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Flintlock Long Rifle setup

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I am trying to spec out a flintlock longrifle for my grandfather. He wants one that is (60"-72") with a rifle twist of 1-66 to 1-72. I have narrowed down two barrels both are Rice one is 46" and goes up to. 62 cal and the other is 48" and goes up to .58. He is 67 years old and he loves the old guns like he used to see people use when he was kid going hunting i.e. long flintlock. I live in Maryland and the gun will only be used for hunting white tail deer. I'm trying to choose between .54, .58 and .62 cal everyone here knows how these various calibers perform better than I do so any input is helpful.
 

Sparkitoff

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.54 is probably easiest to get commercially available components (balls and patches) and cheaper to cast your own balls and make patches. It is plenty powerful for whitetail deer and in my rifles (I have all those calibers mentioned) the least picky of load components. Of consideration, a larger bore diameter might equate to less barrel weight if they are otherwise identical (more metal removed for the larger hole). I have .54's with 1:60, 1:66 and 1:70 ROT and they are equal in accuracy as long as they have their preferred load which are very similar and nearly interchangeable.
 
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.54 is probably easiest to get commercially available components (balls and patches) and cheaper to cast your own balls and make patches. It is plenty powerful for whitetail deer and in my rifles (I have all those calibers mentioned) the least picky of load components. Of consideration, a larger bore diameter might equate to less barrel weight if they are otherwise identical (more metal removed for the larger hole). I have .54's with 1:60, 1:66 and 1:70 ROT and they are equal in accuracy as long as they have their preferred load which are very similar and nearly interchangeable.
So .54 caliber would be a good choice but what about barrel length is 46 better than 48 or the opposite due to weight or accuracy?
 

Art Caputo

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I also think 54 would be a good choice and plenty for whitetail. Being in my late 60’s and a whitetail hunter myself, a 60”
rifle(42/44” barrel) is plenty long frim sn aesthetics standpoint, and about the max length that I personally find manageable while hunting.
 
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I also think 54 would be a good choice and plenty for whitetail. Being in my late 60’s and a whitetail hunter myself, a 60”
rifle(42/44” barrel) is plenty long frim sn aesthetics standpoint, and about the max length that I personally find manageable while hunting.
Thank you very much for your advice especially coming from someone my grandfather's age gives a lot of insight into a final choice.
 

Larry (Omaha)

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.54, .58 and .62 cal everyone here knows how these various calibers perform better than I do so any input is helpful.
54 cal has already been suggested and I agree, but I did not see recoil mentioned. To me, a larger cal for a gent entering senior years is the wrong direction to go.
Flintlocklar 🇺🇲
 

EC121

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I'm 74 and, I shoot 2-.62s, 2-58s, and 2-.60s plus anumber of .54s. If the gun fits properly, recoil isn't a factor unless you try to make a magnum out of a muzzleloader or you are recoil sensitive. Balls are cheaper and more available in the .54s. Powder wise is a wash. About all my loads end up in the 75-95gr. area. For hunting I wouldn't go over 42" with a recommendation for a 38" C weight .54.
 

Cpt Flint

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Some stock suppliers may have difficulty finding a nice blank for a 46” or 48” barrels.
That was my experience lately.
 

Sparkitoff

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I measured mine and the longest rifle is 44" barrel and is properly balanced. It is light and manageable but still long for hunting. I would go with something in the upper 30's, low 40's inch range for hunting.
 

Don Steele

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For a dedicated Whitetail rifle: 54 cal. NO question for all the reasons previously mentioned. Also...I'm going to second EC121's suggestion: 38" C wt swamped barrel. Late Lancaster architecture.
 
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smo

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Will he be hunting from a box blind or shooting house?
If so, the 38” barrel would make for easier handling.
Still kinda long for confined areas.
My .54 has a 42” barrel and handles well. Outside the box.

As stated , components will be more readily available for .50 or .54 cal.... locally.
 

Spikebuck

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If physical weight of the completed rifle carries any importance to him, then 46" would be better than 48". I don't think that beyond some reasonable point length is going to play much role in accuracy. Longer sight plane helps to some degree.

I have three rifles with 44" barrels and no real issues maneuvering them in the woods. Have Kibler on the bench with a 46". Not sure I'd personally want to stretch past that. As Smo mentioned, enclosed blinds and long barrels can be challenging.

Regarding caliber, I've killed deer with .50 to .62. I see no real difference. A .50 B wt in a long barrel could make a pretty nice whitetail rifle.
 
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Will he be hunting from a box blind or shooting house?
If so, the 38” barrel would make for easier handling.
Still kinda long for confined areas.
My .54 has a 42” barrel and handles well. Outside the box.

As stated , components will be more readily available for .50 or .54 cal.... locally.
When we go hunting it is on our farm for the most part we just stand beside trees or sit behind logs or dead fall on the deer trails of edges of our field and wait for them. So length wouldn't be much of a problem
 
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smo

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Also consider physical ability... a bad back , worn out shoulders or other things limiting his ability too handle the gun all play a part of the equation as well.

I would quiz him a little more as too what he would expect the weight of the gun too be ,as well as at what distance he can clearly see the front sight best.
Lengthy of pull.... another consideration.
Some of this is more of a concern when shooting off hand more so than in hunting.
But having a rifle built for someone else could be a complicated task.
 
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Also consider physical ability... a bad back , worn out shoulders or other things limiting his ability too handle the gun all play a part of the equation as well.

I would quiz him a little more as too what he would expect the weight of the gun too be ,as well as at what distance he can clearly see the front sight best.
Lengthy of pull.... another consideration.
Some of this is more of a concern when shooting off hand more so than in hunting.
But having a rifle built for someone else could be a complicated task.
I dont think weight is a concern for him since he hunts with a 10 gauge 5 round slug gun with a 34" bull barrel that weighs in at 12.4 lbs loaded. I'm sure any muzzleloader will only weigh at maximum 10 to 12 lbs at 60" (I am only assuming) in terms of health he only has trouble with his left knee. He still has 20/20 vision believe it or not so I dont think the sights will be a problem. The weapon will have a set trigger so the length of pull to set off the gun should be less (correct me if I'm wrong). I dont know where is health will be in 10 years but for now I only wish I will be in the shape he is in at 67.
 
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Hatman/2nd line

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I'm 76 and have been shooting for most of my life and hope to do some more!
A .54 hawken style is a good healthy gun with a load of 70 gr. of 3f and I have no problems with it. Your grand dad will be fine shooting something on that line, he's lucky to have a grand son like you!
 

M. De Land

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Thank you very much for your advice especially coming from someone my grandfather's age gives a lot of insight into a final choice.
I'm 71 and find myself making lighter caliber and weight guns rather than the large bores I started with. A .45 cal rifle will kill deer by the truck load for as far out as you should be shooting them with any muzzle loader and can be made in a much lighter package using a 13/16s barrel OD. I've owned/used a 58 and 54 for years starting with a .45, then .50 cal.
My most recent build is a .45 cal flint gun in .45 cal and weighs a bit over 6 lbs with a .36inch barrel. It's handy, light and accurate! A dream to carry , slender and balanced , it would be pretty decent in a stand to.
 
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ord sgt

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A .50 calibre rifle is plenty for eastern whitetail deer. You could consider using a swamped barrel for weight reduction and for balance. Also a shorter barrel length. Wil the rifle be a will stock or a half stock? If half stock, the swamped barrel is not the right choice.
 

Daryl Crawford

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A swamped .54 cal is hard to beat. If he wants the classic lines of a long gun, a 38-42" is good, but excellent performance can be had with shorter barrels.
 

okawbow

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I would suggest that a flintlock hunting rifle works best with a simple single trigger. If the gun is built correctly, the trigger pull will be crisp and light. Set triggers only complicate things while hunting.
Consider looking at the Kibler colonial rifle kits.
 
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