New to the world of Black Powder


October 1, 2008, 11:02 PM
Hello everyone this is the first time I have ever entered this section of THR and I like what I see. I have for some time now despieded black powder with a passion. But I finaly played with a friends old Hawkins and I am in love with the whole ideal once again. I had a bad experince with in line muzzle loaders. Won't make that mistake agin. The rifle had a bad barrel.One BOOOM and it is gone. Any way I noticed that there is the NMLA society and I noticed that they held matches and am begining to wonder what type of rifle should I get. Also do they have a rule book because I am having a hard time finding it on the web. Also I have some questions regarding black powder. Where do you buy it in the powder form. Also how much dose it run a can. So please if you can help me find what I need I would be grateful.



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4v50 Gary
October 1, 2008, 11:29 PM
Welcome to the front stuffer crowd. You're very lucky to be in Western Kentucky as it isn't far from Friendship, Indiana, where the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association has its range and musem. Unfortunately, you just missed its Sept. 16 banquet and auction.

You asked about the rule book for matches I presume. Yes they have one but I haven't seen it and there's no need for me to as Friendship is a mite bit far for me to commute to shoot. Every year passes me by without me winning the national championship but that's OK with me. ;) Anyhow, if you want to join, membership is $40 for one year, $115 for three years and $185 for four years. You can send your ducats (old fashion currency) or modern American green-backs to them at: NMLRA, P.O. Box 67, Friendship, IN 47021. You can call them at 812-667-5131 from 0730-1630 (EST).

Another advantage of being in Western Kentucky is that you don't have to go far if you ever want to enroll into their nine-day long rifle building classes taught in late April at WKU at Bowling Green.

If you want a good starter gun, go with either the Thompson Center Hawkins or a Lyman Great Plains Rifle. I'm not sure as to the cost and ten years ago they were about $350. Either Cabelas or Gander Mountain will have them in stock.

As for black powder, MainePowerHouse and TrackoftheWolf both sell the stuff. I think they run about $11-$13 per pound.

Have fun and see you on the firing line.

October 1, 2008, 11:38 PM
Black powder can cost anywhere from under $10 - $20+ per pound depending on whether it's bought at a retail shop, online by the 25 pound case or in bulk.
There's a hazmat fee and shipping costs when it's ordered online, so several pounds may need to be ordered to make it economical to ship.
There's also subsititue powders like Pyrodex, 777, American Pioneer and Goex Pinnacle for those who can't find BP available locally.

One outfit is Graf's:

Another is:

I'm not sure about all of the rules regarding all of the different NMLRA classifications. Generally most matches are run by local NMLRA muzzle loading clubs that will set their own non-NMLRA/unofficial rules. But many traditional clubs restrict shooting for prizes to competitors shooting reproduction muzzle loaders that only have open metallic sights, and do not allow any sight adjustments to be made during a match if the sights aren't fixed (because for many of them they are supposed to be both fixed & open). And they'll only allow patched round balls to be fired in club competition.
For instance, some local clubs will allow underhammers and some won't, while the large sanctioned events might actually have different shooting classifications to accomodate more of the shooters. Rondezvous events may not be NMLRA sanctioned though, so they can be as restrictive as they want and will even bar people from competing who aren't dressed in period clothing.
If you can locate a muzzle loading club near where you live, ask the members for more specific information about their club affiliation and the specific rules that they enforce for their regular weekly or monthly shoots.

There's also the N-SSA which is geared to shooting Civil War reproduction arms.

October 2, 2008, 07:45 AM
Yes, there really is a written set of rules and regulations for the NMLRA - I managed to score a set at The Log Cabin Shop a couple of weeks ago. It was the only one they had on the shelf, so they may be out now.

Go to their web site at and click on the Charter Clubs button on the left side near the bottom. It'll ask you to specify a state and then show you names/addresses of the local affiliated clubs. There's also a button for something called field representatives - local people to contact about the NMLRA. The site also has information about upcoming events.

I recommend starting out with a percussion rifle - flintlocks are great fun and once you've fired one you'll be hooked for sure, but they require some special knowledge beyond the basics of black powder shooting, and can be a bit frustrating at first. Besides, the percussion guns are enough fun for most people by themselves.

The choice of a rifle is a real personal thing. Both Thompson Center and Lyman, plus some of Cabela's house brand rifles, are excellent quality and very good starter gun choices. The T/C Hawken and Lyman Great Plains are very good examples of the plains rifle design and will teach you a lot about the sport without being intimidating.

Traditions makes some good long rifles in the Kentucky/Pennsylvania/Tennessee styles - long barrel, full stock, a little earlier period than the plains rifles. A whole different feel.

Depending on your personal likes those should be enough to get you started on a very enjoyable hooby that can easily become an obsession. You can get into flintlocks, Civil War weapons, Revolutionary War weapons. French and Indian War weapons, percussion revolvers, shotguns, fowlers, the Brown Bess, Springfields, and the ultimate: a custom made rifle. Or, build your own from a kit or even blanks of wood and metal. The possibilities and choices are endless.


October 2, 2008, 12:15 PM
Welcome to the club. May you never shoot a centerfire again. Well i cant say that but it is fun. wait to you try revolvers

October 2, 2008, 12:21 PM
I just started BP shooting this summer. It's highly adictive and I find my smokeless rifles are a lot less appealing than they were. I've had great advice from the traditional ml forum. They don't do inline stuff:

I'm not entirely convinced a caplock is better to start with than a flint. Both have their own oddities. I've had a series of problems with the nipples and patent breaches on my caplocks, and there are some complexities to rifle shooting with ML'rs. There is something to be said for the simplicity of a smooth steel tube with a small hole in the side that's screwed down to the stock. The hard part about flinters seems to be setting the flint correctly to make sparks without hurting the frizzen. But there are numerous on-line articles and forums on the subject.

October 2, 2008, 04:27 PM
May you never shoot a centerfire again.

Or get a centerfire that you can load BP in like I did!

October 2, 2008, 05:08 PM
yep. i think i have tried black powder in every center fire i have except my 30-30 and 30-06. i have really been thinking of trying the 30-30 with ffg

October 2, 2008, 07:58 PM
Yeah, I bought a .45 Colt to load BP in. I also load it in my .303 Brit too.

October 2, 2008, 08:06 PM
45 colt it soo cool and easy to load

October 2, 2008, 09:13 PM
So is .44-40 too.

4v50 Gary
October 2, 2008, 09:35 PM
Front-stuffer talk only. Leave the cowboy stuff for another thread. Thank you - the management.

October 2, 2008, 11:57 PM
Hey there;
Good to have you.
You will here all sorts . But I must say that most of the really good ones are on here and have already answered you.

From what I can tell most here have used BP for a long time and know their stuff. I have hunted with BP only, for over 20 years now. Even My close freinds can not understand me .. Too bad for them. I can not think of anything better , than pulling up on a nice buck and BAMMMMMMM.
Now , Ya get to wait for the smoke to clear and look for a brown lump in the snow. Just can not get any better then that.
While I must admit I am into my Encore and a few other top notch inlines, I have had some darn nice smoke poles in my time too.

I am a complete accuracy nut. Bp or whatever. Blown barrels are blown barrels and can be just as bad in an 06 or .50 cal don't really matter.
They both go bang right in your face.
The T/C or even the Lymans are very strong made and you will learn em and love em. If you are going to go "traditional" stay true..... No 777 powder and all the gadgets. Stay Pure. You will build skills and pride in what you are about to do.

October 3, 2008, 06:51 PM
"cowboy stuff"

Sorry Gary, I don't consider it "cowboy" stuff. I don't do CAS or anything like it. I like shooting Black Powder and it is great to use in carts. too.

Anyways, I guess back to front loaders.

October 3, 2008, 07:21 PM
same here. All i do is 99% black powder shooting. Whether in a muzzle loader, revolver cap and ball or now even conversion cylinders. im still shooting black powder. i have even shot up a whole bunch of black powder shot gun loads.

October 3, 2008, 07:53 PM
Here's a tip- clean that gun after every shooting session. Black powder is EXTREMELY corrosive and can ruin any barrel (yes, even stainless steel) don't get powder happy, and enjoy the smell of rotton eggs every time you see that magical cloud of white smoke! God I love this country!

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