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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
my wife gave me a new Traditions 50 cal flintlock for Christmas. Nice rifle, and I have always wanted a muzzleloader, but...........
I dont have a clue about these things! From what I've been able to find out, you can only use black powder in these, no pyrodex or anything like that. Does anyone know much about these? Like what kinds (brands) of flints to use, info like that? thanks!
 

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My Dad has that exact rifle I think? It's a pretty easy one to use for the flint lock style. I'm pretty sure he uses pyrodex in his and the caps are the standard ones that you can buy at any place which sells BP supplies.

I can get with him and find out what loads he uses. He experimented until he found the right weight bullets and grain neasurement.

I got a CVA bolt action that uses 409 primers and I really like it. Handles like a nice high end bolt action centerfire rifle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
no caps, uses a piece of flint to make a spark to ignite the powder. I was told thats why you cant use pyrodex
 

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db3443 said:
no caps, uses a piece of flint to make a spark to ignite the powder. I was told thats why you cant use pyrodex
Oh! It is a flintlock! I was thinking it was one of those that looks like a flintlock! DOH! Well, can't help you there:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
:) no problem!
 

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I'd pick up a book on basic black powder shooting, I think Sam Fadala has one out. Check out your local public libary and its Interlibrary Loan service to see if you can get one there.

You can get flints and anything else you could possibly want at Dixie Gun Works. They're on the 'net. Their hard-copy catalog has lots of shooting how-to info, too.

With a .50 muzzle loader, you'd use FFg powder for the main charge, FFFFg powder for the priming charge. The more F's the finer and faster-burning the powder is.

A traditional way of determining the size of the main charge is to place a round-ball in the palm of your hand and put enough powder on it to just cover it, and there you are.

For .50 you'll be using .495 balls. The cloth patch comes in various thicknesses. You need to experiment with different patch thicknesses and different loads to find the most accurate load for your rifle. The patch needs to be lubricated - with a product made for it, with Crisco, with lanolin, or with just spit. Some patches are sold already lubricated.

I'm kind of suprised the rifle didn't come with an instruction manual with some basic info.

I've used Pyrodex and don't care for it.

Helpful hint: Since you know your rifle is empty right now, drop the ramrod into the barrel and see where it stops with the barrel empty. With a muzzle-loader, the only way to tell whether there's a charge in the barrel is to drop the ramrod into it and see where it stops.

You're going to need some accessories: A powder horn/flask, a small priming powder horn/flask, a powder measure (I'd get an adjustable one), and I've found a bullet-starter to be useful (a wooden ball with a very short stub to get the ball down flush with the muzzle and another stub to push it down a few inches before you use the ramrod to ram it home). You can buy pre-cut patches, or you can buy material to cut your own patches with. Traditional way of patching is to put a piece of lubricated cloth over the muzzle, press the ball down on it 'til flush with the muzzle, and then cut off the cloth flush with the muzzle; there are knives specially made for this with a small hooked blade. If you don't have them already, you'll also need a cleaning jag at the very least. A perusal through the Dixie catalog will quickly demonstrate that you can get zillions and zillions of gadgets - and, of course, you'll need to get a possibles bag to keep them in.

FYI, Dixie sells plastic funnels that fit onto black powder cans, so you can use the can itself as a powder flask.

You can make a lot of BP stuff yourself. My pistol powder flask is a small steel US GI rifle-cleaning solvent can with the paint removed and a powder valve installed on it.

Best thing to clean a black powder weapon with is hot soapy water. There are proprietary solvents made, but hot soapy water remains the best.

Shooting and cleaning black powder weapons is dirty and smelly (and fun!), but your wife is certainly in no position to complain!

Round balls have a poor ballistic coefficient, so they lose velocity much quicker than the elongated Minie balls used by some cap-and-ball rifles. But they generally are more accurate - but you've got to remember that round-ball rifles are a short-range weapon.

With some searching around on the 'net I would be surprised if you couldn't find lots of suggested loads, shooting tips, etc., etc.

Enjoy your new toy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
wow! thanks for the info! The rifle came with a manual of sorts, but it seems to written for someone with prior knowledge of muzzle loaders. Also, at a local gunshop, I was told that I could use triple 7 or clear shot powder substitutes. That didnt sound right to me, has anyone ever heard of this?
I will check out Dixie Guns for sure! Thanks again! :thumbup1:
 

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Pyrodex won't be reliable. Black powder ignites somewhere around 500 degrees F. Pyrodex ignites at around 700.

Biggest thing about flints is you want a good sharp edge on the front and a fairly flat surface on the top and bottom. That way the jaws will grip it properly and give it the correct geometry. English black flints work best. Try to stay away from the "super flints" that some places sell. I think they go by the trade name of "duraflints". All they will do is wear your frizzen (the L shaped part of the lock that flips over the pan) faster. You can use a small brass hammer or a pocket knife to knap your flints as they dull. It's not that hard to do and it will extend the life of them. Flints come in different sizes too. Chances are your lock requires a 7/8ths flint. Any smaller and you don't take full advantage of your frizzen......any larger and it's going to score your barrel.

Do not overprime your pan. All you want to do is cover the bottom with 4F powder. If you overprime the flash will be very distracting. Some people like to fill the pan all the way to the touch hole. This is a mistake. Fire can jump faster than it can burn. If the powder is to the touch hole it has to burn into the main charge.....this can take a full second, sometimes too. If you just fill the bottom of the pan the flame can jump into the touch hole and ignition is about a quarter of a second (assuming you have a good lock). If you underprime, you won't get consistant ignition. Just play with it until you get the fastest you can. I prime with about 3 grains.

A fifty caliber rifle is a good choice for a beginner. I would start working up a load with 50 grains of 2F powder. I have a fifty (and a 40 and a 54 and a 62......I love this stuff!!) and I hunt with a 60 grain charge. Never had a problem killing deer out to 100 yards. Some say you can use 3F in a 50 but I wouldn't recommend it. It will wear out your barrel faster. Of course a muzzle loader barrel is probably good for about 30,000 shots.....3F will probably reduce it to around 20,000. That's still a long time.
Only use natural products to lube with. A well used black powder rifle develops a "seasoning" in the barrel much like a cast iron skillet. The more seasoned it is, the easier it's going to clean up and the more "rust resistant" it's going to be. I only clean with tap water. COLD tapwater. I know that Darzhinsky recomended hot soapy water, that's been a long debate in the muzzleloader community. In my mind HEAT+WATER+IRON=RUST. Some guys also use a combo of pyroxide, murhpeys soap and water. Don't do it. You'll never get the barrel seasoned. The pyroxide will remove it. For lubing I use a combo of bees wax and olive oil. The TC natural lube is a good "store bought" choice. They also make a good cleaning solution. It's called Number 13 Bore Cleaner. Just make sure you keep everything that goes into it natural products.

Oh ya, another good hint. Typically the first shot from a muzzloader goes low. That's because the bore is clean. As you build up deposits in the barrel you will see it shoot higher. Something to remember opening day of musket season when you are in the woods with a clean rifle. My little 40 cal picks up 200 fps with a fouled bore.

Dixie is a good source for accessories. So is www.logcabinshop.com and www.trackofthewolf.com .
 

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Forgot........Triple 7 and Clear Shot.

Forget about it. Stick with black in the "flinters".

AND NEVER LOAD FROM A HORN OR A CAN!! Sometimes sparks linger and it will burn back to the original container. Always use a powder measure and only load form that.

Also, always make sure that the ball is fully seated on the powder. If it's not, it will leave an air pocket and bulge (or blow) your barrel. The idea of marking your rod is a good one. Most guys I know do this.

Also, flinters blow hot gas out of the touch hole. Make sure no one is standing to your right (assuming it's a right handed gun) when you fire. It could blind them, but at the very least it's going to make them cuss you.

Also.......Most flintlocks are set up to shoot round balls only. For a roundball to be accurate you need deep grooves and a really slow twist (think 1 in 60). For a bullet to be accurate, you need shallow riflings and a faster twist (think 1 in 28). Some percussion guns claim to do both, but mostly I find that they shoot each with equal inaccuracy. Most flintlocks are going to be deep grooves and slow twists. (roundball friendly)

Do not be afraid to shoot game with a roundball. They go in like a BB and come out like a frisby. I've hunted with roundballs for 20 years without complaint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Man! I really got thank you guys for all the help! I'm gonna check out these websites you gave me, and I'm gonna go with the black powder, NOT the substitute stuff! Thanks again! And as I progress with this rifle, I'll keep you posted. Hopefully, I'll be able to bring it to the Gunco shoot in the srping! Thanks again, and if anyone can think of anything I should know, please feel free to add to this! :thumbup1:
 

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Very intersting info as my knowledge of BP stuff is fairly new. My Dad has been around it for some years. He and I both have CVA inline bolt guns and he has a Traditions BP in .50 that uses caps.

He uses triple 7 and I have so far, but these are not flint rifles which I an totally dumb on.

One thing My Dad does between each shot is run a patch down the bore using large shotgun patches. He spits on it and runs it down the bore and then pulls it out to do the same, but he flips the patch over.

db, I know the Walmart where my Dad lives has everything a BP guy needs in name brand accessories. I would assume some place in upstate NY where you live has the same.

I've bought BP stuff at major sporting goods place here in the city where I live as well.

You wan't find any true black powder at Wallyworld though.


BTW: Thanks Flinter and DZE for the very good info!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
already ordered my black powder from track of the wolf! :D

the kit came with most of the things I need to get started, now I just need the extras!
Thanks again! :thankyou:
 

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Lotsa good info from Flinter there, even if he doesn't have the brains to defer to my superior wisdom when it comes to using hot soapy water to clean you weapon.

Only think I can think of to add offhand to add is...

Remember to remove the ramrod before you shoot!

Sounds silly, but you'd be surprised at what folks do when they're excited - and one is pretty excited when reloading after having hit a deer. (Not a bad idea to carry a handgun for a quick coup de grace if you hunt with a muzzleloader. Besides, what a great excuse for getting a companion piece for your rifle.)
 

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Dunno if they make a similar product for flint rifles, don't know that it would be possible. I'm a cap-and-ball kinda guy, myself. Anyway, forget where I got it, but I got a brass fitting that replaces the cleanout screw on the nipple drum, to which there's attached about 3 feet of small-diameter surgical tubing.

Vastly simplifies cleaning. Install it to the rifle, stick the end of the tube in a pot of very hot soapy water, then use a wet cleaning patch on the end of your loading/cleaning rod as a piston to suck water into the bore and push it back out through the hose. Rinse using a pot of plain hot water, then dry and oil the bore.
 

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Dzerzhinsky said:
Dunno if they make a similar product for flint rifles, don't know that it would be possible. I'm a cap-and-ball kinda guy, myself. Anyway, forget where I got it, but I got a brass fitting that replaces the cleanout screw on the nipple drum, to which there's attached about 3 feet of small-diameter surgical tubing.

Vastly simplifies cleaning. Install it to the rifle, stick the end of the tube in a pot of very hot soapy water, then use a wet cleaning patch on the end of your loading/cleaning rod as a piston to suck water into the bore and push it back out through the hose. Rinse using a pot of plain hot water, then dry and oil the bore.
They make it Dzerhinsky.......the hose is attached to a C-clamp that fits over the touch hole. Very handy indeed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
that sounds like a great idea! I will have to look into getting one of those! Thanks!
 

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Anyone know where I can get a wheelock rifle?

I know i'm driving everyone nuts with this lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
did you try a google search?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
OK, UPS dropped off my powder today. I ended up getting it from PowderInc.com, they were able to ship me 5lbs. Everyone else would only ship 25lbs. minimum! So I now have 1lb. 4f and 4 lbs. 2f. Guess who going to the gun club tomorrow? :D
 
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