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Old April 11, 2015, 08:45 PM   #1
IdahoSkies
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Side lock vs. in line functional comparisions please

I have looked around and have not found an adequate answer. From a functionality standpoint, why shoot a side lock vs. an inline, and vice versa. I am not looking to start a "9mm vs. 40" back and forth. I also understand that there aesthetic reasons for choosing one over the other. I'm not interested in that. I am looking at the actual mechanical advantages or disadvantages of the two systems.

Thanks for the help.
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Old April 11, 2015, 08:57 PM   #2
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Functional? None.

Assuming two rifles of equal quality, there will be no discerneable difference in lock time. Pull trigger, done. I'm sure there is a measurable difference with the inline being faster due to shorter hammer fall, but it's not big enough to warrant concern.

There are advantages to the inline, such as weatherproofing the breech, safety lever, etc, but all these are things that can be dealt with on a sidelock, too.

You'll notice HUGE differences if you compare rifles of differing quality, but a decent quality example of both types will have strikingly similar results.
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Old April 11, 2015, 10:57 PM   #3
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An inline rifle, having no sidelock, appeals to sportsmen since it looks much like one of their cartridge rifles, especially if the inline is of a bolt-action design like the Remington 700 ML.

The similarity of the above makes the inline more pleasing to the eye (& brain).

The simplicity of the inline also attracts those who don't have to spend an extra $100 bill on accessories & don't have to spend hours and days working up a load before hunting season. Mounting a scope is just as easy can be.

Most inline hunters use pre-formed powder pellets, usually in 50 grain increments, but they have to accept what two or more pellets print on the target. The projectile is usually a sabot bullet or a slug with a gas-sealed skirt, like the CVA Powerbelt, and the almost water-resistant 209 shotgun primer to finish the load combination.

These components, even though expensive per shot, attract new hunters coming into the game, and they don't bat an eye to pay a $1 a round just for the CVA Powerbelt or $35 for ten ounces of Blackhorn 209 Powder (about 44 rounds of 100 grain loads).

The overall attraction is the streamline look, ease of mounting optics, simple load, and "all the guys in my hunt club have one".
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Old April 11, 2015, 11:12 PM   #4
4v50 Gary
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No advantage of the in-line. The in-liners like to say better ignition, but with black powder, it is an explosion, not burning like modern smokeless propellants.
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Old April 11, 2015, 11:38 PM   #5
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IdahoSkies,

You are comparing apples and oranges. Traditional "side-locks" are mostly made to shoot patched round balls or bore-sized conical lead bullets. Their ignition system is exposed to the weather and they take a bit of familiarity to make them work reliably and accurately. Traditional side lock rifles usually have rudimentary iron sights as well. "Inline" muzzle loaders are a modern version made to shoot pelletized black powder substitutes and plastic sabots with jacketed pistol bullets and using a shotgun primer for weatherproof ignition. They usually look like modern center fire rifles and often are scoped to take advantage of their accuracy. They are relatively easy to shoot accurately and have a bit more effective range. Some States do not allow modern inline muzzle loaders to hunt during their "primitive" hunting season.
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Old April 11, 2015, 11:58 PM   #6
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Those Gunwerks guys made an inline to take game at 750 yards or so. However, fellers were shooting sidelocks with open sights at 1000 yards during the War of Northern Aggression and shortly thereafter in competition with primitive optics and smaller calibers, shorter barrels.
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Old April 12, 2015, 07:58 AM   #7
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Construction. A sidelock requires a caefully inlet stock to place the lock at the right spot on the barrel and the trigger at the right spot to the lock. Most inlines have the trigger bolted or pinned directly to the receiver and the barrel screws right into the receiver as well. One or two bolts and the whole thing snugs down into a stock. Heck, you could typically shoot an inline without a stock at all. Try doing that with a sidelock.
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Old April 12, 2015, 08:32 AM   #8
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Both Inline and Sidelocks can be accurate, and rock solid performers, but a $200 - $300 Inline will generally out perform a $200 - $300 Sidelock
If you want a Stainless Steel barrel, and synthetic stock, it's going to be much easier to find them on an inline. If you're looking for the best weather protection of the ignition system, it going to be an Inline.

Most Side locks perform MUCH better with Real Black Powder so for the casual shooter, who has no ambition to search out REAL Black Powder, and the ever elusive percussion caps the Inline can be very attractive.
The 209 shotgun primers that most Inlines utilize are cheap and easy to find. BP Substitutes are much easier to find than Real Black Powder. Personally, I think it's still worth getting you hands on the real deal but some folks wont.
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Old April 12, 2015, 05:41 PM   #9
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Almost all sidelocks require the flash from the cap to make a 90 degree turn. In principle, an inline or underhammer avoids this. Also, inlines and underhammers have all forces related to hammer movement in a single axis. They should be more accurate, all other factors being equal.

But that's rarely the case. As others have noted, almost all inlines sod are marketed to the deer hunters, who want something that qualified for the BP deer season while working as much like a cartridge gun as possible.
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Old April 12, 2015, 05:59 PM   #10
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Thank you very much for your informative responses. Here in Idaho were are one of those "non-modern" muzzleloader states. Recently there have been more manufacturers that are offering inline "open ignition" systems that meet the northwestern requirements. That lead me to wonder with both "open ignition systems" what would be the difference. I entirely understand the 209/pellet difference. I had not thought about the 90 degree angle the priming charge would have to make to ignite the chamber powder.
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Old April 12, 2015, 08:22 PM   #11
Rattus58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IdahoSkies View Post
I have looked around and have not found an adequate answer. From a functionality standpoint, why shoot a side lock vs. an inline, and vice versa. I am not looking to start a "9mm vs. 40" back and forth. I also understand that there aesthetic reasons for choosing one over the other. I'm not interested in that. I am looking at the actual mechanical advantages or disadvantages of the two systems.

Thanks for the help.
I prefer the sidelock. Simpler to deal with and in most cases the accuracy is the same if you're shooting bore sized lead bullets. When it comes down to sabots, inlines are superior in my limited experience over a sidelock mainly because of groove depth.

I shoot both but with pure lead bullets and no sabots. My volunteer with 1-20 twist is every bit as accurate as are my Whites, in 1-20 twist and both shoot heavy conicals accurately and efficiently.

That being said, I prefer the sidelock for simplicity and cleaning. With an inline you DO have to care for them, not that you don't for a sidelock, but you've got Bold and Timney triggers that do require you service them especially if you're using black powder. Triple seven makes it easier to clean an inline. Inlines give you more options on optics. Sizing your bullets to bore plus .001 makes loading a snap and yet with a wad, keeps your accuracy together.

Ok... reliability... I use musket caps on all of my guns so I don't have to keep a bunch of different and now getting expensive #11's.. however... keeping you flash channels free of debris is easy to do with pipe cleaners or similar. Aslo.. weather.... a cap on the nipple then sealed with fingernail polish will keep you dry in the rain.

Aloha...
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Old April 12, 2015, 09:14 PM   #12
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In accuracy you will see only 1 difference typically. Inline rifles typically have a fast twist rate which stabilizes a conical bullet well where many side-lock guns have slower twist which stabilizes a round ball well. There really isn't a happy medium between the two. On shooting, I find it easier to use a side-lock. The nipple is open and is easy enough to just thumb a cap into position as opposed to an inline which typically has a nipple that is somewhat obstructed by the striker mechanism requiring the use of a tool to install and remove your cap or primer as is the common doodad now. In cleaning the inline is leaps and bounds ahead of the sidelock. You simply flush the toilet, pour in cleaning solvent as it fills back up, remove your breech plug, and use your cleaning kit to mop the barrel with the toilet water solution...literally... some folks use a bucket rather than porcelain. On a sidelock you can try to do the same but you have to remove the barrel and then pull water in through the smaller area where your nipple screws in. It takes more work, and then is more work to dry out quickly to prevent rust.
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Old April 13, 2015, 08:19 AM   #13
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You simply flush the toilet, pour in cleaning solvent as it fills back up, remove your breech plug, and use your cleaning kit to mop the barrel with the toilet water solution...literally... some folks use a bucket rather than porcelain.
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Old April 13, 2015, 08:22 AM   #14
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West Kentucky Quote: You simply flush the toilet, pour in cleaning solvent as it fills back up, remove your breech plug, and use your cleaning kit to mop the barrel with the toilet water solution...literally... some folks use a bucket rather than porcelain.

LOL: Surely you jest!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old April 13, 2015, 08:42 AM   #15
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Nope, no jest. It's quite simple, and virtually zero cleanup when done.
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Old April 13, 2015, 07:41 PM   #16
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The obvious answer to the original question is not in the mechanics except wher they apply to ease of operation. The inline is easier to load unload clean and learn to shoot.

A good comparison is the difference between the recurve bow and the compound machine.

Yes I am biased in both sets of weapons.
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Old April 20, 2015, 01:25 PM   #17
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Um...no...while some inlines may have a design that is easier to clean than some caplocks...it is easier to load a caplock, and easier to learn to shoot it in an accurate manner...even when the inline sports a scope..., for sidelocks are sporting scopes too these days. It's not nearly as tough to load a patched round ball as it is some of the sabots out there favored by inliners...and one does not need to load the 100 grain or higher loads that beat the snot out of the shooter's shoulder that so many inliners favor...while a patched round ball is good out to 100 yards, no worries...except for the deer.

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