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Old November 27, 2011, 08:12 PM   #1
shafter
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Which Great Plains?

Hey, I'm thinking of buying a Lyman Great Plains. I want something from the Fur Trapping era and have a few decisions to make. I like the looks of the TC Hawkens but want something historically accurate.

What do you guys prefer, flint or percussion? Was flint more common back then? Also how good are the locks on the Great Plains rifles, are they easy to get a good ignition?

The other question is that of caliber. I'm thinking of getting a 50 because thats what my Traditions Kentucky is and it would be nice to share balls. I would consider a 54 though.

I will be using this rifle for hunting and general range work. What do you guys think? I'm not very pleased with the flintlock on my Traditions which is why I hesitate to buy a flinter.
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Old November 27, 2011, 09:15 PM   #2
4V50 Gary
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Go flint. Caps were around but a trapper could always find old arrowheads with which he could use.
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Old November 27, 2011, 09:26 PM   #3
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Shafter, I'm still a black powder newbie, so take that into consideration when weighing my opinion. I got interested in flintlocks to take advantage of PA's late primitive muzzleloader deer season. Since that was my application, I had to go flintlock. I did a lot of asking around the boards for input on best "bang for the buck" flintlocks ... something that didn't cost too much, but that was going to hold up well. The Lyman's came back highly recommended.

I started with a .50 caliber Trade Rifle. Thus far, I've only had it to the range a half dozen times or so, and probably haven't put 100 balls down the pipe yet. But it has been very reliable. The lock seems solid, although the cut agate flint that comes with the gun can be improved upon. I ordered some English flints from The Possible Shop as replacements.

On the strength of the Trade Rifle, I also bought an as-yet-unfired Great Plains Rifle. I went with a .54 even though the Trade Rifle is a .50. Even though the balls are different, it's not like you need different powder or patch material.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the flintlock thus far. So I say by all means go with a flinter if you want historicity, and go ahead and get the .54.
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Old November 27, 2011, 10:40 PM   #4
4V50 Gary
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Concur with .54 caliber. As the plains rifle evolved, they were not only heavier than the long rifle, their caliber increased. This is reverse from how the long rifle evolved from the j├Ąger. Perhaps the Germans got it right the first time.
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Old November 27, 2011, 11:08 PM   #5
Hawg
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I'd go with the .54 percussion.
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Old November 28, 2011, 06:04 AM   #6
MJN77
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Quote:
I'd go with the .54 percussion.
+1. I have one and like it very much.
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Old November 28, 2011, 06:48 AM   #7
mykeal
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Since you have a Traditions flintlock I'm going to recommend the .50 flintlock. You've gotten through the rough patch with flintlocks: dealing with an inexpensive (ie, cheap) lock often sends new shooters running away from flintlocks as fast as they can. Be assured the GPR lock is much, much better. It's by no means a Chambers Deluxe Siler, but compared to the Traditions lock it might as well be.

Throw away the quartz rock that comes with it and get some good Rich Pearce flints. The lock geometry isn't perfect but it can be overcome with careful installation of a good flint.

I have two GPR's, both in .54, one caplock and one flintlock. The flintlock is my go-to long gun. I just simply enjoy the flintlock system more; it's a personal thing.

I recommend the .50 cal because it's less expensive in terms of powder and ball. Likewise, the flintlock is less expensive than the caplock to shoot. The difference is pennies, but some folks shoot enough that it matters.

The .50 barrel is heavier, and the GPR in any caliber is nose heavy. From a rest it's a dream; offhand takes some stamina and lots of practice.

One bit of advice: a new GPR barrel takes breaking in, not in terms of 'seasoning' the metal (that's a myth) but in terms of accuracy. It will take about 100 rounds before the barrel will group well. You can speed up the break-in by honing the lands and grooves with a bit of kitchen scouring pad, but frankly shooting is fun, so why do something that means you need to shoot less?
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Old November 28, 2011, 04:56 PM   #8
FrontierGander
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tc hawken is way over priced.

great plains .54cal percussion gets another thumbs up as well.

Built mine from a kit but sadly no longer own it. Loved the antique finish the way it came out. Maybe another one will be in my hands later down the road.


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Old November 28, 2011, 08:42 PM   #9
shafter
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Thanks for the replies. I am definitely going to get one of these. Probably caplock and perhaps 54.
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Old November 29, 2011, 06:59 AM   #10
bn12gg
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Nice pictures in the snow.

I happen to own and shoot a Jonathon Browning in .50 cal. They
come in .54 as well. Mine happens to carry brass furniture while
others come in a brownish finish. The fit and finish and walnut
quality are first rate on the JBMR. They can be a tad pricey so you
need to have patience to find a correctly priced one.

Just my .02 David
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Old November 29, 2011, 10:21 AM   #11
Jbar4Ranch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shafter
What do you guys prefer, flint or percussion? Was flint more common back then?
When is "back then"?

Although the flint ignition system didn't fully replace the matchlock in general use until the mid-1600's or so, the first flint ignition systems were invented in the mid-1500's, and were the longest lived ignition systems in the history of hand held firearms. The percussion cap system, on the other hand, was the shortest lived, being invented in about 1805, and already beginning to be phased out by 1845 in favor of self-contained metallic pinfire cartridges, with the first patent for a more or less modern centerfire cartridge coming along in 1863.

(edit) Oh, in addition to T/C and Traditions, I also have three Lyman Great Plains Rifles; a .50 flintlock, a .54 flintlock, and a .54 percussion, and I think they are perhaps the best off the rack muzzleloaders you can buy today. Tweak the wedge barrel tenons under the barrel a bit with a punch to put just a tad of pressure on the wedge or you'll lose one of them, as it's about impossible to have equal pressure on both of them, hence one will be loose and have a tendency to fall out.
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