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Some basic questions, help me decide what I want/need.

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Vicarious

32 Cal
Joined
Jan 26, 2024
Messages
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Location
Utah
To add on my intro post I really think I need a flint rifle.

From my lurking here I have narrowed it down to a Kibbler kit in .50. I would like something that is a good basic representation of a late 1700s or Rev War rifle. I'm very avid at building firearms of more modern types, and I have a good set of tooling or can make my own.


My simple uniformed questions,
-Which Kibbler kit would be close to something a minuteman would have used at Lexington and Concord?
-I would like a .50. Most of my shooting will be range fun. I also plan to eventually use it for deer and elk. Should I go bigger or smaller or am I fine? I also plan to build a .50 flint pistol later and want to use the same mold.
-My shots will be about 50yds with a max of 100yds. What would be my max range with a .50 on game?
-Embarrassingly, black powder confuses me as I'm new to the game. What F powder and what size grain charges should I be working with for general shooting and game loads? I want to buy powder in bulk the same as I do for centerfire reloading.
-What size ball mold and what size patches do I need?

I have a bunch more questions but I don't want to be spoon fed. I would like answers but links to learn and research would also be helpful.

Thanks for putting up with my new guy questions and please excuse my overexcitement. I'm really stoked about expanding my firearms collection, knowledge and fun.
 
Most "minutemen" who fought at Lexington and Concord would have been armed with smoothbores, either muskets or fowlers. Other than Daniel Morgan's riflemen and some other backwoodsmen, most militia and continental soldiers were armed with smoothbores during the American Revolution.
A .50 is plenty good for deer at ranges out to 100 yards, but if you add elk into the equation, I would move up to a .54 or even a .58. Or else with a .50 I would keep my shots to less than 50 yards at something as large as an elk. (A .50 (.490) round ball only weighs about 175-176 grains.)
Personally, I prefer 3F black powder for everything, both in my .62 smoothbore and in my .50 rifles. I also prime with the same 3F. One powderhorn for all, primary and priming. Simple. Others prefer 2F for their primary charge, but then use 4F for priming.
You just have to experiment and find out what works best for you.
Balls for a .50 are usually .490 or .495 for a tighter fit. However, I have one .50 rifle that likes a .480 ball.
I know nothing about the Kibler kits except what I have read on here.
Just do it! Happy trails to you. ():~)
 
I would recommend either the Woodsrunner or Colonial in .54.
The Colonial is a PA style.
The Woodsrunner is Virginia style.
Both are appropriate to Rev-War period.
Neither are appropriate for New England in 1775 until the VA/PAriflemen arrived from the South.
I use 2ff or 3fff for prime and main charge. It depends on what I have.
My go to is....
2ff for prime and main.
 
If you really wanted a Minuteman gun this moves you into Smoothbore guns.
New England Fowler’s.....Committee of Safety muskets, English fowling guns.....
Stuff like that.
Basically shotguns, in shotgun bore size.

Off hand I don’t know of anyone that makes New England kit gun unless you get into Rifle Shoppe stuff.
Clay Smith used to offer an English Fowler set but now I think it’s only available from him as a custom build.
 
To add on my intro post I really think I need a flint rifle.

From my lurking here I have narrowed it down to a Kibbler kit in .50. I would like something that is a good basic representation of a late 1700s or Rev War rifle. I'm very avid at building firearms of more modern types, and I have a good set of tooling or can make my own.


My simple uniformed questions,
-Which Kibbler kit would be close to something a minuteman would have used at Lexington and Concord?
-I would like a .50. Most of my shooting will be range fun. I also plan to eventually use it for deer and elk. Should I go bigger or smaller or am I fine? I also plan to build a .50 flint pistol later and want to use the same mold.
-My shots will be about 50yds with a max of 100yds. What would be my max range with a .50 on game?
-Embarrassingly, black powder confuses me as I'm new to the game. What F powder and what size grain charges should I be working with for general shooting and game loads? I want to buy powder in bulk the same as I do for centerfire reloading.
-What size ball mold and what size patches do I need?

I have a bunch more questions but I don't want to be spoon fed. I would like answers but links to learn and research would also be helpful.

Thanks for putting up with my new guy questions and please excuse my overexcitement. I'm really stoked about expanding my firearms collection, knowledge and fun.
My understanding is that most colonial minutemen and militia would have had muskets -- smoothbore in larger calibers and able to accept a bayonet. Kibler doesn't make those. A musket is usually pretty sturdy but not well-suited to accurate fire like a rifle would be. Beat too many redcoats with a fine rifle and you'll likely crack the stock. Certainly, there were riflemen & rifle companies among the militias. But those were in the minority. I guess it just depends what aesthetic you're going for. I think the shoot-ability of a Kibler would trump any concerns with historical probabilities. If this is primarily a hunting arm, yea, do the Kibler. There were certainly lots of fine rifles among the general population of colonists.

When I first got into this several years ago, a guy I bought my first rifle from recommended I pick up this book and read it cover to cover before heading to the range: Lyman Black Powder Handbook & Loading Manual, 2nd Edition. That was really good advice and I did exactly that. So when I went to the range, I had a loading and safety checklist to go through step-by-step until it became second-nature. I'll echo that recommendation.

.490 and .495 are common ball sizes for .50 rifles. The smaller the ball, the thicker the patch. How thick just depends on what your rifle likes. Personally, I have a .485 mould for casting lead and bismuth roundball. If you don't have to worry about lead-free stuff, I'd go with a .490. But it would be best if you could pick up a few different patch sizes and some factory-made roundball in .490 and .495 and see which works best for you and your rifle. With the leftovers of the size you don't need, melt it down & recast it in the size you want.

A shorter .50 conical bullet might get you the extra punch you'd need for elk, assuming you could get it to shoot to the same POI as your roundball and get it to stabilize in a slower-twist rifle. I tend to equate a .50 round ball with a 30-30 WCF as far as hunting effectiveness -- light for elk/moose but doable at closer ranges, perfect for deer & med game, overkill on smaller animals. I believe that Clay Hayes, a hunting & traditional archery YouTuber, uses a .50 Hornady Great Plains bullet on his flintlock elk hunts and limits shots to <100 yards.
 
To add on my intro post I really think I need a flint rifle.

From my lurking here I have narrowed it down to a Kibbler kit in .50. I would like something that is a good basic representation of a late 1700s or Rev War rifle. I'm very avid at building firearms of more modern types, and I have a good set of tooling or can make my own.


My simple uniformed questions,
-Which Kibbler kit would be close to something a minuteman would have used at Lexington and Concord?
-I would like a .50. Most of my shooting will be range fun. I also plan to eventually use it for deer and elk. Should I go bigger or smaller or am I fine? I also plan to build a .50 flint pistol later and want to use the same mold.
-My shots will be about 50yds with a max of 100yds. What would be my max range with a .50 on game?
-Embarrassingly, black powder confuses me as I'm new to the game. What F powder and what size grain charges should I be working with for general shooting and game loads? I want to buy powder in bulk the same as I do for centerfire reloading.
-What size ball mold and what size patches do I need?

I have a bunch more questions but I don't want to be spoon fed. I would like answers but links to learn and research would also be helpful.

Thanks for putting up with my new guy questions and please excuse my overexcitement. I'm really stoked about expanding my firearms collection, knowledge and fun.
I have had a .50 cal but for hunting re-barreled to .54 and for target shooting have settled on .45 cal as best all around ball size.
For a first Kit gun and for Quality it's hard to beat a Kibbler. I have both the tooling and experience for building most anything so my First flint rifle was a kit from TOTW using a Green Mtn barrel 1134-7 certified barrel quality steel not 12L14 screw stock steel which a good many of the small business barrel makers use. This becomes increasingly more important with swamped barrel usage as 12L14 steel alloy has very low shock load strength. And yes, I have witnessed first hand a split barrel from a short started ball in a 12L14 barrel.
The Kibbler kit is a good deal easier to assemble than is a Track of the Wolf kit because they have done all the wood to metal fitting before had . Pretty much all that is required is to assemble and finish both metal and wood.
 
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A Minute Man at Lexington or Concord? Does this mean you intend to get into reenacting, and this will be your persona? Or is that the story you have in your head that you want to go with your gun? Or do you have ancestors you wish to emulate? Is that your most important criteria?

If not, choose a gun that has a style that appeals to you, and that will meet your needs for hunting. If you know you're going have one flintlock for both deer and elk, then get a caliber that will handle elk at round ball ranges of 100 yards or less. Round balls don't destroy meat like high power cartridges do, so larger calibers for deer aren't a negative thing.

Find a good load using moderate charges, and don't fuss about velocity. When it comes to the round ball and stopping power, caliber is more important than velocity. Powder is up to what you and your gun end up settling on. I shoot a .50, a .58, and a 24 gauge smooth bore. I like 3f to load and prime for all of them. Others prefer 2f for the same. I haven't bothered with 4f in over 30 years.

I like the .50 for deer, and the .58 for anything larger. Opinions will vary. If I only had one gun for deer and elk, it would be the .58 hands down.

My two cents. It really is kind of a big decision, and no small amount of money... so make it a good one.
 
Either the Woodsrunner or Colonial should suit your needs. As others have said, minutemen would have been using smoothbores (I know the colonial has a .58 smoothbore option, not sure on the other calibers or if the Woodsrunner does off the top of my head). .50 is good for deer, elk it's okay if you can get close but I'd opt for a .54 or larger for peace of mind. I bought the colonial in .54 to split the difference.

To keep it simple I use a ball .01 under bore with a #40 drill cloth (.017"-ish) patch. .490 ball for the Traditions Kentucky .50 and .530 for the Kibler Colonial .54 (Though I may need to fiddle with patch thickness on the Colonial when I get around to developing a load for it).

3f is the most versatile and has performed acceptably for me as priming and main charge.
 
you will be using the rifle for hunting only fraction as much as you will be hunting the bullseye.
54 and 58 are great big game slayers but you will go through lead fast.
the 50 in any of the guns will be more economical and still capable of taking big game. if you shoot it much more because of it's economy you will be a much better shot and placement with these is key.
45 is plenty for deer and i just love them to punch holes in targets.
the woods runner or Colonial are perfect choices. Kibler products coined the phrase, cry once.
 
Some states require a minimum of 54 caliber (0.530" diameter) round ball for elk. Know your hunting area's requirements.

No rifles that I am aware of at Lexington and Concord. That was a location for smooth bored guns. I agree with the above posts.

If you are seeking a suitable rifle to use on deer and elk, that will be,a rifle that would not have been common at Lexington or Concord, but a 54 cal rifle would be the choice for large Nort American game.
 
You’ve received some excellent advice from all the above @Vicarious.
I’ll add my vote for a .54 Woodsrunner and 3F for load and prime. As far as actual grain weight, 60 for paper punching and 70-80 for hunting. But these numbers aren’t hard and fast, you’ll have to see what your rifle is most accurate with. I use a .530 round ball with a .018 pillow ticking patch. I’d try a .020 patch also. And I mainly use Track of the Wolf’s mink oil lube on the patches.
 
To add on my intro post I really think I need a flint rifle.

From my lurking here I have narrowed it down to a Kibbler kit in .50. I would like something that is a good basic representation of a late 1700s or Rev War rifle. I'm very avid at building firearms of more modern types, and I have a good set of tooling or can make my own.


My simple uniformed questions,
-Which Kibbler kit would be close to something a minuteman would have used at Lexington and Concord?
-I would like a .50. Most of my shooting will be range fun. I also plan to eventually use it for deer and elk. Should I go bigger or smaller or am I fine? I also plan to build a .50 flint pistol later and want to use the same mold.
-My shots will be about 50yds with a max of 100yds. What would be my max range with a .50 on game?
-Embarrassingly, black powder confuses me as I'm new to the game. What F powder and what size grain charges should I be working with for general shooting and game loads? I want to buy powder in bulk the same as I do for centerfire reloading.
-What size ball mold and what size patches do I need?

I have a bunch more questions but I don't want to be spoon fed. I would like answers but links to learn and research would also be helpful.

Thanks for putting up with my new guy questions and please excuse my overexcitement. I'm really stoked about expanding my firearms collection, knowledge and fun.
Typically, black powder comes in 4 different grades. F, FF, FFF, FFFF. (There are exceptions, but this is for your basic information). F (or One F) is for cannons and shotguns. FF (or Two F) is for rifles 50 caliber or greater. FFF (or Three F) is for pistols and small caliber rifles. FFFF (or Four F) is for priming a flintlock. --- If you look at substitute powders, such a Pyrodex, you should see a notation of F Equivalent. (for example, Pyrodex P will say 3F Equivalent on the label.) In a pinch you can cross these, but they will usually not work as well.
 
If yo are experienced with building guns and have tools then building one from a blank might be the way to go. You can build whatever you want and not be limited to what is available as a kit.
 
Wow, I'd like to thank all who responded to my new guy questions. I knew I came to the right forum. You guys are great and are very helpful.

So much well laid out info to consider for buying my first flint rifle. Reading your replies is kind of like drinking from a firehose. I do think your answers have given me more things to consider and research.

So far, I'm going with either a Kibbler Colonial or Woods runner, I think a .50cal, just due to what my buddy uses for his in line(not my cup of tea) on deer and elk and as mentioned I want a flint pistol in the same cal. I want the sparks the boom and smoke. Old school classic if you will.

I'm not stuck on a one to one minuteman repro, just something that reasonably looks the part of something used in the Rev War. A piece to enjoy history and hang over the fireplace is my goal.

I wish I had the time to reenact. I love watching The Woodland Escape, Townsends, I love MZ etc. on you tube.

I really appreciate the powder info. I've been using 3f in my Colt revolver copy for decades. Now it makes sense as to what I need.

I've been collecting and building firearms for near forty years. I have firearms from the 1890s to present, it has been a long time coming but it is time fill a hole in my herd.

Thanks again for all the replies. I'm sure I will have more questions.
 

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