The Challege of Casting Muzzle Loader Bullets

Casting Muzzle-Loading Rifles

The Challenge of Casting Muzzle-Loader Bullets

There are so many calibers of black powder rifles, they are too numerous to list. Some of them are .38, .357,.54, .454, .50, and .31 to name a few. There are bullets and there are balls; if the bullet or ball is heavier, it is said they shoot straighter but they will not go as far as say a lighter bullet or ball. The downside to a lighter bullet or ball is they shoot more crooked however they shoot farther. So there are down sides and upsides to each size and measurement.

The Tools for casting Bullets and balls are:

First you need lead. You can purchase this on line from a fishing store for making sinkers. You can also melt down old car wheel weights, anything really that has metal in it, but the purer the better. That is why it is best to buy from a fishing store. We ordered ours from eBay, 50 pounds at a time. They come in the shape of small bullion bars and melt easily. Lead Bars for Casting

There are so many places to get lead for casting, it is very easy to come by. There are other pieces of equipment needed to cast bullets. The first item is a ladle, which in a pinch a small kitchen ladle will do. Next is a melting pot to melt the lead and then there is the mold for the caliber and type of bullet you desire to make. Because of the fumes that are caused during the melting and pouring process, it is best to do your casting in a well ventilated outdoor location.

How do I cast the muzzle-loader bullets?

First you heat up your melting pot, being very careful not to burn yourself. Some melting pots are electric and will heat up when plugged in to an outlett.  Step two is to put three or four bars of lead into the melting pot to melt. The third step is to heat up your mold with a torch. This will make working with the mold much easier. Next dip your ladle into the melted metal and very carefully pour the hot lead into the tightly closed mold. It won’t take long for the mold to take shape, sometimes you will need to tap off the extra led into a pot for later use. Your bullets should be cooled now, so open your mold and drop the newly formed bullets in a bowl with the other bullets.

How are the muzzle-loader bullets weighed?

Casting Muzzleloader bullets can be a challenge. Understanding how they are weighed can be even more confusing. They are measured by mass which is called grains, even though there are no grains in the iron bullet. To quote Google, “One pound is equal to 7000 grains and there are 437.5 grains in an ounce. Bullets can weigh anywhere between 15 grains for the lightest 17 HMR bullets all the way up to 750 grains for the heavier .50BMG rifle loads.”

To wrap it up…..

The act of casting muzzle-loader bullets can be dangerous. If you are interested in learning how to do this, either watch YouTube videos or have some one work with you. It can be a lot of fun, but it can also cause serious burns or even house fires if not done carefully and properly. If going green is important to you when it comes to casting your own bullets and balls, then look up Rotometals.com because they use 88% Bismuth and 12% tin in their ingots, but it is exremely expensive. I will be doing a future article on brass and copper Sabot store bought bullets, so make sure and check back.

If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

Blessings,

Rae Anne

 

Muzzleloader Hunting Tips – The Do’s & Don’t’s

Muzzleloader hunting tips

Muzzleloader Hunting Tips – The Do’s & Don’t’s

Muzzleloader hunting tips must include the care and precautions necessary of using such a weapon prior to shooting your first bullet or ball, depending on the type of muzzleloader you are using. The results of not following these simple tips could be devastating.

How should you clean your muzzleloader barrel?

When it comes to cleaning the barrel, you can either use the store bought solvents or you can do a little research and use your own recipe. It all depends on what kind of money you want to spend. We use Hoppes’s Bore Foam Cleaner. Once you spray it in the barrel, it becomes a foam and drains out. If you are cleaning a Kentucky rifle, it is necessary to turn the muzzleloader upside down to drain while with others you do not need to do that. The foam, once it has done its job, will drain straight through the rifle.

Choosing which home made solvent to use, should you choose to go that route, depends on many factors. I would have to say those factors are your knowledge of the ingredients and how they mix together, the cost of the ingredients, and the specific directions for cleaning using the combination you have chosen.

Make sure and do your research as thoroughly as possible so there are no terrible accidents. Whether you choose a store bought or home made solvent, you should clean your barrel every five to ten shots, even if you miss your target. However, wait no longer than ten shots.

Cleaning your muzzleloader breech plug

Cleaning the breech plug is just as important as your barrel, if not more so. If this tiny piece of hardware is not kept clean, there is a tiny hole left in its wake and the rifle will become clogged. If this happens, the gun will not shoot. This could be very bad if you are shooting at an angry grizzly bear!Angry Grizzly Bear

What about my muzzleloader black powder?

Different types of muzzleloaders require different propellants. The rifle you are using, if it uses black powder, brings another challenge. While you are in the process of loading or reloading your rifle, it is critical that you keep your black powder dry. If you don’t, the minor consequence is your firearm will not shoot. (that could be really bad in the case of the mad grizzly bear). The severe consequence is the gun will explode in your hands, possibly taking fingers, hands, etcettera with it;. I know I would not want this to happen.

What about the caliber of ammunition in my rifle?

It may seem like there are more rules about maintaining a muzzleloader than necessary; however, believe me, they are necessary and do not take really all that long to do or commit to memory. Another major addition to your check list is using the correct caliber of bullet or ball in your gun, otherwise your gun will explode! So do your research and make double sure you are using the correct ammunition.

Are there any other muzzleloader hunting tips?

As a matter of fact, yes, there are a couple more things to remember before we get into the fun of hunting. We previously mentioned keeping the breech plug clean so your gun will shoot when you are going after that angry grizzly bear. You also need to know to keep the breech plug oil or greased, which ever you prefer so it does not stick. That could be deadly as well.

Muzzleloader black powder. Any thoughts?

There are black powder and black powder substitutes available, it is necessary to find out which your rifle can use. Absolutely, under no circumstances use smokeless powder in your muzzleloader. This is very dangerous and could injure the shooter or any bystanders.

What about general maintenance tips?

The barrel of your firearm should be oiled to prevent rusting. So you ask, what oil should I use? Well that depends on a whole myriad of questions. These are questions like Is the gun going to be in storage and if the answer is yes, for how long? Another question is what will the muzzleloader be exposed to, environmentally? That makes a big difference. Another common question is how often will the firearm be handled by bare hands? There are more than likely a ton of other questions, these are just a few.

The bottom line is most current day rust maintenance products are pretty much the same. There is no single product that is better than another for all occasions. For instance, if you are using your rifle daily, you may prefer something less greasy.

However, it is going to be handled less, then a different product may be desired.

Then as in the cleaning solvents, there are homemade oils one can use to keep the barrel rust-free. Some recipes use Murphy’s Oil Soap, others use WD-40 or common motor oil. It is all up to your preferences and the type of rifle you are using.

Now, on to the good stuff…… hunting!

Wait! Before you go trudging into the woods looking for that buck, make sure it is black powder season. Also, make sure you know what season it is and what your limits are on each animal.

What???

A Buck at SunriseIt is a fact that there are limited seasons for each animal and a limited number of each animal you can catch. Ah, but then there are also seasons for black powder, seasons for compound bows or recurv bows (some states have different seasons for the different types of bows).

In some states, if you are raising crops as a means of income, and an animal such as a buck gets into your corn field, it is your right to kill the animal. Notice I said SOME states.

In other states, there are no limits on animals such as skunks and coyotes. Other predators there are no limits on, however, being scavengers it is up to each individual person whether or not they want to kill and eat that animal.

Final muzzleloader hunting tips:

The main thing is safety, safety, safety. You need to know your target, how it acts and what you are going after it with. Is it in an area where other humans are that could easily get shot? Are YOU dressed appropriately so other hunters can see you? Those are common sense things, but they are worth saying. So, that all being said, GO OUT, BE SAFE AND HAVE FUN!!!!

The History of Muzzle Loaders

The History of Muzzle Loaders

In the Beginning…..

A muzzle-loader covers a wide range of fire arms. The similarities however, are that the projectile and gun powder are loaded from the muzzle which is also known as the open end of any qualifying gun’s barrel. Many of the different forms of rifles did not have rifling whereas the later models did. By the 1740s most hand held rifles were well-established. The Kentucky Rifle is a form of the muzzle-loader which is very well recognized and was built and refined in Pennsylvania.

An interesting point is that China is known for creating firearms and gunpowder, however it is rumored that the matchlock was originally founded by the Portuguese. The Europeans are known for refining the hand cannons in the early 15th century. They are known for adding the matchlock machinery that we know today.

The Matchlock Rifle

An interesting fact is that in the beginning it took 2 people to shoot the Matchlock Rifle if an individual did not have extensive training. Another interesting point is the first Englishmen to arrive in America used the Matchlock Rifle, which helped to shape our country into what it is today. The Matchlock Rifle was the first primitive rifle known to be in existence. This rifle had a wick that was very long and was handheld by the shooter.

The order of shooting the gun was the gun powder was first put into the primer pan and the lid was closed to hold the powder in the pan and to protect the shooter and the gun from a misfire. Extra gun powder was put in the barrel, and a round projectile was placed in the rifle barrel followed by using a ram rod to ram the projectile into the proper placement in the barrel. Once the ramrod jammed the projectile into place, it was pulled out and put in its place, which was attached to the underside of the barrel. The wick would then be placed in the hammer. The shooter would aim and when pulling the trigger, the hammer would fall back and hit the primer powder. This ignited the powder and shot out the projectile.

The Flintlock

The Flintlock was introduced next in the beginning of the 18th century. This rifle was similar to the matchlock in that gun powder was placed in a primer tray and a cover was placed over the powder to protect it from sparks that may ignite the rifle and prevent a miss fire or injury to the shooter.

At this point, the only difference between the matchlock and the flintlocks the shooter with the matchlock had to manually open the cover to the primer tray. With the Flintlock, the flint striking the steel would open the primer tray. It was more mechanically automatic that the Matchlock, which was completely manual in processes. There was also a pistol which worked the same way and was used also during the pirating days.

The Percussion (Caplock)

The percussion caplock was different in that a small metal percussion cap was placed over a hollow metal nipple. It was easily dropped and lost so it did tend to make use of the rifle more challenging. The nipple was at the back end of the gun barrel. The shooter aimed the rifle or pistol, pulled the trigger which caused the percussion cap to send sparks down to the powder and ignited the powder in the barrel. This then shot the projectile out of the barrel.

More About the History of the Muzzle Loader

The next generation of the rifle had cartridges, bullets and primers. The first person to make one was Samuel Colt who was born in 1814 and died in 1862. He was responsible for the Colt Pistol and the 45 Caliber Peace Maker which was introduced in 1873.

In this fashion, one part was interchangeable with another, making them easier to make. The biggest group of people known for carrying the Colt Peace Maker were the Texas Rangers.

A muzzle-loader covers a wide range of fire arms. The similarities however, are that the projectile and gun powder are loaded from the muzzle, which is also known as the open end of any qualifying gun’s barrel. Many of the different forms of rifles did not have rifling whereas the later models did. This made the projectile shoot straighter, further and there is less jamming. Also, there is left identifying marks on the ammunition for later investigating if necessary. Riffling came to fruition around the time of the civil war. Riffling spins the ammunition, thus making it more accurate.

By the 1740s most hand held rifles were well-established. The Kentucky Rifle is a form of the Muzzle Loader which is very well recovgnized and was built in Pennsylvania.

One Final Thought:

Muzzle Loaders like any firearm are not toys. There is no such thing as an unloaded gun. They should always be treated with respect .

If you have any comments or questions, I would love to see them below. I will respond as soon as possible.

 

 

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