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Old October 9, 2018, 02:07 PM   #19
Senior Member
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 6,551

First off, I'd go with a percussion rifle, not a flinter. The cap guns offer more reliable ignition for the beginner, and ease the transition process from cartridge to ML firearms.

Next I'd consider bore diameter. If all you intend is mostly to punch paper and plink, I'd consider a .45, as it will be a tad cheaper to shoot over the long run. And as noted by others, you can hunt it successfully, on occassion, on both small and medium game. But if you intend to hunt medium game regularly (deer & hogs) I believe the .50 is a better choice and there is a wide variety of projectiles available as well.

Which brings us to twist rate. That is decided by what type of projectile you want to shoot. Roundball rifles have a slow twist rate, 1-66 as an example. Rifles intended for conicals have faster twists, say 1-20 Many makers put a compromise twist, ex. 1-48 in their rifles to accommodate both to a degree. If you wish to shoot only round balls (cheaper/authentic) you can accept a slow twist rate as is sometimes found in some of the "long rifle" guns, but you will not be happy with conicals in a slow twist. My experience with a fast twist and roundballs (1-20) is not so encouraging either. My advice for a starting rifle would be the compromise twist rate (1-48) , that allow plausible shooting with both types of ammo.

The T/C sidelock rifle have escalated in price since their demise, and there are a lot of trashed ones out there as well. But I think I would hold out for a clean one were it me. I'm partial to the plainer Renegade and New England Hunter models, but that's just me. Lots of fella's like the fancier Hawken.

Steppping back to the traditional ML rifle, either to hunt or just a shooter, is something I would recommend, it puts us back in touch to from whence we came.
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