Never Mind the Olympics, Welcome Black Powder Championships!

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While the Olympics are going on right now, and are certainly a world class avenue of firearms competition, another firearms competition is happening right now, in Sarlóspuszta, Hungary. For the next several days the Muzzle Loaders International Committee will be holding their 27th match. There are twenty six countries represented by over 300 shooters shooting for a number of disciplines. One of the head organizers, a native English speaking Hungarian will be putting out a video per day about the different competitions. It appears that everything from handguns, rifles (100m,50m,25m), and shotgun trap shooting, all black powder. Capandball, a European Youtube channel devoted to all things muzzle loading, is going around the competition, asking some of the competitors what they think of it. Bulgaria just joined the governing organization for the first time. Everything in the competition seems to take place at a mellow speed. I can’t believe there can be too much urgency when you have to load every single round carefully!

Joking aside, it is really too bad traditional percussion muzzle loaders have been pushed to the wayside when it comes to the mainstream firearms community of today. There is alot to be learned from a history perspective for instance. I mean consider that in all the years of the existence of firearms, only around a century of it has seen the use of the self contained metallic cartridge. The world spent at least three three centuries prior to this, relaying completely on rifled or smoothbore muzzleloaders, whether that be percussion, flintlocks, or matchlocks. Myself personally, I think firing a flintlock muzzle loader is an excellent way to teach follow through to a new shooter, because you have a momentary delay between the trigger breaking, and the powder igniting.

The United States will be represented by the United States International Muzzle Loading Team, I hope they have the best of luck in the coming days of the competition! I like how the presenter ended his video with “Stay cool and keep your powder dry”, literally for them!

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Miles V

Former Infantry Marine, and currently studying at Indiana University. I’ve written for Small Arms Review and Small Arms Defense Journal, and have had a teenie tiny photo that appeared in GQ. Specifically, I’m very interested in small arms history, development, and Military/LE usage within the Middle East, and Central Asia.

If you want to reach out, let me know about an error I’ve made, something I can add to the post, or just talk guns and how much Grunts love naps, hit me up at miles@tfb.tv


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  • CanadianShill

    This makes me want to pick up a cheap muzzle loader and give it a shot, never had the chance.

    • iksnilol

      Do it, it is economical to shoot and fun.

      Wish I had a blackpowder gat.

      • Marcus D.

        Easy to find new ones from Italy for around $300, and Traditions offers kits with the extraneous stuff you need (but usually the low end brass framed revolvers). A little tuning of the trigger and hammer (these guns are amazingly simple), maybe some better nipples, a powder measure, caps, balls, and away you go. These are very low recoil guns and fun to shoot. The only down side is the time ti takes to reload. I have four pistols and a muzzle loader I built from a kit. And I’ve reloaded .45 Colt cartridges with black powder and lead bullets with a Lee loader for an 1873, if you want to move up (in historical time) to cartridge guns. Fun and games!

    • Oronzo

      try it, it’s great.
      The deep “boom” + the cloud of smoke makes you feel you are shooting a cannon..different feeling from the squeak of smokeless powder…

    • Blake

      Check out the Thompson/Center Impact. It’s the best made $US300 modern inline muzzleloader available. https://www.tcarms.com/images/uploads/models/6688_IMPACT_WS_Black467.png

      If you’re looking to go old school, you can get kits from Dixie Gun Works & build your own (we have a Hawken rifle & have taken many deer with it). I highly recommend percussion rather than flintlock unless you’re really really interested in the historical aspect of the flintlock.

      If you haven’t experienced muzzleloading before I’d recommend avoiding cap-&-ball revolvers. The historical aspect is certainly cool & they can be made reasonably accurate if you buy or cast conical bullets, but if you’re accustomed to shooting repeating metallic cartridge firearms you’ll quickly get frustrated by the time & effort it takes to load one, even with a spare cylinder & a loading stand. A much more practical alternative that looks & feels the part is a “cartridge conversion” that uses modern cartridges in a cap-&-ball frame, like this lovely 1858 Remington replica from Taylor’s:

      http://www.taylorsfirearms.com/media/catalog/category/1858-Remington-Conversion-600.jpg

      However if your jurisdiction prohibits metallic cartridge handguns, a cap-&-ball revolver is probably the only way for you to legally own a handgun. Pietta makes many fine replicas for around $US300. Be sure to get a steel frame model unless you’re reenacting or something; they stopped making brass frame revolvers in the 1860s for a reason…

      Apparently if you’re looking for accuracy in a muzzleloading handgun the Ruger Old Army is the way to go. I’ve never shot one but many Cowboy Action folks swear by them.

      HtH

  • DIR911911 .

    the technology leap that self contained metallic cartridges had is similar to the leap from horse and buggy to automobile.

  • Bob

    Black powder muzzleloaders, the ultimate handloads…

  • Gary Kirk

    Making me wanna pull out the old hawken .50…

    Pro.. Not much ammo expended, fun, muzzle blast, smoke plume..

    Con.. Other shooters, loading, smoke plume (yes, I know this is in both, for good reason), time, and last but not least.. CLEANING the M@+#&%£!¢ķ&%

  • AD

    When I was living in the UK a few years ago, black powder revolvers were legal (I assume they still are?), and I got to shoot one at a club. It was fun, the “hands-on” nature of the loading process was interesting.

  • Hrajnoha

    Muzzleloaders are very popular here in Central Europe, because they don’t require a firearms license (and purchase permit). Some people even carry BP muzzleloader derringers like the czech Great Gun for protection, though I’ve never heard about an incident involving muzzleloaders.

  • Calamity Marcy

    I thought smokeless was just a passing fad anyway…

  • David Mc

    Don’t forget the old saying ( Kept your power dry )