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Im looking into getting into black powder firearms. specifically a colt navy, a Remington 1858, a springfield trapdoor or Kentucky long rifle. What is the best to start with?
 

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Just get what you like man.

People should follow there instincts more. Even if it’s the most complicated weapon system available, if it speaks to you I’m sure you’ll end up with it and enjoy it.👍
Thanks for the input I was lucky enough to hold an original 1858 cartridge conversion this week so I can definitely see that in my future.
 

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I'm partial to revolvers so of course I'd recommend a cap and ball revolver. That's probably the cheapest way to see if bp is for you.
 

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I agree with jr612. Go the cheapest route you can until your sure you like it. I started with a cheap TRADITIONS flintlock and now own two. They are made cheaper, but the accuracy is there, at least on my two.
 

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Best deals are on used guns at pawn and gun shops. Just make sure and carry a little bore light you can drop down the barrel before purchasing as bad bores are quite common due to poor or no maintenance. Good luck and enjoy.
 

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If I were leaning towards an eventual conversion, I’d go with the Remington over a Colt due to the added strength from the top strap. Shooting as a percussion revolver, assuming you have a steel version of the Colt, either one will give years of service. Availability of components must be considered if you go the Trapdoor route or revolver conversion. Centerfire primers are virtually non-existent. Same for percussion primers, but work-arounds are available if you don’t mind the extra effort required to make your own. Initial set up is roughly $60 for the die to make cups and another $25 or so for priming compound. In the case of the Long Rifle, I’m assuming you’re talking about a flintlock, then you need two different powders, 4f to prime and 2f or 3f to propel the bullet. In all cases above, you’ll need soft lead bullets if shooting black powder. Casting your own will give you a more reliable source of bullets. When shooting black powder, you also need a lube made specifically for keeping your fouling soft. If not lubed properly, fouling will collect, harden and degrade accuracy. In a revolver, your cylinder will bind to the point you must rotate it by hand after two ,or three cylinders worth of shooting
 

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I more/less have all the OP's choices and simply like to say, do not under estimate the trapdoor. I got one to round out my US GI experience and what a surprise that has become. While, I have never shot any, I understand the 1873 (ie 45/70) and later are good with cowboy loads. I have shot black powder and Longhorn 209 loads. Mine (yes now multiples) are all originals. Hands down, better value and more rewarding than a repro.

The Shiloh Sharps are top of the line for my money, it is not a beginner budget option, but; keep that in the back of your mind.

I recently aquired a Danish rolling block. When I come out of hybernation, I look forward to trying that. Once again, I am very excited to try a new type of firearm and not resort to a reproduction.

I have two favorites for cap&ball revolvers. The Ruger Old Army in stainless and any Uberti Colt Dragoon. Forget the conversions. IMHO, I have one and a royal PIA unless you are under 21, a waste of money. Consider something like a Ruger Blackhawk in 45LC/ 45 ACP combo or a Colt SAA.
 

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IMHO.. cap n ball revolvers are the easiest and cheapest to get into.

Perc caps and powder will be an issue though..
 

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I'm looking into getting into black powder firearms, specifically a Colt Navy, a Remington 1858, a Springfield trapdoor or Kentucky long rifle. What is the best to start with?
The Trapdoor is a cartridge firearm, whereas your other choices are not. I particularly like reproduction Pietta 1851 Navy .36 revolvers, especially the CNC machined versions (~2002 and later) and I have been able to create several Confederate type .36 revolvers (Leech & Rigdon, Rigdon & Ansley, Augusta Machine Works, Griswold & Gunnison, Schneider & Glassick, et al. I have small hands with long fingers so the Navy "type" revolvers fit my hand very well. You also might consider the 1860 Army .44 if you have slightly larger hands. If you are a big guy with large hands you might consider a Uberti 3rd Model Dragoon .44. It has the improved load-lever catch found on the 1851/1860/1861 model and won't drop upon firing the revolver, unlike the earlier models with the S-type catch.

I have one Remington "1858" (which is actually a Remington-Beals, not much different) but I don't like how it feels in the hand. I would suggest you try them both out for feel before you buy. I have no experience with flinter rifles.

Comparison photo:

Armi San Marco 1860 .44 Full-fluted cylinder
Uberti Whitneyville Hartford Dragoon .44
Pietta 1851 Navy .36 Belt Dragoon (fantasy parts gun)



While I have never shot any, I understand the 1873 (i.e. 45/70) and later are good with cowboy loads.
I would love to see a Winchester 1873 in .45-70. Winchester marketed them on the 1886 Model.

The Shiloh Sharps are top of the line for my money, it is not a beginner budget option, but; keep that in the back of your mind.
Again, a cartridge firearm, unless one has a paper-cutter Sharps.

Forget the conversions. IMHO, I have one and a royal PIA unless you are under 21, a waste of money.
Huh?

Regards,

Jim
 

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I mentioned the sharps and rolling block becasue the OP included the trapdoor as an option.

The 1873 is a cool gun, but; I never had one and might shy away from shooting black powder in one. That maybe unnecessary concern. I plea ignorance. The 1873 was not big enoug for the 45/70. Maybe a little marginal in strenght with period steel. Althoug there was a big bore option in the 73 or a gun based on the 73. I would have to google that one. Somehting like a 45/62 and that is totally made up guess.

But, you made good points with a good picture. Assuming the OP is young enough. I assume he will choose something and over time sample some more.
 

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The Remington is a better shooter than the Colts, however the latter are easier to disassemble for a thorough cleaning.
 

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Forebore, are you saying the 1873 Trapdoor wasn’t chambered in 45-70?
I may have got mixed up with the Winchester lever action.

Ok, I was right. AKexpat was talking about the 73 Winchester. I did a quick fact check. The big 73, was the 1876 Winchester. We still had buffalo in 76. These early Winchester guns all have a lot of history, but IMHO, cannot compare to the Browning designs.
 

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My first blackpowder gun was patched round ball .50 cal. caplock muzzle loader rifle.
If you are into cap and ball revolvers and handguns generally, go with that.

If rifle shooting, I'd suggest a Hawken hooked breech .50 cal. percussion or flintlock rifle, using a .490 ball and .010 or .015 patch. The Hawken can be disassembled for cleaning much easier than the Pennsyltucky style, which is what I like.
 
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