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

advice for a black powder newbie

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Knecht:
I've noticed that lately wheel weights are made of some different alloy, as they seem to be brighter and much more brittle than the old ones. Maybe it's just here in CZ, I don't know.
I also like to use old lead pipes that I get cheaply at junkyard.

As for choosing the type, iam4liberty has summed the basics nicely in his post. I would add one thing that I find important for long term self-relianbce situations: choose wisely between systems that ruhn just on powder (matchlock, wheellock, snaplock, flintlock...generally everything spark/ember ignited) and those that use primer (caplock, W209 rimer for modern in-lines etc.). While making your own black powder is not that big deal (and I mean at home, from resources that you may find in civilization, not talking about making it somwhere in the woods), making functional, reliable primers can be quite a challenge. Yes, one can argue that you can easily stock thousands of primers, they are cheap and tiny. Just saying that this may be an important point for some.
I'm actually quite a fan of wheel lock. Rumors say that it's so complicated and unreliable and bla bla.... not true. A well made wheel lock is about as reliable as flint lock. Just very slightly more complicated and about the same number of parts (mainly springs) that can break. It also doesn't require too carefully knapped flint to operate, at least if you don't mind changing the flints often (for hunting that's not a big deal). Wheel lock seems to be the most "calm" lock mechanically and thus makes the gun more accurate, as your aim is not distracted ba the hit of a caplock hammer of flintlock cock. No wonder why luxurious hunting and target guns still had wheellocks long after flintlock became generally the king. Some seem to believe that you have to wind the lock as if you were winding an old mechanical toy or watch and that it takes time. Wrong, the lock only takes 3/4 of a turn. This will compress the mainspring and that's it, you can't add any more turns to it (I've actually read a "historical" novel whose author clearly believed you can do that, to add reliability of the ignition)
That being said, I also enjoy all other types, including flintlock, caplock (love my SxS 12ga coach shotgun!) and in-line. Just thought I'll try to defent the poor wheel lock, which seems to be target of undeserved criticism among the BP crowd.

Smurf Hunter:
While I think BP could be a really interesting hobby, if your goal is mainly to secure an ammunition supply chain post-collapse, you can probably do as well with modern cartridges.  I can hand load brass cased cartridges that will outlive my life expectancy if I sealed them up and stored appropriately.

Regarding lead, because it's messy, not very healthy, I have not yet bothered to smelt scrap lead.  On eBay I can order cast ingots for $1.50-2/lbs. shipped.  That's a lot more expensive than "free" from the scrap pile, but I usually get to know the alloy and hardness.  You can do the math for your weight bullet (1lbs = 7000grains) and estimate the cost per bullet.

My long term stash of powders and primers are stored (in separate) old ice chests.  I've no idea how long they'll last.

9mmMaster:
Advice
Measure twice
Blow up never hopefully

Meaning measure your charge and be sure

iam4liberty:

--- Quote from: Knecht on June 07, 2017, 03:19:46 PM ---I'm actually quite a fan of wheel lock. Rumors say that it's so complicated and unreliable and bla bla.... not true. A well made wheel lock is about as reliable as flint lock. Just very slightly more complicated and about the same number of parts (mainly springs) that can break. It also doesn't require too carefully knapped flint to operate, at least if you don't mind changing the flints often (for hunting that's not a big deal). Wheel lock seems to be the most "calm" lock mechanically and thus makes the gun more accurate, as your aim is not distracted ba the hit of a caplock hammer of flintlock cock. No wonder why luxurious hunting and target guns still had wheellocks long after flintlock became generally the king.

--- End quote ---

That is cool.  Do you use pyrite with your wheellock?  The reason I ask is that locally flintlock useful flint is hard to find naturally.  We have a version of chert called "hornstone".  It is highly desirable for making arrowheads but generally poor for using with flintlocks.  On the other hand, we are relatively rich in iron pyrite.  So a wheellock would be more practical here.

This said, I am a big fan of the percussion cap.  It is easy and cheap to make percussion caps.  And Percussion caps can be used on both rifles and revolvers.  There is a lot of synergy between a 45 caliber cap lock and a revolver using the same raw materials.


--- Quote from: Smurf Hunter on June 07, 2017, 10:40:15 PM ---While I think BP could be a really interesting hobby, if your goal is mainly to secure an ammunition supply chain post-collapse, you can probably do as well with modern cartridges.  I can hand load brass cased cartridges that will outlive my life expectancy if I sealed them up and stored appropriately.

--- End quote ---

From a self-defense perspective, absolutely.  But there is a pretty strong case for hunting in good times and bad.  One reason the 40 to 45 caliber patched round ball muzzleloader was historically so popular was that it could be loaded for a wide variety of game.  35 grains of fffg and it could be used for squirrel, rabbit, and turkey.  70 grains and it could be used for everything up to deer.  A similar dynamic is playing out with 50 caliber modern rifles; 70 grains ffg behind 180 grain conical for rabbit to hog, 90 grains behind 380 grain one for deer, elk, and bear.  It is hard to replicate this range of use in cartridge firearms as the powder volume of the cartridge is more or less set. 

This flexibility plus the significant increase in hunting seasons makes it very attractive as a primary hunting rifle during good times too.  There is also the cost perspective with some BP rifles sub $200 during off season sales delivered to one's door.

Knecht:
I did use both pyrite and flint with my wheellocks. Found out my carbine works better with flint and pistol works better with pyrite, guess it has to do with the hardness/speed of the wheel.

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