Keeping Muzzleloading Alive

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AtlatlMan

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I'm one of those once dreaded Millenials everyone used to love to hate (myself included) before the Generation Z kids started getting old enough to post on social media.

I do agree the hobby is going to contract. Its the same with the reenacting community. The time and disposable income among younger people just isn't there compared to the older hands. But I don't feel its doomed. Definitely at a turning point, but not doomed.

Reenacting, buckskinning, the modern muzzleloading community all really got their start in the 70s, the same time there was a revival in interest among folk ways and the back to the land movement. This is what gave us the Foxfire books and other countless efforts to preserve knowledge that was about to go extinct. We are approaching another one of these points. Brain fried as we are there is definitely a current among people my age that desire a more sustainable, traditional existence, and you will find a core of people who do appreciate and desire to learn from history if you dig a little.

I can say for a fact I am where I am because I was fortunate enough to grow up around a group of older guys who were willing to share their passion with a precocious eleven year old. I was able to stay involved through some lean years from older hands passing on their old kit for a song. That passion and generosity of older hobbyists is what hooks and retains the neophytes. Ultimately we need each other. The older to pass down, the younger to take up, like a family keeping the line unbroken.
 

dave951

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Well if things work out this weekend, we'll be making a video of what we do with Scouts and muzzleloading.

Don't worry BP Maniac, we ain't nowhere near as photogenic or purdy as you but we will be working with 12 kids showcasing how we run a range day for a group.
 

Moe ziggley

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I have over the 35 years while working had summer help kids work in the shop with me..it is a job but a rewarding experience... They never forget you and what you teach them..after i retired i moved to the woods.. It took a kid ..now 45;: three months to find me to tell me this and that other kids that had worked for me all keep in touch..just to laugh about the days of painting snow plows and fixing equipment which nowadays would be unheard of..taught a few how to weld ,polish metals..and guns with the last 3_ females 38 40 41..the one girl worked with me from age 16-18 than just reappeared now at 38... With hey moe show me how to clean my glock..so to think you wasted your time its not true ..kids are the future and if you teach with care its not a waste of anyone's time..
 
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I’m still sorta a young guy, but an old guy took me shooting MLs back when I was 15-16, totally hooked me. Now my firearm collection ranges 200 years. I love bringing them to range events with others my age, essentially to classes with modern guns. People always want to shoot them, and then they end up getting their own.

The hobby is alive and well.
 
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I used to work with kids all the time as a paper route supervisor. These days I would be real nervous about doing anything with children that are not my own children. A while back I was asked by a 4H leader to teach blacksmithing to a couple of her boys. I thought about it, went to one of their meetings, but after what seemed to me a very liberal slanted presentation, I declined. I didn't like the organization, they didn't like me. All it takes is one accusation, for which there is no real defense, and your life can be ruined. I'm glad that there are still people who will do things like this, but I am just not willing any longer.
 

dave951

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I used to work with kids all the time as a paper route supervisor. These days I would be real nervous about doing anything with children that are not my own children. A while back I was asked by a 4H leader to teach blacksmithing to a couple of her boys. I thought about it, went to one of their meetings, but after what seemed to me a very liberal slanted presentation, I declined. I didn't like the organization, they didn't like me. All it takes is one accusation, for which there is no real defense, and your life can be ruined. I'm glad that there are still people who will do things like this, but I am just not willing any longer.

It's a sad fact that there are lots of adults out there who exploit kids and any responsible org needs to be on guard for it. That said, if you're not in the "bad group" and still want to work, the safeguards put in place aren't that onerous. Scouting has Youth Protection Training and back ground checks. When I was a sports official, we got background checked several times per year. No big deal.

If an org that needs volunteers and isn't your cup of tea or you for some reason just don't mesh, I suggest to not give up, there are others out there that are in just as much need for adult volunteers but don't have the budget or time to advertise that need widely enough to get the needed volunteers.

Point being, there are plenty of places to volunteer, you have to take time to make sure you're a fit with their program. The key is desire to make a positive change that will last into the future.
 

smoothshooter

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we can preach about getting kids involved all day long, but it does no good. Kids these days are lazy. Simple as that. My girl friend is involved in 4H and its amazing how lazy these kids are. They no longer want to help paint fencing or containers, put up animal pens. All they want to do is dress up western and show their animals. Lack of attention span, even their "grown" up attitudes these days is a huge turn away. I was listening to a kid struggle to figure out what kind of leather project he could do and so I rambled off a few things and that kid got aggravated, made "pistols" with his fingers and made the sign like he shooting me. Had that been my kid, i'd have beat the crap out of him for being so disrespectful, then kicked him out of the program.

Sadly, it’s a losing battle.
A worsening lack of access to a place to shoot and hunt is a big obstacle. A kid with a working single parent that has little spare time and money is not going to be interested in her kid taking up an expensive hobby.
Kids that are involved in school sports programs don’t have the time either.
Today’s computer driven adolescents usually have the attention span of a goldfish ( actually, they now, on average, have slightly less, according to a couple of recent in-depth studies. The goldfish wins with an average of 8 seconds, if I recall ).
Take my own stepson and my 3 grandkids for example. They all like guns, hunting, and shooting, and have several guns. But the 3 teenagers are involved in sports year-around, and my stepson works 6 days a week, teaches a Sunday school class at church every Sunday. He only gets to deer hunt a couple of days, fire one or two shots, gets a deer, and that’s it. His wife does day-care for kids five or six days a week. I have not tried to get them involved in serious black powder shooting because they don’t, and never will have the time to pursue it after I am dead and gone.
Then there is the very real danger of a kid accusing an adult of improper touching or something if the adult makes the kid mad for some reason, which will ruin the adult’s life.
Not speaking from personal experience, mind you, thank God.
Basically, I don’t trust or spend time with any kids unless they are close relatives.
Sad commentary on our society, but that’s where we are now with most of our population.
The future looks no better.
 
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Mustang65

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we can preach about getting kids involved all day long, but it does no good. Kids these days are lazy. Simple as that. My girl friend is involved in 4H and its amazing how lazy these kids are. They no longer want to help paint fencing or containers, put up animal pens. All they want to do is dress up western and show their animals. Lack of attention span, even their "grown" up attitudes these days is a huge turn away. I was listening to a kid struggle to figure out what kind of leather project he could do and so I rambled off a few things and that kid got aggravated, made "pistols" with his fingers and made the sign like he shooting me. Had that been my kid, i'd have beat the crap out of him for being so disrespectful, then kicked him out of the program.
You hit the nail on the head. Most of todays youngsters are to lazy to do anything but play video games or TV or are on their phone except when sleeping. It's going to bite them one day. There are very few that will stay at something unless it's done for them or easy enough so they don't have to work at it.
 

Sean E Bug

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bashing the youth is not productive. I am only 30 and I can tell you youth of today are different and I don't understand a lot of their trends. but maybe you would be better off taking some time to consider their world view. it will be different from yours and maybe you will have the knee jerk reaction that it is wrong but take the time to move past it. Kids might do a lot of stupid things, but they are not dumb. at a time, they have to figure out their place in an ever shifting and hostile world that is filled with people having no hope for the future. hard to see the value in developing yourself when the old, respected people talk about how the environment is a disaster, the economy is either tanking or going to, and that your generation isn't worth a damn and won't be able to fix anything. kids never respond well to adults who make it clear they don't have time or interest in them. everyone hates feeling like they waste people time. nobody takes the time to explain why something matters instead of expecting them to accept it because you do. Lots of people want to knock kids for loving videogames while completely missing the implications of what they offer. A world with clear boundaries and rules, rewards for completing set goals, clear paths for progression, problems that can be solved, and competitions that are fair.
maybe try and make things more like video games. have clear reasons for doing things, have fun, don't argue endlessly over things that don't matter like patch lube and if something is actually historically correct or not. be accepting of the cheap gear people start out with. don't tell tall tales from years gone by that are about people they don't know. If you have complaints about the youth, take a look around at who is parenting, teaching and acting as role models. that is where the real solution lies. But it requires the hard work of introspection, changing your hard set ways, and compassion.
 
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I've been working with me grandson which is 12 and he is engrossed in everything muzzle loader we are having a great time. He along with all of my grand kids are home schooled and belong to home school groups within the community I'm treating him like an apprentice we try to get together once or twice a week and work on something related to muzzle loading or leather work. One thing I've noticed with home school kids and maybe it's just in our area but they are easy to talk to, train, and get feed back from they seem to be able to carry a conversation as if they were a lot older. After we work on something then he has to go and share it with all of the others in his group and vice versus also. His working with leather has lead him to starting up his own hobby business and has made several custom orders for wallets, knife sheaths and such. We are going to work hard this summer getting him fully setup with everything he needs to hunt and hopefully this fall go deer hunting.

A friend of mine is in his 30's and has started a primitive skills school and I help teach some of the classes he is offering and we have had several dad & son combo's take the classes and I can always tell the ones that have been home schooled they seem to dig right in , listen very well and complete the project in the required time frame I can't say the same for kids that go to the standard school system. We are always expanding our classes and are looking at doing a muzzle loading class for beginners.

One of my best younger friends is in his late 20's and is all in to muzzle loading especially the historical side and could care less for hunting but he got started in the 4-H program in our community which I believe has fallen by the wayside in the last few years.
 

smoothshooter

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I’m currently in college, and I got into muzzleloading on my own within the last 2 years. It is possible for others to find their way in without any help, but it’s getting rarer by the day. I’ll be taking 3 of my coworkers and my brother shooting with my muzzleloaders over the next month, and we’re all excited about it. Sure we ain’t kids, but we’re definitely still young enough to pick up the hobby and enjoy it!m

As a former newbie, it was way easier getting into this hobby when the members on this forum answered questions, even if my questions were dumb. I really appreciate that and feel that I can confidently pass on information on muzzleloading to new people.

To those of y’all saying you hate kids and don’t want to bother teaching them because they are “disrespectful” and lack an attention span, YOU will be responsible if muzzleloading dies. There is no excuse to say screw it and give up, unless you’re physically unable to. I’m sure when y’all were children y’all were difficult as well, THATS THE NATURE OF BEING A CHILD. Anything worth teaching or passing on will be difficult, and there’s no way to ensure that it’ll stick with today’s children, but at least an effort will have been made to preserve our passion.

The shorter attention spans are not my fault. The anti-American rhetoric and distorted history that is taught in our education systems is not my fault either. I raised my kid right, but a lot of parents don’t do the same any more.
Part of the problems with the younger ones are unique to our times. Societal decay can and has happened to every country or empire eventually. Ours is no different.
Eventually it will dissolve in chaos (which has already begun), and a few years or decades later start to rebuild and start over. Usually after a bloodbath, and the loss of freedoms.
Things changing for the worse are breathtaking in their speed and frequency. In another ten years those of us that were born in the 1950’s and 1960’s will be even more shocked than we are now.
I am old, and I hope I don’t live long enough to see the collapse. I just try to enjoy life as best as I can in the time I have left.
 
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Bushfire

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We may not be the biggest in number, but we're still the coolest!

images (32).jpeg
 
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I'm a young ish guy myself (32), There is a local indoor range where all the "tacticool" kids from my generation and the one after hang out and blast away with their unmentionables. This range also allows black powder... I make it a point to go over there once a month or so and take the large bore flinters (big flash, big boom). I'm laid back about it and dont jump all over people that call rifles muskets. within a few shots there is always a gaggle of people wanting to know what in tarnation i'm shooting and im more than happy to let anyone who wants to take a shot.

I dont know if i've helped sell any guns or get any new shooters into the sport but ive been told by the range manager that my escapades have resulted an alot more range patrons renting the traditions kentucky caplock they have available. :)

Chris
 

Mustang65

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I'm a young ish guy myself (32), There is a local indoor range where all the "tacticool" kids from my generation and the one after hang out and blast away with their unmentionables. This range also allows black powder... I make it a point to go over there once a month or so and take the large bore flinters (big flash, big boom). I'm laid back about it and dont jump all over people that call rifles muskets. within a few shots there is always a gaggle of people wanting to know what in tarnation i'm shooting and im more than happy to let anyone who wants to take a shot.

I dont know if i've helped sell any guns or get any new shooters into the sport but ive been told by the range manager that my escapades have resulted an alot more range patrons renting the traditions kentucky caplock they have available. :)

Chris
I don't know why folks always try to degrade those that use unmentionables as "tacticool"!! I love using my Ml and do hunt with it, however, I do also love to use and shoot and hunt with my so-called unmentionables....74 and just might make 75!
 

TFoley

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I'd like to say that I've mentored a few youngsters into BP shooting over the years, but here in UK that's not how it works - sadly.

We have guest days - one a month - where full members of the gun club can bring their non-shooting family members, friends and work colleagues to show them what all the fuss is about. I invariably take a BP rifle and handgun to show my side of the house. I'm not the only one, either - with over 500 full members, I'd opine that about 10% are BP shooters.

Sure, the visitors seem to have fun, but the urge to get stuck in to BP shooting of any kind is just not there. Perhaps it's the thought the many hoops we have to jump through here in UK to even get started - it CAN take a year to get your hands on a gun of your own, sometimes more. at least we CAN end up as fully-fledged BP shooters of one kind or another, something that my brethren over in the Republic of Ireland can only dream about.

Perhaps Mr Minshall from the MLAGB would like to offer an input here - how many people does HE see who just cannot wait to get burning some BP and loading from the front?
 

Mustang65

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I'd like to say that I've mentored a few youngsters into BP shooting over the years, but here in UK that's not how it works - sadly.

We have guest days - one a month - where full members of the gun club can bring their non-shooting family members, friends and work colleagues to show them what all the fuss is about. I invariably take a BP rifle and handgun to show my side of the house. I'm not the only one, either - with over 500 full members, I'd opine that about 10% are BP shooters.

Sure, the visitors seem to have fun, but the urge to get stuck in to BP shooting of any kind is just not there. Perhaps it's the thought the many hoops we have to jump through here in UK to even get started - it CAN take a year to get your hands on a gun of your own, sometimes more. at least we CAN end up as fully-fledged BP shooters of one kind or another, something that my brethren over in the Republic of Ireland can only dream about.

Perhaps Mr Minshall from the MLAGB would like to offer an input here - how many people does HE see who just cannot wait to get burning some BP and loading from the front?
Same thing going to happen here in the states. The people let the gov't overrun them and give the politicians their freedom!
 

victor#0

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My son started shooting when he was around six and is now thirteen. He's taken quite an interest in muzzleloading and has been working and saving his money for quite some time but for someone just getting started they are pretty expensive and the crazy inflation isn't helping. There doesn't seem to be as many commercial options either now that Cva and T/C only make inlines. He's also pretty deadset on a Smoothbore, maybe because I have one but he says he wants something he can hunt small game and big game with........can't argue with that!
 

Bushfire

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My son started shooting when he was around six and is now thirteen. He's taken quite an interest in muzzleloading and has been working and saving his money for quite some time but for someone just getting started they are pretty expensive and the crazy inflation isn't helping. There doesn't seem to be as many commercial options either now that Cva and T/C only make inlines. He's also pretty deadset on a Smoothbore, maybe because I have one but he says he wants something he can hunt small game and big game with........can't argue with that!
I think that's great! But a second hand 36 or similar would be a great little rabbit/squirrel/plinker for an introduction to muzzleloading I reckon. Having said that a 20G would be a pearler!
 

Mustang65

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My son started shooting when he was around six and is now thirteen. He's taken quite an interest in muzzleloading and has been working and saving his money for quite some time but for someone just getting started they are pretty expensive and the crazy inflation isn't helping. There doesn't seem to be as many commercial options either now that Cva and T/C only make inlines. He's also pretty deadset on a Smoothbore, maybe because I have one but he says he wants something he can hunt small game and big game with........can't argue with that!
Sounds like that young man has a good head on his shoulders. Congratulations dad.
 

Eutycus

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It doesn't necessarily have to be muzzleloaders that are "beginners" or first firearms. Just the introduction to responsible shooting is usually enough to get their attention.We recently had a men's get-to-gether at our church and some skeet shooting was going on. There were some teenage boys giving it a try and having a ball. But you could tell the 12 guages were a bit too much. I broke out my 20 ga.and they really seemed to enjoy it. The look on some of their faces was priceless.
 
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