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PotomacRanger

32 Cal
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I have never been taught how to use a muzzleloader nor how to be accurate with it. My father passed when I was 11 and grandfather when I was 9 so I never got that lesson passed down to me. My mother sold their rifles off long ago. That being said my friend got some rifles from his uncle and they have been a hoot to shoot. I am no where near accurate but I want to get one of my own and practice and get good. I also want to hunt white tail deer with it. Most of my shots will be within 60-75 yards so Im confident I can get good. I only have a single shot smooth barrel shotgun but I figured a rifled muzzleloader is the way to go. Problem is I dont know where to go or what to buy. I recently bought a range box from a yard sale for $40 and it has about 200 .490" Speer roundballs and a lot of patches. I have read that .490" is for a .50 caliber rifle so that is what I am aiming to get beings how I have the lead already. I dont know if I want flint or cap but I hear caps cant be had for cheap so I guess I'll go with flint. Call me crazy but I have been watching youtube like Capnball and those 18th century guys hunting and I want to get to something like that. My price range is probably gonna cap off somewhere around $500. I dont want to spend too much starting out. Thanks to everyone who gives their two cents because it is needed. Besides watching the old movies with powder first then patch and ball that is all I know I hit the target consistently just not dead on groups I dont know what Im doin wrong. Apologies for such a long post.
 

Nobody85

16 bore
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I started shooting with 1970s Hawken repros and such. There are plenty of them out there to be had. Shouldn’t cost too much, although I haven’t been in the market for a percussion rifle in a good bit. Take a look around. There are many starter muzzleloaders that are flinters, as well as percussion. Caps aren’t that expensive either. Have fun.
 
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I have never been taught how to use a muzzleloader nor how to be accurate with it. My father passed when I was 11 and grandfather when I was 9 so I never got that lesson passed down to me. My mother sold their rifles off long ago. That being said my friend got some rifles from his uncle and they have been a hoot to shoot. I am no where near accurate but I want to get one of my own and practice and get good. I also want to hunt white tail deer with it. Most of my shots will be within 60-75 yards so Im confident I can get good. I only have a single shot smooth barrel shotgun but I figured a rifled muzzleloader is the way to go. Problem is I dont know where to go or what to buy. I recently bought a range box from a yard sale for $40 and it has about 200 .490" Speer roundballs and a lot of patches. I have read that .490" is for a .50 caliber rifle so that is what I am aiming to get beings how I have the lead already. I dont know if I want flint or cap but I hear caps cant be had for cheap so I guess I'll go with flint. Call me crazy but I have been watching youtube like Capnball and those 18th century guys hunting and I want to get to something like that. My price range is probably gonna cap off somewhere around $500. I dont want to spend too much starting out. Thanks to everyone who gives their two cents because it is needed. Besides watching the old movies with powder first then patch and ball that is all I know I hit the target consistently just not dead on groups I dont know what Im doin wrong. Apologies for such a long post.
Well you came to right place to find some knowledge. I was fortunate enough to have people teach me the very basics of muzzleloading and how to care for them and get them shooting straight. I used to hunt up there in Green Ridge when I was very young and .40-.50 caliber is all ya need. Most people who hunt up that way I knew used .45 and .50. That being said you will have to decide for yourself if ya want to start on flint or caplock. Personally I like flintlocks over caplocks. Other forum members may have other suggestions but if I were you I would get a Thompson Center traditional muzzleloader. If ya want a flintlock I would either get a Renegade in .50 cal or a Pennsylvania Hunter in .50 cal. They are lightweight and are typically under $500. I would also look into getting some powder. If you dont have any or any locally I would reccomend goin over to the Powder Valley website and pick up either some Swiss of Schutzen 2f or 3f whatever you prefer or can get a lot of. If you want to hunt this coming season you'll have about 2 months to get squared away. Its enough time to get consistent shots in at 75 yards. Keep your shots at no more than 60 until you feel comfortable.
 

PotomacRanger

32 Cal
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Well you came to right place to find some knowledge. I was fortunate enough to have people teach me the very basics of muzzleloading and how to care for them and get them shooting straight. I used to hunt up there in Green Ridge when I was very young and .40-.50 caliber is all ya need. Most people who hunt up that way I knew used .45 and .50. That being said you will have to decide for yourself if ya want to start on flint or caplock. Personally I like flintlocks over caplocks. Other forum members may have other suggestions but if I were you I would get a Thompson Center traditional muzzleloader. If ya want a flintlock I would either get a Renegade in .50 cal or a Pennsylvania Hunter in .50 cal. They are lightweight and are typically under $500. I would also look into getting some powder. If you dont have any or any locally I would reccomend goin over to the Powder Valley website and pick up either some Swiss of Schutzen 2f or 3f whatever you prefer or can get a lot of. If you want to hunt this coming season you'll have about 2 months to get squared away. Its enough time to get consistent shots in at 75 yards. Keep your shots at no more than 60 until you feel comfortable.
Thompson Center appears alot on this forum will definitely look into them. I did a forum search of Thompson Center and they are mentioned everywhere here. Got any ideas for a cheap shotgun for squirrel and turkey ? I see guys selling them here for $2k mind you they look like mint condition museum pieces. Just seeing what else I can pickup while Im looking.
 

DOUBLEDEUCE 1

69 Cal.
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Welcome. I agree with a lot of what has been said. Personally I like the TC Hawken .50 cal, percussion. I’ve been shooting mine for well over forty years. Absolutely no complaints. It’s solid like a tank. I shoot 3F powder, pillow ticking patch and a .490 ball, and use a good (for me) lube.

I know my rifle won’t win any ‘correct’ contests. But I am thoroughly satisfied with it. For me, it’s just plain fun.
 
Joined
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I think your 50 cal balls is the cosmos pointing you inside direction… why turn now? 50 is a great all around caliber and there are tons of inexpensive production guns out there- TC, CVA, Traditions etc. I would suggest percussion to start as the learning curve is just a little more simple… if it were me.

A billion YouTube videos which there wasn’t such a thing back in my day. We had Outdoor Life, Field and Stream magazines and I devoted those as fast as they came out. Books, magazines, the internet. There are a million places to start.

Go to a shoot and meet a friend. Everyone will want to help you. It’s almost contagious.

It is hard to hear a kid grew up wanting the knowledge and couldn’t get it. Mine are grown and never wanted any of it. Seems like a waste to me. I’d love to be a mentor again.

Good luck Amigo! You’ll do great.
 

Bushfire

🇦🇺 Australia
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Bear in mind you'll want a 50 cal that's at fastest a 1:48 twist, slower is better again for ball shooters.

Caplocks are easier and more reliable early on, but I never use mine anymore. Flintlocks are very addictive.
 

SamTex1949

32 Cal.
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East Texas piney woods
I have never been taught how to use a muzzleloader nor how to be accurate with it. My father passed when I was 11 and grandfather when I was 9 so I never got that lesson passed down to me. My mother sold their rifles off long ago. That being said my friend got some rifles from his uncle and they have been a hoot to shoot. I am no where near accurate but I want to get one of my own and practice and get good. I also want to hunt white tail deer with it. Most of my shots will be within 60-75 yards so Im confident I can get good. I only have a single shot smooth barrel shotgun but I figured a rifled muzzleloader is the way to go. Problem is I dont know where to go or what to buy. I recently bought a range box from a yard sale for $40 and it has about 200 .490" Speer roundballs and a lot of patches. I have read that .490" is for a .50 caliber rifle so that is what I am aiming to get beings how I have the lead already. I dont know if I want flint or cap but I hear caps cant be had for cheap so I guess I'll go with flint. Call me crazy but I have been watching youtube like Capnball and those 18th century guys hunting and I want to get to something like that. My price range is probably gonna cap off somewhere around $500. I dont want to spend too much starting out. Thanks to everyone who gives their two cents because it is needed. Besides watching the old movies with powder first then patch and ball that is all I know I hit the target consistently just not dead on groups I dont know what Im doin wrong. Apologies for such a long post.
FIND A LOCAL CLUB OR GROUP AND GO VISIT, OBSERVE, ASK QUESTIONS , SHOW THEM WHAT YOU HAVE !
 
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Thompson Center appears alot on this forum will definitely look into them. I did a forum search of Thompson Center and they are mentioned everywhere here. Got any ideas for a cheap shotgun for squirrel and turkey ? I see guys selling them here for $2k mind you they look like mint condition museum pieces. Just seeing what else I can pickup while Im looking.
The T/C Renegade in 56 smooth bore will satisfy your desire to have a deer rifle and a smoothbore for squirrel and if allowed to be used for turkey. Otherwise, you can look for a T/C New Englander in either 12 gauge or 50 caliber to have one gun with multiple options.

The T/C firearms are no longer in production, so you will be looking for them on the used gun market.
 
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Older T/C and older Investarm flintlock rifles should be in your price range.
Put a "wanted ad" in the sale section here. You might find folks within driving range with a weapon that you can get your hands on.
 
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Starting from scratch with little if any knowledge I'd suggest a caplock. If you can get your hands on 1 container of caps, ($6 - $25) that's 100 shots. That'll get you by until you can source some more.
With a caplock you can use the powder substitutes, Pyrodex or 777, (easier to find).
 

hanshi

Cannon
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Any caliber of .45 and up will do what you want. Check the classifieds here, you may find a deal. Beware of imported flintlocks. The flint locks on them can range from very good to inoperable; a bad one will be a major headache so nothing's wrong with waiting a bit and saving up a little more $$. you really need some personal guidance from an experienced owner/shooter to help with your choice.
 

new2bp

40 Cal
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A tin of 100 caps, even if you paid $20 locally, would still give you multiple range sessions and plenty of hunting, so I wouldn't eliminate percussion simply because of cap availability. Heck for less than the cost of 1k caps you can get the make-your-own-cap kit which some report good results with. Same with powder - it keeps popping up in dribs and drabs at various online retailers, suck it up and pay the shipping and hazmat and get 2-4lbs in one order and be set for years.

As to finding a rifle in your budget.... In the past month I've bought or helped a friend buy 4 different percussion rifles (CVA .45, CVA .54 and two TC .50s) plus a couple modern in-lines (but that is for a different forum). All were at pawn shops or gun shops or outdoor shops (fishing, canoing/kayak, hunting stuff place). None of 'em were priced at over $150 and even that one I paid $110 out the door cash. Most pawn/gun places that take 'em in pay close to nothing just 'cause they don't know anything about them and don't want to take a risk of loosing and yet don't know the value so they get marked at buy/loan cost x3 or +$100. Two of the pawn shop guns were had for dirt cheap - "no we don't have any muzzleloaders...", I keep poking around the store looking at moderns, guy is rummaging in back, brings out a .50 inline and a .45 CVA percussion and says "hey found these in back - dunno anything about 'em, don't wanna deal with 'em, don't wan't 'em in my store." $30 for the percussion, $50 for the inline (nice inline too - stainless/ceracote, plus a camo dip job and matching dip on the scope). Percussion is gonna need a little bit of TLC but for $30 I figure the lock alone is worth that in parts or for a project .... Show up with cash in your pocket, be prepared to evaluate, and make an offer.

I can also say that having started shooting BP rifle a month or so ago with the first of the above purchases that yes, .50 caliber is the way to go even if you didn't already have plenty of lead for it. There is simply more choice for it out there, and more commonly carried in stores (biggest ML type gunshop/fishing tackle/farm supply place near me had lots of 50 cal stuff and exactly one offering in .45 and .54 all the big box stores seem to be .50 only), and more available options online even.
 
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Get the rifle and caliber .45 to .50. I choose .50 , 'cause that's my favorite for deer. Most .50's like .490 balls w/.014 patches. Know that .014 patches are usually.015 ,or .018 thickness and compress down to .014. Be encouraged , ask questions. It's not rocket science. :thumb: ..............oldwood
 
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I have never been taught how to use a muzzleloader nor how to be accurate with it. My father passed when I was 11 and grandfather when I was 9 so I never got that lesson passed down to me. My mother sold their rifles off long ago. That being said my friend got some rifles from his uncle and they have been a hoot to shoot. I am no where near accurate but I want to get one of my own and practice and get good. I also want to hunt white tail deer with it. Most of my shots will be within 60-75 yards so Im confident I can get good. I only have a single shot smooth barrel shotgun but I figured a rifled muzzleloader is the way to go. Problem is I dont know where to go or what to buy. I recently bought a range box from a yard sale for $40 and it has about 200 .490" Speer roundballs and a lot of patches. I have read that .490" is for a .50 caliber rifle so that is what I am aiming to get beings how I have the lead already. I dont know if I want flint or cap but I hear caps cant be had for cheap so I guess I'll go with flint. Call me crazy but I have been watching youtube like Capnball and those 18th century guys hunting and I want to get to something like that. My price range is probably gonna cap off somewhere around $500. I dont want to spend too much starting out. Thanks to everyone who gives their two cents because it is needed. Besides watching the old movies with powder first then patch and ball that is all I know I hit the target consistently just not dead on groups I dont know what Im doin wrong. Apologies for such a long post.
I always tell guys this, but if you can spare 50 bucks/year for the 12 issues of Muzzle Blasts, and about 60 for Muzzleloader, a bi-monthly, you absorb lots of info over time. Also the NMLRA has a fresh re-print coming out of Eric Bye's book, 'Flintlocks, a Guide To Their Use and Appreciation, which is really informative. Good luck! Research and don't spend money until you know what you're buying and why. Lots of good guys on this site so you've made a good decision just joining here. All the best!
 

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