View Full Version : Rank the common ML makers please.

September 6, 2001, 07:06 PM
I might be in the market for a new muzzle loader soon. Either a flint lock or a traditional percussion cap action (i.e. not inline).
I want to spend less than $400.
Is Thompson Center Fire the best for that money?

September 6, 2001, 09:20 PM
I'm partial to Thompson Center. I have a flintlock and caplock .50 cal Hawken and like them both. My late father-in-law had a CVA and I think the TC's are far superior (but they did cost more). Don't have any experience with any other makes. One thing about black powder - it's nasty, messy stuff and stinks, but after you smell it a few times it gets in your blood and becomes addictive. :)

4V50 Gary
September 6, 2001, 11:44 PM
I think TC and Lyman both make an excellant rifles for what they are. Neither are entirely historically accurate as a "Hawkins" but in terms of workmanship, quality, accuracy, they represent a value for the money. CVA's aren't bad either and can shoot quite well. I know one old timer who used a CVA and out shot folks with modern custom blackpowder rifles.

A great shooter is a cheap $45 kit gun from the now defunct Markwell Arms Co. It was an old kit which the gunshop couldn't sell so it was put on the "discount" table. It was probably made by the same Spanish subcontractor as for CVA. It shoots great and the stock (by some freak of accident) is very pretty burled walnut. Like the CVA it features that ugly brass band about midway down the barrel (it's suppose to represent a patch for a broken stock but was used to conceal that the stock is a two piece affair). That brass gives it a real modern "poor boy" look which will be cured by its removal and the affixing of a new "underrib" beneath the barrel. Of course the barrel will be refinished as a brown instead of its present blue (hey, I didn't know the difference back in '96).

For percussion, my personal favorite is an older Parker Hale Enfield 2 band musket. This is an English Parker Hale and not the later Italian ones marketed under that name. It's an excellant shooter at about 350 yards. That's something I wouldn't try with any roundball gun. Of course, the tradeoff is more lead per shot.

Bottom line is what do you want and expect? A cheap gun which isn't the prettiest can still shoot well and better than an authentic looking gun. Don't discount a used gun either but be sure to inspect the bore for erosion (lack of maintenance) and stock (cracks). Whatever you buy, take the time for load development and learn to shoot it well.

September 7, 2001, 08:10 AM
I think both TC and Lyman make great rifles for the money. Some say the TC service is better. I think the Lyman looks more traditional compared to the originals, but as stated neither is really completely correct.

Lyman has a slower twist barrel which makes it a bit more forgiving with patched ball. This might be a consideration if your intentions are shooting in roundball only competitions (what made me go to Lyman).

Another possibility is to look for a lightly used gun from TVM or a Track-of-the Wolf parts gun. Might get close to $400.


September 8, 2001, 07:16 AM
I have sold Front stuffers for over 10 years now and haven't sold a bad one yet!!! I have customers that swear by the one they own. But I can attest to the fact that almost all will shoot excellant groups if loaded correctly and cleaned properly. The quality , workmanship and reliability are comparable. For customer service T/C and cva are hard to beat, Traditions and lyman are good but a tad slow for me. I recently sold a CVA Hawkins to a fella who claims he shoots 3 shot groups under 1.5" at 100 yds. Next weeked we'll see as we shoot at the same range on Sunday. by the way I sold it to him for $185 brand New.

September 10, 2001, 09:00 AM
Nothing new from me:
T/C and Lyman are the best - Quality about the same, and Lyman being more historically correct.

CVA and Traditions guns are good too. They shoot as well as any other ML on the market, but tend to be a bit cheaper in with hardware - but IMHO these guns are just as reliable as the more expensive T/C and Lymans - just not as purdy.

For your price range, and if you are inclinded to do the work, a semi-custom kit might get you a better gun, be more along the lines of what you want, and give you the statifaction of working on you your own gun.

-Hope this helps some.

September 13, 2001, 07:29 AM
do yourself a big favor and look at a ruger 77/50.
it is the most robustly built solid ML i'v seen it is a quality rifle above all else. it just happens to load from the front. one of the only wooden stock inline ML's.