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Old December 13, 2001, 04:51 PM   #1
Dave R
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Considering it--what's the fun factor?

This is a little strange, but...

Last night I dreamed I had a black powder rifle. Traditional percussion. I'd had it for a while, and hadn't fired it yet. So, of course, I had the hankering to do it.

The feeling persisted after I woke up.

So, what makes shooting black powder fun for you? Why do you do it? Doesn't it drive you crazy to take 10 mins or so to shoot a 3-shot group?

Or is the early/extra hunting season the only rational reason to own a black-powder rifle?
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Old December 13, 2001, 05:38 PM   #2
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In my experience, shooting black powder is a slow, messy process. Cleaning the black powder firearm after shooting is a slow, downright nasty process. BUT, when you shoot, that big cloud of white smoke drifts back and you smell it, it gets in your blood and becomes addictive.

Why do I do it? It's a link to the past and makes me feel a kinship with my ancestors. (There are a lot of "old ways" which I would hate to see lost to future generations.) But mainly, it is fun in spite of the drawbacks mentioned in the first paragraph. No, it doens't drive me crazy to take 10 minutes to shoot a 3-shot group. What drives me crazy is mis-fires/hang-fires with my flintlock (but that's a topic for another thread).

If you decide to jump in, I would suggest you go shooting with an experienced BP shooter. It could save time and frustration.
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Old December 13, 2001, 08:40 PM   #3
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Had to be growing up watching Fess Parker in the old "Daniel Boone" TV series. I always wanted a flintlock and finally built one myself my last year of high school. Been shooting them on and off for several decades since. Percussion is OK for a revolver, and I don't have much use for in-lines at all, but man, I love those flint long rifles. Truly an American art form!
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Old December 14, 2001, 01:05 AM   #4
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"So, what makes shooting black powder fun for you? "

It's a HOOT!!

"Why do you do it? "

Hmmmmm, why would you try to start a fire with a stick instead of a match?

"Doesn't it drive you crazy to take 10 mins or so to shoot a 3-shot group?"

Naw, but the groups drive other shooters crazey

Sounds like you've got "The Bug". So, (to coin Dr. Laura's catch phrase).... "Go out & do the right thing"
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Old December 14, 2001, 10:21 AM   #5
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Shooting BP guns came at a time for me when I was living in the country with more time than money. I had sold most of my cartridge guns and reloading equipment to pay bills and I needed an inexpensive project to pass the time. Shooting the BP rifle I built allowed me to shoot AND gave me the feeling of doing my own reloading.

1. I built my own rifle, a .54 Hawken with browned bbl and iron furniture and lovely brown stock.

2. It's a way of getting in touch with the past.

3. Working up a load that strikes dead on.

4. It's a lot of fun.
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Old December 14, 2001, 10:36 AM   #6
Cap n ball
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When I'm out in the field with my long gun I can feel the spirits of my long departed ancestors whispering to me about minding the wind and about how the game trail splits up ahead. I can buy venison or antelope meat but those are just groceries. Black powder is real sport and real art in both the hunting and in the equipment. Any numbnut can go out in the timber with his high powered rifle and shoot an animal from a half a mile or more. That's not sport to me. Stalking and getting to within 100 yards of your prey before you make a decision of shooting or not is. I love the guns and the ritual of using and caring for them. The smell of black powder, the creaking of saddle leather. The powerful feel of my mare underneath me and the cold wind in my face is as much a high as I ever wish God to grant me.

Besides that I'm a fifth generation Missouri 'puke' and those things are just as naturally enjoyable to me as the scent of new mown alfalfa and horse dumplings. If it's in you then you will do it. I hope you enjoy!
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Old December 14, 2001, 04:08 PM   #7
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Cause I'm real good at it

I have fired all types of firearms. From matchlocks to full auto.
I am a more than accurate shooter.
I have a large collection of rifles, shotguns, muzzeloaders, and handguns. The blackpowder guns were the first firearm that I actually had to practice and learn to make work well.
My father is a wealth of information on guns and shooting in general and their use was, with his help, easy to master. I think it was all the work I did on my own that keeps me suckin' in that sulpher smoke. (Cordites nice but that sulpher is down right addictive!) It took me some time but now I use my frontloaders for everything. For accuracy I use nothing else and if anything, shooting blackpowder firearms have made me a better off-hand shooter. Most muzzeloader matches are shot off-hand in one form or another.
As with the other fellas on the board the history aspect also is a bonus and I have turned this into a full time occupation.
The shooting of blackpowder has made my life richer in all these areas, but I tell you, watching the jaws hit the floor when you can cover a 3 shot group with a quarter is the whip cream on the pie for me.

And it only takes me... An Lew Wetzel, 4 minutes to shoot a three shot group.


Wild Willy
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Old December 14, 2001, 11:11 PM   #8
4V50 Gary
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Fun. They're just a lot of fun and if you hang around certain crowds, you'll get into flintlocks too. There's more challenge in shooting blackpowder guns than a regular centerfire gun. There's also a lot more camaraderie among the blackpowder crowd than virtually any other group I've met - especially if you go to a meet or rendezvous.

Go to these matches and you'll be sporting a tomahawk and skinning knife soon enough. Hawk n' knife. It's addictive and clean fun.

Pie eating contests. Stupid me. I thought it was the traditional hands behind your back, drop your face into the pie and clean out the pan as fast as you can. Nowhere near that impression of classic Americana. It's actually a concoction of booze with spices like cinammon and nutmeg and apple juice that smells just like apple pie. The contest is to see who can drink more "pie" and remain on their feet. Jeez. It's just like the old rowdy days of rendezvous where the trappers would get together and get roaring drunk (or more modernly, 18 years old at their first college frat party). I'll pass on the pie.
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Old December 16, 2001, 11:33 PM   #9
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Fun, and a certain appeal to understanding the history...outside of the books. For example, having made .58 paper cartridges and rapid fired a Enfield Musket (much more than 3 ahots in 10 minutes) I know know why the butts of these rifles are oft dented (they hit the butts on the ground to speed fouled loading), why ones teeth needed to be there etc. Also, as effective as a Mak or Kalish is, the nineteenth century firearms (and a good repro) are simply visually beautiful. They were designed on the transition to handmade to mass little bits of the artisans hand, survive in the design (ever look at the shape of a percussion Colt's in itself)
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Old December 17, 2001, 02:48 PM   #10
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Because of it's imprecision and simplicity. I love the fact that I can dump 87grains or 90 grains of powder down the barrel, and the point of impact will change very little. I love the fact that I can wash the gun with soap and water. I like making patches out of simple cloth,lubing them with household crisco and melting chunks of lead on a propane stove to make nearly free maxi and minie balls. Half of the stuff required to fire the gun can be found lying around the house at any given time.
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Old December 18, 2001, 12:49 AM   #11
Calamity Jane
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Fun with Muzzleloaders

Hubby and I have a blast (pun intended) with our muzzleloaders.

He has a Hawken .50 cal. percussion rifle. I have a Traditions .50 cal. percussion pistol that hubby built me from a kit.

We regularly have Muzzleloader Day at the range - which means we load up Ol' Smoky and his "little" sister and let the clouds of smoke roll.

Shooting BP guns is challenging, fun, and as others have said, there is a satisfying link to the past. We love it. If you are a person who enjoys precision activities, there's nothing quite like it, for every step of the process of loading and shooting is within your control. And there's nothing quite like hanging around at the range with your percussion pistol, your powder horn, and your possibles bag.

You just have to get used to the fact that it takes a little while for the smoke to clear before you can see whether or not you hit your target!

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Old December 26, 2001, 08:47 PM   #12
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The only question I have is "Who the hell fires an inline?"

Man! slower than a modern rifle, uglier than a traditional. What's the point?

What's next? a plastic stocked, pistol-gripped, peepsighted and counterbalanced and adjustable buttstock inline with Hogue grips? WHY?!?!?

When I shoot modern, I shoot modern. WHen I shoot traditional, I DON'T want modern sights, recoil pads, etc.
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Old December 27, 2001, 12:35 AM   #13
Ed Dixon
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Boy, there's a certain zen thing that happens when shooting black powder at the range. It all seems to mean a little more because it takes more time, more care, and more patience. In the field, having one shot seems to make that experience more intense as well. Hell, unless exhausted, I kind of get the same meditative kick out of the at-home clean up. I know this may sound pretentious or over the top, but there's almost something sacramental about it. This is all in addition to the traditional/historical aspects others have touched on.
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Old December 28, 2001, 06:52 AM   #14
Dave McC
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Outside of a beef shoot or two each year, I only hit the range enough to keep in practice with my smokepole.But,the couple weeks of M/L deer season are well nigh religious in intensity.

No inline here, tho some friends urge me to get one like theirs. One such took a button buck at over 200 yards with his, after establishing the distance with a lazer rangefinder. I appreciate the precision and fine marksmanship he had, but that's just not the way I want to go with it. If I did, I'd get a 25-06, easier to clean...

My well used T/C High Plains Sporter is NOT low tech. The forearm is glass bedded, the trigger is worked to a safe 2 lbs, a Pachmyer Decellerator pad's on it, and the load includes a HP Buffalo Bullet, not a patched round ball. But, when I'm in the woods with it, I'm in touch with a lot of ancestors.

And for hunting, one shot does the trick. The doe I took before Xmas died fast and humanely, shot through both shoulders and ran 50 yards before piling up. Shot her lefthanded, but that's a different story.

Like the longbow I shot before this $%^&* rotator cuff thing came up, I like doing some things the old fashioned way.
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