New to Muzzleloading

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by ericrunner, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. ericrunner

    ericrunner New Member

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    I am getting ready to buy a Lyman Great Plains Hunter percussion rifle and I was wondering if anyone could give me a list of necessary equipment that I'll need to get started. What type of powder do you recommend (Pyrodex, etc)? Any help would be appreciated.
  2. tim.sr

    tim.sr New Member

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    welcome you are going to have so much fun.
  3. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    G'day and welcome ! both to the forum and smoke poles

    you dont need much

    a good flask with measure

    a cap feeder ( i dunno what you folks call em they hold your percussion caps safe and allow you to feed em direct to the nipple if you get the good ones, hold maybe 15 caps)
    a wad cutter
    a good cleaning agent
    a good oil ( i recommend silver bullet gun oil but i do sell the stiff )
    a pocket knife with a awl attachment ( may need to work it to fit the nipple )

    i'm not a pyrodex fan myself but its ok for what it is

    In the USA you have way more options for store bought BP and some of the mixes i wish to try myself

    if your going to cast bullets theres very good complete setups available in the US i'd love to have for a couple hundred bucks !

    i'll post some info from some BP guides asap
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2011
  4. ofitg

    ofitg New Member

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    Welcome to the forum, Eric.

    I would recommend the Lyman Blackpowder Handbook, tons of info on loading, ballistics, etc.

    It's OK to carry a powder flask, but it's a bit dangerous to pour powder from the flask directly into a rifle barrel - it's better to use a separate powder measure, or just carry a bunch of small bottles/vials filled with pre-measured powder charges.

    Another crucial safety tip - it is important to seat the bullet firmly down on top of the powder - do not leave any air gaps between powder and bullet.

    Since nobody else mentioned it, you will need to buy a nipple wrench.
  5. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    The Hunter has a 1:32 twist which is too fast for patched round balls. You're limited to conicals or sabots. It takes #11 caps. I prefer CCI but if you buy locally you may be limited as to what you can get. Same for real black powder. If you can find it you will have to ask for it, it wont be on open display. I use Pyrodex, it's the next best thing. Loose powder is much better than pellets. Triple 7 is too finicky to be reliable and Blackhorn 209 requires a 209 shotgun primer to set it off. You need a separate powder measure. You do not want to load directly from the flask. There's too much danger of a hot ember remaining that will set the flask off in your hand. You need to use a vegetable based lube if you use lead conicals. Crisco will work or bore butter but both get runny in summer heat. I use a beeswax/crisco mix. Olive oil will work in place of Crisco if you go that route. Cleanup is with hot soapy water. No petroleum based oil in the bore. Gun oil is ok in the lock but not in the bore. petro oil in the bore will make an easy cleaning job very hard. You need a short starter to get bullets started down the bore. A nipple wrench is always handy. A capper is nice but not necessary. never try to seat a cap with the capper, it wont seat it fully. Caps are not pressure sensitive, they are impact sensitive so don't be afraid to seat caps with your thumb. Or use a wooden dowel if it makes you more comfortable. You need a patch jag for your ramrod for cleaning, a patch worm for removing stuck patches if you get one hung in the bore during cleaning. A bullet puller for when you dry ball and sooner or later you will. Or you can get a co2 device to blow it out. I'm sure I've forgotten something but maybe someone else will chime in.
  6. ericrunner

    ericrunner New Member

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    I actually mispoke Hawg...I'll be getting just the Great Plains Rifle...not the hunter (mainly so I can do the patch and ball). Do you recommend the pre-lubricated patches? Thanks!
  7. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    OK, now you're talking. The pre lubed wads are good but you will have to experiment with different thicknesses to get the best load. You didn't say whether it's a .50 or a .54. I use a 530 ball and .015 patches in my custom Hawken with 90 grains of Pyrodex. I also use pillow ticking and lube my own patches and cast my own round balls. The GPR is a good rifle and is as close as you can get to a real Hawken for a reasonably priced production gun.
  8. ericrunner

    ericrunner New Member

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    I'm getting the .50. To start I was planning on buying my own round balls (.49 right?) Another question I had is, I know that people recommend between 70-90 grains for this rifle, but how exactly do you measure it out? Thanks once again! By the way, I was debating between the great plains and the T/C hawken, but ultimately the great plains is a little less money and i've read it's a pretty solid starter rifle.
  9. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    You'll need a powder measure. Pyrodex and the other subs have to be measured volumetrically. BP is also usually measured vloumetrically but you could weigh it if you just wanted to. I use an old TC measure. They still make them but they're not solid brass anymore. The top slides over, you fill with powder and slide the top back and pour. IMHO the GPR is a much better gun than the TC. it's also more historically accurate. The TC Hawken looks nothing like a Hawken. The GPR does.

    [​IMG]
  10. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Member

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    Pyrodex RS is fine for the Hawken, but when hunting, make sure you use the hottest caps you can find and USE a Nipple Pick--I keep a paper clip in the patch box in the butt. I've had my Hawken misfire twice with nice bucks in my sights. The first time the primer didn't go off, the second time the primer ignited but the charge did not. In the first instance the primer was empty, in the second, the nipple was clogged from a prior shot. Now I check that primer and run the nipple pick through the nipple before I seat it. In the field, I let the hammer down (gently) on my finger and then push gently down on the hammer to seat the cap.

    I have both the TC Hawken in percussion (.45) and the GPR (.54) with Flintlock/66twist and Percussion/32 twist barrels and locks. The are of comparable quality, but I agree the GPR is more authentic.
  11. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    BC, are you using Remington caps? I've had problems with them losing priming compound. I use standard CCI caps with no problems.
  12. ericrunner

    ericrunner New Member

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    So a few more questions. I've read (repeatedly!) that you must make sure that the ball is firmly seated against the powder. How do you know when it is indeed correctly seated? Also, do you clean the barrel after each shot, after a few shots, etc, and do you use a dry patch or some sort of solution? Thanks
  13. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Member

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    My .45 TC Hawken shoots better after the barrel has been fouled by at least one shot. I clean it every 10 shots or so at the range (just run a brush down it) and the night before a hunt I fire a "poof" round through it--dump a little powder down the barrel and fire a cap off to foul it a bit.

    Use your ramrod to determine if the round is seated fully. When loading your first shot, mark your ramrod where it exits the muzzle. You can use a knife or file and just twirl the ramrod around to make a mark all around. Check that mark every time you load. It will also tell you if you're gun is already loaded, if you seated a ball without powder, or if your charge isn't seated properly.

    Try to use the same amount of pressure when seating each round--it takes a bit of practice, but you'll get the hang of it.
  14. ericrunner

    ericrunner New Member

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    another question...i've read about different methods of cleaning the rifle at the end of the day. Everything from just soap/water, soap/water/vinegar, professional cleaning solutions....anyone have a recommendation?
  15. rammed

    rammed New Member

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    Soap and water.
  16. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    There's about as many ways to clean one as Carter has Little Liver Pills and most of them will work. Soapy hot water is fine. The main thing to remember is no petroleum based lubes(ie gun oil) in the bore. It's fine in the lock but petro lubes and bp fouling do not mix well. It will make an easy job hard. Always use a vegetable based lube in the bore. Bore Butter or olive oil will work. There's several different ones on the market. Some synthetics will work ok.
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