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Author Topic: MUZZLELOADERS! new to them or want to use them for sport and/or hunting?  (Read 2671 times)

Offline Rob DiStefano

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LOTS to learn and understand about 'em, and see what'll work best for yer needs and requirements - general shooting, hunting, target shooting, reenactment - or combinations of two or more these categories.

this is a good starting online article -

so to quickly summarize the firearms, there are basically two ignition systems (flint and cap) and two barrel types (rifled and smoothbore) and three projectile types (ball, bullet, shot).  these can be rifles, fowlers, muskets, pistols AND revolvers.

please use this thread to ask your questions and hopefully you'll get answers that will both make sense and get you going in the right direction.

Offline Rob DiStefano

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Re: MUZZLELOADERS! new to them or want to use them for sport and/or hunting?
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2016, 06:29:57 PM »
my 2 cents worth about traditional muzzleloader long guns.

there are essentially two flavors, either custom build or offshore commercial.  each have their strong and weak points.

there are more than a handful of offshore commercial manufacturers.  i've had quite a few, and some were kit guns.  all will sport patent breech plugs.  this means that where the breech plug would normally end the chamber in a flat wall of steel, there's a smaller hole drilled into the breech face that's called an ante-chamber, and at the ante-chamber's end is a flue that either goes to a touch hole vent liner of a flintlock ignition system, or into the bolster (snail) of a percussion cap ignition system that terminates in a nipple (for the cap).  the main thing about patent breech plugs is that it will require 2 cleaning/ram rod ends - a jag for the bore and a small brush for the ante-chamber.  why an ante-chamber?  the theory is that it could deliver better/faster ignition.  i don't find that true and prefer a flat faced, easy to clean breech plug.

traditional flint lock flat faced breech plug, touch hole vent liner installed as close a possible to the breech face ...

typical patent breech plugs for flint lock and percussion cap lock ...

for a newbie's first trad ml, particularly on a budget, my recommendation is to go with a "hawken" style trad ml rifle.  these rifles sport hooked tang breeches and wedged barrels which make taking the barrel on and off very easy.  why take off the barrel?  much easier to clean up the black powder residue.

percussion cap or flint?  both will get the job done, take yer pick.  there is a bit more learning curve with the flint lock over the cap lock, but once understood one will find a flint lock as easy to shoot and keep clean as a cap lock.  i only use flint locks.

there are dirt cheap commercial trad ml's at under $300 and upwards of well over $1500.  a quality custom trad ml from a USA gunmaker will typically start at under a $1000 and go way up in price past $4000.  what's the essential difference between cheap and expensive trad ml's?  quality of the barrel, the lock and wood ... and any added craftsmanship.

which cheap offshore trad ml rifle would i recommend?  anything made by the investarms company.  ask me more if need be.  if the only trad ml i could own from this moment on was an investarms hawken style, i wouldn't complain too much.  8)

which USA trad ml long gun (rifle OR smoothbore) gunmaker would i recommend?  too many good ones abound, ask me if need be.

there is *SO* much more to discuss about trad muzzleloaders that it would take a small book of hundreds of pages to barely put a dent in the discussion.

offhand with a chris walker .62 carolina smoothbore, new davis colonial american lock, colerain 44" swamped barrel, deeply patina'd brass furniture, charge is 70 grains swiss 3f in the tube, a few grains of swiss 3f in the pan, and a pre-lubed .015" linen patched .600 lead ball (325 grains) ...