Lv 5
HM asked in SportsOutdoor RecreationHunting · 1 decade ago

Bare minimum for blackpowder?

whats the bare minimum of equipment I need to shoot blackpowder?And how much does it all cost?.


Most likely percussion,if not flint.

7 Answers

  • randkl
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Bare minimum would be a weapon, ammunition, and tools.

    Weapon, you can pick up a good black powder rifle on gunbroker for $100 most times.

    Ammo, you'll need a cannister of powder (or pellets, but I'm going to assume you meant real powder), lead bullets, and primer material of some type; either caps, shotgun primers, or flint. Powder runs in the $20 per pound range....bullets run in the .10 a shot range (balls).....primers/caps are approx $4 per hundred.

    To save money, most black powder folks end up casting their own bullets out of tire wheel weights (great lead!)....the molds/handles etc can run you $25+ but after the initial cost, your bullets drop to near zero. Many shooters end up making and selling bullets, in fact. Most stores that specialize in black powder will run a "flask fill" service on your powder....usually $3 to fill your flask so you don't always have to buy a full pound if you don't need.

    Tools, you'll gather as you go along as you find you need them. Everyone these days owns four or five ball starters etc. Nipple picks, reamers, ball pullers etc. Me, I love patch knives. Been making them and selling them for more than 25 years now. Altogether, you can plan on about $25-50 on misc tools. A possibles bag to tote it all in? Add another $25 or so.

    Looking at the "most" you can expect to spend? Rifles can go upwards of $400. Bullets, saboted and not lead balls, can run you a buck a pop for the really weird sh*t. Custom powder flasks, custom leather work, custom patch knife....another $200.

    If you're handy with tools and pretty decent with crafts, you can turn that one black powder rifle into a garage industry that will more than pay for your hobby. Crafts sell well.....and they're incredibly easy and cheap if you put some thought into it.

    Addendum: lol

    Sorry to have to argue, fellows, but I and most front loader shooters I know, have been using wheel weights for more years than most of the current shooting folks have been around. Wheel weights work perfectly fine in black powder firearms.

    The topic comes up on the front loader forums ( etc) from time to time....and we've even run full blown experiments to prove it left or right....and it always comes out the same way. Wheel weights work perfectly fine in black powder firearms.

    One fellow may argue that the lead, being less pure, will hit less hard....but the fact is that pure lead over wheel weight lead is so small a diff in foot pounds that both, fired side by side, can't be told any difference between the two.

    Another fellow might argue the diff weight throws off his aim. It can at longer ranges....but it's no different than a guy going bowhunting with twelve different size and weight arrows in his quiver. They *all* shoot differently. As long as you don't mix shots, you won't have any different results.

    Another will argue that harder lead makes it harder to load the ball. Bull. You simply use old linen bedsheet patches instead of old flannel shirts. If it's to tight to load, it's the person trying to do the loading that's at fault, not the weapon and ammo. A correlative of this same argument is that WW lead, being less pure, makes a larger projectile that won't fit. Fact is, the "worst" WW projectile will usually be in the 1-3 thousanths of an inch diff range....and that's the exact same diff range folks will find between mold makers or bullet makers brands.

    Another will argue that harder lead won't expand as much. So? A bullet being .55cal after a shot is no different than a bullet being .52cal after a shot. Both kill a deer just as easily. In fact, the harder ones will penetrate better and kill faster. Hollow points and massive expansion are relatively modern inventions that too many people don't really understand enough to bother arguing with them.

    Fact is, and I'll invite you guys to read up on the forums or even try it yourself to find out, wheel weights work perfectly fine in black powder weapons.

    Too many folks are too quick to repeat false info they might have heard at the range or from a buddy etc. Prob is, you never know who or what started that rumor and how valid it might be. In most cases, the rumor tends to fall apart when examined too closely. As of today, after *years* of trial and error, I have yet to see someone prove that WW lead is inferior to pure lead in actual use.

    Great chat, fellows! Really a pleasure speaking with you folks!

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  • 1 decade ago

    Yes Rand did have a very complete answer. Here are a couple of things I will add.

    Midway has a starter kit for muzzle loaders that runs about $39. It is caliber specific so order the right one.

    You can, in a pinch, use wheel weights for muzzle loaders but you must get rid of the antimony by skimming of the top of your melting pot and not fluxing the lead. Just keep skimming for about 6 times and you will have softened the lead down well enough to use. But I prefer 100 % pure lead if I can get it. Now that Hornady and others are selling lead balls for any caliber I don't even cast them any more.


  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Randkl has it ALMOST right. I found one error in what he had to say and that had to do with which lead to use for making balls for a muzzleloader. Otherwise, he was spot on. Wheel weights are NOT a good choice for making balls for a muzzleloader because they have too much tin and antimony in them. They can be used to make cast bullets for modern cartridges, though. Lead for muzzleloading balls needs to be soft lead. A good measure of whether lead is soft enough for lead balls is whether you can scratch it with your fingernail. Not just a light scratch but actually get a good deep scratch in it. You can buy ingots of soft lead from several places but I thik it is too expensive. Soft lead is used by the telephone company and sometimes they will sell some of their scrap to you. Plumbers use soft lead and may have scrap lead that you can buy. If you know where some OLD buildings are being torn down, they could have lead pipes in them that you might be able to buy. Old water fountains, the refrigerated kind, that date from the 40s have lead in them that is soft enough. There are many sources of old soft lead, you just have to be resourceful and when you find some at a good price buy all that you can.

    Source(s): Member of NMLRA. Have been shooting and building muzzleloaders for over 40 years. Have shot in several NMLRA National Matches at Friendship, Indiana
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  • 1 decade ago

    randkl is right. Also, check out local gun clubs that have BP shoots. They usually will have vendors and if the shooters are like the ones at my club they will help you with any questions you have. Now what type, inline, percussion, or flint?

  • 1 decade ago

    right on rand.... except wheel weights are very poor for casting roundballs.. they have way to high content of tin and antimony. for casting balls a better choice is plumbers lead, old lead pipe if you can find it, but whatever you use, use pure soft lead. especially if you are thinking of a muzzle-loading pistol which actually shave off a thin ring of lead when loading, which is difficult when using wheel weights

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    WOW Rand....Good Job!!!!

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