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Never owned a gun, but smitten by flintlocks, not sure what to do

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Capnball

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So some background:

USA, 27, male

I've never owned a gun. I only shot a bb gun in cub scouts when very young. I love history. Father owns quite a few guns but never shoots them. I understand some might see my history and personality as a "city slicker", but I grew up and live in an area which is bordering farms, woods, yet close to town with housing projects advancing quickly. I sadly in youth spent little time outdoors.

One friend just bought a modern rifle and another acquaintance hunts often with modern rifle. Seeing them having fun, I started looking into guns, because I have little for hobbies. But modern guns like theirs I just don't find interesting.

I've seen videos of long rifles, I know the history and admire the mythology. I am just smitten by them and feel I would love to own one, historically correct.

Problem is, I know nothing about actually using guns, how to aquire them, or anything. I like the idea of hunting with one, even if never succeeded, but I also know nothing about hunting.

So my question is. If I have $1300 available to spend, with no experience with guns (but a willingness to learn) is it unwise to go into the flintlock route as a first gun?

Any thoughts or replies will be appreciated
First off, welcome. Second, the only stupid question is one you don't ask.
The best first advice I would give you is do alot of reading. Find out if you're interested in target shooting, hunting, or reenacting. Then find the gun that best suits your needs. There are alot of guns out there in various qualities and price. Buy the best gun you can afford (including your acoutrements) find a gun club local to you and just go and watch a time or two. Ask questions. Maybe enlist the help of a friend who knows something about what you want to shoot. Then go to a good range and really get to know the gun. Last, have fun! I have a $650 Pedersoli Kentucky long rifle in .45 caliber. Puts a smile on my face every time I fire it. If I had a couple grand,but would probably be a Kibler custom.
 

TFoley

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Good to know, I’ve watched a lot of his vids but I don’t think I’ve ever heard his name on them. Thought his accent was Hungarian. Not that I’m an expert on accents but had a ship mate that was Hungarian that sounded just like him I can sure imagine a camp fire, a jug of a fitting adult beverage with these guys.
I think that that the general idea of having a nom-de-plume that we can all pronounce, rather than his name which is a bit of a tongue-twister is the reason for calling himself capandball. there are LOT more English-speakers on the planet than Hungarian speakers. Many of his videos are made in parts of Hungary, show road signs in Hungarian, ranges with Hungarian notices, references to his gun store with a Hungarian address and also international competitions held in Hungary. He also mention 'here in Hungary, we.........' on numerous occasions - so yes, he is a Hungarian ;)
 

Capnball

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I think that that the general idea of having a nom-de-plume that we can all pronounce, rather than his name which is a bit of a tongue-twister is the reason for calling himself capandball. there are LOT more English-speakers on the planet than Hungarian speakers. Many of his videos are made in parts of Hungary, show road signs in Hungarian, ranges with Hungarian notices, references to his gun store with a Hungarian address and also international competitions held in Hungary. He also mention 'here in Hungary, we.........' on numerous occasions - so yes, he is a Hungarian ;)
Yeah, I'm not that guy, lol. I thought I was making a clever parallel to CapnCrunch when I picked the screen name. I do watch his videos though. He's like the Jaques Cousto of antique firearms. His monotone delivery of the dialogue is both inviting and precise. It's everything you need and nothing you don't.
 

Yewbender

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Welcome to the forum! You have lots of advise given and plenty more to come. So with that said...get the ball rolling so you can get addicted just like the rest of us!!!
 

fleener

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So, you are in MN, I am assuming that you are close to the Cities?

The Gopher Rifle and Revolver Club is near Harris. There are a group of guys that shoot ML there. Reach out to them and perhaps you can find someone to mentor you.


Also the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association shows for MN the following field rep. Reach out to him and he should be able to help point you in the right direction as well. That is part of what he does as a Field Representative.

James W. Townsend, Andover

jwtownsen@comcast.net

(763)434-5650

I think you will find that most ML shooters are some of the nicest and best people that you will meet.

Fleener
Ames Iowa
 

Britsmoothy

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I think that that the general idea of having a nom-de-plume that we can all pronounce, rather than his name which is a bit of a tongue-twister is the reason for calling himself capandball. there are LOT more English-speakers on the planet than Hungarian speakers. Many of his videos are made in parts of Hungary, show road signs in Hungarian, ranges with Hungarian notices, references to his gun store with a Hungarian address and also international competitions held in Hungary. He also mention 'here in Hungary, we.........' on numerous occasions - so yes, he is a Hungarian ;)
From what I've seen of Hungary I would trade places immediately....
 

Eric Krewson

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My take is from years of mentoring people who are enamored with traditional archery but don't know anything about it. I have found that it is just a flash in the pan for most, just a passing fancy that they aren't willing to do the work to follow their initial dream. I have given away no telling how many bows to some of these types of folk because of their initial enthusiasm but not one had taken on traditional archery as a part of their lives. The bows I gave them disappeared as did the recipients, lesson learned.

Personally I think a flintlock is a step too far as an entry point into our sport. I am a hunter with over 60 years experience and found the step up to a flintlock was a daunting challenge, even though I had shot B/P for 50 years. It wasn't until I built my own rifles that I understood the intricacies of working up a load and getting the most out of my guns.

LIke fishing, we almost al started out with a Zebco 33 reel and cheap rod, as we progressed and learned more we went to a spinning reel, then a bait casting rig and finally a fly rod. Flintlocks are the bamboo fly rods of the B/P shooting sports, you need to start out with a percussion rifle and learn the ropes both of shooting and hunting.

Back when my friends and I started deer hunting we were so green we would just walk out in the woods and sit down and hope something came by, no scouting, no watching deer movement, no finding food sources or bedding areas, we just sat down and hoped.

I have been on many, many public land hunts and watched the other hunters, most never progress past the just walk into the woods and sit down stage. They may kill a deer by accident every 10 years or so but that is about it.

Now I read the woods like a book but it took me years to learn how to "read". You have to be willing to put in the time to learn the craft and get past the "sit in the woods" phase.

I recommend a Traditions, CVA, Lyman or possibly TC rifle in percussion, you will have about 1/3 the amount invested on your first learning tool, if you find out the sport isn't as exciting as you envisioned you have an easy out.

Most of all you need a mentor, someone with a little experience, going it completely alone without a family background of hunters will be a daunting task. I taught myself but I started out as a terror with my BB gun when I was eight or nine, none of my family hunted.
 
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Eric Krewson

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Another thing, nearby in Lawrenceburg Tn that have a get together called Davy Crockett days, lots of period camping, vendors and shooting. I was walking around with my latest build to show some friends who were camped there and was approached numerous times by guys I didn't know and invited to go on a woods walk with them and shoot.

If you could get to one of these events and let people know you are a beginner you would be overwhelmed by guys wanting to show you the ropes of black powder shooting.
 

fleener

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I would agree with Eric that a cheaper percussion rifle would be a good starter rifle for you. If you like it and stick with it move up to the next rifle. My first rifle was a Lyman Deer Stalker, my second was a Lyman Great Plains Rifle. I still have both, but have not shot either in over 20 years.

Keep in mind that buying a rifle is not like getting married or buying a house. You can always sell it, even if you sell it for a bit of a loss, you aren't going to be out much if it is a $400-$500 rifle.

I have a bunch of percussion guns, and 2 flintlocks. My first flinter that I dont own any more was a rifle that had ignition issues, and was frustrating. I would of hated for that to of been my very first ML as I would of been even more frustrated.


Fleener
 

Eric Krewson

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More thoughts while I am on my soapbox; As to building your own gun; ask yourself, am I crafty, do I regularly make things, do I find shop type work fascinating, am I a wood worker with tools already in place? If you didn't answer yes to all of the above don't try to make your own gun.

Again I go back to bow making; I teach it or used to, out of a dozen students I am lucky to get one or two that actually finish a bow. As soon as most find out it takes hours of rasping and tedious hard work they fall by the wayside. All of the guys who gave up didn't have that crafty gene in them, they didn't have any tools at home and had never made anything.

I have bought two kit guns from people who were enamored with the idea of making their own gun but found out gun building was a puzzle they just didn't have the ability to put together, they sold their kits at a huge discount. Fortunately for me one was a TOW Haines kit and the other was a Kibler SMR.

Here is my discounted Kibler after I finished it. The first owner cracked the stock in the forearm because he didn't know how to pull a barrel. It was an easy and now virtually invisible fix, I had done the same before so I knew how to repair it.
kibler best side.JPG
 
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Rum River

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Hello all and thanks for all the replies!

In a general reply to your replies:

I am from Minnesota. Maybe I should note as a fun fact, they have a muzzleloading hunting season here, although they recently now allow scopes. The fact there is a season dedicated to this, heightened my interest in maybe one day attempting to hunt as well. First thing is first though, is to become familiar with guns themselves.

I appreciate the comments on safety, I only have basic knowledge on that and yes I would certainly take safety courses if/when available. (I at least know, dont point at anything unless intend to shoot it, dont leave finger on trigger , point barrel away when loading, but there is much I am ignorant of)

I am afraid of buying used guns because of my ignorance I cannot tell good from bad, and could easily buy a poor quality gun for a high price.

I have read online a recommendation for Kibler's kits, which quite interests me, as opposed to trying to buy one from someone where I'm likely to make poor decisions. I see one reply mentioning them as well!

And yes I did watch some of those youtubers already haha

I do have quite a bit of social anxiety but hopefully I can get over that, if ever going to a range for first time
Welcome to the addiction.
I too am located in Minnesota. Feel free to private message me if you wish to connect for a mentoring-helping-you-get-your-feet-wet type of conversation.
 

pmccoywss

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If you are in the Twin Cities area, you might call or visit Track of the Wolf (look at their website too). They are located in Elk River (north edge of the Cities).
 

Story

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I am from Minnesota.
Things for you to follow up on -

Located in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, we sponsor a number of shoots and events centered on the collection, shooting and building of black powder firearms and the history around them

Fort Snelling is closed during the quarantine, but they have living historians when open.

Several groups of Minnesota living historians overlap your period of firearms interest.

Why do I mention living historians? The nice ones will let you pull the trigger on their weapons (blanks), so you can feel the difference between a 3rd Model Brown Bess, a Hawken, a Kentucky or a Trade Gun. One piece (and the time period that goes with it) might speak to you louder than the others.

PS - congrats on taking one step forward, entering a world of strangers and asking to be taught properly.
 
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tenngun

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Good advice.
when Gostomski turned out a real good North west trade gun I ho hummed.
Who would want a trade gun? Umph
Then middle 80s centermark came out with their Tulle Fusil De Chase based on the guns sent from the Tulle armory in France to its American colonies, Frances other two armories produced the gun but Tulle is the name we attach to these guns.
Anyway I had to have one.
All smooth bores I had owned before were shotguns. I had shot ball in them but only to plunk. As soon as I could save my pennies I bought a Centermark, this would be ‘93.
the more I did with this smoothie the more I liked it. It wasn’t long before I started thinking about those North West Trade Guns.
by 2011 I had to have one and put a fund together, bought the kit in ‘12 and was making smoke about four months later.
unfortunately it just didn’t fit me well.
I spent a few years thinking about it, a year wanting it and when I got it just wasn’t real impressed.
It shot well, lock functioned like a dream but it just weren’t me.
If you get a chance to find someone near you via the links above feel some of those styles
I’ve a similar story to tell about a Leman rifle that after building I found unpleasant to shoot.
 

Crow-Feather

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READ, READ, READ, then go and talk, Ask questions about what you read and didn't understand. I started with a flinter. I was afraid that it would blow up with first shot and held it a distance from my body. A lot of people at the range laughed and laughed, then came over and started teaching me how to shoot a flinter. I started aiming six inches to the left of target when shooting off hand and it was awhile before I got the "ignore the flash" in my brain and hit where I was aiming. When it got to where I was seeing the flash of the flame exiting the barrel that I figured I was getting close to where I needed to be. When you let a curious onlooker try your rifle and see the smile in his eyes after the shot, it makes the world a bit brighter.

Welcome from Idaho.
 

tenngun

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I’ve been shooting flinters since my first in ‘77.
it feels like instantly to me when I pull the trigger. By the time you’ve sent a hundred ball down range you won’t notice a delay
 

Kansas Jake

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The best advice here are the folks who pointed you to local people who you can get in touch with to find more information and maybe even have a chance to shoot with and get some mentoring. With the virus, many ranges and clubs are less available than a year ago, but someone may have access to one still open or private land for shooting. I will re-interate the importance of getting basic shooting or hunter safety instruction. Muzzleloaders may not fire multiple rounds quickly, but they are just as deadly as any other firearm. Good luck.
 

Griz44Mag

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So some background:

USA, 27, male

I've never owned a gun. I only shot a bb gun in cub scouts when very young. I love history. Father owns quite a few guns but never shoots them. I understand some might see my history and personality as a "city slicker", but I grew up and live in an area which is bordering farms, woods, yet close to town with housing projects advancing quickly. I sadly in youth spent little time outdoors.

One friend just bought a modern rifle and another acquaintance hunts often with modern rifle. Seeing them having fun, I started looking into guns, because I have little for hobbies. But modern guns like theirs I just don't find interesting.

I've seen videos of long rifles, I know the history and admire the mythology. I am just smitten by them and feel I would love to own one, historically correct.

Problem is, I know nothing about actually using guns, how to aquire them, or anything. I like the idea of hunting with one, even if never succeeded, but I also know nothing about hunting.

So my question is. If I have $1300 available to spend, with no experience with guns (but a willingness to learn) is it unwise to go into the flintlock route as a first gun?

Any thoughts or replies will be appreciated
If you will let us know where you are, there are always members here that would be happy to meet up with you and let you get some experience with someone who can guide you into the most rewarding hobby you will ever be involved in. Like mentioned above, it will become an addiction. But in a good way. Outdoors, fresh air, new friends that will likely become lifelong fiends. Overall, this is the hobby that puts you in contact with the best people on earth....
 
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