Black powder enthusiasts -advice needed

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by blowtorch, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. John Backlund

    John Backlund Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Perhaps go all-in as an Arquebusier?
    Screenshot_20201031-004205~2.png
     
  2. John Backlund

    John Backlund Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Here's what looks like a nice bunch of historically accurate repro flintlock pistols...
    http://www.veteranarms.com/ReproductionMuzzleloadersandFlintlocks/Pistols.html

    This is about half the models they offer, all of these are priced at $425, which isn't too bad, though buying all the peripheral stuff to shoot and maintain them will initially add a fair amount to the overall expenditure.
    Screenshot_20201031-005010~2.png
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2020
  3. Count

    Count Friend of Leo's

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    You can’t go wrong with Pedersoli front loaders similarly Antonio Zoli which are marketed as Euroarms.
     
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  4. Wallo Tweed

    Wallo Tweed Friend of Leo's

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    I don't know if they are available in stainless steel, but if they are I highly recommend it.

    Black powder is corrosive, and hard to clean. But it is fun!

    I always wonder how anyone could hit a target on a black powder smoke filled battleground.
     
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  5. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

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  6. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    With all traditional flintlock muzzleloaders, it's all about the lock. Good firing flintlock firearms have good locks with proper geometry, flat plates, well hardened hammer steels.

    Once past the lock, next up for me is the breech plug. Almost all offshore trad muzzleloaders sport patent breech plugs, whilst almost all onshore built guns will have classic flat breech plugs. Patent plugs work fine but since they have an ante-chamber there is a concern about cleaning for fouling control, which will require more than one brush/jag. Some offshore trad MLs have patent breech plugs that are seemingly welded to the barrel, Traditions is one, Pedersoli *may* be another, dependent on the model. Almost all Investarms trad MLs (rebranded as Lyman, DGW, Cabelas, and others) will have patent breech plugs that can be removed relatively easily. Why the need to remove the breech plug? A bad dry ball or poor barrel maintenance.

    A good flintlock firearm will be just as fast on ignition as a caplock, and work just as well if not better in wet weather.

    Flintlocks DEMAND the use of real black powder, at least for the pan. Using BP subs will yield erratic ignition if none at all. Down the tube, a sub will work okay. Get and use REAL black powder. Not easy to find locally these dayze, we all mail order or pick up a rondy events. I buy in lots of 25 pounds to save on hazmat fees, and that will last me about a year for flintlock and cartridge rifles.

    Yes, I do a LOT of work on all manner of flintlock firearms ... and BPCR rifles, too. Life is still good. :)
     
  7. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Stainless steel not required or needed. Modern steel is many times stronger and more durable than the wrought iron guns of the 18th and 19th century. Any manner of steel, stainless or otherwise, can be compromised by black powder residue. Don't be lazy about keeping the tube and lock clean.

    Yes black powder is corrosive, but not to the extent that most believe. The key is to be attentive to fouling control of both the barrel and lock. Keep the tube clean. If yer lazy about doing so, bad things will happen. That's all there is to know about "corrosive black powder". Get into a fouling control and cleaning regimen and all will be perfectly well. Never store a loaded barrel - either fire off the muzzleloader or pull the ball. After the last shot has been taken, swab out the bore with some manner of cleaner/preservative (Ballistol, "moose milk", any CLP, WD40, etc) and leave the last wet patch down the barrel. Remove the flint and leather, and Spritz the lock with Ballistol or WD40. When back at the ranch, do a proper cleaning of both barrel and lock (locks NEED to be removed, water soaked, brushed and scrubbed, then dried and oiled). A well maintained trad ML is easy to keep clean and will offer sure ignition.

    Accuracy of any manner on the battlefield was never of any importance. What mattered most was rate and speed of fire, and that was dependent on the load and consistent ignition. This is why armies of the 18th century demanded the troops used smoothbores (muskets) and not rifles. Sure, there were rifle brigades, but they only comprised a few percent of all armies.
     
  8. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    As opposed to say, pyrodex, I take it?

    (Thanks for all the info, by the way. I was up on all this stuff at one point, but that was a lifetime ago)
     
  9. Wallo Tweed

    Wallo Tweed Friend of Leo's

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    All good info to know.
    Thanks for the corrections.
     
  10. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Any BP substitute (Pyrodex, 777, Blackhorn, MZ, et al) will have a tough time getting ignited by the white hot pieces of hammer steel metal falling on it. BP subs are just another form of "white devil dust" smokeless powder, pure and simple, and have much lowered flash points than black. Black powder (what used to be called "gun powder" back in all of the 19th century and earlier), is an explosive, smokeless is not. There are near crazy vendor storage regulations, and fees, that are not present with smokeless powders. That, plus the lowered demand for black powder (required only for flint, wheel, and match locks), has made local vendors just not bother carrying the holy black stuff.
     
  11. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    When I first started with BP, I went with Pyrodex as I didn't understand the above (by Rob DiStefano) and I fell for the advertising. That was back in the 1980s (percussion revolver). Once I switched to real BP (and learned a cleaning regimen) all of my problems went away.

    Flinters simply take a little extra care. My experience is that they're initially more finicky than percussion...but once you've gotten the routine down, pretty much the same.

    I love Ballistol.

    Shooting a ML match (or any BP match) with a number of shooters on the line is a hoot...and if there is no breeze, the smoke hanging in the air can be an issue (cough, hack!). I have haunted the ML matches at Friendship, IN on several occasions. Walking the firing line you can see almost every conceivable type of BP firearm imaginable. Much fun!

    and...18th cent smoothbore firearms often didn't have "sights" as we moderns are used to seeing. Field doctrine didn't allow for actually shooting at anybody in particular anyway. Weight of metal in the air and rapidity of reload was primary. A demonstration of the British infantry line firing volleys is a beautiful thing to watch...from anywhere but in front of it!
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2020
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  12. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    As promised... here’s the pistol. My grandfather cut the tree down on our old property in Calion, Arkansas to make the stock. And he molded and machined all of the metal parts himself. I’ve got the rifles in another room... I’ll post pics of them a little later.

    0DBA30B5-54E4-4959-BC6E-AB6F7D3EC671.jpeg 2BF13062-D802-42FD-B285-F8EE34FFC1C5.jpeg
     
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  13. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I'll bet she shoots as grand as she looks, too!
     
  14. TC6969

    TC6969 Friend of Leo's

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    Black powder is a whole different thing than modern smokeless.

    Its very low pressure so if a quick visual inspection doesn't show any obvious problems, I would shoot it.
     
  15. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I built this Colonial .54 from a Kibler "kit", now my
    The "interesting" thing about cap'n'ball revolvers is that for almost all of them you can over-the-counter buy a cartridge cylinder for the bore of the bbl ... then you have a modern cartridge revolver.
     
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  16. Mandocaster68

    Mandocaster68 Tele-Meister

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    Starting out, you need to identify your priorities before you spend. Here's my take and my path.

    I am a history nerd and do reenacting. To me, a flintlock pistol is an accessory to the time and place I am reenacting. I require that a black powder weapon be correct to the period and accept that the firearms of that time did not perform at all like modern weapons. All of my flintlocks are smooth bored, no rifling. I load and shoot within those limitations. I have like minded friends that have taken all manner of North American game using these methods, from quail to bison. One friend has successfully hunted wild turkey with a matchlock. To me, accurate to the period loading and shooting is the goal. Other people have different goals and expectations.

    If you are looking for anything resembling modern target accuracy at the range, I would look for something with a rifled barrel and adjustable sights. Be prepared to spend time and money crafting an accurate and repeatable load. Some people really enjoy this and obtain a high degree of accuracy and personal satisfaction. More power to them, but this ain't my cup of tea. It could be yours.

    Like a lot of things, it is really easy to spend a bunch of $$$ on stuff you don't need when starting out. Read, ask questions, find like minded folks, watch, ask more questions, etc...before you spend. Black powder dudes (and dudettes) are about as friendly a bunch as you will find, and love to discuss their passion. As you might imagine, there are online communities much like this one, dedicated to shooting everything from matchlocks to period field artillery.

    Good luck with your journey of discovery!
     
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  17. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Smoothbores - that's the way to go for 18th century reenacting. Rifles made no sense to the colonials who were predominantly farmers. Fowlers could do it all - ball and shot down the tube, or rocks or gravel, etc - for sustenance, defense, warfare. If might render a plug - an excellent online non-profit trad muzzleloader forum, where members and staff have many decades of trad ML experience to freely offer to all, is TradMLA.org
     
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  18. Wallo Tweed

    Wallo Tweed Friend of Leo's

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    One thing about a flintlock, you'll know for sure weather you flinch or not when pulling the trigger.
     
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  19. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    That is awesome.
    My patriarchal grandfather was also a machinist. He could make anything
     
  20. John Backlund

    John Backlund Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    The last bp firearm I had was this percussion repro 1847 Walker 'Colt', maybe four or five years ago.
    IMG_20180208_170926158~2.jpg

    It made a fine cloud of smoke, and a quite satisfactory 'bang' x six.

    If you find a genuine Colt Walker in your great grandmother's hatbox up in your attic, don't ebay it too cheap, if it's in relatively decent condition, they run $200,000 (+), very few of them were made.

    Edit: Never mind that $200,000 value I had stated above, it appears that I was a bit low....
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    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2020
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