i have built a few black powder pistols from kits. i am thinking about doing a rifle kit. i would like something in maybe 50 cal. would use for shooting and some hunting. can anyone suggest a good model and brand for around $500?
The kits mentioned by the others in this topic are similar in difficulty to the kits you've built in the past.
They are basically factory made guns that have not been totally finished.
The holes are pre-located and threaded where necessary. The parts are close to fitting although some may need small amounts of wood carefully trimmed away.
Basically, they are almost a "plug and play" kit.
If you take your time and ask questions in our Gun Builder's Bench area you will end up with a fine gun.
In case you are tempted to spend a bit more and buy one of the many "advanced kits" from places like Track of the Wolf, Pecatonica River, Chambers, Tennessee Valley Muzzleloading etc, you need to be aware that these are not the kind of kits you have done in the past.
The builder needs to have a good understanding of accurately laying out locations, drilling, threading, filing, chiseling and polishing to name just a few of the things that need to be known.
They are basically a box of totally unfinished castings and a roughed out stock blank.
You will have to locate, drill and thread screw holes, file and finish the rough castings and hand fit all of the parts.
The kind of kit you are thinking of takes from 15-30 hours to assemble if a good job is going to be done.
The "advanced kits" can easily take the builder 150 hours before the gun is finished.
(My first "advanced kit" took me over 180 hours).
When I was looking for a rifle, a very experienced shooter advised me to get a Great Plains kit. He said I'd get a good rifle and would also learn a lot about how it worked.
I don't have time just now to build anything, so bought something else, but I'd like to try a kit in a year or two. I really like the Pennsylvanial Fowler by Chambers, or maybe the American Fowler at TVM.
Would one of these be within the reach of a beginner (a semi-competent wood butcher with limited metalwork skills) if he bought the lock already assembled?
Given your self described abilities as "a semi-competent wood butcher with limited metalwork skills", I think that either of the kits that you mentioned would be well within your skill set. You definitely want a finished lock. You will need patience, go slowly and work carefully and you will end up with a gun that will serve you well and you will be proud to show your friends. You may have to pick up a couple of tools such as an Exacto knife set and some finishing products such as browning solution and stock finish. Nothing too expensive. You probably already have all of the other tools that you will need. You have the skills, you just have to have patience, go slow and be meticulous and you will soon have a beautiful gun that you can be rightfully proud to own.
I would go with a Lyman GPR in .54 cal & it will weigh a lil less & have a lil more Umph for deer hunting.
In the Production kits, don't plan on learning anything much, other than how to Assemble something, as
all the real work is already done for you. It will NOT prepare you for building a rifle from parts.
IMHO, the Lyman GPR is the Best Bang for the Buck in a production rifle.