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Getting started in blackpowder

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by LoneCoon, Jun 5, 2006.

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  1. LoneCoon

    LoneCoon Member

    Apr 24, 2006
    Being somewhat new to firearms in general, I thought about giving blackpowder a try to broaden my horizions.

    I guess the basic questions I have are:

    1) What is the cost involved with getting started?

    2) Are there any special legal issues to worry about?

    3) Is it really as difficult as it seems?

    4) What would you recommend for a beginner to blackpowder?
  2. pohill

    pohill Member

    May 19, 2006
    Welcome to a great sport. I'll start, then step back and let those that know more continue.
    I'm a Colt Nut but a great black powder revolver to start with would be a Remington New Model Army, .44 caliber, simply because it has a full frame and you won't have to deal with wedges and loose barrels. Pietta and Uberti make them. Check out Midway.com, or Cabelas, or half a dozen other sites (I like Midway). Or check out a local gun store (where do you live?)
    You could save some moola by buying a used revolver, but with a new one you'd have a warranty, usually a year through Taylors and Traditions (they import the revolvers). Price: $180 - $250 (ballpark).
    You could buy a brass framed revolver for less money, but they aren't as durable as steel framed (unless you keep the powder charges lower). This is a controversial issue.
    Can of black powder - approx $14.00. Pryodex is more, 777 is alot more. I like Black Powder.
    Caps (probably #11 CCI or Remington) approx. $3.50 per 100.
    Round balls (.454) approx $7.00 per 100
    Lubes (Bore Butter for example) maybe $5 - $6 a tube.
    Then there's cleaning supplies, eye & ear protection, etc.
    Legal issues? I live in Massachusetts where you need a permit for staple guns, but I can buy and receive these revolvers without a license, but I need a permit to own them. Makes sense? No. Basically, the Federal laws don't consider a firearm made before, or based on a firearm made before, 1898 as a firearm. It's alot more involved than that, and local laws apply that may differ...good luck on that one.
    Wow, there's alot to this sport, ain't thar? I've only scratched at it. But the great thing is, black powder shooters are very helpful. Watch...
  3. chrisbob

    chrisbob Member

    Feb 14, 2006
    If you know someone personally, that shoots black powder guns they may be able to save you money help you with your purchase. IF not try a gun complete w/kit It should have everything needed except powder and caps. those depend on the type of gun and cal. you want ask the seller they should know unless you go to large chain store "walmart and others".
  4. Maser

    Maser member

    May 24, 2006
    You have no idea what you're in for by starting to shoot blackpowder guns. They are more addicting than modern firearms. Anyone can just sit there and throw a loaded smokeless cartridge in the chamber, but it's way more fun to actually charge the chamber with powder, seat a wad and then a bullet and then cap the nipple.

    As far as cost goes, it all depends on how involved you are with it. If you buy everything from a gun shop it can be pretty expensive. If you were like I was with my revolver and you casted your own bullets and made your own powder, then the cost will be very cheap.
  5. arcticap

    arcticap Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    Central Connecticut
    1. Cost? If you are really new to guns, you may want to start out with a muzzle loading rifle. They are less complicated and have less moving parts, especially caplocks rather than flintlocks. They are better suited for shooting at both short & longer ranges.
    You can probably start muzzle loading with a rifle for about $150 - $200 total, depending on the cost of the rifle itself, with about $50 for ammo and accessories.
    2. There may be more legal issues for pistols than rifles.
    3. Rifles no, pistols maybe. Pistols seem to have more mechanical problems and potential safety issues to deal with.
    4. Try going to your local library and see if they have any books about basic muzzle loading. I did and that's how I learned on my own. I read a book by Sam Fadala that had most of the basic information. There is also some basic information in the Hunter Safety Certification course handbook if you can find or request a free copy from your state game agency. If you do a Google search you should be able to find many websites with basic muzzle loading safety and loading information. And there are also many forums like this one with lots of helpful people that can answer specific questions once you've digested some of the basic procedural data. Or try to find someone locally through a gun club or shooting range who would be willing to mentor you or let you shoot their gun.
    Difficult? No. Muzzle loading rifles are really pretty simple to operate once you've read and familiarized yourself with the basic info., you just go out and buy the gun and items you need, and motivate yourself enough to head to the range to load, shoot and make lots of smoke. Scary no, not if you're prepared. Exciting? Definitely!
    Are there negatives? Sure. One is that cleaning can be a chore. For every shooting session, there can be an extensive cleaning session, especially if shooting a lot or more than one gun.
    Second, the only real problem to be aware of is if you forget to pour the powder down the barrel before you load the bullet. Then you have to remove the nipple to add a few a grains of powder to discharge the ball. You have to do the same (or similiar) procedure if you have a failure to fire after repeatedly discharging caps. You need to learn the ways to discharge and empty the barrel once it's been loaded.
    You don't say whether you are interested in pistols or rifles, caplocks or flintlocks. But generally speaking, if you familiarize yourself first with caplock rifles, the basic knowledge and some of the accessories are transferable for using with the other types of muzzle loaders.
    If you think that you may want to hunt special muzzle loader deer or small game seasons, or are interested in more than short range target shooting, a muzzle loading rifle is the best way to start. Many people make their first one a .50 caliber sidelock with a 1 in 48 twist barrel which will shoot both bullets and balls.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2006
  6. Rex B

    Rex B Member

    Apr 5, 2006
    Fort Worth TX
    I hate to recommend them but....

    CVA website has a closeouts page where you can buy a 'refurbed' inline modern styled rifle, plastic stock, plastic sights (tapped for scope mount), but allegedly a good shooter/hunter for $80. Be forewarned that it does not come with the starter kit, even though the website says "All guns on this page..." Buy the starter kit ($50?) caps & powder and you are ready to go to the range.

    Personally, I like the traditional styles. I have built 5 CVA kits - Kentucky rifles & pistol, derringer, Hawken, and a no-name Kentucky style. Lots of fun to build, all good shooters. Thee is something very saisfying about the way a well-balanced Kentucky rifle lays in your hands.

    I haven't shot a BP revolver yet, but I have a garage sale 1851 Navy replica I'm evaluating.

    And then there are the accessories....
    It's fun, in a different way than cartridge weapons.

  7. Mikee Loxxer

    Mikee Loxxer Member

    Jan 26, 2006
    Lincoln NE

    You made your own black powder? I had always read that this was not advisable due to variability of the ingredients which could result in a dangerous situation. How hard was it and what did your recipe look like?
  8. ewb45acp

    ewb45acp Member

    Aug 15, 2003
    Northeast PA.
    As you can see, lots of knowledgable & helpful folks here. A word of caution though. The smell of "the holy black" can be addictive. Jump in with both feet and enjoy a really fun hobby.
  9. NEW222

    NEW222 Member

    Jul 15, 2004
    I can't agree more with a couple of the other posts. Don't get one. Once you start, you can't stop. Sorry that's Pringles. It' adddddddictive. You start with one, then another, and another, etc. Hope you enjoy and have fun.
  10. warriorsociologist

    warriorsociologist Member

    Jan 7, 2003
  11. RON in PA

    RON in PA Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    S.E. PA, USA
    Try to find a black powder club, hopefully there is one in your area. Most black powder shooters go out of their way to help new shooters.

    Get one of Sam Fadela's books, they are published by DBI.

    Get a copy of the Lyman Black Powder Manual.

    If you want to shoot rifle, the Lyman Great Plains rifle is a good place to start.

    If you want to shoot revolver and don't care about shooting a replica get a Ruger Old Army, the best cap and ball revolver ever made.
  12. Smokin_Gun

    Smokin_Gun Member

    May 10, 2005
    Mojave Desert, California
    Lonecoon, go out and get yourself an 1858 New Army Remington. Pricewise get a Pietta and a kit with it. Or a Uberti for "A few dollars more". Like Pohill mentioned above. For a $180 get one of the most accurate compettion capable replica of an original revolver a man can own. Cabelas is another store that sell Pietta w/ starter kits. They have an exlint return policy if not completely satified...as do the other companies.

  13. Cap n Ball

    Cap n Ball Member

    May 12, 2004
    Kansas City, Missouri
    LoneCoon, shooting BP isn't so terribly difficult. Cartridge guns have only been around for 150 years or so. BP guns go waaaay back. Shooting BP gives me a little window into my Great Great Grandfathers time. With either sort of firearm the difficult part is to consistently hit what you aim at. The pleasurable part of BP is the feel of the gun, the flash, the smoke, the fire, the sound and the astonished look on the faces of others who have never wittnessed one of these being used. BP goes BOOM! while smokeless tends to go POW! I shoot all sorts of guns but my favorites are all BP. I even enjoy the clean up ritual. Put on the ballgame or some music, crack a beer and sit down with the cleaning rig and go over your gun piece by piece...having a dog at your feet while you work is nice too. Enjoy our sport. You'll get hooked for sure.
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