View Full Version : U.S or European muzzeloaders
June 15, 2010, 08:57 PM
Are the european made muzzeloaders as good as the T/C hawkin style. I'am just talking the precussion and flint locks. I was looking at getting a traditions and I think they're made in Spain Any troubles? Thanks
June 15, 2010, 10:11 PM
A $200 Traditions rifle is not as good as a $600 Thompson Center rifle. You do get what you pay for.
June 15, 2010, 10:12 PM
If you'd like an original-style Hawken, a Lyman Great Plains Rifle is (IMO) a good choice. It's much closer in style to the rifles in use during the heyday of the fur trade (the T/C "Hawken" is not) and it's very reliable.
You have your choice of flint or percussion - either one would be period-correct. Either is available in .50 or .54 caliber. It's made by Investarms in Italy.
Pedersoli (in Italy) also offers a good Hawken percussion half-stock rifle...at about double the price of the Lyman.
Traditions rifles follow much the same pattern as the Thompson/Center. They are less expensive than the Lyman guns. You pretty much get what you pay for. For light use, a Traditions gun will probably work out OK.
A cheap muzzleloader (especially a flintlock) will not have as fast a locktime, usually parts are softer and don't hold up as well. I've known people who tried muzzleloading with inexpensive guns and got so frustrated with s-l-o-w locktimes and misfires and hangfires that they quit what should be a very enjoyable hobby.
June 16, 2010, 04:27 AM
Some of us prefer the drum and nipple breech design that the Spanish guns feature over the patent breech that the TC guns have. They have a large clean out screw which helps to make cleaning out the flash channel easier, especially at the range.
I also like the fit of the Traditions stocks better and their guns aren't as heavy, especially their 26 inch carbine length guns verses the heavier TC's and Lyman/Investarms guns.
But that's just my personal preference.
I think that lighter guns can be handier and not as much of a burden to carry around in the woods when hunting.
As far as how fast the Traditions flintlocks are, some of them have faster lock times than others. But if you look at this short video of the Traditions Pennsylvania long rifle, the lock appears to be very fast and with a 40 inch barrel they're known to be very accurate. But then anyone would expect that from one of their most expensive models.
Not everyone likes the same model. The best advice that I can offer is to pick up a few guns and shoulder them and see which ones fit you the best and offer the features that you like and want.
Some of the Italian Pedersoli guns have a nipple & drum too. They do need to be gently slapped on their side after loading the powder to get it to flow into the drum to better fill it for fast ingition. But once a person gets used to doing that, then the drum ignition system can be very reliable and fast, much like a modern rifle.
Some folks have complained about how the Lyman hammers don't leave enough room to cap the nipple when they're placed on 1/2 cock because the 1/2 cock notch places the hammer too low and close to the nipple. That's not how the Traditions or the Pedersoli guns are designed. They have a 1/2 cock that leaves of plenty of room for capping the nipple without needing to cap while it's at full cock, which results in needing to lower the hammer back to 1/2 cock after capping it when out in the field.
So to each their own which ignition design and brand of gun that each person prefers.
They're all very good in their own way with each brand and design having their own strengths and weaknesses. The Lymans and TC's may be more accurate than the lesser expensive Traditions guns, but different models will always have their trade offs.
So find a comfortable model that fits and then see what other features that it has to offer for the price.
Traditions does have a very nice Mountain Rifle that's a clone of the discontinued Austin & Halleck Mountain Rifle. Traditions special bargain bin price of $399 including a shooter's kit is a great value which rivals the quality of any other gun in that price range.
Traditions also offers a great bargain on their hawken model that has a nickel barrel & a laminated stock for $249. Just make sure to buy a spare nipple in case the original cracks:
And available in flint is their Mountain Rifle flintlock which is a fine rifle especially when compared to a used TC:
June 16, 2010, 04:27 AM
I used a .50 cal. Investarms for over 20 years and no problems at all.
June 16, 2010, 04:54 AM
Traditions are definitely not up to par with Thompson Center. You would be OK with a Traditions percussion, but I would not trust their flintlocks. I have used Lyman/Investarms in flint and percussion and have been very happy with them.
June 16, 2010, 10:03 AM
Traditions are definitely not up to par with Thompson Center.
For the most part, I have to agree with this statement but the TC's keep getting more and more expensive for what is offered. If you compare just the locks, you will see a difference. The Pedersoli's are excellent, then the Lymans and then the Traditions. They have all given me good performance. Currently, my go-to, is a Lyman.
Be Safe !!!
June 17, 2010, 01:24 PM
My family has been using a Springfield rifle for the past 150 years or so and it's a pretty good performer :D
June 17, 2010, 10:50 PM
Hardcase - that's one handsome Springfield. What's the family story behind it?
June 18, 2010, 03:49 PM
My great great grandfather, George Henry Dunn, joined the 27th Michigan Volunteer Infantry in April, 1863 and was issued that rifle. Apparently, at the end of the Civil War, the Union soldiers got to keep their arms, so he took it on back to Port Huron, Michigan. It's been in the family ever since.
^^ George Henry Dunn's GAR photo ^^
When my dad was a boy, my great grandfather moved in with dad and my grandparents. He sent a big wooden box of guns ahead of him. When he got there, he sorted through it and tossed out the junk and kept the good stuff. God only knows what was junk, because he was going to toss that beautiful Springfield until my dad said that he kind of liked it.
It works like a champ, too! Last year, we used the last of the 1960's-era caps for the annual Independence Day blast-a-thon, so I've got to order some more this weekend.
When I was a kid, we used to play Army with it. Back in the late '60s nobody really thought about it as a family relic. Somehow, the old feller made it through my childhood :p You can still see the inspectors' cartouches and the regimental markings in the stock.
It's quite accurate, too, out to at least 100 yards (which is where my eyes kind of give up). Probably farther, too, if I had a teenager's eyeballs!
August 12, 2010, 03:27 PM
I purchased a .50 caliber Traditions Shenandoah flintlock rifle a little over a year ago and have put about 400 rounds through it since then.
The rifle is very accurate, but the stock's comb is far too high for comfortable, accurate shooting either off the bench or off-hand (standing). Several of my black powder shooting friends (experienced muzzle-loader shooters with both flinters and percussion cap rifles) have tried shooting my Shenandoah and all have said the comb is too high and wouldn't allow them to get their cheeks down far enough on the stock to align the sights unless they moved their heads closer to (uncomfortably) the butt-plate... which is also my complaint with the rifle.
I am just now in the process of refinishing the top edge of the comb... having cut it down approximately 3/8ths of an inch from the butt-plate to the point where the comb starts down to the "wrist" of the stock... and I now can get "down" on the comb and easily align the iron sights that came on the rifle.
The only other modification I've made to the rifle is to open up the vertical slot in the rear sight a bit to give me more width to the slot into which I put the front blade sight when aiming at the target's bullseye.
I have shot targets off the bench at 50 yards and found the rifle gives excellent accuracy... shooting 3-shot and 5-shot groups of slightly less than 1 inch, center-to-center. I'm sure a younger man (I'm 74) with better eyesight could do better.
I'm now in the process of building my own custom flintlock rifle in the Emmitsburg (Maryland) style. I am being "mentored" by the president of our local traditional muzzle loading club who has built four fine-looking flintlock rifles. My new flintlock rifle will be patterned after John Armstrong's rifles of the Emmitsburg School except mine will have a 32½ inch barrel rather than a 39 or 40 inch barrel. I am hoping it's weight will be 7 to 7¼ pounds when finished. This rifle will also be in .50 caliber with a 1 in 66 twist barrel for shooting round, patched rifle balls. The finished rifle should be a slender, lithe, very beautiful work of art with its curly (aka "tiger") maple stock, small Siler Lock, R.E. Davis double-set triggers and brass "hardware".
My mentor claims it will take "2 years" to finish the rifle, but he may not realize the amount of time a retired old guy like me can put in on the rifle. Regardless, as an old Chinese proverb states, "The long journey begins with the first step." and I have already made several "steps"... so we'll see.
Initially, it was my intent to sell the Shenandoah once I had the Emmitsburg rifle finished, but now that the Shenandoah is a pleasure to shoot, I think I'll keep it as my "back-up" hunting rifle... something to take along as a "camp rifle" in case someone (including me) has a problem with their traditional black powder hunting rifle at deer camp.
Certainly, the Traditions flintlock rifles aren't "perfect" due to their high combs, but with the modifications I've done on mine, it is a decent flintlock rifle and seems to do a reasonably good job with few "flashes-in-the-pan" which were mostly due to dull or "gummed-up" flints rather than any design flaws in the rifle itself. :)
Strength & Honor...
August 12, 2010, 04:48 PM
Be sure to keep us up to date on the progress of your new rifle, Ron. It sounds like an extraordinary project!
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