Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Black Powder and Primitive Weapons

New to Black Powder - What to Get?

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spatin:
I am bitten by the black powder bug and intend to order a rifle (probably a TC Triumph) and whatever I need to have to get started.  Can anyone here provide me with information on what kind of things/accessories I should order so I have what I need right up front?
I intend to use this stuff to hunt the black powder season next fall (2010).  Thanks.  Sidney.  Colorado Springs

Dan:
The short answer

Rifle
Primers looks like 209s for the TC Triumph.
Powder if you chose to use granulated powder you will also want a powder flask and measure.
Bullets Power belt, sabot, conical.
Bullet starter depends on how tightly the bullets fit the bore.
Range rod the ones that come with the rifle work but are usually kind of funky to use.
Bullet puller sometimes combined with range rod.
Breach plug grease if you don’t use it the breach plug will not want to come out.
Cleaning supplies patches, bore brush, swab, nipple pick, solvent, etc.

bski213:
I found a Black Powder gun at a pawn shop for $75.00, later I found out that the company went out of business in 1994. It has some rust in the barrel and could use a good cleaning and some TLC , but buyer beware, no ill well toward the shop owner. I am new to Black Powder,(never shot one ever), but am experienced in firearms (I will still get a mentor) My question is, does anyone know about Richland Arms? Are they good, bad, did I buy myself a cool fireplace decoration, what precautions should I take with a used Black Powder Percussion Gun. 

Dan:

--- Quote from: bski213 on August 19, 2009, 06:16:53 PM ---Are they good, bad, did I buy myself a cool fireplace decoration, what precautions should I take with a used Black Powder Percussion Gun. 

--- End quote ---

This post on auction arms pretty much sums up what I was able to find out about the rifles from Richland arms.

Dan:
And now for what turned out to be the ridiculously long answer.

I am also fairly new to black powder. I have been around it for many years just haven’t taken an interest in it until recently. I took my new BP rifle out for the first time on Sunday, what fun! I have mentioned on a couple other threads that I got a CVA Electra which after having a chance to shoot it a little I think I’m going to be very happy with it. I haven’t had a chance to shoot it out to 100 yards yet so not sure what it will do at that range but I can tell you it can put a hell of a dent in ¼” plate steel and that was with a light load. As I said I am sort of new to this game too but I have been around it a lot and have been researching things for a few weeks

Anyway, first thing you will want to do if you plan to use it during black powder season is check to make sure that a inline like the TC Triumph is legal. My state limits it to more primitive BP rifles, flint lock or cap lock and no fiber optic sites or scopes, so if I were to hunt with mine it would only be during regular rifle season.

As for supplies you will want to considder the following.

1. Primers
The triumph uses 209 primers which are the same as shotgun primers unless you use the 209s specifically made for inline muzzle loaders. These special inline 209 primers are needed depending on the ignition characteristics of the powder you use.

The CVA Electra I bought recently does not require primers which is one of the reasons I went with it over a rifle that uses 209s. When primers are in short supply my ability to shoot it wont be effected.

2. Powder
Goex is the only company I am currently aware of that supplies real black powder. Note: unlike black powder substitutes, black powder is considered an explosive which requires different and more expensive storage and shipping practices.

First you should decide if you want to use pelletized powder or granular powder. Pelletized is convenient since you drop one, two or three pellets down the barrel no measuring required however the pellets are more expensive. Also, since there is only one manufacturer that I know of making palletized powder that narrows down your choices as to what powder you can get. To my knowledge black powder is not available in pellet form. Granular powder is usually less expensive and less convenient because it adds a couple steps to the loading process and a couple extra accessories are required if you go this route (see a. and b. below). That said, if you decide to use granular powder there are several powders to choose from. Black powder of course but there are far more black powder substitutes on the market and most of them bring some advantages over BP.  In my area Pyrodex is by far the most common BP substitute but from the research I have done over the last couple weeks it provides the least number of advantages over real BP. The other common powder in my area is Triple Seven which is easer to clean up and less corrosive than BP or Pyrodex plus it is less hygroscopic than Pyrodex meaning it has a longer shelf life. I am using Triple Seven FFG granular powder. There are other powders that are supposed to be less corrosive or easier to clean up than Triple Seven but they are even more expensive, have proven harder to find in my local area and from the reviews I have read are harder to ignite and less consistent.

a. Powder flask
If you decide to use granular powder you will probably want to use a powder flask to dispense your powder in a more controlled manner than would be possible from the container the powder comes in. Some flasks have interchangeable nozzles that are designed to roughly measure out a charge but you wont want to pour powder directly from the flask into the barrel just in case there is a ignition source such as a smoldering ember left from a previous shot.

b. Powder measure:
The powder measure is a more precise measure than the nozzle on the flask and is safer to pour from as it doesn’t have a large reservoir of powder attached to it, like the flask does just in case there is a ignition source such as a smoldering ember left in the barrel from a previous shot. Most have an plunger that can be adjusted to very the volume of the charge to be measured.

3. Bullets
There are several types and weights to choose from. Power Belt appears to be the latest innovation in BP bullets. These are easily identified by the colored polymer skirt or “belt” at the base of the bullet. Sabots  consist of a  base which looks like a shot cup from a shotgun shell and a bullet that is smaller caliber then your rifle which nests inside the base. The base will separate from the bullet upon leaving the muzzle. Because of the smaller diameter of the bullet they tend to be lighter weight making it easier to push them to higher velocities. Conical bullets are similar to a center fire bullet with one exception. Conical bullets to be used in a BP rifle require lubrication which is usually applied ahead of time. The benefit of this kind of bullet is that you can cast your own. You probably will not want to use round ball.

4. Bullet starter
A bullet starter is used to start a bullet down the bore when it fits too tightly to start with your range rod or the ram rod your rifle came with. I have one and have found that when I use Power Belt bullets or Sabots in my rifle it is not necessary to use a starter.

5. Range rod
The ram rod that your rifle comes with was intended to be used in the field for the occasional reload while hunting. As such it is less than ideal when at the range taking multiple shots. A range rod in general will be more convenient and easier to use. Look for one with provision for a bullet puller attachment or with a bullet puller built in. Many people prefer the polymer range rods because unlike the aluminum ones they can not be ruined by bending them. It is also a good idea to put the range rod down the bore of the unloaded rifle and mark it at the muzzle this will come in handy in the future if you are unsure of the condition of your rifle. If you put the range rod down the bore and the rifle is unloaded the mark you made will be down at the muzzle but if the rifle is loaded the line will be an inch or more out of the muzzle, a rudimentary loaded chamber indicator if you will.

6. Bullet puller
You will want a bullet puller for those times when you don’t want to fire your gun after you’ve loaded it or you accidentally forget to put a powder charge in before seating the bullet. With some rifles you can use a CO2 powered tool called a load discharger to blow the bullet out of the barrel. Many range rods have a bullet puller built in.

7. Breach plug grease
Used like anti-seize compound, breach plug grease is applied to the threads of the breach plug to keep it from resisting disassembly when it comes time to clean your rifle. This is not something you want to skip.

8. Cleaning supplies
You will want to get a big bag of patches. When you are shooting at the range it is a good idea to run a spit patch down the barrel between shots to keep excess fouling from building up and degrading the rifles accuracy. If you do this you will use lots of patches, best to buy them in large packs. When you are done shooting for the day and you are going to clean things up a bore brush to break up any fouling that does build up should speed up the cleaning process. Some solvent and a swab to apply it can also come in handy, if you don’t have a swab patches work too. I told you you’d need a lot of patches. A nipple pick will help you keep the orifice of the nipple clear so that 209 primer can work effectively. This accessory kit is a good start.

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