Thursday, May 1, 2014

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Muzzleloaders for survival

Keeping in line with my philosophy of low tech weaponry, the next progression in weaponry would be the muzzleloader.

This article assumes that one is able to discharge a weapon without drawing unwanted attention to one's self, and that you are using these weapons for hunting, as opposed to defense (Though a cache of pre-loaded cap and ball revolvers would work pretty well for this purpose in a close range gun battle).

Why would anyone want to bother with a muzzleloader? The reasons are a few, but they are sound. As many of you may have noticed, ammo has not only gone up considerably, but is also becoming scarce. My mother informed me that when she went to pick up my pellets at Walmart, that there was a limit of two boxes per customer. Having a muzzleloader will allow you to effectively take game, and save your modern ammo for a situation in which it would be more useful (Such as gun battles, which if you're smart, you will place yourself in a situation into which you will not be getting into any in the first place?). These guns can purchased through the mail in most states, without any background checks or hassles.

With the muzzleloader, you need only to aquire the powder and the caps (or flints, if using the flintlock, which would be an even easier ignition system to keep going long term). A mould can be purchased cheaply, and there is no shortage of lead. Last that I checked, track of the wolf had plenty of powder in stock, but they have a 25lb minimum purchase. (Federal law permits a maximum of 50lbs in possesion). However, you can mix and match the granulations for a total of 25lbs, so you can have some of the finer granulation for your cap and ball revolvers, and the coarser granulation for your rifles/shotguns, as well as some of the ultra fine for priming your flintlock flash pans should you need to. The price for the Goex powder at the time of this writing is $18.76 per 1lb can. I saw no mention of a hazardous shipping fee? But figure for a total of around $500.00 you will have a lifetime supply of powder.

I read an article once that stated that a .50 cal using round balls will work in a pinch for taking small game. The ideal for the smaller animals, would be something like the .32 calibre squirrel rifle that Cabela's sells, but they are charging a lot of money for that gun now. So barring that, a 12ga percussion shotgun, or perhaps a flintlock musket would be a good choice? The shotgun and musket can fire shot for small game and waterfowl, as well as other birds, and can also fire a large projectile for the taking of the larger game animals. The flintlock serves double duty as a fire starter, which is why it was so popular with the mountain men long after the advent of the superior percussion ignition guns. If you are located on the plains, then I would probably suggest a Hawken rifle for the longer shots at the larger game animals. I read another article, in which a group of men were shooting their .58 calibre Hawken rifles at an effective range of 600 metres/yards. You will need to install a tang sight for these longer ranges to compensate for the rainbow like trajectory of the muzzleloader.

The price of these guns, as with all guns, has now risen considerably. I purchased my Hawken as a kit many years ago at a price of $119.00. You will probably not pay any less than $400.00 now for a new Hawken. A word about kits. They are only worth it if you really want to build your own gun. After you take into account all of the work that goes into one, they really are not any cheaper. And as it stands, they are not much cheaper to purchase in the first place. I did see a used Hawken at track of the wolf for around $269.00, which would be a good price. Gun shows are another good place to look for deals.