Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Black Powder and Primitive Weapons

Are black powder rifles/pistols sustainable?

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mangyhyena:
What I mean is, if civilization permanently fell apart and no more bullets could be manufactured, would you be able to continue using a black powder firearm, even after your supplies for it ran out?  I've read that black powder can be made at home.  Can the other components also be made at home, like the lead ball and wadding?

What is the best black powder rifle in terms of DIY shooting materials, if this can be done?

endurance:
It can probably be done if you could still scavange, but you might be better off with a flint lock rather than a percussion cap black powder rifle.  Percussion caps are much more reliable, but they're not something you could manufacture with the materials around you, like you could with black powder itself (which isn't easy, but I've heard of folks successfully making it or something very much like it).

Lead could easily be recovered from wheel weights and car batteries, so I think they'll be around for generations.  You just need the proper mould. 

For calibers, generally .32 is the equivelent of a .22 and good for small game.  .50-.54 calibers are for big game. 

Storm:
Caps for a percussion one would be your biggest issue I think, but forethought on your part can leave you with a large supply of them. Powder can also be an issue. Whether you plan on storing it or actually learning to make it, and have the resources available, is one way to go. My great-uncle made all of his own hunting supplies years and years ago. I have several percussion cap rifles, but a flintlock would be handy in a pinch.

soupbone:
I've heard tell that a flintlock musket around .50 cal is the ultimate survival gun. Whatever you can stuff down the front, you can shoot out again. For smaller game, you can load it down, for the larger, you can go "loaded for bear".

It's this versatility that kept (keeps?) them so popular in remote areas. Muzzle loaders were a common sight in Appalachia, until war surplus rifles became so inexpensive.

In so far as making your own black powder, yes, we all know the 3-2-1 formula, but where will you get sulfur? Or saltpeter? And even if you had the components, how do you mix them safely and how do you get the grain size you need to function in a musket without blowing it up? This will require some study and homework now, while everything is still available. (Please check the applicable laws to see if you can legally experiment with making your own black powder.)

A musket is preferable to a rifle because a rifle fouls easily and is more difficult and time consuming to load. As far as accuracy, I've seen a properly loaded, Chesapeake Bay custom made smooth-bore put 3 shots into a group with all holes touching at 50 yds.

Couple the musket with a similar caliber flintlock pistol (or two), and you will be much better off in the years after an event than your buddy with a tricked out M-1A/AR/AK/FAL, and no ammo.

soup

mangyhyena:
Interesting.

I've read that muskets can be loaded with birdshot, like a scatter gun.  Is that true?

How would you all rate a flintlock against a big bore air rifle, for the long haul during a time when ammo & replacement parts may be unavailable?

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