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Thread: Question...

  1. #1
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    Default Question...

    Does anyone here actually burn black powder anymore? If so where and how do you get it and what does it cost?

    Has the world of muzzle loaders gone to inlines and pyro-pellets?

    And finally, though a little off the forum heading, does anyone shoot black powder cartridge guns? Are these acceptable in "black powder" or "muzzle loading" seasons/areas?
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  2. #2

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    Among users of traditional muzzleloaders rather than inlines, almost anyone who can get real BP prefers it to the subs. In fact, the subs simply will not work reliably in flintlocks. The problem is, it's getting harder and harder to get in Alaska and elsewhere because it is an explosive. I got several pounds out of an estate recently, but I'm starting to restrict it to flintlocks only because the subs work okay in my cap guns.

    There's quite a parting of the ways between traditional and inline users in the muzzleloading world. The inlines are way cheaper to manufacture with a lot more profit margin, so they've been getting lots of attention and press, even as traditional muzzleloaders have become harder to find. As a positive side play to that, there's a growing crop of small custom builders of traditional muzzleloaders, and though you pay more their work is vastly better than most factory guns, as you would expect. It's just that since traditional guns are getting harder to find on the shelf, more and more traditionalists are willing to save a little longer for a custom.

    In broad terms inline shooters are striving for max range and velocity, while the traditional types are more into living within the technological constraints of our forebears. That's not really an academic point, because most states with special muzzleloader seasons instituted them specifically to limit hunter range and create more hunting opportunities. In many of these special seasons telescopic sights are verbotten (as in Alaska) and some states (Colorado for one) forbid sabots. It's all wrapped up in the range limitation mandate.

    In Alaska and most other states I know of, breechloaders of any sort are out for any special ML season, whether they are loaded with BP or not. Back to the range limitation. I've shot BP in 50-140, 38-56 and 45-70 a fair bit and experimented briefly with it in 25-35, 25-20, 30-30 and 38-55. Based on that, I can see their reasoning in restricting hunts to ML only due to range considerations.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, BB. Not many here shoot black, huh? It seems to me the inlines dominate the muzzle loader field, no traditionalists any more.

    I like the BPC guns and would really enjoy that type of oldie, original example of the era. What do you think of the 38-55 and the 38-56? What do you have those in? I have a 1893 Marlin in 38-55 and a Shiloh 74 in 45 2 7/8"and a 40-70 Str. Have just loaded smokeless so far, but am wanting to start with BP. I'm afraid I won't be able to find black here.

    Thanks, for the reply.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  4. #4

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    Finding black isn't that big a problem on the road system. GNG reportedly stocks Goex, which is the most highly regarded. It only gets "iffy" when you can't drive to pick it up yourself.

    It's easy to get the impression that inlines are dominating, based on ads and press accounts. But in my experience, as people get hooked on muzzleloaders they generally move on to the traditionals. Not the guys who only dust off their ML for a primitive season, but the ones who decide like I do to use them in regular seasons, too. Academic really, because without telescopic sights the inlines offer no range advantage over traditionals. I'd say that among the folks that only use their MLs once a year or every few years for a few weeks in a primitive season, inlnes definitely dominate.

    From the shooter standpoint, the traditionals are a lot more interesting because there is so much variety to be had, plus you can readily build your own. Add in the historical aspects that appeal to some (trekking and rendezvous crowd, but not me), and you can really fall head first into the sport. In the 70's and early 80's I shot vitually all my waterfowl and small game with a 12 gauge ML double-- back in the days we could still use lead shot for waterfowl. But I let the gun go when steel shot was finally mandated here in Alaska, but before bismuth was available. My loss. It took me a decade to pick up a ML rifle, but once I did that I got hooked bad.

    I don't give much of a hoot whether someone uses a traditional or an inline (I own both), but I'll fight tooth and nail against any proposal to allow scopes in traditional seasons. To me, it would be like allowing crossbows in archery seasons.

    As for BPC guns, Shiloh is one of the touch-points for serious BPC shooter, as your probably know. I've got some other links buried somewhere in my favorites folders, and I'll post them when I can find them.

    Among the BPC shooters I know, finding just the right wads or cards for fillers in oddball cartridges is probably a bigger issue than finding BP. Common diameters are readily available, but you'll probably end up cutting your own when you get too far out on the caliber fringe. If your best load doesn't absolutely fill the cartridge, you'll need them to fill the air space.

    My 38-55 is a Savage 99 and my 38-56 is an 1886. The Savage shot well, but was a PITA to clean right. The 86 wants to shoot, but the bore is too far gone to perform like I want. It's not in collector condition by any means, so I've considered a rebore, but not settled on an "interesting" caliber larger than .375 yet.

    Your Marlin ought to be a fine shooter and easier to disassemble and clean than the Savage. Who can say anything wrong about the Shilohs? My 50-140 is from the small run of Sharpes that were turned out pre-Shiloh in Yreka, CA, before the company discovered it didn't hold the right patents. Not sure about collector value, but it's and "officer" or "sporting" model with lots of frills and a dandy, dandy shooter.

    Careful with all this, though. It's taken a while, but there's more and more dust collecting on my modern arms. I figure it will take you just one long stalk on game using a rifle you built yourself to start adding dust to your own collection of those new-fangled cartridge guns! ML's really do put a lot of new fun into a very old (to me) game.

  5. #5
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    Thanks, BrownBear, I enjoyed that, I know where you're coming from.

    I have wanted a solid '86 carbine for a long time, don't know what caliber but I like 40 caliber guns. 40-65 or 40-82, maybe.

    I have a old friend, a highschool buddy that, makes muzzle loaders for a living, he is a staunch BP only advocate and shudders at the mention of inlines or pyrodex. He makes double flint shotguns and has made many "famous" rifles. He has made authentic rifles for movies and is a real traditionalist. He made a 50 Hawken flinter for me and some pistols, flint and cap. These guns shoot so good I was instantly hooked on them and never will doubt the accuracy potential of M/L's .

    My interests have changed a lot in recent years and I am leaning more to just a few fine guns that represent the past 150 years or so of guns in this country. I am inclined to become a "collector" but one who shoots the collection I guess. I do like the 1830's flints and the 1860's-1880's cartridge guns. This was a dramatic era of cartridge development. These black powder cartridges lived only a short time about forty years, before being replaced by smokeless powder cartridges, and I think they are interesting. The only guns with a shorter life span was the cap lock.

    I have Mike Venturino's books "Shooting lever guns" and the" Shooting the buffalo guns" of the west, (the titles are close to that). I enjoy these. They are original BP cartridge guns of the '70's and '80's that he loads, maybe you've seen them. Well done books and good pictures.

    Thanks again for the response, I enjoyed your comments.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  6. #6
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    Bah! I just discovered this board!

    I've always wanted to try out M/L, especially traditional types. Recently, I've been eyeballing a new-fangled T/C Omega inline (basic, cheap blued model) because of cost and just wanting to get something to hunt the exclusive M/L season with. Here in WI, if you don't get a buck during gun season, you can use your M/L tag to get a buck. Otherwise it's doe only.

    Anyway, like I said, I prefer traditional rifles, especially flintlocks. I did however recently get offered a T/C Renegade for a great price and it looks like it was barely (if ever) shot. It's a discontinued model which is basically a Hawken style except with blackened hardware. It's your typical .50 caplock.

    I'm planning on getting some GOEX FFG. I don't have a manual but I can peruse one online and it looks like I can go with up to 110 gr. of BP with a round ball which weighs 175 gr. I can't recall the max load for a maxi-ball but I think it was either 90 grs. or 100.

    Murphy, I agree that Mike Venturino is quite a good writer, particularly in regards to BPCR. He's the first person I recall reading about such stuff in the rags. I also always liked Rick Hacker's writing of BP/traditional M/L.

    I still would like to get that Omega inline as well, down the road but also a nice .45 flintlock Kentucky type rifle. And some buckskins and a huge bowie too!

    Davey

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