Building a .50... and hunting with it?

Songdog

New member
Apr 6, 2009
878
0
Lately I’ve gotten the itch to build a .50 cal percussion muzzleloader from a kit, and try to shoot a mule deer buck with it. I’ve got a couple modern inline rifles, and have killed both elk and deer with them.... but there’s something appealing about going old school lately.

I’m leaning toward the Traditions Frontier rifle kit, with the 28” 1-48” twist barrel. I’m not too into all the brass stuff on the Hawken style kits. Thinking PRBs for practice and when the kids shoot it, and maxi-hunters for deer chasing. Anyone have any experience hunting with home-built muzzleloader kits?
 

SJB358

Well-known member
Dec 24, 2006
30,975
28
No experience with kits either.

I have a TC Hawken .50 caliber I plan to mess with myself. Just for the same reasons you mentioned. Although till probably just stick with PRBs. At least for right now.
 

Guy Miner

Well-known member
Apr 6, 2006
16,180
60
Dad built a 50 muzzle loader long ago and had great fun making it from the kit. We shot it a few times back in the 1980's. He cleaned it, and put it on the wall, where it remains to this day. :)

I've taken two mule deer with my traditional 50 cal Thompson Center, White Mountain Carbine - kind of a short "Renegade." A percussion rifle. It worked great and was a lot of fun to hunt with. But again, I hunted with it in the 1990's, and haven't even shot it in at least ten years. I keep it because I like it, and I might want to hunt the muzzle loader season again someday.

Can't remember the twist, but it shoots maxi-balls just fine, and those Hornady "Great Plains" 385 grain hollow points too. I wasn't impressed with the accuracy of the patched round balls, and not so much with some 400 grain sabot encased bullets I tried either. If I hunt with it again, I'll just haul out the maxi balls or the Great Plains bullets again. They shot well and clobbered those deer.

Guy
 

wvbuckbuster

Member
Nov 5, 2015
955
7
Songdog":4nio9jjd said:
Lately I’ve gotten the itch to build a .50 cal percussion muzzleloader from a kit, and try to shoot a mule deer buck with it. I’ve got a couple modern inline rifles, and have killed both elk and deer with them.... but there’s something appealing about going old school lately.

I’m leaning toward the Traditions Frontier rifle kit, with the 28” 1-48” twist barrel. I’m not too into all the brass stuff on the Hawken style kits. Thinking PRBs for practice and when the kids shoot it, and maxi-hunters for deer chasing. Anyone have any experience hunting with home-built muzzleloader kits?
Songdog don't know how much you want to spend on a kit but take a look at Jim Kibler's rifle kits. They are top of the line cnc machined inleted stocks with different options. His has less work involved putting together. I put a Track Of The Wolf Isaac Hanes .54 flintlock kit together about 10 years ago. Quite a bit of work but quality parts same as Kiblers and little cheaper. Lyman has a pretty good muzzle loader that goes together without too much trouble. These all have longer barrels than what you are looking at but carry well in the woods. Mine is 38 ins. long and no problem. Check them out before you buy. Dan.
 

Darkhorse

Member
Mar 14, 2014
739
1
I'm going to be blunt here. I hope I don't ruffle too many feathers.
You guys really get to me sometimes. You don't mind spending big bucks on new rifles and scopes but when considering traditional muzzleloaders your satisfied with some italian, cheapo kit.
I have a pretty nice stable of centerfires and to go with them I have a couple of really nice flintlocks. You will be much happier to set your sights on a quality rifle.
Fact is, I wouldn't spend 50 bucks on any of the rifles or kits mentioned.
EXCEPT the ones mentioned by wvbuckbuster, he has the right of it. The Kibler is the new kid on the block as he has developed cnc machining to manufacture his kits. Super easy to assemble. You get a real top quality rifle for around a grand.
The Isacc Haines kits as offered by several manufacturers are my personal favorites. These are harder to build but they can be made into excellent rifles you will be proud to own.
And for what it's worth forget the percussion rifles and get a flintlock. Then you will be all set.
 
Apr 17, 2020
57
1
From what I've heard from others, some of those Italians know what there doing, like Pedersoli, just what I've heard, but I always prefer an American product when there's a good one with a permissible price. I'm curious why you would suggest a flintlock though, I'm kind of interested in black powder rifles myself and always tend to lean toward buying percussion for it's reliability.
 

wvbuckbuster

Member
Nov 5, 2015
955
7
3 Meter Para Bellum":2gxjhwon said:
From what I've heard from others, some of those Italians know what there doing, like Pedersoli, just what I've heard, but I always prefer an American product when there's a good one with a permissible price. I'm curious why you would suggest a flintlock though, I'm kind of interested in black powder rifles myself and always tend to lean toward buying percussion for it's reliability.
Nothing wrong with caplocks and I felt as you do till I got into shooting flintlocks. It's a learning process but not hard or complicated. You will find that with a quality flintlock it will and is dependable as long as you do your part such as keeping the edge of your flint sharp and the touch hole clear. Another thing is you don't have to put a cap on every time you shoot. Just prime the pan, same difference I guess. It's fun. Give it a try. Dan.
 

1100 Remington Man

Active member
May 1, 2007
1,004
1
I would just look for a excellent TC Hawken or Rengade and refinish the stock and make it your own and go shooting and hunting.
 

Darkhorse

Member
Mar 14, 2014
739
1
3 Meter Para Bellum":3pjh5wuu said:
From what I've heard from others, some of those Italians know what there doing, like Pedersoli, just what I've heard, but I always prefer an American product when there's a good one with a permissible price. I'm curious why you would suggest a flintlock though, I'm kind of interested in black powder rifles myself and always tend to lean toward buying percussion for it's reliability.

It 's a perspective thing. If you are just starting out most any muzzle loader will be a great gun in your hands. And yes, some of those Italians know what they are doing. Or so you'd think. My first flintlock was a Great Plains Rifle. It hardly ever fired and I learned to hate it. But the problem was a really poor design of the touch hole, it hardly allowed any fire from the prime to touch the powder charge. Being mechanically inclined I set out to learn it and fix it. I ended up replacing several parts and tweaking others. When I sold it I thought it was a pretty good shooter.
I became leery of production rifles but wanted a better one so I decided to build one. This was a new level of black powder rifles. The components are made to almost mirror the original but with modern metals. Manufactured with a combination of machining and hand work, like the originals were made, these locks and triggers allow the knowledgeable shooter to tune the parts to better interface with you and your rifle. The barrels are made to long established original dimensions with your choice of round bottom or flat bottom rifling. Extremely accurate. Most barrels shoot better than their owners ever will.
Most Italians and Spaniards don't really know what an American longrifle looks like. When compared to our custom rifles and handbuilt ones the discrepancies stand out like a sore thumb.
To own and shoot a well built American rifle is a joy. The rifle will fit you nearly perfectly. The lock is smooth and quiet and very fast. The rifle will shoot one hole groups all day long.
While it's true many shoot caplocks because they are more dependable, the difference is much less than they think. Start out with a quality rifle and shoot it a lot and learn from it. After awhile you no longer worry about the rifle refusing to fire and you may think the flintlock is the more dependable of the two. I can't remember the last time I had a flash in the pan.
With the right custom rifle those cold November mornings become personal times just looking at your rifle and running your fingers over the fine deep finish. And when that buck steps out all the money and time were well worth it after all.

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Joec7651

Member
Apr 7, 2019
452
6
The Lyman Great Plains rifle would be better for round balls. It has a 1:60 twist barrel which is much more accurate than a 1:48 barrel with PRB. It will also shoot mini balls very well. With hunting weight powder charges a slow twist barrel will be more accurate. The round ball rifles I have built have a 1:72 and 1:79 twist in 54 cal. They will put 3 shots into 1 1/2” at 100 yards with peep sights. I had those 2 barrels built to my specs.
 
Apr 17, 2020
57
1
wvbuckbuster":2rf2cwfs said:
Songdog don't know how much you want to spend on a kit but take a look at Jim Kibler's rifle kits. They are top of the line cnc machined inleted stocks with different options. His has less work involved putting together. I put a Track Of The Wolf Isaac Hanes .54 flintlock kit together about 10 years ago. Quite a bit of work but quality parts same as Kiblers and little cheaper. Lyman has a pretty good muzzle loader that goes together without too much trouble. These all have longer barrels than what you are looking at but carry well in the woods. Mine is 38 ins. long and no problem. Check them out before you buy. Dan.

Anyone have website links to these rifle makers suggested above? I'm pretty interested in these.
 

Joec7651

Member
Apr 7, 2019
452
6
I’m working on a 36” .45 caliber round ball barrel for my Seneca. Started with a Green Mountain barrel and recently finished fitting the breech plug. I still need to solder the under rib and thimbles on, then cut the dovetails for the under lug and sights. I’ll rust brown it and with 60-70 grains of 3f Olde Eynsford and it should be a nice little deer rifle for a pretty river bottom I have in mind.
 

KinleyWater

Member
Jun 15, 2019
154
1
I was given a traditions kit, a Hawken in .50 cal, as a gift some time ago. Since I've never built anything like that before, I think it will be a lot of fun to both finish and shoot. That said, I would some day like to build my own from more basic components (then again, I also want to build my own boat, so we'll see if either ever happens...). One resource I did not see was Dixie Gun Works:

https://www.dixiegunworks.com/index.../category_chain/350/name/Gunsmithingbuilding/

Dixie has repro guns, kits, and components; they also have some nice original long-arms and handguns. And, for the fun loving among us - cannon and gatling guns!
 

Joec7651

Member
Apr 7, 2019
452
6
DGW is a great place to purchase black powder supplies. Track of The Wolf, and The Gun Works are the best in my opinion. Joe and Susie are really great people at the TGW. I was truly saddened by Joe’s passing, God rest his soul. He built one of the most accurate .54 caliber barrels for me that I’ve ever shot. They have hard to find parts and TGW builds great barrels.
 
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