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I decided to get my muzzleloader tag and borrow a friends flintlock after not getting my buck in archery or rifle this year. I do have an inline so I have a bit of hunting experience with similar, never shot anything with it though. I did take some shots in the yard to get a feel for how it all works.

Any tips/suggestions for a first timer? Anything from use of gun to actually using in the woods. I will be sitting on the ground against a tree. It is a basic cheapo gun and I am using powerbelt balls.
 

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Use some sort of shooting support, either a stick, rest, whatever.

Tendency with a flintlock is to push the gun away, dropping the muzzle.

Keep your shots to 50 yards, unless you're really shooting well.

Don't fill the pan with prime. Give it about 1/3-1/2 a pan of prime.

Keep the flint sharp. If in doubt change it.

Keep your sights on your target, no matter what, until the flash and smoke are gone.
 

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Try to get used to the pan flash. Take your muzzleloader out back after dark, fill the pan with alittle pan powder.( don't load the gun) now take it and aim at a star and pull the trigger. The pan will flash and likely make you jump alittle. Keep doing it until u get over the pan flash. Trust me it helps. Try not to take shots that u are not confident with. And last.. If you miss a deer, don't get upset, the fun is just beginning. Good luck
 

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Make sure when you shoot practice that you practice off-hand! This makes a huge difference since the tendency to flinch is much more pronounced when off-hand. I get the rifle hitting where I want off the bench, then the rest of my shooting happens off-hand. Use a stick if necessary, but to me it seems like a major pain to lug sticks around the woods, esp. if your friends are doing several deer drives in a day. A rest off of a tree or a good sling helps as well. Keep that powder DRY!!!
 

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Not meant to offend you but it takes more than a few shots to get a feel for it.You need to burn lot's of powder so you can hit the vitals every single time at the distances you plan on shooting.If you can't do that,you need to practice all year and then try it next year.You may be the exception but for most people there's a pretty big learning curve.

I used to be on a committee for a controlled hunt with both bows and flintlocks.Every one had to pass a simple proficiency test.The flintlock test was hitting a 6" circle two out of three times at 30 yards.You could shoot offhand,sitting or with a set of sticks.It flat out amazed me how few people were able to pass.
 

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I've been to controlled hunts where people failed a similar test with shotguns and slugs, too.

Most hunters are not shooters, and it shows.
 

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I could understand if they shot offhand.I've seen that many times over the years.However,pretty much every guy who failed shot off of sticks.
 

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nrowles said:
Any tips/suggestions for a first timer?
Take the ability to laugh along with you. Never leave that at home.


My best off season advice is to search out clubs that hold BP shoots and attend. There is a fantastic one coming up the first weekend in February at the SheSheQuin Buckskinners in Trout Run. $20 flat fee and you can shoot as many targets as you want all weekend. No need to be a member, period clothes optional.

The people at these events "live" to help a new person. Don't worry about range rules. Just let them know you need someone to guide you. The years of experience present to help face to face with questions and problems is hard to find in one location. Hootin and Hollerin, good clean fun, and great food available for both members and non members. No period clothing?..no problem These types of shoots take place all over the state throughout the year. Some one, two, and three days. Anyone can become better, if they would just take that first step forward and take advantage of them. May even discover a whole new world and friends for life.
 

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Curly Maple said:
nrowles said:
Any tips/suggestions for a first timer?
Take the ability to laugh along with you. Never leave that at home.


My best off season advice is to search out clubs that hold BP shoots and attend. There is a fantastic one coming up the first weekend in February at the SheSheQuin Buckskinners in Trout Run. $20 flat fee and you can shoot as many targets as you want all weekend. No need to be a member, period clothes optional.

The people at these events "live" to help a new person. Don't worry about range rules. Just let them know you need someone to guide you. The years of experience present to help face to face with questions and problems is hard to find in one location. Hootin and Hollerin, good clean fun, and great food available for both members and non members. No period clothing?..no problem These types of shoots take place all over the state throughout the year. Some one, two, and three days. Anyone can become better, if they would just take that first step forward and take advantage of them. May even discover a whole new world and friends for life.
This is great advice. I need to follow it, too, and get to the Blue Mt club's shoots this year. With that new long rifle of mine, there's no reason not to go....
 

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Focus hard on your sights at the shot. And follow through just like a bow shot. Meaning hold the gun steady from pan flash to the boom. The flash can distract your aim and the delay can cause you not to hold on target long enough. I would highly suggest some kinds of rest if sitting. I use a bi-pod and it gives me a rock solid rest through the shot. Good luck. Smoke poles are a lot of fun!
 

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Don't know if it's been mentioned before.....

BUT

PRACTICE..... PRACTICE...... And more PRACTICE!!!!!

Only way to get over that flash and smoke anxiety. Shot till ya get used to it!
 
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