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Give me some basic muzzle loader advice

5388 Views 57 Replies 29 Participants Last post by  puffer
OK, I've decided that having access to prime deer country and not hunting it is a crime; so I'm going to start. Not this year, but next. So I have a while to collect all the junk I need.

I want a muzzle loader, but I don't know much of anything about them.

I know that the inline models are the way to go as far as power and range; but I prefer the traditional side (cap) lock models. I dont know why I do, but I do. I guess I just like the history and tradition of it all.

So, give me some suggestions. Inline or cap lock, make you points of which is better. I also prefer a wood stock ( or at least a wood looking laminate) over synthetic. What brands are best, and what are garbage?

I'm open, tell me what you think.
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While I have never shot one of the inline models I have a 50cal Hawken I built many years ago from a kit that I have been very happy with. Myself I prefer the sidelocks also for the more traditional look. The kit was a Thompson Center sold by Sears at the time, easy to assemble with all major inletting done it needed only minor final fitting. I did try some of the sabot loads but got the best accuracy from a patched ball. As far as powder Pyrodex gave the best accuracy and was easier to clean than traditional black powder, a few squirts with Formula 409 immerse the nipple end of the barrel in bucket hot water then a few patches to clean and apply the bore.

You might try thse folks just to see some of the more traditional models.

Dixie Gun Works muzzleloading, blackpowder and rare antique gun supplies.
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You might look into the Savage 10ML
Savage Arms Muzzleloader Series
You can use nonblackpowder in it, although I am far from knowledgable about muzzleloaders. Still I like it, dont own anythough.
I think you ought to just get you a crossbow and forget about the muzzle loader. That's just me though, and I think muzzle loading is a PITA. I just had to tell it like it is. Around these parts, archery and modern gun seasons cover most of the deer season. Maybe I'm just thinking lazy about the muzzle loader being a PITA, but the temperature swings we've seen here, I'm still thinking something more reliable and a projectile going into a target when I think it should. My two cents may not be worth a penny.
BTW SIXTO, I hope you're enjoying some TO this holiday like I am. Have a good one!
For deer hunting it would be hard to beat a .54 cal Lyman Great Plains Rifle. Get the precussion lock. This rifle has a slow twist(1 turn in 66" I think) barrel so you will want to shoot patched round balls for best accuracy. This is just a beautifly traditional half stock hunting gun.

I think the real joy in black powder hunting is learning to use a truly primative rifle. A patched round ball and black powder with fixed open sights, now that is deer hunting.

Dixie Gun Works is a great place to start, Excellent customer service

I have owned inlines and sidelocks and while the inlines are some what easier to maintain. I just prefer the tradition. You don't really need anything more that a .50 or .54 cal round ball to kill a whitetail.

Currently I have a .45 cal full stock precusion sidelock that I really enjoy. I use traditional pillow ticking patch and 90 gains of FFg.
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Keep 'em coming guys. Google is getting a work out while the turkey is roasting.

Oh yeah, RamRod, I thought about archery. I used to be a very avid archer (never hunted, just targets) when I was a kid. I just don't have the time to spend to be proficient with a bow. Perhaps a cross bow would work for me... but one step at a time :wink:

And yes, I am having a great roasted bird day. Got up at 5am with the dog, and headed out to the bean fields. Shook up two roosters, one was out of range and over water and the other stayed low, but right in front of another group of hunters. No shots on either. So, I got annoyed by the crowds so I left. Now I'm doing the cooking and surfing the net.
For some interesting reading on the history of flintlocks and blackpowder rifle making in Appalachia pick up a copy of “Foxfire 5”.

Or you can download it free here. The Foxfire Book - Volume 05

Entire series here. Foxfire Books - Free Downloads
Any (GOOD) Inline with a 209 primer is going to do the job, Scope? iron sites?
Triple 7 loose powder 280-340gn Buffalo Bore bullets shoot best for most in-
lines (90-100) gn powder is great combo. Most guns have a recomended load
they go by, I think Thomson Center Fire makes top quallity/CVA Good make.
So let us know what you are going to get,You never know when you'll run
across a Deal ; ) GOOD LUCK
I want a muzzle loader, but I don't know much of anything about them.
Heck! Why not go all the way... Flintlock!! :image035:

Also if you want to go traditional (flint or percussion lock), check the web for reenactors and reenacting groups in your area. Being in Ohio there are a bunch. They'll be glad to help you out.

(I see someone has already suggested Track of the Wolf. There is also Dixie Gun Works that has some cheaper firearms.)
Sixto - I always suggest that someone interested in muzzleloading go to the site of National Muzzle Loading Rifle Assn nmlra-dot-org. Gives you some ideas and direction, some sources, and you should be able to track down a local field rep or local charter club you can check out if you like.
Remington 700.
You're already familiar with that platform, they make an excellent ML rifle.
If it wasnt for the cleaning rod underneath the barrel, you'd think it was a regular rifle.

That would be the one that I got. I've thought about it, just havent done it yet.

I have killed many deer and bear with my TC Renegade. There is just something about it that I dearly love. With all the competetion from the inlines, you can find either a Renegade or a Hawkin pretty cheap. They are accurate, hit hard and they are pretty guns.

The inlines are mostly shooting pellets with saboted pistol bullets for flatter shooting. Although they are flatter shooting than what I use, they give up in the penetration. The newer heavier rifle bullets are great though.

I still hunt with the old traditional stuff. I use 92 grains of black powder with a 370 grain T/C Maxiball and it blows right on through. I have yet to recover a Maxiball on deer or bear. The last bear I shot was at 110 yards quartering away. I hit it in the right hip and it traveled completley through, exiting the chest after clipping the top of the heart. Thats a lot of meat to plow through, yet it did it.
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OK, here is a stupid question; whats up with the two triggers on a single shot rifle?

Thanks for the advice so far.
The back trigger is the "set" trigger. The front trigger fires it.

You can use the front trigger by itself to fire the gun, but using the "set" trigger gives it a much lighter letoff.

I use mine, but only when I am on target.

The back trigger is adjustable by a screw located right in front of it. Adjusting the screw either increases or decreases the let off pressure. You can set it to be a "hair" trigger where a light breat sets it off or you can set it to a couple of pounds, which is where mine is.

Without it, your trigger letoff will be around 6 pounds.
OK, here is a stupid question; whats up with the two triggers on a single shot rifle?

Thanks for the advice so far.
That is commonly called a "set trigger" the rear trigger sets the front trigger which then has about a 2-4oz letoff.

Trigger Function and Terminology
Ahh OK. I get it. Thanks. Kinda like a double action if you will.
Remington 700.
You're already familiar with that platform, they make an excellent ML rifle.
If it wasnt for the cleaning rod underneath the barrel, you'd think it was a regular rifle.
Agreed, but maybe because I have one. I am a big fan of Remington, especially the Model 7 and 700, so I got a 700ML. Same overall feel, trigger and bolt setup as any standard remington Model 700. Mine has a camo composite stock and I put a Bushnell 1.5-4.5x32mm camo shotgun scope on it with see through mounts just in case. Lightwieght, can't even see a scratch in the camo patten should it get one. I have mine zeroed in at a hundred yards.

That said, the traditional rifles are great too, but a little harder to clean IMO. AS far as range and power, an inline may get the nod, but for the distances most shots are made in Southern OH, or Central/NE KY, (assuming that will be your hunting ground) especially with a muzzleloader, either one should be fine.

You can find Remington 700MLs on GunBroker for about $200 or so if you may be interested in one.
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If you want to really have fun with muzzle loader guns, try Civil War reenacting. I have shot at a thousand riffraff rebels with my Springfield rifle, but few of them have dropped or stopped, even when it was their turn to lose.
SIXTO look for a PM.
Don't forget your coonskin cap
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