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Thread: Muzzleloader shopping ?

  1. #1

    Muzzleloader shopping ?

    I have never owned a Muzzleloader. Lots of guns and hunting, just not a smokepole. A few years ago I used 11 years of preference points for a quality NE Oregon deer hunt and borrowed a Knight Bighorn. Not sure why but I seem to have gotten bit by the idea of doing more of this style of hunting. I applied for a ML elk tag this year (drawing hasnt happened yet to see if I am successful).

    Oregon requires open ignition. I have looked at guns online, cabelas, local sporting goods stores. The stores dont carry many guns in stock. So the hands on options are pretty limited to do the touchy feely thing.

    I think I would like to go with more of a traditional looking style gun, as opposed to the composite stocks and modern looking firearms. I would like to go percussion as opposed to Flintlock. I am leaning towards conical bullets, Oregon does not allow sabots. Patch and round ball doesnt seem like the direction I want to go. I would like to cast my own lead bullets for the ML.

    With those parameters in mind, I really like the looks of the Great Plains Hunter in a 54 caliber. Longer barrel, twist for a conical, I like the look of the foregrip length as opposed to the longer Kentucky wood grip. Its different matter I cant seem to find one of these for sale anywhere, backordered seems to be the standard. I also see the thread on this forum with Lymans quality falling off in recent years.

    What I think I would like is a Great Plains Hunter in a 54 caliber with a stainless barrel and the wood stock, though I dont think it exist. It rains in my parts of the country and keeping a gun from rusting is a full chore during hunting season. I havent been able to find a gun that has that GPH look with a stainless barrel, or if a guy could do an aftermarket stainless barrel on one of those guns???

    I would like to attend one of the local Muzzleloader Rendezvous and talk to some blackpowder guys, get some real world opinions, not just the sales guy behind the counter. I see a rendezvous this weekend in Prineville, which is a 3 hour drive. Maybe I drive over and talk to some people.

    Is there a traditional look with a stainless barrel I havent found?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    .

    Welcome to the addiction !

    You can't go wrong with a .54, as the conicals or PRB's (patched round balls) will take just about any game you're likely to run across.

    The Lyman GPR/GPH are made in Italy, and AFAIK most vendors have the guns on backorder, waiting on the factory.

    An excellent substitute, however, is the Thompson (T/C) .54 Renegade, which Track of the Wolf has in stock:

    https://www.trackofthewolf.com/Categ.../492/2/AAR-260





    T/C also used to make a stainless sidelock called the Greyhawk, but AFAIK, since it's discontinued, you'll need to get one from aftermarket sellers






    .

    .
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    GREENCOUNTYPETE's Avatar
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    people tend to come to muzzle loading in one of 2 ways.

    season extenders and Rendezvous

    you started as a season extender as did I and got bit by the bug

    I have inlines and side locks

    go see what they have at the Rondy if you want to play their games you need a costume also must wear period dress for most of them.

    you know what the state requires for hunting , go find out what the Rondy limits people to , the rondy gun will take game under the state law but very likely many of the guns that fit state law won't play at the rondy.

    good fun very often you will find some decent MZ at a Rondy for a fair price people who made or are having made a custom and are selling the Thompson they started with

    the cost isn't just the gun , you need a powder horn / flask , measure , range rod , cleaning supplies

    it isn't that much but some of it can add up

    I bought my first MZ for 99 dollars before I could fire it I had another 100 in powder, conicals , patches , range rod , caps , ball starter , jag , speed loaders , flask and powder measure


    stainless isn't period appropriate for rondy and you have to clean the same stainless or blued steel with black powder so not a huge benefit to the stainless any way.
    Whatever you be , Be a good one

  4. #4
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Petersburg, AK
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    19
    I've had many black powder rifles over the years. The Lyman Great Plains is what is in the gun safe currently. I'd take a hard look at the patched round ball. My hunting partner hunts almost exclusively with a Hawken style rifle with patch round ball and has killed everything from grouse to moose and muskox with it. Mostly one shot kills. He has a conical barrel also but the round ball shoots so much more accurately and kills so well he has just put the conical barrel away. Just keep your shots under 120 yards (after a bunch of practice) and it will do you well. Too many people try to turn a muzzle loader into a high power rifle, there is a reason you hunt with it (so much more fun and challenging) so take it and have fun. I'd also go with the 54 cal with about 90 grains of FFFG powder, has always worked well for me. Jim

  5. #5
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    18
    Hey BoE,go with the Great Plains instead of the Hunter.More versatile and more available.If you do get a wild hair and want to shoot at some at the shoots it will do better with the slow twist on round balls.The T/C is very available but I would go with the Lyman based on it is more authentic then the T/C with its looks.If your from Portland area let me know and I can point you to more shoots in the area where you can get better acquainted with the community.I would go with the blue or brown finish,it rains here but those are easily taken care of.

  6. #6
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    18
    Mid South Shooters Supply has them in stock for 560 for the Great Plains,for got to ask do you need R/H or L/H?

  7. #7
    Thanks for the thoughts so far. I have no desire to go play dress-up at the Rendezvous, I just thought I could look at some muzzleloaders there. It would be cold day down under when I get the wife into the frying pan toss competition

    Pietro - That greyhawk is just what I was describing for the most part. I really like the looks of that gun.

    Jdb3 - I was under the impression (for unknown reasons) that a conical would shoot better than a round ball?? Seems that might be wrong. I know I shot conicals thru the Bighorn the year I muzzy hunted. The way I shot, maybe a round ball would have helped Maybe a patch isnt a big deal with the rest of the stuff it takes to shoot, but the patch seems like a PIA to deal with.

    jj500 - I have seen the GP for sale a few places, and Mid South Shooters Supply, like everywhere else the Great Plains "Hunter" 54 is backordered. I am a righty, no use for a left handed gun.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Massachusetts, South Shore
    Posts
    53
    If you like the stainless look on a traditional gun there's a finish called French Grey, which I just recently learned about in this forum. Looks very nice. That's probably something you could do yourself to a blued barrel depending on your handiness.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    544
    Quote Originally Posted by Bait O' Eggs View Post
    I have never owned a Muzzleloader. Lots of guns and hunting, just not a smokepole. A few years ago I used 11 years of preference points for a quality NE Oregon deer hunt and borrowed a Knight Bighorn. Not sure why but I seem to have gotten bit by the idea of doing more of this style of hunting. I applied for a ML elk tag this year (drawing hasnt happened yet to see if I am successful).

    Oregon requires open ignition. I have looked at guns online, cabelas, local sporting goods stores. The stores dont carry many guns in stock. So the hands on options are pretty limited to do the touchy feely thing.

    I think I would like to go with more of a traditional looking style gun, as opposed to the composite stocks and modern looking firearms. I would like to go percussion as opposed to Flintlock. I am leaning towards conical bullets, Oregon does not allow sabots. Patch and round ball doesnt seem like the direction I want to go. I would like to cast my own lead bullets for the ML.

    With those parameters in mind, I really like the looks of the Great Plains Hunter in a 54 caliber. Longer barrel, twist for a conical, I like the look of the foregrip length as opposed to the longer Kentucky wood grip. Its different matter I cant seem to find one of these for sale anywhere, backordered seems to be the standard. I also see the thread on this forum with Lymans quality falling off in recent years.

    What I think I would like is a Great Plains Hunter in a 54 caliber with a stainless barrel and the wood stock, though I dont think it exist. It rains in my parts of the country and keeping a gun from rusting is a full chore during hunting season. I havent been able to find a gun that has that GPH look with a stainless barrel, or if a guy could do an aftermarket stainless barrel on one of those guns???

    I would like to attend one of the local Muzzleloader Rendezvous and talk to some blackpowder guys, get some real world opinions, not just the sales guy behind the counter. I see a rendezvous this weekend in Prineville, which is a 3 hour drive. Maybe I drive over and talk to some people.

    Is there a traditional look with a stainless barrel I havent found?
    Stainless??? wont gain you anything really - still gotta clean it everytime you take it out - a traditional brown finish works good - anytime you get a few specs of rust during the day a clean and oil that night will blend it into the finish - those old guys in the eastern forests knew a thing or two when they browned em!
    A 54 round ball at full throttle is a pretty effective missile - seen pictures where blokes have put one clear through an elk and broke both shoulders. By the time you get enough practice in to hit effectively with it you will have figured out that that patch thing is an easy deal - dont be scared of that.
    Hunting with round ball will bring a lot of frustration but it will develop your hunting skills like nothing else.
    You are standing on the edge of something that will be a whole lot of fun - you already halfway there with your thinking - take the leap - go whole hog - get a sidelock ball gun and go do it!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    My remedy is a TC Renegade with a 32" GM .58 (70" twist) drop in barrel.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I got into muzzle loading for the completive shooting. I could never get into the dress up either.

    I would advise to pick up a used tc .45 or .50 and learn to shoot round ball first. then branch out into experiments. I don't think the .54 is then begining and end all like a lot think it is.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
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    Not many rifles around that sported a stainless barrel. T/C cougar may be a candidate to watch out for also. But sadly was limited to 50 cal only.
    I hunt deer on some occasions with my T/c Hawken 45 cal sporting a stainless Green Mountain quickie-twist barrel. (1 in 28) a dandy looking combination. (bluing & stainless is.)
    Use to shoot a 54 for the same purpose but gave up doing. Being a good shot and one who recognizes his limitations. I get by with my littl 45 cal year after year. "Brown is down" are those first words heard by the wife {yearly} describing my daily muzzle loader hunts. If I don't get a shot. She's to call me daily and tell me about her day.
    "JUST A OLD DEPLORABLE THAT'S IRREDEEMABLE."

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
    triggerhappy243's Avatar
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    i am teaching a new shooter. I started him on the 50 with lead patch roundball. recoil is next to nothing with 50 gr. a 54 would be just i tiny bit more recoil, but hardly noticeable. both the 50 and 54 will do what you want. practice is the key.In my opinion, a maxi-ball may be a bit overkill on deer.......................... but, all the speed and energy in the world is useless unless you can hit your target every time.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

    rfd's Avatar
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    for patched balls you'd want the slower 1:60 twist GPR not the the faster 1:32 twist GPH (conicals). it's hard to beat a .54 for versatility as it can be loaded up and down with different powder granulations and charges, and different diameter balls to suit the occasion. these lyman guns are from investarms and unlike most other offshore guns, you can work on their breech and bolsters . i think you'll really love a .54 GPR, as i do.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    GREENCOUNTYPETE's Avatar
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    if your primary goal is season extending that knight bighorn is a nice gun , mine is the western with the musket cap ignition , no one requires that around here so I picked it up very reasonable , I also just picked up a TC omega 209 ignition for the 4-H it needs a rear sight.

    when you have a dozen kids loading all day long , the 209 ignition is a labor saver I like a Williams peep sight mounted on the receiver.


    round balls work with nice light loads for shooting targets even fromt he fast twit guns at 25 yards and work fine on game at reasonable distance.
    good fit is king be it a patched round ball or a conical. but a lubed patch can be more forgiving for fit it flows into the rifling well .

    for conical the Hornady great plains for one you can purchase over 90gr in a 1:28 twist will penetrate very very deep a deer lengthen wise with a bunch of bone hit
    Whatever you be , Be a good one

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
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    Round ball or conical. Depends on range. If over 100yd then the conical will gain ground on the round ball. At 200yd I would not use a round ball, but a conical would be just fine, maybe out to 300yd if you know how to estimate range well.

    Problem is you should make up your mind on projectile first. Some say fast twist will shoot round ball just fine. Well, my GPH does shoot them, just not near as accurate as the conicals. If you want to use round ball then get a slow twist barrel.

    As mentioned above, the Hornady Great Plains bullets work very well. I like to size mine to the rifle bore so they are a slip fit in the barrel. 90-100gn with the .50 cal results in 2" groups at 100yds (and sometimes less). The sharp shoulder cuts a nice entry hole and the soft lead expands well.

    The other down side to the conicals is recoil. When you get to the 400gn range the recoil becomes an issue. The Lyman GP rifles have a VERY sharp edge at the top of the butt plate. I filed mine so it is not as sharp (after being cut through a denim shirt). Since I fire a lot of rounds at the range I use a PAST recoil pad when shooting the conicals.

    Round ball, not an issue. Like shooting an AR.

    Sent from my SM-P580 using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Again, thanks to those who share their wisdom

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Put a good coat of oil or wax on your gun before taking it out if it looks like rain. Wipe it down good at the end of day and reoil if needed.
    Aim small, miss small!

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
    Kuato's Avatar
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    I use Ballistol on my guns in bad weather. seems to stay put and never had any rust issues even in the humid Florida climate.
    SI VIS PACEM, PARA BELLUM

  20. #20
    I was walking the aisles at a local gun show Saturday and found a Great Plains Hunter 54 caliber laying on the table. Guy told me it was his buddies and it has been shot twice. I am no muzzleloader guy, it looks pretty clean. I see another table there with a guy selling nothing but muzzleloader stuff. I take the gun to him for a "professional" opinion, ....at least he knew more about them than I do. He drops a light down the barrel, and does a few things, and tells me it looks brand new to him. He sees the price tag of $350, and says if I dont buy it he will.

    She followed me home

    Time to take up smoking, I need to find a bullet mold, buy some powder and caps.


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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"
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GC Gas Check