Muzzle Loaders from Way Back: What, How, Why and When from Kieth

Kieth is a walking encyclopaedia of info when it comes to ye olde shooting irons. Check out his info on various historical muzzle loading firearms.



More good videos Keith, almost makes me want to get one.

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Only almost mate?! I will have to try harder :wink:

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@Keith what would you recommend for someone getting in to it? I cast, I have cartridg-based BP boom stick, but I must admit, after shooting @Oldbloke front stuffer I was like, ok, I need one.

I know that I want something that uses a percussion cap, not flintlock. I’d like something in 45 or 50 calibre. Something big and common, so I can either cast or just buy balls from an LGS. I’m also inclined to something smaller (think carbine), rather than a full length broom stick, but not married to that preference.

Other than that, I have no preference, what do you suggest and why? Something cheap would be good.

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Well you have already made up your mind in regards to caliber & ignition, so it only remains to see what is available in Australia. I think CVA is probably still being sold here; not expensive, short barrel versions available like the Frontier in .50 caliber percussion.
If you contact Graham Forbes I am sure he will be able to answer any questions on availability better than I can.
PO Box 589
Eltham Vic 3095 Australia.

Telephone: +61 (0)3 9439 6111

E-mail: [email protected]

Not married to caliber either. Seems pretty low on details, the why, what are the alternatives, etc. Just thought with all the videos you post, you’d have a good range of suggestions, pros and cons, etc.

A 45 or 50 cal Hawken would be the go JS. Can get a1980s Italian one for $2-300 if you shop around else closer to $1k for a new one like a Pedersoli.

Cheap lee Moulds, tin of caps and a kg of FFg will give you plenty of fun.

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If you are after small game up to goats, then a .32 caliber rifle would be a good choice. It digests round ball & conicals if you want a harder hitting round.
A .50 caliber will take all sized game in Australia, but a little too large for small game such as rabbit unless you are using head shots.
I still can’t tell you what is available in Australia, I am just not up to date on that stuff.
My personal preference is for flintlock, because I am also interested in wilderness survival, & a flintlock is sustainable, where as a percussion is not. For the same reason I favour a smoothbore because it is more versatile, digesting various shot sizes plus round ball & any combination of two of these together.
Advantages of a Flintlock Muzzle-loader.

  • Ammo is less expensive than a modern equivalent caliber firearm.
  • The smoothbore is very versatile, being able to digest round ball, bird shot, & buckshot, or any combination of two of these (can also use minies/conical slugs).
  • The fusil is lighter to carry than a modern equivalent sized gun.
  • You can vary the load if needs be.
  • The smoothbore will digest other projectiles besides lead.
  • Lead can be retrieved from downed game & remoulded with a simple mould & lead ladle. This means that you can carry less lead, & more of the lighter gunpowder.
  • You can make your own gunpowder.
  • You can use the lock to make fire without using gunpowder.
  • You can use gunpowder for gunpowder tinder fire lighting if needs be.
  • IF the lock should malfunction (these are very robust & it is not likely) you can easily repair it if you are carrying a few spare springs & a few simple tools.
  • If you do not have any spare parts & the lock malfunctions, you can easily convert it to a tinderlock or matchlock & continue using it.
  • You do not need a reloader, brass shells, caps, or primers. The latter have been known to break down in damp conditions or if they are stored for too long.
  • Wadding for ball or shot is available from natural plant materials or homemade leather or rawhide.
  • Less chance of being affected by future ammunition control legislation.
  • Gunpowder is easily obtainable providing you have a muzzle-loader registered in your name regardless of caliber (NSW).
  • A .32 caliber flintlock rifle is more powerful than a .22 rimfire, less expensive to feed, more accurate over a greater distance, able to take small & medium sized game, & other than not being able to use shot (unless it is smoothbore), it has all the attributes of the other flintlocks. For larger game you can load with conical slugs, which of course you can make yourself in the field.
  • Damage from a .62 caliber or .70 caliber pistol or long arm is in the extreme. Wounded prey is unlikely to escape.
  • By using buck & ball you are unlikely to miss your target. This load is capable of taking out more than one target.
  • There is less kick-back to a muzzle-loading gun.
  • Antique Flintlock muzzle-loading guns do not require a license, registration, or a permit to purchase in NSW Australia, but legally you are not allowed to “use” (fire) them unless you register them & hold a license for that category of gun.

It is only because of the stupid gun laws in WA that slow me down.

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I think stupid gun laws exist in every state now Fm, but I have heard that WA is worse!

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@juststarting if your keen on hunting with it make sure it will shoot 50 cal "minies ". Then you can hunt deer with it. Check the rules. Mine only shoots balls so I’m restricted to smaller goats, pigs etc. It’s all about the twist rate.

Accuracy, from what I understand, pretty much forget it. I think 5" at about 50 meters is about it.

Edit, minies are more accurate than balls.

In the past i hunted everything with a 45cal Hawken, one caplock by Tony Hawkins of NZ which will consistently hit the kill zone of a deer at 150 yards with a 450g solid, and the other a flintlock 45 Hawken by Thompson Center with set triggers which also used round ball as well as Minie. I have a Euroarms Kentucky in 45 (see a theme here?) which can head shoot rabbits with ball out to 75 yards quite well, any of these (except the Hawkins Hawken) are still easy to find at fair prices. Cheers,

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Nope, not keen on hunting with one at all. Just target shooting.

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But a rabbit is a target…

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That is true.

I have never shot anything with a muzzle-loader that was over 25 meters away. I like to hunt in close & make sure of my target.

I chose a smooth bore in 64 cal for its ability to eat bb’s as well as balls.
Must admit I’ve not been keen to shoot it, or more so to clean it afterwards though!

Flint or percussion?