Question of the Day: Black Powder. What’s Up With That?

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Roy’s already run through a bunch of black powder and conical ammo for his Thompson Center Fire Storm review. Please sir, can I have some more? Harumph. What is it with these black powder enthusiasts? Are they nostalgia freaks connecting with a historical anachronism in an obtuse retro kind of way (à la Harley Davidson owners)? Or are they just making it difficult for themselves because modern guns are too damn easy? I don’t get it. What’s the appeal?

comments

  1. avatar RKflorida says:

    No practical reason to use black powder, only a desire to be immersed in the history of the firearm. Also, black powder can be home made to a pretty good quality when Mad Max time comes. Of course these guys will be out of luck since cartridges will not be available, nor primers.

    1. avatar JohnB says:

      Flint lock and seperate loading ammunition.

      Load powder, load ball (conical minnie), prime, and fire. A little slow, but that is what the bayonet is for. Your back-up pistols should be cap lock for reliability. A good knife and tomahawk for when there are more targets than you have loaded barrels.

      Learning to knap flint helps too.

  2. avatar Vincit Veritas says:

    There are practical reasons to use black powder if you’re a felon…

  3. avatar Joe Wolvie says:

    Personally, I think Black Powder shooting is fun…especially for muzzle loaders. There is something to be said for working hard for every shot. But then again, I’m probably the wrong person to comment on this. You see,

    My favorite pistol was designed at the turn of the 20th century.

    My favorite revolver was released in 1935.

    My favorite rifle was designed in the late 1930’s.

    My favorite vehicle has been around since 1941.

    I still shave with a straight razor.

    I fly prop airplanes.

    My favorite motorcycles have air-cooled twin cylinder engines.

    I believe there has never been a movie hero that could rival John Wayne.

    My favorite US General died in 1945.

    And I think black powder is fun.

    1. avatar porschespeed says:

      Though I love black powder, I love your irony even more.

      Kudos!

    2. avatar HSR47 says:

      Just more evidence that my hypothesis regarding black powder enthusiasts (namely that they’re the original hipsters), is true.

      1. avatar porschespeed says:

        Fair enough,

        But none of the blackpowderoids I know are neckbeards.

        They are (IMH experience) folks who love to watch the ‘boom’
        without the BATF being involved.

  4. avatar Rich T says:

    In most states you get an extended deer season when you use muzzle loaders.

  5. avatar Sutton says:

    I’ve heard the argument that hunting black-powder season cuts down how many competitors/idiots there are in the woods with you.

  6. avatar irock350 says:

    Black powder is a fantastic option for hunters. (at least in Texas) You can extend your White-tail season by taking advantage of the special late and early seasons restricted to bows and muzzle loaders to tack on an extra month and a half of hunting time. You can start early in October with the bow until November 5 when open season begins and then switch to muzzle loaders in Jan. for an extra 2 weeks.

    You can carry them without a permit and purchase them without background check or a waiting period as long as the weapon is classified as a curio. Because a curio (according to Texas law) is not a firearm there are no purchase restrictions, however if you use it as a weapon then you can be charged with carrying without a permit, and other charges.

  7. avatar Ordine Nuovo says:

    There are at least several reasons I can name offhand.

    For a lot of folks it’s a way to hunt more. Others love the historical aspect (shooting reproductions of weapons used by the Union,Confederacy, British Empire, etc). Have you seen how accurate the Schutzen target rifles are? Blackpowder opens up whole new vistas of shooting fun.

  8. avatar miforest says:

    black poweder is a complete imersion experirnce. . employing all your senses. It’s low recoil, effective ,fun. I also get great pleasure from using something with that much history and heritage.

  9. avatar TTACer says:

    I think this simple formula may help explain it:

    big boom + big smoke = big fun

    1. avatar sdog says:

      +1 my thoughts exactly.

    2. avatar Charles says:

      +1 I had a black powder revolver as a teenager and that was the attraction for me. Also, mine came as a kit with rough-cast parts and blanks for the grips. A lot of the fun was finishing and assembling the thing.

  10. avatar Jack Straw says:

    As aptly stated above black powder is a marvelous aspect of sport shooting. The “total immersion” aspect can be a powerful draw and you just can’t say enough about the marvelous sight and sound.
    OK, it does smell awful so that alone may be enough to put off the legion of delicate flowers with plastic pistols, neatly pressed 5.11 gear and their concealed carry fetish.

  11. avatar Montesa VR says:

    Let’s see, your last seven gun reviews were four semiauto handguns, one machine gun, one assault rifle, and some kind of weird useless expensive semiauto club. Search your site for “3-gun” and the hits run to several hundred. And you ask “what is the appeal” of black powder? Maybe those guys in the cowboy hats are just into a slightly different fantasy than yours.

  12. avatar Blake says:

    ” Are they nostalgia freaks connecting with a historical anachronism in an obtuse retro kind of way (à la Harley Davidson owners)?”

    Robert, you realize that statement easily applies to 1911 aficianados. And I believe you qualify as a member of the 1911 club.

    Just saying.

    1. avatar KWood says:

      Beat me to the punch on the whole 1911-as-anachronism argument.

    2. Don’t forget 1911’s can be run on real black……

      Just sayin’….

    3. avatar porschespeed says:

      Harleys which have crank and firing order abandoned in the 1920s by everyone with a frakin brain are just junk sold to Corky’s genetic relatives. Even Sonny Barger has said that he should have gone Honda…

      1911s are the same polishing of a turd. Neither will ever be close to worth a fook except to their r-tard fanbois. There’s a reason that Harleys don’t win drag races and 1911s are no longer the sidearm of the US mil…

  13. avatar Silver says:

    Black powder isn’t my thing, but I certainly understand the enthusiasm. It’s a way of connecting with history and being more “hands-on” with one’s firearm.

  14. avatar Robert Farago says:

    Pascal:

    As many have stated, it does extend the hunting season and in CT as part of the hunter safety you must test on a muzzel loader/black powder even if you never even intend to hunt that way.

    But, just like I love to drive manual and row my own gears, I do like the total immersion you get with black powder. While many would never actually take the time to buy and use a black powder gun, everyone I have ever taken shooting with me loves the coolness factor and making like Davy Crockett.

  15. avatar Ralph says:

    Muzzle-loaders are just plain fun. And that big ol’ smoke ring from black powder? Priceless. Just don’t try to shoot black powder at an indoor range.

  16. avatar Graybeard says:

    I have a .50 Kentucky I love to shoot. Once my and all my boys were out shooting, and they’d set up a water jug and were blazing away at it, trying to get it before I got loaded. I rammed my charge home, set my cap, and leveled that old Kentuk out and with an authoritative boom and puff of smoke that water jug exploded.

    One of my boys then remarked: “The Man has spoken!”

    It’s a ton of fun.

  17. avatar Bob H says:

    I thought there was a typo in the headline and was waiting for the screams of “Racism!” to arise. Then I realized the “d” was supposed to be there…

  18. avatar jlottmc says:

    Here’s something that has not received mention with black powder, that is with black powder especially with a flintlock, it has a way of making a shooter better with modern weapons. I have seen this happen not only with myself but others who get pretty good with a flintlock, then go back to modern firearms. When they go back to smokeless and its faster lock times their accuracy improves dramatically.

  19. avatar Don says:

    It’s fun.

    So is, riding horses, cooking from scratch, woodworking, painting, and gardening.

    Sure we have cars, microwaves, Ikea, photoshop, and the grocery store, but it’s not only the result that is important. Different ways of getting to the end result have different aesthetics and these are enjoyable experiences.

    -D

  20. avatar Paul says:

    As a former SASS member, I can see the …why… of bp. It is cool to see all that smoke, and it has a different smell from smokeless powder. The recoil is negligible, and the boom is very distinctive. It is also VERY dirty. But for the guys who use it, it is fun, and that is the true value, IT IS FUN!

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