Beginning black rifle kit


March 21, 2011, 12:36 AM
I'm interested in putting together a black powder rifle kit. I think it would be fun to put one together, and I think it would be fun to have one to shoot.

Does this ( look like a decent kit for the money? Is there any other kit that you would recommend to me instead?

Thank you.

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March 21, 2011, 01:54 AM
i like that, i like that a lot! i think you should go for that! sadly that cannot be shipped to ************, but i might find a site that will given that BP rifles are perfectly legal here.

March 21, 2011, 06:19 AM
Traditions' kits are decent entry level kits. Little skill is involved as most of the work is already done - it's basically finishing the metal and wood and screwing it together, but you will have a decent, shootable rifle and the knowledge that you built it yourself. Many people have started that same way and then moved up to the more difficult and better quality kits. That's a decent price, also. Take your time - lots of patience will be rewarded. And stay away from the power tools; this is a job for your hands and your brain, not the power company.

Norton Commando
March 21, 2011, 07:17 AM
I don't think you can go too far wrong at that price!

I have a Thompson Center Arms Hawkin-kit-rifle that I love to shoot and it looks great too.

March 21, 2011, 07:31 AM
Here is an older link about shipping BP guns to CA.....It IS legal.

March 21, 2011, 08:14 AM
The only negative comment I would have about the kit is the two piece stock. If it were my first kit I would opt for a half-stock. My first kit was a Thompson Center and it was a joy to finish and assemble.

Norton Commando
March 21, 2011, 09:00 AM
At the risk of sounding too negative, the kit you're considering uses a flat spring for actuating the hammer, while I believe higher-end kits use a coil spring, at least Thompson Center guns have a coil spring. The coil spring tends to be less susceptible to breaking compared to the flat spring. Having said that, most all the original flint and percussion rifles came with flat springs. Also, you're proposed kit doesn't have a second or "set" trigger. The set trigger takes considerable force to activate, but once activated, only very light pressure is required to activate the final trigger.



March 21, 2011, 09:15 AM
Here's one I built back in 1978.....

March 21, 2011, 09:23 AM
It costs a bit more, but have you considered the Lyman Great Plains Rifle? In that case, you get a very authentic western mountain rifle ("Hawken") styling, and it is a very high quality firearm once completed. You can add a touch here and there to further prettify the gun and make it even more period correct - unblued barrel (in the white), a pewter nosecap (easy to do, instructions can be found on line).

The rifle has a roundball barrel, set triggers, and a nice walnut stock. With a little shopping, you can find one but it will be a bit more than the Traditions kit. In the end you have a nice, desirable rifle, which will likely be worth more than you paid for the kit when you are done (if you are a decent craftsman).

My prejudice is historical authenticity, AND a good rifle. The Lyman has both. Now, as someone who started with a TC Hawken kit, it has been a good hunting rifle but can be painful on the eyes if you like the historical guns - IMHO the Lyman is a superior rifle on every count.

March 21, 2011, 10:19 AM
The Lyman kit is a better gun all the way around (T/C kits are excellent but no longer available), but the price is better, too. The Traditions kit is a good (not great) entry level kit to learn the basics and see if you have the patience to do the job. It does not test your skills as little actual skill is necessary. The Lyman kit does have a few quirks that take a bit of skill to get just right, and when you get done you have a significantly better gun. If you have confidence in your skills and know you have the time and patience (and you have the money), get the Lyman. If you just want to try it out and not have a lot invested, get the Traditions.

BTW - regarding coil vs leaf springs: L&R, Davis, and the best locks in the world, Chambers, all have leaf springs. And they outlast grandchildren. That said, I agree the Lyman lock is a better lock than the Traditions lock.

Loyalist Dave
March 21, 2011, 10:51 AM
That is the standard kit longrifle from Spain, and was the gun that I started with in BP in 1976, though back then it was .45, and it cost $68.00 from Best & Company (now defunct). It was offered by CVA, but I venture to guess any company can order them and put their name on them, like today with Pedersoli making the Cabela's Blue Ridge Hunter, and the same gun was sold for a while by Hatfield.

Your gun has a single trigger, but unless the design has changed the trigger pull may be adjusted by a screw setting inside the lock.

Good things...,
Inexpensive first rifle,
They tend to shoot patched round ball very well,
Easily finished into a nice gun that will take deer,
Short barrel is easy to handle in the woods, and a light gun easy to carry,
Durable, and as time goes on makes a great "loaner" gun or kid's gun,
Will accept after market nipples like an Uncle Mike's Hot Shot

Not so good things...,
Slow twist rate in the rifling means it will probably only shoot patched round ball (mine only shoots that, but I prefer patched round ball in all my BP rifles),
Two piece stock and short barrel; it really isn't authentic if that matters,
Performs better with an after market front sight blade, thin as possible,
No resale value (I still have mine after 35 years - it still shoots good )
Cleans fully assembled; not a "hooked breech" so barrel doesn't come out like a plains rifle such as the Lyman. (Not really a problem)

I would consider this as a first "traditional" style gun. If you like it and have fun with it, then you might consider a kit needing more work, or perhaps a semi-custom rifle finished in-the-white.


Norton Commando
March 21, 2011, 11:39 AM
Great summary there Loyalist Dave.

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