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Beginner BP rifles

4196 Views 11 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Magnum88C

I'm interested in black powder rifles, but have limited experience with any type of firearm.

Should a beginner go with a replica like the Hawken or Kentucky rifles or a more modern rifle like the ones CVA makes?

What about the starter kits that have everthing one needs to begin shooting?

Any recommendations on a good beginner's BP rifle would be appreciated.

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This being just my opinion, but if I were going to get a black powder gun it would be a new in-line one. I have an in-line and I love it. I have a good buddy who has a Hawken and he gets a lot of misfires. The new inlines are great and should not give you any problems with misfires. Have you seen the commercial where the guy drops his inline in the creek, then he dumps water out of the barrel and it shoots? Don't think a Hawken would do that. You'll pay more now for a good inline, but trust me it will be worth it in the long run, less headaches down the road for sure...

Hope that helped a little...

Thanks for your advice. I was leaning towards a modern rifle because I' think it would be more reliable and easier to shoot. I sure do like the looks of the "replica" rifles though!

CVA makes a nice in-line entry level rifle called the Staghorn 209 Magnum. I think I'll do more research on that one and some compareable rifles before making a purchase.

Thanks again,
I'm 13 and I wanna start of rifling or archery and I wanna know which one is the best to start out with. I would also like to know what gun or bow would be the best for a bigginer like me. Thanks
dude you ain't got a clue, smokepoles that ain't flashpanning when you stroke the trigger are just so much not cool. If you want to start in blackpowder do three things. Buy a good book to explain the facts and fiction, buy yourself an inexpensive replica caplock or flintlock, and never ever look back. The nestalgia of blackpowder is the true treasure here. Shooting and having fun doing so is just extra icing on your cake.
I am a traditional shooter,so I know little about inlines.My reccomendation for a beginner would be to buy something on the order of a C.V.A mountain rifle,or as a second choice a T.C "hawken" it doesnt look much like a Hawken,but it is safe and reliable.The starter kits are fine.Assuming a 50 cal. rifle I would start with a 490 ruond ball,an .010 patch and 50 grains of 2f.g. black powder.Both C.V.A and T.C.publish excellent phamplets on safe use and care of your black powder rifle. I wouldnt start with a flintlock unless you have ready access to an EXPERIENCED flintlock shooter who can help you over the humps.
Another question...

So where might we interested would-be beginners find such things? Are there any good websites that offer a good starter set with a reliable modern BP, or would a gunshow or something else be better?

Dixie Gun Works is probably a good place to start. Click on the link to go to their website. Their catalog is a must-have for the black powder fan. The have many excellent books for the beginner on up to the expert. Accessories, gun kits, you name it and you'll find it at Dixie.

Good luck!

Dixie Gun works is tops, Cabelas often has starter kits for cheap.

Best advice would be to read a few books on it first, and go from there. The reason I like the "Hawken" style starter kits is they're often cheaper than more modern guns, and you can get a good feel for BP shooting and hunting without a big outlay of money.

FWIW, I haven't had much trouble with my "Hawken" kit gun or Lyman Great Plains rifle. You just have to take different precautions in bad weather with BP guns to keep them from misfiring.

With either a traditional design or an inline, be aware that you will have to do "load development". Your gun will not shoot like your buddy's "identical" one. You'll have to learn which balls/bullets/sabots over what powder charge works best.

Think about what you want to shoot before you buy, and get an appropriate barrel twist. 1-in-60 is good for balls, but not much else. 1-in 36 is good for heavier bullets and sabots. Many makes come with a 1-in-48 twist, which is a compromise, it won't shoot balls, or bullets as accurately as the more ammo-specific twists will, but you'll get acceptable performace with either, meaning you can plink with cheap balls and hunt with effective ammo.

But all this load development and sorting out what it likes to shoot is a lot of the enjoyment BP shooters get out of their guns.
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CVA makes a "Mountain Rifle" in either .50, or .54. I got one from BassPro shops delivered to my front door for 75.00$. This is a no frills rifle, and in .54, I use 70grs of FFFg, because I also have pistols, so I only keep one flavor of powder. When starting up a load, start 5 gr below the caliber number, and increase 5 gr at a time. Fire strings of three shots per loading weight, and watch for excessive sparks coming out of the muzzel. When this happens drop 5gr off the loading as sparks do not increase velocity, but represent unburned powder and are a waste of powder. Black powder is qiuite fun, relaxing, and easy if You pay attention to whatch what You are doing.
actually, it's a huge PITA, and everyone who ever tried it knows that much.
Half elf said:
sparks do not increase velocity, but represent unburned powder and are a waste of powder. Black powder is qiuite fun, relaxing, and easy if You pay attention to whatch what You are doing.
Sometimes it's great to have that unburnt powder when you want to blow off some steam (or make some smoke). BP gets into even more fun when you get into the cannon aspect of it. . .
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