i'm totally new to black powder guns and have been doing some research here and elsewhere.
yesterday i picked up a new to me lyman great plains rifle in .50 cal flint lock configuration. it's used but is spotless on the outside. another customer in the shop, and an older and obviously more experienced fella than myself, was kind enough to look at it with me and assure me that it had been fired very, very little and cleaned very well. so out the door it went with me.
i've shot a friend's finnicky cap pa rifle exactly twice, so am very much a bp greenhorn.
so far i have the rifle, and copy of "a pilgrim's journey".
i'm looking for advice on loads to start out with, tools/accessories i'll need to get started, reading, and online resources for both knowledge and to purhcase kit etc. basically anything that will help a beginner like myself.
also any help on determining if the lock is functioning properly, and how the flint should be aligned etc.
i can't wait to get it to the range!
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May 13, 2012, 11:38 PM
Lymans blackpowder handbook is a good starter for loading info as well as your manual from Lyman on your particular rifle. You can find the manual on line at the Lyman web if you did not recieve on with the rifle.
Basic things you need are a powder flask, powder measure, pan primer, spare flints, spare jag, a yard of diaper flannel for cleaning patches, and store bought patches for your ball. A tub of Crisco for patch lube.
You could buy swaged balls to start out with.
A Lyman unbreakable ram rod is nice.
Of course you will need real black powder as well. 3f will work for your load as well as doubling for pan primer but I find 4f works better for the pan.
May 13, 2012, 11:47 PM
Another Lyman GPR rocklock in .50 here.... :D
I've shot mine at a couple of my club's black powder days now as well as some bench rest time on my own. So far I've used .495 round ball with some .010 Traditions patches that came with it.
I started with 60 gns of black but on the recomendation of one of the shooters I went down to 40 gns for the simple target shooting out to 100 yards that we do. I have not benched it yet to fine tune the recipe but my hit ratio went up right away when I went down to .40gns. With the 60 gn loads I managed a couple of 4 inch groups at 75 yards... which is very more likely a measure of my vision over the plain iron sights than it is the gun itself.
A couple of reliability hints that the guys gave me which helped a LOT;
Tie a touch hole cleaning wire to the trigger guard with a short length of leather lace. Stick it into the touch hole before loading the powder and remove it only once you are going to prime the pan. This maintains a space inside the barrel charge which will tend to light off quicker than if the touch hole is packed shut.
Be sure to load the outside half of the pan and let the primer flash across to the touch hole. Makes for main charge ignitions that are nearly instant.
Don't forget the "follow through" where you continue to hold the rifle steady after the flint falls and sets off the pan. Despite the "tricks" sometimes there's still a noticable delay from flash to firing.
My own experieince with Ballistol and water mixed 1:6 is phenominally positive. I start the ball and patch dry using a ball seater. Then I dribble a few drops of the Ballistol and water "Moose Milk" on the ruffle at the end of the barrel to wet it. Then ram home. This MM treatement keeps the balls loading very easily and consistently from the first to the 35th loading over the course of a day.
A rag to wipe the pan and surrounding area off after about every second or third shot is a great idea. Just watch out for the flint. As the edge fractures away from striking the frizzen they become darn near razor like. I got a pretty good cut off mine one time.
I'll leave it to others to tell you how to best set the flint and I'll learn as well. So far I've set my hand knapped flints I've used up so they strike the frizzen a little above half way up and so that they do not rest against the steel of the pan. This seems to be working well and I get pan ignition 9 out of 10 times with this arrangement.
Oh, you'll want to get a tiny little hammer and special tool for knapping the end of the flint to restore the flashing when they get to have the wrong shape. A guy at one of the shoots did this for me on the second day when I had a string of failure to flash tries. This came on suddenly and isn't reflected in the 9 out of 10 mentioned above. After he freshened up the end I got excellent reliability for the rest of the day.
So yeah, the flints don't last much longer than 50 to 80 shots. So order a dozen or three from one of the specialty suppliers. I'm going to get a couple of dozen from Track of the Wolf soon. For the amount I shoot this rifle it'll last me for three or four years most likely.
May 13, 2012, 11:56 PM
I should have added a short ball starter is handy when loading. You can get everything you need from Dixie Gun Works.
May 14, 2012, 09:58 PM
thanks for the help. i downloaded the manual from lyman's site, and will be picking up a few items soon. any good online resources to check out?
May 14, 2012, 10:28 PM
HuntingPA.com in the muzzleloading section is very good. American Longrifles is the best site when it comes to knowledge.
May 27, 2012, 11:35 PM
proven, if I were you I'd sell that flinter right this minute:uhoh: In fact, I'm such a nice guy. I'll take it off your hands for say how about a $100.00.:cool:Just think how much money you'll save if you don't have to buy all those necessary things etc.:what: Oh well I can try can't I. Sounds like you got yourself a nice flintlock, I've been looking for some time now, guess I'm gonna have to buy a new one.:(
May 28, 2012, 06:27 PM
1. Get dark flints. Learn to re-knap them...I use a small hammer. Keep a good edge on them.
2. If possible, use Swiss Null B priming powder. It's about 7F granulation. Very fast ignition.