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Thread: Kit Guns

  1. #1

    Default Kit Guns

    Anyone out there ever put together a muzzleloader kit? Got one for Christmas, and I gotta say I'm having more fun with that than anything else I've ever done in winter.

    Mine's a Lyman Great Plains Rifle. Another easy source is Traditions, though there are many others. Both Lyman and Traditions are pretty much ready to go, requiring only a minimum of wood and metal work for everything to fit. Others may be more a "parts set" than a kit, requiring lots more work. If you want to be sure to get one requiring mostly finish work, look for ones sold "in the white," which are pre-assembled and require only the finish work rather than the more complicated fitting.

    Even though it's pretty much ready to finish, the Lyman wood is a bit "proud," or excessive. You can simply rasp down and sand the wood to match factory dimensions before finishing the metal, or you can use the extra wood as a chance to build in some custom features. That's what I've been doing, and I gotta say mine looks even better than my already good-looking original version.

    My hunting pard got one for Christmas too (wives conspiring), and it's been especially fun comparing notes as we go along. The fact that I have a factory version already has proved to be really useful, cuzz any time we have a question it helps to look at it rather than the rather minimal instructions that came with the kit.

    Looking for something to do or a cheaper way to get into a traditional sidelock or flintlock muzzleloader, take a close look at the kits. Traditions models are available for around $160, and the Lyman runs $350 from some sources. Not much savings over buying a completed gun, but you can't put a price tag on the fun.

  2. #2
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Wasilla, Alaska, United States

    Thumbs up

    Several years ago I was given a CVA (Conneticut Valley Arms) Kentucky pistol kit in .50 cal. It was a hoot finishing it and seeing the completed product. Then came time to actually shoot it....

    Having absolutely NO muzzle loader experience, lets just say I was a bit timid with the powder on that first charge. I fired it off and the ball hit the ground about 30' in front of me. After that we had a grand time with it!

    It has been neglected over the years so I took on the task of re-finishing it a year or so ago and it is still in a box in pieces. I may have to open it up and resume the project.....

    The porcupine is a peaceful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  3. #3


    Aw man.... I've been debating one of the pistols, but being "responsible" about the money. Then you have to go and tell me something like that!

  4. #4


    When Iowa went to a strictly muzzleloader season some 25 years ago I got a Lyman Great Plains rifle kit in 54 caliber. That old rifle with its 1 in 66 twist would sure shoot the round balls with 80 grains of ffg. I killed several whitetails with that gun before bartering it off. I now have several of the top of the line inlines and I would trade any one of them straight up for that old Lyman.

    Back in those days I had the hot bluing tanks, polish wheels, belt sanders checkering craddle and cutters all set up in my shop. I spent the whole winter off and on working on that rifle. It turned out real nice!

    Have fun with your project and for God's sake hang onto it when your done with it!

    The saying a fool and his money are soon parted applies to guns too only its much worse!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Port Lions on Kodiak Island

    Default Nice gun

    You did good getting the lyman!
    The barrels are better cut than the Traditions and will keep good accuracy longer. The breech on the Lyman gun is well assemble and can handle reasonably stout charges (100 grains or so if the gun will group well with that much).
    All these kit guns seem to benifit from a good lock and trigger tuning. Some careful stoning helps a lot.

  6. #6


    Interesting you should mention lock and trigger tuning, Ron. Both our kits, my original, and every other Lyman I've ever seen has a useless set trigger adjustment screw. They are so short, they won't even engage the trigger spur! I've replaced mine with a longer one, but haven't ever found one that is "just right." They're either too short or too long, so you have to cut to fit. Worse yet, they're plated and I'm yet to find any unplated metric screws.

    Talked to Lyman about it and they said "huh?" Been going on for years, but it's the first they have heard of it. Both my pard and I had issues with the barrel/tang inletting on the stocks. I was able to adjust mine (the tang was inletted too deep and I had to glass bed it and raise it almost 3/16". The imbedded nut for the tang bolt also wouldn't engage the threads. There was a mismatch of thread pitch. I ended up knocking out the nut and bedding in a replacement for a replacement tang bolt. My pardner's had the same problem, but he had to send his kit back for a replacement due to another issue: With the tang in the mortice and the barrel engaged, the barrel was over 1/4" outside the barrel channel at the forend. His replacement kit is fine, but when he first called Lyman, they said "huh?" again. Looks like things coming out of Italy were getting sloppy, but their QC routine didn't include sampling a kit here and there for specs.

    I'm in a small war with Traditions right now over serious lock issues with their little 32cal Crockett rifle, so strike Traditions off my list of possible kits!

  7. #7
    Member Rick P's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Palmer Alaska


    I built one and harvested a white tail with it in the same weekend. It was a CVA 54 cal back in the 80's. Did some triger work and a little refinishing after the hunt but it was definately one of the most memerable hutns ever. My buddy Fritz and I still talk about that one every time white tail huntting comes up.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Bird creek

    Default lyman triggers

    Those Lyman GPR's make up into excellent rifles. I've put a couple together and those triggers are way too rough as they come,although I've never had a problem with the set screw adjustment being too short. I have switched everyone I've built over to the drop in Davis Deerslayer triggers for about $40. It's money well spent in my book. After tuning the lock, I'm always too lazy to stone those cast lyman triggers. The Davis triggers are awfully smooth and crisp. Just something to think about.


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