yah, it's kind of a mess lol, I do like the idea of PA's extra Flintlock season!Here in Pennsylvania, the problem is that the rule makers don't know crap about the evolution of firearms, especially about muzzle loaders and neither do their advisors. They pass some ridiculous rules that make no sense and often ignore their own laws and regulations when advising the public. We have 2 special regulation (suburban) areas where rifles are illegal for deer. Yet some rifles are permitted as long as the bores are measured in shot gun gauge sizes, or the muzzle loaders. Muzzle loading rifles and smoothbores are legal for deer in these areas, but not muzzle loading pistols, even smooth bores. (Some folks have argued that a smooth bore flintlock pistol is a shotgun and the game commission still won't allow it, but has issued an advisory that when a 45 revolver is loaded with 410 shells it is a shotgun for purposes of the regulations.) The regulations for years clearly limited ignition of muzzle loaders to flint, percussion of primers. No wheel locks or match locks were permitted for deer. (Kit Ravenshear wrote articles about bagging PA whitetail with a matchlock, back when it was legal for "any muzzle loader" in the 1960's and early 1970's) About 1984, they rewrote the law and screwed things up royally. Then the Game Commission in it's ignorance really fouled things up. They passed a rule requiring open sights, yet in the booklet passed out with licenses, advised that any muzzle loader over 45 caliber was legal for deer and could have peep sights, but no scopes. Eventually the passed a regulation with great fan fare sayi8ng they were going to allow peep sights and they changed the "open sights" language. Three years later, they amended it back to requiring "open sights" but the advisory booklet said peep sights were legal. Muzzle loader for deer are also limited to 44 caliber and up and single barrel with single projectile ammunition. Then came the debate on whether a saboted 40 caliber pistol bullet fired out of a 45 caliber muzzle loader was legal. Muzzle loader Pistols must for deer must be 50 caliber and up, single barrel. Cap and Ball revolvers were legal for deer up to 1984 in the egular firearms season. The new rules said only muzzle loaders, shotguns and centerfire arms for deer. Previously, certain rim fire cartridges over 25 caliber were legal for deer. (a 41 Swiss Rim Fire about equals the ballistics of a 30-30) But a cap and ball revolver is not a shotgun or muzzle loader. It could only be used for deer if a centerfire. So for the years that I hunted with a cap and ball revolver, I carried a Remington cap tin that clearly indicated the No 11 percussion caps were "Center Fire" I was checked once by a Deputy Game Officer and he never questioned what kind of pistol it was. The Irony, is that in PA, ANY centerfire manually operated pistol or rifle is legal for deer. Even the 2 MM Kolibri cartridge with it's lowly 7 ft/lbs of muzzle energy.
Some states limit firearms by ft/ibs energy. I heard that some go by minimum caliber (VA) I have heard of proposals to limit cartridges by case volume. Apparently an attempt to save such high power cartridges as the 220 Swift from the same fate as the 22 Hornet. Some have certain barrel lengths for muzzle loaders. At one time PA had a muzzle loader minimum 44 caliber propelled by at least 40 grains of powder and muzzle loaders for the special flint season had to be originals or replicas of pre 1800 firearms. But along came Thomson Center and others with their short barreled half stocks and the Commission dropped the pre1800 requirement like a hot rock. It also took a visit from Doc White to get in-lines approved for deer here. . However much I criticize my states Game Commission, we do have a three week flintlock only season starting the day after Christmas. for which I am truly grateful.