, check your state regs. Some states don't allow in-lines, scopes or sabots. Some don't allow multiple barrels or have caliber minimums. Paper cartridges may not be legal.

Tips:
1. Bore Butter lube.
2. Check if there's a load using pellets (i.e. Pyrodex)
3. I have an extra long ramrod.
4. Shooting sticks (?)
5. I use a conical.
6. T/C Hawken in 54 Caliber.

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Old 08-28-2018, 09:03 AM
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The state law thing is important. Pennsylvania requires flintlock. Massachestts black powder means smoothbore, dunno ignition system requirements.
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Old 08-28-2018, 12:01 PM
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For some years I have owned a made-in-Spain CVA .50 caplock muzzle loader. It is of the Hawken half-stock style, obviously an "Economy" gun but it shoots surprisingly well, producing 2" (or less) 5-shot groups at 50 yards with its open sights which are pretty good. I normally use Pyrodex with a little black powder mixed in for easier ignition. One of my favorite fun guns when I am in a muzzle loader mood. I do not hunt with it but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it for hunting.
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Old 08-28-2018, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregintenn View Post
If one learns a bit of history, he will discover that an inlin ignition system is quite traditional.
Post pics of Revolutionary War, Civil War soldiers using them or fur traders/trappers carrying one.
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Old 08-28-2018, 03:25 PM
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Been shooting muzzle stuffers for a few decades. If You want a round ball shooter look real hard at a Lyman Plains Rifle. They are the most accurate out of the box guns available. As accurate as most custom guns and more accurate than most. I am going ML hunting the 8th of Sept and I am taking My flintlock built by a young man from Loveland, CO (now deceased at 44) which won several builders awards and many, many, many shoots including two State Championships. For shooting mini balls the Lyman Trade rifle works quite well. Here in CO inlines are allowed, but no sabots, pelletized powder, scopes, electric ignition. We also have to wear blaze orange or PINK (new for 2018). Check Your State ML hunting laws before making a decision.

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Old 08-28-2018, 05:13 PM
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Some states even consider single shot rifles firing metallic cartridges as being primitive weapons. Most states having primitive weapon hunting seasons will have a precise definition of a legal "primitive weapon." And it seems that every state will have its own specific definition.

Texas has a fairly broad definition of primitive weapons which allows most any type or kind of muzzle loading rifle or bow, including a crossbow, to be used in most parts of the state (with some specific restrictions in certain areas). In Texas, the operative term is "Muzzle Loading", not caliber or in-line or sidelock. If a rifle must be loaded from the muzzle, it is a Muzzle Loader and is legal. Many other states are not as liberal in their definitions.
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Old 08-28-2018, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firesticks View Post
Post pics of Revolutionary War, Civil War soldiers using them or fur traders/trappers carrying one.
There were 19th century inline rifles. They were definitely the oddball guns and I doubt that many were made. But they did exist. Sorry, I don't know what this thing is called.
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Old 08-29-2018, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
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There were 19th century inline rifles. They were definitely the oddball guns and I doubt that many were made. But they did exist. Sorry, I don't know what this thing is called.
Revolutionary War was 18th Century (1700's), not 19th (1800's).
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Old 08-29-2018, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Raby View Post
There were 19th century inline rifles. They were definitely the oddball guns and I doubt that many were made. But they did exist. Sorry, I don't know what this thing is called.
I thought I knew a little bit of muzzle loading history, but that a new one on me.
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  #33  
Old 08-29-2018, 10:40 AM
BearBio BearBio is offline
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FYI: Lewis and Clark took several air rifles with them. "muzzle" loaders!
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Old 08-29-2018, 10:41 AM
Wee Hooker Wee Hooker is offline
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My 2 cents based on my experience from some 3/4 of my life ago.
Look into a Kit (CVA/Traditions etc). My dad and I didn't see eye to eye on allot back when I was 19. (Mostly because I knew everything and he didn't see it). However, we did build a couple of BP guns together ( and did some bonding in the process.) It was a great experience and not hard at all. When done, the pride of ownership was immeasurable. Allot of fun really. As icing on the cake, the CVA 50 cal Hawken I built shot spot on at 100 yds with ball or mini balls and Pyrodex.

FWIW, I revisited the BP rifle kit building experience this past year (sadly, minus Dad) and found the process was still allot of fun. Here is the .32 Cal Squirrel rifle that resulted.


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Old 08-29-2018, 10:55 AM
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Not in-line, but there were also under-hammer caplock MLs and also at least one type (the Jenks-Merrill Mule Ear) in which the hammer swung sideways. It used the Maynard tape primer as did some other Civil War-era rifles and carbines. It was actually a breechloader, but could be used as a muzzle loader.
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Old 09-09-2018, 12:35 PM
hillbillydruggist hillbillydruggist is online now
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thanks everyone
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Old 09-09-2018, 12:57 PM
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A teenager wants to shoot a deer. Go simple, get an in-line, mount a scope, drop in a few pellets, a good bullet, sight it in and turn him loose. When I was a kid, the old Hawkins almost drove me away from muzzle hunting. To each his own...
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Old 09-09-2018, 01:29 PM
TIMETRIPPER TIMETRIPPER is offline
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Some of the modern break open in-lines are dirt cheap. I see used examples sell for as low as $50 at many local auctions. And you can find new guns with starter kits at very reasonable prices.
That being said, there is something special about touching off a flintlock that you will not get with a plastic stocked, shotgun primer ignition, pellet loaded, sabot slugged modern "muzzle loader". For cripes sake, just pack all the components together into a cartridge and be done with it. But I may be a little biased.
A friend had one of those Remington bolt action MLs for a year or two. It was a real PIA to clean, more so than a regular muzzle loader. And even with a scope, it wasn't as accurate as his hand made Pennsylvania flintlock.

John
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Old 09-10-2018, 01:25 PM
Muley Gil Muley Gil is online now
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There is a Lyman Great Plains Rifle in .54 in the SASS Wire Classified ads.

I have no connection to this sale.
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Old 09-10-2018, 04:28 PM
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Long ago (around 1980), I learned about muzzle loading from the Dixie Gun Works (DGW) catalogue. Is that still a good way to learn?


I build a Philadelphia derringer from a DGW kit, then a Thompson Hawkins .50 cal muzzle loader, also from a kit from DGW. That is the rifle with which I shot my very first whitetail deer.

It was a great way to learn about muzzle loading!
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:46 PM
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I'm a traditionalist, chairman of my rifle club's Muzzle Loading division. I've been into muzzle loading since the 70's, have never built one from scratch but have assembled a few kits and always pleased with the outcome, you get out of them exactly what you put in. I've been working on one of Jim Kibler's Southern Mountain Rifle kits for some time now and have it assembled and am ready to apply finish to metal and wood.
If you youngster has an interest in working with metal and wood and/or has your experience and equipment to work with by all means get a kit, assemble the rifle and away you go, you could start something that could last his lifetime. With the limited time left as of this writing that's sorta out of the question.
I have never been interested reading any story involving the use of an in-line muzzle loader regardless the shooter. In-lines are modern rifles that load from the front, there is little romance, no historical significance, etc. However tell me story about a guy hunting moose with a flintlock in a swamp with a downpour of rain and I'm all ears.
Any one of the modern In-Lines will do the trick if all he wants to do is hunt a deer with a muzzle loader in the least amount of time, he might bruise his cheek a few times finding the right bullet/powder configuration but...he will likely move onto a cartridge rifle in the end, more range and accuracy potential.
Given time I would look into a nice kit, I'm personally sold on the Lyman GPR rifle. For the money they are the best off the shelf muzzle loaders I have ever owned or seen fired. In fact today a friend of mine that has considerable experience with dozens of muzzle loaders and owns dozens brought down a GPR he had paid $250 for and shot a five round group into one hole at 50 yards...his first time out. He just shot for group to see how it would do and it did just fine. Lyman makes kits in right and left hand, flintlock and percussion, they run around $600 if my memory serves me well. I bought one from a guy that had used it to hunt deer once for $300, put Lyman target sights on it and an L&R trigger and within a couple months was challenging the more experienced old hands with custom hand built guns to 1st place at matches.
The Pedersolis are nice rifles and are also made in Italy like the GPR. Track of the Wolf is an excellent resource, they also have completed rifles for sale, as does Buffalo Arms (a good source for Lyman kits)
The other issue is black powder, it has gotten difficult to obtain and expensive. There is only one store in town that sells black powder and currently it runs around $30 per pound which on average is around 100 shots with my .45 using between 55-85 gr. per shot @ 7000gr. to the lb. That's another part of the In-Line popularity, you can buy Pyrodex at nearly any sporting goods store, pellets or powder. The guys I shoot with all get together, we buy in bulk and got our last powder for $14 per pound, that is a significant savings, nearly half cost. We only shoot black powder and patched round ball, unless we are holding a rifled musket match, then black powder and minie bullet is the course, or round ball...some shoot patched round ball quite well.

If you want to pick my brain further P.M. me with any questions you would like answered in depth, I'll do what I can to help you out.

Dick
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  #42  
Old 09-13-2018, 05:56 PM
jeffrefrig jeffrefrig is offline
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Wear goggles or eye protection for the first 356 shots!
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