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Help wanted selecting first black powder rifle

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Trent, Sep 2, 2012.

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  1. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    OK, I need an education.

    I have never shot black powder, or muzzle loader before. However, if I want to hunt in my state, I have a choice of muzzle loader, shotgun, hand gun, or bow.

    If I want a muzzle loading rifle accurate enough to shoot at the range to 300 yards (for fun), and potent enough to take a deer ... What should I get?

    FWIW I own a 50 BMG and several other large caliber rifles, so "big frigging booms" and me get along JUST fine and dandy, the bigger the better... :)

    And can someone walk me through start to finish on what equipment I need to go along with it, and how the basic process works?

    Thanks. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2012
  2. kBob

    kBob Member

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    Trent,

    Welcome to the dark side! Given the amount of money you spend on semi auto former 'chine guns, this is gonna be cheap.

    I personally like revolvers, though given your other guns you might want to consider a military rifle of some sort like an 1853 Enfield.

    I personally feel that a cap and ball revolver like a Colt 1860, or 1851 is a good place to start.

    I am sure a lot of folks will leap on this and give you more info that you can use, but I would right off the bat go to the sticky on this board for "Black Powder Essentuals" That will answer likely MOST of your questions.

    Do not believe horror stories about cleaning BP guns....you have a much harder time when a round of corrosive ammo gets through on of your belt guns than you will ever have with BP.

    You might want to look at the varius clubs on this board to get a feel for what you might like. Use the search function for "club".

    It occurs to me that a guy into so much modern stuff might like to look into the Ruger Old Army, Bill Ruger's take on Cap and Ball revolvers. I was looking at a stainless steel model yeaterday myself.

    Good luck with a new addiction.

    -kBob
     
  3. Malachi Leviticus Blue

    Malachi Leviticus Blue Member

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    It sounds to me like you are looking for a Muzzle loading Rifle. If that's true, the first thing to decide is if you want a traditional style rifle with a side lock or even flint, or a modern inline ignition system. I'm guessing from your post that your inclined toward an inline. There may be a few gasps of horror form some purists reading that but I'm guessing that's what you're looking for. To that end, if your not trying to get out cheep, you should be able to pick up a a Thompson Center Encore in 50 cal almost anywhere and will get great performance shooting sabots.

    If you get more specific on what direction your looking to go, I'm sure you will get a lot of great advice here.
     
  4. isaacdavis1214

    isaacdavis1214 Member

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    I am new to BP too,but i got a great deal and bought a traditional cap lock .50 caliber Renegade Hunter rifle for $220,i shot it last Wednesday for the first time and let me tell you,even though i was shooting Pyrodex RS you still couldn't see the target when you pulled the trigger!I suggest a traditional rifle (but that's just me,i wanted a gun that functioned like they did in the Civil War) but that's up to you.BUT from what i know shooting a Patched Round Ball (PBR) is cheaper than shooting a conical out of an inline,and speaking from my VERY limited experience the gun wasn't as hard as you may be imagining cleaning when i got it home.

    Also,for me anyway loading the gun is half the fun.I hope whichever direction whether it be an Inline,Traditional or even a Cap n Ball Revolver you enjoy it,also a .50 caliber rifle is enough to take a deer.Good luck in whatever you choose!
     
  5. BADUNAME30

    BADUNAME30 Member

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    Trent, read the Sticky here. first post at top o' the page titled "Black Powder Esentials".
    It'll git ya squared away pronto.

    Oh yeah, welcome to 'sootsville'.

    WARNING !!!!
    Once you go black, you never go back.
    :neener:
     
  6. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Just when you think you know everything there is to know about a subject, you encounter a sub field within where you know absolutely NOTHING.

    Shooting and reloading for 15+ years, and I feel like a newborn baby seeing sunlight for the first time. Kind of a neat feeling.

    Of course, next thing you know ... I'll be asking about cannons. I know myself too well to think I won't go and follow a subject all the way through to the deep end. :)
     
  7. V1ROT8

    V1ROT8 Member

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    My first muzzleloader was an inexpensive CVA rifle on sale at Cabella's. Did not know if I would enjoy hunting this way. Wow, nice buck sealed the deal. First morning out. Since then I have spent way too much money on this facet of hunting. Sootsville is contageous. And much fun. Would still advise going inexpensive. Enjoy your first season and go from there.
     
  8. St8LineGunsmith

    St8LineGunsmith Member.

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    I would start out with something inexpensive to see if you are going to stick with it.
    go to some pawn shops around your area and see what they have to offer
    Shine a light down the bore to make sure it is in good condition you are looking for erosion in the breech area and any heavy pitting.
    I would recommend a .50 caliber Hawken plains rifle to start out with.
    To be realistic I would practice at 50 to 100 yards at first.
    each rifle will have its own characteristic of how much powder will be the most accurate charge at certain distances.
    I have found that 75 Gn of black powder is ideal for round ball at 50 to 100 yards in my Hawken style rifle
    a different length barrel or one with a different rifling twist rate may shoot better with a lighter or heavier powder charge .
    shop around and read a lot
    look around bor a CVA bob cat this will be a percussion rifle and if you can find one New in the box it should cost no more than $100.00
    CV
    A no lnger makes traditonal style rifles so the model may be a hard find for a new one however you may be able to find one used for 50 to 75 dollars.
    this is just an example of what you might want to look for I would suggest starting out with a percussion lock.
     
  9. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    Folks, he set 'accurate at 300 yards' as the specification. Nothing anyone has mentioned so far comes close to meeting that requirement.

    Trent - if you're serious about that you're looking at a pretty narrow field: a Sharps or a Pedersoli Gibbs in something like 45-70.
     
  10. St8LineGunsmith

    St8LineGunsmith Member.

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    Mykael
    That is why I said practice at more realistic ranges like 50 and 100 yards
    you can make 300 yard shots with a .50" hawken with ample amounts of practice.and the right rainbow trajectory:D
    not a realistic range for trying to take game but only for the purpose of doing it for fun
    45-70 aint going to be any more accurate than a .50" at 300 yards check out the ballistics for the .45-70 black powder cartridge
     
  11. isaacdavis1214

    isaacdavis1214 Member

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    ''And can someone walk me through start to finish on what equipment I need to go along with it, and how the basic process works?

    Thanks.''

    I will TRY and answer this question as i'm sure there might be something else i might need,but here is stuff you will need or will just make it easier and or is personal preference.

    Range Rod (it's better and longer than the wooden ram rod that comes with the gun,i picked up a 35'' inch Aluminum ram/range rod at Wal-Mart for $20-ish bucks,so far so good.)

    Cleaning Jag for the proper caliber of gun you have (holds patches,you probably already know this though.)

    Caps (this is what ignites the powder charge on a bp rifle and or pistol,they sell #11 percussion caps at the local Wal-Mart for $5 or so for 100,if your using a modern inline yours will require 209 shotgun primers.)

    Cleaning patches (self explanitory)

    Ammo (Balls/Sabots/Minnie Balls whatever your gun can/will shoot accirately)

    Powder Measure (so you can accurately measure out how much powder to pour into the gun and adjust it accordingly,some people will use a flask to pour from,i purchased a pour spout that fits over my Pyrodex can so i just pour from my can into the measure.)

    Ball Starter (to get the ball started 4 inches down the muzzle so you can then take your ram/range rod and seat it all the way against the powder,not sure if you will need this if you go with an inline muzzleloader.)

    Patch Puller (used to pull patches that have fell into the bore of the rifle.I have already had to use this once already lol)

    Ball Puller (i personally do not have this yet.)

    Some rust prevenative oil (i have used Break Free CLP,some people use Ballistol,some even Olive Oil ect.But for the majority of the cleaning hot soapy water will do.)

    Pre-Lubed Patches (this is for a traditional bp rifle shooting patched round balls,if i was shooting a minie ball or it's equivelant i would just have to lube the bullet,you can also use pillow ticking and it is way cheaper.I personally have not done so and so far find pre lubed patches more convenient.)

    Muzzle Protector (i do not have one of these either.)

    The loading process goes something like this note i am describing how the process goes with a traditional muzzleloading rifle shooting a patched round ball.If you choose an Inline it might be a little different,you pour a measured powder charge down the barrel,and smack the side with your hand to make sure it is settled to the bottom,then you place a pre-lubed patch and ball over the muzzle,take one side of your short starter and get the ball started just below the muzzle,then take the 4 inch side and ram it down the bore.Then take your Range Rod and seat the patch and ball against the powder,and last but not least take a percussion cap and place it on the hammer of the gun and FIRE!!

    Shooting a bp gun is a whole lot of fun,as i've said i am VERY new to bp and bp shooting myself,i fired my first 13 shots out of the gun just last week.Hope you enjoy it as much as i do.Hope this helped.
     
  12. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Well, Illinois regulations are pretty specific about hunting, needs to be a muzzleloader. 45-70 is out of the question for that application.

    When I go to the range, I usually shoot 300 yards iron sights (we have 100, 200, 250 yard backstops but I like shooting at 300).

    Is there is a muzzleloader that'll be accurate enough to shoot at 300? Or will I need to get two guns, one for hunting, one for range trips?
     
  13. kBob

    kBob Member

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    OK so I got all excited with trent coming over here and went off on a revolver tangent when he wanted a rifle.

    I still think that given Trents other apparent interests some thing military might be his best bet.

    I do like the Enfields and I think there is not a thing wrong with one of the Mississippi Rifles.

    As to buying used... instead of shining a light down the barrel get a AAA maglite and drop it down the barrel turned on. If you ease it in light first pointed down the bore and take your time sliding it down you can see a lot.

    I suppose one of the Hawken or plains type hunting rifles might be fine for hunting and for just getting your feet wet......also something to give the boys when you are ready to move on to military rifles. They certainly do take a lot of deer at reasonable ranges every year. You can get them a simple as you like or with a plastic stock, camoflauged, with a scope mount and low power hunting scope and have Fire sights as a back up And use patched round ball, bullets that are engraved by the rifling as they are shoved home or plastic sabots holding a modern heavy pistol bullet if thats what you want.

    Not sure who has the Whitworth or "Volunteer" rifles these days but they are the closest you are going to come to long range accuracy out of the box. The Whitworth was designed for a mechnacally fitted bullet. Whitworth developed six sided polygonal rifling to spin his six sided bullets, but paper patched traditional slugs can be used. The "Volunteer" rifles tend to look like a Whitworth (which itself looks like an Enfield 1853 rifle) but have more traditional rifling for paper patched bullets. Whitworths bullet experienments gave us the 4 caliber bullet, that is a bullet four times as long as its diameter as a guideline for long range performance.

    Also the Whitworth and Volunteer type rifles were the sniper rifles of the American War Between the States......you know before Machine guns were common. If I had your play money one of those two rifles would already be in the Big Brown Box of Happiness and headed my way.

    If you are really thinking about cannons keep in mind there are cannons suited for making noise and flash and there are cannons for shooting projectiles. Look around for a battery or single gun based club before you even think about spending money. Spend some time learning the gunners' hop and what it really takes to keep a gun going before you dash out and buy one.

    When I was in Germany my shooting club had a fair number of mini cannoneers that used scale model cannon in .69 and .58 caliber.....just the thing for setting on the coffee table for guests to see!

    -kBob
     
  14. St8LineGunsmith

    St8LineGunsmith Member.

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    I never meant to imply that a .45-70 is considered as a Primative weapon
    my reply was more directed to Mykael.
    as far as the 300 yard ranges a long rifle will be better suited for long ranges you might want to look at some of the military copys of rifled bore muzzleloaders that use a conical bullet for long range shooting.
    you are not going to get that kind of range with a round ballwith any kind of consistent accuracy.
     
  15. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    You can shoot 300yds at inanimate objects with virtually anything. To do this with a muzzleloader, it will need a faster twist to shoot conicals, rather than roundball. If you want to shoot critters at 300yds, you're in the wrong forum.
     
  16. St8LineGunsmith

    St8LineGunsmith Member.

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    the second lone in the OP..."I want a muzzle loading rifle accurate enough to shoot at the range to 300 yards (for fun),"

    reading is fundemental
     
  17. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Indeed, so is spelling, punctuation and capitalization. He also said "However, if I want to hunt in my state, I have a choice of muzzle loader, shotgun, hand gun, or bow".

    Continue with your petty nonsense and you won't last long around here.
     
  18. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    Civility, unfortunately, is not fundamental.
     
  19. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    Civil War!
     
  20. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Well, you did not receive the nasty PM from "St8LineGunsmith", containing as many asterisks as letters, that I did.
     
  21. loose noose

    loose noose Member

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    Trent getting back to the original drift of your request, and also adding to Isaac's post, besides what he mentioned you might want a good sharp patch knife, to cut the patch after you put the roundball over the patch and insert it in the end of the barrel with the starter rod, that's at the ball end of the starter rod. As far as shooting at 300 yards, I know it can be done, but I sure as heck couldn't do it. I've been shooting BP for over 40 years and never could get much accuracy out of a muzzle loader over 100 yards. Good luck and welcome aboard.
     
  22. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Folks, perhaps we might ask Trent to tell us what "accurate" means to him at 300 yards?

    With patched round ball, during the Napoleonic Wars, hitting anywhere on a 2' x 6' target was considered "accurate" at 300 yards.

    Some inline rifles with a correct sabot round, and a good scope, could do so quite well, but you will need a lot of time and money to determine that load, depending on what amount of accuracy is desired. For hunting..., that may be really pushing the capabilities too far.

    Historic reproduction rifles, such as this 1853 Enflied are patterned after rifles that were known to be used for sniping in the Civil War. But, as with the patched round ball Napoleonic referece, sniping at a human has a bit more margin for error than hunting deer or winning match competions. For tighter accuracy one might consider a Gibbs or a Whitworth .

    If it was my choice, I'd probably go with the Enfield do to money constraints, and plink out to 300 yards, but when hunting keep the game to within 100 yards.

    LD
     
  23. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    For hunting, 50 yards or under would probably be the norm. But to be honest, I don't know for sure. I haven't hunted deer before - despite having all these guns, I actually don't own a single one that would be legal to hunt deer with in Illinois. Separate topic there; the two places I currently know I can go hunt, I'd be unlikely to get a clear line of sight past 50 yards.

    But, that being said, I like a challenge, which is where the other requirement comes in. :)

    If that means two rifles, one muzzle loader for hunting, one cartridge based for plinking, so be it.

    For the range, I'd like something that is as accurate as possible.

    Since it seems unlikely I'll meet both criteria with one rifle, let's look at it separately.

    One muzzleloading rifle for hunting.

    One cartridge fed rifle for accurate shooting out to 300.

    And we'll add a budget; $3,000 or under for the whole kit.
     
  24. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    PS there is actually a logical reason for the range rifle being as accurate as possible.. if I can't hit what I aim at, I'll lose interest quickly. Whereas, if I can hit at 300 yards on a 15" target reliably, it will likely be tossed in to the car every range trip.

    With my scoped bolt guns, even 300 yards is somewhat boring.. which is why lately I've been shooting the iron sight / no magnification stuff at that distance.

    Then, there's a matter of pride. You know, that feel good thing that rewards your ego for doing the difficult stuff. It completes my feedback loop at the range. :)
     
  25. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Member

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    No need for a cartridge rifle. The only question is how heavy a rifle you want.

    All the long-range (or even medium-range) target rifles hit hard enough to take a deer without problems.

    There are two basic options for a long-range gun. Rifle-musket or Target rifle.

    The rifle-muskets were the standard infantry arm of the second half of the Civil War. For your uses, a replica will do nicely. The very best will be custom-made - go over to the North-South Skirmish Association board at www.n-ssa-org and ask around. However, Pedersoli just introduced a new series of Enfield reproductions (the first shipments are en route to the USA now) that are getting rave reviews. You can also pick up a used gun that has been worked over for maximum accuracy. Most of the Italian replicas are like 1911s, they need to be reworked but can shoot well with tuning.

    As for a proper long-range target rifle, it's either a custom gun or the Pedersoli Gibbs rifle. Either way, you're talking a heavy beast designed for prone shooting at 600-1,000 yards. But they will shoot accurately with a properly worked up load.

    Either way, you should be able to equip yourself for under $2K. Much under, if you shop around.
     
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