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I am a long time shooter who wishes to enter the world of muzzle loading. I wish to be able to shoot patch and ball rounds, so inlines are out. I kinda want a flintlock for the nostalgic feelings it instills in me, but I also am worried about some issues. Every book, manual, company website I have read states that flintlocks need real black powder and can't use substitute like Pyrodex owing to the diminished amount of ignition produced by a flintlock. This is a real problem since I haven't seen black powder in gun stores for years ( Reno, Bowdon ). I have checked most the gun shops in town, I might venture to another town to see if I can find some more. And even if Pyrodex was good enough, flash pan powder is still needed (FFFF), to which there is no substitute. Anyone know how to get black powder cheaply through the internet without ordering 25lbs at a time? Or should I just abandon my wish and go with a more practical percussion cap muzzle loader? I know I would still have fun with a Percussion Lock gun, but it just isn't the same. Is my enthusiasm misplaced? Anyone who has shot both?
What you have been told about Pyrodex and flintlocks is correct. There is one way you can use Pyrodex in a flintlock but it still requires a bit of blackpowder to make it work. It is called a "duplex" load. You put about 10 grains of black powder down the bore first followed by the Pyrodex charge which you have reduced by 10 grains to make up for the black powder. The black powder will ignite and will, in turn, ignite the Pyordex. It doesn't get rid of the need for black powder but it just makes it last longer. You might try doing a Google search for "Goex". They are a major black powder manufacturer in the U.S. Their website may have a list of dealers and you could find the closest dealer to you. as far as getting black powder online. You can order as little as 1 pound but the hazmat fee is still $20 whether it is for one pound or a case. Another idea might be to locate a local black powder club in your area. they may order cases of black powder for the members. Go to www.nmlra.com to see where the closest black powder club is located. I really do understand your desire for a flintlock. I have several of both and I love them all. Still there is just something about shooting a flintlock. I must warn you, though, a flintlock requires a lot of patience until you get the hang of all of its idiosyncracies. It is best if you have an experienced flintlock shooter handy to help you. It's all of the little things that will cause you vexation. For instance, you need to know to tap the side of your barrel when you pour the charge down the bore to settle the powder into the area of the touch hole so it will fire first time every time. You also need to knowe not to let your powder in your flash pan cover the touch hole or you will get a delayed fire, sort of a poof...boom. Even so, a flintlock?............yeah, they're special. I love all of mine. I If there is no one available who is a flintlock shooter, the next best thing is to get a book and read all you can about the care and feeding of a flintlock. I don't know of any one book but there are several out there that you can find in your library or have them get for you through inter-library loan. If you abandon your hope of getting a flintlock, a caplock is much simpler to shoot. It has fewer idiosyncracies to deal with. I have several of them, too, and I love them but they don't have the same nostalgia as a flintlock. I don't know if you have looked at the various brands of rifles out there but two that I like are Thompson Center and Lymon. I have guns made by both and they are great shooters. The T/C rifles have a 1 in 48 twist rate which is a compromise and will shoot both round balls and conical bullets but not modern sabot bullets. The Lymon is designed as a round ball gun since it has a 1 in 60 twist rate. If you have any more questions, get back to me and I'll try to be as much help as possible. 2:00 PM 10/16/08 I did a little research and found that your state representative for NMLRA is Patrick Walker in Minden. His phone number is 775-267-1391 and his email address is email@example.com. Patrick will be a great help in getting you started in muzzleloading and will know where you can buy black powder. He can also help you with making a selection of a rifle. Pat is your man but, like I said, I will be glad to answer any other questions you may have. I also noticed that I made a typo in the website address for the National Muzzleloading Rifle Assocation (NMLRA). the correct website is www.nmlra.com. Sorry for the typo. Another website you might enjoy is www.muzzleloadingforum.com And by the way, I do not acvise trying to make your own black powder. It is a pretty dangerous process and not worth taking the chance. If anything went wrong, you could end up seriously injured or dead. I checked out the website that one of the other answerers gave you for Goex and it is pretty good. I was shocked at the prices because I buy mine in Friendship, Indiana at the NMLRA headquarters. Last month I bought 5 pounds and paid $11 per pound. I also bought a pound of Swiss Null B for use in my priming pan and it cost me $25 for a pound but a pound of Null B will probably last me the rest of my life since I only put about 1 to 2 grains in my pan and a pound is 7,000 grains. 6:30 PM 10/15/08 I may have to eat some of my words after contacting the Goex dealer. One of their products, Pinnacle, is a black powder substitute that they say will work in ANY black powder gun. I asked if their Pinnacle black powder substitute can be used in a flintlock. This was the reply that I got: I do not shoot a flintlocke but I have been told my Goex that as long as you use 4F in the pan Pinnacle will fire in a flintlocke Jerry If this is so, your powder problem may be solved and I may have to change my mind about using a substitute in a flintlock. If you will folow up on this, I will do some more research and see what we can find.
Not into muzzleloaders, but into pyrotechnics. blackpowder can be made at home. go on ebay or something, buy a ball mill, a couple large chunks of sulfur, charcoal. then obtain alot of salt peter (potassium nitrate or KNO3) the classic blackpowder mixes is as follows: By weight (you can use a old style-manual balance thingy or a cool, no fuss digital one. for pyrotechnics (multiple mixes, but this is what I started with) 70% potassium nitrate 15% sulfur 15% charcoal Classic BP formula 76% KNO3 14% Carbon (charcoal) 10% Sulfur This was used in the US until around 1850. Sodium nitrate has been used in times past in place of the potassium nitrate. Old english (British) mix from the 1300's: 66.6% KNO3 22.3% Charcoal 11.1% Sulfur 1650's French Mix: 75.6% KNO3 13.6% Charcoal 10.8% Sulfur The alternative used in many rocket engines (may be more powerful) is: 55% Potassium Nitrate 22% Charcoal 14% sulfur You grind each part separately, never together. Use lead balls if you're using a ball mill. steel ones can spark and cause a fire or explosion. So if you need 1000 grams, using the 1850s American mix you would have 76% KNO3 14% Carbon (charcoal) 10% Sulfur or 760 grams KNO3 140 grams Carbon (charcoal) 100 grams Sulfur measure than grind each part separately, then mix together very well. There is also a old method called "corning", where a small amount of water is used to help mix the parts together even better. That also allows the powder to become flakes or whatever shape you need it to be in.
I own both, although the percussion cap is far more reliable the flint lock has a better feel to it for me personally anyway. If you want the experience go for a Flint lock, if you want reliability try percussion cap. Cant help you on the black powder sourcing I'm afraid, I'm on the other side of the pond.
Wow, CIH (RET) seems to be a wealth of knowledge, with some great info! I don't think that you should give up on your dream of a flintlock and I think it is so cool that people are still willing to go through a little trouble to keep a nostalgic shooting style alive. I personally have never shot a flintlock, but think I'd love it. For any shooting supplies I would highly recommend Midwayusa; I use them for my reloading supplies and have not found anything that they do not have. I also have a Cabela's near me and I like to patronize their store as well, both are great. Good luck!
Here is the web site for the Goex that Chit (RET) mentioned What it looks they will sell by the pound which is standard. IF you find yourself also wanting a percussion, Traditions makes a nice Hawken in 1 in 66 barrel twist Perfect for Round ball.
I too am wanting to get into muzzle loaders but I think I am looking more to the Civil War era military rifles. One thing also to consider besides powder availability is a reliable source of flint. That, however, will probably be easier than the powder.
Www.dixiegunworks.com you can get anything muzzleloading related