I'm seeing this question on a couple other sites, and wanted to read the responses posted here.
What got you started in traditional black powder shooting and the lifestyle that so often accompanies it?
If you enjoyed reading about "What got you started?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Cap n Ball
October 1, 2008, 03:59 PM
I grew up on a small farm in southern Missouri near the border with Kansas. I started shooting when I was seven. My first gun was an ancient 36 cal percussion squirrel rifle that hung over the fireplace along with a powder horn from the Civil War. My cousin and I took turns shooting it. I still have it and the horn although its been years since I've used it. I've shot just about every sort of gun since then but BP is still my favorite. Even the task of cleaning is a ritual I enjoy almost like going to church.
October 1, 2008, 04:25 PM
My father has a 1860 Colt Army "Civilian" model that I played with growing up. It belonged to my 2XGreat Uncle Charlie who rode shoutgun on the gold stage from Idaho City to Boise in the 1870's. Who knows where that gun has been.
I've always wanted to shoot black powder, and I ain't gettin' any younger.
October 1, 2008, 04:34 PM
Most of us over here didn’t have much choice after the handgun ban. Thankfully Muzzleloading Pistols fell under a different category and didn’t suffer the same fate. Here is a picture of my first ever shot with a friends BP Pistol (Remington 58 – not sure what make) captured on film.
After that shot and the other 5 five I turned to my friend and said ‘Wow! … I’ve gotta get me one of these’
Since that first shot I fell in love with all things BP – yes even the cleaning!. I love all the experimentation of different charges, ball sizes and weights, which lube to use and what’s the best way to fit the caps – timing issues, wedge issues, clearance issues, accuracy issues – anything issues!! … the shooting often comes as a bonus! … it’s all just good fun.
Even if I were still allowed to own a centrefire pistol I would still shoot BP – there is no doubt in my mind. I find the added bonus of learning about the history of the guns in question and the folks who shot them years ago a real pleasure.
Anyway I could go but that’s enough for now.
I'll leave you with this pic of a guy over here enjoying his gun - says everything about BP shooting to me:
October 1, 2008, 04:57 PM
I was always facinated by guns, even before my first BB rifle. When I got a job and some dough, I bought a 1858 .44 because that was all I could afford in New York State (Permits being hard to get). I've had colt pistols, .45, .50, and .54 rifles since, and am now using a .50 in-line for BP hunting season here in FL. They are fun, they expand the hunting season, and they help keep my gun safe nice and snuggly filled.
October 1, 2008, 05:04 PM
History was always my thing ..so the first gun show I went to , I bought a used black powder rifle for a few bucks ...it was love at first sight ..the year was 1967 ...my friends thought I was nuts because I enjoyed cleaning it after shooting ..
October 1, 2008, 05:05 PM
I knew a pair of old bachelor brothers who lived together. One room of their house had each corner full of old original muzzleloader rifles. They would sometimes trust me to load and shoot one of them. I was hooked the first time I smelled the smoke.
October 1, 2008, 05:20 PM
Well, way back in the dark ages my grandad used to let me carry his shotgun when out bird shooting. That got me hooked for life on shooting in general.
I next discovered the fun that could be had from chinese firecrackers - especially if you removed the powder and misapplied it. My triumph, at the age of about 10, was when I cast a 6 inch mini-cannon out of plumbers solder, bored it out with my dad's carpentry brace-and-bit and shot a 1/4 inch ball bearing through our house front door. I still think my parents reacted in an overly dramatic fashion.
A bit of a gap here while using nitro ammo in various applications, broken by some fun with a couple of old Tower muskets which I refurbished, cast shot for and made black powder and percussion caps. I hunted birds with them but never even frightened anything. I was very "chicken" about powder loads, not knowing what rust lay at the bottom of the 100 year old barrels.
After retiring I joined a local gun club, and was introduced to percussion revolvers and Cowboy Action Shooting. I now own 3 BP revolvers and am shopping for a flintlock rifle. Enough of this rambling - but you did ask!
October 1, 2008, 05:32 PM
My love affair for Shooting & especially Black Powder was with my grand father back in the mid 70's where I had learned a lot about them as well as the outdoors, he would take me out back to shoot one of his rifles, shotguns, & revolvers almost weekly & it has stuck since.
My first ever time with a C&B Revolver was in 1976 with what I found out years later was my Great-Great-Grandfathers 1851 Colt Navy where he would show me everything from loading & shooting to cleaning afterwords & even to this day I'll shoot my muzzloaders more than I do my modern pieces.
October 1, 2008, 05:42 PM
Kind of long and rambling, sorry.
I've always hae a thing for guns. I've never had very many at one time, but I've always had something. After I got married I was down to just my 12 ga. pump, and since my wife isn't real crazy about shooting, I didn't use even it. Then one day she bought me some clay pidgeons, and some shells. After a while I decided I wanted something smaller and cheaper to shoot. Since I've got small children I'm unwilling to risk a cartridge gun (but I covet;)). I figure when the kids are big enough to figure out loading one of my Colts, they're probably past the serious danger point.
Now shooting modern ammo feels and sounds wrong.
October 1, 2008, 06:22 PM
The smoke the flash, the whole process that goes into shooting and maintaining one and the added difficulty.
And the smell.
October 1, 2008, 06:32 PM
Been shooting since I was a kid, but never had much interest in BP. My interest later in life has been in modern firearms. I have a business that caters to the AK, AR, and other semi auto rifles and carbines.
My son got interested in hunting, so we took him through the process. Finding out about muzzleloader seasons was the impetus for us, plus I've thought the "traditional" rifles were beautiful. Local gun store has one for sale, we bought it for hunting. I then decided I should have a BP handgun for carry while hunting ML season. That's all there is to it. Got hooked from there.
I'd stop far short of calling it a "lifestyle" though. When I take newbies to the range, we use modern "tactical ninja" weapons all the way through to BP. They like the opportunity to learn a little bit about several types of firearms. Plus I can say, "See this-- this was in the movie, The Kingdom, and over here, this 1858 Remington NMA was in the movie, Pale Rider." And so on. You can see the lights coming on in their heads. The curiosity has been there because they've seen some of this stuff, but they've never known anything about it until now, when they actually try them in live fire, see how they work, and see what they can do.
October 1, 2008, 06:53 PM
My first BP shot was from an original 1853 three band Enfield when aged ten. I was leaving a hard wood grove alone with my .410 when I meet two other boys about my age going into the grove. They were hunting squirrels as well and using about #6 shot in the Enfield. They had a soup spoon they would measure powder in then shove some newspaper on top of the powder, use the same spoon to measure a load of shot and then crammed in "more" news paper. They killed squirrel with it and since I had two shells yeat they eash tried a shot with mine and got one squirrel and I shot two from their rifled Musket and scared some tree rats badly.
I would not shoot BP again until I was 20 and this time the gun was what I was told was a two banded Enfield but it may have been an "Austrian Enfield" it had an odd offset sight set for use when the bayonet was attached, I shot it with round ball and patch and had a ball with it, this was followed by a .45 calliber and .50 caliber model cannons and finally an 1860 colt repro all at my club over a summer. That fall I shot a repro 1851 colt in .36 cal with some GI friends at a dump to dispense with rats while we searched for things that should not have been simply dumped.
THis put a bug in my ear as it were but I would be 45 before I got into it on my own. some folks here may well have done as much shooting of BP arms in a week as I have done these last nine years, but I smell that smoke on occassion and always have a good time with it.
Oh yes, I almost got a "free" repro Walker one night in Germany when a "Turk" was firing one off on New Years eve as fire works. He was at a some what snooty Pentohouse reseraunt and was firing into the air with powder only. Then he tripped over a chair and blew off a formerly very attractive German young lady's right ear and a good bit of her hair on that side of her head. Off duty Polizi buddy and I disarmed the guy and I decapped the remaining unfired chambers. Much yelling followed (we had to prevent the crowd from throughing auslanders off the roof, as an Auslander I thought this was a real priority myself)and I was almost out on the street after helping get the lady down stairs and to an ambulance when Polizi friend remembered to ask me for the Walker back. Another Polizi aquantence showed up at the club a month or so later with a very familiar looking Walker.
October 1, 2008, 07:08 PM
I took the hunter safety course with a good friend and we started shotgun hunting together in our 20's. I read a brief description with a picture of a new Navy Arms/Pedersoli mule ear lock rifle in Shooting Times and it looked so cool that I just had to have one. So I called Navy Arms who helped me to locate a vendor in PA that had them in stock, and I arranged to buy 2 of them from him at a gun show in CT.
Then I read a Sam Fadala book from the library that explained just about everything one needed to know about muzzle loading. I eventually bought all of the necessities, went to the range, loaded and shot it for the 1st time thinking that this was just like loading an old fashioned cannon. Feeling the power and the boom and the smoke reminded me of the 4th of July. What a rush of adrenaline that was, and to this day those mule ears are still my favorite rifles.
Meanwhile my good friend branched off into archery deer hunting which I've never tried, and he's never tried out muzzle loading. :D
October 1, 2008, 07:15 PM
AR 15's and Bushmasters....I had a small arsenal of black guns.:)
So did everybody else. And they got to be pretty boring after awhile. Gadgets and ad ons. This gidget and then that....
Friend of mine was a Flintlock collector. Convinced me to give it a try....
Sold every one of those black guns and never looked back. I might put as many rounds in a Flinty in a year, as I sent downrange in a AR in one hour. But I spend a whole lot more time shootin' it and just a grinnin':)
October 1, 2008, 07:30 PM
Since the ban on handguns in the U.K. and having to hand in our pieces I totally lost interest until I bought a flat in Arizona for holidays. On a visit to Tombstone, visited the local gunshop and found I could buy a C & B revolver, no questions asked. Bought a NMA 44 and have since had great fun when visiting AZ to shoot it at the municipal range.
Then found you can shoot the same in the U.K. so a gun club I have joined and awaiting my certificate from the police to possess one over here.
October 1, 2008, 07:42 PM
The very first gun I ever fired was a caplock my grandfather made. I was seven years old and we were visiting his farm in Missouri. He put up a target on a strand of barbed wire about 10 yards from the front porch. The gun was about as big as I was and I couldn't hold it up. Had to hold it pointed down at an angle, swing it up and touch off the shot as the gun swept the target. First ever shot was right through the wire. I tell people that I learned how to shoot that morning and how to string barbed wire that afternoon.
Anyway, that rifle ended up in my hands many years later, but blackpowder has been in my heart since that very day.
October 1, 2008, 07:47 PM
I watched alot of Daniel Boone when I was a kid.
October 1, 2008, 07:57 PM
Good question. I'd had a number of relics and not-quite-functional guns between the age of six (when my uncle took a musket away from me and promptly blew his big toe off) and sixteen (when I found a '58 Remington in a chunk of creosote that I was breaking up as fire starter). I didn't think of them as guns, really. They were just "neat stuff", most of which my dad quickly sold.
Then I spent a summer as a security guard on a road-building camp in the Oregon mountains. I had an AR-7 that came out of the Rogue River and an RG-14 that I'd bought at Sav-On Drugs, but they were getting pretty boring. Went to Bi-Mart and put a Navy Arms '58 Remington on lay-away, paying it off about the time I went back to school.
That's the gun that got me started. I had to hide it from my dad for a while, officially "getting it for Christmas" just over a year later, then I had to use it to repel some Christmas burglars at my Grandparent's house.
I've picked up a few others in the third of a century that followed, but that old gun is still close to me.
October 1, 2008, 09:45 PM
I wanted to learn how to reload and what is a better way than using cap n' ball revolver ? In my way of thinking back then if I can manage to load 6 cylinders with loose powder, ball and percussion cap with out blow up my gun then I would be ready for metallic cartridge.Oh and the Outlaw Josey wells too, that really got the ball rolling , I bought new cap n' ball revolver everytime I watch that movie:)
October 1, 2008, 10:09 PM
Disney's Davey Crockett show got me interested. I bought my first ML when I was 16 from a swap shop. Spanish made and no brand name. 32 cal.
Learned how to shoot it reading the Dixie catalog. That was 44 years ago.
October 1, 2008, 10:32 PM
I always liked Westerns as a kid growing up. The Colt cap and ball revolvers just had a look I liked. The day I turned 21, I bought my first one. I loved shooting back in those days, and I could not afford to shoot the big center fire single actions. Started with the .36 calibre(s) and they have been big part of my life ever since. I have owned a couple of Army models and have a Walker that is a great range and hunting gun - but the Navies and Pocket Models are still my favorites.
October 1, 2008, 10:46 PM
I actually got interested in building muzzleloaders before shooting them. A buddy and I stumbled on a fascinating place in Wichita, KS in the late 60's/early 70's called Four Flags Trading Post. The proprietor built muzzleloaders of all sorts, sold them and the early revolvers, as well as supplies of all sorts. I really liked his guns as works of art and decided I could do that too, and it's been a hobby (but not a lifestyle) ever since. Tried some CW reenacting and went to a couple of rondy's but found them too 'focused'; that is, the almost single-minded obsession with 'period correctness' put me off.
October 1, 2008, 11:31 PM
In California, you can't buy a handgun until you're 21. So, I bought a Ruger Old Army instead. It was a lot of fun and very useful for clearing the firing line. It was a great way to get other shooters to leave so there's stalls for your buddies to shoot at with you. It was also fun for New Year's Day when you can load it with blanks and shoot harmlessly into the air.
October 1, 2008, 11:59 PM
I always thought it would be cool to try reenacting, but couldn't afford one of those fancy cartridge guns. So I bought a cap-n-ball. Ain't looked back yet.
October 2, 2008, 10:29 AM
I moved to a shotgun only state, back when foster slugs were about the only choice. There had to be a better way to put lead into a deer.
October 2, 2008, 10:49 AM
I needed a handgun for home security, and I ran accross a closeout...CVA repro of the .44 "1858 Army Remington" $40 kit.
After I finished it, and popped the first cap, I was hooked.
Now have a Traditions brand (Pietta) .44 "Navy Colt" and a Lyman Trade Rifle .50 Flintlock. I have also previously onwed a CVA single-shot "Prospectors Pistol" and one of the .31 "Pocket Remington" models.
October 2, 2008, 12:01 PM
Well i have a lot of guns already. it was a change. i was always currious of musket guns same time i never thought about using a rod to ram a bullet. One day i just gave it some thought and did it. then i just kept buying more.
October 2, 2008, 04:15 PM
I used to shoot when I was a kid, but when I got older and wanted to buy a gun I discovered that where I was living you had to go to someone with an FFL and fill out a form 4473, which is really the same thing as federal gun registration. "Screw that," thought I. So I tried BP, and was hooked!
October 2, 2008, 05:18 PM
...and the lifestyle that so often accompanies it
What lifestyle?????????????? I don't wear buckskin if that is what you mean.
I bought a muzzleloader because my state places the blackpowder season during the elk rut and center fire rifle seasons are all after the elk rut. Plain and simple. I haven't adopted bow hunting yet, if ever, and I want the best possible chance to fill the freezer with meat. The odd thing is that in all the years I've been hunting elk, I've fill my tag every year during a rifle season, and I haven't gotten one with my muzzleloader yet. That is a bummer because I've had many more chances, and been closer, more often, to elk during that blackpowder season. I just happen to be holding the wrong gender/tag in my pocket for the animals I'm within range of. During the rifle seasons, I seem to get lucky and drop the elk I'm tagged for fairly easily.
October 2, 2008, 09:34 PM
I am a history buff that is one perspective of my intrest the other is the novelty aspect of black powder at my local range (I get a lot of looks). as has been stated I put more 223 down range in an hour than I would in a year of black powder.But the shear enjoyment of the sport has no equal for me!
October 3, 2008, 07:36 PM
The starting of a "primative weapons" season in Ga. got me started. 3 weeks of archery(It got me into archery as well), then 1 GLORIOUS week of Muzzle-loader the week before all of the 95% of the rest of the state's centerfire deer hunters pulled me right into the fold. I shoot a t/c woods rifle with 150 grains of pyrodex pellets, and a 295 gr. powerbelt hollowpoint. #11 caps.
October 3, 2008, 07:44 PM
That damn rifle kicks harder than my 7mm. rem. mag.! (i don't mind it much though).
October 4, 2008, 01:26 AM
One day back in the late seventies, I was in a local gun shop talking to the owner (in those days, they usually owned the store and took time to shoot the breeze). We were talking about guns in the movies. He introduced me to black powder and I brought a Spiller and Burr kit. It was the cheapest black powder gun he had. It was fun and I would take it with me on hunting trips. My buddies and I had a lot of fun. A couple of them got cap and ball pistols too.
That gun went into my gun safe for about 20 years. Then one day, I got it out and started shooting it again. The pound of powder I still had was a good as the day I got it. So were the caps. I still shoot that brass pistol and now have a few more. The last couple of years, black powder pistols are all I shoot.
October 4, 2008, 08:41 PM
My Natural born Akwesasne Mohawk/Mountain Man/Military Survival and Killer instincts...
October 5, 2008, 06:17 AM
What got me started, I'm still very new. Building black powder firearms from kits has been a dream of mine, way back to my teenage years. Early this year I had some heart issues at about the same time the movie "the Bucket List" came out, so I thought that if I didn't get started soon that I may miss the chance. What started out as a hobby for me has really turned into a "family" hobby.
I built a .44 cal 1860 army revolver, my brother gave me a .32 cal squirrel rifle, and I had an old Marlin .22 simi-auto rifle. when I got ready to go to the range with these both of my sons and my youngest daughter all wanted to go, we all had a wonderful time. So a habit has started most weekends when I don't have to work, and the weathers good off we go. Now it took a little longer for my wife to come around, at first she complained about the cost, I explained to her that for what we spend at the range I couldn't buy my kids a burger lunch at any local chain. Then she was worried that one of us would get hurt, after hearing all of this I said look come out with us just one time to see how all safety rules are followed and how much fun we all have together not to mention the time together. so she did, and now I have another in the family hooked. On her first trip she got a double bull's eye, ( guess who's target is on the ice box).
Buts whats so wonderful about all of this is something that started out for me, and has become some great family time all together.
P.S do forgive the bad spelling.
Peter M. Eick
October 5, 2008, 07:51 AM
Just wanted a Walker after seeing original ones down at Collector's here in Houston. Pretty simple, just an interest in history.
Lot of fun to shoot too!
October 5, 2008, 08:21 AM
Shot my first BP when I was in Boy Scouts and loved the sound and smoke, many many years later after all the auto chunkers and revolvers, I was in a pawn shop "just looking" when it hit me. I saw a Ruger old army is SS that was looking really dirty and bad, I asked to see it and after looking at it I haggled my way down to $160 out the door. Did I forget to mention that it was a 1976 bicentinal model and came with a holster. After some good cleaning and a trip to the range, the hunt was on for more!
Now to find a ROA SS 5 1/2 barrel.
October 5, 2008, 08:41 AM
When I was in scouting I was with an explorer post that did War of 1812 reenactments. I was in a rifle company so I carried a flintlock Kentucky long rifle. I still have that rifle but sadly the main spring is busted. I would love to get it fixed but haven't had the time to mess with it.
If you enjoyed reading about "What got you started?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!