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Author Topic: New to Black powder rifle  (Read 349 times)

Offline TI_Bowmen

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New to Black powder rifle
« on: November 16, 2019, 08:05:47 AM »
I just purchased a CVA Hawkin 50 cal. percussion gun. Wondering ideas on loads and maintenance or anything else I may need to know. I can’t wait to shoot this gun. And eventually hunting with it. Thanks!

Offline Rob DiStefano

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Re: New to Black powder rifle
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2019, 08:23:23 AM »
that should be a good gun, congratulations and welcome to the wonderful world of traditional black powder muzzleloaders.  :wavey:

firstly, i would highly recommend feeding your gun Real Black Powder and NOT "substitute black powder", which is really a form of smokeless powder.  your gun will thank you for doing the right thing.

what is the twist rate on the rifling?  this is kinda important as it will be a good clue as to whether it's best for loading patched balls, or conicals - or if yer lucky, both.

it will more than likely have a "patent breech", which means that in front of the real breech is an ante-chamber with a constricted bore.  lots more about this to understand later.

if it were my gun, whether new or used, first thing i'd do is swab the bore and clean it out.  you will need a ramrod with a brass cleaning jag and cotton patches.  you want the jag and cloth to be a good fit to the bore, not too tight and not too loose.  one should not have to strain to push the patched jag down the bore and to the chamber.  plain tap water is all that's required to clean out black powder residue and fouling, after a gun has been fired.  run some water wet patches down and out and see what they look like.  let's skip ahead and say they're reasonably clean (not some form serious coloration of black or red), therefore we'll just run a patch or two well saturated with any kinda gun oil down the bore and we're done.  well, except for the patent breech's ante-chamber.  employ a .30 caliber brush draped with an oiled patch, send it past the chamber and into the ante-chamber, clean it out good.

all this make sense, so far?  :camp:
Trad Gang ~ Buffalo Rifles ~ TMA ~ NRA ~ NRA RSO ~ GOA ~ VCDL

Offline N.Y. Yankee

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Re: New to Black powder rifle
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2019, 09:17:26 AM »
Do not fall into the old wives tale of "seasoning the bore" as many uninformed people will tell you you must do. It usually causes more problems than it is supposed to prevent.  Our guns are made with steel, not wrought iron as the originals were. They can not, really, be seasoned. What you can do though is "condition" the bore which basically means "burnishing" or smoothing the bore and smoothing the rifling and that is mostly done by shooting. That will help your accuracy and ease of loading. Look into patch and bullet lubes as there is a lot to be understood about patches and lubes.

You don't need to buy cleaning patches! Get an old pair of flannel pajamas and cut them up into 1.5 inch squares. You will need them!

Plain water is good for cleaning. Doesn't need to be HOT, hot makes it difficult to handle, just warm is fine, and you use a pumping motion with a ramrod to pump water in and out the barrel. This will "power flush" the breech and nipple area. Once you feel everything is well cleaned, dry it thoroughly with flannel patches and use a good gun oil to mop the bore and breech area to prevent rust. I like to run an oiled patch down the bore of all my black powder guns one a month. Gives me an excuse to fondle the guns and also check for rust.

Before loading the gun, swab out the bore with some Isopropyl alcohol to remove the oil. Gun oil and black powder makes a fouling that is thick and tough and requires swabbing every couple of shots. Keep a small bottle of Isopropyl gas dryer in your shooting bag. It's cheap.

There is a lot to learn in Black Powder shooting, that's why the smart guys set up this web site. Ask lots of questions and you will get the hang of it! :thumbs:
« Last Edit: December 04, 2019, 12:11:49 PM by N.Y. Yankee »
Elk don't know how many feet a horse has!

Offline FlintNSteel

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Re: New to Black powder rifle
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2020, 09:35:18 PM »
Bowmen, there is excellent information in a link right at the top of the page.   Click on "About Traditional Muzzleloaders"

For new shooters or those who might want a refresher on some basics, there is a ton of great information for you there.

Just a minor correction...Hawken....not Hawkin.    ;)  Best of luck and good shooting with your new rifle.  :thumbs:
"The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of it's lonely freedom."  Theodore Roosevelt