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jmfriss

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Hello! I am new to this community but am always getting more interested in joining it.

I've already asked a black powder subreddit on what to get but I came here to hopefully get more/different advice.

Like I said, I am brand new to this community/hobby so please let me know if I have unrealistic expectations.

I need some advice on as to what I should get to use and take care of a black powder rifle.

For budget I was hoping to get a rifle around $500-$700 USD and spend $100-$200 USD on accessories, balls, powder, etc.

As for a rifle I'm just looking for a .50 caliber percussion cap rifle that shoots relatively precise to shoot targets and maybe small game. I was thinking of either getting a Traditions rifle or waiting until I find a used Pedersoli for cheap. I'm hesitant to choose a Traditions because I'm wary of buying the cheapest option since I've heard they feel cheap and are fairly cheaply made, also in my other hobbies cheap-ing out will end up costing more in the long run in upgrades/repairs.

Also some advice on what other accessories I should get other than the rifle would also help greatly.

Again, please let me know if my expectations are unrealistic.
Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 
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Bushfire

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There's plenty of info on this forum, but no real beginner section that collates it all.

Either gun is fine, I like Pedersoli but it depends what you want it for. Just plinking, maybe a hunt someday I wouldn't break the bank.
You need to decide what you want to shoot I.e. balls or bullets, this will influence the twist rate you need. Something 1:30" or less is ideal for bullets, 1:60" is good for ball. Some people like 1:48 to have mid ground.

For a 50 cal you can't go wrong with 2F powder, caplock will let you get away with Pyrodex, maybe some synthetic powders. Real black is best, I prefer Swiss.

You'll need no.11 caps, probably a short start, and either bullets/sabots or patch and ball. For the latter try Hornady 0.490 balls and a 0.015 lubed patch. I lube with Peanut oil.

You'll also need a powder measure, range rod, 50 cal cleaning jag, ball puller and patch worm.

I'm a big game hunter not a target shooter so I prefer stouter loads, in 50 cals 90-120gr 2F. For targets try 50-80gr and see what the gun likes.

One thing I would say is that I have lots of experience shooting big game with various weapons - mostly centrefires. Anyone that suggests muzzlelosders or round balls can't cleanly kill big game (idiots like Steve Rinella) have no idea what they're talking about and should be disregarded. I used to be blown away by the terminal performance of muzzleloaders because people said they were no good. Then I realised most folks who say that never shoot them.

50 cal kill
Screenshot_20220925-100958_Gallery.jpg



Good luck
 

JRL1164

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Agree with Bushfire here. Tons of information here that can be useful. I've been hunting with a TC New Englander .50 for several years and have surpassed my centerfire kills for big game.

Starting out the bare necessities I would say would be powder (I prefer real black powder but other have been successful with locally acquired substitutes.), caps, patch and ball or conicals (your preference) and powder measure. Also adding cleaning afterwards a good nipple wrench, rags, and your choice of oil that pretty much gets your foot in the door to start experimenting with your rifle.

My go too hunting load has been 90 grains of 2F (Goex or Swiss) and a Hornady Great Plains 385 grain bullet for my New Englander (1:48 twist).

I had a Traditions Pennsylvania in percussion and enjoyed it but eventually sold it to acquire something different. I enjoyed it very much but the fact that I had gone with that rifle style and not gotten a flintlock ate at me too much.

I think starting out, you shouldn't have any issue with a TC, Lyman, or Pedersoli. The Traditions may be good to cut your teeth on and after a while the option to upgrade to something more your preference. I've not checked them out in several years and not really sure what they still offer anymore. Check your local pawn shops, sometimes you can find a deal just because the owner is trying to get it off his shelves to make room for something a little more modern.
 
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@jmfriss, welcome to this excellent pastime of traditional muzzleloading. Getting started is always an issue with respect to cost and getting the supplies one needs. Choosing a beginning rifle is one of the hardest tasks one can deal with early on. Are there any traditional muzzle loading rifle clubs in your area. It has proven to be best to seek advice from a local club and the members. Some excellent used guns will be available from time to time. Trying to keep within you budget is difficult. The advantage to starting with a percussion lock gun is the ease of getting reliable firing. Powders are available even in places where black powder can be nearly impossible to find. The substitute powders such as Pyrodex or Tripple 7 will work. You may want to use a hotter or magnum cap to get reliable ignition. In any case I would replace any factory cap with a cap designed to get more flame to the main charge such as Hot Shot or Red Hot nipples.

Choice of rifles. New, factory built will be Traditions, Pedersoli, or Investarms (as sold by Cabellas, or Dixie Gun Works or other suppliers). The Traditions rifles may have a reputation for being cheaply built, but the barrels are often excellent and are accurate on target. Max loads of 80 grains (volume measure) of powder will be easier on the stocks of the slimmer built rifles.

These rifles are well suited for shooting a patched round ball. The ball of 0.490" diameter wrapped in a pillow ticking patch of 0.015" thickness lubricated with a mix of dish soap and water is a good start. More exotic lubricants can be explored later but are not needed to start out.

You will want a volume powder measure, cleaning jag, a working ramrod (the factory rods are very flimsy), ball, patches, perhaps a short starter and the location of a place to shoot.

Welcome.
 

Pietro

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Welcome aboard, Pilgrim ! :)

Starting muzzleloading can be a bit funny, since many folks new to it buy whatever - then later find out that their first choice didn't tun out to be what they expected.

I would suggest checking gunshops (not AR gun shops) for lightly used .50cal arms, like a used Thompson Center (T/C), which are abundantly available (sometimes for chump change).



Here's a magazine article on what's needed:

 

rafterob

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Traditions rifles are just fine and a good starting point. One of my rifles is a .50 caliber Traditions Hawken Woodsman. A very durable and dependable rifle. It is percussion, I do not have any experience with their flintlock versions. Keep your eye out for used Lyman, Thompson Center, Investarms or Pedersoli. All should be within your price range.
 
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Hello! I am new to this community but am always getting more interested in joining it.

I've already asked a black powder subreddit on what to get but I came here to hopefully get more/different advice.

Like I said, I am brand new to this community/hobby so please let me know if I have unrealistic expectations.

I need some advice on as to what I should get to use and take care of a black powder rifle.

For budget I was hoping to get a rifle around $500-$700 USD and spend $100-$200 USD on accessories, balls, powder, etc.

As for a rifle I'm just looking for a .50 caliber percussion cap rifle that shoots relatively precise to shoot targets and maybe small game. I was thinking of either getting a Traditions rifle or waiting until I find a used Pedersoli for cheap. I'm hesitant to choose a Traditions because I'm wary of buying the cheapest option since I've heard they feel cheap and are fairly cheaply made, also in my other hobbies cheap-ing out will end up costing more in the long run in upgrades/repairs.

Also some advice on what other accessories I should get other than the rifle would also help greatly.

Again, please let me know if my expectations are unrealistic.
Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
If you're into Flint, please get Eric Bye's book from the NMLRA, 'Flintlocks, A Guide to Their Use and Appreciation.' I have no connection w/ the book or NMLRA aside from being a member. But it has a wealth of info on flintlocks and their history and use. Good luck!
 

deermanok

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Check the for sale section of this site. There's usually some good, affordable rifles listed.
Some of the old CVA rifles can be found for a bargain.
I've picked up a few over the last few years and have had good luck with them. All have been good shooters.
 
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Welcome to muzzleloading! Folks here have already given good advice. I'd say your $$ expectations are reasonable. Ask lots of questions, folks are happy to help. Use the search tool for cleaning advice, loads, and whatever else - there's lots of good information available. Have fun - the first couple of outings might be a challenge because there is a lot to remember, but it gets easier. These guns are great for hunting and you'll find with the right load are very accurate. Enjoy the journey.
 

Col. Batguano

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Apart from the "stuff" you need knowledge. This and a couple other forums are as good a place to gain it as any. Dutch Schoultz' book on ML'er accuracy is a VERY good reference book on how to develop your loads. With that, you can start shooting, making mistakes, and gaining wisdom.

I look forward to hearing of your progress.

Note; Since it happens to EVERYBODY, I suggest you do an advanced search now under the headings of; "XXX happened, what do I do now?"

Good Luck, and, welcome aboard!
 

Bushfire

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I didn't think to mention it but most of this advice including my own is based on the assumption of a caplock. If you're wanting a flinter quality does make a difference and in place of caps you'll need flints. Few other considerations amd things you'll need different.

I think it's a natural progression for lovers of muzzleloaders to end up with flintlocks. I rarely ever pull out the caplocks anymore.

20211107_194859.jpg
 
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Don’t discount traditions rifles. I’ve had/have at least three percussion ones and one flint. All of them would shoot as well as rifles I own that were three to five times what the traditions rifles cost. The traditions mountain rifle is a fine looking gun in my opinion. I put together one of the cheap St. Louis Hawken kits for a friend recently and it was a tack driver at fifty yards.
 
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Others have already covered the basic information you asked about so I'll add just a couple of things I had to learn the hard way...DO BUY a good solid "range rod" something like a Creedmore rod for loading and cleaning. A wood ram rod (like what comes with the rifle) is just for looks! DO BUY a good, well made "short starter" it will help you load soooo much easier and faster. DON'T TALK to people or let them chat with you when you are first learning to safely load and fire a muzzleloader. Until you are experienced in the loading process it's way too easy to forget where you were and end up dry balling the rifle or double charging it! Even after years of experience it's still an easy thing to do if you get distracted! You are making the right choice for a newbie in wanting a caplock but if the muzzleloading bug bites you hard, you will end up wanting a flintlock. Stay with the caplock until you have some experience in this hobby because flintlocks are a whole extra level of difficulty and sometimes I fear they turn-off new muzzleloaders to this great hobby because they get one for their first black powder venture. Good luck and welcome to a great hobby!
 
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JMHO but yard sales and Flea markets can be a good source since usually no strings are attached to their sale. When stopping at yard sales always ask about gun stuff. I've found people who didn't want to put something gun related out in public but had something to sell. A tightly rolled ball of aluminum foil or a shiny ball bearing that can be easily dropped down the bore and a small flashlight allow you to examine the bore.
 
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Watch this forums for sales section. There are really good deals posted there quite often.

If you are open to a Traditions rifle, then open your search to the old CVA sidelocks. They were made by the same factory that makes the Traditions sidelocks. Hell the parts are mostly interchangeable with no modifications required.

Also consider Lyman and TC rifles for a .50 They are both often offered for sale here on the forums. And typically just 25%+ higher price than the Traditions and CVA offerings. Both made good rifles.

Now be careful you might get the full bug and end with a closet full of guns. :)
 

new2bp

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Now be careful you might get the full bug and end with a closet full of guns. :)
He speaks the truth. A BP gun was always on my want list... saw a smokin' deal on a 1858 revolver and grabbed it, then started pondering a rifle... finally get back out to the world after covid shutdowns and fall into a pretty good deal on a .54 rifle... and while I want a smaller caliber (as well?) I also wanna play with shotgun, so I just got a single shot 12ga from a pawn shop and an adapter/converter to 209 muzzle loading (note I'm not posting about it here.... )

Still, I figure if one will be into shooting BP for whatever reason (mine is "it goes bang") then you'll probably end up wtih a C&B revolver, maybe a single shot pistol, and a rifle. I think the folks into smoothbores are more on the historical end of things, shotgun side of BP for "modern traditional" stuff is rather limited as far as offerings.
 

jmfriss

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Holy crap guys, I cannot stress enough how helpful and welcoming your responses are. I'm really surprised at how active these forums are for what seems like a very niche hobby. I have read all of the responses and I thank each of you for helping me out.

I think I'll take the jump whenever I find a reasonably priced T/C or Pedersoli Hawken rifle in .50 caliber unless any of you have other recommendations. I don't care for historically accuracy but it just seems like the best choice for me since it gives me easier to find ammo and the choice to use minnie balls and lead balls.

Again, thank you all so much!
 

GeronPG

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I got into Muzzleloaders 20+ years ago when a guy gave me a TC Hawken .50 he'd lost interest in. I had to get powder and accessories, but that seemed like a small investment to be able to hunt the extra 2 weeks here in NC. The bore was lightly pitted, but shot prb's very accurately. I've since acquired another traditional spanish Hawken copy, and 2 centerlines (can we say that word on this forum?) It's somewhat likely that used guns will have at least some pitting - not everyone cleans and cares for a M-L like they should. But they can still shoot. I can't get Lee REAL bullets to shoot worth anything from a pitted bore, but sabots will.
I agree with about all the advice given by the other posters.
And yes, a round ball, though not modern-looking, will kill way more effectively than you'd expect. I think I've shot 8 deer with a muzzleloader, 4 of them with prb's, 3 of the 4 punched completely through, none were lost.
For a while, you could find used Hawken-style guns in gun shops sitting with dust on them on a rack in the back for less than $200 sometimes - hunters were going to scoped centerlines, and the percussion cap guns were cheap and plentiful. Good luck.
 
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