Good beginner BP?


December 27, 2002, 09:34 AM
I've been thinking about trying my hand at BP shooting, but the only inexpensive (read cheap) rifles I can find are the new fangled in line jobs that, no offense, I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. I just want something nice and authentic. Doesn't have to shoot MOA, probably only shoot lead balls out of it. Any suggestions?

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December 27, 2002, 10:20 AM

Looking for a long gun, or the handgun variety? I used to shoot a repro of the 1858 Army Remington 44 revolver. As I recall, Cabellas has a few BP revo's in the catalog. .31, .36 .44 cals.

Good luck, and good shooting.

December 27, 2002, 11:00 AM
Go to, and take a look at their hawken rifles. Dixie gun works should have some too.
I just bought a lyman great plains kit, but with all the looking around I did, it seems like the hawkens are the cheapest and are still good shooters. It will probably come with a medium twist barrel that will shoot either conicals or patch and ball fairly well.

December 27, 2002, 12:26 PM
I got started in black powder with a Lyman Great Plains rifle. As did my cousin. Its cheap, and once you get it sighted in with its proper grain/patch/ball combination, it will be more accurate than you --or I-- could ever hope to be. Around here in Jersey/Pennsie it will set you back around 300-350. Not bad.

IMHO you might also want to stick to percussion instead of getting a flintlock for your first BP rifle.

Good luck, and get ready to be sucked into the BP world.... Next youll be dressed like davy crocket, going to rondevouz, and going on traditional woodwalks. Its addictive.

Signing out from the east-syde-communist-sektor,

Mike Weber
December 27, 2002, 02:20 PM
I would also second that Lyman Great Plains Rifle as an excellent starter rifle. Its also one of the most authentic Hawkin replicas on the market. As has been mentioned elsewhere a percussion gun is best for a beginer. If you prefer a longrifle Cabelas offers their Blue Ridge Rifle and Dixie Gun Works offers their Tennesee Mountain Rifle both very reasonable and pretty good renditions of period rifles.

4v50 Gary
December 27, 2002, 05:37 PM
Another vote for the Lymans Great Plains. Good starter and darn accurate.

December 28, 2002, 10:22 AM
One other plus for the Lyman: Should you elect to shoot the flint lock version, the frizzen is easily the one of the very best on the market- many manufacturers don't make frizzens out of anywhere near as good a material as Lyman specifies.


December 29, 2002, 05:51 AM
Thinking seriously about the Lyman Great Plains kit, percussion, flintlock may come later when I figure out what I'm doing. The 1 in 60 twist is the one for balls isn't it? Also, can anyone recomend a good book on the basics of muzzle loading? It would ruin my weekend to blow something off.

December 29, 2002, 12:30 PM

Yes, the 1 in 60 twist is for round ball use.

The classic book about muzzleloading rifles is Roberts, Ned, The Muzzle Loading Caplock Rifle, Granite State Press, Manchester, New Hampshire, 1940. It covers muzzleloading hunting and target rifles. There is a short history of some of the old American makers. There are hunting stories by a fine raconteur. Roberts goes into practical rifle shooting, along with black powder lore and techniques. He covers care of antique rifles. Much of the information is available nowhere else. This is a jewel of a book that you'll return to every so often; it's so well written so that it approaches being literature. It has been reprinted many times, by many publishers. I wouldn't be surprised if it is still in print; one way or another, it is not difficult to secure a copy.
BTW, Ned Roberts was the man responsible for the development of the 257 Roberts, he was a gun crank's gun crank...

Only John Chapman's (rare) book, The American Rifle, Appleton, New York, New York, 1848 approaches the Roberts book in comprehensiveness. To the best of my knowledge, this book has been reprinted only once, by Clark, Manchester New Hampshire, in, I think, 1941. Roberts was responsible for this reprinting.

Among books written by living authors, look for any of several by Sam Fadala, according to your area of interest.

There is a lot to be gleaned by simply looking through back copies of the Dixie Gun Works catalogs, as well as old Bannerman's Catalogs.

I can recommend books covering more narrow interests if you're interested.


January 2, 2003, 03:03 AM
There is alot of shooting information in the Dixie Gun Works catalog.

I also recommend that you check out the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association (

January 3, 2003, 02:51 PM
The Lyman site doesn't give the prices anymore. Does someone have a ballpark how much a Lyman Plains-Rifle (percussion, left hand) may be?

January 4, 2003, 04:27 AM
About $350 retail

cracked butt
January 5, 2003, 08:30 AM
If you call Lyman up you will find that they ave great customer service. When I ordered mine, the lady gave me a price, but ten reccommended that I order it from a different source for $100 less and even gave me a phone # to the place. (I think it was Midsouth, but I don't remember)

ed dixon
January 9, 2003, 02:50 AM
If you want something with shorter barrel, lower price (about $260), and rifling that can accommodate conicals too, take a look at the Lyman Trade Rifle. The GPR is very nice and more of a round ball specialist with a faster rate of twist (1 in 66") than the TR. The TR is a great all-around performer. I've been very satisfied. I plan on adding the GPR to its little brother, but I'll never let the Trade Rifle go. You're in for a lot of fun.

ed dixon
January 15, 2003, 12:33 AM
GPR actually has a 1 in 60" rate of twist. Same ballpark and same deal. Just was bugging me. (Now off to make another tape dispenser cozy.)

Tony Thomas
December 2, 2006, 04:47 PM
I've a couple of buddies who shoot Lyman Gr. Plains and really like them. I've had a Lyman Plains .50 cal. capper for many years. It's a great hunting and target smokepole but Lyman quit making them. It has large brass patchbox and other brass furniture. I can't find any info. as to why or find any used ones for sale. I've emailed Lyman but received no replies....any ideas where to check next?

December 2, 2006, 07:02 PM
I recommend Buffalo Bills in Orlando Florida I buy my powder and guns there

ooops fat index finger its Guns not gin

December 2, 2006, 09:12 PM
I'm not sure powder and gin is a good combo.

December 3, 2006, 09:18 AM
I was in Wal-Mart last week and saw a CVA Bobcat 50 cal (with a synthetic stock) for 59.95. My son has been saving money for a muzzleloader and I just couldn't pass this up. Figured that if he didn't want it I'd give it a try for that price. He decided to take it but doesn't get to shoot it until he has it paid for along with the balls, capper, flask, etc. so I can't tell you how it shoots for a while yet. (Trying to teach a bit of fiscal responsibility.) I'll supply the caps and powder.

December 4, 2006, 09:23 AM
I bought one of the bob cat CVA's last year. The thing is incredible for a practical side lock style hunter. Took a while of pushing patchs down range and quite a lot of filing on the front sight but now I can print small groups out to 75 yards. The rifling was a bit coarse at first. I used some comet cleanser with a patched jag during the cleaning process. That smoothed out the bore considerable. Made loading much easier. I have the load data in a log somewhere if you are interested.

It shoots suprisingly well. Quite happy for a cheap rifle.

OH forgot to add, check online places like
Good cheap source of used BP rifles. Now is the time to sell rather than buy though. Bambi season here in OH. Many a twit out in the field with a front stuffer. Wait till Feb or so after the huntign and gift giving season. Can usually find a nice wood stocked traditional side lock fer under a hunnert bucks. Check the bore before you buy. Often people don't realize you need's to clean a muzzle loader the same day you shoot it.

If you can't find a good used ML, I ran across a .54 cal traditions that I had to buy cuz I felt sorry for it. $100 would get you pretty much everything you need to go bang a few times.

December 4, 2006, 04:31 PM
I'd have to agree with the Bobcat. It's an ugly SOB, but it shoots well and is cheap.
It gives a new definition to the words "Evil Black Rifle".

I love mine,

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