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Old January 29, 2013, 10:02 PM   #1
AL45
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Interested in a muzzleloader

I have never shot a muzzleloader and was only around one being fired on one occasion. I never thought I would want one, but after watching the movie "Jeremiah Johnson" the other night, I got an itch for one. I probably will never hunt with it, but would certainly target shoot with it. I want a traditional one with nice wood, maybe a percussion or flintlock. I like the looks of both the Hawken and the Kentucky. My main concern is I hear they are a pain to clean. Any recommendations?
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Old January 29, 2013, 10:14 PM   #2
deerslayer303
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Welcome, I would have to say as a semi Newby myself, that as an entry level rifle. My recommendation would be a percussion rifle. And there are LOTS of sidelocks (traditional) available both new and they are EVERYWHERE USED. Thompson Center, CVA, LYMAN, CABELA'S (INVESTARMS), and others. They are all reasonably priced even new. And as far as cleaning, its really no big deal. Give them a bath in HOT SOAPY water, rinse, dry, and oil em up.
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Old January 30, 2013, 05:04 AM   #3
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If it was me I'd get a Lyman Great Plains. Its a round ball shooter only but its closer to a Hawken than any of the so called Hawkens on the market. A lot closer than the Investarms JJ used in the movie. That might be a selling point for you on Investarms tho.
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Old January 30, 2013, 08:57 AM   #4
maillemaker
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There is no doubt that shooting black powder is dirtier than cartridge arms.

After a range session you will have dirty hands.

The guns get much dirtier, too, requiring more work to clean than modern arms.

But they are fun to shoot!

Steve
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Old January 30, 2013, 09:01 AM   #5
Rifleman1776
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My reccomendation is to find a club and/or a big ml shooting event and observe what others are using. Ask questions. If your budget allows go for a custom built rifle. The factory mades always come with issues that need addressing. Plus they barely qualify as 'traditional'. And, yes, ml rifles are dirty to shoot and use. You are going backwards in the timeline of firearms development. Do not expect them to be the same as a modern rifle.
Going from a fancy new model car to a horse comes with 'dirty' issues also.
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Old January 30, 2013, 09:30 AM   #6
deerslayer303
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Quote:
After a range session you will have dirty hands.
Parents Choice baby wipe. 4 bucks for a BIG package of them a china mart, every shooting bag needs a pack of em!

Quote:
You are going backwards in the timeline of firearms development. Do not expect them to be the same as a modern rifle.
Going from a fancy new model car to a horse comes with 'dirty' issues also.
I like it!!
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Old January 30, 2013, 02:30 PM   #7
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AL45-- FWIW-- I shoot a Jonathon Browning Mountain rifle in .50. I did not get into BP until approx 3 years ago. I like the muzzleloader a bunch - big octagon barrel, real sweet walnut stock (marbled) and brass furniture. Browning made a thousand or so of these muzzleloaders back in the late 70's early 80's as a commemorative to Jonathon Browning, John Moses Browning's father - and another gunsmith. These are available from time to time on GunsInternational, GunBroker etc. They were made in .54 as well and w/o the brass furniture. Some custom packages were also produced.

I shoot Triple 7 in mine-- just not a purist! Assists with clean up.

You would not go wrong with one of these cap and ball Hawken muzzleloaders!

.02

David
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Old January 30, 2013, 02:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
The guns get much dirtier, too, requiring more work to clean than modern arms.
But the work is easier.
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Old January 30, 2013, 03:04 PM   #9
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A passion and way of life !!

Quote:
My main concern is I hear they are a pain to clean.
They will require your attention especially if you are shooting BP or Pyrodex. When and if you get commited to this "Great Adventure", it really doesn't matter. Traditionalists are basically Old-School "thinkers" that appreciate the rich history and romance of these SideCockers. ...

Yes, they require more attention than breech loaders and someone recently posted that the In-Lines were easier to clean. I find that Traditions are easier to clean; it's just that the In-Lines are more accessible. ...

Heck, I even enjoy cleaning my SideLocks and everything else that is associated with them, more than anything else. ....

Be Safe !!!
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Old January 30, 2013, 10:12 PM   #10
AL45
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Well, I have a single shot shotgun, a single shot rifle and a single action revolver. I might as well have a single shot muzzleloader. I have heard a lot of good comments about the Lyman Great Plains and it is closer to my budget. If I ordered it from Cabela's, would they ship it to me?
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Old January 30, 2013, 10:47 PM   #11
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SO, You're thinking of getting a GPR..........I LIKE the way you think. Seriously I have one, and it is nothing short of an awesome round ball shooter. Mine will dang near put balls in the SAME HOLE! And its a comfortable rifle to shoot, points effortlessly, and the triggers on it are great. And yes the retailers will ship it right to your door. But don't buy from Cabela's buy from these guys and save yourself over a hundred bucks.
http://www.impactguns.com/lyman-grea...516611123.aspx

Opps, that is the kit rifle, but the complete rifle is 70 bucks cheaper than Cabelas
http://www.impactguns.com/lyman-grea...516611031.aspx
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Old January 31, 2013, 02:05 AM   #12
DD4lifeusmc
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cleaning

No more of a pain than any other.
Even in traditional style BP rifles there can be variations.
Plain hot soapy water works as well as anything.
Personally I use plain rubbing alcohol.
Mine is a 30 yr old CVA plains rifle. On mine
I can remove the bolster / drum cleanout screw, the nipple
and the drum itself. to really clean the chamber area.
Mine is a .50 cal. I use a .410 gauge and 12 gauge bore brush
and then cotton flannel shirts to swab.
I'm cheap. So I save my cotton flannel patches cut from the shirt,
put them in a sock and wash them and reuse them a couple times.
I dry swab clean.
I roll paper cartridges, I reload the gun. Then a lightly oiled patch down the bore to the ball.
Place on gun rack with my capper hanging from the nipple ready to go.
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Old January 31, 2013, 11:38 AM   #13
Pahoo
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Great choice !!

Quote:
I have heard a lot of good comments about the Lyman Great Plains and it is closer to my budget.
Great choice and suggest you define the twist you "really" want. ...

Be Safe !!!
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Old January 31, 2013, 12:44 PM   #14
wap41
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america pioneer powder [white powder] is very clean and recommends you only need to rinse your gun with warm water to clean.I've shot it for a couple years now and wouldn't shoot any thing else in my ruger old army
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Old January 31, 2013, 09:34 PM   #15
AL45
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I appreciate all the information. I'm a "keep it simple guy", so what all am I going to need to start shooting.
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Old January 31, 2013, 10:05 PM   #16
deerslayer303
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A box of .535 round ball (for .54cal GPR, my recommendation) (or whatever caliber you choose), a tin of #11 percussion caps, .015" Lubed patches (or different sizes, you have to try a few different sizes to see what your gun likes) , A Cleaning jag/ball seater, some cotton patches for cleaning, and some form of solvent for cleaning between shots, a powder measure, and some FFg black powder or equivalent. Doesn't hurt to get a "range rod" instead of using the pretty wood ram rod that comes with the gun. Wouldn't hurt to get a ball puller too. Thats about all you NEED to go shooting. There is always a ton of other stuff you will accumulate.
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Old January 31, 2013, 10:44 PM   #17
4V50 Gary
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A black powder muzzle loading rifle does not satisfy the federal definition of "firearm" and may be sent directly to the buyer via US Mail.

Suggest you attend some local black powder meets (rendezvous). They're a lot of fun and you'll learn to roll your own (powder horn, hunting bag, knives, clothing, even guns, etc.).
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Old February 1, 2013, 12:23 AM   #18
AL45
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Keeping in mind that this is all new to me, I will ask the following: What about a powder measure? How often do you need to clean it during an afternoon of shooting? What solvent for cleaning? What is the most common mistake that can lead to a dangerous situation while loading and shooting?
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Old February 1, 2013, 08:00 AM   #19
4V50 Gary
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The measure may be anything from a carved out tip of horn with the carved out portion adjusted to hold a certain volume of powder to a brass cartridge case soldered to a wire. It can also be a commercial unit depending on your finances. Attend a rendezvous and see what the buck skinners have.
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Old February 1, 2013, 09:47 AM   #20
maillemaker
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Quote:
Keeping in mind that this is all new to me, I will ask the following: What about a powder measure? How often do you need to clean it during an afternoon of shooting? What solvent for cleaning? What is the most common mistake that can lead to a dangerous situation while loading and shooting?
In the N-SSA, we use little plastic tubes to store our powder and bullet as a "cartridge"

http://winchestersutler.com/ShotLoad.html#QCTube

You set these up in a tray, like a shotshell holder, and charge the tubes with powder, and then stick a bullet in the end like a stopper.

Alternatively, you can make authentic cartridges like I did here:

http://imgur.com/a/H5PHo#0
http://imgur.com/a/n1hJ7#4

Many places sell brass or plastic powder measures. Just google "powder measure". These measure out powder by volume. You'll need to be consistent in how you fill them and top them off to get consistent results.

I bought a small electronic scale from Midway USA made by Frankford Arsenal for like $25. It measures to the 10th of a grain. I use the powder measure to dump into the scale, and then add or remove powder until I get exactly the right amount by weight. But I am shooting for competition.

Depending on what you are shooting, you may shoot all afternoon without cleaning at all. The RCBS Hodgdon Minnie Ball bullet, for example, has an extra-large grease groove and you can shoot a lot without stopping to clean. Even with standard Minnie balls I can shoot a dozen or more before it starts to get hard to load.

Again, I shoot in competition, so I usually run some patches down my bore after every course of fire. In practice, that is after every 10 shots. At a skirmish, it could be 12 or 15 shots in a 5-minute event.

Here are some mistakes to watch out for:

1) Make sure you have not under-charged (no-charged) or over-charged your cartridges. Sometimes you can't see the powder as you dump it in the barrel. If you have no powder in there you may not notice. Then you ram the ball in on no powder and now you are done shooting for the day or until you can pull that ball. I just did that a couple of weekends ago and bought a CO2 discharger to blow it out of the gun.

Over charges are probably not as big a deal with BP guns as they are with smokeless powder guns. I shoot target loads of only 40 grains or so, so even if I double-charge it's only 80 grains which is not a whole lot more than the service load of 60 grains. Also with my plastic cartridge tubes if you double-charge it's hard to stick the bullet in the end as it is too full of powder.

So when you have all your tubes set up in the tray and they are charged, get a flashlight and look down in them all - any that are empty or over-full will stand out.

2) Make sure you seat the ball all the way down on the powder. An air gap is also known as a "barrel obstruction" which can result in a kaboom.

3) Wear safety glasses.

4) Realize that BP guns are real guns and will kill just as easily as a modern gun.

5) Get a "breach scraper" for your cleaning rod. This is an attachment with a flat blade that scrapes the face of the breach. If you don't do this, carbon deposits will build on the face of the breach and may start to glow like an ember during shooting, especially high volume shooting. This can cause a cook-off when you are dumping the powder in.

6) While loading, never put any part of your body over the muzzle! (see cook-off above). Set the ball in place with your thumb and forefinger. Do not "thumb the ball" into the bore.

For cleaning, it's hard to beat Ballistol. Soapy water works, too. I usually start with soapy water and then switch to Ballistol.

Steve
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