Newbie Rifle Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by GrumpyOldFatGuy, Apr 23, 2021.

  1. GrumpyOldFatGuy

    GrumpyOldFatGuy Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2021
    Messages:
    2
    My son has great interest in getting into muzzleloading and would like to be as traditional as possible, starting with a flintlock rifle. Although I am an avid shooter of other firearms, I have no idea what would be an ideal rifle for him to get started.

    Not looking for something on the "cheap and entry-level" side, more like something that would be well-made that he could learn to use with proficiency for the rest of his life.

    Any specific recommendations would be most welcome as well as suggestions on cost. For many of my other firearms I have purchased them used as I have the ability to discern critical wear points. Is a used gun a good idea for what he desires.

    Thank you!
     
    woodnbow and robhof like this.
  2. AntiqueSledMan

    AntiqueSledMan Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2015
    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Hello GrumpyOldFatGuy,

    This is just my opinion, Tell him to start out with a Percussion Rifle.
    I once purchased a Pedersoli .32 cal flintlock, after a year of messing with it I converted it to Percussion and never looked back.
    Those guys who shoot flintlocks have learned something, which at the time I never took time to figure out.

    AntiqueSledMan.
     
    robhof and hrt4me like this.
  3. arcticap

    arcticap Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    8,670
    Location:
    Central Connecticut
    Dixie has the Lyman .50 Trade Rifle which is a well made, simple, factory made gun. Notice that it has a single trigger and a 28" barrel with a 1 in 48" twist. ---->>> https://www.dixiegunworks.com/index/page/product/product_id/2025/category_id/315/product_name/FR0703+Lyman+Trade+Rifle+-+.50+Cal.+Flint

    The original Hawken rifles had a 1 in 48" twist.
    A person needs to start somewhere and if they aren't happy with it then they won't lose a fortune.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2021
    JeffG, robhof, Ugly Sauce and 3 others like this.
  4. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2019
    Messages:
    1,279
    Have to agree with Antique. Start with percussion. Less to deal with and can move to flint later if the interest holds.
     
    robhof and Blackpowderwarrior like this.
  5. dave951

    dave951 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2018
    Messages:
    276
    As a muzzleloading instructor, I have to agree that percussion is the best place to start. Probably best caliber to start out with is a 50.
     
    robhof and Blackpowderwarrior like this.
  6. Griffen

    Griffen Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2017
    Messages:
    30
    A few years back I picked up a Pedersoli Dixie Pennsylvania flintlock in 45 caliber and have had a ball with it. However, they make the same rifle in a 45 caliber that is a carbine length model with percussion ignition. After having the long rifle for a while now, I would probably choose the same rifle in carbine length. For a young one, the percussion is probably a better choice, but the flint era ignition is just cool
     
    robhof likes this.
  7. Shortgrub

    Shortgrub Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    59
    Location:
    kaintuckee
    How old is your son? If he is in his mid teens, he has a lot of growing that's gonna happen pretty quickly. What style of rifle interests him? Full stock, half stock? Kentucky, Hawken? Get something for him to grow into. Ya can't go wrong with the .45 or .50 calibers. Like the others have said, caplock is the best way to start. Lean the fundamentals. Rocklocks are a whole nuther world! It will teach you what a difference following through the shot means. Just remember to have fun.
     
    robhof likes this.
  8. Frulk

    Frulk Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2018
    Messages:
    727
    Grumpy...welcome to The High Road! Good to have you on board. ESPECIALLY since you’re looking to correctly expose your off-spring to the shooting sports.

    One more vote for percussion to start with.

    Lots of quality used traditional black powder arms out there at reasonable prices. If he leans towards a Hawken style then Thompson’s are a good value and can easily be found. If new is desired then Lyman and Pedersoli as mentioned above are great options.

    Have him watch the Daniel Day Lewis version of The Last of the Mohicans for motivation.
     
  9. Blackpowderwarrior

    Blackpowderwarrior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2020
    Messages:
    236
    .50 or .54 cal Lyman deerstalmer in percussion. You wont regret it
     
    robhof likes this.
  10. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2018
    Messages:
    1,160
    If he insists on a rocklock have him start by shooting a springer air rifle, it will help teach basics for follow through that will translate to the flintlock. Percussion is a good place to start as well but sooner or later he will want to take the plunge into the really fun stuff. Flinters aren't for everyone but everyone should shoot one at least once.
     
    woodnbow and Shortgrub like this.
  11. Shortgrub

    Shortgrub Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    59
    Location:
    kaintuckee
    A very good suggestion on the springer. and ya got a bonus air rifle. I got a couple myself.
     
    robhof likes this.
  12. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2020
    Messages:
    1,033
    I think it was more of a matter of the quality of the lock. For a flintlock to function perfectly, requires a very high quality lock. $$$ The Italian and other moderately priced flintlocks often had locks of "bad" design. That's why much money was made making drop-in replacement locks. A flintlock needs to have just the right geometry to work, springs have to be in "balance", and frizzens properly hardened, and blah blah blah. That doesn't come cheap.

    I hear most say, or agree, that the Lyman Great Plains rifle is the best bang for the buck, as far as price, quality, and being as close to original Plains type rifles as you can get short of custom made rifles. $$$! I also vote percussion, (and I'm a die-hard flint shooter) I built a flintlock Lyman Plains rifle from a kit, for a friend's son, and the lock was not "great". But the percussion locks are great. Putting a flintlock, with a sub-standard or "not so great" lock into the hands of a new BP shooter, might be kind of a bad joke.
     
    Shortgrub and AntiqueSledMan like this.
  13. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2018
    Messages:
    1,160
    I have definitely seen my share of bad flintlocks, Traditions being among the poorer choices. However it's hard to beat a Siler or RE Davis lock. Problem is the cost has gone through the roof. One can pick up a cap gun and possibly convert it to flint, L&R has a small selection of replacement locks for some of the production guns.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2021
  14. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2020
    Messages:
    1,033
    For sure, Davis, Siler, Chambers, are all top of the line locks. My Jeager has a Davis lock on it, and it is perfection. I'd put it up next to a modern rifle as far as reliability. But they sure don't come on moderately or low priced rifles. !!!!! But again, when purchasing a lock for a flintlock...if you want a good functioning rifle, or pistol, one has to bite the bullet and pay the price.

    I have found that the locks on reproduction muskets, for the most part, work well because they are copies of locks that work, and were in service for very ling periods of time. Sometimes they have to be "tweeked" a bit, but the design and geometry are right. Nothing wrong with the lock on my Pedersoli Bess. But I did have to tweek it. Many of the rifle locks are not exact copies of any original, they are designed in-house, by people who are not intimately familiar with flintlocks. Flintlocks were refined over about 300 years (??) and you can't just whip one up on general knowledge of how it works, and expect it to work right.
     
  15. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2020
    Messages:
    430
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Go to library and read some books. Sam Fadala has 4 or more books along with Lyman on traditional muzzle loading. Figure out caliber and go on from there. As far as quality goes, You are going to want to be in the $600 range as a minimum. Good guns don't come cheap.
     
  16. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2020
    Messages:
    1,033
    On caliber, it's easier to load a .54 down, than it is to load a .50" up, and maintain accuracy. Or in other words, a .54 will do every thing a .50 can do, and perhaps a little better. But with top loads, a .50" can't match a .54". (or a .62", my weapon of choice)
     
    Blackpowderwarrior likes this.
  17. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2020
    Messages:
    1,033
    And good cap-guns come cheaper than good flintlocks.
     
  18. arcticap

    arcticap Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    8,670
    Location:
    Central Connecticut
    The .50 may have flatter trajectory.
     
    Ugly Sauce likes this.
  19. Shortgrub

    Shortgrub Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    59
    Location:
    kaintuckee
    I agree with the Lyman Great Plains Rifle as an excellent rifle to start with. My 1st one was a caplock kit in .54 cal. 2nd one was a kit too. It was easy to put together, not build, and finish it the way ya want. Like said the caplocks work fine but I replaced my flintlock with a RPL and never looked back.
     
  20. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2020
    Messages:
    881
    Show him the films “Last of the Mohicans” and “Jeremiah Johnson”.

    He’ll be a fan for life!
     
  21. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2006
    Messages:
    3,384
    Location:
    People's Republic of Maryland
    Alright so you should know that as for factory made flintlocks, the larger locks tend to be more forgiving of a new shooter. They are stronger too, for the most part. What has turned folks off in the past with flinters has been from my observations, a small, cheap lock, which then isn't very reliable, and the new flintlock shooter gets frustrated. So a large lock is a way to lessen that.

    The next thing to understand is there is going to be a learning curve. You didn't mention what type of shooting the lad is going to do. The problem I have as an instructor for muzzle loading, especially instruction on flintlocks, is that the caplock in my opinion is so similar to a modern firearm that you're not "learning" anything new except loading procedures. So you'd dump X amount of cash into the caplock, only to need to dump Y amount in the future on a flinter, and you still need to learn the flinter. There is no real follow through with a caplock, as it's so fast.

    To begin your son is going to need some range time from a bench. Develop the rifle's accurate load using a highly supported position on the bench.
    Then you work on the rest. "Follow through" isn't that crucial with a flintlock if you are not going to shoot target matches. I harvest deer quite often with a flintlock, and I always use a position where my flintlock and I are tight and supported. If you find that you're in an area a bit sparse of brush to use to help support and steady a shot, then there are drills to practice at home that will enable the flintlock shooter to avoid flinch and hone follow through.

    Especially for the price, Articap is correct, this is a very good rifle to start out flintlocking. The lock is large enough to fall into the large category, and the rifle has a reputation for accuracy. A round ball would be probably the best bet. Learn the basics with a round ball, and IF for some reason one needed a lot more impact, then a conical could be chosen later.

    LD
     
    arcticap likes this.
  22. woodnbow
    • Contributing Member

    woodnbow Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    903
    Especially if you use silk patches... good for another 20 yards...

     
    Blackpowderwarrior and arcticap like this.
  23. GrumpyOldFatGuy

    GrumpyOldFatGuy Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2021
    Messages:
    2
    I spent some time chatting with my son about the various recommendations and he does seem pretty committed to the flintlock option. He is 23 years old and a pretty muscular kid and has decent shooting fundamentals, so while my own inclination might be to go with something a little less complex, I also suspect that going with what he seems highly enthusiastic about - and no passing fad, is been talking about this for several years - is probably the best way to go. I'm going to put all this information together and go over with him and then make some decisions about this first rifle as well as looking into seeing if there any muzzleloading clubs in my area (zip code 15642) because there is no doubt that hands-on instruction from someone skilled will make an enormous difference.

    Many thanks for all of your guidance and advice and please feel free to add or supplement what you shared.

    THX!

    GOFG
     
    windini likes this.
  24. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Messages:
    20,314
    If you must go with a factory rifle, go with a Lyman Great Plains. Add an iron capbox for slightly greater authenticity.

    Alternatively, attend a rendezvous and see what you can find used.
     
  25. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,452
    Location:
    NE Ohio

    Where do you live? That will give us an idea of where to send you for the right flintlock. I am not aware if ANY production flintlock that will be even adequate for a first timer.


    Kevin
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice