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Old February 4, 2013, 11:24 PM   #1
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Join Date: July 27, 2011
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Looking to jump into Black Powder

Hello All!

I have decided that I need to own and shoot at least one muzzle-loading firearm. This is part curiosity, part preparation(even though I cast and roll my own, ammo is becoming a little harder to manage), and part interest sparked by a video game

I've read up a little bit on BP shooting and watched some youtube videos to get an idea of what I need or will be looking for but I'm still a little in the dark about the where to start.

I know that I would prefer to start with a trapper style single shot pistol. Don't have a real preference on Percussion or Flint but since I have Zero experience with BP firearms I'm assuming percussion will be easier to deal with(I guess )

As you can see I'm not really sure what to look for so I would like to ask for some suggestions on where to start as far as a good beginners pistol would be. Would flint be easier or as easy as percussion caps? What starting equipment should I get to get off on the right foot? Any literature that you guys could suggest to help along the way?

I have a budget for around $400 but I would prefer to stay below $300 if at all possible.

As a side note, If I like the pistol I WILL eventually get a BP long gun. As with the pistol, I would prefer to stay with traditional looking/functioning rifle. Any suggestions on a good starter for rifle?

Thanks all I really do appreciate the help!
"A weapon without a name is nothing; Just another hunk of steel, wood, or what have you. A weapon with a name is more. It is a partner, a friend, and a comrade to the end"
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Old February 4, 2013, 11:40 PM   #2
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I've only ever shot percussion, not flint, but I'm pretty sure percussion is going to be a lot easier to get the hang of than flint. It pretty much goes ban every time!

For a pistol you will want FFF powder, or it's equivalent if you use one of the BP substitutes.

You'll need a cleaning rod and jag for whatever bore size you go with. A ball puller is handy if for some reason you can't get the gun to shoot. Likewise a worm for pulling out patches that get stuck in the barrel.

Use pure lead for your ammo.

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Old February 5, 2013, 10:02 AM   #3
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I agree with starting with a percussion pistol. I recommend Lyman's Plains Pistol, available for about $260 from Midsouth Shooter's Supply in either .50 or .54 cal. Also available as a 95% kit requiring finishing for about $40 less.
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Old February 5, 2013, 07:15 PM   #4
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Yeah ditto on the Plains pistol. But look into a "starter kit" it will have most everything you need except powder, caps, and maybe balls. Some kits come with roundball too.
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Old February 5, 2013, 07:43 PM   #5
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Nix on the kit. Buy everything separately. You get better stuff that way and sometimes cheaper.
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Old February 5, 2013, 08:02 PM   #6
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I got "the kit" that came with my inline it got me going, but yeah I did buy everything again later when I figured out (with you guys' help) just what it was I needed. Now I got more crap laying around here than I know what to do with
"I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery."
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Old February 5, 2013, 10:55 PM   #7
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how to start

well yes percussion is easier and more reliable.
So your main thing is which to start with
pistol / revolver ot rifle.
Pistols technically is a single shot and a revolver 5 or 6 shots.
If you are handy with your hands, filing sanding etc, nothing wrong with a kit.
Done a lot of them to save money and something to do watching the boob tube.
Course after you get the gun, you will need balls, patches / wads, caps, powder a flask and a powder measure.
and then the fun begins as you get addicted.
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Old February 6, 2013, 09:39 AM   #8
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To clarify for the OP, I think folks are talking two kinds of "kits" here.

There are "blackpowder starter kits" which is the gun sold with "everything you need except the powder". They usually come in a blister package with the gun, a tin of caps, some bullets, capping tool, powder flask, etc. etc. etc. All you need to do is buy some powder and you can go shooting.

Then there are gun kits where you buy the gun in an unfinished state. You have to finish the stock and metal parts and fit them together and put the gun together yourself.

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Old February 8, 2013, 01:10 AM   #9
Join Date: November 28, 2012
Posts: 83
@ Kealil:

My experience:
Pistol La Page, cal 44, barel 28 cm is more accurate then my Colt Army 1860 Pietta call 44. Tested at range!

So, if you start with BP toys, single shot pistols may impress you.

As far as you decide to switch later to (tradional looking) BP rifle:
You may choose to take real muzzle loader, such as Mountain Hawken rifle.
This one you use by loading powder and ball from muzzle, down the barrel. Ignition is caps. (To load - you must stand)

Or, you may choose to obtain a breech loader, such as Sharps 1863 sporting, Sharps 1859 infantry, or sharps carbine. This rifle is with falling breech system, is loaded "from the back". And if your intention is target shooting then it can be loaded from lying or sitting position, no need to stand up - just for loading.

Sharps with longer barrels were used to 1000 yards competition in the old days, so you may easily like it.

In later versions, they made sharps with cartridge bullets on black powder.

I am planning now to get myself SHarps 1863 sporting, cal 54, with creedmore sight and malcolm scope.

When you put tradional malcolm scope on thet rifle, you will get probably the first sniper in hystory.

Creedmore sight will improve accuracy, in hunting or range shooting alike, not to mention the Malcolm.

Welcome to BP club!

Last edited by jolly1; February 8, 2013 at 01:18 AM.
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Old February 8, 2013, 01:40 AM   #10
Join Date: November 28, 2012
Posts: 83
A word on equipment:
Round balls,
Later, if you shoot much, consider buying a mold to make your own.

Cloth patches - some pistols like the ball to be wrapped in a cloth patch, may proove more accurate with it. (Pistole La Page for example).

In that case a smaller ball should be used. for cal 44, ball .451 with patch, or .454 witout patch.

Then you need: black powder measure, to measure the load.

Plastic ampoule, which are used to store the powder loads which you prepared at home, and when you get to range, you just pour the measured powder to load to pistol. (saves time at range)

"magic" wads, a buffer, which some people put as a buffer (and sealent) between powder load and a ball. For single shot pistol, not really needed but for revolvers this is a must.

For recolvers you will also need some kind of natural grease / sealant to grease the bullets in cylinder, which grease the bullets and prevent a chain fire. It must be made from natural materials, most people make their own, but for start you can buy in the shop factory made. Do not use industrial oil based grease.

Small basic tolls: srew driver, nipple wrench (if its percussion), soft ruber hammer, players, etc

Rammer. For loading.

Binocular, or a scope to observe the accuracy and your hits on target.

Celaning tools. Gun oil. Spray.

They also say, that whoever gets in BP pistol shooting will eventually get in situation to load the ball without powder.
(So far I was lucky)
But for this kind of situation you will need some kind of a claw to extract the ball out of barrel. Check in your gun shop, what they may have on stock.

This is good enogh for start. Later you will add more bits and pieces, based on your experience and preferences.

Spent blackpowder residues are very corrosive. Barrel and metal parts must be cleaned after each shooting session. To clean the metal parts and barrel, the best is to dismantle the gun completely, and metal parts to be washed in warm water and dishwashing soap.
Later, the gun to be assembled and greased with gun oil.

Black powder shooting is fun, because its part shooting, part reloading, and part home gunsmithing. Cleanining the gun is a bitch.
Hope you will like it.

Last edited by jolly1; February 8, 2013 at 02:03 AM.
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