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I am looking to get my first flintlock rifle. I have been hunting for years but have not used a flintlock for deer yet. At this time I'm not looking to spent a lot of money until I see if I will like it and will upgrade in the future. What would you guys recommend? A local gun shop has a used CVA Plainsman 50cal. in nice shape for under $200, do you think this would fit what I am looking for?


Thank for your input
Ed
 

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My first one was a CVA 30 some years ago. Bought a Lyman DeerStalker a few years ago and love it too. You have a few months to look for one before you need to start practicing with it. Keep us posted on your decision.
 

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Get the best one you can afford to start. Some of the cheaper ones do not have fast locks and you will then see why they call them "flinch locks" You should be able to find a decent Thompson Center or Lyman for 350 or less. If you don't like it you can sell it and not lose money, although you will probably get hooked. Good luck
 

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A key ingredient is getting in touch with someone who knows their way around a muzzle loader. Sure you can get onto this truly wonderful sport all on your own but there are a lot of short-cuts and knowledge that can be passed on by an experienced shooter that you will never pick up on your own - no matter how expensive your rifle and accouterments are.
However, and as some folks have already mentioned, buy the best flinter you can afford and be prepared for a steep learning curve. If you buy cheap gear then your chances of having a bad start leading to disappointment and frustration are very high. Since you are in this general area (SE PA) I recommend that you pay a visit to Dixon's Muzzleloading Shop in Kempton. Have a list of questions and if you have to - wait in line to speak to Greg Dixon.
Experiment (within reason), read, listen and ask questions. Above all don't take chances and make sure the gun is unloaded. I have seen too many new ML shooters ram home a charge and then decide to end the days shooting without pulling the load or firing the rifle. Just saying.
 

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I have seen too many new ML shooters ram home a charge and then decide to end the days shooting without pulling the load or firing the rifle. Just saying.

I've been shooting muzzleloaders for over 20 years and I sometimes leave a charge in my gun for the entire season. There is nothing wrong with the practice, so long as you take care to insure the flash pan is empty and the flash hole is plugged. Yes, a completely unloaded gun is surely the safest, but its up to the individual. If one feels as though he needs to fire the gun or pull the ball to be completely safe, then so be it. However others may feel that they are competent enough to leave the gun charged and still be able to remain safe with it. I've never had any issues leaving a charge in my guns.
 

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I've been shooting muzzleloaders for over 20 years and I sometimes leave a charge in my gun for the entire season. There is nothing wrong with the practice, so long as you take care to insure the flash pan is empty and the flash hole is plugged. Yes, a completely unloaded gun is surely the safest, but its up to the individual. If one feels as though he needs to fire the gun or pull the ball to be completely safe, then so be it. However others may feel that they are competent enough to leave the gun charged and still be able to remain safe with it. I've never had any issues leaving a charge in my guns.
Well your 20 years shooting a ML is about 20 years short of mine. And then you have never had the experience of checking out a uesd ML in a gun store and finding a load in the barrel. Just saying.
And no, there is nothing wrong with leaving a load in the barrel as long as you remove it - sooner or later.

So be it.
 

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Well your 20 years shooting a ML is about 20 years short of mine. And then you have never had the experience of checking out a uesd ML in a gun store and finding a load in the barrel. Just saying.
And no, there is nothing wrong with leaving a load in the barrel as long as you remove it - sooner or later.

So be it.
True, however your first comment was not directed at a gun store arm that was left loaded, but to me implied that a person should never leave a charge in their weapon, because its unsafe to do so. Yes, I agree that at some point that load needs to be removed, whether by pulling the ball and dumping the powder, or by firing.
 

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I agree on the drive to Dixon's.

They are closed on Wednesdays, FYI.

If you shop carefully, you can get a Lyman Trade Rifle or Great Plains Rifle used for about $350-$450. Those are generally very solid performers that you could easily use a lifetime with proper care.

Unfortunately, the best time to buy is usually right before and right after flintlock season when people offload their flintlocks. Now it'll be a little tougher on the used market, but stuff will be around.
 

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I agree on the drive to Dixon's.

They are closed on Wednesdays, FYI.

If you shop carefully, you can get a Lyman Trade Rifle or Great Plains Rifle used for about $350-$450. Those are generally very solid performers that you could easily use a lifetime with proper care.

Unfortunately, the best time to buy is usually right before and right after flintlock season when people offload their flintlocks. Now it'll be a little tougher on the used market, but stuff will be around.
This is also a good time to watch for bargains as folks are paying taxes and may be selling things off. Or, if lucky, getting money back so my initial thought may not work.

Was just up at Dixon's on Monday to get some Aqua Fortis and other supplies for this .45 Kibler Southern Mountain Rifle kit I am working on. Just draw-filed the flats today on the 46" barrel. Greg, as always, was very helpful with some building questions I had.
 

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a flintlock's function depends entirely on the trigger, lock and barrel. Other than those parts, a piece of 2x4 will do just as well for a stock as a fancy piece of curly maple. CVA and traditions use good barrels. Unless the gun has set triggers, single triggers on production guns are hit and miss, even on Thompson centers. All production guns have problems with their flint locks. Some more than others. Frankly, a CVA lock is probably as good as a Thompson center. They both have a frustration level that can drive a person out of muzzle loading. Since Thompson center side locks are no longer made and the warranties aren't worth crap, a CVA mountain rifle in flint, if you can find one, IMO, was the best functional round ball production rifle ever made. Full man size stock, double set triggers and a fair lock.

A CVA frontier rifle, the early one with the double set triggers would be my next choice. Light weight, easy to carry all day and more functional than most. I bought a CVA frontier rifle at a yard sale for $85.00 a couple years ago, but any flintlock that works is probably worth $150.00 in PA.

There is a learning curve to shooting a flint lock. They are frustrating beyond belief until YOU get the knack of them. The shortcomings of most locks can be dealt with and overcome.

It comes down to what you can afford. An RMC is probably a good bet for a modern looking gun. But even used they run about $600. Keep in mind that parts for a really top notch custom gun are $140.00 for the lock, $65 for the triggers and $200 for a good barrel. A plain stock is another $150.00 Labor, time, shop materials and $20 worth of sights and pins and you easily have $1,000 in a gun without getting fancy. The lock on a custom gun and the lock on a production gun make the difference in shooting the two. A tuned fine quality lock is a joy, but can still be frustrating until one learns about the idiosyncracies of flintlocks. I learned with a really crappy flintlock that cost me a whopping $43.00 in 1972. It was a very early cva. I did eventually learn what to do to keep reliability up and misfires more infrequent. Nearly all of us have been there. That lock never failed to spark, which I certainly can't say about the POS Thompson center I paid much more for. My TC flinter worked fine the first three shots and it was down hill after that. I did figure out how to fix the lock and turned it around to be "good" but there was a great deal of frustration involved.
 

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Want to have fun and see a lot of flintlocks, include your Dixon's trip with one at the end of July for the Gunmaker's fair. You'll start saving your pennies for an upgrade real quick. But, Dixon's does have some quality rifles in the rack. Mostly Lymans I think, as well as others. As well as just about anything you'd want/need as well as knowledge to help you out.


Anyone else going to the gunmakers fair, we may need to set up a little mini rendevous
 

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I'll be pulling into a local campground Thurs evening and will be at the fair Fri and Sat. for a lot of the seminars. Though Friday I do a lot of my shopping. Have to pull out of the campground Sunday morning.
 

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Yep, two I don't miss...

1. Dixons Gunmakers Fair.
2. 18th Century Artisan's Show in Lewisburg.
 
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