View Full Version : Muzzle loader twist and tightness?

Northslope Nimrod
January 13, 2005, 02:01 PM
What twist should I look for? Explain twist. I hear some guns are so tight they must be cleaned after three or four shots. Which guns are too tight?
Also, which brands would you avoid?

January 13, 2005, 03:45 PM
The barrel twist ratio is a ratio of how many inches the rifling takes to make one complete revolution in the barrel, meaning how many inches the projectile must travel down the barrel to make one complete revolution. Typical muzzleloader twist rates are 1:32, 1:48, 1:72. 1:32 means the projectile must travel 32" before it completes one full revolution. A slow twist, such as 1 in 48 to 1 in 72, will normally shoot patched round balls better than a conical, MinieĀ“, or maxi, while a fast twist, such as 1 in 32 to 1 in 48 will shoot a conical, MinieĀ“, or maxi better than a patched round ball.

January 13, 2005, 04:42 PM
Jbar did a good job explaining twist. Slow twist (1:60, 1:72) for patched round balls, fast twist (1:48, 1:32, 1:28) for conicals, sabots, etc.

Also, with a patched round ball, understand that if you're shooting a .50cal gun, you'll probably buy a .490 or .495 cal ball. Then, a patch, which may be .18 or .12, etc. thick. The thicker the patch and the closer to .50cal you go on the ball, the tighter the fit in the barrel. You may have trouble ramming the ball/patch home. But, sometimes a tighter fit may result in better accuracy. It all depends on your rifle and what it likes. Folks experiment all the time with bigger balls or smaller balls, thicker patches or thinner patches, to come up with the best accuracy in their gun.

As for which brands to avoid, I guess it all depends on what you want a muzzleloader for. Rifle? Pistol? Hunting? Target? Generally, like anything else, you get what you pay for. The more expensive the gun, typically the better quality (not always, of course). Lyman, T/C, Pedersoli, Navy Arms, they all make good quality guns. CVA is a lower quality gun in some respects, but many folks have had good luck with them.

Check out the guys on this board for a wealth of information on muzzleloaders:


4V50 Gary
January 14, 2005, 09:25 PM
Don't laugh at lower priced brands. Jack Bligh of Florida once won the Florida State Muzzle Loading Championship with a cheap import gun.

Most folks buy a gun that goes along with the period of history that they're interested in. The Fur Trade era (think post Lewis & Clark) like the Lyman Great Plains and it does bear resemblence to the light target rifles that were used up to the American Civil War. Other folks prefer flintlocks and want an earlier looking gun.

Me, I like them all, want them all but have neither the space nor the money. :(