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Thread: My First Muzzle Loader.....What Do I Need to Get Started?

  1. #41
    Boolit Bub
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    Thanks Eddie2002

  2. #42
    Boolit Bub
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    Thanks Eddie2002

  3. #43
    Boolit Master
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    Lots of great advice. You are entering a form of gun shooting that will become a passion. I started in 1977 & been one of the greatest loves
    in my life. I still shoot smokeless guns. But even then I always bring one of my black powder guns along to the range. Welcome to the dark side.

    Fly

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lead Fred View Post
    Windex, NO, CLP, Hell NO. Oil and burnt black powder make SLUDGE, not any fun to clean out.

    Get yourself some Thompson Center 1000+ products. Number 13 cleaner, bore butter, and presoaked patches is all you will ever need.
    Windex with vinegar is all I use in my muzzle loaders and Black powder cartridge and it works great , and low cost in some of my expensive BP guns IMO /Ed

  5. #45
    Boolit Mold
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    Greetings to all ! Working on my Hawken .50 build at the moment, first BP muzzle loader I've owned. Have a Pietta .44 1858 New Army pistol that I have used for 18 years, so not a newb to BP. My question is what y'all recommend for conical boolits besides starting off with just balls. I use a stash of Blue Buffalo conicals in my .44 and love the accuracy improvement over ball rounds. While I will certainly test out the rifle with ball rounds first, I'm looking for a good conical self casting mold. The standard ball is .490, so what mold will be the right one to use for self cast boolits ?

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebeldawg365 View Post
    Greetings to all ! Working on my Hawken .50 build at the moment, first BP muzzle loader I've owned. Have a Pietta .44 1858 New Army pistol that I have used for 18 years, so not a newb to BP. My question is what y'all recommend for conical boolits besides starting off with just balls. I use a stash of Blue Buffalo conicals in my .44 and love the accuracy improvement over ball rounds. While I will certainly test out the rifle with ball rounds first, I'm looking for a good conical self casting mold. The standard ball is .490, so what mold will be the right one to use for self cast boolits ?
    I personally have never recommended a conical for anyone. Your determining factor is the twist in the barrel.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  7. #47
    Boolit Master

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    Like stated, we need to know the twist of your barrel to make a recommendation. Assuming it is a 1/48 twist, many have good luck with the Lee REAL with an over powder wad. There is also paper patching bullets too. The faster the twist, the longer a conical you will be able to use.
    Aim small, miss small!

  8. #48
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    reb, you can look at a t/c or lyman 50 cal. maxi ball mold. I have both and what I cast, both shoot very well. In My opinion, all conicals take a bit of experimentation to find what the rifle likes best. These t/c style molds are very common and pop up often.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfd View Post
    most people thinking about their first muzzle loader need to get as informed as possible by both reading and learning from the right folks who've been down the ml road for decades, and then carefully assess both their and the guns requirements.

    for commercial 'traditional' side locks, add in a .22 brush for cleaning out the patent breech that they all seem to have.

    if at all possible, use REAL black powder of an appropriate granular size.

    there's at least some amount of uniqueness to each muzzle loader with regards to ball and patch sizing that will require a bit of experimentation.

    for a hunter or plinker or woods walker, there shouldn't ever be a *need* to hammer down a patched ball.

    i'll go further to say there is NO need for a ball starter - there is no historical record of 17th, 18th or 19th century "ball starters". if the barrel and ball and patch require a ball starter, either the patch is too thick or the ball is too large, or both.

    clean up is water or water laced with a bit of water soluble oil (ballistol or nappa), nothing else ever reequired.

    i would never ever again buy a traditional side lock where the breech plug can't be removed - that eliminates traditions, cva and a bunch of other offshore ml's, particularly those that originate from spain.

    imho, the current best value for an in-the-cheap ml is still the lyman (invest arms) trade rifle, either flint or cap.

    the above is the tip of the ml iceberg .........
    1)Why would you want to take out the breech plug ???? been shooting MLoaders since 1989 and never had a reason to do it
    2)If you get your hands on a mid 1980's CVA that is in decent order you got a prize barrel - people get in the habit of rubbishing these because they were cheap

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    I personally have never recommended a conical for anyone. Your determining factor is the twist in the barrel.
    what Waksupi says x 2

    theys ball twist (slow = 1:66 1:72) and theys boolit twist (1:36 and under) and they do their stuff well - in the middle is yr compromise twist (generally 1:48) - and it does both ok but neither particularly well - that can be adjusted by fiddling with loads - hot load yr boolit and soft pedal the ball - makes it work. Proper ball guns are fun - easy to load - easy on the shoulder - and good game getters out of all proportion to the ball weight - alls ya gotta do is sneak up a bit closer - most fellers are at (or well past) their functional limit with open sights on game at 100yards - yeah I know ! we can all shoot a gnats eye out at that distance but there a lot of those little bugs still flyin round - somebody missed! ....... a round ball gun will do it to that distance. WHATS THA TWISTRATE ? that is start and end of the story.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob208 View Post
    rfd is right on about reading the books first.

    but a little off on the ball starter. there have been old possible bags found with ball starters in them. and they used a short starter with a loading block also.
    yeah - no short starter is a almost perfect way for a newbie to stuff the muzzle on his new gun - either that or break the wooden ramrod that came with it - ok for the experts that have had the muzzle carefully coned so it loads easy - but they forget the new guy likely has a cheaper rifle and if he dont use a short starter and a cone muzzle protector on his loading rod --- a year or two down the track he is gonna saw an inch off the end - and reset the front sight because he wore the rifling off being clumsy with the ramrod.

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    1)Why would you want to take out the breech plug ???? been shooting MLoaders since 1989 and never had a reason to do it

    good for you! i prefer to have as full control of my weapons as possible and there are more than a few reasons why a breech plug *might* need to be removed. with any new offshore guns i first remove the plug and coat the threads with nikal anti-seize, which will insure it can be removed *if need be* at a later date.

    2)If you get your hands on a mid 1980's CVA that is in decent order you got a prize barrel - people get in the habit of rubbishing these because they were cheap

    not my cup of tea, but to each their own and that's a good thing.
    .......................

  13. #53
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    yeah - no short starter is a almost perfect way for a newbie to stuff the muzzle on his new gun - either that or break the wooden ramrod that came with it - ok for the experts that have had the muzzle carefully coned so it loads easy - but they forget the new guy likely has a cheaper rifle and if he dont use a short starter and a cone muzzle protector on his loading rod --- a year or two down the track he is gonna saw an inch off the end - and reset the front sight because he wore the rifling off being clumsy with the ramrod.
    there is NO NEED for a short ball starter IF the selection of patch and ball allows the ramrod to properly do its thing. patch thickness and ball diameter are key. there are generally two schools of thought, a tight patched ball fit for best accuracy, or a looser patched ball fit for faster loading, such as on a woods walk, that will deliver acceptable accuracy.

    please, show me empirical proof that a short ball starter was used during the 18th century in America. consider that the ubiquitous firearm of that era was the smoothbore/fowler, for both ball and shot. fast reloading was far more important than supreme accuracy. that can't happen with a tight patched or wadded ball.

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfd View Post
    there is NO NEED for a short ball starter IF the selection of patch and ball allows the ramrod to properly do its thing. patch thickness and ball diameter are key. there are generally two schools of thought, a tight patched ball fit for best accuracy, or a looser patched ball fit for faster loading, such as on a woods walk, that will deliver acceptable accuracy.

    please, show me empirical proof that a short ball starter was used during the 18th century in America. consider that the ubiquitous firearm of that era was the smoothbore/fowler, for both ball and shot. fast reloading was far more important than supreme accuracy. that can't happen with a tight patched or wadded ball.
    Who gives a hoot about empirical proof - this thread was sposed to be help for a newbie getting started - not a history lesson !!! ---fer the record I agree with ya about patch ball fit - I load mine slicker than most guys and If I loose the short starter someplace I can git it done without - but I been doin this a while too - you tellin a green shooter with a new bought gun he dont need a short starter and he best use spit patch is settin him up for grief - sooner rather than later - no other way of sayin it.

  15. #55
    Boolit Master
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    indian joe, are you related to jon koz?

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    Who gives a hoot about empirical proof - this thread was sposed to be help for a newbie getting started - not a history lesson !!! ---fer the record I agree with ya about patch ball fit - I load mine slicker than most guys and If I loose the short starter someplace I can git it done without - but I been doin this a while too - you tellin a green shooter with a new bought gun he dont need a short starter and he best use spit patch is settin him up for grief - sooner rather than later - no other way of sayin it.
    take it easy, joe, it's all subjective and aesthetic stuff one way or t'other because it's not a safety issue.

    my reply about the short starter had to do with this post ...

    Originally Posted by bob208 ... there have been old possible bags found with ball starters in them. and they used a short starter with a loading block also.

  17. #57
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by triggerhappy243 View Post
    indian joe, are you related to jon koz?
    He some cranky ole dude? ----no mate no connection that I know

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    He some cranky ole dude? ----no mate no connection that I know
    cranky or not, yer ok in my book, joe! Name:  thumbsup.gif
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  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfd View Post
    cranky or not, yer ok in my book, joe! Name:  thumbsup.gif
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    Thanks!!
    Well we shoot them flintlocks - cant be all bad hey!

  20. #60
    Thanks to all who have taken the time to type some knowledge here.
    I'm about 'this close' to buying a spectacular looking Thompson Center Renegade .54 Cal from a fella here at work for $150, including a handful of "bit and pieces". I'll be lurking looking for wisdom and taking some notes.
    Thanks fellas!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check