The Flintlock Muzzle-loader Versus The Modern Breach-loader For Long Term Wilderness Living.

Discussion in 'Guns, Knives, Tools, Etc.' started by Keith H., Oct 17, 2017.

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  1. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    The Flintlock Muzzle-Loader Versus the Modern Breach-Loader for long term wilderness living.




    The advantages of the breach-loader 123a51d21e45a55aa70e21bc871b7916.jpeg 123a51d21e45a55aa70e21bc871b7916.jpeg

    1) The breach-loader is easy to load, & repeaters are fast to reload.

    2) Some rifles are accurate over a long distance.

    3) The shotgun is fairly versatile but a short distance gun only.

    4) The .22 rimfire rifle ammunition is light in comparison to larger calibers so you can carry a reasonable amount of ammo.

    The disadvantages of the breach-loader.

    The larger calibers use heavy ammunition, that is the weight of the brass shells combined with the lead is heavy. The 12 gauge shotgun ammunition is very heavy, so in both these cases you may be limited as to how much ammo you can carry with you. You could reload your own shells using the smaller & lighter hand loader, but you will still have to carry spare primers & possibly lead as well.

    The .22 rimfire has its limitations when it comes to what game you can kill with it. Small to medium game should not be a problem with well placed shots, but the .22 rimfire does not have the power to consistently shoot larger game, i.e. larger game is more likely to get away wounded.

    Advantages of a Flintlock Muzzle-loader.
    123a51d21e45a55aa70e21bc871b7916.jpeg 123a51d21e45a55aa70e21bc871b7916.jpeg


    1) Ammo is less expensive than a modern equivalent calibre firearm.

    2) 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).

    3) The fusil is lighter to carry than a modern equivalent sized gun.

    4) You can vary the load if needs be.

    5) The smoothbore will digest other projectiles besides lead.

    6) 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.

    7) You can make your own gunpowder.

    8) You can use the lock to make fire without using gunpowder.

    9) You can use gunpowder for gunpowder tinder fire lighting if needs be.

    10) 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.

    11) If you do not have any spare parts & the lock malfunctions, you can easily convert it to a tinderlock or matchlock & continue using it.

    12) 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.

    13) Wadding for ball or shot is available from natural plant materials or homemade leather or rawhide.

    14)Less chance of being affected by future ammunition control legislation.

    15) Gunpowder is easily obtainable providing you have a muzzle-loader registered in your name regardless of calibre (NSW).

    16) A .32 calibre 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.

    17) Damage from a .62 calibre or .70 calibre pistol or long arm is in the extreme. Wounded prey is unlikely to escape.

    18) By using buck & ball you are unlikely to miss your target. This load is capable of taking out more than one target.

    19) There is less kick-back to a muzzle-loading gun.

    20) Antique Flintlock muzzle-loading guns do not require a license, registration, or a permit to purchase in NSW Australia.

    The disadvantages of a flintlock muzzle-loader.


    The muzzle-loading rifle is slower to load than a single shot breach-loader. Smoothbores are a little faster to load if you are using cartridges, but they are still slower to load than a modern breach-loader.

    It takes skill & knowledge to get the best performance from a flintlock, but once learnt you should have no problems.

    Gun flints need knapping from time to time to keep them sharp.

    You can get misfires on occasions if you fail to keep the gun flint sharp, or if the gun flint should become loose in the jaws of the cock.

    If anyone has anything to add to this post I would be pleased to have your input.
    Keith.
     
  2. TENNGRIZZ

    TENNGRIZZ Expert Member
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    I love your post and love flintlocks, especially the Daniel Boone through Davy Crockett era just never got around to buying or building one myself. Always loved how they felt in my hands! What I deer,hog and coyote hunt with now and would likely carry in shtf event is a newer 582 series Mini-14, with Nikon Coyote special scope with BDC , Taurus 1911 ALR , Ranger tomahawk by VECHAWKS ,Marine Raider Bowie. S/FI GRIZZ

    I am planning on posting pics of my modern day long hunter set up when I figure out how too on this forum, got a new Nikon digital camera.
     
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  3. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    Thanks Grizz, appreciated. I use this site for uploading images to this forum: https://imgbb.com/
    Regards, Keith.
     
  4. TENNGRIZZ

    TENNGRIZZ Expert Member
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    Thanks for the link will do some time in the next couple of weeks our deer season is in full swing.
     
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  5. TENNGRIZZ

    TENNGRIZZ Expert Member
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    btw that double barrel hammer gun looks exactly like one my granddad had his whole life. loved that gun! one of my methhead cousins stole it out of my brothers house.
     
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  6. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    That is a black powder shotgun Grizz. A shame you lost your Grandfather's gun.
    Keith.
     
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  7. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    A rifled barreled muzzle loader can shoot shot like a shotgun shot wraped in thin paper saled with wax set on a charge of powder shoots well premade and carried in a tin. I find a 50grain pellet with a load of 7 1/2 shot works great for squirrels and rabbits that are sitting still 20-30 feet out ther is a story in thebackwoodsman magazine. That gives loads and info on how to make and use these loads the speedloader on market make reloading quicker a load of powder and ball or shot works great
     
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  8. TENNGRIZZ

    TENNGRIZZ Expert Member
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    I thought it was a breech loader still a beautiful shotgun!
     
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  9. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    Your'e quite right mate, it is a black powder breechloader.
    Keith.
     
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  10. TENNGRIZZ

    TENNGRIZZ Expert Member
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    My Grandfathers shotgun he bought around 1910 from sears and roebuck when he was 15 made on a Remington pattern I believe 2 barrels one 20 inch cylinder bore the other 32 inch barrels the right barrel was full choke the left was modified. used modern smokeless powder he primarily hunted small game and fowl with Winchester superxx high brass 2 3/4" - 7 1/2 shot kept around a 100 rds of buck and ball rounds he loaded himself on hand,primarily for the short barrel he liked #4 buck best. single action 45 revolver, 30-40 krag , and single shot rolling block Remington 22lr that's it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
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  11. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    I wish I could have had my Grandfather's gun, my Father's & uncle's too for that matter, no idea what happened to them. A lot of stuff went missing after I left home, I think my sister took most of the stuff, probably sold it!
    Keith.
     
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  12. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    That shotgun made in 1910 would use paper 2 9/16 length shells and two different length barrels never saw most boubles have two the same
     
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  13. TENNGRIZZ

    TENNGRIZZ Expert Member
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    All I know is by the time I came along we used plastic hulled shells in it 2-3/4" . It came with a leather display case with 2 sets of barrels had Cherry wood stock. Just a beautiful shotgun that had a natural swing too it like no other I have ever hunted with or held since , no auto ejectors either.
     
  14. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    Sorry miread info that makes better sense yep short ones for small game long ones for waterfoul pass shooting the difference of paper and plastic shells let new shells fit old guns but were hard to get out because of swell of the plastic case when shot
     
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  15. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Master Survivalist
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    My mom's dad was a subsistence hunter up in the mountains of western North Carolina. He was way beyond poor. His only weapon was a .32 muzzle-loading, percussion cap, rifle. As soon as he could afford a breach loader (single shot break-open 12 ga) he bought it. His dad came by a 10 ga single shot break open.

    I've got Pap's powder horn.

    Cartridge weapons are far superior to muzzle loaders. The phrase, "Keep your powder dry" meant a lot back in the day. I've fired ammo from back in the 1950s with no misfires. That was British .303 and the mercuric primers had softened the cases, so I got some split necks, yet they fired and caused no real problems. Other military surplus ammo from the 1960s worked as perfectly as if they'd been loaded the day before. I still shoot that stuff -- great for range blasting practice.

    A 200 rnd battle pack of 7.62 NATO isn't that heavy and the ammo is stable. A pound of black powder must be taken care of, plus it must never come near any sort of static electricity spark.

    Muzzle loaders have provided hunters with another season in which to go hunting. Primitive living and wilderness adventures, including primitive hunting, have given a lot of people needed history lessons. However, for serious survival, most folk will go with the most reliable, most robust, most flat-shooting, fastest shooting firearms. Muzzle-loading would be a back-up if all the ammo ran out and hey, it could get that bad in the future.
     
  16. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    I'm just not sold on flintlock guns. I well understand that where you live the restrictions on modern weapons makes owning them a problem but I don't have any of that sort of problem. I can do everything with a break action shotgun that you can do with a muzzle loader AND shoot a variety of metallic and normal shotgun shells ALSO. You can load black powder into modern shells and lead for loading a muzzleloader is no lighter than lead for reloaded ammo.

    You can also muzzle load a break action shotgun either with just the brass base of the shell with a primer installed or they now make breech plugs that are specifically for this. Hammered breechloading shotguns are amazingly tough and last for generations. The one thing that I have to give you is that I have to carry primers but that isn't much of a problem. They don't weigh much at all. The tool kit for reloading a shell that you are going to use in the same gun that it came from is almost nothing. Wads for loading in a shell can be made from natural fibers and leather as well.

    I've made black powder and it is relatively easy IF you can get the components. I'll tell you for a fact, in the East Texas woods you would be totally out of luck finding sulphur and extracting potassium nitrate which is 75% of the mix in any volume is a long term MASSIVE pain in the butt. I could probably do it a little better than most because I live in cattle country and could gather cow crap and urine but it is a long and tedious process. If I'm going to have to carry niter and sulphur to make black powder I might as well just carry the finished product...Actually I would MUCH rather carry smokeless powder. It isn't explosive and is a lot safer to have with you in large volumes.

    I am seriously thinking about getting a 20 gauge breech plug for my H&R shotgun so I can load from the front if I ever need to but I would prefer it as a backup than as a primary choice. I'm not all that sold on using a gun for hunting. It is wasteful of ammo that I might need to defend my family and it is noisy. If I'm going to shoot something I will probably use a 22lr. I've killed hogs, goats and cattle for slaughter with a single 22 lr so I know how to do it.

    If I was going to go primitive I think that I would go archery. Now that is something that you can make and use out of natural and commonly available things. The only reason firearms replaced bows early on was that you could teach a serf to shoot a lot faster than you could teach him to use a bow as accurately. The English longbow didn't give up much at all in comparison to the matchlock muskets.

    All that said, I would love a light fowling piece in the 20 ga area. They are so beautiful and have a grace that is lost in most of the modern weapons.
     
  17. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    Affordable in most shops used look for a stevens model 311d. Made in all gauges from 410- 10 this is a sweet little double that swings nice
     
  18. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    I actually have a Stevens 311 in 12 ga. You are right it is a sweet swinging gun. I also have a rather pretty English style 20 ga double that was made in Brazil I believe. I also have a St. Louis Arms double 12ga and a Belgian percussion side by side 12 ga muzzle loading shotgun. I seem to have a bit of an attraction to double barrels and lever actions. If I had the money I would have an LC Smith hammered double 20 and a Winchester Model 1901 lever action 12 ga.

    If I were to win the lotto I would probably need a gun safe as big as a house!!! I like shooter guns rather than fancy or engraved ones.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  19. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    I never will forget the look on mother in laws face the first time she came ino the gun room there was only about 50 at the time
     
  20. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    This winter I am going to put together a Dixie 50 caliber Hawkins rifle kit. I've had it for a year or two but I think I'm ready to do it. I have always thought they were nice looking rifles. It isn't a flint lock though.
     
  21. Oldguy

    Oldguy Well-Known Member
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    If there is no human threat anything that slings lead with reasonable accuracy will do.

    If there is a human threat then nah as sight signature is horrendous.
    and reload speed is stupid slow compared to modern firearms.
     
  22. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    For hunting the front loader smooth bore has a versatility that is unmatched by any other gun. For defence against animals it is still pretty good if you either have a warning or keep it generally loaded with buck show or ball. For defence against a single human you had better be sneaky and get it done with one shot and if there are several armed people you would probably be as well off with a baseball bat.
     
  23. Ken S LaTrans

    Ken S LaTrans Active Member
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    KSL Navy Six Collage.png Over the years, I have accumulated six or seven percussion revolvers. Though not single shot flintlocks as the topic addresses, I have come to believe that they are a very viable and useful tool to have in the case of a total societal meltdown...whatever the "event".

    I have a LOT of centerfire and rimfire ammunition stored, and the components to assemble a whole lot more. I cast my own projectiles for training, practice, and competition shooting. I don't "worry" about my stored up ammo running out in a short or long term "event", but as redundancy is also important...and as black powder can be made from things you can find, having firearms capable of using it is a common sense redundancy. No.11 percussion caps are inexpensive and I have likewise stored away many of them in USGI ammo cans with desicant packs in mylar bags.

    Black powder and percussion revolvers, shotguns, and rifles are not classified as firearms in the US, so possession of them even in draconian states which heavily regulate or restrict firearms ownership...they are "non guns".

    Are they archaic? Yes. Are they obsolescent? Yes. Are they obsolete? No. Are they still capable of taking medium to large game? Yes. Are they still viable, if not optimal for self defense? You may want to ask hundreds of thousands of frontiersmen, settlers, and civil war soldiers who used them and used them quite successfully.

    I recently bought a CVA .54 Caliber Hawken at a flea market for $200 that had never been fired. It hung over the fireplace in someone's cabin for 40 years. It came with the whole "kit" including a two cavity bullet mold. I cast some bullets, took it outside to my range and fired it. It took four rounds to get the sights dialed in at 2" high at 100 yards which turns out to be 1" low at 300 yards on this rifle...and it functioned perfectly.

    I can regularly put all six rounds from any of my percussion revolvers into the high center chest at 50 yards offhand unsupported.

    I'd say that those guns, coupled with my training make for very viable defensive tools if they are ever needed.

    So...I still say that breech loading modern firearms are "better" for just about every application from hunting to self defense, but the percussion firearm is still viable and an important part of the prepared person's arsenal.
     
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  24. FieldWalker

    FieldWalker New Member
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    Thank you for the very informative post Ken, I agree that even old weapons like these still have a valid place in many situations. Here in the UK modern-manufactured rifles are actually as hard to obtain as regular bolt action/semi auto rifles, needing a licence and a club that allows them to be used there, but they also need a separate explosives licence if you want to purchase and store any black powder and percussion caps at home. 'draconian state' indeed!
    I do believe it is possible though to work around the law a little, since we can freely acquire very old muskets and even (expensive) working 19th century breech loaders such as Martini-Henry rifles on the grounds of being 'antique/obsolete caliber', and then make our own powder. Still, given that acquiring regular cased ammunition here for our regular rifles is harder than finding a needle in a sea of haystacks, it's very convenient to have a backup tool that will still work with crude cast lead bullets as a last resort.
     
  25. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Master Survivalist
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    For your percussion cap revolvers, what sort of chamber grease do you use.

    Do you grease the chambers over the lead balls / bullets? Do you also use wax/grease around the primers?

    Do you use wax wads between powder and bullet/ball?

    In sum, what mechanism do you use to reduce the risk of chain-firing? This seems to be the dirty/icky part of loading these old beauties. Icky, but you don't want to lose a cylinder or fingers.
     
  26. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    The only chain fire that I've ever seen was caused by an improper bullet seating and sizing. The hole in the nipple in the back is covered by the cap and so safe from a spark getting to the powder from there. What happened is that the bullet wasn't sized for a fairly tight fit in the cylinder and barrel. It leaked a little powder past the bullet and when the chamber beside this load was fired it jumped a spark into the mouth of the chamber next to it. It guy was lucky and the bullet managed somehow to get out past the side of the barrel and no other chambers were set off. Nobody was hurt or harmed other than maybe a few soiled drawers.

    The sound was definitely not normal and every one ws ducking dodging and looking around. The guy dropped the gun on the shooting table. When we examined the gun it was obvious that the other bullets had jumped forwards from the recoil and that was what we decided had caused the problem. I miked some of his bullets and some of them were as much as 5 thousands of an inch (.0005") undersized from the minimum allowable for that caliber. Some people wax over the top of the open end of the cylinder to protect from this sort of thing but most of the people I knew loaded and fired without doing that. That was used if you were going to carry it around loaded for a while before shooting. I guess it also kept your powder dry incase of water exposure. I put a piece of scotch tape over the end of my Hawkin if I am carrying it on the hunt but then I do that on my rifles and shotguns too.

    Ken, the target that you showed that you had shot with your Navy Colt. The holes look a little torn and strange. It wasn't key holing was it? Maybe the slower 36 tears more. I have no experience with it. I know that a 38 special or even a 38 long colt and 38 S&W makes a pretty round hole even when I'm shooting lead round nose.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
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