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ORNERY OAF

Muzzle loaders

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pards,

I've been shooting  black powder for years but due to a recent purchase and a buddy steering me in the right direction,  I've become very interested in muzzle loaders and shooting them in matches. Was wondering for you guys who do this,  can you give me an opinion about a rifle I looking at...I'm looking at a Lyman Great Plains rifle in  54 cal. This seems to have great reviews and is pretty period correct. Would this be a decent starting rifle for muzzle loadings shoots?

Thanks,

Ornery Oaf

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I have never shot one but I lusted over that very one of the Lyman inventory.

Some of my shooting buddies had Lyman muzzlestuffers  and I never heard 

them complain about anything. 

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, ORNERY OAF said:

pards,

I've been shooting  black powder for years but due to a recent purchase and a buddy steering me in the right direction,  I've become very interested in muzzle loaders and shooting them in matches. Was wondering for you guys who do this,  can you give me an opinion about a rifle I looking at...I'm looking at a Lyman Great Plains rifle in  54 cal. This seems to have great reviews and is pretty period correct. Would this be a decent starting rifle for muzzle loadings shoots?

Thanks,

Ornery Oaf

I bought a Lyman GP when I worked for The Flintlock in Anaheim.  Mine was the first one sold in that area and it is a .50.   The .54 didn't come out until the following year.

 

I swapped out the sights for something more authentic (a full buckhorn rear and a nickel silver blade in a copper base in front, neither one is adjustable), stripped the bluing from all the iron work and browned it, and added a few decorative brass brads.  I also replaced the trigger adjustment screw for one a bit longer, from a Cox model airplane engine.  I got it to where I could set the rear trigger and the gun wouldn't fire until I lifted the muzzle about 30 degrees above horizontal.  Then the weight of the trigger would fire it. :o  I backed it off a couple of turns.  Now it has about a ten ounce pull when the triggers are set and four or five without the rear trigger set.

 

IMHO, it's a s good as any cap lock muzzle loader ever made.  You can spend more and get something that's more authentic...although not one shooter in a thousand can tell the difference...and still not get a better shooting piece.  I can still put four out of five in a fifteen inch bull at a hundred yards and I'm not all that great a shot.

 

Start it off with about 75 grains of GOEX FFFg or equivalent and play with your load from there.  Find someone who knows what they're doing to work with you and you won't be sorry.

 

BTW, I have owned seven other muzzle loading rifles and am  down to one...the GP.

 

PS: get about a dozen really good wooden ram rods or a modern synthetic one.  Keep a nice wooden one for looks, but you WILL bust wooden ram rods.  It's a given.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Forty Rod SASS 3935
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I’ve got one and is good rifle. If I change it would been .50 just because most folks I shoot with use .50 and for youth days mine not compatible.

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I like my .54 caliber Hawken.  The larger bore doesn’t foul out as quickly as a smaller diameter bore, and it’s more versatile if you decide to hunt with it.  I’ve taken two whitetails with mine and neither went far after the shot.  You will find more stuff on the shelf for .50 caliber, however.  Mine is a Thompson Center, but I would grab a Lyman if it’s a good price.

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Wow, this is why I love this place. Excellent advice guys and I guess I'm gonna order the rifle today or tomorrow!!! I bought a couple dow rods already cause I figured I would bust them. Heavy coating of boiled linseed oir might toughen em up!! Thanks for the help and I will absolutely take all advice!!

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I also ight look at those Buckhorn sights and silver front

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14 minutes ago, ORNERY OAF said:

Wow, this is why I love this place. Excellent advice guys and I guess I'm gonna order the rifle today or tomorrow!!! I bought a couple dow rods already cause I figured I would bust them. Heavy coating of boiled linseed oir might toughen em up!! Thanks for the help and I will absolutely take all advice!!

Hardware store dowel rods can be dangerous to use.   Make or buy a good range rod and order straight grain hickory for a working ramrod.

Muzzleloader Builders Supply or Track of the Wolf can helf.

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After breaking my factory wooden TC ramrod, I use this:

 

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1002221649?pid=472952

 

Buy three: one on the gun, one in the car, one at home in your safe.  They don't break, but you can lose one: experience talking.

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22 minutes ago, ORNERY OAF said:

Wow, this is why I love this place. Excellent advice guys and I guess I'm gonna order the rifle today or tomorrow!!! I bought a couple dow rods already cause I figured I would bust them. Heavy coating of boiled linseed oir might toughen em up!! Thanks for the help and I will absolutely take all advice!!

Dowels usually aren't sturdy enough.  You need a good hickory or fiberglass rod for shooting, and you'll need to cap both ends with a screw base on one end for tools like, bore brushes, screws,  jags, and a whole array of stuff that will one day become necessary (and you usually won't have what you need anyway) and a ball pusher.

 

Best way to toughen them up has been discussed recently in one of these sites.  Get a PVC pipe about an inch or more in diameter and long enough to hold your rod plus a couple of inched.  Cap one end permanently.   I always used kerosene, but linseed oil will likely work.  Put the rod (or rods) in and fill it almost all the way up with the oil.  Cap it securely and put it someplace warm too hot and put it horizontal.   Forget it for a few weeks and then take it out and wipe it down.  Good to go.

 

Enjoy.  I have for a lot of years even though I seldom shoot any more.

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50 minutes ago, Forty Rod SASS 3935 said:

I bought a Lyman GP when I worked for The Flintlock in Anaheim.  Mine was the first one sold in that area and it is a .50.   The .54 didn't come out until the following year.

 

I swapped out the sights for something more authentic (a full buckhorn rear and a nickel silver blade in a copper base in front, neither one is adjustable), stripped the bluing from all the iron work and browned it, and added a few decorative brass brads.  I also replaced the trigger adjustment screw for one a bit longer, from a Cox model airplane engine.  I got it to where I could set the rear trigger and the gun wouldn't fire until I lifted the muzzle about 30 degrees above horizontal.  Then the weight of the trigger would fire it. :o  I backed it off a couple of turns.  Now it has about a ten ounce pull when the triggers are set and four or five without the rear trigger set.

 

IMHO, it's a s good as any cap lock muzzle loader ever made.  You can spend more and get something that's more authentic...although not one shooter in a thousand can tell the difference...and still not get a better shooting piece.  I can still put four out of five in a fifteen inch bull at a hundred yards and I'm not all that great a shot.

 

Start it off with about 75 grains of GOEX FFFg or equivalent and play with your load from there.  Find someone who knows what they're doing to work with you and you won't be sorry.

 

BTW, I have owned seven other muzzle loading rifles and am  down to one...the GP.

 

PS: get about a dozen really good wooden ram rods or a modern synthetic one.  Keep a nice wooden one for looks, but you WILL bust wooden ram rods.  It's a given.

 

There is a knack to using a wooden ramrod.  When pushing down a ball with a wooden ramrod one has to short stroke it.  Your hand has to be no more than two hand widths from the muzzle when pushing the ball down the barrel. By doing it this way it is almost impossible to break it.  I have 4 muzzle loaders and have always used a wooden ramrod.  Where people get into trouble with the  ramrod breaking, is that they want to push the ball down the barrel  with a single stroke.  By doing this the ramrod has a good chance of snapping.  I belong to a Muzzleloading club for five years now and have never broken a wooden ramrod.

 

 

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, J-BAR #18287 said:

After breaking my factory wooden TC ramrod, I use this:

 

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1002221649?pid=472952

 

Buy three: one on the gun, one in the car, one at home in your safe.  They don't break, but you can lose one: experience talking.

Good choice.  For the one under the gun when hanging it on the wall get one as long as the inside of the barrel.  For a working rod get one five to six inches longer.

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Ornery, you are embarking on a path that is more fun than most of us are allowed to have.  

 

Suggestion:  Forthwith, get yourself a copy of the Dixie Gun Works catalog ~ still a bargain at just five bucks!  ^_^

 

https://www.dixiegunworks.com/

 

It's chock-full of good stuff you could buy, but more importantly, it contains tons of good reading and research material.  ;)

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I'm not too keen on using anything but stainless steel or delrin for range rods and everything else picks up dirt and acts like a file on the muzzle.

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1 hour ago, Forty Rod SASS 3935 said:

Dowels usually aren't sturdy enough.  You need a good hickory or fiberglass rod for shooting, and you'll need to cap both ends with a screw base on one end for tools like, bore brushes, screws,  jags, and a whole array of stuff that will one day become necessary (and you usually won't have what you need anyway) and a ball pusher.

 

Best way to toughen them up has been discussed recently in one of these sites.  Get a PVC pipe about an inch or more in diameter and long enough to hold your rod plus a couple of inched.  Cap one end permanently.   I always used kerosene, but linseed oil will likely work.  Put the rod (or rods) in and fill it almost all the way up with the oil.  Cap it securely and put it someplace warm too hot and put it horizontal.   Forget it for a few weeks and then take it out and wipe it down.  Good to go.

 

Enjoy.  I have for a lot of years even though I seldom shoot any more.

 

I had heard this somewhere a few years ago, but I wasn't sure if I was being fed BS.  Kerosene to season a muzzle loading rod seems strange.

 

A couple questions:  Why someplace warm and why horizontal?   How long do you need to let it sit in the open air before trying to use it?  Any type brace or clamp needed to keep it straight while it's air-drying after the kerosene bath?

 

I have a couple hickory replacement rods I bought from Dixie Gun Works a couple years ago but they're both just a little too big to fit in the, um, rod-holder-thingies (I hope that's not too technical for you guys) on the rifles.  One is .45 one is .36.  I'm guessing the only way to make them fit is to sand them down for the full length.  Then I don't know if the above seasoning method is going to make them swell up again.

 

I thought I'd try to burn a tiger-stripe design on the rods before seasoning them.  Any suggestions on the easiest way to do that?

 

Angus

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Posted (edited)
On 8/19/2020 at 1:21 PM, Yellowhouse Sam # 25171 said:

I'm not too keen on using anything but stainless steel or delrin for range rods and everything else picks up dirt and acts like a file on the muzzle.

I've used stainless steel and aluminum, fiberglass, hickory and others.  SS is too heavy and I never heard of Delrin.  Is it some form of synthetic?

 

I haven't shot in a couple of years, but took my stuff down and am getting it ready for this Fall.  My 'skins don't fit any more and my bunions refuse to accept my mocs, but everything else seems to be alright, just time worn.

 

I need to fit a new handle to my 'hawk.  The present one shrunk and is loose.

 

 

Edited by Forty Rod SASS 3935

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3 minutes ago, Black Angus McPherson said:

 

I had heard this somewhere a few years ago, but I wasn't sure if I was being fed BS.  Kerosene to season a muzzle loading rod seems strange.

 

A couple questions:  Why someplace warm and why horizontal?   How long do you need to let it sit in the open air before trying to use it?  Any type brace or clamp needed to keep it straight while it's air-drying after the kerosene bath?

 

I have a couple hickory replacement rods I bought from Dixie Gun Works a couple years ago but they're both just a little too big to fit in the, um, rod-holder-thingies (I hope that's not too technical for you guys) on the rifles.  One is .45 one is .36.  I'm guessing the only way to make them fit is to sand them down for the full length.  Then I don't know if the above seasoning method is going to make them swell up again.

 

I thought I'd try to burn a tiger-stripe design on the rods before seasoning them.  Any suggestions on the easiest way to do that?

 

Angus

 

The "kero-treatment" for new rods was one of the first things I recall reading in the Dixie catalog, possibly late 60's.

 

By the way - in some circles, those "rod-holder-thingies" are referred to as "thimbles."   ^_^

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Black Angus McPherson said:

 

I had heard this somewhere a few years ago, but I wasn't sure if I was being fed BS.  Kerosene to season a muzzle loading rod seems strange.

 

A couple questions:  Why someplace warm and why horizontal?   How long do you need to let it sit in the open air before trying to use it?  Any type brace or clamp needed to keep it straight while it's air-drying after the kerosene bath?

 

I have a couple hickory replacement rods I bought from Dixie Gun Works a couple years ago but they're both just a little too big to fit in the, um, rod-holder-thingies (I hope that's not too technical for you guys) on the rifles.  One is .45 one is .36.  I'm guessing the only way to make them fit is to sand them down for the full length.  Then I don't know if the above seasoning method is going to make them swell up again.

 

I thought I'd try to burn a tiger-stripe design on the rods before seasoning them.  Any suggestions on the easiest way to do that?

 

Angus

Rod holder things are called ferrules or thimbles. 

 

Horizontal so nothing will sink down to the bottom foot or so and start to "set up" and get gooey or discolor the lower end.  

 

Warm because it helps the pores to open up and absorb the oil.  

 

I used to put mine in the top of our garage and let it cook for a month or so during the summer. 

 

All of this is per Ray Taylor (no relation) who owned The Flintlock and was the most knowledgeable (that may not be spelled right) BP man I ever knew.....and it is sort of traditional.  After I started doing it this way I never broke a ramrod and they are almost as flexible as a rope.  That's a slight exaggeration, but not by much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Forty Rod SASS 3935
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BTW, learn to shoot round ball when you start.  I found a properly sized, patched, and lubed ball to be more accurate.

 

If you're going after game use a top quality conical bullet and get closer.  You may want to use a larger charge, too.  A well placed .50 or .54 will take most game.  If you're in a place with dangerous critters I always recommend a back up.  A squad of well-armed friends should be enough. ;)

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37 minutes ago, Hardpan Curmudgeon SASS #8967 said:

 

The "kero-treatment" for new rods was one of the first things I recall reading in the Dixie catalog, possibly late 60's.

 

By the way - in some circles, those "rod-holder-thingies" are referred to as "thimbles."   ^_^

 

Of course, I already knew that.  I just didn't want to sound too uppity and intimidate any newer shooters with my superior knowledge of such firearms trivia. :lol:  That's why I stuck with the common man's terminology.  :D

 

21 minutes ago, Forty Rod SASS 3935 said:

BTW, learn to shoot round ball when you start.  I found a properly sized, patched, and lubed ball to be more accurate.

 

 

28 minutes ago, Forty Rod SASS 3935 said:

Rod holder things are called ferrules or thimbles. 

 

Horizontal so nothing will sink down to the bottom foot or so and start to "set up" and get gooey or discolor the lower end.  

 

Warm because it helps the pores to open up and absorb the oil.  

 

 

 

I've  only ever used round balls for my vast collection (3) of muzzle loaders.  Well, except for my .58 Springfield which eats Minie's.

Other than a few squirrels, I haven't taken any game with them.  I'm more of a shooter than a hunter.

 

Horizontal makes sense when explained like that.

 

Thanks,

 

Angus

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I've got Lyman Great Plains Rifles in .50 flintlock, .54 flintlock, and .54 percussion. They are great off-the-rack rifles, and my only *very minor* complaint is you should buy different locking barrel wedges, or bend the center of the barrel trunnion or ferrule a teeny bit to grip the wedge. There are two of them and it's impossible to get tension on both, so one is holding the barrel in the stock and the other one falls out and gets lost.

Depending on what you plan on shooting through it - round balls or conicals - make sure you get the right rifle. The only difference is one barrel will be stamped Great Plains Hunter (1:32 twist for conical), and one will be stamped Great Plains Rifle (1:60 twist for patched round balls).

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What ever you use for a ramrod, or cleaning rod, invest in a muzzle protector, either brass, or plastic, or rubber.  I even use one on my smooth-bore fowling piece, although it is likely really made for rifles. 

If you are having any problems loading, and you think the bore may need to be smoothed out, check out "duelist1954" on youtube, and he will go through the steps on how to smooth the bore,  Sometimes, the factory rifles, may need some help in that area. 

He built one from a kit, and the bore needed to be smoothed out some, because it was a little rough. He would have to wipe the bore between every shot, before he smoothed it out.  Afterwards, he shot five or six times, in a row, without swabbing the bore. 

Nothing wrong with a Lyman Great Plains rifle. It is a great buy for the quality that you get. 

My Two Bits.

W.K.

 

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I'm kinda partial to mine.

 

IMAG0092.jpg

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If you like to read,  Ned Roberts’s “The Muzzleloading Caplock Rifle” will feed your addiction delightfully!  Read a few pages at bedtime and have pleasant dreams.

 

(Ned Roberts, inventor of the .257 Roberts.  He knows about rifles and muzzleloaders.)

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Never Ever use Pyrodex in it. The stuff is so corrosive it drastically shortens the life of your barrel.  If you have to shoot a sub stick with 777 or APP AKA Jim Shockley's Gold)

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2 hours ago, Waxahachie Kid #17017 L said:

What ever you use for a ramrod, or cleaning rod, invest in a muzzle protector, either brass, or plastic, or rubber.  I even use one on my smooth-bore fowling piece, although it is likely really made for rifles. 

If you are having any problems loading, and you think the bore may need to be smoothed out, check out "duelist1954" on youtube, and he will go through the steps on how to smooth the bore,  Sometimes, the factory rifles, may need some help in that area. 

He built one from a kit, and the bore needed to be smoothed out some, because it was a little rough. He would have to wipe the bore between every shot, before he smoothed it out.  Afterwards, he shot five or six times, in a row, without swabbing the bore. 

Nothing wrong with a Lyman Great Plains rifle. It is a great buy for the quality that you get. 

My Two Bits.

W.K.

 

Dang, I forgot about muzzle protectors.  I have a brass one on a chain in my shooting bag.

 

And Dave is right on about Pyrodex, but I don't like ANY black powder "look-alike".  BP is BP and you should shoot it if for nothing but the smell.

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A deer should be blocked out at the moment of the shot and you need to be smelling sulphur for the experience to be 'just right'. 

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Kerosene allows the wood fibers to slip against one another and prevent brittleness.  Someone mentioned it but you must take short strokes ramming a ball.   Treated or not it can fracture and puncture a hand pronto!

 

Hot linseed worked into the rod does the same thing.  After proper tempering a little rubbed in with some beeswax with suffice.  Some just wipe the rod with tallow.

 

Everyone needs a proper range rod of stainless steel, carbon fiber, or the like.  This is what you perform all your normal loading and cleaning with.  Yeah, you need a muzzle protector.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Built this .45 caliber cap lock from a Dixie Gun Works kit back in the 70s. Much fun. I had a CVA mountain rifle w
that I gave to my now ex brother in law. :unsure: 

Back in the day the Dixie kits consisted of a rough sawn stock, barrel in the white, the brass parts were sand cast and unfinished, the holes were untapped and the screws un-threaded and not slotted. I felt like an old timey backwoods gunsmith. Good fun.  :lol:
Still using the original ramrod.

73C177F5-0D7F-424B-AC98-997843459669.jpeg

50A9030C-66F4-49C4-8ACA-BC689149D89F.jpeg

 

Edited by Utah Bob #35998
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 Lead balls and real bp only for me. Shutzen or goex..gonna order a real ram rod for non matches but I read that some matches require wood or iron rods, something available then. Muzzle protector is a must too..will hit up Dixie and Track of the wolf tomorrow.  This thread is awesome for a new shooter like me. Thanks everyone 

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just bought a new rod, muzzle protector, a 54 cal kit with bullet puller, cleaning brushes and bullet pusher...already got patches, balls, powder measure....i need a powder horn and some cool clothes...wife is gonna love this months credit card...and i haven't even ordered the rifle (tomorrow) ;)...i got sass clothes but i might need to go back a few more years frontiersman style

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I've been thinking about getting back into muzzle loading too.  I was thinking of a Gibbs rifle, a Mortimer Whitworth, or a parker hale whitworth.  But the Whitworth's don't use standard round balls so Gibbs was moving up to the top of my list.  I'll check out the Lyman Great Plains rifle.  I was planning to shoot out to 600 yards with this gun, is the Lyman up to the task? 

 

My previous experience was with a CVA rifle kit I built when I was about 16.  I wasn't happy with it.  The twist on the barrel made it so it couldn't shoot round balls or conicals worth a dern.  That gun was stolen. 

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For shooting out to 600 yards I would choose a Whitworth hands down. You have to cast your own bullets but it would be worth it.

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Check out the SPG lube too.  I have a few small tins, and I rub my un-lubed patches on the SPG lube, before I load the rifle. Of course you can use pre-lubed patches, and that is what I do as well. I like the Wonder Lube lubed patches.  I am not affiliated with either company, just my own personal preference, and I am sure other Pards will have their preferences too, based on the experience they have.  Bottom line, there are a lot of choices out there.  

 

As a matter of habit, I swab the bore, between shots, since I don't have any hostiles bearing down on me, and I have some time to reload. I use a small square of "patch" material that I purchase at the local-yokel pharmacy. It is a packet of alcohol swabs, that folks use to wipe down an injection site. They are soaked in alcohol, and they come in individual packets, and of course the alcohol evaporates quickly. I run it down the bore once, and then that cleans it up, so I can reload without it getting more difficult. They are not expensive, and it beats using spit, and it there is no concern about getting any rust started in the bore.

 

I started muzzle-loading in 1965, and I have never gotten tired of it. It is as much fun today, as it was when I first started. There is usually always something new to learn, and let me tell you, we have tons more choices of muzzle-loading stuff available today, than we did in 1965. The "good-old-days" of muzzle-loading are right now! 

So, enjoy the sport.

 

My Two Bits.

W.K.

 

  

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