WHAT TO BUY
You do not have to spend a lot of money to purchase a reliable quality black powder weapon. To get into the sport, you can buy new or used at any sporting goods store or gun store. There are a lot of excellent online websites, and every area usually has a dedicated black powder themed store. Be sure to look around and get a general idea of what you are interested in purchasing.
When you are purchasing new, be sure to purchase compatible ammunition and all the other accessories needed to load and fire. Having the wrong size percussion cap the first time you go to the range will make that day a complete waste of time. Most hunters and shooters have a checklist to ensure you leave the house with everything you need. It’s a good idea to bring cleaning supplies also, fouling will occur after the 4th or 5th round and make loading more difficult.
There are a lot of doodads and gizmos for muzzle loading. With any sport, everyone jumps on the band wagon and makes things that make money. Some of these items are a must. A good powder flask to hold the powder and pour a consistent volume charge is essential. A powder cup or powder measure with a funnel will save spilled powder going all over your feet when you load.
A good strong ramrod is needed to load and clean. The wooden ones that come with most firearms are handy, but for a lot of firing at the range, buy a steel or fiberglass one. If you want to load faster, purchase a tube that can contain a measure of powder and a projectile all in a convenient package. The good thing about most of the accessories needed for black powder is that they are cheaper to purchase than a modern firearm magazine. Ask around and see what works and what doesn’t.
Buying used is more work, but there are some good bargains to be found if you know what to look for. If you are going to a storefront, be sure to completely disassemble the weapon. If the sales person won’t do that, or allow you to do that with proper tools, walk away. Any knowledgeable sales person will know that black powder is corrosive and if the weapon was not properly maintained, it will not be safe. Be sure to bring a bore light to inspect the bore and use that light to inspect the finer nooks and crannies of the weapon. Examine the touch hole or nipple area and check under the stock and forearm. If the weapon is a flintlock or percussion cap system, look at the lock and see if there is any excessive wear or thin springs. If it doesn’t look right, it’s probably not. Find out the return policy of the store. All these suggestions apply to modern smokeless powder weapons. If you have a knowledgeable friend, bring them along and have them show you what to look for. That is the best way and that is how you avoid any mistakes in purchasing a used firearm.
Everyone wants to save money and the internet is the best place to save a buck or two. Buying a new or used firearm online is always risky. Always find out about the store refund policies. Who will pay the return shipping if you decide the weapon is defective? How long do you have for inspection and can you fire the weapon? Most online stores will work with you, but if you are dealing with a private party, be sure to get the policy in writing. I have purchased many black powder firearms online and have never had any issues, but I deal with companies that exclusively manufacture and deal with black powder. There are several wonderful sites and if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line. I have NO affiliations with these sites; I just enjoy the sport and shop around.
Hunting with a traditional muzzle loader or a newer in line muzzle loader is exciting and challenging. It is economical and very hands on. When you decide to take the plunge, be sure to research your states hunting laws regarding muzzle loaders. Caliber restrictions apply to most game animals and the use of optics or red dot scopes vary. Purchase the black powder weapon that you have to use to hunt the game you are shooting for, not one that looks cool or is cheap. Be sure to know if you can carry a self defense weapon and what type. NEVER use a black powder firearm for self defense, man has created far better weapon systems and it is not worth your life or the life of others. As always obey the firearm safety rules. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at this website and I will be glad to answer them. Be safe and happy hunting.