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Old December 8, 2012, 02:58 PM   #1
OvertheHill
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Newby here...need advice.

I've been a hunter/fisherman/outdoorsman all my life. But I never got into black-powder. Now I'm getting the hankering to try it out. I've been looking around some, lurking on this Forum, etc...Anyhow, I figure the best way to get started in something brand new is ask the folks who've been doing it a while and save yourself some groping around in the dark.So...

I found a rifle I think I might like as an "entry-level" to try this stuff out. Upgrade later if I find it something I want to do. I tend to think I'd prefer the "traditional" side-lock percussion rifles, to start with, anyway. But I don't want to drop a thousand bucks into the sport until I've had some experience and decide I like it enough to do that. What's the advice regarding this rifle you might want to share with me?

http://www.traditionsfirearms.com/pr...b5324eff132d30

Also, I can tell there's a laundry list of accessories I'll need to clean/load/shoot/enjoy the sport. If you'd be so kind to share some of the knowledge you have gained with your experience, I could use a list of "must-haves" for the required activities. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old December 8, 2012, 03:06 PM   #2
Doc Hoy
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Welcome to the forum , "OTH"

I have not shot rifles in a long time so can't be much help to you but someone on this forum will certainly asnwer your questions.

Welcome and Merry Christmas
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Old December 8, 2012, 04:13 PM   #3
mykeal
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Must haves?

Yep. Powder, ball, patch, lube, cap or flint and gun.

Everything else is just frosting - nice to have, even important, but ...

Traditions rifles: good entry level, not the best. Good quality, not high quality. I think it's a good place to start, but for a couple hundred more you can do much better (Lyman Great Plains Rifle is but one example).

Add the following:
Adjustable powder measure
Powder flask
Nipple pick
Nipple wrench
Capper
Cleaning jag
Worm (patch removal) jag
Screw (ball removal) jag
Range rod (heavy duty)
Cleaning patches
Something to carry it in
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Old December 8, 2012, 04:20 PM   #4
Doc Hoy
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And don't forget....

Hearing protection and eye protection...

...Which you probably already have since you shoot a lot.

Another piece of safety equipment for BP shooters is a gas mask.

.

.

.

.

.
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Old December 8, 2012, 04:22 PM   #5
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Find a "rendezvous" in your area. You can learn a lot from those guys and its a lot of fun.

If you go with the Hawkins/mountain rifle, you'll find yourself making your own powder horn, hunting bag, patch knife, etc.

BTW, those crescent shaped buttplates are held against the arm and not the shoulder.
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Old December 8, 2012, 05:13 PM   #6
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robhof

That looks like a fine starter, mine was a 54 Hawkins kit from Cabelas and I still shoot it regularly, I've since acquired a 50 Thompson Hawkins and a flinter in 50 and 3 yrs ago I took my 1st deer with B/p with the 50 Thompson. Warning it's addictive. I started with a ROA awhile back and now have an assortment of pistols as well as 4 rifles.
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Old December 8, 2012, 07:11 PM   #7
Roshi
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Lyman Great Plains

I second the Lyman Great Plains rifle as a great beginner rifle that can serve you well as your last BP rifle as well.
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Old December 8, 2012, 07:51 PM   #8
Hawg
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+3 for the Lyman GPR
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Old December 8, 2012, 10:04 PM   #9
DD4lifeusmc
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newbie rifle

For me in Black Powder, traditional is only way to go.
It I wanted the newer inlines like traditions, CVA and TC I'd just shoot my modern.
Checkout dixie gunworks and the possibles shop for some fair prices.
Depending on what you are going to hunt and type of projectile, for reliability do the sidelock percussion.
Look for a 30 or 32 inch barrel if you are looking 100 yds plus.
28 to 30 for closer ranges.
The longer barrel will help stabilize the projectile and give a tad more oomph in feet per second.
Unless you are shooting squirrels or varmits get a 50 or 54 cal.
Both 50 and 54 are good for antelope, deer and elk if you do your job righ5.
You can save a few bucks and get them in kit form if you are good with your hands.
Mine is 30 year old CVA plainsman kit (no longer made by CVA apparently). 32 in barrel 1 in 48 twist rifling. Shoots pointed bullets and round ball equally well.
Happy shooting!!
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Old December 9, 2012, 12:10 AM   #10
Bill Carson
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I also recommend the Layman great plains rifle. Currently, Track has a used one for $399.00. They also have new ones at $533.99 and if you don't mind doing some finishing work, they have kits at $423.99. Calibers very 50 or
54. Mykeal's list of needed supplies is a good guide. My thoughts would be to stay with a traditional muzzleloader. They are more user friendly. I've seen many newbes struggle with inlines, but not as much with traditional. Also, the new guys using traditional loose powder and patched roundball seem to show up at the range more. Here's an important consideration, traditional muzzleloaders do not depreciate their monetary value like inlines. Many long time members started out with TC, Layman, CVA, Traditions, ect and grew into the sport permanently. Now many of them over the years have graduated to shooting flintlocks. Myself, totally traditional. Today, I went small game hunting with a 1650's vintage scottish snaphunce fowler, 20 guage. Be sure to check out Track. Let us know how you do. B.C.
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Old December 9, 2012, 12:49 AM   #11
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Tradition rifles are a decent entry-level rifle. Everyone here has their preference no doubt about that. The main thing is to get started in your quest. Once you get started the rest comes pretty easy. Keep in mind: All here are quite willing to help you along.

By the way. Nice to have you here at TFLF Sir.

S/S
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Old December 9, 2012, 07:25 AM   #12
Qtiphky
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Some Experiences

It is a lot of fun and allows you to hunt more days per year as there is usually a separate season for muzzleloader only. I know there is here in Michigan. I started with a side lock percussion white mountain carbine and it has done quite well over the past 15 years. However, now that my sons are getting in to it, I needed to get another one and went with a CVA Wolf inline 209 magnum. Not that I will need the magnum probably ever, but after using the side lock for so many years I wanted to move to the next level. The wolf has modern lines and was only $179 at my local gun store. I'm sure a lot of people don't think the inlines are "traditional" in their endeavors, but I wasn't looking for that as I already have that.

Getting the old one ready, the nipple had rusted shut again on me and it was a stainless steel one. Thought I had scrubbed it good after the last time, but I guess not. Black powder/pyrodex is very corrosive so if it isn't perfectly clean you will get rust that can ruin your day in a hurry. I'm sure the newer inline ones will be the same, but they seem like they will be much easier to clean with their removable breech plug.

My two cents worth.
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Old December 9, 2012, 12:47 PM   #13
OvertheHill
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Thanks for the welcome

I very much appreciate all the responses, invaluable information and especially the welcome from all who responded.

It seems I may have to wait a few weeks or months to "pull the trigger" on this black powder thing, though. The consensus seems to mostly be to "start with a good-un" instead of going cheap. Being on a small pension due to "forced" early retirement, it takes a little scraping to come up with the estimated amount of money I'd have to have to get outfitted.

The cheap one I figured about $500 would give me a good start-up outfit. The Lyman GPR looks to be closer to $750 for the whole deal. Few more months and maybe I can scrape that together. (gotta pay taxes soon plus Christmas) But I have to agree that quality is something that you have to pay for, and can make the experience much smoother and more enjoyable.

Just one question for Doc Hoy, though...that gas mask you recommended....is that for the powder smoke? ...or the result of all those folks at the rendezvous eating too much beans and biscuits and sitting too close around the campfire?
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Old December 9, 2012, 08:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Just one question for Doc Hoy, though...that gas mask you recommended....is that for the powder smoke? ...or the result of all those folks at the rendezvous eating too much beans and biscuits and sitting too close around the campfire?
Now that... is hilarious! I'm sure Doc will have an interesting answer to this one.
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Old December 10, 2012, 10:54 AM   #15
shortwave
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Welcome OTH,

Understand the budget constraints.

That being considered, have you thought about purchasing used?

There are some very good deals out there to be had in the used BP market these days. Especially this time of year and today's economy.
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Old December 10, 2012, 08:11 PM   #16
OvertheHill
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Might give that a shot

I've sorta been convinced that it will take quite a while to get it together to go quality plus brand new. Always hated to buy used, no matter the honesty of the seller or the apparent worthiness of the item.
Inevitably there are a larger percentage of transactions where the buyer ends up paying for the troubles which the seller was seeking relief from(at least for me over the years, I got screwed more than pleased). Not always, but frequently enough to be a pain in my neck (wallet) over the years.
So I've developed this "survival" model...buy when you have the money (as in cash...never credit) to do it, but not until you can buy new, and with recourse if the item turns out to be not what it appeared. Usually works out for the best that way, at least in my experience. Still...constraints being what they are...I'll take a look around Gunbroker and a couple of Forum's "for sale" sections and see what's out there.

I've been doing a little reading of various posts on several discussion forums...and I think I'll adjust my "entry-level" to Lyman Great Plains Rifle and/or Thompson Center Hawken...and see what I find...just makes me uneasy to buy used...sorta like a used car...there's a reason the seller is getting rid of it...some are legit...but enough are "less than legit" to make some buyers wary from then on...like the old saying..."Caveat emptor"...or sumpin' like that anyhow...
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Old December 10, 2012, 10:24 PM   #17
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OTH

Understand exactly where you're coming from. I hate even borrowing anything as it seems every time you do, it breaks and costs you more in time, money and hassle to make it right than if I'd just bought it in the first place.

There is a bit of risk in most things we do. I wanted a stainless Ruger Old Army and they are not made anymore. I watched Gunbroker religiously for weeks. I didn't want to buy one that had it's guts shot out with thousands of rounds put through it. I was patient and found one unfired from an estate sale. Emailed the seller the minute I saw it hit the site. Cooked a deal with the guy and had it a week later.

Recently, I was at a garage sale, got a couple things and saw an old American made (brown finish) CVA Hawken hanging on the wall. I asked the older gal having the sale if she would sell it. She said it was her husbands and he was deceased. Said it had been hanging there for years. I looked at it and it was a bit rough. We made a deal and I bought it for $10.00 Got it home and it had a ball and powder still in it. Soaked that barrel in Kano Kroil for several weeks to get it out. Threw a bore light down the barrel and it really wasn't bad! Went after the inside of that barrel for several nights cleaning it up. Finally shot it today and it shoots just fine. Took 3 shots @ 50yds. and was happy as heck to get a 2 inch group.

OK, I have time in it. Spent about $50.00 for a new can of Swiss 2F, new nipple, Wonder Wads and round balls. including some other things (and most of this stuff) I needed anyway. I saved the gun!

This is what we do here. Don't have to spend a ton of money, great satisfaction in getting/saving a gun, working on it and getting something cool out of it. What is the most fun for me is every gun is different. You have to discover each one. Find out what it likes. In the end, you have something cool and a great way to build your collection OR, sell/trade up for something better!

All the best to you and good luck.

Birch
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Old December 11, 2012, 12:20 AM   #18
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Maybe check a few of your LGS's, pawn shops or the classified's in your local newspaper. You can then see the rifle before you buy it.

Just take a bore light with you to check for pitting, etc., in the bore.

FWIW, you do not need to go through an FFL to purchase a bp rifle.
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Old December 11, 2012, 02:00 AM   #19
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Buying a rifle is a fairly personal choice that's based on preferences, how the gun fits, features and of course the price too.
I've been eyeing that laminated Traditions Hawken for a long time and it's a great deal. I already have a Traditions Deer hunter with a nickel barrel that I really like. The electro nickel is very slick and durable.
However what I don't really like are double triggers.
So I'm fine with the Deer hunter which cost me a lot less at the time as well.
Sportsman's Guide sells it for $215 and what's given up is the laminated stock, double triggers and 2 inches of barrel length.
Like folks have said, a lot of money doesn't need to be spent to have a good time shooting muzzle loaders.
The 1 in 48" twist is better for shooting conicals or saboted bullets once in a while. The trade off is that the medium twist is only accurate to moderate distances with patched round ball unless a very good load is worked up.
The Lyman rifles are better quality guns, but the GPR is not for everyone either as far as its fit, barrel length and weight. I didn't care much for the higher price or the rear sight on the Great Plains Rifle either. I'd rather be able to buy two muzzle loaders for the price of one unless it's something that I really want to spend the extra money on.
The GPR will definitely shoot more accurately out to 100 yards with round ball. And I do like the Lyman Trade Rifle a little bit better with the single trigger, 28" barrel and lower price. But it doesn't have adjustable sights which is just another personal preference.
I don't care much for shooting 100 yards with open sights. At that range, I usually shoot guns that have scopes, or at least guns that have a rear peep sight. Once in a while I will but not normally. For me, shooting targets at 50 yards is more typical with a muzzle loader.


Nickel Traditions Deer hunter:

http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/c....aspx?a=264881

Lyman Trade Rifle:

http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.co...u=000156032125

And the Cabela's Hawken is also made by Investarms, the same maker as Lyman and it's on sale right now for $399.88 with free shipping!

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Shoot...3Bcat104641380

Lyman Great Plains Rifle and more:

http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.co...52%49%46%4C%45

Last edited by arcticap; December 11, 2012 at 11:47 PM.
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Old December 11, 2012, 08:05 AM   #20
Qtiphky
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Pleasantly surprised

OTH, I got out to sight in my CVA Wolf over the weekend and was shocked at the consistency of the groups. It sounds like you are looking at the higher priced models, but I wouldn't rule out this one yet. It's almost $300 less expensive than the ones you are looking at and for an entry model like you are looking for, I think it would serve the purpose.

Using only open sights, but it is already tapped and drilled for a scope, I was able to put three shots in a row virtually touching at 50 yards. I was skeptical too of the price, but now after shooting it, I am thinking of buying another one for my other son.

Just another $.02 worth.
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Old December 11, 2012, 09:08 AM   #21
chickenmcnasty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcticap View Post
Buying a rifle is a fairly personal choice that's based on preferences, how the gun fits, features and of course the price too.
I've been eyeing that laminated Traditions Hawken for a long time and it's a great deal. I already have a Traditions Deer hunter with a nickel barrel that I really like. The electro nickel is very slick and durable.
However what I don't really like are double triggers.
So I'm fine with the Deer hunter which cost me a lot less at the time as well.
Sportsman's Guide sells it for $215 and what's given up is the laminated stock, double triggers and 2 inches of barrel length.
Like folks have said, a lot of money doesn't need to be spent to have a good time shooting muzzle loaders.
The 1 in 48" twist is better for shooting conicals or saboted bullets once in a while. The trade off is that the medium twist is only accurate to moderate distances with patched round ball unless a very good load is worked up.
The Lyman rifles are better quality guns, but the GPR is not for everyone either as far as it's fit, length and weight. I didn't care much for the higher price or the rear sight on the Great Plains Rifle either. I'd rather be able to buy two muzzle loaders for the price of one unless it's something that I really want to spend the money on.
The GPR will definitely shoot more accurately out to 100 yards with round ball. And I do like the Lyman Trade Rifle a little bit better with the single trigger, 28" barrel and lower price. But it doesn't have adjustable sights which is just another personal preference.
I don't care much for shooting 100 yards with open sights. At that range, I usually shoot guns that have scopes, or at least guns that have a rear peep sight. Once in a while I will but not primarily. For me, shooting targets at 50 yards is more typical with a muzzle loader.


Nickel Traditions Deer hunter:

http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/c....aspx?a=264881

Lyman Trade Rifle:

http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.co...u=000156032125

And the Cabela's Hawken is also made by Investarms, the same maker as Lyman and it's on sale right now for $399.88 with free shipping!

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Shoot...3Bcat104641380

Lyman Great Plains Rifle and more:

http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.co...52%49%46%4C%45
I also saw that bass pro is offering a traditions springfield hawken for around $320. How does this compare? Their 6 pay offer is tempting, but the other rifles seem much nicer.
Also, can you elaborate more on barrel twist and uses? I'm also wanting to get into one and am very confused.
Is there any good sites that have a breakdown of some of this info? I would also love to know more about .50 cal vs. .54 cal

Last edited by chickenmcnasty; December 11, 2012 at 11:01 AM.
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Old December 11, 2012, 12:00 PM   #22
OvertheHill
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Well...

First, Chicken McNasty, you're out of luck on me helping you out. I don't know any more and probably less than you about this "holy smoke" game. But I have found folks involved in several of the discussion forums about it to be helpful. Make an original post of the questions you have and put 'er out there...you'll get some answers...do a "google" search and find several different forums and get a wider spread of information. That'll give you aplenty to work with.


So, second...I let ya'll talk me into "lowering" my "standards" a bit and looking used but better quality-wise. Glad I did....in my original post I said I leaned a little more to the more "traditional" smoke-poles and I think about 4 or 5 of you all recommended the Lyman Great Plains Rifle and some on another site added the T/C Hawken to my list.
So I spent some time looking the day before and yesterday. Found a bunch out there...lots way too high for what they were...some fair priced, but already being dickered over..and finally THE ONE, on another muzzleloading discussion forum, in the "for sale" section. Seller appeared to be asking a fairly reasonable price relative to what I saw in the ad and pictures and the rifle was pretty much what I had set out to find.
Contacted the seller by e-mail. The rifle is 3 years old..shot some, but not a whole bunch. Clean, bright barrel and one single flaw (some corrosion on the brass tip of the original ramrod). Otherwise she looks "handled" but very good. Got some more pics from the seller last night. Then asked him to call me, which he did this morning.

Well, we got to talking small talk a bit and his first name is same as mine. His last name is same as my mother's maiden name. He lives in a little town in east TN, where I happened to live for a couple years as a small boy. In fact I have a younger brother and sister who were born there....small world ain't it?

So anyhow, I asked him a few questions...he answered satisfactorily. Then I explained how I was interested in His .54 cal GPR and how I had decided to figure out a fair offer to make him and how I came up with the number, which was just a couple bucks more than the Traditions I had originally been eye-balling. Hit him with the offer and he accepted it. We agreed on the "arrangements" for payment, shipping, etc.
I got to go to the bank and get a Certified check today and send it to him. I got me a Lyman Great Plains Rifle caplock in .54 caliber coming upon his receipt of that check.

Now y'all need to start sending me some suggestions for a name for her.

And getting all the "accoutrements" will be easier if y'all would get specific 'bout brand names and sources. ...and...you know better than me.

...y'all have already helped me out and got me in a fine fix now. Since y'all "instigated" now you got to help keep me in line...You voluntarily entered into a contractual obligation by giving me "good" advice that got me saddled with a new-to-me smokepole..now you are obligated to continue the assistance so I don't mess 'er up....Y'all get started....
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Old December 11, 2012, 01:22 PM   #23
DD4lifeusmc
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naming your rifle

I think I will go with what we Marines in our riding clubs do.
You name it your self (we derive our own nicknames)
Or the group gives you one. In our case you get named
"House Mouse" a carry over from Vietnam dys.
And of course you assume all the duties, cleaning and scrubbing etc.
My .50 is 1/2 way
Halfway to a 100
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Old December 11, 2012, 02:51 PM   #24
shortwave
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Ain't it funny how things work out??

Happy for ya...

... and will uphold my end of the commitment to you as best I can but right now, 'momma' is on her way home from work(since I'm retired,somebodies gotta do it) and I'm fixin supper and want to have it ready when she gets home.

My 27yr.old commitment to her, supersedes your and my commitment as the benefits of her and my commitment far outweight the benefits of yours and mine.

Gotta run!
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Old December 11, 2012, 05:08 PM   #25
BirchOrr
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OTH

Congrats on your purchase!

Have fun, be safe and go get 'em!
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